Ayahuasca or similar treatments (psychedelics)

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johnram
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Ayahuasca or similar treatments (psychedelics)

Post by johnram » Mon May 06, 2019 8:06 am

Hi,

Firstly, appreciate the topic of psychedelics brings up varying opinions and has legal issues (I do not want to get into that side of matters). I am just wanting to find out if people have used these for their treatment and what their experiences have been?

I have seen various videos, and read testimonials from people who have suffered addiction, depression, trauma and other assortment of mental health issues and they have found psychedelics and in particular Ayahuasca.

thank you

earthhorse
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Re: Ayahuasca or similar treatments (psychedelics)

Post by earthhorse » Mon May 06, 2019 9:21 am

Hi Johnram,

I have to say... that I think the safety and benefit of the experience may depend on how safe the people are around you and how grounded you are in routine and connected you are to every day things.

I have used Ayyhuasca a 3/4 times. Both in shamanic ceremony and in the Santo Daime. It is quite some time ago for me now. I knew a lot people at the time using this technique.

I have to say the experience itself for me personally was profound. It also has positive physical side effects. While a man I knew who was regularly using Ayahuasca in the Santo Daime cult also claimed that it permanently shifted his depression. (I don't know though if it was the Ayahuasca or the fact that he now had a group he felt he belonged to).

However, I was also exploited by a healer, and raped after ceremony which had an enormous impact on me, and triggered my CSA memories hardcore. I nearly killed myself the next day. While I remained unsafe for days after and the people around me were unsafe. So just note, the same dangers that are there in every day life, are there in the people around you doing healing work.

Ayahuasca was traditionally a community based religion. So having checks and balances and people you can depend is very important. The instant community new age version of things is just very dangerous, no matter what you are doing whether that's a yoga or mediation retreat or a ceremony where you are not able to give consent or adequately defend yourself because you are under the influence of powerful 'medicine', or trance work. We don't expect to be hurt or exploited in these situations where we are so vulnerable and seeking healing, but it is actually more likely that we will be.

Others I have known who prior to taking Ayahuasca, whom had problems with their identity or unresolved trauma that they were not ready to face, got pretty heavily involved and lost all contact with reality. I believe it triggered full blown psychosis for them.

As much as I would like to believe there is a quick fix, and that this is one of them. I have to say I don't think it is. The benefits will depend on how far you have already come and how centered and grounded you are in life right now, and if you have people you can depend on around you. The negative effects will also depend on this foundational work. It is playing with fire is my assessment.

I also used Ibogaine which is a powerful addiction breaker. Due to the negative experience with Ayahuasca ceremony, I did this in an extremely safe way, paying a lot of money for a private ceremony with my partner and arranging a very safe place in the mountains. I had a medical check afterwards, it is a powerful detox. And my health was exceptional. The trip itself was also profound, but one where I was physically paralyzed for 36 hours and very sick if I attempted to move! ( Expect this also of Ayahuasca if you take any kind of meaningful dose, thought he period of paralysis will not be a as long.) Immediately afterward all my addictions/compulsions seemed to fade, I was a smoker back then. After only a month though I started again. So while I think it offers a powerful window or opportunity to make a fresh start of things, or can put you in touch with deeper truths. It will also depend on what you might be ready for. For instance part of the reason I used it was to search for more truth about what happened to me. However, in hindsight, I just wasn't ready for the that degree of truth yet, I could never have processed it and it would have sent me off the edge. So luckily for me, the answers I got were cryptic. And only made sense much, much later after years of recovery and healing work. If our minds are strong they will protect us. But if we have a propensity for psychosis or are unstable at the time, I think it could really hurt us.

Interested to hear though from others about their experiences.

All the very best,
EH
"One kind word can warm three winter months"

EasyStreet
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Re: Ayahuasca or similar treatments (psychedelics)

Post by EasyStreet » Mon May 06, 2019 2:32 pm

Johnram, without recounting my experiences, I would offer that Earthhorse has hit it right on the head.

There is risk. Everything depends on "set" (your mindset) and "setting" (the environment you are having the experience in). There can be benefit or as EH points out, you could step out and never come back.

