Taking Back My Mind details my journey overcoming severe clinical depression with the use of psilocybin mushrooms, commonly known as “magic mushrooms.” My story begins in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, where divorce, my dad’s death, and several major health issues plunged me down the dark rabbit hole of depression. After ten months of intense suffering, and falling victim to pharmaceutical drugs, I reached the brink of suicide. Then, on December 22, 2017, I ate a small handful of mushrooms, and took a walk on the beach with my brother. This journey jolted me out of my deadly downward spiral, literally overnight, and sparked a magical and transformative journey that eventually led me back to Mexico, this time to the mountains of southern Oaxaca, to shoot a documentary, a concurrent side project, about my experience with the local indigenous Mazatec who continue to use these plant medicines for their own mental, emotional, and spiritual well being, as they have done for thousands of years.
During my psilocybin journey that beautiful December day, a veil had been lifted. The next day I still felt great, and I knew it was real. I immediately began weaning off the antidepressants I had become dependent on. I had also coincidentally just stumbled across a breathing technique a few weeks before my psilocybin journey, called the Wim Hof Method, that contributed heavily to my rapid and dramatic recovery. I have not missed one day of the practice in over two years. I also have not gotten sick in two years, and my overall health is the best it has ever been. And yet another coincidence immediately following my psychedelic journey was my introduction to Stoic Philosophy, an ancient Greek philosophy about how to live life. With a fresh pair of lenses from which to peer out at the world, Stoicism immediately resonated with me. I decided to apply its principles to my life, as I felt I had a clean slate before me. I had been rebooted.
The synergy that was created from the consistent practice of these three extremely powerful tools; psychedelics, the Wim Hof Method, and Stoic philosophy; completely transformed my life. In this book, I attempt to explain how each of these practices, individually and collectively, continue elevating my well being to heights I could have never imagined. We are the alchemists of our bodies and minds. We have the power to create the feelings we want, on demand. I have never been happier nor healthier than I am now.
Depression is not a disease like most people think. It is a symptom of very complex and multifaceted biological, psychological, nutritional, environmental, and societal factors, among many others, and taking harmful, addictive pharmaceutical drugs to try to suppress natural and necessary human emotions is not the answer. It is time to change this paradigm.
During this difficult time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to remain as healthy as possible, to cultivate a calm and resilient mind, to stay present, and to raise our awareness and collective consciousness, so we may overcome, learn from, and transcend the current crisis of consciousness threatening our very existence. In this book, I share the tools, tactics, and routines that I have used, and continue using, to achieve this goal.
These are tough times and we all can use a little help. A looming mental health crisis will very likely follow this pandemic. We all know people currently struggling or suffering from depression. Let’s give them the tools they need, and the gift of hope.