The secret to end all secrets! Honest (y)!

Here’s my secret to a happy life, very simple, and I promise I won’t charge you for it:

THE SECRET IS……………..have no secrets.

BE TRULY HONEST about who you are, what you stand for and don’t worry, the rest will follow.

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BE MINDFUL of others in the process, because they are people too and have their lot they are dealing with, they get tougher when they are in denial, but nothing is impossible.

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IT WON’T BE EASY, depending how many secrets you carry around with you. 

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BE PATIENT…if you can, I must say I still have problems with that one 😉

YOU WILL MAKE MISTAKES – learn from them.

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FREE FROM THE CHAINS that tie you down, you will probably get to this stage:

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VERY POWERFUL FEELING at first, so try and stay grounded and balanced. Surround yourself with people you feel SAFE around, and STAY AWAY FROM NEGATIVE PEOPLE – absolutely imperative, they will try and DESTROY you.

THINK SMALL – thinking too big will drive you crazy, I promise.

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USE MUSIC: cannot praise DI.FM enough for accompanying me on my journey, particularly chillout and vocal trance channels.

GET CLOSE TO NATURE. I use long walkies with dogs, who are my absolute passion, to chill out and get back down to earth.

This little guy is the one who introduced me to this passion, Frodo (RIP)

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I have unleashed my mind now, and my journey can start. This is who I aspire to be:

ImageBecause only PEOPLE can make a difference to this world, and they need all the help they can get.

I also seek to become this again:

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This is me two years ago before I put the weight on comfort eating. Yes this is a photoshopped pic, a new Art these days. You can never capture reality through a lens, memories are kept in your heart.

 

I am not going to be seeking problems, I am very happy having fun in my life and getting to know people more and more, because I have realised I just love people, warts and all.

Once you learn to love yourself, you’ll get that.

I have started little projects that compliment this very well, a Social Group on Facebook to get people from my town together. Very simple idea, yet extremely rewarding.

Here is an email I recently received from a member/now friend:

“In a few short weeks you have helped me turn my mood round and stopped the downward spiral I was heading for. That shows you care and I will always be grateful for that x

Before 1st meeting spent 3 days in the house without seeing a single person and cried pretty much constantly because felt no 1 cared and i’d made a big mistake moving here but couldn’t tell anyone as would have felt a failure. Now know thats not true I just needed someone to make me see with just a little effort on my part I can make my life so much better still away to go but getting there with a little help from my friends “

How good do you think you’d feel if you could do that for someone? It’s easy, you just need to sort out your shit and then be there for others.

BE PROUD of your achievements but always be HUMBLE: You won’t get there without the help of others.

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I have also started a Clean up Group to try and sort out the litter problem in my town. I’ll concentrate on this a while and when my work is done, I’ll move on to other issues that bother me.

ONE STEP at the time though, very important to learn about being patient. 

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I have chosen Facebook as my medium for expressing myself now. Works best for me, each to their own though.

I will leave you with some thoughts that have helped me get there:

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Be good, do good, feel good

STAY AWAY FROM BOOZE AND RELIGION, IT’S THE DEVIL’S WORK!

Pot isn’t so cool either but it has its benefits.

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(Oh, and I have realised that despite all, I still love my husband deeply. I’m ok with that)

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A little connection game for you

On Wednesday, for some strange reason, my eyes kept being attracted to Blue: cars, signs, monitor backgrounds, bins,  colleagues’ clothing, their rings, you name it, everywhere I look there was blue.

Half way through the day, I realised I was wearing blue.

On Thursday the same happened when I was wearing blue again.

On Friday, I decided to wear something with a Red tint. And yes, you guessed it, I saw Red items everywhere. 

I found out on Wednesday that Blue was for communication (apt to the course I was doing), and Red was for passion.

The best sight I had Friday for Red was this:

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Sorry the quality is rubbish, my car, red of course, really needs a clean!

I have just got back from the local shops where I met this lady I had wanted to see for a long time. She had been worried about me when I came back from Canada and we had connected. She was furious when she heard what had happened. I had wanted to see her for a long time to tell her I am doing fine now. We just had a chance encounter outside the shop and we had a nice long chat.

