Guest writer Adrienne Lynch bravely tells us about her life to date and how, despite ongoing mental health issues and related physical conditions, she was able to come off of debilitating prescription medications and to live a full, purposeful life, thanks to cannabis. It is a written testament to the potential for cannabis to completely transform lives for the better. Twitter: @AdriennevLynch
CAUTION: The following piece includes details about trauma, abuse, addiction, suicide and various conditions which some readers may find distressing.
My life has not been an easy one growing up. I suffered childhood abuse, sexual, physical and emotional. This left my mental health and body in a bad way starting in my teens. I suffered with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, PTSD, agoraphobia. I could not function. I couldn’t keep any of my commitments. My life was just not working out. I have lost count of the amount of times I have tried to kill myself. I first tried when I was only 8 years old. I slit my wrist in two places. I didn’t get the places on my arm right thankfully but that is how tortured I felt as an 8-year-old in this world. My life then turned into an endless nightmare of visits to doctors and hospitals. Towards the end of my teens I started to develop an auto-immune disease and Fibromyalgia. Prior to this I had been a highly active person. Taking part in sports and theatrical activities. Always doing something but then that all stopped for me. I was put on prescription after prescription.
Struggled then with an addiction to sleeping tablets as I had been put on a dose twice the recommended amount for about 5/6 years. This in conjunction with all the other meds I was taking was just flooring me as a person and not giving me the ability to be able to live my life to the fullest or at all. I was barely living. I tried to kill myself so many times my mind would disassociate, and I wouldn’t even remember doing it. I even died once and I was brought back with a shot of adrenaline. I don’t know if anyone reading this understands what it is like to have adrenaline shot into your body. It burns everywhere, every nerve ending feels like it is on fire from head to toe. That was scary but not the last attempt. When I was in my mid 20s I had been reading more and more about medicinal cannabis. I had tried it a little when in Amsterdam and with some friends but never really thought about it. I started using Cannabis to try and include it with my other medicine to help. Eventually 3 years ago I came off all prescription meds for sleeping, for anxiety and for depression. I changed to using just cannabis. It took me a year to fully come off medicine.
This has given me a life. I spent so many years dying every single day inside and wanting my life to be over because it was just too much. When I say cannabis saved my life I am in no way joking. I have a child now to care for and cannabis is the only thing that keeps my body functioning. Due to all of the different medications I was put on over the years and without any follow up or checking on me from professionals, my stomach now does not function correctly. If I eat without cannabis I will either be doubled over in pain or start vomiting. It helps me sleep, it helps me exercise and it helps me to be able to leave my house, something I struggled with for years. I am a very ambitious and hard working person. The outdated stereotypes we hear about cannabis need to stop. We need to be spreading accurate information as this could help so many people. Now I am studying for my degree and I am doing so well at it. I honestly can’t believe the difference. I get up every single day and I want to be here; I want to live and I want to grow old and watch my daughter grow.
I know now I can do this but my medicine is and always will be cannabis. Now I am stuck being a criminal, having to buy from people I don’t feel very safe buying from, especially as a female. It is a scary world. I have lost count of the amount of times I have been attacked on the streets of Dublin and I do not feel protected by the Gardaí in Ireland. I had to get my photos taken after one of the assaults, they took photos of my naked and bruised body. Then this morning I read about how 1a Garda videotaped a woman who was mentally unwell and shared the naked video of this woman, who went on to kill herself and yet the Garda in question still has his job. So for me the only thing that keeps me healthy is cannabis and my own home country is making me a criminal. There is nothing ethical about how the government is handling this issue. The scare mongering and false information that I see about cannabis on a daily basis is just so heartbreaking. How can they print such lies?
Ireland is locking up decent people for a medicine and making people live in fear just so they can have the medicine that works for them, that keeps them alive, and I mean that literally in my case. I am studying the medicinal uses of THC and CBD in the human body. So I am not ignorant to benefits it has. I do live in fear and stress about what will happen if I get caught with cannabis and this is just a horrible feeling and I just don’t think it is right. We need to see change happen. So many people would benefit and if you want to look at it from a capitalist point of view it would help out the economy in a huge way. That could help with social housing and bring down the impact alcohol has on the health system in Ireland. Given that this plant is non-toxic and the same cannot be said for alcohol, we need to see fair and safe access for both medicinal and recreational cannabis.
1 This story is covered in more detail here: https://bit.ly/2TCD0gs