Psychedelic Series #1: Over the Mountain

Meaghan Buisson
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Introduction

There is no denying that psychedelic medicines offer potential for healing beyond the reaches of talk therapy. But their tremendous healing potential carries with it equal capacity for abuse. Beyond my own experiences, history supports this view — whether it be the LSD trials of the CIA, Ewan Cameron’s thought control experiments, or the current spate of sexual abuse and iatrogenic harms pertaining to ayahuasca and other realms of psychedelic tourism. The intimacy of my first-hand involvement in the Phase II clinical trial for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD weighs heavily against my desire to challenge every facet of this approach.

I cannot write objectively about psychedelics, if it means denying my subjective experience. But the latter is conflicted: How can I have benefited from psychedelic medicine and yet still feel concern about its expanding use? How is it possible to be convinced of all things flawed in the psychiatric industry and biological paradigm of “mental illness,” while simultaneously allowing for judicious, time-limited drug use as a possible adjunct to ongoing psychotherapy? How can I think there is a place for mind-altering substances in anyone — let alone myself! — despite having experienced incalculable harm from psychiatric drugs? Finally, having researched and written extensively about the flaws of FDA-approved clinical trials, why would I subject myself to the same?!

Ultimately, healing is a deeply personal journey. When it comes to figuring out what’s best for an individual, my view is this: If it’s not unethical, immoral or harmful (or, at least, less harmful than alternatives), and it’s working for you, do it. One man’s Risperidal is another man’s Reiki. In the end, respect is the only way thoughtful conversation can ensue. Educated, evidenced-based and informed decisions emerge from understanding and dialogue, not dogma.

In the end, there are no easy answers.

For the past two years, I’ve felt the pulse of psychedelics in my heart, as a clinical subject and women struggling with PTSD, and in my head, as a researcher and long-time critic of all thing psychiatric. My hope here is to do justice to both perspectives. This essay is the first of a series exploring psychedelic use in trauma. Some pieces will be objective. Others, as with this one, offer an entirely subjective first-person account.

Over the Mountain

“DRIVEN AS A MIGRATING FALCON, I CAN BE BLOWN OFF COURSE YET IF I TURN BACK IT FEELS WRONG. NAVIGATING BY CHART AND CHANCE AND PASSION I WILL KNOW THE SHAPE OF THE MOUNTAINS OF FREEDOM, I WILL KNOW.”

— MARGE PIERCY

Light dances over a moss-covered cabin decomposing into old growth woods. As the sun sinks behind the mountains, a chorus of wolves echoes the haunting cries of loons. On an island cradled by the northern Salish Sea, I am miles from where I ever thought I’d be. I am also – incredibly – home.

Over a year has passed since the clinical tsunami swept across my life. In its aftermath, the stories to which I desperately clung disintegrated. My perceptions of stability did the same. I staggered across the landscape of my thoughts, seeking new paths to replace well-trodden dead ends.

When the tears finally came, they spread like bullet wounds across my therapist’s chest. There were two with me at all times. Hugging me often. Holding me as I cried. Providing the touch I craved as much as feared. Denied yet ached for, with the longing of a child unsure of what was safe.

Therapeutic breakthroughs occur on the edge of consent. They pushed me hard, my toes curling in protest. But each time I fell they were there. Holding my fragments together until the wounds mended enough to carry on.

As we journeyed through that gauntlet of horror, our alliance was forged. I was literally loved back to life.

After years of single-mindedly focusing on critical psychiatry, this foray into psychedelics feels vaguely illicit. In my not-distant past, it would have been unfathomable to contemplate any benefit of mind-altering drugs – let alone their use in treatment. Increasingly, if cautiously, however, I find myself doing precisely that.

It’s impossible to ignore the disparity between what’s lauded as acceptable or rejected as anything but. Especially when such determinations run counter to scientific rationale. Particularly since the topic is deeply personal.

Repetitious and relentless in nature, neither drug nor desperate action can ever fully numb posttraumatic stress. Healing requires venturing deeply into the cauldron of one’s soul, finding passage through fear and the means to transform vulnerability to strength. Doing so requires peeling off countless layers of armor like a skin that once fit but now only strangles. This brings little relief; there is a perception of losing oneself at every turn.

