coping diaries

The Mom Who Ditched Benzos for Her Bong

What do you need to get through the day? With Coping Diaries we explore the habits, rituals and routines we rely on to get by.

I’m a 30-year-old project assistant for a small tech company. I have a 6-year-old son and I’ve been with my partner for ten years. Most people in my life do not know that I self-medicate with marijuana to cope with my social anxiety. When I am at home I smoke from a water bong (which I hide from my son) and at work I take my vape pen and hide either in the restroom or my car so I can take a hit.

I smoke 1 gram/day and usually go through about an ounce a month.

6 a.m.: I wake up and I have the day off work. My son is home from day camp. I do the laundry and wait for him to get up. By 9:15 he’s watching TV. I shower and have my first hit of the day — 0.25 grams of Sativa from my bong. Super Silver Haze is my favorite strain. It’s clean and clear and it normalizes my mood, like coffee. I hide it from my son but I’m conflicted … I feel like hiding it is the same as saying it’s wrong. I don’t want it to be a big issue and I don’t want it to be a secret.

10:15 a.m.: I have my second hit of the day, I have lots of errands. Silence is a real trigger. I first went to the doctor for my social anxiety when I was in my early 20s and was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. That’s when the prescription parade began. I spent several years on antidepressants (Celexa, Wellbutrin, Paxil) along with benzodiazepines.

I had a new shrink who put me on Wellbutrin, which made me so anxious I countered it with Ativan. I felt like supermom but my mood was flat. I wasn’t sad but I couldn’t feel joy, either. One day my sister was recalling a time we took our sons out to Pizza Hut and I flat-out didn’t remember it. I realized that there are huge areas of my son’s infancy that I’ve simply forgotten. That terrified me and made me quit the meds.

3 p.m.: I hit the bong a third time. My mom is coming over and I pretty much can’t handle it otherwise. I feel calm and prepared. I really want my mother’s approval. I find her very critical, she regularly says “you’re too sensitive!” when I voice displeasure at her comments. I’ve considered that perhaps I’m looking for slights where there aren’t any? I also think my preoccupation with gaining her approval makes me especially sensitive. When I smoke I can step aside and not take things so personally. I’m more patient and compassionate — I can logically think through the situation and pick my battles.

9:30 p.m.: I have my sixth hit as my husband and I are trying to wind down; we are watching Jeopardy, The Wolf of Wall Street, and a documentary about the ’90s all at once. My partner says that he doesn’t care about my smoking at all but I still worry. I’m probably being paranoid.

I don’t get high to have fun. It allows me to be a present parent and hold down a job. I wouldn’t be nearly as good a mom if I was still taking benzodiazepines all day long.

What do you need to get through the day? Contact Alexa.Reay@nymag.com to share your Coping Diary.

 The Mom Who Ditched Benzos for Her Bong