My Miracle Medicine

My Miracle Medicine

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Time and time again, you hear people complaining about the rules and rights associated with marijuana. Teens and young adults that smoke weed are usually stereotyped as being lazy, stupid and even brain-dead. Everyone is given the right to think what they want and say how they feel, but I would like to give a little perspective to all of you that think marijuana is all harm and no good.

I am a 20-year-old female and I’m well into my junior year at a well-known university in Pennsylvania. All four years of my high school career, I was an honor roll student and even managed to gradate in the top 15 percent of my class. Over the years, I’ve accumulated over 300 volunteer hours and have also made the time to hold two jobs and an internship. I’ve made Dean’s List two out of the four semesters I’ve been in college and still make it a priority to work out when I can. I eat relatively healthily, have a fantastic group of friends, joined a nationally recognized sorority and I smoke marijuana every single day.

Not everyone you encounter who smokes marijuana is a delinquent that drops out of school and lives with their parents for the rest of their life, and people have to start pushing that idea out of their heads. As I described above, I am a fully functional human being that has accomplished everything I would like to up to this point in my life. You should also know that I used to HATE people that smoked weed. My high school days consisted of many of my friends smoking and I wanted no part in it whatsoever. I too thought that anyone and everyone that smoked this “terrible drug” was gross and throwing their life away; that was, until I tried it for myself. That day, the day I inhaled smoke into my body for the very first time, was one of the most life-altering moments in all of my existence.

Something I didn’t mention earlier is a bit personal, but necessary for the understanding of my love for this beautiful and gratifying drug. In 2011, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. I weighed a good deal under 100 pounds and had no joy in my life. Nothing mattered except my weight and the food I rarely put into my body. I lost all sense of love, compassion, excitement and even sadness. My emotions disappeared. Recovery wasn’t too pleasant, either. I had done everything…talked to a nutritionist, went to therapy, had check-ups with my physician and was prescribed a number of different antidepressants with different dosages corresponding to how good or bad I was at the time. The worst part…none of it was enough. Yes, I regained the weight, and yes, I was eating again, but no one understands the mental incapacity that an eating disorder pushes you to. I had lost most of my hope, and held on to what little bit I still had with every ounce left in me. I can’t describe much in words, but if I could, I would simply say I just had no desire to live anymore.

By the time I was in college, I was stable, but still not fully healthy mentally which, of course, worried my family, my friends and myself. That was until someone recommended smoking marijuana and seeing if it helps. I thought they were crazy. I knew about weed and was strongly against it. At that point in recovery though, I was willing to try just about anything, and boy, I'm sure as hell happy I did.

The first time is never pretty. There was lots of coughing, lots of confusion, and a distinct taste in my mouth, still unsure of whether or not I took a liking to it. The smell stained my clothing and my mouth was dry for hours. Yet, regardless of all of this, I fell in love and became best friends with good old Mary Jane. I didn’t become an avid smoker at first. I started off smoking maybe once a week, two times tops and was still super hesitant because I was so negatively bias towards it. The more I did it, the more I enjoyed it. I was becoming happy again. Not the fake happy I had been pretending to be for the previous months and not the pity happy I faked for those who were concerned for me. I was truly, astonishingly, brilliantly happy.

It wasn’t strictly when I was high, either…I was a happier person all times of the day, every day of the week. Marijuana was, unknowingly, the light at the end of my tunnel I had been searching for, for what felt like years. My confidence went up, I cared less about what others thought of me, my body image issues slowly dissolved and I wanted to live again. I felt sympathy and love. I got excited for events and looked forward to seeing people. My mood was lifted in every situation possible, and, to top it all off, I was able to wean off of my antidepressants.

Marijuana gave me the desire to live again. It may not be for everyone, but it is for me. Marijuana was my cure; it has made me a joyous person again and has made me appreciate the good and the bad in my life. For all of you haters out there, it’s time to change your views. Let people be happy, let them be fixed, let them be free.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.wowt.com/home/headlines/Medical-Marijuana-Scrapped-For-Now-in-Nebraska-305204651.html

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The Potomac Urges Me To Keep Going

A simple story about how and why the Potomac River brings me emotional clarity.

