26 Sep Nathan Is A Criminal, Guilty Of Helping Himself


My name is Nathan and I am a criminal.

Am I a bank robber? No.

Am I a mugger? No.

Am I involved in any violent crime whatsoever? No.

Am I a fraudster? No.

We’ve reached the point where it would be easier for me to tell you what crime I am guilty of, I am guilty of helping myself… and how do I do that?

I smoke cannabis.

I have suffered from ADHD since a young age, diagnosed at 14 and medicated through the grace of Big Pharma for my illness for four years, starting with Ritalin at varying doses and then Concerta XL with the final dose settling on 72mg (the limit, anything above, I believe, would be considered an overdose). The amphetamine and similar compounds found within those medications made sleep virtually impossible and I still suffer from what I believe to be insomnia to this day. It remains undiagnosed, however, as I fear being prescribed pharmaceutical sleeping medication due to the inherent dangers involved.

I dabbled in the use of cannabis from age sixteen, having discovered it a year or so previously. I didn’t even realise I was using it as a medication. I smoked occasionally and it seemed to make life easier. If I smoked before bed I would sleep much better but still… it hadn’t clicked. I’d had eighteen years of slander pumped into my brain, drugs are bad. I knew this to be fact at the time but my opinion eventually changed. I continued what I believe to be recreational use of cannabis for a couple of years. I was entirely functional; I attained numerous qualifications in IT and eventually took up position as an IT support technician at a local high school.

During my first week of employment my life was torn apart, an incident occurred that left me suffering from anxiety, detachment, flashbacks, and eventually severe depression. In short, I lost my employment. I worked within a school and as soon as the staff and students discovered what had happened to me through the local paper and even through staff members discussing it amongst themselves and even with the student body; it soon became the talk of the school. I couldn’t escape it while I was at work, my attendance inevitably slipped, the school didn’t want to help, and I still feel to this day that they failed me.

After leaving employment, I then battled for over eight months to receive support through the NHS, eventually being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Treatment has only recently started to address this and I am hopeful I am able to overcome my condition and once again be a valuable member of society but I don’t think I’d even be able to attend appointments with anyone involved with my care if it wasn’t for my medication of choice.

I started using cannabis daily as a medicine nearly two years ago, not long after the event in question. It makes life bearable. When I have enough medicine I even manage to put the thoughts out of my mind, somehow forgetting what had happened and be able to feel at one with the present, rather than feeling trapped in the past. The price of cannabis is absurd however. I find it difficult to sustain access to my medication with the price of high-end cannabis being anything up to £240 an ounce, it is extremely difficult to manage.

My condition varies on a daily basis. I am prone to violent outbursts, panic attacks and rarely, complete and utter breakdowns. I feel as if due to my condition I don’t even know who I am anymore. Do you know how it feels to lose yourself? It’s not nice. Due to the nature of my condition I rarely leave home, the stress involved in doing so is too much to deal with most of the time. I remain hyper-vigilant, and before long I have convinced myself something terrible is going to happen and I leave, precluding all social encounters. I can’t fully explain the feeling I get. It’s utter nervousness I guess. I jitter, unable to keep my hands steady and my stomach turns, making me feel as if I’m about to be sick, sometimes even leaving me heaving.

When I smoke, I’m able to deal with this a lot easier. It’s not 100% but if I medicate beforehand I am able to attend appointments with those involved in my treatment and that’s definitely a bonus. I don’t tend to go out socially however, as if I’m out for long periods of time I often end up feeling as if I need to medicate and this isn’t possible in a public place. It seems like a sick joke, to be able to function socially I need my medicine but it’s not socially acceptable and, moreover, I live in fear every single day of my life because what I do is illegal. The government has decided that if I want support through medication I have to accept prescribed tablets. I have no choice in the matter. Cannabis has “no medicinal value”. Strange there’s so much growing in Kent, under government license but that’s a whole different story.

This fear makes my condition worse and the feeling that society as a whole looks down on me because of my choice, without even wanting to hear the details isn’t nice either. All I want is happiness. Is that just too much to ask in modern Britain? Cannabis gives me a grip on reality, it helps me forget my past, even for just a little while and what’s wrong with that? Who is anyone to tell me that I’m wrong for wanting to just help myself? I don’t hurt anybody whatsoever. I’m guilty of nothing under common law but until statutory legislation is rectified, I remain a criminal.

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