Tag Archives: antidepressants

A New Year resolution to be true to

You can only control what you are aware of.
What you aren’t aware of controls you.

 

We often find ourselves being pushed around by such things like old habits that we are unaware of, past programming that is no longer relevant or blockages that we have managed to forget about. The only way we can change these old patterns is by first becoming aware of them. That is why raising awareness is at the very core of handling any change you need to do in your life. It is at the very beginning of the process and nothing can be done without it.

If you need to raise your awareness in order to work with change it therefore goes without saying that you should avoid drugs and medicines that numb you and lower your awareness. Common drugs that should be avoided are alcohol, opiates and pharmaceutical antidepressants. Caffeine, nicotine and cannabis are also numbing when used on a daily or close to daily basis. Junk food and sugar are also really bad for awareness.

Things that will raise your awareness include meditation, exercise, mindful sex, good food cooked from scratch, herbs, hugs and playing. This is of course also why psychedelic medicines are such powerful agents of change, because they drastically raise our awareness.

So do you want a tip for a New Year resolution that will help you immensely and that you can always find new ways of being true to? Promise yourself to be more aware this coming year. Instead of focusing in on one specific, such as exercise, see the bigger picture. It all comes down to awareness and you can become more aware in so many different ways. Give yourself a bigger promise this year, and at the same time make it one that you can keep.

Make 2016 all about awareness.

Photo: amber us by Shannon Kringen on Flickr

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Naysha: How can you know if Ayahuasca is for you?

Before attending a ceremony it is important to have good information about what are you getting into, especially if you don’t have any experience with visionary plants. Ayahuasca is a tool for opening, cleaning, healing, transforming, diagnosing, revealing and learning. There are several such tools, so how can you know if Ayahuasca is the right tool for you? Ayahuasca is not a magic wand that will solve all your problems. It is very important that you have that understanding in advance so that you are not disappointed with what you get. The plants and the spirit world give you what you need, not what you want.

There are certain things to consider before attending a ceremony.

1. Do you qualify medically to be part of an Ayahuasca ceremony?

If you are taking medication like antidepressants, sleeping pills, antibiotics, or drugs like cocaine, heroin etc. it can be mortal in combination with Ayahuasca, not because of the Ayahuasca itself, but because these substances don’t go together. It’s important that you consult your doctor so that you know how much time your body needs to be free of these chemicals in your blood. There are certain medications that you can avoid 48 hours before a ceremony, but it’s important you check. Chronic heart problems, hepatic and immune system problems should also be considered.

2. Are you mentally ready?

Ayahuasca is not something to mess around with. It is not a recreational drug. It is a strong spirit that will open your perception to the reality. Such information can be difficult to handle for some people – it can blow your mind. It’s very important that you do a ceremony with somebody that has experience working with this plant, like a shaman. If you have mental disorders it is important that you let the person in charge of the ceremony know, because depending on your problem the shaman can better know if Ayahuasca can help you or not. In my opinion people experience mental disorders because:

  • They are too open and and sensitive to everything around then. What they need is to balance the channel or connection again. Shamans for example have learnt how to work with the channel, when to open and when to close it. If you have a mental disorder of this kind Ayahuasca might help, but I haven’t tried it. There are other plants that can help before taking the step of going for an Ayahuasca ceremony. I would personally rather do a ceremony without the person taking the Ayahuasca, just to diagnose the situation and understand how it can be fixed. Most people with mental disorders have an imbalance in the substances in the brain. They have too much or too little, but these substances can be found in nature. Remember that most medications come from plants, some come from animals and some from minerals. Plants help us recover the balance in all senses, physically, mentally and emotionally, because they live in harmony. They are truly connected.
  • Possession. This might sound strange, but in native cultures it is a common belief that people can be possessed by entities of different kinds, because we are living and interacting with different dimensions. This 3D dimension is not the only one. Ayahuasca shows us this. Certain kinds of depressions can be caused by these entities and there are different kinds. There are the ones with a purpose – they don’t manifest or show themselves so much, but they are sucking your vital energy. Their mission is to stop you from your mission in life. They can enter at the moment of birth and it is often easier these days because of all the anesthetics that are used. The well known psychiatrist and hypnotherapist Brian Weiss, who is specialized in regression, has explained that it is at the moment of birth that the soul and the body are truly unified. If the soul is entering a sleepy body under anesthesia, the soul won’t be fully aware about other energies lurking there.

