Rabbi Benyamin Bresinger
My anxiety kept getting worse: Debbie's story
Is this bad?
Am I opening this blog post wrong?
What if people stop reading my story after the first sentence?
What if they think my writing is terrible? Or that my story isn't worth telling? Or... or... what if they think I am a terrible person?
This is what anxiety feels like. And I have always been anxious, as far back as I can remember.
I grew up in a normal home, without addiction or abuse.
My anxiety was at its worst in school. I couldn't concentrate. I was unable to sit still. I kicked my feet and chatted incessantly. Spoke out of turn. Refused to follow instructions.
I acted out a lot.
It wasn't long before I was a regular at the principal's office. I was branded a troublemaker, and I began hanging out with other troublemakers.
The anxiety worsens
I first tried marijuana when I was 12. I was hanging out after school and a boy named Jordan* offered me a hit.
I took a puff and discovered a calm and serenity that I had never experienced before. I had finally found the answer to my problem.
I got addicted to weed very quickly. It didn't improve my grades but it got me out of trouble and kept me in school. And best of all, it got rid of my anxiety.
I kept smoking more and more until the marijuana began controlling me. I was using weed throughout the day and if several hours went by without getting a fix, my anxiety would return, worse than ever.
Then it reached a point where I needed even more marijuana to calm the angst.
I turned to Chabad Lifeline. An old classmate, one of my fellow troublemakers, had been helped by them and he gave me their number.
The day after I called, I visited Lifeline for an intake. I had to answer a lot of questions. At the end of the intake, I was asked if I had ever been screened for ADHD.
They sent me to get tested and the results were clear: I was diagnosed with ADHD.
This was the major turning point in my life. Chabad Lifeline's staff guided me for over a year as I began proper treatment for ADHD and I gradually was able to stop self-medicating with marijuana. The opening to this blog post? None of those negative thoughts actually crossed my mind. They belong to my past.
Nowadays, I am fully functional. I can focus. I can concentrate. All thanks to Chabad Lifeline.
Please note that names and certain identifying information have been changed to protect the anonymity of those in this story.