As we were chatting, she told me she was collecting empty beer cans on her walk home from the shop. She explained she gives them to the cat protection league as they can get money for them.

I couldn’t believe my ears, I have a ton of cans that I didn’t know what to do with. I am also starting a town clean up group and I wasn’t sure what to do with the cans we’d find along the way.

I shall be dropping them at hers from now on, it will give me a good excuse to pop in for a tea too 🙂

As I was speaking with her, my eyes kept going to her lipstick: bright red.

Try this little game, there is nothing that makes you feel more connected, I promise you.

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Processing…

In case you were worried about me, I haven’t abandoned this blog, nor be taken in to a mental health hospital just yet, I am heavily processing at the moment.

Something quite unexpected happened to me this week. I was sent onto a course at work, called “People at the Heart” and it has given me all the tools I needed to deal with the remaining difficulties in my life.

Processing is real hard work though, very draining. It involves a lot of thinking and communicating. And communicating is the hardest thing to get right. It affects people’s emotions so it has to be done right for a positive outcome. 

When you get it right though, it opens a whole new world for you 🙂

I will share my experiences, tools and all that might be useful when I can, I promise. 

Ignorance truly is bliss

I had an interesting little exchange with a friend on FB following a picture I posted today:

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That photo depicts to me all that is right about Africa, continent I have visited often, and where I took my wedding vows, lovely little ceremony surrounded by villagers, very fond memories.

The Africans still unspoiled by the white man’s desire to “better” the continent truly know how to entertain themselves with the very little they have and how to be happy.

My friend posted a link to a funny article about an experiment he’d come across:

Ethopian kids and modern technology.

As fun as the article was, it brought up to me the pondering whether African really needed the white man to “better” themselves.

My friend concluded that what Africa needed was access to knowledge and good infrastructure. I said that I felt the white man should concentrate on making sure they had food and good water first.

But this made me re-visit the knowledge question. 

When I went through a manic phase after my marriage breakdown, I had what I believe is the typical big “awakening” that there is a God. Curious as I am I did some research on a couple of bible stories that “came my way” (more about this another time).

One of them though was the Adam and Eve story. The story that explains where it all went wrong for human beings. 

I’m sure there are many versions and I am no expert, but this is how I understand it:

Adam and Eve lived very happy in the garden of Eden, a real paradise.

A serpent comes along and decides to tempt Eve to eat a fruit from a tree I understand God had told them not to touch as it was “the tree of knowledge of good and evil”.

When she hesitated, the serpent promised her : “You will not certainly die” and that “God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”.

Tempted that the “fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom”, she eats some, so does Adam. Very soon, they start to feel prudish and decide to cover themselves with leaves (they were of course naked before).

When God finds out,  he gets furious and punishes them. And this is why men have to work these days and women suffer in child birth.

“God then passes judgment for the disobedience of the man and woman, condemning the man to sustain life through hard labor and the woman to create new life through painful childbirth”

Paradise over. What for? Knowledge.

[I’ll write more on this at some other point.]

” ” from Wiki

Happiness is a mental illness

I had a doctor’s appointment booked tonight for something and I thought I would mention that I was feeling slightly manic recently and that I haven’t really managed to get more than 5/6 hours sleep a night since I became a tea-total.

I also explained to her what happened to me after my husband and I split up, when I stopped alcohol and drugs straight and went into a big manic phase which got out of control and for which I had treatment to give her some background as to why I felt I needed to mention my current mood.

Well, she is referring to a psychiatrist for assessment and talked about possible mood stabilisers (apparently much better than they used to be). She said when someone says they are happy all the time, it rings alarm bells to her. A friend of mine said something similar recently “No-one can be happy all the time”.

Well, guess what? As I am sitting here typing, tears are filling my eyes. It seems being happy is a mental illness.

I know I have been manic recently, but for the first time in my life, I am living free from addictions (dope, alcohol and toxic relationships) and re-discovering the world in a different light.

