How Psychedelics Saved My Life

Deus Nexus: Of all the misconceptions, stereotypes, and propaganda that we’ve been fed, I have found that one of the hardest for people to let go of are the lies about psychedelics.  I’ve already shared my experiences here.

Reposted from: | by Amber Lyon

Amber Lyon is an Emmy Award-winning former CNN investigative news correspondent.

I invite you to take a step back and clear your mind of decades of false propaganda.  Governments worldwide lied to us about the medicinal benefits of marijuana.   The public has also been misled about psychedelics.

These non-addictive substances- MDMA, ayahuasca, ibogaine, psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, and many more- are proven to rapidly and effectively help people heal from trauma, PTSD, anxiety, addiction and depression.

Psychedelics saved my life.

My Experience with Anxiety and PTSD Symptoms

I was drawn to journalism at a young age by the desire to provide a voice for the ‘little guy’.  For nearly a decade working as a CNN investigative correspondent and independent journalist, I became a mouthpiece for the oppressedvictimized and marginalized.  My path of submersion journalism brought me closest to the plight of my sources, by living the story to get a true understanding of what was happening.

At a press conference exposing human rights abuses in Bahrain.

After several years of reporting, I realized an unfortunate consequence of my style- I had immersed myself too deeply in the trauma and suffering of the people I’d interviewed.  I began to have trouble sleeping as their faces appeared in my darkest dreams. I spent too long absorbed in a world of despair and my inability to deflect it allowed the trauma of others to settle inside my mind and being.  Combine that with several violent experiences while working in the field and I was at my worst.   A life reporting on the edge had led me to the brink of my own sanity.

Because I could not find a way to process my anguish, it grew into a monster, manifesting itself into a constant state of anxiety, short-term memory loss, sleeplessness, and hyper arousal.  The heart palpitations made me feel like I was knocking on death’s door.

Why I Chose Psychedelic Drugs Medicines

Prescription medications and antidepressants serve a purpose, but I knew they were not on my path to healing after my investigations exposed their sinister side effects including infants being born dependent on the medicines after their mothers couldn’t kick their addictions. Masking the symptoms of a deeper condition with a pill felt like putting a Band-Aid on bullet wound.

I was made aware of the potential healing powers of psychedelics as a guest on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in October 2012.   Joe told me psychedelic mushrooms transformed his life and had the potential to change the course of humanity for the better. My initial reaction was one of amusement and somewhat disbelief, but the seed was planted.

Psychedelics were an odd choice for someone like me.  I grew up in the Midwest and was fed 30 years of propaganda explaining how horrible these substances were for my health.   You can imagine my jaw-dropping surprise when, after the Rogan podcast, I found articles on the prodigious effects of these substances that behave more like medicines than drugs.  Articles like this onethis, this this, and this.   And studies such as this,  thisthisthisthis… and this … all gut-wrenching examples of how we’ve been misled by authorities who classify psychedelics as schedule 1 narcotics that have ‘no medicinal value’ despite dozens of scientific studies proving otherwise.

Tripping Around the World

Having only ever smoked the odd marijuana joint in college, in March 2013 I found myself boarding a plane to Iquitos, Peru to try one of the most powerful psychedelics on earth.   I ditched my car at the airport, hastily packed my belongings in a backpack and headed down to the Amazon jungle placing my blind faith in a substance that a week ago I could hardly pronounce: ayahuasca.

Shamans, or healers, prepare the Ayahuasca brew by combining chacruna leaves, that contain the powerful psychedelic DMT, with the ayahuasca vine.

Ayahuasca is a medicinal tea that contains the psychedelic compound dimethyltryptamine, or DMT.   The brew is rapidly spreading around the world after numerous anecdotes have shown the brew has the power to cure anxiety, PTSD,depression, unexplained pain, and numerous physical and mental health ailments.  Studies of long-term ayahuasca drinkers show they are less likely to face addictions and have elevated levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for happiness.

