The OCD Duck on Drugs

The OCD Duck on Drugs

By Julie Bensman

A yoga teacher once told me I reminded her of a duck: Calm on the surface of the water but underneath it, paddling furiously. And she's right - to most people, I'm pretty mellow in most of the things I do. My mind, on the other hand, is going a mile a minute - and always has. It's a symptom of OCD, which I know is a casually-used term these days. But my OCD is very real - and has been rolling around in my head for as long as I can remember.

When I was a kid, I didn't wear shoelaces between the ages of 8-12 because I couldn't get the shoe tightness even on both sides. I had a ski hat with a bear in the center and I would spend literally an hour in the mirror trying to get it to line up perfectly in between my eyebrows. On family vacations, I would strip the hotel beds and remake them so that no creases existed in the sheets.

As I got older, I learned to suppress these urges and while my parents and doctors suggested it might be beneficial to put me on medication, I didn't want to do it. There was a stigma associated with OCD and I was too proud or stubborn to give into whatever this thing was. I knew I could handle it myself.

The concept of alternative medicine or herbal healing wasn't exactly par for the course in the Midwestern suburbs where I grew up. But...there was pot. As soon as I started smoking, I felt my mind slow down - not turn off, just slow down - and I found I could enjoy myself and the imperfections of the world. I simply didn't care to scrutinize or fix them anymore.

As I've gotten older (and moved to California), marijuana use and its benefits is something I'll speak to anyone about. My parents know I smoke, my clients know I smoke, my friends definitely know I smoke. It's part of my lifestyle. Rather than rely on medication, I've found that a daily yoga practice and not-quite-daily marijuana use makes me a better daughter, friend, girlfriend and professional. Most importantly, it allows me to have a true work/life balance, letting me focus when I need to and relax when I deserve to.

It's certainly not for everyone. But with more and more cannabis options on the market, I do think there's an approachable way to incorporate it into your life, if you want to slow down the duck paddling like I did.

Prohibition Livin': Creating a Way to Communicate about Cannabis

Prohibition Livin': Creating a Way to Communicate about Cannabis

Cannabis + Coffee = Mindfulness in the Morning

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