I have everything I need to be happy. I have a job I truly love, I have good friends, I have two lovely kitties, I have a nice house which doesn’t cost me a fortune, I have a car, I earn enough money that I don’t have to need for anything. I am closer than ever to my family, I am having healthy fun in my life. I have started successful worthy projects, I have reconnected with people I had neglected during my depression, I have made up with my husband and forgiven my best friend for being with him. I am now starting to turn my attention to what I can bring to the world and people who may need help and it brings me great pleasure.

Yet I should be on medication.

Funny thing happened when I was starting to type I was feeling tearful. A man, a Rastafarian, knocked on my door. He was looking for a house on the estate, No 8 something Close.

He said as I opened the door, “I know this isn’t the right place because the number is different but I don’t know where to look”.

I offered to look up the direction and asked him to come in. I showed him where he needed to go and as he left, he said he was going to visit his grandchildren that he hadn’t seen for a long time, you could see the happiness on his face, mixed with some sadness in his eyes. I smiled, feeling happy for him, and happy that I was there to help him find his way.

How many people would have opened the door to this man and told him he was at the wrong house and sent him on his way?

That little moment of connection we shared when he told me about his excitement of seeing his little ones was all I needed to make me realise I am not going crazy: Life really is wonderful and full of special moments.

Three times during our little encounter he said “God bless you”. I am not religious, but I felt what he was telling me. I realise he probably wasn’t expecting the welcome he got. This warmed my heart and left me with a big smile.

I am learning to appreciate life now I have nothing to worry about and sometimes I get a little over excited. After 23 years of repressing my feelings, I’m not surprised sometimes, all this processing gets a bit much.

And now to convince the “experts”. Perfect timing actually since I have been wondering what my contribution to the mental health issue could be.

And anyway, that doctor gave me something serious to worry about: apparently, I am one kilo in the obese zone. Bummer.

The Stigma with Mental Illness – Bipolar

Since pledging on the Time To Change website, I have been thinking about how my experience with Mental Health can help others.

I have a lot to say on the subject but I would like my contribution to be helpful, so I am working on the best way to do this. I have some ideas that are forming, but it is a slow process. I want to do it right.

A couple of days ago, I received an email from someone who was upset with me. I had broken off our relationship as I felt it was the right thing to do. I had known from the beginning we were not right for each other, however I had realised we could learn a lot from each other so I continued seeing him. (I had written a post about it on this blog but sadly I deleted it a couple of days ago as I felt maybe it was too personal (for him) for me to share openly.

On Sunday I realised that we would be better off as friends and told him so. This didn’t go down well and he got rather angry with me (which happens).

I had told him very little about my experience with Mental Health, only that after my husband and I split up, “they” tried to diagnose me as Bipolar (it took a psychiatrist one hour chatting with me to decide I was Bipolar) but that’s a story for another post.

Yesterday, I received an email from that chap, listing the symptoms that go with the manic stage of Bipolar, blaming the decision I had taken to finish with him on this illness.

I was rather angry at first, it felt like a slap in my face “see, you are crazy, you are not thinking straight, that’s why you dumped me, you’ll regret it”. More so that his sister apparently has been diagnosed with Bipolar and he seems to have very little understanding of the problem, and even less empathy.

However, I have had signs of being manic recently so I decided to look at each point and see where I was on the Manic scale.

This is my findings (which I emailed back to him):