To take a psychedelic, writes Reichel-Dolmatoff, is “to return to the cosmic uterus and be reborn. It is to tear through the placenta of ordinary perception and enter realms where death can be known and life tracked through sensation to the primordial source of all existence.”

In January 2015, a Health Canada-approved Phase II pilot study of 3, 4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA)-assisted psychotherapy in chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) began in Vancouver, British Columbia. Sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Sciences, this study marked the first psychedelic research in Canada in 41 years.

Six Canadians were selected as participants.

I was subject number one.(1)

Devastation

There is no other word to describe the impact of trauma: The gut-wrenching awfulness of falling apart, no matter how fervent the efforts to hold together. Lapses in ability to remember countered only by an inability to forget. Triggers that surge without notice then dissolve into a haze of humiliation. Terror-filled sleepless nights on a mattress turning mouldy from repeatedly sodden sheets. Socially alienating behaviours. Socially isolating fears. Addictions. The effect on family and friends. The shame. Most of all, the shame.

Clawing oneself forwards in painstaking effort brings moments of normalcy. Interludes measured by the ability to function. Manage. Cope.

“Cope,” that is, until the next trigger or self-inflicted wound starting with the word ‘should’ turns peace into pieces as fragile walls come crashing down.

Countless appointments, therapies and pills mark an agonizing trajectory through the medical system. Diagnoses are flung like sophisticated insults by health providers too unconscious to notice the irony of their own triggered states. Complex trauma doesn’t fit neatly into a Cartesian box.

At last, all the drugs, adjuncts, hospitals, programs, doctors, therapists, therapies, are exhausted. Despite innumerable attempts at eradication, the symptoms wreaking havoc on this subject’s life persist. The final diagnosis slams down like a personal failure: “treatment-resistant PTSD.”

Those who bear their wounds present an awkward social commentary. Acknowledging all that lead to trauma in an individual requires admitting something deeply concerning at a systemic social level. Posttraumatic stress disorder is a perfectly normal response to abnormal, overwhelming trauma–much of which happened long before the focal event. Acute trauma hooks onto developmental wounds. To be expected to ‘recover’ in a medical system that ignores this, operating instead on a reductive model that alienates, isolates, or seeks to eradicate without addressing the underlying causes, is itself both iatrogenic and deeply traumatizing.

Fittingly, the words cure and curiosity share the same root. Both come from Latin; cura. To care.

No ‘technique’ that ignores the caring influence of the interpersonal relationship can wholly dissolve the roots of trauma. Whether biological, mind/body, acronym soup (DBT, CBT, MBSR, EMDR etc.) or even psychedelic, any method that measures recovery rate by symptom reduction alone is simply covering the underlying pathology — to wit, literally, re-cover. A dependency on the therapeutic relationship alone, however, is equally limiting in nature. Trauma lodged deeply in the limbic system lies well beyond the reach of talk therapy.

While supported, ultimately, healing is a deeply personal journey. From connection to caring, curiosity to cure, we each carry within us our own map over the mountains of freedom. The temptation is strong to seek another’s. But any ideology, if clutched with the fervour of rigid dogma, risks becoming a cage.

The fluidity of my own path winds through fear, anger and grief, seeking an ephemeral balance point. This lies somewhere between the consuming ache to not have every moment somehow defined or close to trauma and reality that wishing doesn’t make it so. It’s the point when the realization dawns that all the fervent efforts in the world can’t “fix this.” It’s accepting what I most fiercely reject: the reality that for once in my life, I can’t think my way through this. It’s the moment when the trying stops and the real curiosity begins.

When life explodes and the shrapnel destroys all external measures of validation, acceptability and success – what’s left? Who AM I?

I still don’t know. The best I can do is to muster the belief that my unexpected foray through the vicissitudes of trauma and discovery does have meaning, if only as an unwittingly gateway to that overarching question, and whatever purpose ensues. If a life can swing wildly off kilter from all it was ‘supposed’ to be, after all, logic follows that so too can it find a new equilibrium.

