The Bottom of the Mind: Depression

by Kay Lee

I've agreed to lay my pain to paper only because my miracle medicine is still illegal.

Before 1992, a handful of doctors proved beyond a shadow of a doubt in a court of law that Cannabis was vital to their patient's medical care.  The people representing NIDA and Health and Human Services still to this day provide the shrinking list of living patients with an ongoing monthly supply through their approved pharmacy. The rest of us lose our property, go to prison, and are labled 'criminal' for the rest of our lives.

It's important that you understand that, despite what the United States Drug Czar would have you believe, marijuana reform is not 'cheech and chong', but a dead serious effort to tell the truth: Marijuana can be used as medicine to drastically raise a sick person's quality of life. The plant does not take lives, and in some cases it can actually save a life: I know... because it saved mine.

But since I've learned that truth, due to prohibition laws, I can go to prison any day for nothing more than using a plant that heals me. In fact, I was arrested once, in 2006, right after my heart surgery at the tender age of 63.

Because my medicine, so vital to my health, is illegal, I have learned as much about the drug war and the inside of prison as is possible, considering I have never lived in one. I have made it my business to know because I could be arrested at any time for what I do: I must repeatedly ignore a bad law in order to use God's plant to stay alive and useful.

If I go to prison, I will exist in a cold concrete cell and my body will deteriorate. I will be deprived of sunshine and marijuana, thus my mind could sink into the small, cramped world of depression. But, my spirit is strong because of my years of use and I do what I have to do. So, never, ever believe a rumor that Kay Lee killed herself. I am much too strong for that now.

I wasn't strong in my pre-marijuana life. I was very fragile. Depression is like a grayKAY LEE IN FRAGILE PRE-POT DAYS thread woven throughout my family cloth, so I had a high chance of living with it. My mother dreadfully suffered from it in her older years; and when I say suffer, I want you to understand that mental and physical pain are the same: They both hurt.

I'd been kind of a loner, inside myself all my childhood years. I grew from a withdrawn child, one my mom labeled "moody", into a broken adult. By the time I turned twenty I was having rages, followed by lots of tears, followed by long periods of silence; days, weeks where I could not speak, could not eat, could not respond. I knew I was flawed, but had no understanding of what was happening.

By the time I sought help several years later, I weighed 75 pounds. Suicide had begun to dominate my thoughts. It seemed the only way to stop the horrible sadness. The early attempts were weak, using generic pills that made me vomit but did nothing to ease the pain.

My first real and recognised breakdown sent me on a seven year journey into hell. When I couldn't stop crying for several days straight, I landed in a psychologist's office and was given elavil, then switched to melaril.  We knew it wasn't working when I failed at my next attempt. I took pills and laid in the tub, and when it didn't work, I dressed soaking wet and ran barefoot aimlessly for nearly an hour on the frozen February streets.

I came down with pneumonia, almost comatose despair, and was graduated to the heavy stuff, Elivil, Lithium, Librium, all kinds of progressively vicious chemicals. And the sadness grew worse and worse. I could see myself losing control, but I didn't know how to stop it.  Neither did the doctors, but I had insurance, and they were willing, even eager, to experiment with expensive new drugs.

For seven years I tried to destroy myself.  I hid in a closet and chopped my long hair off to the roots.  I threw my beautiful paintings into the river.  I slept too much or too little, cried too easily... and raged.  And I faithfully, obediently took their pills day after hopeless day.

I became repulsed when touched and that really hurt my children.   When I began smelling myself and washing numerous times a day, I withdrew further from everyone.  When I went to see the shrink, I sat way across the room.  When he found out why, I was admitted to the psych ward of an expensive hospital.  I stayed for a month and began the perfectly legal 'Haldol drool'.  This stuff 'drug' me down so deep, I couldn't even remember to swallow.

For seven years I let them try whatever they wanted.  Every time they took me off another medicine to get ready for the next, I'd have withdrawal.  Each drug has its own hell, and some would set my arms and legs to twitching; some made me vomit.  Haldol, my nomination for devil drug, made me drool and did something terrible to my brain.  For awhile after that drug, I could see the words of a book, but I could not make any sense of them.

