Growing up, I always had both good and bad habits. Whether that be food, reading, writing, drawing, biting my nails, listening to music, crying or smoking cigarettes. I always found something to keep me calm whenever I was freaking out inside and was unable to keep everything under control.
With that, I still had all of these habits when I came to Behrend for my first semester.
Once I made a core group of friends and had the opportunity to go out almost every weekend and had people to hang out with whenever I needed them, I didn’t think anything of having a few drinks or smoking with my friends.
I eventually had the bright idea to stop taking my mental health-related medications because I felt amazing and truly happy without the help of my meds. I thought that I didn’t need my anti-depressant to feel happy anymore. My other methods of coping were working really well and I had so many people around me that were supportive and caring.
So when the spring semester rolled around and my other methods of coping didn’t work, feeling bad or depressed was fixed with a few drinks or a smoking session with my friends or by myself. I didn’t think anything of it until it started interfering with my sleep schedule, my classes, and my social life.
I was always that girl that you would go to when you needed someone to smoke with or go out with. If you wanted to do something fun, I was your girl and I didn’t think it was because I had a problem. I thought it was because I was just a really fun person to be around.
It got to the point where I was going out Wednesday through Saturday and smoking every night until the wee hours of the morning. I wasn’t able to sleep without smoking and I wasn’t able to have a good time on the weekends without getting cross-faded to the point where I couldn’t stand.
I thought I was just building up a really great tolerance.
A lot of my friends were asking me if I was ok because they never saw me around until the late afternoon everyday. They didn’t know that I was sleeping in until 3 pm every day and maybe going to one of my daily classes if I had the energy.
It all came to a crashing halt when nearly all of my professors for my credit heavy semester emailed me saying that I should drop their classes due to my lack of attendance.
I immediately broke down and thought that I had ruined my life.
After a long appointment with my academic advisor and an appointment with personal counseling, I made the decision to leave Behrend and come back in the fall.
I felt like I had failed everyone around me.
I came back in the fall with new meds, a new diagnosis, and a more positive mindset. I completely changed my attitude and shifted all of my narratives to build a stronger person than I ever was. I did this through weekly sessions with my counselor at home and severely cutting back on my substance use.
I am a strong believer that marijuana is not an addictive drug but you can build a dependency on it just like with anything out there. There are people who are dependent on caffeine, nicotine, sugar, or what have you. But there is something to be said about knowing your limitations and what your body is capable of, and my decision to leave Behrend and take care of my body was the right decision for me.