I had a close friend of mine ask me the other day about what I take for my anxiety, and I was so happy that she felt comfortable enough to ask me this question because there’s a very obvious social stigma around medicating for anything relating to mental health. She’s been dealing with some anxiety issues in the last few weeks herself and she wanted my opinion on medications before she took the plunge.

Conversations about mental health are becoming more commonplace but in my experience it’s still not easy to discuss the medications as openly, and I have to admit that there’s a little part of me that was ashamed to admit to my friend that I’m proud to have not medicated with my anti-depressants in almost a year. Let me clarify – I’m not ashamed that I took them or that I needed them, I just don’t like how proud I am that I’ve been off them for that long, because nothing changed in my brain’s chemistry and I do feel like going back on them would benefit me.

I have been struggling without my anti-depressants, especially with all the changes I’ve faced lately and I’m not off my meds simply because I don’t need them anymore. I haven’t developed coping techniques that out-perform my meds, and nothing I’ve done has earned that sense of pride I feel.

I told my friend that I’m not on anti-depressants anymore, but I did tell her that I have lorazepam tablets as an emergency backup medication. It’s like an inhaler for anxiety; you feel like you’re spiralling? Nothing else is working? Take a tablet and have a nap. It’s an easy out in the event of a panic attack, but that ease of use can be very addictive. It would be so much easier to simply pop a pill instead of doing yoga, breathing exercises and meditation, after all, who doesn’t like pushing their inner demons into the back of their closet like an old pair of shoes?

The simple fact is that I fall prey to the stigma about medications. I would rather rely on my own behaviour to feel better than be on medication for the rest of my life. I want to deal with my demons even if they never go away fully, but at least my closet will be cleaner.

Medications also aren’t cheap in the US, and unlike Canada where I can walk into my MD’s office and say the magic words (“I need a refill”) I would have to pay around $200 to have a conversation with a doctor I’ve never met, and he/she will be a lot more likely to try and get me on some ridiculously high dose of a medication that is way too powerful for what my anxiety and depression require, not to mention that prescription could run me another couple hundred bucks if it’s not covered by my health insurance.

The other side of the medication argument is the more herbal remedy.

I’ve heard very different opinions on marijuana as a treatment for anxiety and depression, but I always thought I would give it a try if my medications were ever not an option. And, well, now they’re not. But of course, the day marijuana became something I could try without going through bureaucratic red tape came two days late. We left for Texas on October 15 and marijuana was legalized October 17.

Not all is lost, though, because down here I’ve noticed that CBD oil is offered almost everywhere I look. Not only is it offered as a medication (for a fee, of course – approximately $32,500 annually for use 2 times daily) but even massage parlours are offering it as an essential oil substitute, and CBD body butter is available for purchase and certain grassroots shops. Some bakeries are even offering “special” brownies and other baked goods.

I should clarify that unlike marijuana (in whatever form) CBD does not contain any THC – the component of marijuana that gets you high and alters your state of mind. The CBD oil simply offers the medicinal benefits but would be about as ‘fun’ as taking Tylenol instead of Percocet at a house party.

All of that in mind, I am thinking of trying out CBD oil next week. I have planned a surprise trip to Austin for my hubby when he gets home, and on our itinerary there is an ice cream shop that offers boozy ice cream – and their newest addition is a CBD oil-infused red velvet ice cream with cream cheese swirls. Besides sounding like my kinda ice cream flavor, I’m very curious to try out the CBD oil in a sweet treat to see if it helps my anxiety at all, especially if I’m sleeping in an unfamiliar place because for me, that’s the true test.

I will report back and let you know how the CBD oil worked out for me.

I said in my last post that I would report back on that anxiety and purpose app – unfortunately it was a paid app and I am not about that. The first week was a free trial, but most of the first week was diagnosing and getting a read on your current state of mind, after which you pay $5 a month to continue “finding your path” so I deleted the app almost instantly.