If I had any reservations, doubts, or disbeliefs, they were quickly expelled shortly after my first ayahuasca experience. The foul-tasting tea vibrated through my veins and into my brain as the medicine scanned my body.  My field of vision became engulfed with fierce colors and geometric patterns.  Almost instantly, I saw a vision of a brick wall.  The word ‘anxiety’ was spray painted in large letters on the wall.  “You must heal your anxiety,” the medicine whispered.  I entered a dream-like state where traumatic memories were finally dislodged from my subconscious.

It was as if I was viewing a film of my entire life, not as the emotional me, but as an objective observer.   The vividly introspective movie played in my mind as I relived my most painful scenes- my parents divorce when I was just 4 years-old, past relationships, being shot at by police while photographing a protest in Anaheim andcrushed underneath a crowd while photographing a protest in Chicago.  The ayahuasca enabled me to reprocess these events, detaching the fear and emotion from the memories.  The experience was akin to ten years of therapy in one eight-hour ayahuasca session.

On my mat before the ayahuasca ceremony begins.

But the experience, and many psychedelic experiences for that matter, was terrifying at times.  Ayahuasca is not for everyone- you have to be willing to revisit some very dark places and surrender to the uncontrollable, fierce flow of the medicine.  Ayahuasca also causes violent vomiting and diarrhea, which shamans call “getting well” because you are purging trauma from your body.

After seven ayahuasca sessions in the jungles of Peru, the fog that engulfed my mind lifted.  I was able to sleep again and noticed improvements in my memory and less anxiety.   I yearned to absorb as much knowledge as possible about these medicines and spent the next year travelling the world in search of more healers, teachers and experiences through submersion journalism.

I was drawn to try psilocybin mushrooms after reading how they reduced anxiety in terminal cancer patients.  The ayahuasca showed me my main ailment was anxiety, and I knew I still had work to do to fix it.  Psilocybin mushrooms are not neurotoxic, nonaddictive, and studies show they reduce anxietydepression, and even lead to neurogenesis, or the regrowth of brain cells.  Why would governments worldwide keep such a profound fungi out of the reach of their people?

The curandera blesses me as I consume psilocybin mushrooms for the healing ceremony.

After Peru, I visited curanderas, or healers,  in Oaxaca, Mexico.  The Mazatecs have used psilocybin mushrooms as a sacrament and medicinally for hundreds of years.  Curandera Dona Augustine served me a leaf full of mushrooms during a beautiful ceremony before a Catholic alter.   As she sang thousand year-old songs, I watched the sunset over the mountainous landscape in Oaxaca and a deep sense of connectivity washed over my whole being.  The innate beauty had me at a loss for words; a sudden outpouring of emotion had me in tears.   I cried through the night and with each tear a small part of my trauma trickled down my cheek and dissolved onto the forest floor, freeing me from its toxic energy.

Psilocybin mushrooms are not neurotoxic, non addictive, and a study shows they can repair brain damage from trauma.

Perhaps most astounding, the mushrooms silenced the self-critical part of my mind long enough for me to reprocess memories without fear or emotion.  The mushrooms enabled me to remember one of the most terrifying moments of my career: when I was detained at gunpoint in Bahrain while filming a documentary for CNN.  I had lost any detailed recollection of that day when masked men pointed guns at our heads and forced my crew and I onto the ground.  For a good half an hour, I did not know whether we were going to survive.

I spent many sleepless nights desperately searching for memories of that day, but they were locked in my subconscious.   I knew the memories still haunted me because anytime I would see PTSD ‘triggers’, such as loud noises, helicopters, soldiers, or guns, a rush of anxiety and panic would flood my body.

