HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Giving Up Cannabis Saved Me, Says Margaret Trudeau
Pubdate: Tue, 13 Feb 2007
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2007 Calgary Herald
Author: CanWest News Service; With a file from The Canadian Press
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Former PM's Wife Smoked To Cope With Mental Illness

Quitting cannabis has been an important part of her recovery from 
mental illness, Margaret Trudeau said Monday at a news conference in 
Vancouver for the Canadian Mental Health conference.

Trudeau, who suffers from bipolar disorder, spoke openly with 
reporters about her experience with depression and the effect of her 
long-term marijuana use.

"I loved marijuana. I was a hippie in the '60s," said Trudeau with a 
laugh. "I started smoking at a young age. I took to it like a duck to 
water. Strawberry Fields Forever and all that."

Trudeau, who will be the keynote speaker at the Vancouver conference 
on March 7, said one of the difficulties in seeking help is the 
stigma associated with mental illness.

There can be a consequent tendency to "isolate," said Trudeau. It's 
not uncommon among sufferers, she said, to self-medicate with alcohol 
or marijuana rather than reach out to family, friends or for medical 

"Marijuana can trigger psychosis," said Trudeau. "Every time I was 
hospitalized it was preceded by heavy use of marijuana."

Trudeau has been hospitalized three times for mental illness. Her 
first hospitalization followed the birth of her second child, 
Alexandre, while she was still married to Pierre Elliot Trudeau and 
living at 24 Sussex Drive.

Her most recent hospitalization followed the deaths of her son Michel 
and former husband, Pierre Trudeau. Although she has suffered from 
mental illness for 35 years, it was not until this most recent 
hospitalization that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Trudeau said people should treat mental health as they would their 
physical health, taking days off when they feel unwell. "It should be 
a conversation at the kitchen table, it should be a conversation on 
the way to work," Trudeau said.

"Because recognizing depression in the early stages, you can change 
the course of the disease."
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