My Experience with Depression, Anxiety, and Insomnia
I've had a couple of interactions via DM with some CBers, and have decided to put this on the general board. I am not in any way suggesting people do this, and I understand why some would have a Word of Wisdom concern that would render this unthinkable, and I respect that. I just wanted to share my own experiences without being ashamed about what I've suffered or gone through.
I'd been suffering from depression and anxiety for a several years when my therapist suggested using psilocybin mushrooms. This is the Bay Area, where you can get away with that sort of thing. The mushrooms were like a mental reset. For at least six weeks after, it was like there had been static in my head that I hadn't known was there until it was suddenly gone. A surprising secondary effect is that my insomnia totally vanished. I had been dealing with it by listening to this guy's guided meditation on YouTube (Michael Sealy) or taking a sleep aid when it got too bad. That has been totally unnecessary since December.
I'll be honest, you feel psychedelic effects, and they're fairly strong. Psychedelic mushrooms are not a drug that makes you "high," per se, and it's non-addictive, but now I understand why people who use psychedelic substances call it a trip, because it totally changes your perception during the event, and for some time after, and it feels like you're journeying through different states.
Looking into it, I think what is happening is that the psilocybin is activating tons of neurons in parts of the brain that aren't normally connected, which is why colors look different, sounds are different, etc., but at the same time, it is shutting down the Anterior Cingulate Cortex and Fronto-insular Cortex, which is where your ego, or sense of self lies. You feel like you're not rooted necessarily in yourself, or attached to your own worries about death or family or money, or whatnot, because you're standing outside of them.
A really bizarre, but not unpleasant side effect was that I felt like I was meditating into a spiritual zone that I'd only ever felt at super rare occasions in my life. I felt like I was a part of the universe, of God, of my ancestors, not a specific individual. I started crying, but I wasn't sad or happy, just full of emotion. Later, the next day, I felt like this buzzing that had been in my head was gone now, even though I no longer had any of the so-called psychedelic effects. It was like when your computer has too much software open, and you restart it, everything is running faster and cleaner for a while.
One thing I've thought about a lot over the last few months since that happened is how much of our reality is its own sort of hallucination about how the world is constructed. Input comes in, and we form mental images or imagine how people think about things. What tastes good to me tastes bad to you, and vice versa, but it's not necessarily reality. Some animals must find rotting meat extremely delicious, and that's their own brains creating a sort of subjective reality. When you change that perception slightly, all of a sudden it feels like what you'd constructed is just one way of looking at the universe, and there are other, equally valid ways of considering things. Even though my usual constructed reality quickly returned, I have the memory of feeling like I had a different mind. Kind of cool, but a little intense, too.
I now understand why early religions used mushrooms in their religions, and have come to believe that this is a medicinal substance that, if it works, is far better than being on anti-depressants. In short, there's a reason that this was put on the earth, and it's not for recreational use. Not that it's going to work for everyone, but I figure if one could do this twice a year and be cured of addictions or depressions, or whatnot, it's far better than taking daily pharmaceuticals just to manage life, and a million times better than people who use alcohol or drugs to temporarily deaden their pain.