40 years ago with highly synthetic materials, I found that my personality/identity became more flexible and malleable for about 6 months after the experience. During this time I was able to make some inner adjustments that helped me. I also had some very terrifying experiences, but I think my "survivor" mentality allowed me through relatively unscathed.

I just recently heard of ibogaine and think I would sign up for that if the situation were right. Legal country, physical and emotional security, some kind of backup or emergency plan if things go south. I have read about how some of the clinics in South America can be pretty sketchy, etc. Do your research.

Earthhorse, your depth of experience and range of knowledge is impressive, and you have the courage to share it with us! I might not have answered you Johnram, if EH hadn't led the way.

Thanks to both!
EasyStreet
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May I always be a worthy member.

EasyStreet
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Re: Ayahuasca or similar treatments (psychedelics)

Post by EasyStreet » Mon May 06, 2019 2:39 pm

Post Script:

I would say that taking serious levels of psychedelics will probably forever change the way you look at the world, in most (again, risk) cases for the better as you may experience a sense of mystical union which makes it easier to relate to the connectedness of all things.

They are most definitely inducers of change in your life, at a level not to be taken lightly.
EasyStreet
Thanks for being my tribe.
May I always be a worthy member.

johnram
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Re: Ayahuasca or similar treatments (psychedelics)

Post by johnram » Tue May 07, 2019 6:23 am

Thank you both for that, and appreciate this isnt a topic people want to share much into. That being said, i believe it is becoming popularised, which raised again the thoughts for me.

Easystreet - "They are most definitely inducers of change in your life, at a level not to be taken lightly." - what did this mean for you if i can ask? I dont mean to ask about your experience, just the after affect per that line

Earthhorse - "Others I have known who prior to taking Ayahuasca, whom had problems with their identity or unresolved trauma that they were not ready to face, got pretty heavily involved and lost all contact with reality. I believe it triggered full blown psychosis for them." - Its this aspect that scares me, i feel i have been facing my trapped traumas via EMDR and a lot of hidden stuff has come up so i am in a better place, but it still worries me.

I think i am not sure i am ready yet to do it, but do feel an allure. I do worry and get scared by the bad trip and what other things in my experience may come up i have blocked. But i feel i have not lived my own life at all, that this really drives me to explore it.

thank you kindly

EasyStreet
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Re: Ayahuasca or similar treatments (psychedelics)

Post by EasyStreet » Tue May 07, 2019 2:00 pm

Hi Johnram,

Think about how you have an internal model of reality based on the sum total of your life experiences. Your brain has been growing like mad since birth in order to make sense of a confusing mass of sensory input. You are evolved to develop and impose coherent structure on all of this in order to survive.

The difference between a patch of neurons on your retina being activated by motion, and a split second view of a leaping tiger. Experience and "consensus reality" (what we all kind of agree on is reality) teach us how to get along.

Psychedelics give you direct perception of the patch of neurons firing and short circuits the higher level brain function which organizes reality for us. What you make (subconscious, or random, or divinely guided?) of the neural input is what you make of it. Therein lies the danger. You can possibly make bad things of it. Or if bad things actually happen you can experience them at a raw level that probably can approach the level of a small child being abused in terms of the lack of filtering, mitigation, buffering of mentation from harmful sensory input.

It can make your stable view of reality malleable and subject to alteration, either from external sources or internal. It either forces a new view of the world, or else can allow a new view of the world to manifest. It can be a gentle wake up to a better approach or a cold bucket of water on the current one.

So not for someone with a lot of negative energy, self hate, etc. Hopefully if I am off the mark Earthhorse will provide balance.

Does this help at all?

Edit: short answer: I don't take reality at face value any more. I am suspicious of people who have very rigid model of reality. I have a connection to Nature that will never be lost. My belief in Something has been reinforced.
EasyStreet
Thanks for being my tribe.
May I always be a worthy member.

earthhorse
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Re: Ayahuasca or similar treatments (psychedelics)

Post by earthhorse » Sun May 12, 2019 1:32 pm

HI Johnram,

Ayahuasca is powerful. many who take it experience this feeling of interacting with another form of intelligence, it's seen as a teacher plant, it feels like an entity is interacting with you. Some argue that psychedelics were how we developed higher thought and reasoning. It is not benevolent, it is not necessarily malevolent either. It's just really powerful. And as such I think demand our fear as well as respect.