The manic phase of bipolar disorder may include:
  • feeling very happy, elated or overjoyed – yes, but for good reasons, my life has turned around, I am no longer reliant on drugs and alcohol or guys to be happy.
  • talking very quickly – sometimes yes, when I get excited – who doesn’t?
  • feeling full of energy – yes, probably due to too many teas in the morning though and the fact that my life is quite fun these days, no mopping about in bed for hours on end (reminds you of someone?). Most days though I feel quite tired towards the end of the day, pretty normal behaviour really. Also, apparently stopping alcohol does that to you (gives you extra energy)
  • feeling self-important – no. Proud of myself for achieving what I have at the moment for sure (quitting drinking, successful launch of the social and other groups) but nothing wrong with that. But self-important no. I even had a debate with someone on FB who suggested I should “go down to their level” when approaching my neighbours about the noise issue. Told him I talked to everyone the same, apart from to kids when I might be softer.
  • feeling full of great new ideas and having important plans – I do have good ideas and all seem to go down well so far, nothing “disorder-y” about that. Important plans are only important to me. For my own reason (ie figuring out where I went wrong in life and bettering myself). If they happen to matter to others, great. I am certainly not pushing my ideas/plans on anyone, I am just doing my thing and if people like it, then great, if they don’t then it doesn’t matter. My blog for instance, I haven’t told many of my friends about it.
  • being easily distracted – not really, in fact when I concentrate on something, I tell people to wait before speaking to me so as not to be distracted. My boss actually laughed at me today because I was concentrating on something at work and hadn’t noticed he was sitting there waiting to talk to me.
  • being easily irritated or agitated – no more than usual. Probably a lot less actually. Certainly not anxious at all these days (used to be a very anxious person)
  • being delusional, having hallucinations and disturbed or illogical thinking – categorically no. (I suffered from that when I was sleep deprived before so I know what that’s like)
  • not feeling like sleeping – I do sleep, maybe not long enough but I certainly like my sleep, plus I nap when I need to as well, so I have no problems shutting down my brain when needed.
  • not eating – I eat plenty 🙂
  • doing things that often have disastrous consequences, such as spending large sums of money on expensive and sometimes unaffordable items – no disastrous consequences from my actions – in fact, very positive ones, made peace (properly) with my husband, getting on better with my friends, making new nice ones, and work is getting better all the time. Money wise, hmmm let me think what my latest expensive, unaffordable item was….nope can’t think of any. Even managed to go round a whole car boot sale and not bought anything.
  • making decisions or saying things that are out of character and that others see as being risky or harmful – all the people in my life are telling me they like this new “positive paz”, my mum in particular is very happy to hear how I am doing (and she would know if I was out of character)

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If I am really Bipolar, I sure hope I will be able to see as clearly why I feel the symptoms that go with depression when that stage hits.

As an addendum, I am closely watching this seemingly manic phase, in particular the over excitement bit. This is what I do to make sure my overthinking doesn’t affect my life too much:

  • Go on long walks with my friend’s dog. sometimes my friend joins us too.
  • Meet up with people regularly, nothing beats interaction with people to level you (and they can tell me if I get too excited)
  • Having a routine to make sure “normal” stuff gets done, such as tidying up, clearing up the dishes straight after eating, food shop so I don’t run out of food.
  • Listen to chillout music
  • Switched to decaf tea
  • Spend time with my cats (cats have an amazing calming influence)
  • And most importantly, I make sure I make my bed every morning 😉

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“Borderline Personality Disorder”

I just saw there is a facebook group called the above. It made me laugh.

This labelling of everything that isn’t considered “normal” is getting so ridiculous, I can’t help but laugh now.

Honestly, everyone seems to be suffering from something or other these days.

It’ll come a time when “normal” will be a disorder too, you’ll see 😉

 

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List of mental disorder according to Wiki:

