Update January 2017: because of another profound trip I had 2 months back, I decided to give this post a necessary update and to open up avenues for discussion again via the comment section. This stuff is important. Oh, before I forget: no, I am not a doctor and yes, please use your own common sense. This is not a scientific inquiry, this is me sharing my personal experience.
The room was dark. I felt dizzy and slightly naughtious. It had been 45 minutes since I ate the shrooms. I had enough psilocybin in my blood to K.O. a horse or two. At least, that’s what it felt like. I took 15 grams of magic mushrooms of above average intensity because I wanted my trip to be profound. And boy was I in for a trip.
Everything was ambiguous, except for the lyrics I heard on the techno track that was playing. They came through crystal clear.
I hear everything
Those aren’t voices inside your head
They’re just the echoes of your indecision
Don’t ask me
I am everything
Why listen to me
I’m just a voice inside your head
I can’t help you
The curtains were moving. Except they weren’t.
“Wow”, I thought. “What if all of these negative emotions I have been experiencing lately are nothing but echoes of my indecision? Of me not making certain choices I know I need to make, out of fear of losing all the other options?”
And we have so many options. Never, in the history of mankind, have we had so many options as we have now.
I’m not just talking about TV-channels or the different kinds of red sauce you can buy in the supermarket.
I’m talking about existential options, like:
- Where do I want to live?
I have lived in the Netherlands (10 different places), Spain, Germany, Portugal and am currently residing in Mexico.
- What field do I want to be an expert in?
I have a business background and specialized in online marketing and SEO, yet here I am, knee deep in the field of PP. You can switch or combine fields nowadays. A profession is not a profession for life. Besides, things get more interesting when you combine fields.
- Which language do I want to speak?
I’m fluent in 2 languages (English and Dutch) and can comfortably speak in 2 other ones (German and French), going on 5 (Spanish). And don’t try to make a remark about me in Portuguese because I will suddenly look you right in your eyes.
- What kind of religion am I going to (un)subscribe to?
Ehh… let’s not get into this.
- What kind of partner do I want?
Slim chance my parents will be arranging my marriage. I almost wanted to say: “Too bad!” It would have made my life a helluva lot easier.
- What kind of gender do I want?
I’m doing okay as a male, thanks.
- Do I even want to life?
Yup. But I’ve known some people who chose not to.
How many of these questions do you think someone with the same nationality and social status would genuinely be able to ask himself a 100 years ago?
Right, maybe 1 out of 7. Maybe.
But we were talking about drugs…
What I discovered during my trip is that a lot of my negative emotions are caused by this stress of choice. Because with every choice I make, a whole universe of options slips through my grasping hands while I’m screaming “Nooooooooo!“.
This existential dillema may not be new, but what is new is its size. I can already tell it’s increasing impact over the course of my own life, and I’m young (almost 27 as I write this).
Anyway, your trip may expose you to something completely different. That’s the whole point. It’s hyper-personal. It can also be very blissful or a mix of bliss and blegh. I’ve both cried and laughed hysterically during all of my trips. (For the record, I’ve done mushrooms just 3 times in the past 5 years. I ain’t no junkie and psilocybin is not an addictive substance.)
Why isn’t psilocybin mainstream yet?
I guess it’s too effective to be a prescription drug. There I said it.
Prescription drugs do two things:
- They make you dependent on them so that they can keep selling it to you and;
- At best, they treat symptoms, often with side effects for which you can take other drugs. They don’t eliminate causes. That would be like digging their own grave. That’s like building a razor blade that stays sharp. Gillete can do it, but of course they don’t! They ain’t stupid. And the pharma ain’t stupid either. Money talks.
I know, I know, I’m oversimplifying things here for the convenience of making a point. But I do have a point. Pharma is pushing over a trillion US dollars worth of shit down our throats (well, not mine) in the name of promoting human well-being
Doublespeak I tell you. Pharma, you make me sick.
Especially if you live in North America, I implore you, please, do yourself a favour and walk to your medicine cabinet and empty it in your trash bin. I spoke more about this here.
The point is that psilocybin allows you to find the cause of whatever is bothering you and shoves it in your face like no psychotherapist will ever dare. Too risky. What happens if… Psilocybin doesn’t care about the what if’s. It sets both the angels and the demons hidden in your subconscious free without instructions or inhibitions. (This is why I wouldn’t recommend a severely depressed person to take psilocybin and definitely not alone).
It’s essentially the same thing as what psychiatrist Kazimierz Dąbrowski called “autopsychotherapy“.
This is Wikipedia (I know, I know):
“The client is encouraged to embark on a journey of self-discovery with an emphasis on looking for the contrast between what is higher versus what is lower within his or her personality and value structure.”
And this is how I would summarise my experience with psilocybin:
“Every time I have taken psilocybin, the most important emotional issue that I needed to deal with at that particular point in my life has been presented to me on a silver platter, as well as a way to deal with it and the intention to do so.”
I’ve found the effects to be extremely therapeutic and therefore, I can highly recommend it to you.
- Don’t take it while you’re in distress or extremely stressed
- Don’t take it if you’re depressed
- Don’t take it when you have any sort of mental illness
- Don’t take it alone (at least not for the first time)
Want to end the trip?
Take a ton of sugar if you want to end the trip for whatever reason. You’ll snap out of it in no time.
In the comment section below this post, Brian Dresky describes some of the side effects of psilocybin. I think the potential benefits far outweigh these “dangers”, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. We should all be our own inner-scientists.
Below you’ll find the original article on psilocybin.
A hallucinogen is defined as any chemical substance that distorts the senses and produces hallucinations. Psilocybin, a chemical released during the ingestion or “magic mushrooms” is most commonly associated with hippies and stoners. However, since the 90’s work has begun on psychadelic drugs such as psilocybin and there potential to be used as a tool for psychologists.
Did you know that in 2011 a study found that after a few sessions of taking psilocybin, volunteers found positive effects on their moods, behaviors and attitudes? This was followed up 14 months later and the effects were found to have been sustained. People close to the volunteers also reported this increased positivity and most volunteers described it as a substantial personal and spiritual experience with significant impacts.
Certain cultures around the world have been using hallucinogenic substances as a treatment for mental illnesses and spiritual awakening for centuries. The native Americans have been using peyote in religious ceremonies as a sacred medicine. Mexican Native American have used the seeds of Ipomoea tricolor (also known as ‘Morning glory seeds’) and there have been reports documenting this tradition dating back to the Aztec times. The Kava Piper Methysticum is also a known hallucinogenic in the western pacific that has been used till this day and has properties that encourage social behaviour, calming effects, clear thinking, relaxed muscles, and euphoric sense of well-being. These are just a few of the hallucinogenics that are linked to culture and history, find more here.
In the following short interview, Amber Lyon talks about her experience in travelling all over the world to discover the power of hallucinogens. This is a must-see!
The Power of Hallucinogens (must-see!)
More on Psilocybin:
Wikipedia on Psilocybin (Source: Wikipedia)
Magic Mushrooms Expand the Mind By Dampening Brain Activity (Source: Time magazine)
Griffiths, R.R. et al. (2011) Psilocybin occasioned mystical -type experiences: Immediate and persisting dose-related effects, 218 (4), 649-665