I am a VERY private person. Or, I was. I am about to tell you my story, a story that just a few months ago I might have died from humiliation just at the thought that people might know what I was battling internally. But that was me then. And this is me now. So, read on if you want to learn more, or move on if you have no interest. But know that if you relate to anything in my story, that there IS a better way.
Earlier this year, I was suffering from complete burnout at my “day” job. I know we all get a case of the “Mondays”, but I was falling into complete and utter bouts of depression as soon as I woke up on Sundays, just knowing I had to go to work the next day. I was at a point where functioning became near impossible, and I couldn’t hold my focus long enough to get a damn thing done both at work and at home. Panic attacks kept me company on my drive into work on an almost daily basis. When I got there, I stared at the computer screen like a zombie. I would get home, terrified that I would be fired for my perceived declining performance at work. I would sit watching my daughter play in the living room while my body felt glued to the couch. I stuffed my face full of junk food to fill a void I wasn’t acknowledging existed. My body went days without seeing food that was not pre-packaged, killing whatever energy I might have managed to scrounge up. It was a horrible feeling…feeling like a failure of a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, employee…you name it.
I was always a go-getter; I never stopped to take breaks. Stress? Bring it on! I channeled it all into my work. It fueled me. I thrived off it. When life got tough, I got tougher…at least on the outside. I was rewarded with promotions and acknowledgements at work that pacified me into thinking I was happy.
But my mind…my body…finally signaled an alarm in me one Sunday afternoon that completely changed who I am today. It was the day before an extremely important presentation and I broke. Let’s just say I was a bit of a hot mess that evening. I made a choice that I have not regretted once, even for a moment. I decided that on Monday morning, I would go to my doctor’s office to tell them about my compiling symptoms that as I knew damn well with a background in psychology, meant I was suffering from depression. Ugh. Why couldn’t I just “snap out of it” and feel better? Things were going great for me externally, but internally I just felt worthless.
I went into the doctor’s office that day and felt like I had just gotten off a time machine from the 1950’s. I will spare you many of the very personal details, but in summary, I left with a year’s prescription for an anti-depressant with no discussion on treatment, and even worse, no follow-up appointment. I won’t even get into how horrible of an experience it was, but fortunately I was still strong enough to know that I had dealt with an incredible asshole and reached out to a counselor I had seen in the past. She squeezed me right in, and I started on my journey to healing and self-care.
So, how does cannabis come into play? Well, I didn’t want to take the anti-depressants. Given what I was dealing with, it seemed more appropriate to cope with the situation, feel it, and work through it. As a caregiver and cannabis enthusiast, I knew that I could reduce anxiety and depression by medicating. I recommend strains to patients specifically for this purpose. But for me? I would grab whatever jar was closest and not prescribe MYSELF the best strains for my own issues. This was step #1, and I fully credit it to helping me succeed with the remainder of my journey.
I won’t bore you with every step of the journey, but it included (and still includes), medicating before my “self-care” hour each day. I take the time for ME. I stretch, practice yoga, bike, and meditate. It’s an amazingly refreshing way to start, end, or breakup your day. I always thought that shit was hokey, but it has a powerful effect on me now. I don’t force myself to do it like I used to at the beginning…I CRAVE it. I need it. I notice I start getting edgier when I skip a day or two of it. I started taking vitamins, every day. I started making healthier food choices. I focused on one area at a time, and I kicked it’s ass before moving onto the next. But it all began with cannabis.
So, how did it save me for a second time? Well, I had to drive disability paperwork into work just a couple of short weeks before I was supposed to return. As I drove there, I was reunited with my panic attack co-passenger that I hadn’t experienced in weeks. How can you ignore a sign like that? I knew what I needed to do, but it didn’t make it easy. This was the end of an era for me. I walked in the doors of this job a completely different person than I am walking out as, and I love the new me!
So here I am now. I left the corporate life to work in the cannabis industry. I have seen first-hand the medicinal benefits from my own struggles to those of my patients and I am fucking passionate about helping others gain access to it. I am going to do my part to move the industry forward, whether it be through Atlas Plant Trainer and/or a future endeavor. The people working in this industry are unlike any others I have met. They care. They care about their business, they care about cannabis, they care about helping others, and they push each other to succeed. I spoke with two competitors at NECANN Boston last weekend and you know what? They were amazing people. We had great conversations about our progress and how we could potentially work together. It doesn’t get any better than that, folks.
And that, my friends, is the story of how a woman went from a corporate career in Human Resources management to trail blazing her way into the cannabis industry! Continue sticking around as the journey continues.