From a prison of pain to a life of love.
How psychedelics healed a lifetime of trauma
I am not the kind of person one would imagine to be touting the benefits of psychedelics. I come from a traditional southern family. Privileged. Boarding school, Smith College, I interned for a republican senator on Capitol Hill. I am smart, attractive, well-educated. The world is my oyster. I can have, do or be anything I want.
Or so it would seem.
For some reason, instead of a life of success, marriage, family and the pursuit of the American dream, my life has been riddled with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, weight problems, abusive relationships and a constant feeling of shame and worthlessness. The only place I have felt safe in this world is wrapped in a blanket watching TV.
How was I supposed to chase a career, have a family or even cultivate a social life with this crushing weight of chronic PTSD? Somehow I was lucky enough to not fall into the trap of addiction, as so many do. (Well, except maybe for TV watching.) But drugs never appealed to me and I knew alcohol was a bad path to go down.
I was determined to fix myself. So I dug into therapy, which was the only path available to me at the time. Where it was very useful in understanding why I felt the way I did and gaining tools to cope. It never really changed anything.
So I began to search for other ways. I tried every modality I could find. The landmark forum, Tony Robbins, hypnotherapy, biofeedback, meditation, breath work, energy work, EFT, EMDR, TRE the list goes on and on. And many of them did a lot of good. I saw improvement. I felt better, had more confidence, changed how I saw myself. And yet, at the end of the day I still lived in fear, loneliness and a feeling that something was fundamentally wrong with me.
Living in California one often hears about “plant medicine” Ayahuasca, Peyote, Mushrooms. Given my reservations about using substances to treat emotional issues, it was not really a route I wanted to go. But when I heard more about the results of the scientific research being done by MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), I decided it might be worth giving it a try.
Which is how I found Michael, the man who helped me find myself.
After a few weeks of intake and serious prepping for my session, I arrived at Michael’s space excited, curious and frankly a bit nervous. We opened the session with a prayer and setting intentions. Then he walked me through how the day would go. We would start with 150mg of MDMA and about 2–3g of psilocybin. This seemed quite daunting to me and although I was a bit scared, something in me really trusted this man. So I dove in.
I do not remember much from the session. What I do remember was feeling like I had reverted to a little child. I remember the terror, the sadness. I remember gripping onto Michael so tightly I I thought I would die if I let go. I remember curling up in a smaller and smaller ball on his lap, sucking my thumb like a child, crying, desperate to disappear. I remember him being like an angel protecting me, holding me and allowing me for the first time to feel safe.
As the day ended I felt nauseous, tired and ready to go to bed. It took me almost a week to recover and feel “normal” again. Michael checked-in constantly and eventually sent me an audio recording of our session. It was fascinating to listen to it with a clear head. When I heard myself speaking and crying like a child, it broke my heart. I felt a deep compassion and love for this scared little girl I was listening to. It was evident that I had only scratched the surface and that there was something very dark locked inside me that held the mystery behind my pain. So I decided to book another session.
6 weeks later I found myself again following Alice down the proverbial rabbit hole. This time I was struck by the ease with which I entered. I felt safer, stronger and more capable of going into the darkness. Michael and I had talked about upping the psilocybin to 5g to see how deep we could go. So, eagerly I took down the hero’s dose and gave way to the experience.
Once the medicine began to kick in that same little girl emerged. She was frantic, panicked, terrorized and crying for help. Repeating phrases over and over “NO”, “Stop”, “Please don’t make”, “Don’t make me do it again”, “NO”, “I don’t want to”, “I’m scared”, “im tired”, “no body’s helping me”, “its too much for a little girl”, “Mommy doesn’t love me”, ”Nobody loves me”, panting, crying, screaming, wailing.
Michael’s mastery blew me away, holding this little girl I had morphed into, reflecting to her, giving her hands to push against, giving her “NO” power. Telling her she is right, she is seen, she is loved, she is strong and she is powerful. Supporting every move with the kindest, gentle love and the most absolute and stalwart protection. This went on for over 4 hours. Until finally the little girl, exhausted, collapsed into nothingness.
And then, I opened my eyes. Present, Quiet. Calm. The room was vibrating, the trees outside the widow were dancing in technicolor. I looked at Michael who was sitting vigil by my side looking into my eyes, an angel, or an avatar shepherding me on my journey. I could see the very fabric of space and time. A field of sacred geometry, pulsing and breathing life into everything around me. I felt God, Spirit, the Universe, whatever name fits the oneness of that loving light that is our very essence. And then a question dropped into my head. “why? Why be here? Why stay here when there is so much pain?” and then the answer “You have not played yet” And then I knew. I knew that I came here to overcome and survive these horrors with an intact heart, with a joyous happy and playful spirit that would inspire and help others do the same.
Now, I know this sounds all very hippy dippy. And it is. But it worked. And continues to work. I have since done 2 other sessions with Michael and the effect that these “medicines” and “journeys” on my life is unparalleled. The heavy dark blanket of fear, exhaustion and PTSD is gone. My brain is changing, my neurology relaxing, weight is falling off my body. My TV addiction is gone. I feel vibrant, peaceful, grounded and radiant.
Now these changes did not occur the day the session was over. They have been unfolding and unfurling ongoingly. As I understand from the research, the improvements can continue for up to 12 months. I have found that true for me, and I am only 6 months past my first session.
My friends and family are stunned by the changes they have seen in me over such a short amount of time. Where they experienced me as nervous or frantic, many have noted how calm and present I am; that my leadership feels grounded and graceful, rather than controlling or pushy. One friend told me that for years they saw this huge potential in me, and fretted that I could not seem to realize it. Now, however, they are thrilled to see me fully embodying my power and stepping into the world in a much bigger way.
Most astonishingly, my partner who was against getting married again, has been so inspired by what has happened with me, that he proposed just a couple of weeks ago. Saying “I would be crazy not to marry this woman”
So, I could simply say that this treatment brought me happiness, confidence, weight loss, love and success. On a more authentic level, it allowed me to access the deepest, oldest part of myself. That little girl who felt so unseen, unloved and terrified, that she was sabotaging my life. The treatment allowed her to be witnessed, heard, held, validated and loved. And that is the key to true healing, growth and self-mastery. None of therapy or dozens of modalities I have tried over 3 decades came close to being able to accomplish this like the Psychedelics. When used in the right way, in the right place, with the right person, nothing compares to the power of psychedelics for healing your soul. And coming from an old world southern girl must mean something!