Tag Archives: depression

Why psychedelics are illegal

Many people crudely think that all illegal drugs are illegal because they are physically dangerous to the user. That is not the case. Different substances have been made illegal at different times and for different reasons.

Some substances are rightly illegal because they are physically dangerous. Heroin, crack and GHB are examples of dangerous substances that pose a very real risk to the user. Ironically though the two most dangerous drugs – alcohol and tobacco – are not illegal.

Other substances are however illegal for very different reasons. Two reasons are very prominent: because they are perceived as dangerous to the status quo and to target and persecute specific groups.

Just the other day I was asked why psychedelics are illegal. They are obviously extremely useful medicines and also very safe when used correctly. Well, there are several reasons for them being illegal and most of them have nothing to do with health, but let us begin with the health issue.

Psychedelics are commonly non-toxic and pose no physical threat even at extreme doses. Most of these substances are not even possible to overdose to the degree that they would be life threatening. But there is one real health risk and that is to the user’s mental health. Psychedelics have the unique capacity of unlocking the doors of the unconscious mind. They can release what has been carefully locked away and repressed. This is of course what makes them such powerful therapeutic tools, but if the person isn’t open to taking care of what comes up the experience can be quite traumatic. The same goes for other kinds of therapy, meditation and contemplation. If you aren’t ready to meet what you have repressed you shouldn’t do or take anything that will uncover what you have buried.

nixon_militaryBut besides this, what were the perceived dangers that made psychedelics illegal? To grasp this one must look at the historical setting. Where did the push to criminalize come from and what is the backdrop? To understand this we need to go back to the USA in the mid 1960’s. Government at all levels were in a cold war state of mind trying to root out possible dissidents within. The Vietnam war had dragged on for ten years, US involvement was sharply rising, as was the death toll. It was a time for hardliners and hawks. JFK had been murdered and the much less diplomatic Lyndon B Johnson took his place. He was then followed by one of the fathers of the War on Drugs – Richard Nixon.

At the same time a very vocal and at times even revolutionary opposition was forming at home. There were many different movements with many different objectives, but when talking about psychedelics the hippies are of course at the focal point. What were they up to? They protested, burnt draft cards, let their hair grow, dressed strangely and promoted free sex, just to name a few things. In the eyes of a person like Nixon, and there were many like him at the time, they were trouble makers who were upsetting the status quo. They were anti-establishment peacemongerers and as such perceived as threatening by the establishment.

At the very core of that opposition was the experimentation with drugs and the one that has forever been associated with the hippie movement is of course the psychedelic LSD. So what was it about LSD that sparked this opposition and backlash towards the establishment? I think the ethnobotanist psychonaut Terence McKenna was spot on when he said that “they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.”

Photo: DaveHippie by studio muscle on Flickr
Photo: DaveHippie by studio muscle on Flickr

What LSD did was to awaken people from their cultural programming and indoctrination and let them see the world with other eyes. When they did so they could not accept what they had been taught, so they rebelled. They rebelled against violence, militarism and domination and instead sought “peace, love and understanding”.

On a side note both the CIA the American military had experimented heavily with LSD before it found its way to the hippies. One notable side effect was that quite a few soldiers that had been given it laid down their guns and refused to pick them up again.

For a person like Nixon this was all extremely threatening. To him America was losing its youth to a drug culture that was in direct opposition to the establishment. And he certainly had a point. If you want people to follow orders, be aggressive towards one another, go to war and kill people you will not want to give them LSD, because they will start thinking for themselves, refuse to follow orders and will refuse violence.

LSD was not made illegal because it is physically harmful to the person taking it. It was made illegal because it makes people question authority and social injustices and prompts them to do something about it. LSD and psychedelics threatened and still threatens the fabric of domination culture by showing people that another world is possible.

While many believe that our drug laws are there to protect us we have in fact inherited most of them from a time when domination culture was scared of losing control. Our drug laws are in many cases in place to hinder mind expansion and rebellion against the violent domination culture and the status quo, and most certainly so when it comes to psychedelics.

This is a pattern of dominance which is repeating itself.

Today the political establishment are the ones oppressing and persecuting the users of psychedelics. Yesterday it was the church. The brutal persecution of witches, witchdoctors, healers, shamans and anyone seeking other modalities of healing or other ways of reaching the divine was the church’s version of the War on Drugs. The vocabulary surrounding it all was different but still quite similar. Instead of safety and health concerns the church would talk about being in contact with or possessed by the devil or evil spirits.