Traumatic situations can also allow entities to enter us, because in traumatic situations you are very vulnerable and open. If you are unlucky you are in the wrong place when you are traumatized and such energies can latch onto you. Other entities can also enter when people play with things they don’t understand, such as Ouija or by taking plants like Ayahuasca without guidance. When you take such plants you open different portals. That is why the shaman does diets as part of their training, because with the diets they get spirit allies or friends that help them in ceremonies. A shaman also learns how to create a safe space and how to hold a ceremony. Most shamans say that taking Ayahuasca without guidance is like going for a swim without knowing how to.

3. Have you tried other tools?

Before attending a ceremony, make sure that your problem can’t be solved in another way. Meditation, yoga and healthy lifestyle choices can help. Remember that you have all the potential to change your life within yourself. The plants help us when we had tried, but can’t change or heal because our blocks are so big. If you feel that you have big blocks that do not allow you to feel or to open yourself to embrace change, then Ayahuasca is something that will really help you. But it is important that you are fully aware that one single ceremony won’t be enough. Sometimes people do not feel or experience anything in the first ceremony, because the first ceremonies are mainly for purging and cleansing the body. It is very important that you do a diet before attending a ceremony, because this will help you clean your body a lot so that the Ayahuasca can work better.

You should also understand that Ayahuasca can help with certain problems, but not all. If the problems you are experiencing in your life come from emotional sources, then ceremonies will help you for sure. But if you want to heal a disease, then you need to take other plants. In that case Ayahuasca can be used to see what the root of the problem is, but because the problem has already manifest physically causing a disease, you will need to diet with other plants. You will also need time to heal. The shaman will know what other plants to do diets with, because in ceremony the spirit of the plants will let him/her know what help is needed.

4. Do you want to learn?

Ayahuasca is definitely a great source of information. It is how shamans manage to know about the healing properties of several plants, because Ayahuasca is a translator for other plants. I call it the Google of the spirits. Ayahuasca has learnt how to communicate with humans. She is the consciousness of the forest talking to us clearly.

Shamans learn about the healing properties of plants trough diets and ceremonies. In the diets the shamans connect with the spirit of the plant and in the ceremonies the plants show the shaman, much in the same way as having a conversation. They look like people, but different, and depending on which part of the plant you want to learn from the spirit appears different. Flowers are always shown as children and it is because they have the highest energy vibration. Roots and barks are shown as adults. They have skin colours and dress themselves with the plants. Chuchuwasa and tobacco spirit, for example, are black and can appear in a female or male energy. Plants have both energy inside, but sometimes one is stronger than the other. Usually the tobacco spirit shows as a black woman or an old man. In some traditions the stories about the first humans explain that they came from a tree and it was a woman. This can explain why the spirits of plants look like humans.

If we are conscious that we are all one, then we can understand that we can experience incarnation as plants, animals, humans and others things during our earth process, since everything that exists has a consciousness.

Ayahuasca help us make our unconscious conscious and through this process we can see, we become observers and thus can find the roots of our problems. With Ayahuasca you will experience death, a small spiritual death where your fears, your ego, your habits and your attachments must disappear so that you can be to reborn again as pure and clean as when you came the first time. Death in this sense only means transformation.

Taking Ayahuasca is a ceremony which begins with the preparation of the Ayahuasca. There are many details that people must know in order to achieve all the benefits of these plants. What do you know about Ayahuasca ceremonies? What you know about ikaros and diets? When the ceremony starts and the shaman starts singing the ikaros, the purging (vomiting) begins and after that come the visions. Visions of your light and your darkness. You will meet your fears, desires and wishes. If you want to grow, to evolve, you must confront them and accept the consequences.

Are you ready?

Naysha Silva Romero

Photo: To Reiterate There Needs to be Artists to Remind Kids that the Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst World is Fucking Bullshit by Surian Soosay on Flickr

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Why doctors should not be the first to meet patients with mental issues

Mental health problems often have their root cause in stress, trauma, abuse, addiction, and such. When we do not take care of unpleasant or challenging parts of life we eventually become ill. Sometimes it takes on physical expressions such as pain, but often it takes on mental expressions such as anxiety or depression. The only way I know of to actually recover from such states is to work with one’s personal development, to solve one’s life issues.