I think because you are actually dealing with abuse in therapy it could be safer for you - but if you are already flooding, it could mean things go too quickly. But again you just need a really safe environment and support network. And as Easystreet says a balanced and positive frame of mind. It's an experiment...

The people I know who developed psychosis were both people who were in denial about abuse and very lost in who they were as people. They had no anchors to hold them to here and now. And started living in their hallucinations.

For me the effect, the trip, although positive, it didn't stop at the end of the ceremony either, expect effects to continue for a couple of weeks. And I think that's the danger really, if you start taking it regularly I don't think the 'high' really leaves. Which is what I think some people truly desire to permanently have that kind of consciousness...

I can only say that being r*ped on such a powerful positive trip by the Shaman (a person brought specially to perform the ceremony from the rainforest, but was actually a second generation Russiian immigrant to Bolivia, didn't even speak the indigenous language and had become a Shaman after 'slumming it' in Ivy league Universities in New York, where he first tried Ayahuasca - I don't think people realize that the story of indigenous religions is a kind of trope/myth that we want to believe now... but is often very far removed from lived reality... ), was one of the worst things that happened to me in my adult life, and impossible to process at the time or even months later - because it was so mixed up with profoudn and postive perceptions of spitirual growth..... I don't know if this is because of my abuse history, but it was not possible to protect myself because of my frame of mind... it is very disconnected in some ways, because of the light, other worldly feelings I was experiencing. I couldn't sense danger, because I was in paradise, I wanted the good feelings too much, I was literally enchanted by my experience. But this didn't stop the unconscious destructive impulses that arose. I was heavily dissociated.

Thinking that Ayahuasca was a spiritual path and a healer, a short time later, I tried to heal what happened again with another ceremony, but I was so frozen and in shock because of the sexual abuse and exploitation, I just remember going outside, falling on the ground, and then my body trying to just stop the trip, unconsciously eating to null the effects ( this was a santo daime ritual where the doses are much less and one can move). All I felt was deadness, dissociation, and disillusionment, even as I understood the living world as speaking to me. the people around me were incredibly unsafe people - there was another man there who was very possessive of me wanted me even though he was more than twice my age- he called me a prostitute when I told the group leaders what had happened with the Shaman, no one did anything to protect me, they treated it like I was the bad one... many of the women were infatuated with the shaman so they were like o your're so lucky! It didn't feel like that believe me... it felt like I had been dehumanized completely and exploited, what was happening to my mind and body was extremely split. The possessive man he stood across from me in the ceremony and kept yelling out SEX, SEX and laughing. I haven't used Ayahuasca since. That was 15 years ago. So that whole experience I would not wish on my worst enemy.

At the ritual before I was abused by the Shaman - whom everyone trusts in the ceremony much more than a priest, under the influence of the Ayahuasca these guiding characters take on a glamour of divinity - the Shaman spookily enough in Ayahuasca cultures is often depicted as a puppet master... so be very, very careful about who you let guide you or look after you in ceremony - I was sitting next to a man healing from child sexual abuse as a boy. I think this and the rape were what triggered my memories. But the man next to me, he seemed to have benefited from the experience...

I was so skeptical that I was lying about the abuse memories that arose, and have doubted myself a lot because the trigger of some of the incest memories came when I was under the influence of pyschodelics. I flooded after that experience with the Shaman using me while I was under the influence of an extremely powerful substance for 18 months. 18 months of physically reliving memories of child sex abuse. It opened the door but too quickly perhaps... and as I said I nearly impulsively killed myself after what happened.

Spiritual abuse is one of the worst forms of abuse.

Everyone I know would end up hallucinating along the lines of the kind of spirituality that meant something to them. Some saw Christ and Krishna, others druidic serpents, priestesses, one of my friend who developed psychosis she saw and heard angels, and she would sing their angel song, some just experienced the Buddhist silence and connection of all living things. others met themselves in past lives... I knew a few people who had REALLY bad trips. Incredibly dark. But that seems to be the exception not the rule.

It can reconnect things that haven't been connected in a while, it can wake up the world and help people feel a part of it in awe again. I have found it can also reduces anxiety.