Witch BurningWhile they might well have believed their own story, just as many do with the story of domineering culture of today, it was ultimately based in a fear of losing control over people. As many, perhaps even most, who work with psychedelics will attest to, psychedelics are often a door to the divine. They break down the limitations of our cultural programming. When it comes to the church there has often been an idea that certain people should act as intermediaries for the rest of us, thus the control over the contact with the divine and the divine will has been hijacked by priests and such. What psychedelics often do in that case is give the user his/her own personal contact with the divine, making the intermediary superfluous. For someone who wants to maintain control over other people this is of course extremely threatening and also provocative to the point where the church would be willing to kill people.

One needs to remember that the greatest threat to the church is that each and every one of us would be able to have our own contact with the divine. If we did have that contact the church would soon be redundant, at least as an interpreter of God’s will,  so it lies in the interest of the individual career makers within and also in the organisations themselves to see to it that people do not have their own contact with the divine.

And that is of course the pattern of domineering that is repeating itself today. A lot of people, organisations and companies stand to lose a lot of money and power when psychedelics are let free. It is in their interest to keep them illegal. If you could solve addiction, PTSD, depression and such with one or a few psychedelic trips the medical and pharmaceutical industry would take a huge dive. If people would stop tolerating violence that would mean the end of the military and the industries that profit from war. If each and every one would be given the tools for connecting with the divine themselves the world religions would lose their strangle hold on the minds of people.

It is in the interest of anyone who wants to dominate someone else that psychedelics are kept illegal and are continually persecuted.

That is why psychedelics are illegal.

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All states are contagious

I’m pretty sure that all of us have experienced contagious laughter. Someone starts laughing which triggers others to laugh and soon enough everyone is laughing. It’s the same with yawning. Seeing someone else yawning will very often make you yawn too.

What many people are less aware of is that it doesn’t stop there. It goes without saying that it is easy to get angry when someone is angry with you, but it is less obvious that someone else’s confusion might rub off in the same way.

All states can be contagious. Laziness is contagious. Dreams are contagious, as are depressions. This is especially true when you are less conscious, have a weak third eye or lack determination. Such people are more easily swayed by others emotions and visions, but very few people are so strong of mind and heart that they are immune. Therefore it is important to be aware of what you are picking up from other people and ultimately what people and emotions you are surrounding yourself with.

If you are in a state which you do not want to be in there is a very real chance that it doesn’t actually belong to you. Then you need to track the source and disconnect. Sometimes that can mean to get rid of the relationship, but it doesn’t always need to be that drastic. In some cases it is enough to become aware of where you have been picking it up and to leave that emotion with that person.

If you are in a bad state and you are the source, then be aware that you are contagious. You are contaminating the environment around you. You might think that how you feel is your own business but that is not the case, especially if you have children. Your confusion, laziness, anger, depression, anxiety, bitterness or whatever will rub off on them. Get your act together and take responsibility for the mess that you are creating. Change to create something different.

Photo: Big yawn by Björn Rixman on Flickr

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What I learnt by fleeing Macau

When I landed in Macau, China, as an exchange student, I saw myself as quite the globetrotter. It is easy to suffer from hubris if you are a white, well-off European. One might even say that it is part of the role. My hubris was particularly severe with a super inflated ego.

If I had gone to Hong Kong, just east of Macau, I might have managed. There the British successfully ruled together with the local Chinese people, which gave a certain respect. Macau on the other hand was ruled by the Portuguese, and they imposed an apartheid like regime that systematically oppressed the Chinese people. The shoe now being on the other foot, the Chinese in Macau let the Whites know what they are worth. They ranked me lower than a dog.

I went to a shop.
In shops clerks usually dealt with me in one of two ways. Either they had me under constant surveillance, as if I were a thief. Or they would constantly move around in the shop to make sure to stay as far away from me as possible, which made me feel like a leper.

I went to a restaurant.
– I do not eat meat. Can I get vegetables? I stammered in beginners Chinese.
The waitress looked at me as if I was an idiot, turned away and began to fold napkins. I tried to attract her attention. She didn’t give a shit. Finally I went up to her and interrupted her napkin folding with sign language.
– Here, look, menu. My mouth, here. Need food. Give me anything. This. Please.
– Yawn, she gestured back and continued folding napkins.

I needed a taxi.
I went to the first in the queue. The driver hastily took off without me in the car. So did the next one. And the next. They obviously didn’t want me in their cars. The only way for me to actually get a taxi was to sneak up from behind, jump in and buckle up before the driver had managed to escape.

