I was never going to write about my experience taking mushrooms because I was really scared of what people may perceive of me. Even though I don’t see psilocybin mushrooms as something to be ashamed of, because I have children and a business and I live in a state where consumption is illegal, it seems like the type of subject I should avoid talking about all together. Just my own personal secret of a really good night.
However, its been nearly two months now since I have taken them and my mental health has changed so dramatically, I consider it a disservice to the people I know not to tell them about how it has transformed my life. Simply, taking mushrooms is the greatest experience of my entire life and I want to tell you about my experience so if you are struggling with severe anxiety you might be able to find some help.
I am an incredibly anxious person, for the past 4 years, since the death of my father, I have been battling an eating disorder, social anxiety, suicidal depression, as well as being bipolar. All this led to me becoming agoraphobic and rarely ever leaving my house. Each day has been a war in my head of expressing all the scary feelings I feel without allowing myself to become overwhelmed. This has been the hardest thing I have ever lived through. Healing myself has been so goddamn hard I’ve nearly quit my whole life many times in the process. Suicide and I are well acquainted, but I wish the bitch would stop knocking on my door when it gets a little rainy outside. In the process of healing, I have completely sabotaged friendships, endangered myself and well being, caused an immense amount of stress in my marriage that nearly led to our divorce, (side note: my husband has C-PTSD, so he’s been healing all this time as well) and completely isolated myself from the world in hopes I could forget all the scary painful things in my life would cease to exist. Parenting has been a huge struggle. When you are an anxious person, things start to align into their seemingly important places in our life. Parenting has taken the #1 role and spot in my battles everyday, even if I fail myself, my husband, my home, my business, anyone outside of this place that loves me, I would do my very best to never fail my kids.
I have a soft part of my heart to every mom and dad who fights depression and anxiety every day. How do you parent at war with yourself. How to love your kid and fight your greatest enemy. It’s hard, it’s sometimes impossible, but however we do it, we do it. Our kids go to bed loved, with full bellies and a heart full of hope. Somehow we keep this struggle locked so far away from them that we start to disconnect though. And noticing this is where I finally decided I needed to get my life under control. I needed to do something about all these fears and worries. I was too weak and I needed to be stronger to love my children in the way they deserved. My step-mom was incredibly anxious and it damaged our relationship (and my mind) severely and all I wanted to do for my kids is not repeat the experiences I had.
About a year ago I began to hear people around me talking about psilocybin mushrooms. At first it was just laughter about “tripping on shrooms” but then as I began to become more curious, I was led to videos of people talking about the emotional trauma they were able to overcome and the overwhelming anxiety they had that could begin to be handled. I was intrigued and interested. I talked to some family members of mine who I knew had experience and had heard incredibly great things about what they went through. So I began to start talking about how I wanted to have an experience taking mushrooms.
What I have failed to mention thus far is that I also am chasing my greatest dream. I am writing an epic fantasy that I believe has an incredibly important message for people like me. The thing I didn’t realize is that writing fantasy and trying to expertly craft a completely imagined world, is so. fucking. hard. But somehow, so incredibly life fulfilling I cannot do much of anything else. In beginning to create this book I began to live out the experiences that I was imagining would happen to my characters. This taught me a lot about putting your intentions out into the world and waiting for the universe to hand deliver the thing that you need.
In the process of waiting on mushrooms to show up for me, my life began to align in other ways. I started a process of deep self exploration. I learned about philosophy, and cosmology, and evolution. This caused the complete and utter break down in my identity as a religious person. I had my entire “identity in Christ” so when life changed and my religion didn’t fit with what I was experiencing in life, I completely lost myself. If you have ever experienced an identity crisis, you’ll know. I was in complete distrust of myself because I had no idea who I was. I couldn’t make decisions, I could understand myself and what I wanted out of life. I was completely unrecognizable to myself. I dyed my hair in the most vibrant colors I could imagine, I would cut my own hair constantly trying to change how my bangs suited my face, I began to develop unhealthy relationships with friends based on emotional needs caused by a childhood of emotional neglect. Without understanding of who I was and what I wanted in life, I used those friends to lead me into places I didn’t really need to go. I was caught up in their lives and knew nothing about my own. I developed depersonalization when I was in extreme stress and stopped being able to connect to reality completely, probably the scariest symptom. What was such a long a destructive couple years of my life, I see now that the universe was just tearing me apart and ripping me down lay a new and stable foundation. And I could only learn my lesson by being completely broken time and time again. I needed to believe in reality now, not the fantasy of Christianity. God wasn’t going to save me, I needed to save myself. I stopped trying to hold myself together with “my faith” and let it all just fall apart finally. I stopped trying to pretend to be strong and let myself become completely weak.
