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Hi,

I know this may be a very sensitive topic for people. I certainly am not posting it to cause a stir. I really need some help finding info.

I have a relative who is always telling me to quit taking my meds and smoke pot for my bipolar symptoms. Now, I want to make it clear that I have no beef one way or the other as to whether someone smokes or not. I personally dont choose to, but I have in the past.

My primary problem is I dont like how I feel when I am stoned. I think it makes my bipolar worse.

So back to the relative. They bring it up probably at least once a month, going as far as even offering to grow it for me so I could afford it. (the fact that it is prohibitively expensive is one of the arugments that I have used to try to politely let this person know that I will not be smoking pot anytime soon)

So heres my objective.

1. To let this person know once and for all that I will not being smoking pot. (ive stated this fact to them many, many times and they just bring it up again and again)

2. To prove to this person that pot is not as good as they may think for people who have MI

The second one, because they sent me an artical about the the use of medical marijuana in the treatment of people with bipolar disorder. All it talked about was how good pot is for people with bipolar.

I dont think this helps my case.

I went online today looking for something about how it is NOT good, because maybe it interferes with the way the meds work or it aggrevates the mania or depression in people. Something. All I found was all these promising reports about how marijuana is helpful for those of us with MI.

So finally, after all that, my request.

If anyone has any info regarding the NEGATIVE affects of pot with people who have mi. Just something I could use to substantiate my belief that Yes, for some people it may work, but for some of us, like me, it just makes it worse.

Much, much thanks in advance,

Selene

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Well, you could always have a "bad trip" (possible even with cannabis) and then have hallucinations and flashbacks for months. I did. Whether that psychotic part was already in me or not, I can't tell. (Probably yes though.)

However, the simple reason you don't even LIKE it is enough. If YOU feel it makes your bipolar worse, then that is enough proof for you. Some antibiotics make me depressed, and although I haven't found any proof for that, it's still very real to me.

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I ran a quick search for you and also found a bunch of documents supporting the medical use of marijuana. Not very helpful.

Have you thought about raising the issue that BP patients (especially BP1) have approx a 60% chance of developing comorbid substance addiction? I've seen many statistics that support this theory. You could state quite reasonably that given the high risk factor, you simply are not prepared to go down that road. Marijuana use is frequently seen as "safe", but it isn't always. I spent time in rehab with serious pot addicts, wh0 had been using it t0 deal with underlying MI issues.

One 0f my BP b00ks ("Taming BP Disorder" by Lori Oliwenstein) says the following:

data show that if you are abusing drugs or alcohol, you will take longer to recover from a manic episode - and you're more likely to relapse in those first months after the episode than someone who is just as sick as you but doesn't have the drug component.

edit - Please forgive the strange typ1ng - my keyboard 1s wrecked after a water spill accident.

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Selene,

I find that the more I engage people with their arguing, the more I get sucked in and persuaded. It's none of your relatives business why you won't come off meds and smoke pot, the point is you don't want to, and that is the end of it. I suggest that you consistently state that you just don't want to, and end the conversation/leave the situation as soon as that is contested, until your pushy relative gets the message that they are overstepping the mark by trying to talk you into it. The more you try to give them articles and reasons, the more they have to argue back with. Just stick to 'I choose not to' and refuse to listen to anymore crap.

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Hubby was told by his pdoc and tdoc that there was nothing wrong with smoking pot...and as much trouble as he has had with mania, it was probably helping ;)

I don't think your problem is whether smoking pot when MI is good or bad...your problem is your relative is a dick. If he can't respect the way you choose to deal with your illness, then you need to spend less time with this person.

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How about "It's illegal and I don't want to get fucked"?

I agree with what some of the others have said though- there is a problem with you getting sucked into this argument. It isn't your relative's decision and the fact that they are pressuring you so hard means they are acting like an asshole. No matter what evidence you bring to them, I guarantee they will bring evidence to back up their case and the argument will continue.

You are going to have to at some point simply state that No Way In Hell are you going to use it. Period. End of discussion. And refuse to engage in any further conversations with them about the subject. Walk away, change the subject, keep silent untill they change the subject, whatever. Tell them you can't spend time with them if they continue to pressure you.

For some reason they feel the need to pressure the hell out of you. It's not right.