That’s not the same thing as buying into that over-used platitude “God (or the universe) doesn’t give more than you can handle.” Rubbish. People get slammed with far more than they can handle all the time. That’s how they wind up buried on Pickton’s farm. Standing on the corner of Hastings and Main. Shooting up crack cocaine in their high-rise corner office suites. Or even ‘just’ dealing with cancer or some other autoimmune condition from deeply repressed or unresolved trauma.

Truth is, not everyone gets their happy ending. But that doesn’t mean we can’t fight like hell to rewrite our scripts.

A whole lot of stuff happened that was out of my control. There’s some degree of control in this.

* * * * *

Footnote:

  1. The subject number has been changed.

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70 COMMENTS

  1. I’m glad to learn that hallucinogenics are being brought back under controlled circumstances. Just an editorial comment. It’s Donald Ewan “Cameron”, not MacCameron. He conducted some horrible experiments at the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal. “He has been criticized for his administration, without informed consent, of disproportionately intense electroshock therapy and experimental drugs, including LSD, which rendered some patients permanently comatose. Some of this work took place in the context of the Project MKUltra mind control program.”

  2. I am thinking about it but I have not done any LSD or mushrooms in almost 20 years. I loved it, music was beyond fantastic , the insights (write them down) , the laughing, the whole world becomes adventure land.

    Benzodiazepine dependency is also part of my story and so is rehab after the usual blame the victim when you become dependent on it. I have also tried most of the other popular illegal drugs.

    One thing that happens in drug and alcohol rehabs is people tell using stories about alcohol cocaine Xanax pain pills heroin those stories are almost always short depressing tragedies but when the subject of LSD or mushrooms comes up almost everyone who has tried it has a long fun story of what happened where they went what they did adventure. I have never met anyone who said they had a problem with “psychedelic dependency” I remember with the LSD you had to wait a few days or it did not work.

    It sounds so bad because many people are programmed to say OMG LSD psychedelic mushrooms bad bad but is it worse then what happens sometimes to a person that drinks half a bottle of Jim Beam or Jack Daniels ? Falling down, insulting everyone, starting fights…

    I never took psychedelics trying to treat anything but I can imagine how it could help hit the thinking reset button, I even noticed if I am getting OCD about something that a good night of drinking resets and like gets rid of it.

    Seems like all the focus these days is medical marijuana like it is the greatest thing ever, I think pot is garbage. How the heck does smoking that crap and getting anxiety and paranoia help anything ??

    I remember one insight that was therapeutic when I was doing psychedelics, I was at a friends and we turned the TV upside down and were watching it, a long story right there, but I looked at all the empty bottles of Budweiser and named them the “ugly beers” and just started thinking how strange it was drinking that stuff cause all the marketing told me too and look how ugly those bottles are.

    I can’t explain but I think psychedelics can have value just like people have for centuries.

    • “For centuries”

      Was doing mushrooms out on a boat and I was pretty sure I had a past life from 700 years ago, I loved the sea back then too. Then I started thinking about how the flywheel on top of the motor was making gravity waves just like spinning electrons make magnetism traveling through a coil of wire. What would happen if the outer edges of that wheel approached the speed of light if that could be done without it flying apart ?

      I also had some bottle rockets and was shooting some off the boat and understood why the Chinese used fireworks scare off evil spirits.

  3. Meaghan,

    Imagine if a rape survivor walks into a police station to report the crime, and what she is told is that she needs Therapy, Recovery, and Healing, so that she can go on with her life and get beyond her problem.

    You understand that this is an example of what activists have long identified as “Second Rape”. It is not necessarily that they don’t believe the victim’s story, it is simply that they don’t think anything should be done about it, or that any one is responsible except the victim.

    So you show me a Survivor of the Middle-Class Family, who has been directed to Therapy, Recovery, and Healing, and I’ll show you someone who needs instead to be talking with an attorney, and needs to be getting involved in political activism.

    Therapy, Recovery, and Healing are Second Rape. They do nothing to restore the social and civil standing of the victim / survivor. All they do is try to convince them that they are the problem, that the problem resides between their own two ears.