It has taken years to build up the mental strength to over come my issues. Starting with my eating disorder and my need to control food. When I stopped trying to control what I ate, I started to try to control my money. When I couldn’t control my money (because no mater how hard I saved something expensive would happen, sometimes that was even a bit of self sabotage, and we never ever got a head) I tried to control people. But then I was becoming a narcissist because I needed to control every one around me and did what ever I could to keep them near me and never leave me, I finally broke. The last of my anxieties shattered apart. For eight months I pushed everyone out of my life, hid at home and tried to heal. I got out a little here and there but every time was a super dose of anxiety. I think sometimes they call this exposure therapy. It’s really hard to begin to give yourself confidence again when you have completely lost it. It’s even harder to rebuild a personality and identity when you have destroyed everything you thought you were.
Little by little I started to gain my mental strength. I started running and doing yoga, focused on my hobbies and creative ventures, focused on being a damn good mother without excuses, and gave myself all the grace I could possibly muster to fail at all these things but to always try again. I repaired burned bridges with some people, requiring deeply honest conversations and I am the indirect and non confrontational type, at least not about how I’m hurting. I went on an apology tour, fixing what ever my sincere remorse could, but that didn’t do much good other than learning how to let go of the shitty person I once was. I stopped comparing myself to people who pretended to be perfect and stopped talking to friends who made me feel bad about myself. I did the social media sweep, clearing out the accounts that made me feel negatively about my life or who I am. I began journalling daily about what I experienced that day, what I was thinking about and how it made me feel. I made sure to make no excuses and keep my house clean, dishes wash and clean clothes in all our drawers (which I personally think is the secret becoming a strong human) Then finally I had the mental strength to begin focusing on my novel that I have been too weak to write.
I was ready to take a turn in my life. I was turning 27 and I knew where I wanted to go now. I had focus. I had drive. All I had left to let go of was my excuses, but anxiety is not easy to get over. It’s not just in our heads, its deep within our DNA. Look at animals, they are all incredibly anxious. My cat is a spaz because of how fearful she can become. I get that. I too am a spaz when I’m afraid. We are all just evolving animals. Overcoming anxiety/fear, while I had built up the mental strength to combat it every day I was going to need something magical to overcome it completely.
So. My husband quits his job without telling me and without a plan. We had a house, two cars, two children and dreams we were hoping to pursue. We had no idea what would come next, no idea where to turn, and a little less than $5,000 in our savings. When he came home to tell me I panicked for about 5 minutes, but then I realized this has to happen. It was time to burn our boats. We found the island we wanted to build upon (him as a comedian and me as a writer) and there was no escaping our destiny. We needed to chase these dreams and his full time job was completely in the way. My security in the biweekly paychecks was never going to inspire me to write. If we really wanted to do this, we had to burn the boats. (I got this from Tony Robbins, I’m a sucker for a good motivational speaker when I’m really lost) So after 5 minutes of panic, I got excited. This is it, this is the corner we turn, this is how it begins.
Four days before I turned 27, I went on a vacation with my mom. While there I was dealing with the most anxiety I’d ever felt. This activated a deeply rooted fear I’ve had since I was very little that was life controlling and still effects me to this day. I had forgotten about it for a while in my life, but now that I had cleared my mind of all those surface level fears, it was time for me to tap into the big ones. I’m still battling this fear today. I get nervous to talk about it, because people tend to make me feel silly for having it. What these people don’t understand is for a child raised in religion our fear of demons is so real, and for every website/therapist/atheist friends who can promise us that demons are not real, there is a youtube video/pastor/spiritual friend who can assure us they have proof it exists.
So in this strange hotel room I am now forced to face the fact that I may or may not be seeing demons standing around me. I didn’t hardly sleep, I was constantly tense and on edge and that led me to feeling very depressed. The night before my birthday my husband and I wanted to do something really fun. We just needed a break from all the stress in our lives and the insomnia and the impending doom. I love to celebrate my birthday and I’m good at forgetting about my problems (to the point of avoidance unfortunately). All I wanted was one night to believe in good things for the next coming year of my life. I had set the expectation for my birthday that I was going to laugh a lot and experience a lot of love.
My husband and I did a few of the things we enjoy, ate burgers, shopped at a used book/vinyl store, talked and talked and talked. When he finally tells me he got me a surprise. We had talked about not spending much money for my birthday seeing as we were now down to one part time job between the two of us, but thankfully he ignored my fear of spending money and got me the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. We are standing at a bar, he drops a white paper bag in front of me, and I peak inside. Magic. fucking. mushrooms.
