A Veteran’s experience micro-dosing psilocybin
“When we look within ourselves with psilocybin, we discover that we do not have to look outward toward the futile promise of life that circles distant stars in order to still our cosmic loneliness. We should look within; the paths of the heart lead to nearby universes full of life and affection for humanity.” – Terence McKennna
If we could just feel a little more, we could understand ourselves and others better.
If we could just love a little more – a little deeper, we could bridge the gap between ourselves and those we love in our lives.
If we could just laugh a little more, we could, in turn, smile a little more, and if we could just smile a little more – well, wouldn’t that make the world just 1% better?
The world is so polarized lately, yet in the end we’re all just humans attempting to do the best we can every day and to coexist on this planet as best we can. Humans get knocked down. We experience conflict and strife. Some engage in combat and do what’s necessary to bring ourselves and our brothers home. What very few are talking about is the toll that this takes on the human psyche. We, as a species, know so very little about our own brains and the layers that they hold.
I am a veteran of the Marine Corps. I spent time from 2006-2010 as an Infantryman with 3rd Bn./2nd Mar. out of Camp Lejeune, NC. During that time frame I spent late 2007-early 2008 in the Al-Qa’im region of Iraq, and I spent the majority of 2009 all over the Mediterranean with the 26th MEU. After leaving the service in 2010, it took almost 8 years to figure out my “why.” I had to learn not to define myself based on what I used to be, but instead by what I’m doing in the here and now. I started looking into microdosing psilocybin as a way to help me stay in the present and in turn, grow my “why” into an unstoppable force of nature.
“Microdosing: n: “the practice of taking a very small dose (= measured amount) of a psychedelic drug (= one that affects the mind) in order to become better at solving problems or at thinking of new ideas, or to treat medical problems such as anxiety, depression, or headaches.”– Cambridge University
I was introduced to the concept of microdosing by a friend in the summer of 2020. The idea is simple enough, to take an extremely small dose of a psychedelic such as psilocybin mushrooms or LSD to gain positive benefits without impairing the daily hustle and bustle of life. Prior to microdosing, I tried using Modanifil. It’s a so-called “wonder drug,” used by Fortune 500 execs to enhance cognitive function – a nootropic of sorts. I was looking for a way to enhance creativity and shorten potential learning curves. However, in the end I knew Mondanifil wasn’t good for me. I wanted to try something more holistic.
Anyone will tell you that once I get even slightly interested in something, I go “full-send.” I read all the articles and I listen to all the podcasts on the subject matter. The microdosing protocol I personally follow is called the “Stamets Protocol,” developed by none other than Paul Stamets – a mycology expert. He also helped produce a fantastic documentary on Netflix titled “Fantastic Fungi.” It’s a short and sweet flick about the benefits of both psychoactive and non-psychoactive mushrooms.
I’ve now been microdosing for three consecutive years, and the results have been exactly what I needed. It’s easy to develop a sort of mental fog from the monotony of the day-to-day work week. As a business owner myself, I was prone to this prior to microdosing. Now, it’s as if a grey hue on the world has been removed, and I can appreciate the minutiae again: The sun rising over the ridge line. The cool summer breeze. Those extra deep belly laughs from the kids. To appreciate the stillness amongst the chaos that life sometimes presents to us. My moods are better balanced now, the creativity I’m able to draw on in my work-life has increased, and the amount of focus I can generate while teaching are what I’m most proud of.
As veterans, our emotions can become desensitized over time. Unfortunately, many vets find solace at the bottom of a bottle or by smoking substances that fry whatever remaining brain material they have left. It’s a sad state of affairs, but without assistance, many vets are forced to fend for themselves, and only a few attempt to get their life back on track. What I’ve found is that, through deep introspection into who we are, we can understand what we want out of this life. Through the use of microdosing psilocybin, I have found an innate ability to reach this understanding in myself. The fulfillment that has come from this connection to myself and to life has poured over into my relationships with friends, family, and business.
Veterans, specifically those who have been involved in combat, not only have trouble communicating, but also struggle to show compassion to those they love. We are forced to compartmentalize our traumas to a point where unpacking them is painful at best. It can be easy to fall into the glamorized stereotype of the “dysfunctional veteran,” but it’s up to us to choose to find our own happiness again. If we’re still enraged with hatred from past events or lives lost, those are the battles to engage in first, if we truly want to win the war. We are now living in an era where holistic measures are just starting to be accepted as potential solutions for mental health concerns. Through habitual and regimented microdosing, I have been able to overcome my own trauma and find my love for life again. I so dearly needed it.
At the end of the day, there’s a lot of mystery surrounding the use of psilocybin within the veteran community. You may try microdosing and realize it’s not for you, but it’s been extremely impactful for me. Everyone is different and has skeletons in their closets that need to be unpacked at their own pace. What I can say with 100 percent confidence is that ditching the narcotics and moving to natural solutions is something we as a society need to get more on board with. We can all heal from our trauma. It just requires patience, effort, and gratitude. Microdosing has helped me to see that.