Efexor by mikael altemark on Flickr
Efexor by mikael altemark on Flickr

The problem with antidepressants is that they tend to put a lid on the symptoms without addressing the cause. I suppose the Swedish healthcare system hopes that a therapist will take over from there, but that contact often seems to be poor or non-existent. Therefore we today find ourselves in the situation that we are casually mass medicating the people with antidepressants without proper therapeutic backing, which means that many are getting medical help to put a lid on things, but are not getting the therapeutic support they need to actually solve the underlying problem. For many the antidepressants effectively lower the willingness to work with themselves, which sabotages their recovery. In addition there are all the terrible side effects reported, covering pretty much everything from apathy and obliterated sexual drive to suicide attempts.

I am not saying that such drugs have no raison d’être. They can be very helpful, especially in emergency situations. But before taking such drastic measures as to expose someone to medications with potentially lethal side effects, there are many other things you might try first.

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Self help

There is a great lack of awareness about how one can help oneself and others suffering from mental illness. Our educational system is so obsessed with measurable subject knowledge that it has very much neglected the truly important life lessons. Life skills should be a major school subject and include such things as how to take care of oneself, how to heal and evolve. A knowledgeable population can do far more for its recovery and well-being than the healthcare system can ever hope to do.

Lifestyle changes

In time depressed people program themselves to feel bad. It is often manifested in how they eat, dress, what the listen to, what routines they have, and more. Many find themselves in bad relationships, they are unhappy with their job or just generally miserable. Life coaches, nutritionists or Ayurveda doctors could be helpful to break negative patterns and focus on good goals.

Movement

Mental illness is reflected in the body. In the beginning only in the energy system, but over time it will become more physical. Movement is generally good because it gets the body’s energy flowing. Two traditions that are particularly good at working with our body and energy flow are yoga and chi gong. Dancing is also a great therapeutic tool.

Body therapy

Many feel alienated from their bodies and need much more body contact than they get, or allow themselves to receive. There are plenty of body therapies that may be helpful, such as medical massage, tactile massage, tantric massage, healing and courses in body awareness.

Meditation

While in a meditative state we release tensions and stress while also finding inner silence. In that silence it is often easy to find answers to why one feels bad and what needs to be done about it. In order to work therapeutically with meditation it is important to be prepared to take care of the stuff that it turns up. There are many more related practices in the alternative field, such as regressions, dancing, drum journeys and nature contact.

Talking

It is good to have a wise person to talk to when needed. Someone who can listen, reflect, challenge, inspire and help us find the answers ourselves. There are many people trying to do just that under such titles as psychologist, therapist, counselor, life coach, priest, witch and shaman. Other titles are less formal, such as a best friend or mother. It may be a tough journey to get out of a depression and it is good to have the support of someone.

Traditional medicine
Bushy Park 10-08-12 - 15 by Garry Knight on Flickr
Bushy Park 10-08-12 – 15 by Garry Knight on Flickr

There is much in nature that can be helpful in curing depression. St John’s Wort is for example an excellent way of naturally raising the serotonin levels. 2-3 cups of St John’s Wort tea for a few weeks makes a noticeable difference. The old Indian health system Ayurveda is also particularly interesting, because it works with food as medicine. The underlying idea is that disease is an imbalance in our body, which can be balanced with the right food. When it comes to the link between health and food, which have a strong correlation, your average Ayurveda doctor generally knows significantly more than both Western doctors and nutritionists.

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It is worrisome that doctors are the first to meet these patients. Doctors are specialized in medicine and therefore see medical solutions to the problems they encounter in humans. A therapist could, for example, meet a patient and see a person who needs to work with her bad self-confidence and make a plan for how to do so. A doctor on the other hand will listen to the patient’s symptoms and then turn to their library of drugs to find one that matches the symptoms.

In a way one can of course say that doctors are just doing their job. They are experts in medicine. When I look at it from the outside, I see a profession which lacks self-awareness. When it comes to really solving problems such as depression the doctor is a novice. If you want to help other people it is incredibly important to understand ones tools and their limitations. A person who has a broken leg should for example not be treated with healing and a change of diet. That person needs an emergency room doctor. A person who will treat a fracture with healing alone is probably somewhat of a charlatan, but is probably mostly clueless to their own limitations.

