You smoke weed? You’re such a stoner.
You have a mental illness? You must be crazy.
How many times have we had those stereotypes thrust upon us? The stigmas surrounding mental health and cannabis use have existed for far too long. This month, in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re working to #breakthestigmas and continue the conversations about the new normal – a world where challenging the status quo equals strength and courage. To kick things off, here is Seed to Sound Host Hannah Holmgren’s story.
Anxiety is a funny thing. One minute, your world is in perfect technicolor and you’re humming along to its melody like you’ve known the song your entire life. And in the next minute, those colors drip off the canvas like a knockoff Dali and you’re completely tone deaf. Oh, and the best part? Everything’s also on fire.
My name is Hannah Holmgren and I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
That’s a long, pretty vague name for something that really just means that I have a tendency to worry about everything. I worry when I feel I’m losing control of a situation and because I can’t control my worry, I worry about that as well. It’s just a cycle of freaking out about everyday things that most people aren’t bothered by. If it exists in this world, chances are I’m going to worry about it at some point.
Most of the time, the worry stays at a noticeable but low level. I have anxiety attacks when that level of worry is off the charts or when that level jumps drastically in a moment’s notice. And similar to other mental or physical illness, I have triggers that exacerbate my anxiety. Too stressed? Anxiety attack. Too afraid? Anxiety attack. Too anything? Anxiety attack.
I’ve tried everything – prescription drugs, talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, cannabis. Some worked better than others. The one thing I’ve found truly helps is being honest with myself and the people around me about who I am and why this affects me.
So what’s the point of bringing all of this up?
My hope is that by telling all of you I have this thing (and that I’ve had it for 12 years), you won’t see me as that weird girl who never goes to social events. You won’t judge me for not drinking alcohol. You won’t hate me for being a little bit of a control freak.
I also hope you’ll recognize either yourself or someone you know in these words. That anxiety has a face, a name.
One of every four people in the world will be affected by a mental illness at some point in their lives. I’m sure you’ve met countless individuals who deal with anxiety, depression, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, eating disorders, Schizophrenia, or any one of the more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Maybe they just hated talking about it. Or maybe they got really good at hiding it because the world told them they had to.
Either way, my main point is that I want all of us affected to approach each day with as much brashness as possible. Shout our afflictions from the nearest rooftop and never apologize for being exactly who we are.
And last but not least, I want us to continue smashing that stigma to bits.
To hear other stories like this, check out the latest episode of Seed to Sound all about mental health and cannabis use.
Want to share your story? All this month, we’ll be sharing your stories on our Instagram. To join the conversation and for a chance to be featured, use #breakingstigmas #mentalhealthandcannabis and tag @vangsttalent. Together we can help #breakthestigmas around mental health and cannabis.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678678
Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or text TALK to 38255