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My psychiatrist told me at every visit that I should stop smoking marijuana. I didn't want to quit because sometimes it really chilled me out. The problem was that its effects were unpredictable. It would chill me out maybe one time out of five - the rest of the times it made me panicky and gave me anxiety. Not to mention completely fogging up my head and making me lazy...

Eventually, I realized that the "reward" for using marijuana was outweighed by the negatives (it's kind of hard to see these things when you're stoned). That, plus it was freaking expensive.

I have to say that once I quit, I felt much better. At this point, I'm of the impression that marijuana use has no role in the treatment of Bipolar Disorder.

You should remind your relative that they are not a psychiatrist, they do not have the extensive training that pdocs have. Also, relative does not have Bipolar Disorder - thereby making them pretty much unqualified to give you any advice on the topic.

Kudos for sticking to your guns!!

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I smoked more days than not for years until my anxiety got worse and my OCD started really kicking in. Now I can't touch it. If you have any anxiety issues going on there's a good chance it will make that worse. I had a bad acid experience that didn't want totally go away without the help of several months of high-dose zyprexa. Now whenever I smoke it brings that back as well.

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Thank you all for your replies. I shall get to the links as soon as I can.

Of course you are all right. The relative is pushy (and a lot more) with this subject. I have plainly stated that I WILL NOT smoke pot for any reason. The other person just wont let it go. They are highly paranoid of the drug companies. And their products.

I dont really want the info to fuel a fight. I want it more so I can say, "and this scientific study said that such and such".

I have given personal reason after personal reason as to why I cant handle being stoned. And of course the relative has a come back. For instance, when I tell this person that being stoned causes massive amounts of anxeity (I have GAD) and paranoia, they say that with time and frequent use, that would go away. But they totally negate the point that I dont want to use it frequently. I dont want to use it at all. And its like a broken record with this person.

It probably doesnt matter how much info I come up with, as long as the person is not listening to what im saying, it matters little what I say.

Ultimately, this is a issue of personal boundries, and the crossing of those. Everything in my life is about the disrespect of personal space when it comes to this person.

A matter better left for Family Feud. And therapy.

Selene

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Here's a snappy retort: What part of NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! don't you understand??

I agree with what some others have said here. The problem is not that you don't want to smoke pot, nor is it the benefits vs. the risks of using pot. The problem here is that your relative is an asshole who won't take no for an answer.

One other thing: As just about everybody on this board has learned the hard way, a drug will not necessarily work the same way for everybody. The fact that pot works for some people does not mean it will work well for you. Effexor, Zoloft, & Provigil have worked wonders for many people, but all 3 of those drugs fucked me up royally. (And no, I did not take them all at the same time.) On the other hand, I've been on Namenda (an Alzheimer's drug) for 3 years & it's helped my GAD.

So go figure.

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i've never gone near pot. there are several reasons why. first, it is illegal. period. as someone else said, when something is illegal, it isn't your right anymore to decide if you will or will not do it. it is just illegal. you could catch the mandatory sentancing laws if you're caught. your relative would get into worse trouble for growing it. you also don't want to see your relative in trouble.

your relative seems overly weird about drug companies, but trusts pot. we know that aside from a few of them (namely the SSRI class and the benzos) that these drugs do not cause any form of dependancy, whereas pot does. pot causes anxiety, and our meds lift it. our meds have a lab tested, predictable effect, whereas pot hasn't been tested under laboratory circumstances (it probably has, but the literature hasn't been widely published due to its illegal standing), so we don't really know what it will do to people with bipolar disorder. as someone else brought up too, it does cause hallucinations, and that is NOT something people with bp should mess with. there are medical reasons and legal reasons to stay on the right side of the tracks with this one.

besides, you have many testimonials here that state that it was bad for these people.

as i said, i have no personal experience, because i've never done it. but my dad did for a long time, and it totally fried his brain. i saw that over my lifetime wtih him prior to his suicide that his brain functinoing wasn't right or normal for someone in his 40s. his intellect went way down. that isn't something you want either. i'd love to see long time stoners take an IQ test and do as well as they would have prior to their substance use.

i think the wave right now is to legalize pot for medical use, so of course they're trying to show that it is good for every disorder under the sun. bipolar is one of them where it may help a few people, but no where near a substancial part of our population, and is very medically risky for us to do so.