Acute stress disorder

Adjustment disorder

Adolescent antisocial behavior
Adult antisocial behavior
Adverse effects of medication-not otherwise specified
Age-related cognitive decline
Agoraphobia
Alcohol abuse
Alcohol dependence
Alcohol withdrawal
Alcoholic hallucinosis
Alzheimer’s disease
Amnestic disorder
Amphetamine dependence
Amphetamine withdrawal psychosis
Anorexia nervosa
Anterograde amnesia
Antisocial personality disorder
Anxiety disorder
Anxiolytic-related disorders
Asperger syndrome
Attention deficit disorder
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Autism
Autophagia
Avoidant personality disorder
Barbiturate dependence
Benzodiazepine dependence
Benzodiazepine misuse
Benzodiazepine withdrawal
Bereavement
Bibliomania
Binge eating disorder
Bipolar disorder
Bipolar I disorder
Bipolar II disorder
Body dysmorphic disorder
Borderline intellectual functioning
Borderline personality disorder
Brief psychotic disorder
Bulimia nervosa
Caffeine-related disorder
Caffeine-induced sleep disorder
Cannabis dependence
Claustrophobia
Catatonic disorder
Catatonic schizophrenia
Childhood amnesia
Childhood antisocial behavior
Circadian rhythm sleep disorder
Cocaine dependence
Cocaine intoxication
Cognitive disorder
Communication disorder
Conduct disorder
Cotard delusion
Cyclothymia
Delirium tremens
Depersonalization disorder
Depressive disorder
Derealization disorder
Desynchronosis
Diogenes Syndrome
Dispareunia
Dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder)
Dyslexia
Dysthymia
EDNOS
Encopresis
Ekbom’s Syndrome (Delusional Parasitosis)
Enuresis (not due to a general medical condition)
Erotomania
Exhibitionism
Factitious disorder
Fregoli delusion
Frotteurism
Fugue State
Ganser syndrome (due to a mental disorder)
Generalized anxiety disorder
General adaptation syndrome
Grandiose delusions
Hallucinogen-related disorder
Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder
Histrionic personality disorder
Huntington’s disease
Hypomanic episode
Hypochondriasis
Impulse control disorder
Impulse-control disorder not elsewhere classified
Inhalant abuse
Insomnia due to a general medical condition
Intermittent explosive disorder
Kleptomania
Korsakoff’s syndrome
Lacunar amnesia
Major depressive disorder
Major depressive episode
Male erectile disorder
Malingering
Manic episode
Mathematics disorder
Medication-related disorder
Melancholia
Mental retardation
Minor depressive disorder
Minor depressive episode
Misophonia
Mixed episode
Mood disorder
Mood episode
Morbid jealousy
Munchausen’s syndrome
Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy
Narcissistic personality disorder
Neglect of child
Neuroleptic-related disorder
Nicotine withdrawal
Night eating syndrome
Nightmare disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)
Oneirophrenia
Opioid dependence
Opioid-related disorder
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
Pain disorder
Panic disorder
Paranoid personality disorder
Parasomnia
Parkinson’s Disease
Partner relational problem
Pathological gambling
Perfectionism
Persecutory delusion
Personality change due to a general medical condition
Personality disorder
Pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)
Phencyclidine (or phencyclidine-like)-related disorder
Phobic disorder
Phonological disorder
Physical abuse
Pica
Polysubstance-related disorder
Post-traumatic embitterment disorder (PTED)
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Premature ejaculation
Primary hypersomnia
Primary insomnia
Psychogenic amnesia
Psychological factor affecting medical condition
Psychotic disorder
Pyromania
Reactive attachment disorder of infancy or early childhood
Reading disorder
Recurrent brief depression
Relational disorder
Residual schizophrenia
Retrograde amnesia
Rett’s disorder
Rumination syndrome
Sadomasochism
Schizoaffective disorder
Schizoid personality disorder
Schizophrenia
Schizophreniform disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder
Seasonal affective disorder
Sedative-, hypnotic-, or anxiolytic-related disorder
Selective mutism
Separation anxiety disorder
Severe mental retardation
Shared psychotic disorder
Sleep disorder
Sleep terror disorder
Sleepwalking disorder
Social anxiety disorder
Social phobia
Somatization disorder
Somatoform disorder
Specific phobia
Stendhal syndrome
Stereotypic movement disorder
Stuttering
Substance-related disorder
Tardive dyskinesia
Transient global amnesia
Trichotillomania

Cannabis

Something has been bugging me big time recently and I just don’t know what to do about it.

At the moment, I am learning to “choose my battles” carefully. As I mentioned in my Post about the challenges of staying positive, I cannot change the world, I know that and so I try to do what I can in little ways to better my little world, hoping that if everyone starts doing the same, eventually, it WILL have a ripple effect and the world may start changing for everybody (my world is already changing for the better). L’espoir fait vivre.

However there is a subject that I feel extremely strongly about and I just don’t know how to approach it to make a difference, and it is starting to sadden me: Cannabis.

I used to smoke pot, a reasonable amount. I used it only in my private life and went about my professional life without it. I became a master at it, I knew how long the buzz would last so I was “back to normal” before work started for instance, or was able to drive home after a meet up with friends.

I could take it or leave it, and had many years without and then I would start smoking it again and for a few months, then stop again,

When I lived in Canada, it became part of my everyday life. I was happy to smoke it alone (my husband had knocked it on the head after we had a bad experience whilst having a dinner party), and I would have a few drags of a joint before taking my dog for a walk before work.

