Mandy’s Coyle journey through abuse and depression led her to more successful treatment with medical marijuana
MedicateOH: Tell us about your PTSD. How did you manage it before you were recommended medical marijuana?
Mandy: I was considered to have PTSD back in 2017 after a 4-year abusive relationship. I was beaten, raped, threatened, and kept away from friends and family for what seemed like eternity.
Finally that June, I was later found after being abducted, trying to finally leave that day after being strangled 3 times to the point of blacking out. He was charged with abduction, assault, and restraint.
I was not myself after living in that kind of trauma for that long. If someone I didn’t trust was around and my family didn’t believe me, I would blackout and become violent being in fight or flight mode constantly, always watching behind my back and any direction I could. I was scared for my life and had night terrors. I felt that my situation was kill, or be killed, if I had to.
He was bailed out of jail—only staying one night. I wanted to run away so badly I even punched the door in my parent’s home so hard the nails and sidewall were still stuck to the door I had punched down. I was never violent at all before I had this. I was given multiple medications to try—Xanax, Klonopin, Valium… pretty much every antidepressant out there along with it.
Even after being saved from death, I was severely depressed and not able to live a life worth living anymore. I ended up in the hospital a few times for attempting suicide. There was no light at the end of the tunnel for me. I was never really happy and I felt I would never know what it really feels like again.
MedicateOH: How long have you been using medical marijuana and how did you discover it?
Mandy: I started using medical marijuana in March of this year 2020. I discovered it after all the medications I was taking weren’t really doing the job when I needed something most especially for my panic on top of depression. Medications have also caused some serious episodes for me instead of making things better, I also was a big drinker and of course those medications with alcohol did not mix, It was hit or miss how I would react and I would not have a care in the world. It even put me in jail once.
MedicateOH: Who is your medical marijuana doctor and how was your experience in getting your card? Was it hard or easy?
My medical marijuana doctor is Dr. Timothy Thress, but my regular doctor, Dr. Cory Gaiser is who really had me comfortable enough to go ahead and try it. He knew my situation and everything I had been through.
MedicateOH: Has your doctor given you (or have you sought) additional guidance for using your medical marijuana effectively?
Mandy: I have asked questions especially before getting my card, my regular doctor talked with me about it a few times and got me to really go for it. The medical marijuana doctor told me what to start out with, and even the people at the dispensary were extremely cool and helpful.
“Some strains I really love—Blueberry being my favorite so far—along with Ice Cream Cake and Watermelon Ice, and Whip It. I find smoking the actual flower is most effective for me, but it is also easy & convenient to have edibles and other options they give you.”-Mandy Coyle
MedicateOH: What strains/methods do you use and find Most effective? What dispensaries are your favorites to visit and do you find the staff helpful?
Mandy: Some strains I really love—Blueberry being my favorite so far—along with Ice Cream Cake and Watermelon Ice, and Whip It. I find smoking the actual flower is most effective for me, but it is also easy and convenient to have edibles and other options they give you. I pretty much stick with an Indica dominant flower, all are Hybrids. I will go with more of a Sativa dominant flower if I need to medicate earlier in the day.
Vaping is also a plus when you are out. My favorite dispensary is Verdant Creations in Cincinnati. Every time I go they remember me and always answer my questions and help me as much as they can, along with always having great deals. The people that work there are just amazing.
MedicateOH: Have you faced any stigma or judgement from friends or family about your medical marijuana use?
Mandy: YES. That was something I definitely worried about too. My immediate family definitely wants me to keep it to myself, especially worried about what the rest of the family would think.
With my experience and what I have been through, to living the nightmare I did for so long, facing death, and coming out alive but as an entirely different person who was not myself, it is my responsibility to help others, women and men who have been through the same situations, who understand what it’s like to live through and feel stuck in such a Hell nobody else who hasn’t been through it really understands.
Especially if you are suicidal, even after facing death itself, marijuana is the only “drug” that I can really say has SAVED my life and keeps me wanting to live on. It makes me feel like the laid back down to earth person I was before the abuse, I see things differently and I love my life. I appreciate every little thing instead of wanting to just end it.
It is a miracle plant and also keeps me from drinking as much as I used to. The difference is amazing and I would never imagine doing or thinking about how I did if I would’ve started using marijuana sooner. I don’t believe it is a “gateway drug” as what is taught, it is a miracle plant.
“Especially if you are suicidal, even after facing death itself, marijuana is the only ‘drug’ that I can really say has SAVED my life & keeps me wanting to live on. It makes me feel like the laid back down to earth person I was before the abuse, I see things differently & I love my life & appreciate every little thing instead of wanting to just end it.”-Mandy Coyle
MedicateOH: Is there anything else you’d like to add about the need to share stories and spread awareness about medical marijuana as an effective treatment for PTSD?
Mandy: It is crucial that survivors speak up and share their stories, especially after finding something that keeps them wanting to live on and lift up others in the same tracks. Survivors and people suffering from PTSD need to know that there is more to life, you can move on, breathe fresh air, and feel what it’s really like to be happy again. All these drugs, alcohol and suicide is not the answer or a way out. This is what saved me, and I believe it will save others out there too.
Life is truly beautiful once you realize your traumatic experiences are in your past, even if it is always something that will be a part of your life, those things you still live with and reminders of that every day WILL fade away, especially with time. Don’t listen to people who have no idea what you’ve been through or what you’re going through, it’s your life and you need to do what you have to to keep living it instead of ending it or always wanting a way out. Its okay to not be okay, and its okay to do whatever keeps you alive because you are worth it!
Mandy’s story is just one of thousands that highlight how Ohioans are using legal medical cannabis through the state’s program to better their health. To help us tell more stories like this one, please consider donating to MedicateOH:
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Medicate OH’s Founder and Publisher is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public administration, both from Northern Kentucky University. She has more than 20 years of experience writing and editing professionally for the medical and wellness industries, including positions with The Journal of Pediatrics, Livestrong, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and Patient Pop.