    “The practice of psychotherapy is wrong because it is profiting off of another person’s misery.”
    https://www.amazon.com/Against-Therapy-Emotional-Tyranny-Psychological-ebook/dp/1567510221/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475867624&sr=1-1&keywords=against+therapy

    Explains how all a psychotherapist ever does is protect their own denial systems:
    https://www.amazon.com/Thou-Shalt-Not-Be-Aware-ebook/dp/B006U1C0VA/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

    And then of course the purpose of drugs is simply a faster, more reliable, and cheaper version of what psychotherapy does, making people deny their own lived experience. So it is wrong to give out such drugs and it is wrong to conduct studies or discussions about their effectiveness, because the intended purpose is wrong.

    I had said that the drugs should be flushed down the toilet. But Frank alerted me that these chemicals are already being found in our drinking water. So best then is just to give the entire package, unopened, to your attorney, or to your County DA.

    Right now, the Good Family People with their collective denial system, control most of the wealth, assets, high wage employment, and institutions of higher learning.

    But we who have opened our eyes, the Survivors of the Middle-Class Family, have zero social legitimacy. So we face persecution in every walk of life, and the worst of all are employment and intimate relationships, simply because our lives do not look like those of the people who are in denial. And most of the time we just get directed to Therapy, Recovery, and Healing.

    This changes when we start organizing and taking legal and political actions, and when we start winning tangible results, instead of talking with commiserators. And I’m sure you must understand that to do this, just as a matter of practicality, we must reject any and all chemical mood alterants of any type.

    Would incarcerate doctors who give psychiatric meds to children, without the need to persuade doctors to testify against other doctors. Please Join:
    http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/our-own-bill-to-counter-murphy-t359.html

    Nomadic

      • Oldhead, You sound like the classic drug booster. Just like what the late Zen teacher Alan Watts described, saying that unless people have done the drugs you have, and in the dosages, then they don’t know what benefits they are missing.

        But you most know that people who want to feel their feelings don’t do drugs. You must know that. Or are you so committed to drugs that you can’t see it oldhead?

        Nomadic

        • Probably not worth continuing this but since not much else is going on — you refer to “drugs” the way conservatives refer to “government,” i.e. in a generic way that doesn’t convey much information. How do you define “drug” anyway? (I take it you don’t drink coffee or use aspirin.)

          • Don’t really use aspirin. But coffee is a drug, and I do use it.

            Telling people that LSD works better than psychotherapy is just like telling them what is intended, that psych meds work better than psychotherapy.

            But psychotherapy is based on a con, “Dissociate from your lived experience, heal, recovery, and you don’t have to deal with the injustices which have shaped your life.”

            Only when people place legal and political action first, can we say that a drug is doing only limited harm.

            The idea that people need Psychotherapy, Recovery, Healing, or mood altering chemicals is just another layer of abuse on top of the original abuses.

            Nomadic

  4. Psychedelics and “controlled circumstances” are like oil and water; ne’er the twain shall meet. If anything psychedelics show you that much of what you believe is “under control” is anything but.

    I think the more LSD etc. are used in a “mental health” paradigm the less genuine and less helpful the experience will be. Trusted “guides” as described in Timothy Leary’s “Politics of Ecstacy” are a much better idea than shrinks. And there’s no need to rationalize that this is “medicine” for a disease; it’s not.

    Hard to believe (but encouraging) that I’m reading things like this after all these years. Psychedelics are not “medicine”; they are more like tools for unlocking areas of consciousness not generally accessible, especially to a western lifestyle. They would be useless as pharmaceuticals because they’re cheap, often natural, and can’t be taken daily because they would soon lose their effect.

    Somehow when reading your prose I almost see trails btw. 🙂

  5. So glad to hear Meaghan that you feel that the benefits of this kind of therapy cut to the chase quicker (for you personally) than years of drug treatments and talk therapy. Try suggesting hallucinogenic therapy to your psychiatrist if your diagnosis is schizophrenia and see how far you get. Every psychiatrist would claim it to be destablizing, despite the fact that no one, to my knowledge, has even tried this with their patients. When I was looking for alternative therapies for my son that might help him experience a breakthrough to finding a sense of “self” I discovered a type of sound therapy. For what it’s worth, here’s a link to my blog where my son reports on his out-of-body experience due to sound therapy. http://rossaforbes.com/the-sound-shaman-as-therapist/ He spent a year doing the work, despite the objections of his psychiatrist. I see that there are now numerous links to sound therapy and schizophrenia. There are lots of exciting possibilities on the horizon.

