A. H.

from St. Paul, MN

My story involves two very controversial subjects: medicinal use of marijuana and Social Services.   I have bipolar and borderline personality disorder.  Marijuana helps to control my moods and emotions at times when I cannot and my other meds do not prevent relapses.  It calms rage, anger, and crying spells.  I smoke up to a gram a day.  On weekends, I may use it for recreation and tend to smoke a little more.  This plant obviously has medicinal qualities and I am tired of the administration ignoring it. 

I am a single mother of three girls Samantha (15), Brittany (14), and Jenna (8).  I was never married and all three of my children are from different fathers.  This alone is a reason for most to judge me in the worst ways.  I was raised by my father who I became invisible to after he remarried.  My mother, who has schizophrenia, abandoned me.  I was starved for love and I went anywhere I could to find it. Hence, I became a teenage mother at 16. 

During the last three months, my life has literally turned upside down.  I worked for a credit bureau affiliate. I came back from a business trip in February and two weeks later I lost my job.  They denied me reasonable accommodations through ADA.  I even had doctor’s notes for my absences and they still fired me.  My unemployment was also denied.  My relationship of three years just ended with Samantha's father and I was grieved over this.  As soon as he left, my 14-year-old started acting up, pierced her nose, started smoking, using pot, shoplifting, and had a bad attitude.  She was pretty much walking all over me. 

Then the eviction notice came and we had to move, yet we had nowhere to go.  We had plans to go to a shelter for a month where we would get help and find permanent housing in subsidized Section 8.  Samantha had permission to stay with a good friend since she was a fairly good kid and I trusted her completely. At first, Brittany also was given permission to stay with one of her friends. However, the friend turned out to not be a good influence and I was cautioned by the school counselor to be careful. 

Brittany is going through, what I believe to be, bipolar behavior because we mimic each other.  She wasn't waking up for school on time, and she was missing a lot of school.  On the day of my court appearance for my eviction, Brittany didn't wake up on time for school.  I had to run upstairs yelling for her to get up.  She said, she wasn't going to, so then I told her she can't stay at her friend’s house and she had to come to the shelter with me.  Then the threats started immediately; she wanted to kill herself, do something I would regret, etc.  That same day, I brought her to Social Services and explained that she was out of control.  Her face seemed just completely mean and evil looking to everyone.  They gave us the crisis number and she promised not to hurt herself. 

I know now, at that moment, I should have brought her to the hospital, but that is where I screwed up.  She became meaner and meaner throughout the next six days and begged to stay with her friend everyday. She threatened me every time I stuck to my guns and said, "No." I told her she needs to get help and the social workers at the shelter can help her. I told her, her friend wasn't a good influence.  She said she was fine. All she needed was to be with her friend. 

After numerous outbursts and her refusing to help pack up her stuff in the house, it just left me furious. One night, I asked her in the car if she just wanted us to die, go away, or drop off the bridge, because that had been what she talked about. I admit that I was completely angry and wasn't thinking correctly.  She has a history of cutting and speaks all the time of dying, especially when she doesn't get what she wants.  I was trying to scare the crap out of her. 

She broke me finally and she came home from school on Monday, April 11 with a bad attitude and said she didn't want to be a part of the family. She said she wouldn't pack and would just sit in the middle of her room. I told her to get out of my house.  I could not be around her or I would've have spanked her.  She had pushed it to the limit.  I knew she would go to her friend’s down the road, so I wasn't worried about her safety.  The next day, Social Services came to my house to take all of my children from me.  Brittany had called them from school the day before and told them that I use marijuana in front of them and that I threatened to kill her.  That was the first day my life changed forever.

The story gets better; they placed my girls with a married gay couple without even asking me first.  They are still there and I have to complete treatment in order to get them back.  I hope I can share more of my story.  I am furious at how I became the bad person when all I was trying to do was protect my daughter.

Looking back, what could have been done at the time to improve the situation? Treatment, medication, a different approach, or understanding from others around you?

I can honestly say that lack of support makes life so much harder.  The lack of family around us and the burdens of a working, single mother that is also bipolar can be so much more difficult than people really realize. I should have brought my daughter into the hospital.  I stand my ground on my beliefs regarding marijuana for medical use.

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