Alfred’s road to a cure through psilocybin has not been one of unalloyed ease or joy. And yet it seems to Alfred as if progress has indeed been made.
My friend has been microdosing on magic mushrooms for over a month now and is beginning to recognize a thing or two along the way. He hopes to find a cure for lifelong (and at times severe) depression.
Occasionally the dose produces a feeling of extreme calm, ecstasy almost. Paradoxically these have been on days of lower dosage. 0.20 grams in dried weight seems about the right level for Alfred, possibly up to 0.25 grams. At that level there is never any problem with anxiety nor any feeling of intoxication or difficulty in leading a normal day.
By contrast, for Alfred at least, doses of 0.3 grams and upwards have provoked levels of most unpleasant anxiety. The anxiety kicks in around an hour after ingestion and can last up to an hour before a calmer frame of mind is restored. But a lesser form of anxiety can last the rest of the day. Occasionally it’s an edge of the abyss sort of feeling as if the mind is about to collapse into a very nasty place indeed.
As many have reported, psilocybin seems to act to exaggerate a pre-existing mood, especially on higher, anxiety producing doses. Below 0.25 grams and Alfred has usually noticed an effect of some sort but it has almost always been beneficial and calming.
Alfred reports that he has been erratic in his scheduling and recently has veered away from the usual two or three times a week regime. Currently Alfred is taking a smaller dose but daily.
Alfred has no idea yet whether the effects will prove temporary or permanent; but effects there have been.
Alfred is currently “enjoying” a subtly different form of consciousness. Even the days when its seems Alfred will tip over into an abyss have been manageable. Despite the anxiety, panic even, on such unfortunate days, Alfred has been able to adopt a softer, more philosophic attitude to such familiar feelings. It is not simply that he recognizes they will pass; he seems to see through such states of mind. To recognize them as a familiar illusion.
Life as a whole seems to have become somehow more manageable, on both good days and bad. Alfred seems to be more patient, more understanding and tolerant of those around him. And more certain of the way he must (or perhaps wants) to lead his life.
It has become ever clearer to Alfred that conflict of any sort must be avoided at all costs. That people with anger issues and aggressive behavior must simply be by-passed. That situations likely to lead to unpleasantness must be backed away from.
On calmer days, Alfred feels he now knows exactly how he wants to spend the rest of his life. On scary days, when the level of ingestion has disagreed with him, he wonders how on earth he will achieve this or whether it is even possible.
Some six months ago, Alfred was busily engaged in research on the topic. Reading the many anecdotal reports as well as the research papers published by Imperial College and others.
His worry then was that psilocybin was yet another miracle cure hyped by the press. From Omega 3 fish oil to St John’s Wort and back again. And don’t let us forget the miracle of “lobotomy”, unleashed on an unfortunate world by a terrifyingly careless and reckless medical profession back in the 1950s. And immortalized by Jack Nicholson in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.
What can Alfred say, in summary, after perhaps 6 weeks on this latest miracle cure? He can say that in all honesty he is not sure. He can say that on a good day he is likely to heap praises upon the mighty mushroom while on bad days he wonders whether he has been conned; yet again.
All in all my friend remains cautiously optimistic. He thinks he senses change; he has an intuition that his thinking, his thought processes have been shifted from their perennial rut.
He will undoubtedly report back further as the months go by. He is anxious to present a balanced and sober view, so that those reading the breathless hype which has become so prevalent, can treat such unbridled optimism with caution.