• Heather Ansell

The Future of Little Girls Who Grow Up Into Women Demands We Talk About This Stuff

Updated: Nov 10, 2019

Saturday, November 9th 2019

By: Heather Ansell

I’d like to share my story of trauma so that other women know that they also have a voice. Staying silent about my trauma only left me holding onto resentment and shame that should have never been mine to carry.

I’ve been sexually abused by family members, sexually harassed and assaulted in the workplace, my mother was unable to leave the house due to her own trauma, my father was murdered, a close family member committed suicide six months prior to my father dying. This is my trauma.

I’ve been in and out of therapy my entire life, always running and disassociating from my body.

It wasn’t until I started smoking this beloved plant that I was able to slow down, peel the layers off, and acknowledge the pain that had been hiding away for years. I suffered a nervous breakdown in my early 30’s. At that time, it was difficult for me to be around other people and I became afraid of everything.

Shaking on the way to work, crying everyday, sometimes pulling over to throw up. I needed help…

I just wanted the doctors to medicate me so I wouldn’t have to feel. My family doctor made me see a psychiatrist instead of giving me the medication I asked for. I was furious! He made me feel like a drug addict looking for a fix when I just needed to get to work so I could pay my bills.

My view on what that family doctor did has changed. Although he wasn’t empathetic to my situation, he made the right decision to send me to therapy. If not, I would have never met the therapist who helped save my life.

It was imperative for me to go in order to get my medication. He taught me that what was going on was not my fault, what all those anxious feelings were: my inability to control men who continuously put their hands on me without permission. I was being abused at my job for years, brushing it off because I thought that made me stronger. The truth…I was petrified. My therapist was able to finally get through to me that what had happened was wrong and it was time to do something about it.

Because of cannabis I was able to dig deeply into therapy and start to uncover parts of myself that I didn’t even know I had.

Although this was the scariest thing I’ve ever had to face, it was also the best thing I had ever done for myself. Feeling emotion was new for me, being vulnerable was new to me. All the memories I had been blocking started showing their face and I couldn’t run away anymore. I knew I needed to face it head on to live my best life, so I did.

"Cannabis has made this possible for me".

I truly believe if it wasn’t for this plant I would not have been able to get away from a very abusive situation that I was stuck in a loop for nearly fifteen years. If it wasn't for this plant I would not have learned how to love and accept love in return.

Peeling back the anger and resentment of all the people who’ve hurt me has allowed for such meaningful relationships. Deeper than I could ever possibly imagine. When I'm having a panic attack it allows me to take a deep breath and face the situation head on, uncover what the root of anxiety is and talk myself out of it. Please help end the stigma on cannabis and mental health.

"The future of other little girls who grow up into women depends on it."

Follow more of survivor and advocate, Heather's, story here.

Having a hard time and need resources? NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) has the top helplines listed here.

Interested in sharing your healing journey? Email thisisjaneproject@gmail.com with 650 words (or more) about your experiences. We'd be honored to hear from you.