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Who Needs a Therapist When (Pt. 17)

Adventures in Shroomland

Image Courtesy of Karl Anderson CC

(Side note: This was written several weeks after the first update on my self-medicating attempts, but didn't get polished until now.)

So.  A new type of self-medication for depression and anxiety: Microdosing on psilocybin.  There is a LOT going on in here, so I'm going to try to categorize it into a couple different categories/questions.

Number one, of course, being: Did it work?

And the answer is, yes.  Unequivocally, yes.  Maybe this had something to do with my specific symptoms, my specific chemistry, but I would say that the positive effects were significantly stronger, sooner, and more focused than literally any of the anti-depressants I'd been on.  I'd tapered down (and am not completely off) my THC use—mainly because the threat of serotonin sickness remains as a lingering thing to worry about.  And so, this has been pretty much my only treatment now.  Which I was worried about.  Like, seriously, strongly worried about.  Weed had been a good friend through some very rough patches.

But shrooms have been better friends. The thing is, maybe it did a lot of the same things as the antidepressants, but it seemed like it affected things differently.  Yes, my general mood was better, I was less irritable, more positive.  But I was also much, much more focused.  Brain fog—while I could still feel it, especially toward the tapering end of the effectiveness of microdosing—was minimal.  And good lord.  The focus.  I wrote.  For hours.  I read.  I watched a TV show and didn't feel the need to hop up or check my phone or do some other inane thing every couple of minutes.  If I needed to do laundry, I did the laundry.

But I wasn't particularly more prone to socializing.  I was in a good mood, but it was at least in part from the fact that it felt like I had control of my life again.  Food tasted good again.  Activities sounded appealing, rather than just some distant memory of appealing.

So yes.  I'd say it worked.  Probably about 95 percent of my symptoms were just gone.  In about a day and a half.  There was no long month waiting for my brain to get the hang of things, which brings us to number two: What was it like?

So, the first time, I didn't get the dosage quite right.  Either the tea I had was significantly stronger than it should have been, or I am hypersensitive.  Probably the latter.  So the first time I got about a third of a buzz.  Not enough for the average person to start hallucinating or anything, but enough to feel pleasant and a little euphoric, which frankly was a nice change of pace.  The next day I woke up with an incredible headache.  Which I'd known was coming, but had sort of hoped wouldn't be quite so strong this time.  Turns out dosage doesn't matter, your head still hurts.  I was also a little fuzzy, but a lot of water, and a couple of hours, and all of that faded.

And I just felt like a normal person (for once, thank god, haha).  For several days even.  I'd read that every three or four days was a good plan, which was what I started aiming for.  But after that first headache, I was trying to match the headache to days off work, which meant that I was closer to five or six days between doses.  The frequency genuinely didn't seem to matter, though having them too close together meant more headaches, so that probably wasn't ideal.  Brain fog and focus started to be more of an issue toward the end, but it wasn't enough or reliable enough to know whether that was me longing for another fix of euphoria, or genuine sluggishness.  Which gets us to the question I was most worried about. Number three: What sort of side effects are we talking?

The headache was brutal.  And either something about the tea or the psilocybin itself must have acted as a diuretic because it was a LOT harder to stay hydrated.  The two are probably related.

My anxiety was a little bit worse, though manageable.  And so was my sleep.  THC had been really, really effective at easing my nightmares, and even if it wasn't quite working, it had been better than nothing.  So, since I did this at the same time as weaning off of weed, it is hard to say if the shrooms actually made my sleep worse, or just weaning off of weed gave me a nice dream rebound of misery.  Still, I had such an easier time dealing with stressors. It almost didn't matter that my sleep was bad, I was still doing okay during the day.

Lastly, oh man did it interact with weed.  I had a day of being extra pissy about not imbibing any funtime things.  I wasn't drinking, smoking, etc.  And I missed having that sudden rush of happy, regardless of how it came.  So, I had my usual gummy and thought it would be fine.  It wasn't fine.  That gummy was the most effective gummy of my life—to the point of it being a bad time for me.  Maybe I should have tried a smaller dose, but the response was so strong, it felt like even a quarter would have still been stronger than the low buzz I was aiming for.

Number four: Conclusions? I am going to keep doing this.  Eventually.  Starting again in a bit.

But I found out that I will have health insurance again soon!  Which means that I can actually get my sleep issues diagnosed.  Which means that I need to stay away from all of these drugs, whether they make sleep worse, or better.

Still.  I would 10/10 recommend microdosing.  I miss some of the happy feelings.  I miss food tasting really good.  I miss having the focus to just watch a whole movie.  Maybe these are things that my brain could relearn to do on their own, but in the meantime, it would be really nice to be able to do them at all.

Read More of My Ongoing Meltdown

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Who Needs a Therapist When (Pt. 17)
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