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It's easy to take the simple things for granted. We tell ourselves that life is moving too fast to give them another thought. We are always thinking about what comes next. We can't appreciate what's directly in front of us because we are focused on what's in our future. Sometimes you need to snap back to present and just savor the fact that you are alive. That's what the Potomac River does for me.

I took the Potomac River for granted at one point. I rode by the river every day and never gave it a second glance. I was always distracted, never in the present. But that changed one day.

A tangle of thoughts was running rampant inside my head.

I have a lot of self-destructive tendencies. I find it's not that hard to convince yourself that life isn't worth living if nothing is there to put it in perspective.

My mind constantly conjures up different scenarios and follows them to their ultimate conclusion: anguish. I needed something to pull myself out of my mental quagmire.

All I had to do was turn my head and look. And I mean really look. Not a passing glance but rather a gaze of intent. That's when it hit me. It only lasted a minute or so but I made that moment feel like an eternity.

My distractions of the day, no matter how significant they seemed moments ago, faded away. A feeling of evanescence washed over me, almost as if the water itself had cleansed me.

I've developed a routine now. Whenever I get on the bus, I orient myself to get the best view of the river. If I'm going to Foggy Bottom, I'll sit on the right. If I'm going back to the Mount Vernon Campus, I'll sit on the left. I'll try to sit in a seat that allows me to prop my arm against the window, and rest my cheek against my palm.

I've observed the Potomac in its many displays.

I've observed it during a clear day when the sky is devoid of clouds, and the sun radiates a far-reaching glow upon the shimmering ripples below. I can't help but envy the gulls as they glide along the surface.

I've observed it during the rain when I have to wipe the fogged glass to get a better view. I squint through the gloom, watching the rain pummel the surface, and then the river rises along the bank as if in defiance of the harsh storm. As it fades from view, I let my eyes trace the water droplets trickling down the window.

I've observed it during snowfall when the sheets of white obscure my view to the point where I can only make out a faint outline.

I've observed it during twilight when the sky is ablaze with streaks of orange, yellow, and pink as the blue begins to fade to grey.

Last of all, I've observed it during the night, when the moon is swathed in a grey veil. The row of lights running along the edge of the bridge provides a faint gleam to the obsidian water below.

It's hard to tear away my eyes from the river now. It's become a place of solace. The moment it comes into view, I'll pause whatever I'm doing. I turn up the music and let my eyes drift across the waterfront. A smile always creeps across my face. I gain a renewed sense of life.

Even on my runs, I set aside time to take in the river. I'll run across the bridge toward Arlington and then walk back, giving myself time to look out over either side of the bridge. I don't feel in a rush for once. I just let the cool air brush against my face. Sometimes my eyes begin to water. Let's just say it's not always because of the wind.

I chase surreal moments. The kind of moments you can't possibly plan for or predict. Moments where you don't want to be anywhere else. The ones that ground your sense of being. They make life truly exceptional.

Though I crave these moments, they are hard to come by. You can't force them. Their very nature does not allow it. But when I'm near the river, these moments just seem to come naturally.

I remember biking around DC when I caught sight of the Potomac. Naturally, I couldn't resist trying to get a better view. I pulled up along the river bank, startling a lone gull before dismounting. I took a few steps until I reached the edge of the water. The sun shone brilliantly in the center of the horizon.

A beam of light stretched across the water toward me, almost like a pathway to the other side of the river. I felt an urge to walk forward. I let one-foot dangle over the water, lowering it slowly to reach the glittering water below. I debated briefly whether I could walk on water. Though it sounds ridiculous, anything felt possible. Snapping back to reality, I brought my foot back up and scanned the vast blue expanse before me.

Eventually, the wind began to buffet against my left cheek, as if directing me to look right. I turned my head. A couple was walking along the bike path. They paused beneath a tree for a moment and locked eyes. Smiling, the man leaned in and whispered something in the woman's ear. As she giggled, they began to kiss softly.

While I looked on with a smile of my own, I couldn't help but wonder if there was someone else out there in the world willing to share this moment with me.

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