The psilocybin was the key to unlock the trauma, enabling me to relive the detainment moment to moment, from outside of my body, as an emotionless, objective observer.  I peered into the CNN van and saw my former self sitting in the backseat, loud helicopters overhead.    My producer Taryn was sitting to the right of me frantically trying to close the van door as we tried to make an escape.  I heard Taryn scream “guns!” as armed masked men jumped out of the security vehicles surrounding the van.  I watched as I frantically dug through a backpack on the floor, grabbing my CNN ID card and jumping out of the van.  I saw myself land on the ground in child’s pose, dust covering my body and face.  I watched as I threw my hand with the CNN badge in the air above my head yelling “CNN, CNN, don’t shoot!!”

I saw the pain in my face as the security forces threw human rights activist and dear friend Nabeel Rajab against a security car and began to harass him.  I saw the terror in my face as I glanced down at my shirt, arms in the air, praying the video cards concealed on my body wouldn’t fall onto the ground.

During the ceremony the psilocybin unlocks traumatic memories stored deep in my subconscious so I can process them and heal.  The experience is intensely introspective.

As I relived each moment of the detainment, I reprocessed each memory moving it from the “fear” folder to its new permanent home in the “safe” folder in my brain’s hard drive.

Five ceremonies with psilocybin mushrooms cured my anxiety and PTSD symptoms.   The butterflies that had a constant home in my stomach have flown away.

Psychedelics are not the be-all and end-all.  For me, they were the key that opened the door to healing.  I still have to work to maintain the healing with the use of floatation tanks, meditation, and yoga.  For psychedelics to be effective, it’s essential they are taken with the right mindset in a quiet, relaxed setting conducive to healing, and that all potential prescription drug interactions are carefully researched.  It can be fatal if Ayahuasca is mixed with prescription antidepressants.

I was blessed with an inquisitive nature and a stubbornness to always question authority. Had I opted for a doctor’s script and resigned myself in the hope that things would just get better, I never would have discovered the outer reaches of my mind and heart. Had I drunk the Kool-Aid and believed that all ‘drugs’ are evil and have no healing value, I may still be in the midst of a battle with PTSD.

The Creation of

This very world that glamorizes war, violence, commercialism, environmental destruction, and suffering has outlawed some of the most profound keys to inner peace.   The War on Drugs is not based on science.  If it was, two of the most deadly drugs on earth-alcohol and tobacco- would be illegal.  Those suffering from trauma have become victims of this failed war and have lost one of the most effective ways to heal.

Humanity has gone mad as a result.

Lyon and a scientist cut open a fish stomach to inspect for plastic litter while filming a documentary on ocean pollution.

I spent ten years witnessing the collective insanity as a journalist on the frontlines- wars, bloodshed, environmental destruction, sex slavery, lies, addiction, anger, fear.

But I had it all wrong journalistically.  I had been focusing on the symptoms of an ill society, rather than attacking the root cause: unprocessed trauma.

We all have trauma.  Trauma rests in the violent criminal, the cheating spouse, the corrupt politician, those suffering from mental illness, addictions, inside those too fearful to take risks and reach their full potential.

If it’s not adequately processed and purged, trauma becomes cemented onto the hard drive of the mind, growing into a dark parasite that rears its ugly head throughout a person’s entire life.   The wounds keep us locked in a grid of fear, trapped behind a personality not true to the soul, working a mundane job rather than following a passion, repeating a cycle of abuse, destroying the environment, harming one another.  The most common and severe suffering is inflicted during childhood and hijacks the driver’s seat into adulthood, steering an individual down a road deprived of happiness.   Renowned addiction expert Gabor Mate says, “The major cause of severe substance addiction is always childhood trauma.”

We live in a world full of wounds and when left untreated, they’re unceremoniously handed from one generation to the next, so the cycle of trauma continues in all its destructive brutality.

But there’s hope.   We can transform the course of humanity by collectively purging our grief and healing at the individual level, with the help of psychedelic medicines.  Once we collectively heal at the individual level, we will see dramatic positive transformation in society as a whole.

I founded the website, to produce and aggregate journalism on consciousness, natural medicines, and therapies.  Psychedelic explorer Terrence McKenna compared taking psychedelics to hitting the ‘reset button’ on your internal hard drive, clearing out the junk, and starting over.  I created to help connect those who need to hit the ‘reset button’ in life with journalism covering the tools that enable us to heal.