For seven years I grew sicker and sicker.  As they changed my medicine, all the old leftover medicine had gone into a shoebox in the top of the closet, but it was as if someone else had put it there:  I never consciously thought about the pills, even as I stashed them. Then, one night, without awareness, as I bathed the children, put them to bed and meticulously cleaned the house, I slowly consumed all of them

Through a series of extraordinary interventions, which included my mother 2000 miles away, my doctor, and ma bell, I did not die, but I came as close to success as I was ever going to get by my own hands. 

I vaguely remember a fireman, who had broken down the door to get into my home, walking me, dragging me, up and down the hallway.  "Wake up....stay awake," he kept saying, but I retreated to nothingness. 

The next memory I have is the blindingly brilliant emergency room, fighting to keep them from sticking the tubes into my nose and mouth.  When I heard the ambulance driver say, "Opps... There's lunch,"  I gave up and sought sleep.  I would not be allowed to die this time either.

Three days later, I came back to the world at the sound of my doctor's voice asking the nurse, "How long has she been like this?" My body was sitting up, alive, but my mind had been somewhere far away and quiet.  He sat down beside the bed, and asked me simply, "Why?"  I could not speak and had no answer I was willing to share because I did not understand either.

He told me that he had saved me this time, but that next time I did this, the state was going to lock me in their very unhealthy mental ward.  I numbly told him it didn't matter, because it was the truth.  Nothing mattered.

For the few next years, I lived in a fog.  I quietly played my mother role, but I was numb from medication, paralyzed by depression, just existing.  I did what I had to do, but had lost hope that life would ever be more than bearable.

In 1977, when my 13 year old son drowned, the doctors asked me if I was a danger to myself.  I told them that if a big Mack truck hit me, I could at least find out where my son was.  So, they put me in the mental ward overnight.

I lay awake  in the dark, hearing the moans and commotion of the disturbed people around me and the sounds were a reflection of the way I felt.

I went home the next day and mechanically put together my son's funeral, but the essence of me was not there.  I was 39 years old and though I felt already dead, there was no relief. 

After his cremation, an Indian acquaintance handed me a joint and said, "it might help and it certainly won't hurt." Not only was I desperate, but I instinctively knew the truth.  So, without hesitation, I sat out back in the sun, alone on a stump, and lit the marijuana cigarette. 

I had taken only a couple of puffs and a humbling thing happened: I heard, felt, sensed a voice that said, "If you can handle this [my son's death], you will be able to handle anything that comes your way."

...And my closed and shadowed mind opened like the petals of a flower, and, like waking after a nightmare and throwing open the windows of a dark and lonely room; Like the early morning sunshine dancing on the floor, my mind was suddenly flooded with light and life.

I physically gasped...I had not realized before how dark it was in there until the cannabis plant turned on the light. I felt warm, in control and at peace for the first time in my life. I felt strong and clean and whole and capable of dealing with whatever was before me. The feeling of total peace stayed with me for three days, the humbleness forever, and the strength continues to grow with everything I 'handle'.

I didn't know to call it medicine back then, but I took that shoebox full of perfectly legal and very dangerous drugs that had slowly refilled and I buried it deep, deep in the earth near the lake.  And I have, never, ever looked back. I thank God and His plant for the healing. He said everything I needed was here and He meant it.

I made plenty of mistakes, but I raised my five remaining children virtually as a single mother, and did hard decent work to support them. I stood strong during one daughter's three month coma, and helped birth and nurture eight perfect grandchildren and a great-grandson.

When the last child was no longer dependant on me, at the age of 50, I managed three years in college, mastering four honors courses. I did in-the-schoolroom research and learned about the lies - until I knew enough to realize that I was supporting harmful policies with my silence.

I continued my personal journey for justice by changing to in-the-trenches action. I, shy grandma that I was, quit college, left my home, and began to stand in public places talking about 'politically unpopular' truths, debunking the myths, challenging authority, and comforting the people whose lives had been or could be altered and destroyed by marijuana laws. I devoted myself to the plant, its creator, and its people. Can you blame me? 10 million Americans, many of them good citizens, have lost their rights and freedom over these laws.

I rejoice in living without doctors and councilors and psychiatrists, without debilitating drugs, without the constant overwhelming pain of depression.  My mind is no longer filled with cobwebs and fog. I am no longer weak. I rejoice! I am a benefit to this world.

My God, why would anyone want to take this from me? From those I am able to help? What could possibly motivate anyone to want to throw me back into that darkness and make me useless to others because I have discovered the benefits of this plant?

I just don't understand...

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