A beautiful story, from such a beautiful women, showing we really do live in the most beautiful of worlds.
By E.F Nicholson
I recently came across an edition of AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reditt of a women who has been part of the MAPs clinical trail of using MDMA for treatment resistant PTSD. If your not aware of these on Reddit it‘s basically people asking any question they want and the person giving their frank and honest replies.(It has big names and celebrities on such as Sir David Attenborough, Harrison Ford, Bill Gates, Buzz Alden, Louis CK, ect.. have appeared on it)
During this process the women in question was sharing with the Rediit community the immense value of having MDMA assisted psychotherapy to treat her post traumatic stress. Below I am including an except of the dialogue where she shares the nature of the epiphanies she had during treatment. What she shares is particularly touching, heart-wrenching, and ultimately hope-filled. (I would encourage you to read the whole discussion in full here
There are not many things I read that bring a tear to my eye but this was one of them. As the process she goes through shows not only the power we have to heal but to find hope in the most darkest of places. Not in any sentimental or soppy way, rather through her journey entering and exiting the treacherous and forbidding dark night of the soul. This is a women who went through a tremendously traumatic experience that could have easily broken a person but with the help she received has been able to turn it around.
Anyone cynical about the value of this MDMA assisted psychotherapy I think would find it very hard to dismiss her story. Yet what I found most inspiring wasn’t the use of MDMA, as that was just one particular means to end, rather the what she was able to get from it. The insights, the connection to something deeper and a capacity to review painful past events in way that liberates rather than imprison one in further pain. If there is is anything redeeming and inspiring about our human condition shows shows itself in stories such as this. It gives me hope for myself and the whole world. It’s such beautiful story, from such a beautiful and intelligent women, showing we really do live in the most beautiful of worlds.
After witnessing the death of my 34 year old husband and another man in a violent accident, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I participated in the MAPS MDMA/PTSD study and it saved my life. Ask Me Anything
Please don’t feel the need to go into great detail as I know it’s very personal, but roughly what sort of epiphanies (during the MDMA assisted psychotherapy being discussed) did it lead you too?
As you said, it is very personal. Not that I don’t want to share, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to convey the importance of my epiphanies. That’s the thing about epiphanies, they seem so very obvious after you realize them. So, I will share a bit, but understand that these are some of the biggest realizations I’ve ever made in my life, no matter how inconsequential they may seem.
I never wanted to have children. I knew how hard it was being a kid and I didn’t want to purposefully impose childhood on anyone else, especially one I knew I would love completely. And children were a burden to their parents, one and all, no matter how much they were loved. It was just a fact. I didn’t want to create a burden.
I met my husband and fell in love, despite what I thought was my better judgement. I couldn’t help it. He was a bright and shiny person. Even tho we were so very different from each other when we met, it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered but him, and it was obvious he felt the same way.
But he gave himself to me effortlessly and completely. I was always waiting for the end, because I thought that’s what always happened. Guys did not stick around.
So I made the most of our time together but always expected him to not be there some day. Then, after years of consideration he decided to take MDMA with me. That night became known to us as our wedding night. That experience gently pried open my wounded heart and let David in. I realized, “Holy shit, this guy really does love me. And that kind of love is real?! Whaaaat?!!”
Trying to be brief here… At one point we were lying on the floor together. Listening to music and I turned my head to face him and a material flowed from my head and face to his. The material seemed to be just a little bit out of this realm of reality. Just outside our normal perception. It reminded me of the way water took form in that movie The Abyss when it was trying to communicate. But this stuff was warm and humming. And it connected David and I. I finally saw past all the fear I had and accepted him. At one point he said, “Give yourself to me, we deserve each other.” I had no idea he even understood I was keeping myself from him.
We had always been inseparable, but now, we were bound in such a way that death wouldn’t even be able to separate us fully.
But I digress…..
Even after bonding that night, it would take years for David to convince me to start a family. I would say, “Things happen, David. You don’t know the future.” And he would always reply, “I’m not going anywhere.” We repeated this conversation over and over through the years. Him always trying to reassure me, almost out of habit. Like we knew this was an open wound I had that may never heal. As my partner he promised to put salve on it any time I asked, ever. And he did. Until one day I pressed the conversation a bit further and said, “you may die, ya know. Then what?” And his reply was,”Well, there’s nothing I can do about that.”
I was beginning to believe him, that it was worth it to have a child. We began trying to get pregnant.
Five years went by and finally the doctors said we couldn’t conceive. About 6 months later I was pregnant. Surprise. Shock, actually.
We were elated and really needing to shift gears in our life to accommodate this great news. And we did. And we were all so happy and in love with each other.
Then he fucking did it, he died. He left.
After a decade of him promising and promising, I fucking fell for it. I fell for the great lie that all single parents fall for. And now not only me but my beautiful daughter will suffer eternally for it. I was livid. At myself for BELIEVING him.
He tricked me!
That’s how I felt.
When you suffer from PTSD, you really feel unsure of everything, especially yourself. I was nothing. I didn’t even understand how my heart was still beating. I couldn’t do simple math anymore. I was a waste of space, I felt.
MDMA took me back to my childhood and showed me how far I went to be happy. Always, no matter what the circumstance, I figured out a way to ascend. I could trust myself. I did know what was best.
I had forgotten this because I felt my intuition was faulty because I denied it (not wanting to have a baby) and “fell” for David’s line of “I’m not going anywhere”.
David WAS telling the truth. As far as he had control, he would not leave.
But at the scene of the accident, when I knew he was dying, I remembered something I read in the Tibetan Book of the Dead that said when someone is dying you shouldn’t beg them to stay but put them at ease about the transition, instead. So I quit begging him to wake up and told him “Stay if you can, but if you can’t, It’s okay. Don’t be afraid.”
The feeling of him dying really shifted into a different stage at that moment. I felt him begin to really go. Before it was a halting erosion of him, after I said that to him, it was more of a steady flow of him leaving.
I felt like he did make a choice at that point.
Boy, I asked a lot of that man. “Hey, don’t die! It’ll hurt my feelings!”
Anyway. It occurred to me that I am intelligent and capable. At one point my counselor said do you really think anyone could convince YOU of anything? MDMA took my hand and showed me how powerful I was. How I did utilized my intuition and intelligence all my life and overcame A LOT. I wondered how I was even sitting on the couch in Boulder? Because I was so fucking resourceful! I was an incredibly capable person with a tremendous drive.
I know it sounds like I’m boasting here, but I needed to know this about myself. I was only ever okay because I was all of these things. I knew plenty of people who had the life I did who were not in good shape at all. I was. I am. And I will be, so will my daughter.
David didn’t trick me. David allowed me to think it was him who “made” me acquiesce to have a baby. Turns out, I wanted a baby just as much as he. I wanted to spread all the love David and I had and make more of it with our daughter. ME.
He was kind enough to allow me to pull whatever tricks on MYSELF in order to be happy. Need me to reassure you forever about how I’m never leaving? Gladly. Need me to allow you to blame me for getting us into this whole baby thing? Gladly, my dear. I am strong in ways you are not and vise versa.
He was amazing. We were amazing. MDMA let me see that EVERYTHING that man did was out of pure love. And I am WAY too smart for my own good.