Stop, Collaborate and Listen by Mark on Flickr
Stop, Collaborate and Listen by Mark on Flickr

In my eyes a doctor who will medicate someone with antidepressants without further thought falls into the same category of dangerously ignorant people who should be called quacks. Medicines such as antidepressants are in no way a reasonable first response to someone feeling bad. Antidepressants are a disproportionate response, and when one adds that the medication lacks a proper therapeutic connection to the tools that the patient wants to work with, it shows a profound ignorance on the doctor’s side.

To summarize what I have written – it is currently the wrong profession that has the first contact with the patient, which often sabotages recovery. Antidepressants are the wrong tool to use, it is regularly used way too early and the connection to other therapy is at best patchy.

If we actually want to have a healthier population, this is a system error that needs to be addressed.

Photo: Electronic Shaman by Surian Soosay on Flickr

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What do you think of this?

Malmö, Sweden
2015-05-29

This morning a young patient met a doctor, since the patient has entered a depressive period. The patient has previously used antidepressant drugs, but has single-handedly stopped taking them because the side effects were absolutely awful. After that the patient has promised him/herself to never again take such drugs, and has instead begun a healing journey where personal development is central.

Although the patient made it very clear to the doctor that s/he will not take any drugs, the doctor throughout the meeting tried to convince him/her to start taking antidepressants again. The patient consistently said no, but the doctor still wrote a prescription and even called the patient a few hours later to inform the patient that s/he could pick the drugs up from the pharmacy now.

It should be added that this is the first contact that the doctor has with the patient and that the contact is only temporary, since the patients regular doctor will be back soon.

Is it really okay for doctors behave in that manner? Is it okay to peddle drugs to people who explicitly do not want them? Is it compatible with good medical practice to act in such a way when it comes to a young and vulnerable person?

Photo: February 22nd by Carsten Schertzer on Flickr

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Hallucinogens to heal emotional instability

Hello Daniel,

I’m a 25 year old student of anthropology, sociology and psychology. School is working out well, I take relatively good care of my health and keep the house relatively clean. I am also one of the broken souls that never feels really good. I suspect that I suffer from some emotional disturbance, because I have high peaks where I think I’m better than everyone else, and then I fall into a black hole where I find it very difficult to function normally. Right now I’m in one of those holes, and have been for approximately 4 months (with some bright days/hours). I have previously used antidepressant tablets on a daily basis to stabilize my mood and make life easier, but I stopped because it felt as if I lost a part of myself. And I wasn’t actually rid of my anxiety. I was just somewhat better at dealing with it when it arrived and my panic attacks were less turbulent. Now things are so bad that I am strongly considering going back to them. I have suicidal thoughts and isolate myself completely without external reasons. I absolutely don’t want to die, but I feel weak by the mere thought of life just continuing like this.

I have seen some documentaries and read a lot about how hallucinogens affect our brains and that there is reason to believe that it changes the way we think about the world in the same way as religious experiences might change people’s lives. I have tried it myself a few times, though in recreational context, and last year when I tried truffles I got an incredibly wonderful feeling of my actual place in the world which persisted for several weeks. Then after a while the negative thoughts came back again and with them doubts that these drugs actually help – maybe they just take me farther away from “reality”.

Now I have thought again, and you confirmed what I thought of. Maybe I’ll try to actually medicate myself and give it more than just once. Just the thought that perhaps it can help me stay of the antidepressants makes the world feel a little brighter. Do you think it can help with emotional instability, in the same way as it helps against depression? And if so, which kind of dose would be best?

Thanks in advance!

Sincerely
Ann

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Hi Ann,

thank you for an interesting email that raises many thoughts. As you can probably understand, I would have to have a private session with you to be able to give you specific personal advice, but I can discuss some of the issues you raise in a broad sense.

Since you mention suicide, I would like to start off by saying a few words on the subject. I had a friend who chose to commit suicide and several years later I managed to get in touch with him in spirit. He said that there are lives when one needs to experience suicide, but pointed out that it isn’t a choice like any else. If one ends one’s life without having finished one’s life lessons/challenges, you will need to do it all over again in the next life. To kill oneself to avoid a challenge is thus counterproductive, because you will need to redo the whole thing and will suffer in the same way for yet another life. With that in mind, I would like to say like my friend – dare to live.

With that said, let’s move on to your main question of whether hallucinogens can be good tools for working with your mood, and if so, how.