It’s a human rights crisis psychedelics are not accessible to the general population.  It’s insane that governments worldwide have outlawed the very medicines that can emancipate our souls from suffering.

It’s time we stop the madness.



6 thoughts on “How Psychedelics Saved My Life

  1. Well now I have heard everything! Here is the cabal and here is what they do are you getting the picture? Where would I begin as for 20 years I did pot, speed and oh hell yes some of the purist window pain acid that was ever created! I am not talking this blotter crap cut with strychnine. No I am talking about the same stuff that the Moody Blues sang about as a tribute to a great man with vision, Timothy Leary. And for you youngsters not old enough to have been part of the hippy movement of the 60’s and 70’s all I can say is “What a trip man”!

    This gal and others that are now talking about hallucinogens let me tell you a fact! Myself with an old dear friend named Jerry accidentally stumbled upon psilocybin mushrooms one day out in a field that belonged to a large Seed producing farm in the willamette Valley in Oregon. I had taken survival courses that a teacher offered at my first year in Community college and she was happy to point out the mushroom that people were eating to get high at the time. It grew in cow crap and had a gel like nipple over a small symmetric shell. They were like a mild LSD trip no matter how many you ate. Much like blotter or sugar cube acid which are a watered down version of the pure Window Pain acid. When I say pure I mean Window Pain started out in crystal clear tiny squares much like a miniature tiny window pain….get it? We would take a razor and cut these into 2 pieces because to eat a whole square which was about 3/16″ on each of four sides would make newbies out of control! As a short amount of time went by the acid got browner and more dirty looking as without Timothy at the helm and locked away for life it was becoming hard to get the materials to make it found at universities for the most part.

    Here’s the other part of history I doubt you know. A man named Art Linkletter together with another actor named Red Skelton both lost children who were tripping on LSD and decided to try flying! No not with an airplane but rather with their bodies from 3 and 4 stories up off a balcony. Say what you want about the fact that they had “rich kid ” problems because all kids have growing problems the fact is LSD and shrooms can be deadly if taken in the wrong mood at the wrong time for the wrong reasons! Come on, we are talking 8 hours of seeing squiggly lines, color bursts so vivid you can’t see anything else and once you get through the cold sweats and nausea you enter a euphoric state where if someone touches you and you turn and meat eyes you meld together into bursts of colors and fireworks that don’t come close to doing this feeling or state of mind justice! Yes this is the grand part and if planned right with experienced people isolated from the “real world” it can be safe and one of the most beautiful things you will ever experience! FOR SOME PEOPLE! Others as I had seen many times were just plain paranoid and it took hours of soft talking, much coffee and sometimes an ambulance to cope with their BAD TRIP!