During one of the few lessons I actually took at the university in Macau I got to know the I Ching – a Chinese divination book. In desperate need of guidance I asked what I should do. It warned of the consequences of a panicky retreat.

It didn’t take more than a month before I broke down completely and fled in panic. That evening I squeezed aboard the boat to Hong Kong and then lied to get on board the first flight back to Europe.

My culture clash with Macau left me with a broken ego and zero self-esteem. I was annihilated. Worthless. Just as the I Ching had warned I fled instead of confronting my hubris, which left me a wreck.

The depression that ensued lasted for four horrible years.

Looking back I can honestly say that it is among the best things that have ever happened to me. If I wouldn’t have crashed I probably wouldn’t have been on the healing journey that I am on today. I would still have been super inflated.

Another thing that I learnt from the entire ordeal is that I am still a pampered European, simply because it is in my power to have such a panic reaction and flee. Others are less fortunate. They flee from their homes and when it gets too hard for them, when people are racist and cruel, they are not able to swiftly escape the situation. They are forced to remain in it, which often comes at a terrible cost. We should help refugees far more and far better than we do today. One reason why we don’t is that our Western society as a whole has a super inflated ego and hubris. We could all need a trip to Macau so that we can get our priorities straight.

Photo: Lift off… 3 by Simon Allardice on Flickr

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Mårten on the subject of time and how it can break

These are notes from a channelled conversation with a spirit contact named Mårten. In it he discusses time, trauma and identity. This is a rough translation from Swedish.

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– Trauma changes time, there becomes a gap in it. Strong traumas fracture our experience of time. When something happens in a place that time is carved into it. In a place with many traumas, such as Auschwitz, time is fragmented and chaotic. It still is. Time has not moved on, which means you can go there and experience it again.

– It is the same for people. Time can break for them. For someone traumatized by losing someone, for example, time can become so fragmented that the experience could just as well have happened 7 seconds ago, as 7 years ago. A person like that breaks every day.

– Thus both a place and a person can get stuck in a certain time.

Identity and time

– Time is linked to the identity we create in the life we ​​live now. In our basic state that time does not exist, it is only now. When we are through meditation work our way down to our basic state we come to now, which also brings great security. In the ego, identity, we create time. It is with the help of the time we then create memories, what we’ve been through and what we dream about.

– Our memory teaches us the basic, practical social things. Therefore we need time, in order to learn and create our selves. We build our dreams on what we have experienced.

– When it works you go from one time to the next, but when there is a trauma time is fractured. Small images are spread and shattered. If that happens you can get stuck or move on without the image. It is the image of one’s self or expectations for the situation.

Fragmented time

– People with traumas have fragmented time. This may occur in many ways, for example by assault, accidents, vulnerable situations, lost love, alcohol and drug addiction, psychoses, neuroses, depression and apathy.

How can we mend fragmented time in a person?
– It depends. The person has to want to.

– One way is by remembering. A piece of time breaks. The pieces are still there in your backpack. You feel broken. Putting together the pieces begins by remembering how the image was before it was broken. This is not something to do by yourself.

– Go into the difficult things to reach the realization that it is okay that it happened.

Can you bring such time fractures to the next life?
– Yes, as karma.

How does one work with time that has been shattered by alcohol?
– By remembering. It is still there, that what was before the intoxication. There is something about yourself that you do not remember.

I forget who I was during that time. I don’t remember the hardest parts.
– You behaved in a way when you were drunk that you now do not want to remember as a part of you. Compare before and after. What disappeared in-between?

– The biggest key is identifying yourself. Every day and in every situation you decide how and who you want to be. You have to decide all the time, facing each new situation. A large part of our identification is based on how we have been and what we have been through in life. It determines our decisions and how we choose to be today.

Paused and enlarged time

– Sometimes time is broken in a way that it stops right there. We note details that we always remember afterwards. Pause. Then the problem is not to remember, but to get the image to assume the same proportions as the rest. The image stands out from everything else. That is as great a trauma. An equal displacement in the ability to identify.

– It depends on how time was broken, what one has done since, and our attitude.

Remembering and patterns

– There are some keys, but they have so many different variables. To remember has so many different variables. Remembering with the mind can be one tool, but you can also remember with the body or by saying things aloud.

– Then there is the aspect of patterns. We have time to create patterns and logic. We learn order and how to create patterns. This means that trauma of various kinds also create patterns, which often makes it happen again if it has happened once. Maybe that could also be a way to remember, until we actually remember it, until we actually see what is going on.