Smoking it was actually a very uplifting feeling for me in the morning. I would set off with my dog for long walkies by the river and marvel at the beauty of the world. I loved hearing the birds tweeting and watch the Sun rise, with my heart full of hope and joy to be alive and living in this wonderful part of the world (Alberta, CN). I took some amazing pictures too during that time.

I could walk for hours in that wonderful state of mind, I’d meet people along the way and have chats here and there, I really felt so good.

In the evenings, I would use it to level my moods. If my husband came back from work and things didn’t go well, I’d go and have a few drags and come back all relaxed and happy. And so the evening could start again on a better footing.

With friends, I smoked it to replace alcohol, I much preferred being stoned than drunk. When Drunk, the truth would spurt out of me, often without care or tact, and I could often upset people. When stoned though, I was a very different person. Everything and anything interested me, being around me then was a whole different experience.

All this stopped for me when I went to share a joint with a friend after my husband and I split up. I had two drags on it, and hoped it would “take me away” from the turmoil my life had become (as two weeks earlier my husband told me he didn’t want to be with me anymore and then told me he wanted to be with my best friend). Things were complicated at the time and that girl was not the best choice to have that joint with (she was also one of my best friend’s closest friends).

There were issues between her and I and within minutes of having had those drags, I felt threatened and wanted to leave. She wouldn’t let me (trying to make me stay by force) and I suffered a panic attack, my first.

The experience freaked me out and I decided I had to stop smoking pot to deal with what was going on. So I did. That was two years ago. And I haven’t missed it at all since.

So it’s fair to say, apart from the last one, I had a very positive experience smoking pot, and it doesn’t appear to be addictive.

Yet, I have a problem with it now. I have a problem with anything that alters your mood that isn’t natural, and Cannabis, to me, comes under that category.

I have no doubts that it has its benefits, any natural product does, and yes, maybe it can help with pain relief, some say even help with Cancer. Fine. But let’s be honest, it isn’t what the majority of the people campaining to legalise it use it for.

The worst of all, it is being used by people with Mental Illnesses, proclaiming it levels their mood when nothing else has worked. And now, I see some top doctors are coming out saying it’s ok to use it.

It worries me.

On the Mental Health side, to me, it’s a chicken and egg situation. I have a feeling deep down that Cannabis actually creates a lot of the mental health issues there are around. Most sufferers I know are smokers, or previous drug takers and so it’s hard to see what came first.

Now, I also understand the financial side, as most campaigners seem to have latched on to that aspect of it = if it’s legalise it can be better controlled. I am actually rather amazed that Governments haven’t jumped at the chance of making more money out of people’s misery (I guess maybe they are happy with the income they get from cigarettes and booze already).

I also understand the argument about how people can get sent to jail for possession and sometimes the sentence is inappropriate compared to other crimes, when really Cannabis is not a big deal (its effect on behaviour being far less damaging than the effect of alcohol), and people should be free to do what they want.

I just don’t understand why people don’t see that smoking pot is yet another way to mask reality: they feel they are unable to cope with life without it.

I will admit I was a bit worried when I stopped that I would loose this wonderful feeling of well being I experienced walking my dog. Soon after I stopped, I also suffered from depression (for the first time in my life) and so it made me think maybe I should have carried on smoking pot as I never felt depressed then. But instead, I faced my life. And eventually came out the other side.

These last few weeks, I have started to feel the exact same feeling of well being I had when I was smoking pot.

I have started to love doing the exact same things I used to love doing while stoned. Walking a friend’s dog, marvelling at nature, snapping away anything that catches my eyes, chatting to random strangers, and best of all, I have a great big smile on my face when I do these activities.

How did I get there? I believe it’s because I sorted out the issues I was previously hiding thanks for the pot and alcohol.

Yes, I guess this is what is bugging me about smoking pot. It’s another form of escapism. Is your life really that bad that you need pot? If so, deal with your issues, because they won’t go away until you do, Pot is only helping you cope better. It’s just another crutch.

Wanna be happy? Learn to live without crutches.

[I will talk more about Mental Health and drugs in the future]

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