    Was it fair that Timothy Leary spent his entire life behind bars only to be let out in order to die? Not hardly. It was an injustice pushed through by 2 very wealthy bitter people who had the money to seal the deal! You see like any MAJOR DRUG it definitely had a place in society as the military and medical field discovered in people with various psychotic issues. That is the same with pure methamphetamines and plain pot. I am not talking the ganja weed grown hydroponically as generations old hybrids laced with opiates or even cocain. These are nearly at the level of LSD or the good mushrooms I was talking about that me and a friend found growing in a white substance on the outside of hay bails wet from yesterdays rain and now teaming with fungi, mushrooms and bugs in the hot sunshine. The first time I saw these guys you could stand there and literally watch them grow inches in minutes! I was so taken in by it and their perfect white stalk and stems contrasting the glowing root beer brown tops that I thought they were magical so I of course ate one and then two. Actually it was my friend Jerry that ate the first one. There we were me with my long brown hair that fell below my belt line and Jerry with the most child like innocent smile and long blond ponytail stupid as all getout waiting to see if we would get high or just die! Well obviously (as I am here writing this) we survived. Oh and yes we got so high we could hardly see reality and then I had to drive us home. All I really remember is the yellow lines of the road hitting my hood and exploding in platters of the most beautiful yellow. Then a cop pulled me over and I started getting real paranoid! I plowed down an old coffe from the day before still resting in a cup holder and I remember it was lumpy as I discovered some of the guys had used it for an ashtray earlier. With the hallucinations pure fear or the cop and the feeling I really needed to upchuck sooner than later I looked up and there he was mr police officer bright shiny and smiling. First he got in my face and asked if I had been drinking and I replied”nope”. Then his smile faded a bit as he asked (more like motioned the typical clinching a joint and taking in a big toke) do I smell some good marygewana? And I calmly answered (knowing I just came from work and hadn’t gotten to those 2 favorite after work relaxers yet) nope. He asked me to blow which I did and that took care of that phoney smile immediately as he waved his hand back and forth to get the stench of 2 day old coffee with nicotine from prob winstons, Moroburo and God only knows what else that was in that soup I drank! He had had enough so he looked at me and asked “then why in the heck were you going 20 miles an hour in a 55mph zone”? I looked at Jerry who I told moments before the stop “God I think I was really speeding I’m screwed” and shrugged my shoulders. He by that time had discovered the bread bag full of shrooms in my back seat and was now shaking his head and rolling his eyes as he tossed them back. He blurted out as he turned and swaggered to his car “you boys know there are some of those that grow in these parts that will kill you dead just by touching them. I found out later that of course he was right as there are several species that if you do not carefully remove the white dots that will kill you rather quickly.

    My point here is that there are lots of drugs out there when used under proper planning and caution would be fine ONCE IN A WHILE FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES. But come on “ever seen the version of MASH where Hawkeye does some pharmaceutical meth” in order to stay awake all night and save lives? It was great and worked well for that purpose but then he decided because it worked so well he could occasionally do it again when it meant saving more lives. Pretty soon people were amazed at his new ability to clear the operating room of patients nearly all by himself! Well finally his work got sloppy as he became addicted to the meth and couldn’t sleep so he couldn’t function right any longer. It was only after nearly killing a soldier and someone else stepping in that he came to grips with his addiction. That is the way with all “good drugs” every time without exception. If mixed with other drugs or simply done to long you simply burn out and cease to function properly as does your physical body. Don’t kid yourself as I have known some of the most brilliant and promising people loose their carriers and even their lives thinking “I will do this once in a while but not get addicted and turn into one of those guys”. That is a lie we tell ourselves as the years role by and we never make it to college, or can afford to buy that home or even give our kids the things we always planned for! Again I have never seen an exception to this out of hundreds of people throughout the twenty some years I lived to get high including my ex and me. It cost me twenty years of following my life long passion and by the time I got my engineering degree and ten years to set up my business which I dreamed my wonderful father could see and work at he had just passed the year before. And heres the best part. 15 years after quitting meth, pot and finally drinking my wife cheated on me while recovering from surgery because she never stopped drugs and found me boring as I had to bring home work in the first years to build up the business. She ran off with a meth dealer who finally got bored and said “next” as again years and years of this crap doesn’t get you high it just becomes a habit that makes you sicker and sicker. Her own children were telling her she was throwing away her home, her life and her grandchildren as the would not let her near them on meth. Still she left and regrets it today but she can’t and won’t stop as she does not think its a habit or that she would ever be happy off it. She smokes it drinks it and snorts it. At least thank God she is not shooting it with a needle…..yet.

    I can see the same future for this young beautiful blond lying to herself in the video.

    Embrace life for the high you are after in swimming, boating and hiking. Don’t sit around all day watching the boob tube as that is just another drug or boredom killer as I call it. If your marriage gets boring try new things like volunteering in kitchens or helping the elderly. Try art or other hobbies that involve your children and grandchildren. Trust me boring is better than living alone with loneliness or anguish from loosing a loved one to drugs!