    • Hoffer and Osmond dealt with that decades ago. Hallucinogens can be bad for you if you already are affected by numerous ongoing dysperceptions- you can “overtrip” and suffer a kind of delirium and possible prolonged reactions. This is easy to prevent; taking a Hoffer/Osmond Diagnostic test lets you quantify your perceptual disturbances to see if hallucinogens are safe for you. The problem is finding someone who has one, as mainstream shrinks find them to be an anathema. You’d have to find an orthomolecular practitioner, as they’re most likely to use them.

    • Hello Rossa,

      One of the reasons psychiatrists and psychotherapists might be destabilizing is that the treatment is illegal – unless one is involved in a clinical research trial like the author, psychedelic therapy is not available to people unless they choose to break the law. However, because of the courage of people like Meaghan and others, that hopefully will not be the case much longer. For more info, check out the research at the Multidiscplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies at http://www.maps.org.

  6. Hi Meaghan

    I hope this is only Part 1 of your story on the use use of psychedelics for trauma recovery. You have written a very powerful blog that leaves me wanting to know so much more about the transformative nature of your experience. I have an open mind on the possible therapeutic nature of these type of mind altering drugs in a safe and controlled environment, as you seem to have had.

    As a therapist, I have used EMDR for many years, and I believe that it was overall successful in helping many clients come to terms with past trauma. At the same time I know it has limitations and does not always go deep enough to help everyone.

    New theories about human memory have proposed that each time we revisit past events in our mind (and especially sharing this experience, out loud, with another human being) we are reconstructing and altering the original memory. I believe this is potentially a revolutionary analysis about the malleable nature of memory, and could be an extremely helpful guide for developing new ways to help people with a trauma past.

    EMDR often provides a safe and very unique way to revisit those past memories and create favorable conditions for reprocessing past traumatic events in a way that can lead to more self acceptance and self love. All of which are so horribly shattered as a child (or adult) with unbearable amounts of shame and guilt, believing that one was somehow responsible for what happened or “should have” done something different to avoid being traumatized.

    It is so wrong to tell such a victim “oh, it was not your fault, you couldn’t have done anything different because you were only a child etc. etc..” Most clients will shutter at such well meaning comments, thereby creating impenetrable resistance to further exploration of the actual events. Unfortunately, this can often short circuit some type of deeper assessment of human responsibility and accountability for how trauma events unfolded. These type of more self accepting conclusions about one’s experience in trauma are only something that (through positive memory reconstruction and reprocessing) that a client can determine (over time) FOR THEMSELVES. And most likely, this kind of deeper assessment will never reach (nor should it) “absolutist” or “black and white” conclusions regarding why past events unfolded in the way they did.

    Everybody knows deep down (even a child) that there are are (or were) different options, even under the most oppressive of conditions. This can often be one source of the unrelenting guilt and shame, especially when ONLY viewing these events through the prism of an adult mind many years later.

    It is only during deep therapeutic reprocessing (using whatever method that might work for the particular individual) that a trauma victim can truly come to terms with the actual limitations (most assuredly, one being that, indeed, they did only possess the relatively primitive mind of a child) that dictated an extremely limited number of choices under extremely difficult circumstances.

    The same can be also be true for more adult victims when they finally (in a deep and unblocked way) more thoroughly re-explore their past trauma events. All of this work will hopefully eventually allow a person to get to a point where they are no longer so “hard” on themselves and can truly understand, in a deeper way, the multitude of circumstances that so narrowed their choices and ultimately dictated the unfortunate outcome of such painful experiences. It is here where a deeper self acceptance and self love is finally achieved and the person can put these events in the proper perspective. Not forgetting their past, but no longer allowing the past to dictate or control future thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

    We all have experienced, on some level, various forms of trauma. Trauma experiences create many kinds and layers of emotional armor. This armor can be very protective and useful for certain periods of out life, but also they can eventually get in the way of more thorough going recovery and future progress. My own past experience with psychedelic drugs revealed how vulnerable they can make you feel. While this can have its pleasures, it can also be very scary under certain circumstances.

