In this blog, I am going to be talking about what it is like to be addicted to substances while in foster care. This blog is from my own experiences of being addicted to substances when I was in care. ‘A national survey of care leavers showed that 32% smoked marijuana daily, and data from 2012 showed 11.3% of LAC aged 16 to 19 years had a diagnosed substance use problem.’ (Hayley Alderson et al., 2017).
When I was placed into foster care, I was in a very bad and depressive place as I was feeling that I didn’t want to be around anymore and that everything I was doing was upsetting people, so the only way that I felt that I was going to be happy again was to forget all the bad memories that I was going through and use substances to help me do this.
As with a lot of people, when using substances, they start using them in small doses to help with the issues that they are going through, but when this happens, they start using more and more of the substance to control the issues that they are feeling, which was exactly what I did until I started using too much of the substance and I became extremely ill. For a lot of young people out in society and in care, substances have always been one of the ways that people can have a short-term escape from whatever is going on in their lives, whether this is to do with family issues, emotional trouble, feelings of self-doubt or even struggling with their mental health, but in reality, the truth is that substances can make the issue go away for a little bit, but in the long term reality is that the substances can make everything a lot worse because you develop another issue which is all about being addicted to the substance of choice, that you were using to make everything go away.
From a personal experience of using substances, we can all say that substances can be fun to use and even make things seem happier in the short term, which is why a lot of us use substances during nights out, when partying and even as self-medication to take away the pain, but I also know as someone who has done substances the effect that substances can cause when you do get addicted to substances, because on the outside it can look like the issue isn’t there and taking substances are not really doing any sort of harm, but on the inside and mentally, the reality of using substances makes a massive impact on your physical and mental health.
I can remember before going into care, I was just using the most common drug out there known as weed (Marijuana), and I was using it to cope with my mental health, as out there it is known that small amounts of weed can help with mental health, but only one sort of condition known as PTSD. I thought that this was not the case, and I took it upon myself to self-medicate my condition of anxiety and depression with weed, but I got into a state that the effects of the substance were not really doing anything to me anymore, so I got onto harder substances such as Cocaine and methamphetamine to get through the pain of feeling on edge all the time and feeling that I was better of being dead and out of everyone’s life.
In the end, just before going into care, it got to the point that I was using too much as I was feeling extremely low and alone, and I ended up deciding that taking an overdose was the only way out. I’m not saying that this happens to everyone, but most of the time and even from what I have seen, substances can make things completely worse and can make you end up feeling on edge and it can make you ruin your life and put your life in danger.
This is why, I would like to say this to anyone who is reading this blog if you ever feel that you are getting to the point that you cannot do things anymore and that drugs are getting to tempting to use, please do get in touch with your community substance abuse service or get in touch with your GP to ask for advice and support because once you get some support, the easier things can get for you to start getting better.
By Anonymous Care Experienced Blogger