Anxiety. The evil bitch so many of us struggle with on a daily basis. I have dealt with it for essentially my entire adult life. There have been times where it has been worse than others, such as when I lived in Sweden alone at 19. Or when my husband and I moved to Japan in 2006, and he immediately deployed to Iraq within a matter of weeks. But, when I had my first daughter in 2013, it skyrocketed. I had an incredibly difficult time with postpartum depression, due to Vivien having an Ovarian Cyst which consisted of a trip to the NICU at birth and a surgery 3 days after she was born. Followed by an infection within that first week. It was not a case of “Baby Blues,” and I could not shake it on my own. For mental stability and health, I started cutting food from my diet to balance my hormones, and I ran a half marathon 5 months after she was born. I hoped that these seemingly drastic measures would help. They didn’t.
Fast forward to 2018, I had been struggling with not only anxiety but depression for 4 years and I was at my wits end. We had some challenges going on in our family and were having some financial difficulties as well. I was becoming increasingly less able to leave my house, and told my husband that I could not be out in society, because I was afraid of everything. Just taking my kids to the playground was getting to be too much for me, because I was convinced that someone was going to kidnap them. Don’t even ask me why, I just felt it.
I was so incredibly miserable from sobbing every. single. day. Of course, that was when our barn burned down. Raining, pouring and all of that stuff, right?
I had been attending therapy for PTSD and anxiety for about 6 months when all of this seemed to hit at once. In talking to my doctor, she suggested the idea of antidepressants. I vehemently refused. I had been on down the antidepressant road for a year in 2005, and it was absolutely the worst decision for me personally. My body does not respond well to them; hello 50lb weight gain and hallucinations! I also lost my aunt to suicide when she was on antidepressants, so this really was not an option in my mind. I felt incredibly lost, scared and alone.
A few of my former coworkers, who have become some of my very best friends, convinced me to go to dinner with them one night that same week. I almost canceled because the idea of going out in public gave me anxiety attacks. But I went, because I love them and they know how to make me laugh even in hard times. At dinner, I cried as I told them everything that was going on and how I just couldn’t seem to function anymore. I used to be nicknamed “Little Miss Sunshine” and here I was sobbing in my salad. Instead of judging me, which would have been easy, my friends suggested something that I never would have considered: CBD Oil.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. It has non-intoxicating effects, as it does not include the euphoric effects associated with THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol. In real people talk, THC is part of cannabis which makes you feel high. CBD allows you to receive the health benefits of the plant without feeling intoxicated.
Among the many benefits of CBD oil, anxiety relief is one of them. CBD oil is thought to work with brain receptors to alter serotonin levels. Serotonin is the “feel-good” chemical found in your body, which when found in low levels, is often linked to anxiety and depression. When tested, my serotonin levels were incredibly low. Partially because of gut health issues which I had been addressing through changes in my diet, and partially due to just how my chemical structure is made up.
I had heard about the benefits of CBD oil use with cancer patients, for pain relief, and mental health, but I had never thought about taking it myself. Prior to doing any research, I didn’t realize that there is a big difference between THC and CBD. I thought if I took CBD oil, I would feel “high” and not be able to take care of my daughters, which was not an option for me.
I was also concerned about the judgement of other mothers and people in my community who often see anything associated with cannabis as completely forbidden. Here’s a fun little backstory on me.
My mom was a teacher and eventually a school counselor in the really small town where I grew up. She was annually in charge of Red Ribbon Week at the Elementary and Middle School in my hometown. If there was ever a mother that hardcore believed in “Just Saying No”, well, SHE was it! At a super young age, I believed smoking pot would kill you. Like a lightning bolt would come from the sky and boom. As my Dad says, “DRT” (Dead Right There.) I was terrified to even be around the stuff.
Being raised with such strong and obviously ridiculously held fears of marijuana, I had to change my mental set. Feeling like I was at the end of my rope, and with cannabis products becoming legal for anyone over the age of 21 in the state of California in 2018, I decided to try it out. I went to a local cannabis dispensary, and purchased a small bottle of CBD oil to take sublingually (under the tongue). I went home, put my girls to bed that night, and tried it out.
Within a matter of moments, I felt calm. My mind and heart stopped racing. I had mental clarity, and was surprised that the pain in my body (I have chronic inflammation in my hips and joints) just went away. I did not feel “high” or out of control of my body at all. I just felt soothed. In fact, I also slept better that night than I had since my daughters were born.
To say that I was an instant believer, would be an understatement. I started using CBD oil almost daily to help with a wide variety of issues, and often use it now instead of pain relievers, such as Motrin. I do not think that CBD oil on its own can cure all traumas or emotional issues, and I am still in therapy to sort a lot of that out. And I would never want to advocate something as a Band-Aid for problems, or that could become an addiction or a crutch. However, I do believe it has helped me cope and function with my everyday anxiety. It is all natural, so I never feel groggy, nor am I concerned with the side effects which are found in traditional manmade/synthetic antidepressants. I also do not have to take it every day, which is not an option when on regular antidepressants.
I know many of you who do not live in California might worry about how to find legal CBD oil. After doing a lot of research, I found out about a company called Soul CBD, which sells Hemp derived CBD oil. Under the Federal Farm Act of 2014, Hemp derived CBD is considered a dietary supplement, so it is legal to purchase and use anywhere in the United States, without a medical marijuana card. Their product is 100% CBD oil, with zero THC, so you are safe to use it without worry of “getting high”.
I am now an affiliate for Soul CBD, simply because I believe in their product so much. I have been using it for a few months now, and am incredibly grateful for the results. I currently use their CBD oil drops, while my husband uses their soothing relief cream. They also have pet CBD oil drops to help with pain relief in our fur babies.
Please note, that this is what has helped me. Only you, your family and your doctor know what would work best for you, and I am not one to judge what that may be. However, because it has worked so well for me, I want to shout it to the rooftops to all of my friends, family and you, Lovelies, because I found something that has helped me, for the first time ever. And THAT is a huge deal.