    I can imagine, that for some people dealing with past trauma and their own armored emotional defenses, psychedelic drugs (in a safe environment) might break down those defenses in a helpful way, thus allowing some people to more completely explore and reconstruct new memories of past trauma events in a therapeutic way. I am open to that possibility and definitely want to learn more.

    Meaghan, thanks for having the courage to open up this topic by sharing your own experiences and exploring a very controversial topic. Please keep wring on this subject, we definitely need to learn more.

    Richard

  7. Very powerful and truth-speaking essay, Meaghan. Your passion for healing is obviously driven for your passion for living.

    I think one bit of light on trauma is that it ultimately drives us to feel our freedom to experiment and go the edges. After all, we’re pretty much fed up with all of those boxes and expectations from others, aren’t we? Attaching to that, alone, keeps post-traumatic stress alive and well.

    I think detaching from social expectations and ‘the way things are done,’ in order to take our soul journey and feel who we are as creative spirits–the characteristics and purpose of which are unique to each of us– is healing in and of itself, because this is when we evolve. I think that’s the portal to emotional freedom and well-being, because as we take these leaps of faith, I believe we are creating a lot of good stuff for ourselves that matches our heartfelt intention–not only to heal ourselves, but to help others in their journey, those who wish to be supported, which we can all use from time to time. Actually key phrase, to my mind, would be: mutual support. That’s been my experience, in any event.

    “Ultimately, healing is a deeply personal journey.” Yep, so is life. ‘Nuff said.

    Thanks for opening the window to new perspectives.

  8. The setting is very important if you are going to do psychedelics , this was my favorite place to go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mXHtF5QpCA

    I am totally reminiscing.

    You could set up camp here and not worry about being bothered by anyone. Campfire, music ect … I was always like the tour director when me and my buddies got a hold of psychedelics, you had to have a plan.

    That was a long time ago before I moved away from there. LINY is now just high taxes , major war on fun, horrible politics, mostly home to the most rude angry selfish miserable people in the country, the whole place has a culture of narcissism, long story but moving away from there was the best thing ever for my mental health .

    Just like you have “cancer clusters” a geographic area with a statistically higher than average occurrence of cancer among its residents I believe you have like “misery clusters” a statistically higher than average occurrence of both narcissism in some and anxiety and depression in others. LINY is a “misery cluster”.

  9. PTSD
    shouldn’t exist for 40 years.Much as any so called mental illness.Of course
    hormones,can’t be reason for PTSD,or any other mental illness.This is
    belief of most experts in insane Mental Health system.Same is with both
    neurology and endocrinology.A big,fat lie.Rebellion against biology and
    evolution.It’s victim-my crazy kind.If anyone think,that LSD or weed
    should be solution for this-same dissaster as current psychotropic meds.
    My insane slavic mastermind is prepare to help anyone who will
    sacrifice his own career,for my crazy kind.

  10. There is an excellent book on this subject by biochemist Robert S. De Ropp “The Master Game – Beyond the Drug Experience”. De Ropp was a student of George I. Gurdjeff and wrote a number of excellent books. In his “Warrior’s Way” he daringly suggested that stress could cause the symptoms of “schizophrenia”, including the stress of intense psychological “work on the self” as practiced and taught by Mr. Gurdjieff. Free for download here.
    http://selfdefinition.org/psychology/Robert-S-De-Ropp-The-Master-Game.pdf

  11. Meaghan,

    You are a very courageous woman to pioneer psychedelic treatment, hopefully it will help slay your demons and open another option for trauma survivors.

    A further anecdote on Humphry Osmond, he supplied mescaline to Aldous Huxley, which resulted in his book “The Doors of Perception”. The book was also the origin of Jim Morrrison’s choice of ‘The Doors’ as his band’s name.

    Thank you for sharing your healing journey!

  12. Hi again. So Meaghan, new thread, if this topic is still active (it seems to be gaining popularity) — could you explain this “ayahuasca” you mention, I never heard of it.

    [Damn, looks like we have the edit feature now that we’ve been asking for. Do we get our comment histories back soon? That would be progress!]

