How Healing Depression with Psychedelics has Changed My Life
Exploring cures for my depression, anxiety, and CPTSD through psychedelic and indigenous medicine retreats.
After decades of dealing with depressive episodes, anxiety, and CPTSD that seemed to be resistant to every treatment, I finally experienced a dramatic, profound, positive reset for my mental health after a four-day psychedelic and indigenous medicine retreat experience.
I have never publicly shared about my mental health journey until now, it’s extremely personal and I’ve done the work to set my boundaries.
My reason for sharing is that this psychedelic experience gave me hope and relief for the first time in the longest time, so I feel compelled to share with the intention that I could give just one other depressed, hopeless, anxious soul a chance at healing and living a happier life.
When I say I have tried every treatment — I mean every pharmaceutical, holistic, and not so holistic treatment option that I could get my hands on — across all seven continents to boot. (Smoking a doobie in Antarctica was the closest I got to curing depression back in 2016 ;)
If you have ever had to deal with antidepressants, then you’re well aware that it takes literally *months* to tell if it works for you… then if it doesn’t, it takes even more months to wean off safely.
You easily lose six+ months of your life testing just one prescription, and the side effects are miserable and unpredictable.
I wanted — needed — to be done with this vicious cycle.
I got the to point where I truly did not want to live for another decade dealing with the horror of these depression dips.
I absolutely needed my two all time favorite drugs — hope and relief — to have the strength to keep moving forward.
Two weeks before the retreat (2/15/22), I was sobbing on a video call to my cognitive behavioral therapist — whom I’ve been meeting with religiously on a weekly basis for 18 months now since my most recent mental breakdown in September 2020.
I was absolutely exhausted from the variety of talk therapies I’d been engaging in (from therapists, NPs, and psychiatrists to business and life coaches to astrologers and clinical integrative nutritionists), not to mention all the self-care (acupuncture, facials, massages, sensory deprivation salt tanks, infrared saunas, steam rooms, swimming, chiropractic, rock climbing, etc) with no major progress or breakthroughs in mental relief.
I was doing the work, sitting in my shit, putting the time in, finally processing… yet remained stuck and stagnant mentally and energetically.
I am writing this first results draft one day after the retreat ended (2/28/22) — after a session with my therapist to confirm this is real life— and can say without a doubt that the three psychedelic medicine sessions plus the four days of support surrounding those voyages have dramatically decreased the symptoms of my depression and anxiety and greatly improved the quality of my life.
No, I don’t know how long this relief will last — results vary for each person — but honestly, even a solid week-long reprieve from this mental health hell that I’ve been living in is a welcomed break and what I need to carry on.
I have had anxiety since I was four years old, and have been plagued by wicked, uncontrollable panic attacks since my divorce six+ years ago — and for the first time during the retreat, I was able to cry without getting worked up and out of control.
I wish that wasn’t a huge deal, but it was a huge step for me, and I’ve been able to cry about past traumatic situations without panicking several times since then.
Day three after the retreat and my depression has dropped (on a scale of 1–10, 10 being the worst) from a steady, unbearable 9/10 down to a miraculous 5/10 since the first medicine voyage the first night of the retreat six days ago.
I can get myself out of bed without dread and slowly begin to function in the morning — I even got dressed and left my flat two days in a row (take that pandemic social anxiety)!
It’s like the medicine was able to clear out all of the trauma-induced cobwebs and fog in my brain — allowing the new truths, concepts, narratives, routines, etc that I’ve been dreaming of, creating, and trying to implement to finally come to life.
I’ve experimented with all sorts of psychedelics for 14+ years now, typically in a chill museum or nature situation, but never had the opportunity to experience with experienced doctors, nurturing psychiatric NPs, and integration professionals until now.
I have always gotten a positive release/relief from my miserable mental health fogs during those previous psychedelic experiences — so I decided I was finally ready to take my psychonaut life to the next healing level.
(Even if it meant braving a group trip and in person integration circles — which my highly sensitive, introverted self had managed to avoid for 46 countries and 46 states up until now. A group trip was truly my last resort — proof I’d do anything to heal.)
The team was quick to gently remind us that the psychedelic trips were just 30% of the long weekend healing efforts — the other 70% of support time (integration circles, healing sessions, spa treatments, massages, mud therapy, yoga classes, reflexology, acupuncture, sauna/steam room cycles, connecting with others, accepting support, guided meditations, friendly hugs, etc) are critical to long-term healing and recovery.
For me the hardest part was just showing up — then getting vulnerable, speaking my truth, asking for and receiving help — but damn did it feel good when I finally let go, trusted, and opened up.
(The easiest part for me was indulging in the spa treatments — all the mud therapy plz ;)
You are not alone.
There are beautiful human souls on earth who are doing their own work, are full of purpose and are passionate about supporting souls with mental health issues through the ups and downs of their healing journey.
I am open to sharing more and am curious to know what else you would want to hear about from my experience.
Feel free to comment below— I appreciate your patience in my replies ahead of time as I pace myself opening up about this healing journey.
I encourage you to do your own research and decide what will work best for your journey. You are your own expert.
You are your own expert.
Follow your intuition.
Holler here in the comments below or over on Insta if you decide to embark on your own psychedelic journey!
I’m rooting for you!
If you enjoyed this article, please do 👏 👏👏 clap and share it. Remember, you can clap up to 50 times — it’s free to you + it makes a tremendous difference to this writer and scrappy entrepreneur!
Grazie — I truly appreciate your time and energy!
P.S. What is the psychedelic medicine voyage like on this retreat, you’re wondering?
It’s difficult to describe, particularly with this specific medicinal treatment as it seems to give each patient their own uniquely divine healing trip.
I’ve been part of a handful of group integration circles with folks sharing their experiences right after a trip — and it varies from colorful geometric visuals to flashback memories of loved ones to just complete silence.
I personally have had a wide range of trip experiences on this medicine — wider than any other psychedelic I have tried.
It kicks in within minutes once administered — for me, it feels like my brain hops on a bobsled ride and blasts off into subconscious outer space — and lasts for under two hours while you peacefully lay on a yoga mat in an eye mask and noise-canceling headphones.
It completely lifts me out of the treacherous quicksand that I seem to slog through every damn day during my depressive episodes — which drives me absolutely insane and makes me a complete terror to deal with.
I have been intensely immersed in music, laughed loud, cried hard, seen super-cool Marvel movie-like visuals (call me Dr. Strange), had travel memory flashbacks, as well as deep subconscious journeys that have left me in a transcendent state for hours afterward.
Every voyage has served to help me heal in a different way each time.