I’ve been meaning to post about this for some time, as my journey with depression has certainly been influenced by psychedelics/microdosing and I feel others may benefit from psychedelic alternatives to prescribed medication, or as a supplement to good psychotherapy. It’s my firm belief that microdosing for depression will be a prescribed (and legal) treatment within a maximum of twenty years.
Without going into too much detail, my journey with depression started at the age of fourteen, and I was twenty-one before I eventually started to deal with it with any degree of success. It was a slow journey of coming to the realisation that I could no longer continue as I was, and the death of a close family member was what gave me the final nudge to seek help . I was very fortunate to discover a psychotherapist who understood my way of thinking and wasn’t trying to diagnose me with a psychological disorder. This could have easily happened with a different kind of therapist and I often wonder where I’d be now had that happened. I’d always advise to be careful and do some research when looking at therapy options as some therapists have the potential to do more harm than good, no matter what their qualifications are.
Shortly after starting therapy, I realised my depression was largely existential and I began to explore yoga, meditation, as well as looking at nutrition in order to look after myself physically and spiritually. This helped a lot and although I still suffered darker episodes I was gradually finding my way (along with regular psychotherapy). Importantly, I was finding my way without following a path, method, or set of rules. I’m not a person who works particularly well with goals, routines or structure, although I’m well aware of their effectiveness for many people.
During this journey I was becoming more and more aware of psychedelics, from various sources, and I felt a strong suspicion that all the scare stories I’d heard in my youth were total bullshit. The experiences I were hearing about sounded very appealing to me, and something I could do with. My psychedelic journey began with 185 micrograms of LSD, and it was a truly life-changing 12-14 hours. I was mesmerised, in love with the world, and everything in it. More than that, I realised how life continues on in this beautiful way, and does not require ‘me’ or any other ego – it simply goes on in a kind of pulsing, orgasmic continuation. I felt, as many do, the inter-connectedness of EVERYTHING more than words could ever possibly describe.
When I eventually came down, I was a little heartbroken that the trip had come to an end. I’d finally had the answer to all of the questions I’ve ever had about the world, existence, my ‘self’, and now I had to integrate this into my everyday life. It was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do, and this is despite it being a ‘good’ trip. Integrating psychedelic experiences properly is often overlooked by ‘seeking’ types and failing to integrate these experiences can cause problems later on. I’ve met many people who bounce from one experience, trip or relationship to another, never stopping to give themselves the time orientate themselves before the next one – this kind of behavioural pattern can often be responsible for sowing the first seeds of depression or burnout. Then, by the time the person realises they are depressed, it’s often reached a point where it is much more difficult to deal with and can manifest along with severe physical illnesses as well.
Microdosing for preventing depression
Following my various psychedelic experiences including mushrooms, LSD, and Ayahuasca, I discovered microdosing. I was at a point where my depression had massively reduced because I knew how to manage it and what I needed, but I was not in a position to trip with high doses regularly, hence experimenting with microdosing. I generally microdosed with between 15 micrograms to 25 micrograms of acid. I took a dose on days where I felt I needed it, I didn’t follow a schedule. Some people might find a schedule works better depending on the severity of their depression and how their mind works, personality etc. A low (but not micro) dose of 50 micrograms can also be helpful for a more introspective journey, but I’d advise caution if you are unstable.
Some days I would dose up to three days consecutively, sometimes once/twice a week and sometimes only once a month. Even dosing once a month was an effective re-set tool for me, especially when I found that I was able to tap into the insights that come with high doses, whilst still doing day-to-day activities. This was helpful for highlighting to me how I really felt about different things I was doing in my life, the people I was around, the job I was doing etc. It helped me to relate to people easier, with more empathy, and therefore respond in healthier ways that didn’t drag me down. It also made me aware of habits, patterns, and put me more in touch with my body. When I was depressed I felt lethargic, slow, heavy, like I wanted to curl in a ball and fall asleep forever. The physical feeling of depression in the body, is not understood by those who haven’t suffered from it and I believe that this is where microdosing has the potential to transform the way depression is treated with prescribed medication.
When I take a microdose my body feels more alive, energetic, less restricted, and crucially, less separate from the world. Surely, this is why it is unique compared to any other type of drug used to treat depression before. I’ve yet to find negative side-effects to microdosing, after over three years of regularly self-medicating with low dose psychedelics. They are essential to my future mental wellbeing, and I believe they hold that potential for many who are still suffering with depression. I predict that 50 years from now, we’ll wonder how we ever lived without them.