Hopegrown Spotlight: My Journey of Hope
May 6, 2017 | By Jon Hochstat
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I'm an American civilian, clinically diagnosed with PTSD. My traumas come from incidents that happened to me during the course of a 25-year international hospitality career, including jobs in South Africa (the last 6 months before Mandela's election) and Guatemala (just after the end of their 36-year civil war). I have been living in Costa Rica since August 1, 2011, and a surf town here since May 1, 2013.
I have suffered various traumas
In early 1994, I was living in Cape Town, South Africa. I was in a friend's apartment that was robbed (he buzzed in the people thinking they were friends). I sat in a chair with a gun to my head for about ten minutes after being told: "You move, you die.”
In April 2000, I was living in Guatemala City, Guatemala and was the intended victim of a drive-by shooting in front of my house.
On September 11, 2001, I was residing in NYC's East Village when the planes hit the towers.
On November 1, 2007, I was hit by a car walking across 96th street at 3rd avenue. I suffered a tibia plateau fracture, a broken shoulder, and required ten staples to close the wound on my head. I spent nine weeks in the hospital and had to relearn how to walk.
The only thing that has kept me sane (and alive) is access to marijuana. It helps greatly with the PTSD to calm me down and bring me 'back to normal.' Thankfully, here in Costa Rica, marijuana for personal, private use has been made legal.
I'm working on returning to the USA at the end of April. I reached out to Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic as I am the son of a Korean War veteran. Their twitter profile states "we offer free mental health treatment for veterans and their families regardless of discharge status/era served." However, they would not help me. They spun me out like the pledges in Animal House.
What will wind up helping me is that I am moving to Massachusetts when I return to the USA in April. They legalized marijuana for medical use on December 15, 2016, and made PTSD a qualifying condition. There is a medical marijuana dispensary in the town where I will be living. I doubt I would be here today writing this if I did not have constant access to marijuana.