I grew up pretty strait-laced. I barely touched alcohol in my teens, never smoked cannabis and was too scared to experiment with any harder drugs. I was very apprehensive about being out of control of my body and I can’t say much has changed. That’s why, as an adult, I’m very surprised I’ve become an advocate for experimenting with psilocybin, the psychedelic compound that puts the magic in magic mushrooms. Not only did I partake in what they call a ‘Hero’s Journey,’ meaning a massive dose of the plant medicine, facilitated by a professional, I also continue to microdose to keep depression and anxiety from wrecking my life.
I didn’t come to this conclusion lightly and I continue to check stats on the latest research to be mindful if this approach is still good for me. So, I’m not writing this to administer medical advice, I’m writing about my experience to allow others to consider this alternative method for themselves. Do your research and do what’s right for you. That being said, let’s get into it.
It’s been over three months since my ‘mushroom journey’ and I’m still feeling the positive effects of the 4-hour event. I don’t know about you, but no martini ‘high’ has lasted that long for me. So, why could this be? Well, thousands sat down recently at a symposium in San Diego to discuss studying substances like magic mushrooms and ecstasy to help rewire the brains of people with depression, PTSD and chronic pain. NPR stated that this discussion was ‘One of the hottest tickets at this year’s societies for neuroscience. Apparently, many young scientists are interested in the long-term re-wiring potential of psychedelics. 
We have officially entered a pretty cool time if we’re talking about rewiring our brains. This is the stuff of movies right? Memento, The Bourne Trilogy, Blade Runner and Inception all give neuroscience a nod. We’ve seen it portrayed in many ways in Hollywood, but can we be bold enough to experience it for ourselves? I was afraid. I had at least four friends tell me about microdosing before I started researching it for myself. I had two other friends experimenting with Ketamine therapy, cryogenic therapy and of course a myriad of antidepressants. Now, I live in California and we are progressive here but still, I know a lot of people who are searching for answers to their pain, so why should we be scared to turn back to nature for the cure?
The day before my mushroom journey my facilitator told me to record a video of myself that I could look at again a year later. “Things will be different then,” she said to me, matter of fact. I asked her if I should write down any intentions before the journey. She simply texted back, ‘Just trust.’ She was completely right. There was no way to prepare for what the medicine showed me that day. Some people liken it to ten years of talk therapy in one session. I would agree with that. In fact, my friend who’s also a psychologist just did a mushroom journey herself last weekend and said, “I made connections that I don’t think I could have made in talk therapy. I think everyone should do it.” That’s a big vote from a trained Western doctor.
In addition to a strict intake process that screens for underlying medical issues that might be worsened by psilocybin – such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder – I had to stop taking anti-depressants. This is because most typical antidepressants also work on the serotonergic neurotransmitter system, so there is a risk of overstimulating the body if you combine psilocybin with certain medications. This took several months, but I was dedicated to finding a new way to manage my depression. I wasn’t seeking a way to ‘trip out’. I was battling internally. My life wasn’t flourishing and nothing else was helping.
Before we started, I noticed a few small trash cans in the room. When I asked what they were for she said, “Some people cry, some people laugh, some people puke.” What have I gotten myself into I thought? I wasn’t going to back out, but I sure wanted to. She assured me she would be with me the entire time I was under the influence and told me that when the darkness came, to ask why. She didn’t say, IF the darkness comes, but WHEN it comes. “Look Remy, you’re here to work on your depression, right?” She asked me. “Depression is dark. It’s ugly, it’s sad. We’re going to get rid of that, okay?” I felt like I was about to jump out of a plane, and she was my buddy who was going to pull the ripcord.
I was terrified, but I did it anyway. Within twenty minutes of drinking 3 grams of mushroom tea, mixed with orange juice, I began to feel the loss of ego that they talk about, meaning you’re not really in your body and have no reference of time or space. I was immediately afraid and asked if she was nearby (I had an eye mask on). My innocent, little baby brain that has never experienced any type of ‘drug’ was freaking out. This is exactly why you don’t try and do this type of experience on your own. If it wasn’t for my guide, I would have run out of the house screaming.
She was able to softly guide me through what seemed like the starting of a movie of my subconscious mind. My sister was there, my late father was there, my ex-fiancé was there, all in a flash. In and out, I was shown these images of love, pain, of disappointment, of illness, of loss and I couldn’t help but weep. It felt like I was releasing years of pain with an ultimate understanding of the source. My guide was right, there was a lot of darkness, but I just kept asking why and who’s pain it was and I was given the answers. Those answers would lead to the different life I’m living now.
I don’t have to wait a year to watch that video I made the night before to know that my life has already shifted for the better. The biggest gift of that experience being proof that everything I need to heal is within myself. I still feel deeply connected to some sort of divine energy especially when I close my eyes and quiet my mind. I feel more joyful in my day to day, lighter in my body and thoughts. I feel guided, taken care of. These after effects are going to be different for everyone. I was struggling with loss of love and support, and I was shown that wasn’t the case. Now my outlook is totally different. It’s like my brain has been re-wired to believe that I’m loved, supported and stronger than I think and that’s shifting everything for me.
I continue to microdose .1 grams when I feel I need it, following the protocol of taking two days off in between doses. I do not miss the side effects of antidepressants and will never go on them again after experiencing psilocybin. Also knowing there is a positive, cumulative effect to mushrooms makes me love them even more. And I’ve devoured any documentary on Netflix (there are many on mushrooms) teaching us the power of nature to heal.
It's a shame that this type of therapy isn’t easily available to more people, considering the immediate positive and lasting effects I’ve experienced. Psychedelic research was popular in the 1950’s but research ended when the government interfered. And yes, in some states they are still illegal. It’s my hope that we work to decriminalize plant-based psychedelics and that scientists and researchers continue to run successful trials and case studies for not only depression and PTSD but end of life anxiety and addiction where psilocybin therapy is also proving to make a difference.  We must be our own health advocates and figure out what is best for us. Maybe that quest means following an unfamiliar path but don’t be afraid to jump into the unknown, it might just be where you find your salvation.
If you want to learn more about the power of mushrooms, here are two amazing documentaries to get you started:
Netflix: Fantastic Fungi, 2019
Amazon: Dosed, 2019
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