    From my heart to yours I finally after 6 years of living alone still in love with my wife at that time had my Mom, Dad and the Lord Jesus come to me one Christmas and my life clicked back to what it was before all the waste of time corrupted it. I feeeeel soooo good and things are getting fun and exciting again!

    Love and blessings my friends and always choose wisely…..mike

    • Mike, i’m afraid I going to have to disagree with you on this one. This is one of those high-emotion issues where people immediately put on their blinders. Let’s be clear. Amber’s article is not talking about the recreational use of narcotics. She took extraordinary measures to travel to these remote corners of the world to take part in native rituals that have probably been performed for centuries. In this case, intention is everything, and Amber’s intention was to heal. The last thing the cabal wants is for us to heal our trauma. They want us to be enslaved to our trauma. The recreational use of alcohol and narcotics in the west feeds the enslavement of trauma by absolving us from responsibility for consciously healing ourselves. Whereas these rituals with psychedelics, done under the RIGHT conditions, may in fact heal and release the worst kind of trauma of all, ritual abuse.

      • Ok well that is what I get for speed reading. Ya as I said there is medicinal value in any of these drugs including meth as well as a time and place. Guess I flinch because a lot of people lately want to experience peyote and mescaline and LSD etc. just to bring themselves closer to their 9th chakra or ascend and I disagree with these methods as I will explain below.

        Remember Carlos Castaneda? See it is different if (like him) you are trying to understand the ritual and religious part that tribes. elders and indians all used these for. As far as using these NATURAL herbs and drugs for ascension and interdimensional travel you need someone there with you that know how to command these for these controlled purposes much like Carlos did when he took these with the elders of the tribes. I don’t know if you ever got into any of this my friend but it is a very heavy experience. It is imperative that you have someone with you to navigate that has had much experience. Otherwise you will end up taking these for years (as I did in some cases) in order to understand how to control the drug and yourself in order to benefit and have a positive experience.

        Trust me I have seen some very bad trips that nearly got people including myself killed. And once you have a really bad trip in most cases the person will never go back thereby leaving this nasty dark ugly void in their head.

        I was very luck on the LSD as I had a very nice and well versed couple to help me through the first 6-8 trips. There were several times at first when I went through the sweats and sickness on my way up that I started to freak and things got pretty black. Lorean (the gals name) turned down the lights, got everyone still and got me to focus on her and this tea she made for me. That activity and the way she did it brought me down to a level I could handle and after an hour or so off we went to enjoy this strange new world.

        It is very spiritual and good on the pure LSD but you simply aren’t going to find strychnine free acid anymore unless you have ties to the government as they outlawed the ingredients to make it just like they did with good speed! Trust me I depended on good speed as I drove long haul in my younger years and it was very cutthroat so you had to have this to do 18 plus hours a day sometimes. Oh yes back in the crosstops and black beauty days….remember them well he he he.

        Thanks very much for pointing that out as sometimes I do miss the point but I would rather lean to the negative on chemicals than the positive as they do so much damage to peoples lives, especially kids! Organics like mushrooms and peyote are a little more unsettling to the stomach but have far less damaging effects like addiction for one. Take care and blessings my friend…..mike

      • Based upon my own experiences, I don’t believe any drug should be used recreationally; we have a very juvenile attitude toward such drugs in the west. It’s like kids playing with fire for entertainment – it’s dangerous and people will get burned. We shouldn’t simply judge fire as evil. In the right hands, under the right circumstances, fire is a tool, it provides illumination. I believe the same is true, under certain circumstances, for psychedelics. It’s vital to approach any powerful spiritual experience with the right intention and attitude. These chemicals are not a way of life, they are simply a catalyst for rapid transformation. It’s certainly not the only path, or even the safest or best path when it comes to healing or enlightenment. But in challenging times, challenging remedies are sometimes required.

  2. Spoken like a very wise elder (hey thats what they call me at 58 years young :)) my friend. You got it:):):)

    I pray for Love and blessings to you and your family….always…..mike

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