– The process is the whole thing, our process. Things happen and we get stuck. That’s why we have all these lives and continue to reincarnate, because we didn’t learn. So we bring it along to the next life too.

– It is through our identity and the experience of this life that we can get through the illusion and down to ourselves. See it as our core or essence. On it are various layers. Identity is one layer. That means that whatever we do in life can not damage the core. Any dirt will be on the outside of it.

Energy inward and outward

– Energy that harms, that stems from the illusion that the ring of identity is the self, is directed outward. We create the illusion that we are separate from God.

– Real healing energy can mend the identity ring. Then the energy is directed inwards, towards the core, and then we realize that we are God, that everything is connected, that everything has meaning, that we are complete. When we look for explanations outside of ourselves we direct the energy outward.

How do we direct the energy inward?
– Just do it. When we actually do what we know is right for us. It all ties together. When I know what I need to do I am in contact with the core, and then the energy is directed inwards. When we disconnect the mind, which is a huge process. When we become aware that we are not our thoughts. When we wake up.

– Most people have a little energy inward and little energy outward. Being in contact with ones intuition and feelings makes the energy go inward. The mind switched on, then the energy will go outward. The more energy goes inward, the greater humility the person will have. It becomes a tool. Such a person is aware that she is not the work she performs. She doesn’t identify strongly with such things.

– The essence, our soul – whatever we experience, we cannot damage it. Our identity can be damaged and create a “broken person”, slit personality and other disorders, but inside of that the soul is intact.

– With techniques for getting in contact with oneself so much healing occurs by itself, because that is the nature of energy – to heal.

Hallucinogens as medicine

– Hallucinogens can be excellent tools in this context, but the identity ring cannot be too broken. The identity ring needs to be quite intact, because it is through it that we create the context and intention. If the ring is broken the energy goes outward and becomes harmful.

– How noticeable hallucinogens are depends on how strong your identity ring is. If your ring is full, you are in balance.

Getting stuck in a time

– There is another way for time to break. We talked about 1. gaps, 2. that it is frozen and magnified, and 3. that a piece of time breaks so that it becomes choppy and fragmented. One can also get stuck in a time, often in a sequence. With a longer period of difficult things you can start reliving what is happening. It is repeated for real or it feels like it is being repeated. Outside time continues, but on the inside the same time pattern is repeating itself.

Four time injuries

– The person who has had a time injury needs to identify what kind.

Four time injuries:
● gaps
● frozen and magnified
● broken, shattered, fragmented, choppy
● stuck in a time

– In recovery we need to create a new identity based on the present. The past is no longer relevant.

Photo: Trolley Drain by darkday 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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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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LSD and psoriasis

At 22 I was diagnosed with psoriasis. For those of you that don’t know what it is, it is a common chronic skin condition where the skin produces an excess of skin, which leads to red, scaly patches which often itch. The worst part about it was the shame that I felt. The best treatment for psoriasis is sunlight and salt water, but when summer came around I was so ashamed that I would walk around in jeans and I never went to the beach. That in turn further aggravated the psoriasis, which is triggered by such things as stress and emotional insecurity.

Then along came LSD when I was 31.

LSD isn’t a cure for psoriasis, but it does help us sort out such things as emotional conflict, stress and problems of the ego. From having been ashamed of myself I came to accept my situation. I accepted my body with all its ugly red spots and that summer, for the first time in nine years, I wore shorts.

For a few years my psoriasis faded out and became much better, because the LSD solved a lot of the mental anguish that had triggered my psoriasis and it changed my attitude to my body and everybody else.

It has been another nine years since I first took LSD and my psoriasis has come back, since it is a progressive disease and I haven’t found the root cause yet. But there is one major difference from when I was in my 20’s. I’m no longer ashamed. My psoriasis doesn’t stress me, it doesn’t make me feel bad about myself, there is no mental anguish and my general attitude to life and myself has improved manifold. It’s still a shitty disease to have, but I’m not going to feel shitty about it.

Photo: Choices, Changes and Challenges by Aristocrats-hat 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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When the oppressed oppress

I once signed up to be an exchange student i Macau, China. It was a deeply transformative experience, but not in the way that I had imagined. I fled the place after just four weeks with my ego shattered, which plunged me into a four year long depression.

You see, I went to Macau thinking that I was the great globetrotter that could handle anything. I was hard headed, to say the least. What I didn’t know when I signed up was that Macau is extremely racist towards white people.

