I've been an atheist for a long time. Even though I come from a religious family, I came to the conclusion in high school that the notion of God was pretty silly. At the same time, I wasn't really afraid of death, I didn't really care WHY we were here, those sorts of existential questions didn't interest me much.

 

Fast forward to a few months ago, I tried a teensy-tiny bit of pot brownie (yes, everyone has been telling me that you should NEVER do edibles your first time...but hey, no one told me!). It was bad. When I describe the experience to my friends, everyone always asks me if it was laced with something, and I have to explain that not only was it from a reliable source, but I shared it with three other people, none of whom had a freak out, like I did.

 

Essentially, I thought I had died and gone to hell. I felt like I was reliving my life over and over. I was freaking out that I would never see my fiance again. My friends say that I was thrashing all over the place. My fiance had to restrain me against the floor to keep me from knocking myself by banging my head into the ground. It was awful.

 

I've never been diagnosed, but I've had very strong symptoms of anxiety disorders, ever since I was a kid, but about a year ago I had learned to control my stress, and I had been panic attack free for about two months. Since the pot incident, I have been worse off than I think I ever was before. Not only is my anxiety back, but now I feel like I'm stuck in a vortex of existential crisis. I can't think about certain ideas about how the universe came about without getting dizzy. I started devouring speculative fiction short stories (sci-fi and horror), trying to find an outlet, but it doesn't seem to be desensitizing me.

 

I feel as though if I think too hard about my existence, I'm going to wake up and discover I'm back in that bad trip, or hell, or life is just a dream somebody else is having. And all of these ideas seem utterly stupid and insane to me, but I just can't stop obsessing over them.

 

It seems like my depression gets strongest around that time of the month...and I'm not saying it like some wiccan moon god superstition, I'm pretty sure it has to do with hormones and mental and physical stress. But two scary things keep happening. For the last month and a half, every other Thursday nights, as I'm about to go to sleep, my body has been wracked by uncontrollable shivers. Every time I have been under stress, every time I had just gotten home from a meeting with my writing group, and had consumed quite a bit of caffeine. There are plenty of hints as to where it is coming from, but the irrational part of my brain is freaked out, completely. The shaking goes on for a good hour.

 

Lastly, whenever I lay down on my bed, I feel an overwhelming buzzing in my head. I have to shake myself to make it go away, but then if I continue to lie there, it just comes back after awhile.

 

I know I should seek psychiatric help (although I don't have an money for it or insurance at the moment), but I'm also worried about ending up with a shrink that is just going to insist that I turn to Jesus, or something, and that is definitely not what I want. Meanwhile, my fiance is super skeptic, and while he is concerned about me, he really has no answers for me, and has little patience for my irrational theories.

 

I am stuck between wanting to ignore it all and blame it on my reptile brain going insane, or throwing my hands in the air and claiming that there is a malevolent ghost lurking in my bedroom trying to possess me...let's just say, webMD ain't much help.

 

Mostly, I just wanted to turn to the nontheist/nonsuperstitious/rational community and see if anyone had some advice for me. I feel so lost.

Tags: anxiety, help, irrational, possession, stress

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I hope that you will feel better.

Ari,

I dont think that what happened to you is uncommon. People with anxiety often have episodes when under the influence. Obviously you should avoid drugs to the extent possible-coffee also. Try an exercise program if you are not already exercising. That should dissipate some of your stress and release your own chemicals that make you feel good.  

Also you want to contemplate the reality of feeling good and being rational. You should remind yourself that your current state of mind is temporary. Things will improve for you and when they do you can pinch yourself and rejoice in existential bliss.

I was diagnosed with depression in 1963.  Pot affected me as it did you.  In 2005 I finally found an anti-depressant I can live with.  Don't wait that long; the meds are much better now.

I've been on anti-depressants for the last 25 years and they made a world of difference in my life. Any long term depression with out significant situational cause is most likely clinical depression caused by a neuro-chemical abnormality - not because of your life situation. That's the type of depression that can be controlled with anti-depressant drugs.
If you want to avoid big pharma you might try St. John's Wort – it worked (works) for my wife and she had a severe depression (probably why we've got along so many years) . You can get it at any vitamin outlet.

I still smoke weed but when I was depressed it made the depression worse.

I would seek the advise of a doctor about your symptoms.

I used to be pretty anxiety free until i started smoking pot heavily every day at about age 16-20. Even after stopping usage altogether the anxiety has carried on almost to my 30's. I dont blame the pot, pot is a wonderful thing, but something definately happened.  And yes, St. Johns Wort works for me I take it every morning, though sometimes it gives me an "edgy" feeling.

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