Hallucinogens are excellent tools for aiding in healing depression, emotional instability and such conditions. I have myself healed from severe depression with LSD and have seen many others do the same with mushrooms, San Pedro, Ayahuasca, and even Cannabis. I would however not recommend Cannabis initially, because it is the only one of the plants and substances that I have listed that I perceive has an actual addictive potential, and at the same time it is not as potent as the other plants/substances.

There are plenty of stories of miraculous healing with these plants and substances, but I want to discourage you from approaching them as some kind of quick fix. Sure, you might fix your emotional instability with a single trip, but it is much more likely that you need to put a lot of work into healing yourself. The plant or substance in that context is only a tool. You will need to do the work to heal yourself, so be prepared for that.

What to do first?

Without knowing much about your specific problems I would probably first advise you to clean out your life. Your mood originates from somewhere; possibly from old wounds and relationships. If there is too much other clutter, you will need to spend a lot of time cleaning it all out of the way, instead of diving into the core of things. Therefore, you should get rid of as much clutter as possible in advance, in your everyday life.

First off – promise yourself to recover and to do whatever you need to do so. Then examine your life and remove everything that is not favorable to you. They might include things, relationships, ways of seeing reality, and more. Remove anything that does not benefit you. There are certain things that you should really get rid of completely, because they disrupt your energy structure: alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, drugs (here I do not count hallucinogens) and sex where you do not respect yourself. The first two are particularly important, as they clog the body’s energy structure and are in their very essence self-destructive.

Once you’ve done that, I would consider that you are ready to begin working with hallucinogens for healing.

How do I work with hallucinogens?

Once again I feel I should point out that you would need to book a private session with me for proper counseling. The answers I can give you here are general.

There are two questions that I think would be good for you to ask yourself initially:
1. Do I need a shaman/therapist/guide?
2. What plant or substance should I work with?

Based on what you have written, I think it would be wise for you to work with a shaman/therapist who not only knows hallucinogens, but who also understand the kind of mental states that you are struggling with. Someone like me could help with such things as:
● To help you prepare for your trip/trips
● To maintain a safe and secure place for you to meet and work with yourself
● During the trip to do things like clearing away blockages, parasitic energies, conveying messages from spirit helpers or channeling healing energy
● During and after the trip to be your mirror and discussion partner
● After the trip to help you structure your continued work and help you maintain your focus

Some people can do all this themselves, because they have an innate ability to work with their own development, but I feel that far from all can do so. Many instead risk going wrong, getting trapped, or even being frightened by the experience and taking several steps backwards. If you feel with you that you cannot do this by yourself, I would advise you to work with someone who can support you. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a shaman or therapist, but could also be a friend who has the knowledge and the abilities that I have described.

Plant/substance and dose

It is impossible for me to say in advance what kind of dose you should have. I always double check what dose a client should have before a session. Usually I do so with tarot cards, but I also use my common sense. I generally prefer high doses, because it will lower your defenses and allow to quickly go in depth with the actual problem. But what is an average dose for one person can be a high dose of another, so you need to determine the dose on an individual basis.

Which plant or substance is most appropriate in your case is in the same way hard for me to speculate. That is also something I would check in advance. Usually I find that it is clear which plant, substance and even who you should work with, because they tend to appear when you are ready. If you need LSD, LSD will come knocking at your door and if you are meant to work with a specific shaman/therapist, your attention will be directed to them.

Set reasonable expectations

Hallucinogens are surrounded by an almost magical aura. I have seen many miraculous events on hallucinogens, but to expect a miracle is not reasonable. If you are supposed to have a miracle, it will come to you, but it’s much more likely that you need to work devotedly to recover. Get ready to do so.

It is reasonable to expect that you will devote considerable attention to this for at least a year and during that time you might need to take several trips. Periodically you may even have to trip quite often. But tripping is not the thing. The trip shakes things up and loosens things, but it is between trips, in your sober state, that you will need to work actively to translate the insights that you got into your normal life.

For example, if you come to realize that you are making yourself ill through the relationships you have, with what you eat or how you behave, you will need to sort those things out. Although it can happen, it is not a reasonable expectation that the hallucinogens will collect all that is bothering you and remove it. You will need to do that work.

Photo: Bang-bang by Yuliya Libkina on Flickr

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