But as a 'fix' for trauma, I am highly skeptical. So much of what fixes trauma is finding connection and solidarity with other people, and well learning how to stay and be present. And I think people underestimate the 'cult' like nature of some of these practices in the West. Being in a cult can feel wonderful. It has all it's too good to be truenness stuff that we, despite our better judgements, just really want to believe. Especially as survivors we thirst for this.

Sometimes we can really use that break from our old perspectives and perceptions though, it does literally expand consciousness, and I think that can be really healthy too. But Johnram, trust your intuition. If you feel drawn to it. maybe this is something to try. Just don't be deceived you will still need to work hard and slow on what you lived through, and it could potentially be very triggering - so think "what do I do to comfort triggers?" And have those tools on hand. And it's vitally important to stay grounded and have a lot of reality checks so as not to get fully carried away.

Take care,
EH
"One kind word can warm three winter months"

johnram
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Re: Ayahuasca or similar treatments (psychedelics)

Post by johnram » Mon May 13, 2019 11:05 am

Thank you both, and apologies for the delays in my response:

Earthhorse - i feel saddened reading your experience, and feel for you having to go through that. Imagine it has been quite tough to build up trust and then have it shattered in that manner again. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story i am thankful.
I felt grateful that you have this forum, as its hard out there to get people to understand these matters. Wish i could give you some comfort, it angers me and saddens me how people can treat one another. Glad you are here, glad you have found your voice, and sending you the utmost of sincere love.

Both - I really appreciate what you both shared, as i am scared but very curious. I think i am in a safe space though, in that i have a stronger self concept than say i did 4 years ago, and specifically better now after EMDR (which will continue for most of this year i think), which also has grounded me somewhat - first time in my life, i feel i can start visioning a future. Ontop of that i was considering how i have done some LSD in my teen years and enjoyed it with no risk, also did some weed, and i think of how i have not split off in EMDR given the topics, or did not split off before that point either. I have a loose plan in my head to maybe try a few lighter items in the path of heading to a full ayuahasca ceremony - to test the waters and build confidence towards it - Trying some light healing that is non-invasive but is meant to trigger similar releases to DMT but lighter, then maybe a trip to Amsterdam (i am in the UK, so not far) to try some psilocybin, and all going well, then next steps.

EasyStreet
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Re: Ayahuasca or similar treatments (psychedelics)

Post by EasyStreet » Mon May 13, 2019 12:10 pm

Hi Johnram, think you are headed in the right direction, for what that’s worth. To be honest, i’m curious about the potentency and authenticity of what you consumed in your teen years, based on some of your questions. When I was young, lots of things got packed into pills and called LSD.

So if the idea is you have already passed thru the sacred flame and not been consumed is a big one in your mind, consider what your teen experiences actually were.

I’m probably off base but trying to offer my honest analysis, as I Hope to get from others.

For my sense of scale, pot is like The lightest beer you can imagine, LSD is 200 proof grain alcohol, pure ethanol. The other true psychedelics are some where between 151 dark Rum and the 200 proof. YMMV. My choice of dark rum reflects that you can have all kinds of compounds floating around in it that do many unknown things.

Aside from mindset and setting, being well experienced in self calming and self soothing is probably a real asset.

Wish I lived in the UK, I might follow you to Amsterdam.

I was honestly looking at some resorts in Costa Rica but they are very expensive and have some medical requirements I might not meet.
EasyStreet
Thanks for being my tribe.
May I always be a worthy member.

johnram
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Re: Ayahuasca or similar treatments (psychedelics)

Post by johnram » Mon May 13, 2019 12:16 pm

Thank you, and i appreciate that frank response. I also agree, i am not putting too much stock in my 14 year old, hence the light trail journey. I had lots of trauma post that LSD experience. its more i am using it as a benchmark for giving me a slight frame of reference.

I am scared, but i will not dance with Ayuahasca till i have done my homework and i am in that place. I am not there yet, and maybe it will take me two years, i think in my head i am thinking one year if i have the strength.

I also talked to my therapist about it, she doesnt know much / cant advise much, but being open about it is helpful too.

Do you maybe consider doing other items on the path that are not as strong as Ayuahasca instead?

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