  13. Hi Meaghan,
    Your words have a raw honesty that makes me recall Janis Joplin’s singing style and Iris Dement singing her own songs .You somehow combine this level of honesty with the bravery to go on your own Lewis & Clark type expedition . I’ve tried LSD back in the hippy days . There was some kind of reset like while tripping with friends while laying on my back on a grassy raised area at the beach in the evening looking up at the twinkling stars in the sky perception just shifted and I was flying high over a distant city far below me , the twinkling city lights .These days I realize the best strategy is just doing the best I can , then there is no reason to worry cause I’m already doing the best I can and worrying doesn’t help me or anyone else . Also I found a small framed needle point in a resale store that cost me $65 20 years ago . It has a quote I never saw before , ” Sweet are the thoughts that savor of content , a quiet mind is richer than a crown .” A.E.C. 1930 I look forward to reading your blogs and the comments they inspire. I wish you and others a long healthy happy life . Best wishes , Fred

  14. I once had a friend who suffered terribly from the effects of the trauma he experienced as a small child through junior high in school. He had a horribly abusive mother who did things that are difficult to believe but they happened. Basically the trauma shattered his life.

    He has great difficulty in confronting the trauma and can’t work to take control of it. He decided to take LSD and see if it might give him some way to deal with things. It was amazing to observe the effects that this experience had on him. He stated that he was able to confront the trauma and his mother in a way that was objective and nonthreatening. The experience enabled him to begin moving forward to deal with his situation. The difference in him was like night and day and I believe that the LSD was extremely helpful.

  15. It’s so great to hear from Mad people who remind us that abstaining from psychiatry is just as liberating as setting OUR OWN limits on it. This article is right up there with Corinna West’s article on her short-term return to pharmaceutical psychiatry. Well done, Ms. Buisson!

  16. “There is no denying that psychedelic medicines offer potential for healing beyond the reaches of talk therapy.”

    How can one possibly hope to advance an anti-psychiatric drug position, when they are entertaining ideas like that?

    We have talked about why the anti-psychiatry movement seems to be stuck. Well the reason for this is simple. In the days of R. D. Laing and D. G. Cooper, anti-psychiatry meant the end of trying to fix people, trying to socialize them. The issues instead was exposing systemic injustice and changing society.

    Now unfortunately, neither Laing nor Cooper were able to go any further with that.

    But today, anti-psychiatry is just a means for psychotherapists to advance themselves. They do turn people’s problems back on themselves, just like Evangelical religion does. And often they are hiring themselves out to parents needing help in abusing their children.

    So today the Boosters for the Good Family continue to control the vast majority of the wealth, assets, institutions of higher learning, high wage employment, and virtually all elected offices.

    And they defend their lies and denial. They have never made any attempt to deal with the truth in their own experience. They harm everyone they come into contact with, especially spouses and children, because otherwise their denial systems could be challenged.

    And they are the gate keepers everywhere. And so when we the Survivors of the Middle Class Family try to advance ourselves in any manner, they will step on us. They have to because right away they sense that we are not like them, and so they feel threatened.

    So we get stepped on, we feel distress. Sometimes this surfaces in eating disorders or psychosomatic ailments, or in lots and lots of other ways.

    So we are told that we need Psychotherapy, Recovery, and Healing. And if that were not ridiculous enough, “There is no denying that psychedelic medicines offer potential for healing beyond the reaches of talk therapy.”

    But are we organizing and standing up for ourselves and each other? Well that is impossible as long as people accept things like Psychotherapy, Recovery, Healing, Getting Saved, Motivationalism, Psychiatric Drugs, Street Drugs, or Ethanol.

    Right here a widely referenced and now classic text:
    https://www.amazon.com/Anti-Social-Family-Radical-Thinkers-ebook/dp/B00MDHRQQO/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1

    They explain, “Psychotherapy and the Recovery Movement turn your experience of injustice into a medical problem and a self-improvement project.”

    And so we keep getting further beaten down, and told that our problems are because of memories of past events, and oh our therapist has so much empathy for us, but they never have considered actually doing anything about injustice, as that is why they are a therapist. And so they tell us to just get over it, not understanding that our lives never possibly could look like those of the Boosters for the Good Family. For one thing, our eyes are open. For another, we do not have the same sort of a biography. And then for another, learning to live by lies and denial is a very dangerous proposition.

    So power is used against us, over and over. And we do feel it.