We had not talked about this more than once or twice. We hadn’t planned to do it, nor did we know where to get it. But when you ask the universe for the thing you need it will unexpectedly be dropped in your lap at the last moment you would ever expect it to be there. I couldn’t believe that just asking for it brought it to me. That night out was filled with so much excited energy I was practically vibrating all night. Everything happened perfectly. I felt all the planets in the universe perfectly aligning for me that night and I was in pure ecstasy. We had some friends come back to our place and watched a movie and everyone fell asleep between 1-2am. My husband and I went back into our room and discussed when we would take the mushrooms. Was 2 am, after all the emotional chaos of this night (and past week) a good time to have a trip? We decided to try a little a see what happened. Within ten minutes all the christmas lights I have hanging in my room started to twinkle. It was so simply beautiful and that’s when I realized the mushrooms were beginning to effect me. It was such a happy/aligned/right feeling I told him we had to do the rest.
We each took a handful and had a hell of an experience. What I can tell you about my trip is what the mushrooms taught me. I saw some incredible visuals. When I closed my eyes sheets of paper flowers folded in front of me. I heard the mushrooms explain to me that I considered paper and painted flowers to be much more beautiful than regular flowers, which is the truest statement of who I am as a person I’d ever realized. I laid out in my drive way, with my dog and watched the sunrise. I saw the whole earth spinning throughout the universe and I realized just how small I really am. I saw things about myself as a mother and was able to see how my children viewed me which was much more positive than I had given myself credit for. The mushrooms unlocked areas of my brain that helped me be able to express myself through art much better than I had before. Mushrooms opened my previously wounded spirit up to feeling emotional connection with everything around me again. Helping me to feel safe and taken care of.
The greatest lesson of all though is what the mushrooms taught me about anxiety. Throughout those early hours of the morning I was sitting around my house seeing my living situation from an entirely different perspective. I began to ask myself questions and think a lot about what I wanted out of life and thats when I felt my brain begin to stretch like a rubber band. The more I tried to plan, the more I felt my brain pulling apart. It became so tense I thought it might snap. That is when the mushrooms taught me what it feels like to be truly present. I stopped thinking about everything, my brain relaxed and I felt real peace for the very first time, and thankfully have been able to recreate the feeling in my life now that I know what it feels like. This is what I realized thinking about the future does. It causes my brain to stretch so far. I create so much tension in my life because I am trying to think about all the next steps until getting to the destination. I’m never truly here because I’m trying to anticipate and predict what is to come.
In these last couple months I have been able to focus a lot on what this means for me. I am learning how to only focus on the Now. What is right in front of me. This has been the key to unlocking myself as an artist. Most artists are born with chains our parents try to put on us. Artist need full expression of who they are and how they feel and some parents feel the need to control that. My parents have been less than supportive of this side of me, so I have had a lot of chains to break free from to finally be who I truly am. I stopped worrying about money so much, which caused me to stop needing so much.Without the desire for more, I was able to see that I have everything I could possibly need.
I can still feel myself begin to get anxious when I go through the things that are hard for me. I’m not ‘cured’ of anxiety, but I am consciously aware of it now and can identify when I might be hurting myself by stressing too much. Had I not done mushrooms, this season of my life probably would have broken me completely again. Had I not had the experiences I have had in my life leading up to this, I never would have been strong enough to survive this very moment. When I stopped trying to control my life so much and I let go of the outcome, great magical wonderful experiences began to open up for me and the future didn’t seem so damn scary. I don’t need life to go my way anymore, I just wanna see where it’s going to take me.
I can’t tell you to do mushrooms, but if you have felt curious to try, just keep talking about it. Word of advice though, face your bullshit before doing so. Mushrooms is like looking at yourself in a mirror and if you have darkness inside of you that you have been ignoring the mushrooms will be sure to drag it out into the light for you. During the end of my trip I was able to process all that emotional panic I felt from years of being terrified to sleep because I feared demons. When I was young I was too scared to cry, because I used to force myself to lay completely still no matter how scared I was. I thought if the demons thought I was asleep they would leave me alone. But years of fear and not crying about it is painful for the spirit. I cried so hard and panicked as I was coming down but I felt the mushrooms telling me its just those old emotions we have to get out of you. It wasn’t scary, it was release and that’s all I had been looking for. I let it go and allowed my creative brain to make something out of all those painful emotions. The mushrooms were gentle with me and walked me through my fears gracefully, like they were holding my hand and I wasn’t alone in my bedroom anymore.
I personally believe that I had a good trip because I was in a good mental place that day. I had set true intentions for what I wanted and got so much love and laughter out of that experience. I can’t wait until the universe brings it back around for me. I’d trip again in a heart beat.