Hi all, I’m guessing I’m not the only one with this problem. I was never a recreational drug user and as a child of the 80s, I was absolutely indoctrinated by Nixon/Reagan’s War on Drugs. It wasn’t until I went to Peru in 2009 on a yoga retreat that I ever heard of Ayahuasca. At the time I knew I was not ready for that because I knew from yoga friends what an intense experience it was.
Fast forward nearly a decade. In 2018, after going thru a breakup and suffering a deeply broken heart, I knew it was time. I went to Peru for an Ayahuasca retreat. A tip there led me to psilocybin which ended up being a better medicine for me. My first journey with psilocybin revealed so clearly to me that society had been largely brainwashed and stigmatized against these substances which I knew indigenous peoples had used for eons. Michael Pollan’s book only solidified that all for me further. I was angry that I had basically been lied to my whole life, and taught to believe something that I now knew firsthand was false, so I knew I had to get involved with the Decriminalize Nature movement here in Seattle.
Thankfully, the group I was involved with just recently managed to Decriminalize entheogens here in Seattle which is a huge step forward. In the meantime, I had learned of ketamine therapy from one of the members of the Decrim movement- he runs the ketamine clinic I am now going to. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you all how obviously the dots are connecting.
My immense and painful challenge, however, is that the majority of my family are not remotely supporting me in this work and they have largely alienated me (though they would tell you that I and “drugs” have caused the alienation. Unfortunately that couldn’t be father from the truth. ) A powerful psilocybin journey in 2020 revealed to me a huge, gaping mother wound that I have from a childhood in a home with an emotionally unstable mother and very unhappily married parents. I’ve been working on healing those wounds for the past 2 years.
But during that time, the mushrooms, along with therapy, gave me the strength to finally speak up to my mother about all the ways she had hurt me. You can guess that didn’t go over well. She has largely stonewalled me and cut me out of her life for the past year. That has been incredibly hard because A. We’ve been otherwise close for years and B. She has incurable cancer (though doing quite well) so the family of course blames me for being selfish and “creating chaos.”
My therapist, along with various psychology books, have helped me to see that my mother is simply an emotionally immature human, with deep, unresolved wounds of her own, and isn’t remotely capable of engaging in mature, healthy communication. So I am trying to make peace with that fact. But the main source of pain for me right now is that I feel like I have been abandoned by the majority of my family (except one brother who is being supportive and open minded), as well as many friends.
I felt a moral obligation to speak out openly about my struggles with both depression, as well as about the powerful medicine that psychedelics are, as a means to work towards ending the stigma. Simone Biles inspired me so much with her brave speaking out about mental health and I felt I needed to do the same. I shared my story very openly and honestly on FB the night after my first ketamine session. It was raw, honest, but hopeful and shared the science of all that we here know that is happening. It was met with overwhelming support and encouragement and old friends reached out from all over the world to offer support and applaud my bravery in speaking out.
BUT, as you might guess from the lead-up to this, those who have been noticeably absent in that support are my family and my closest friends of many years. It is obvious to me from their lack of engagement that they are disapproving of what I am doing and are judging me for it. And it’s both making me so angry, but also deeply hurting me. The stigmas are still very much there. I can sense that my family thinks “drugs changed Jeannie”, instead of being open to actually LISTEN and read the science I have been trying to share with them. My closest brother even told me he think I am bipolar and need to be medicated- this is not meant to offend anyone who is actually bipolar as I have some good friends who are as well- but the point is that my therapist has confirmed that that is not my diagnosis, but that rather I simply have trauma from childhood that I need to heal. That my brother gaslit me like that forced me to have to walk away from him (for now, at least), and that has been so hard given how close we always were.
I am feeling so very alone in the world. It is true that psychedelics changed me, but not in the way they think- instead they allowed me to see the root cause of my anxiety and depression, allowed me to see the unhealthy, toxic patterns that existed in my family, and gave me the strength (with help of therapist) to speak up about those things and to change bad patterns and break toxic cycles. I know this is the right thing to do for my healing. I also know that it is the right, and BRAVE thing for me to speaking publicly about it. I am an influencer, and I know it is my calling now to be a part of this paradigm shift. I cannot ignore that. But it comes at a huge price, the loss of most of my family and many old friends . This is incredibly hard to swallow and accept and not be terribly upset by, especially when I’m already trying to heal depression.
I think I needed to get this off my chest after session #2 and I suspect that others out there are wrestling with similar struggles. I’d appreciate any words of wisdom or experiences that others would be willing to share.