    “Hardly any of the ‘symptoms’ of psychological distress may correctly be seen as medical matters. The so-called psychiatric ‘disorders’ are nothing to do with faulty biology, nor indeed are they the outcome of individual moral weakness or other personal failing. They are the creation of the social world in which we live, and that world is structured by power.
    Social power may be defined as the means of obtaining security or advantage, and it will be exercised within any given society in a variety of forms: coercive (force), economic (money power) and ideological (the control of meaning). Power is the dynamic which keeps the social world in motion. It may be used for good or for ill.”
    http://www.davidsmail.info/introfra.htm

    But no, we the Survivors of the Middle-Class Family keep letting our experiences of injustice and distress get turned into a personal problem, and told we need Therapy, Recovery, Healing, Religion, Psych Meds, and Street Drugs like LSD.

    And the Anti-Psychitary Movement is today just Psychotherapists trying to advance themselves, and protecting their own denial systems, and we don’t do anything about it.

    Well things are going to start changing.

    Like for one, by putting some psychotherapists out of business:

    http://www.bhpklaw.com/Personal-Injury/Psychotherapy-Malpractice.shtml

    http://www.therapyabuse.org/RS_lawyers.htm

    http://website.lineone.net/~vex/How%20Therapists%20Abuse.htm

    Really all we have to do is publicly expose the sham they are running, and that will bring them down.

    Nomadic

    • “There is no denying that psychedelic medicines offer potential for healing beyond the reaches of talk therapy.”

      The semantics are flawed, as there is no literal physical condition in most cases so “healing” should be understood as metaphorical if it is used. I already said psychiatry is not an appropriate venue for psychedelic exploration (or anything else) and would be counterproductive almost by definition. But the basic point of the quoted sentence above is hard to dispute; as I said before you haven’t had the experience to make criticisms based on more then second hand “knowledge.”

    • Hi Nomadic,

      In response to this comment from you: How can one possibly hope to advance an anti-psychiatric drug position, when they are entertaining ideas like that?

      I offer this: the protocol for using psychedelics in psychotherapy is radically different than the current psychiatric drug protocol. The goal is that after just a few sessions, spread out over a period of a few months, there will be no more need for the psychiatric medications that are prescribed for DAILY USE FOR AN INDETERMINATE PERIOD OF TIME. Sorry to yell, but I hope you realize that this is a huge threat to the pharmaceutical industry.

      I laud your emphasis on legal recourse for trauma and abuse victims. I concur that trauma victims need to be empowered, but I would say from personal experience, that empowerment only came after I was convinced on a very deep level that is was not my fault. That validation came for me after good psychotherapy and the opportunity to experience an underground psychedelic healing session. Quite literally, for the first time in over 40 years, I understood – I knew – I felt – I believed – it was not my fault.

      You might find some helpful information by Googling psychedelic therapy for PTSD.

      Blessings,
      jb

  17. As long as people see pills as the remedy to their experience of injustice, then people will still be accepting when their doctor offers them the newest and latest ones. And then people who don’t have that kind of access to the health care system, will still be open to street drugs, like LSD.

    And then some others will be driving their kids to the doctor, because they have a conflicted relationship with their child, and so they want the doctor to drug them. Because of the doctor’s license and the FDA approval of the drug, it makes it hard for the child to ever obtain compensation via a lawsuit.

    Nomadic

  18. jbnorton wrote,

    “The goal is that after just a few sessions, spread out over a period of a few months, there will be no more need for the psychiatric medications that are prescribed for DAILY USE FOR AN INDETERMINATE PERIOD OF TIME. Sorry to yell, but I hope you realize that this is a huge threat to the pharmaceutical industry.”

    Sorry jb, but I do not agree. I know there are lots of literate pro-drug people who are admired. But I do not agree with them.

    I’m not even really talking about trauma and abuse. People get exploited in the family, and then they get exploited other ways too, like economically, being sent off to unjust wars, negative intimate relationships, negative work environments.

    No dissociation will ever help.

    As far as really knowing that it is not their fault, I agree with you. But the way to come to that is by close self-scrutiny and careful study, and by political and legal activism. Being able to politically organize is the most important thing, and just like with therapy, drugs interfere.

    So I stand by what I have said.

    Thanks for your comments though.

    Nomadic