In nearby Hong Kong the Chinese generally get along well with whites. There the British ruled and they did so very well, letting the Chinese be a part of the system they built. Macau was a very different story. The Portuguese ruled Macau and they did so in an apartheid manner, oppressing the Chinese and keeping them away from any kind of power. So while they like Westerners in Hong Kong, they absolutely hate them in Macau. And I unknowingly stepped straight into that with my white male globetrotter ego flying high.

They treated me like shit, so after only a few perfectly awful weeks I fled in chock. Of course, being a white Westerner I have the privilege to flee uncomfortable situations, which refugees and such do not. In retrospect I am very happy that I had that experience. Yes, it did shatter my ego, but my ego was in desperate need of being shattered. Yes, it did plunge me into a four year long depression, but working through that gave me so many insights into how people work and tools to help. And it has also given me humbleness towards the hardship that refugees face. But having said that, I suffered nothing less than a deep trauma.

There are many that are like the Chinese I met in Macau. People who have been so oppressed and that are so angry over the discrimination that they feel they have suffered, that they are willing to unleash the same kind of hell on others. They have been so badly mistreated that once the table has turned they mistreat others. Two for me obvious examples are the Jews in Israel and some feminists, especially the younger more radical ones. Although I can definitely understand the reaction, I cannot sympathize with it, since it adds to and thus perpetuates the problem.

Photo: Angry mob? by Karla Fitch on Flickr

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Imagine this

Now imagine this.

As a teenager you suffer from recurrent anxiety and depression, which sometimes makes it difficult for you to attend school. You start working, but you are still so down that your boss finally sends you to the doctor for help. You get antidepressants and life brightens slightly.

But only slightly and just in the beginning.

Because after a while the anxiety comes back and you start to numb yourself with alcohol and drugs. Sometimes you lose control and become violent, but all you really want is to escape whatever it is that makes you feel bad. Dazed, you are in a free fall in life. You are falling apart and at the same time desperate to escape.

But then one day you manage to brace yourself with all your power long enough to enter rehab. Only a couple of days later your girlfriend tells you she is pregnant, which motivates you to change your life. You go into counseling and get medicine.

But the drugs are not helping you get rid of your anxiety, worry and depression. Instead they cover it up and sedate you. Behind it all your problems are still there. The drugs don’t work very well and you are given stronger medications and increased doses, which gives you serious side effects. You become sluggish, tired and out of it all. Some periods you sleep most of the day, but others you don’t sleep at all. You gain weight and sweat enormously.

Finally a puzzled physician gives you a choice: start take benzo (benzodiazepines), which is a strong sedative with a long list of side effects. It’s addictive, you have yourself abused it earlier on in life and it often leads to apathetic and emotionally blunted states. You know you absolutely do not want to take it.

At the same time several friends advise you to try medicating yourself with cannabis. You have certainly smoked cannabis before, but only when you were abusing something else at the same time. Never as medicine. Faced with the choice to try illicit cannabis or to take a medication that will sedate and blunt you, you choose to at least give cannabis a try before you agree to take benzo.

You can hardly believe that the effects cannabis gives you are true. The medical fog you have found yourself in over several years is dispelled. Suddenly you sleep regularly, you take an interest in life and you begin to set goals for yourself. You go back to school to become a tattoo artist and in time you open your own studio. Suddenly everything is happening very fast. But above all the anxiety is gone. Not gone as in sedated, but actually gone. Your worries are gone and so is your depression. Earlier on in life you had a tendency to destroy everything in order to escape yourself, but now suddenly you turn your energy to create, heal and take responsibility.

But buying cannabis from drug dealers isn’t a solution. The availability is uncertain and the quality is uneven, so you decide to grow your own cannabis. You carefully examine what medical strains are best for you and then order seeds from Holland. It is legal to buy seeds, but not to plant them. But you value your recovery and well-being above the law, so with love and care you grow your own medicine. Everything you grow is only for yourself and you do so for many years. In the mean time you feel great, your company develops, you get married and make an effort to be a good father.

Then one day there’s a knock on the door.

It’s the police who received a tip from customs a few months earlier that you had been sent a package of seeds. Now they want to see what you’ve done with them.

What is morally right?
Should you be punished?
Do you have any legal right to heal yourself, as you are supposedly guaranteed in the Declaration of Human Rights?
Should you go back to sedating yourself with strong medications that might deprive your children of their father and your wife of her husband, or should you continue with the illegal medication that actually helps you?
What would you do?

This is Jens Waldmann’s story. He was convicted in the District Court, but his case is going to the Court of Appeal in Jönköping, Sweden, January 15 2015, at 9 o’clock. The public is welcome to attend trials.

What do you think is right?

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