Trauma, sleep deprivation and cannabis

I'm very sensitive to the effects of drugs, as well as a lot of other things e.g. medications, essential oils, even food and drink. I think I am sensitive to drugs because I had a rather traumatic childhood and people with a troubled upbringing tend to be on alert all the time, even unconsciously, it's a skill they develop to stay out of trouble. Knowing that something unpleasant or scary is going to happen to you but never knowing when, can cause you to develop a high sensitivity or intuitiveness to minimise your risk of harm. My brain got used to being in a state of high alert which is quite unstable since it requires a lot of focus (though when you get used to doing it all the time, it becomes unconscious) to maintain and therefore it doesn't take a lot to knock your block off.

I dabbled in party drugs, hallucingenics and cannabis during my 20's but eventually gave it all up, except cannabis. I started to smoke cannabis regularly after I met my, now ex, partner. He had smoked it heavily since he was 13.

After being with him for a few years, I was also smoking it everyday, as he had done almost continuously for over 10 years. Sometimes I would stop for a while but when I did smoke it, I would do it every day.

Then I had a baby. I had a really hard time during my pregnancy and prolonged labour (3 days and nights full on) which ended in an emergency c-section. I had always said that I would give up smoking cannabis when I'd had the baby but I found my self smoking it even more than I did before as it relieved the chronic post-natal depression that I was suffering from. I had also suffered panic attacks and anxiety during and after my pregnancy which cannabis seem to help with.

Unfortunately, my situation went from bad to worse as my partner and I lost our home, our jobs and became isolated from our families. On top of this, I had a wee small baby to care for who woke up about 8-12 times a night, so the sleep deprivation was starting to really get to me.

When my son was nearly 18 months old, I had a full mental breakdown. I was smoking about 2 joints a day, which is not a lot compared to others but as I said, I'm very sensitive and my situation had been deterioating for a long time.

Over about 7 months, my experiences/symptoms became more severe and more bizarre. I was hallucinating on a daily basis, both auditory and visual. I would flip between having a photographic memory to having virtually no memory e.g. forgetting what I was going to say from the time I thought of it to the time my mouth opened to say it. I had real trouble concentrating  which made it hard to hold a conversation. I had several delusions a day and spent all day and most of the night in my delusions, believeing all sorts of weird things, so many I can not recall them all but some were VERY scary and I would never wish anyone to have to go through. I seem to lose control of my thoughts and also became physically and emotionally detached from myself, meaning that I developed a disassociated personality which I am still working with my psychologist to try and integrate. I had no sense of time and could not tell the difference between what was my imagination and what was reality.

I went through this whole episode without any medical attention. I went to see a counsellor once who was also a practising psychiatric nurse. As soon as she mentioned medication, I was too scared to go back.

I gave up smoking cannabis when I managed to make the connection between my illness and the drug, though the symptoms did not go away, I did not get high any more which seem to lessen the confusion I was also suffering from. Plus, to cap the whole thing off, my marriage broke down and my very angry ex-partner blamed me for what had happened and punished me real bad for it. The police had to be called a couple times when he got nasty.

Luckily, I did eventually get better. It was very hard and very scary and took up so much of my energy to achieve because I had gone through the whole episode without any medical help or family support. I started to suffer serious fatigue and relapses of depression and anxiety. I had to care for my 2 year old son all by myself after my partner moved out, up until I collapsed from exhaution and had to go to hospital and since then my son has been with his dad because I can't cope with anymore demands on my energy or spirit. I have been tempted at times to use cannabis again as a way of self-medication for the tough times but I've managed to stay away from it.