Jan 11 - How LSD Saved One Woman’s Marriage and Life

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 2 months ago '04        #1
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mr_underground|m 1749 heat pts1749
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Jan 11 - How LSD Saved One Woman’s Marriage and Life
 

 
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ome time ago – for reasons that will become apparent I am not allowed to say when, exactly – the American writer Ayelet Waldman scored some LSD. She did this, not on a street corner or via the dark web, but middle-class style, through an acquaintance of an acquaintance, for which reason the drug arrived at her home in Berkeley, California, in a stamp-encrusted brown paper package whose sender (an elderly professor, she believed) identified himself only as Lewis Carroll, a “fellow resident” of her town. Mr Carroll had, however, troubled to write her a brief note. “Our lives may be no more than dewdrops on a summer morning,” it said. “But surely, it is better that we sparkle while we are here.” The bottle he enclosed contained 50 drops of “vintage quality” LSD, of which he advised her to take two at a time. Waldman was delighted. Not to put too fine a point on it, she believed this drug might save her life.

‘I was in a dangerous place, doing everything to ruin my own life’
For as long as she can remember, Waldman has been held hostage by her moods. When she is up, she is up; when she is down, she is down. These highs and lows she has managed over the years with the help of therapy and a number of drugs, with which she has had varying degrees of success. At the time of the parcel’s arrival, though, she had entered a new and much more scary phase.

“I was so profoundly depressed,” she says. “It wasn’t the kind of depression where you fall into bed. I’ve been through that before, and while it’s grim, it’s manageable. This was more of a mixed state, a kind of activated depression, and that’s a dangerous place to be. I was doing everything I could to ruin my own life. I was afraid that if I stayed on that track, I would force my husband to leave me, and that I would probably attempt suicide – and being a very capable person, I don’t think a failed attempt was on the cards.”

It was while she was in this state of mind that she stumbled on The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, by the psychologist and writer James Fadiman, who since 2010 has been collecting reports from individuals who have experimented with regular microdosing of LSD and psilocybin, a naturally occurring chemical found in a variety of mushrooms. Fadiman’s book is certainly not the result of a scientific research project; there has never been an officially sanctioned study of microdosing.

But the people whose accounts it gathered together spoke repeatedly of experiencing, thanks to LSD, increased focus and better mood. They reported rarely losing their tempers, and becoming more fun to be with. None, moreover, had suffered any side effects. To put it simply, they went to bed feeling they had enjoyed that most elusive of things: a really good day. As Waldman read on, she grew envious. How she needed to have one of those! Was this her glimmer of hope? She thought it might be.

‘Within a couple of doses the computer of my brain restarted’
Waldman contacted Fadiman, and received a memo entitled “To a Potential Self-Study Psychedelic Researcher”. The protocol was simple. In order to participate in his international self-study group on the effects of sub-perceptual doses of LSD, she should take a microdose of the drug every third day. The suggested dose was a minuscule 10 micrograms, one 10th or less of what a person would have to take in order to experience an altered state of consciousness (ie to trip).

Meanwhile, she should lead life as normal, pausing only to record her moods, productivity and physical symptoms. Did this sound – to be blunt – preposterous? It did. Waldman is a middle-aged mother of four who, in addition to writing novels, lectures on the criminal justice system (she is a Harvard-educated former lawyer). As someone who is law-abiding and swotty, nothing in the world irritates her more than hippies, slackers, free spirits. Even people who won’t stay on the right hand side of escalators drive her nuts. Ken Kesey she is not. But she was suffering. She had nothing to lose. Why shouldn’t she try it, just for a month?

Having found a supplier, then, she did indeed begin taking the drug, an experience she has now recorded in her own book A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life. Its publication is certain to cause controversy. In fact, the madness has already begun. When we speak via Skype, a month or so before it arrives in bookshops, she tells me that only a few days earlier an excitable reporter got in touch to inform her that his editor had given him permission to “drop acid with Ayelet Waldman”. (Her response to his question about when they might schedule this journalistic endeavour was: “Like, never.”)

Attitudes to drugs in America are – irrespective of those states that have legalised cannabis – far from liberal. “Trump has appointed to the Department of Justice a war-on-drugs advocate [the Alabama senator, Jeff Sessions] who is so retrograde in his thinking, he believes the US suffers from an under-incarceration problem,” she says. It’s for this reason that she won’t reveal when her experiment ended: there is a three-year statute of limitations on drugs charges. “Do I think a white, middle-class lady will be high on his list of targets? No. But in this crazy new world we live in, you can’t be too careful.”

Its reception will also doubtless be muddied by the fact that she is its author. In America, Waldman is well known as an acclaimed writer in her own right and as the wife of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon, to whom she has been married since 1993. When she writes about herself, moreover – and this is something she does a great deal in A Really Good Day – people have a tendency to respond with unnerving fury.

'My husband encouraged me to embark on LSD experiment because he was desperate, too'
Most famously, this was the case in 2005, when the New York Times published her essay Motherlove, in which she declared that she loved her husband more than her children (“If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. I am in fact a bad mother.”) In the days that followed, ABC’s daytime show The View hosted an unaccountably vitriolic debate about Waldman, her neighbours could be heard tearing her to shreds in Starbucks, and her inbox filled with emails from strangers threatening to report her to social services, the better that her children might be taken away.

Waldman is clever and funny and open-hearted. But as she readily admits, even her more sympathetic readers may sometimes have cause to wonder, in the case of A Really Good Day, which aspects of her behaviour – her compulsion to tell the world things that others might prefer to keep private among them – are simply the result of her personality, and which can be attributed to her illness. “It is hard to distinguish between them,” she says, almost wonderingly.

Still, she is probably better placed, now, to cope with any onslaught. Waldman is no longer using LSD – her experiment really did last for only a month – but its effects have, in some ways, been lasting. “I miss its anti-depressant quality, and I miss the way it made me focus. It was like Ritalin [a drug commonly prescribed in the US to children with ADHD] without the side effects, which is frankly incredible. But that month got me out of a dark place. Within the first couple of doses, it was like the computer of my brain had been restarted. I was still moody. I had some really good days, but there were also crappy days, and days when it was just the normal sh*t. Somehow, though, the bad days were not hellish days, and so I had the capacity to work on issues I just couldn’t before. Sure, I was hoping for joy. What I got instead was enough distance from the pain I was in to work on the things that were causing it.”

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the rest: visit this link https://www.theguardian.c .. oks-depression
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2 comments for "Jan 11 - How LSD Saved One Woman’s Marriage and Life"

 2 months ago '04        #2
Kliq 75 heat pts75
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thanks for sharing - never tried microdosing, but it seems interesting. my only issue is finding legit LSD, you just never know what you're really getting
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 2 months ago '04        #3
matelyan 21 heat pts21
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 Kliq said:
thanks for sharing - never tried microdosing, but it seems interesting. my only issue is finding legit LSD, you just never know what you're really getting
I haven't had "legit" LSD since 2001. But them shrooms are on deck
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