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I am not bipolar so I probably have no business butting into this debate but I do believe that if I had not spent years frying my brain with obscene amounts of cannabis in the belief that it was helping my depression get better I would not be sitting here today as a paranoid schizophrenic.

blackbird x

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Hey Selene,

On the "anxiety will go away with frequent use" issue - erm, NO!!!! I smoked weed for years, pretty heavily...okay, every single day, and at one point breakfast was a coffee and a spliff...... and used to love being stoned. Admittedly, in hindsight, I was self-medicating at the time, but that's not the point. The point is, I was a hardened smoker, and gradually I realised that it was making me more and more paranoid. Also, echoing someone else, I was told repeatedly by my psychiatrist and CPN to quit. Eventually I did (boy, was that hard!), and realised exactly how foggy the past few years had been! Now, I have an occasional spliff in company, like with my brother (who is still a confirmed pothead), but I know that more than a tiny bit - like, a few tokes - and the paranoia will start creeping back. Not fun, or relaxing, or anything else good at all.

Hope this helps a bit - good luck with your relative.

xx

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest isaacb

Oh, now this is just silly. Don't get me wrong, I smoke pot. I probably shouldn't, but I still do. Quitting is on my to-do list for this year, but that's a long list. Here's what everything I have studied has told me, much as I didn't want to hear it:

Your relative is wrong. Plain and simple. There has been a link shown (study was in New Zealand, sorry I don't have a link but the above ones are probably it) between cannabis consumption and bipolar and schizophrenia. I don't know if it's a causative link, and I'm not a neuroscientist so I don't presume to guess, but I can tell you with certainty that it does NOT treat bipolar. Not at all. It doesn't seem to give me any trouble now that I'm on meds, but before I got on the PERFECT combination, and this wasn't true with any of the previous combos, it definitely made things worse. Cognitive and conceptual problems would come up when I smoked, my anxiety reached dizzying new hights, my depression was deepened, it took less mania to make me start acting like an asshole, I embarrassed myself all the time socially, etc. I didn't quit then because I was self-medicating, very poorly. I haven't quit since because since the meds it actually does calm me down, and none of the above side effects are present. Well, and I'm lazy which makes it hard to break a habit of over a decade. I know you weren't considering taking your relative's advice anyway, but it is terrible advice.

What I would tell your relative is simple. I would just say that even though you know some people never get caught, the thought of getting caught and going to jail with BP, not to mention all the troubles you have after you get a black mark like that on your record (for the rest of your life), just scare you way, way too much to ever risk it. The risk is real, the consequences are real, and your relative can't argue that its illegality is a matter of perspective or opinion. It's hard enough to get by with BP, let alone a drug conviction. There are many, many jobs you just can't get after a drug conviction, even a minor one. Worst comes to worst, you can always claim that with the BP you're afraid you just wouldn't be careful enough to not get caught.

Anyway, don't believe the "weed cures all ills" crowd. It is probably harmless for most people, may not be good for BP and Schizophrenics, and definitely sucks for people with that PMS-triggered psychosis disorder, but it's not a miracle cure for anything but loss of appetite. Unless you really feel like you have too much money and strongly desire to lower your impulse buying threshold so that you can spend all your free money on cheetos and reese's cups.

-Isaacb

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Hi Issacb,

I have brought up the issue of it being illegal. They just tell me to apply for a mm license. I guess there is a great doctor around here somewhere that hands them out like candy. I think its irresponsible, but thats just me.

Its the whole dynamic I have with this person. For instance, when I get severely depressed, I am expected to check in with this person at least once a day so that, and I quote "they feel better."

This pisses me off to no end. I am in a place where I cant even take care of myself and yet I am expected to take care of them so they dont worry? Grrrrrr.

Luckily, I have a wonderful SO who is supportive of me and the issues I have with this person. Hes had some pretty freakish run ins with this relative and understands first hand that their stairway doesnt lead all the way to the attic.

Thanks for your reply.

Selene

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wouldn't it be nice if you could just say please don't bring it up again or i will never talk to you again?

i smoked pot all through college and then into my adulthood. the year before i was diagnosed with bp, my thoughts would race after i smoked it.

then, on meds it only made me tight all over and manic. i have sinced stopped.

it is a tricky situtation. maybe just a little more force without offending will do it?

i hope you come up with the best answer that will get him to leave you alone. wish i had it for you. maybe telling him the subject is closed, period?

kathryn

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Hey Selene,

Seems your relative doesn't seem to acknowledge that cannabis has different effects on different people. It makes me really spacy and then the negative emotions tied to that make me depressed. one would think that it would help with mania. But BP means such intense experience of your mind, weed it seems just adds on that, not a great plan. Besides the illegal thing, it's dangerous. If your relative is growing it, ok. I once thought i was just smoking weed in a "social setting", turns out it was laced with cocanie and that made me complacient enough to submit to rape. Weed, its safe, it grows in the ground, what can it hurt? well is does.

