Reviewed by FearlessJZ 9 months ago
I've struggled with treatment-resistant depression and anxiety my entire adult life. After a workplace trauma 2 years ago that resulted in a PTSD diagnosis, this spiraled into clinical depression so debilitating that I stopped showing up to work and subsequently lost my job.
I tried several antidepressants and half a dozen therapists, all of which provided little to no relief. 6 months ago I found a top-notch therapist who employed a combination of EMDR and CBT that finally helped some, but progress was slow. After reading some promising, albeit preliminary, research about the potential of psilocybin to treat PTSD, depression and anxiety, and after researching the risks (come to find out mushrooms are safer than many legal substances including alcohol, SSRIs, etc.), I looked into options to try this.
I signed up for MycoMeditations merely hoping it would create some neuroplasticity and catalyze the work I was doing in therapy. In the end this turned out to be the single most effective thing I've done for my mental health. I would describe it as 2-3 years of therapy bundled into a single week.
They base their approach on the latest findings in neuroscience and psychology research, as well as their experience guiding hundreds of guests through their psilocybin journeys. Nothing shamanic or airy-fairy, no "ceremonies". They did employ meditation, visualization and relaxation techniques, which helped set the tone for all 3 psilocybin sessions.
As someone with a lot of social anxiety, I was initially dreading the group work. But it turned out to be key to the experience. Justin is the perfect retreat leader and fostered an open, authentic and supportive environment where all group members were rooting for everyone else. Exchanging experiences with others throughout the week helped me integrate my psilocybin trips and gain additional insights. And post-retreat the group served as a key support system while I integrated back into "real life" and got back into full swing with a new job.
Justin was very thorough asking about my history, medications, personality type, experience with psychedelics and goals for the retreat. This helped participants get the appropriate dose, which varies considerably from individual to individual, and it helped everyone get the individual support they needed throughout the week. If I had decided to go it on my own, which was an option I was also looking into, I would have gotten the dose completely wrong and gained little benefit. This support has continued after the retreat, as they've remained available for an integration call, questions, advice, etc.
Facilitators are very attentive and experienced. Justin and Ben have especially amazing skill and intuition, and knew exactly what I needed, often before I even knew. They appeared by my side at the perfect time to support me through difficult phases of the trip, or to talk/process what I had just experienced. My 3rd experience was what some would call a "bad trip" (others say challenging and I agree) related to my past trauma. Due to the excellent support and guidance I received during that experience, I was able to reframe the trauma in a way that it didn't disturb me as much anymore and I was gradually able to feel strong, absolved of guilt, and loved/accepted by those around me. This has greatly reduced my PTSD symptoms (fewer and less intense flashbacks, improved sleep).
I felt like an entirely new person when I returned from the retreat. More energy, better sleep (I've had terrible insomnia the last 2 years), productive (able to make plans and execute on them, which was a struggled before), reduced social anxiety, improved meditation, etc. It also seemed to spark newfound creativity... a few days after returning home, I bought a new wardrobe and decorated my home with art and house plants (much to the surprise of my husband!) because my surroundings felt so dull and I felt compelled to liven things up.
6 weeks after returning home, I'd say ~60% of the effects still remain. The effects do wane with time, but it's still stronger and longer lasting than anything else I've tried (and I feel like I've tried everything!). After 2 visits with my therapist, we decided I was ready to reduce sessions from weekly to biweekly and we recently reduced it to monthly check-ins.
I would encourage anyone struggling with depression, anxiety or PTSD to give this retreat a try, especially if therapy and/or medication just isn't cutting it. It's certainly not a panacea, but it markedly improved my mental health when nothing else helped.
Number of people in ceremony: 12
Follow up integration
Visited Sunday, August 25th 2019