A couple of years ago I was overcome with a severe bought of depression. You hear people talk about having "a dark night of the soul", well for me that dark night lasted 4 very long and arduous months.
Depression is like a virus, it seeps into your bones, into the very core of your being. For those who haven't been through it themselves it's very hard to understand. Even the therapists I went to see were of very little help.
Along the way there were many new practices, habits, ways of thinking and connecting with those around me that I learned to incorporate into my life to help me overcome depression. But by far the greatest impact on that healing journey was my first Ayahuasca ceremony.
In our own society psychedelics (the word literally means "mind manifesting") have come to be known as little more than party drugs or something the hippies did in the late 60's. But in recent clinical studies, by privately funded research bodies such as MAPS, it has started to become apparent that, in a professionally controlled therapeutic context, psychedelics could potentially revolutionize the way we deal with mental health issues in the modern world.
Unlike anti-depressants, which are taken daily over long periods of time, the MDMA is administered in just three single-dose inpatient psychotherapy sessions, spaced three to five weeks apart, along with preparatory and integration sessions.
Having had first hand experience of what an incredible impact psychedelics can have, with regards to solving mental health issues, I'd like to help raise more positive awareness and funding for this ground-breaking area of research.
A key part of the therapeutic process when using psychoactive substances is integration. Integration is the work that needs to be done, within ones everyday life, after having garnered new knowledge from the psychedelic experience. Without this, the positive changes that can be cultivated whilst within it, can easily be lost.
Psychedelic substances can directly tap us into the unconscious mind, a mental realm that has been mapped out in very specific ways throughout human history. Whether it be through the Jungian archetypes, the Hero's Journey, or the chakra system itself, as I've mentioned in previous emails, these tried and tested structures reveal how our 'operating system' works. Understanding these deep-seated thought processes can help significantly when integrating the dream-like imagery of the psychedelic experience.
A balanced, more peaceful state of mind can also be achieved by turning our attention away from the tangled thoughts of our own internal worlds and directing it outward, to the world around us. By connecting deeply with other people, as well as with nature, we are able to move out of our own personal headspace and experience a more expansive way of being. Supporting and caring for others, as well as the natural environment, opens us up to see how truly connected we all are, which in turn, helps us to support and care for ourselves.