A Midlife, Menopausal Mom Seeks Medicine in Magic Mushrooms
There was a moment at the airport as I waited for my flight to Jamaica that I wondered — have I lost my freaking mind?
I was riding solo this trip, reeling from an unholy midlife trinity: menopause, empty nest, and marital separation. As I looked around at my fellow travelers, feelings of isolation and unease grew. I was surrounded by joyful honey-mooners, intact vacationing families, and Christian missionaries in matching pink T-shirts. One of these things didn’t belong, and that thing felt like me.
I wasn’t embarking on a fun-filled vacation in the sun. I was flying to Jamaica, where I would take part in a psilocybin-assisted retreat. …
For me, 2020 did not start on a great note.
After spending three decades with my husband, I started the year as a single person living on her own for the first time ever. The holidays were a blur of moving and grieving. I was on autopilot — pushing through the days. Everything in my life was in upheaval.
And then a strange thing happened. The world was suddenly in sync with me. A global pandemic and worldwide lockdown meant everybody’s life was in upheaval.
I was no longer alone in my uncertainty, desperation, isolation, and confusion.
For years, I suffered from a chronic illness that left me feeling isolated, disconnected, and depressed. I couldn’t write, work, or move from the couch. …
A year ago, I escaped to Jamaica to attend a psilocybin retreat. I didn’t want to spend my 52nd birthday alone. After a sudden and painful separation, I thought it would be better to spend my birthday with strangers doing magic mushrooms than it would be to spend it alone.
I was right. The retreat was immensely healing and transformative. And it turned out those strangers were no strangers at all. Thanks to the intensive therapeutic experience we shared, those strangers became my band of brothers and healing partners in a mere week. …
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” (Henry David Thoreau)
This global pandemic and political divide have all of us feeling stuck in place. I know about being stuck. For six years, I was sidelined and benched by chronic Lyme. By the time I felt well and emerged from a cocoon of chronic fatigue, sickness, and depression — my life had moved on without me.
Sadly, the world does not stop marching forward, whether we are ready or not. …
Today, October 10, I will see lots of people posting about World Mental Health Day in support of de-stigmatizing mental illness.
Posting an inspirational quote or declaration of support is all fine and good, but it’s NOT enough. And worse, it can actually do more harm than good, because it minimizes the experience of mental illness and it feels like a condescending pat on the head.
We need to be able to build real conversations about mental health. And we need to check our blind spots and change the way we interact with people with mental illness.
I speak candidly from my own experience with PTSD and clinical depression, which were exacerbated by six years of late-stage neurological Lyme disease and the hormonal and emotional upheaval brought on during menopause. …
One year ago, I was finally regaining my health despite the shock of marital separation. At the time I thought this difficult period was something my family would get through together in private. Then I was betrayed in the most spectacularly crass and humiliating public way. This was my response that dark night. It might not have been graceful, but it was honest.
September 29, 2019
I have been fairly open about my life over the years here on Facebook. I’m not one for keeping secrets. As they say in AA, you’re only as sick as your secrets.
But I don’t share everything here. Mostly because I try to respect the privacy of others, especially the people I love. …
“Well, most folks seem to think they’re right and you’re wrong …They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions,” said Atticus, “but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” (Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird)
Maybe it’s because I was raised Catholic, or perhaps it’s just the way I’m wired — but I have little tolerance for selective morality. …
I was part of a couple for my entire adult life. I married the boy I fell in love with at nineteen, raised a family, and was preparing for the next phase of life when he walked out to start his new life without me.
Needless to say, I was shocked and grief-stricken. I knew we had problems. I never dreamed it was over, especially as he pretended as if he was still working on our marriage and not plotting his escape.
My immediate response to being single at 52? I believed I’d want to date ASAP because being alone and focusing solely on myself sounded very unappealing. …
I originally posted this piece on my blog in September 2003. I repost it every year on September 11th.
It starts out just like any other day.
An early alarm clock jolts us awake. My husband disappears, leaving a cold bed behind for a warm shower. He’s dressed and long gone before the kids start to stir. I can’t remember if I said goodbye. I think I probably just rolled over and went back to sleep before the front door even closed.
Soon enough, it’s my turn to leave the colder bed. My reward is a hot steaming shower. …
It was reported that Brad Pitt recently took his new girlfriend to his and Jolie’s wedding venue on their wedding anniversary. Angelina is understandably upset.
A source commented to The Mirror: “It grosses her out that he’s cavorting around Europe so publicly with this girl, instead of keeping a private and dignified lid on his love life. The fact he’s apparently taken them to her marital home is just beyond tacky and inappropriate, however, Brad wants to cut it.”
Of course, I know nothing about the true complexities of this situation. My knee-jerk response to all this is an open letter to Ms. …