As for drug companies which seems to be your relative's issue, sure Nature has had a lot of time (and motivation, thank you war on drugs) to accomplish a potent magic compound, but drug companies are just what they are, they make enough money on a market to pull out of debt and survive for another round. I was totally paranoid about them when i was feeling the world through psychosis, but now, ha, funny. I'm interning in research and development at a pharma company. Trust me no one is out there to make a product/drug that's going to screw someone into some conspiracy, there is barely the science to get a clinical candidate, never mind "a little something extra". The issues we feel i think are entirely karmic.

I'm really disappointed that the fear-racism-the real crazy people have made illegal drugs so illegitimate, because i do not doubt that there are therapeutic uses. Being your relative's little experiment so that that person can be right and justify their own thinking IS something to be paranoid of. Yeah meds suck and they are far from perfect, illegal or not, drugs are drugs. what pdocs have is a little more specific to the issues, not some cure all for everything, which your relative seems to deny the individuality of. Good luck with this person.

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Guest Guest_wendy_*

Selene,

I have been a pot smoker for many years and have been free of it for a year now. I know I was addicted to it and its effects. I once believed it helped my depression. I have recently been diagnosed with bipolar spectrum disorder. In thinking back I see how pot put me in a private place where I could focus better but it made me feel more cut off from other people and guilty for wasting time. I am an alcoholic, too, who has joined AA and am recovering well. For the first time in my life I feel that I am making progress. I am convinced that smoking pot kept me from facing my problems. It was a temporary relief but really added to my disgust with myself. Getting it out of my life has been a lift to my spirits and I feel good about myself more and more as I learn about how to cope with life without substance abuse. I know from my experience that it did not help me to heal. It was harmful. I do not recommend it as a solution.

As for your "helpful" relative, just thank them for their idea and let it go. You are right and they are wrong but the point is that you have to be the one to decide and it is really none of their business. I have family who try to be helpful too but I have learned to lovingly listen and then do whatever I know is best for me without arguing with them That was quite a challenge but I believe in how I am handling my problem. Hope I have helped.

Wendy

Hi,

I know this may be a very sensitive topic for people. I certainly am not posting it to cause a stir. I really need some help finding info.

I have a relative who is always telling me to quit taking my meds and smoke pot for my bipolar symptoms. Now, I want to make it clear that I have no beef one way or the other as to whether someone smokes or not. I personally dont choose to, but I have in the past.

My primary problem is I dont like how I feel when I am stoned. I think it makes my bipolar worse.

So back to the relative. They bring it up probably at least once a month, going as far as even offering to grow it for me so I could afford it. (the fact that it is prohibitively expensive is one of the arugments that I have used to try to politely let this person know that I will not be smoking pot anytime soon)

So heres my objective.

1. To let this person know once and for all that I will not being smoking pot. (ive stated this fact to them many, many times and they just bring it up again and again)

2. To prove to this person that pot is not as good as they may think for people who have MI

The second one, because they sent me an artical about the the use of medical marijuana in the treatment of people with bipolar disorder. All it talked about was how good pot is for people with bipolar.

I dont think this helps my case.

I went online today looking for something about how it is NOT good, because maybe it interferes with the way the meds work or it aggrevates the mania or depression in people. Something. All I found was all these promising reports about how marijuana is helpful for those of us with MI.

So finally, after all that, my request.

If anyone has any info regarding the NEGATIVE affects of pot with people who have mi. Just something I could use to substantiate my belief that Yes, for some people it may work, but for some of us, like me, it just makes it worse.

Much, much thanks in advance,

Selene

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Hi Wendy,

First off, congratulations on all the self work you are undertaking. That takes courage, determination and strong will power. Good for you.

I wish you all the best with your continued effort.

They brought it up the other day, in a kinda sideways remark. I let it go. I dont always argue the point. I hate conflict in fact. Im not very good at it. The thing that gets hard is how many times and different ways can one say no? I guess im finding it out.

The really weird thing is yesterday I had an urge to get stoned. Go figure.

Selene

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