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…
“How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we are meant to be.”
From BROKEN OPEN: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, by Elizabeth Lesser
Humans are strange. We are in constant conflict with our own nature.
We desire comfort, consistency, and connection with others. And yet, we also get bored easily and seek new and exciting experiences and relationships.
If St. Patrick’s Day were a house, it would be a sprawling, termite-infested structure, stuck in a tacky timewarp, in desperate need of a modern update.
It would be a fixer-upper.
I’m like Joanna Gaines — I can look past the gaudy ugliness of this house and see the strong bones. Underneath the tacky bright green and orange decor and shamrock face tattoos, I see a foundation worth saving and building upon.
I want to get in and strip it all down to the bones to reclaim the authentic, pristine pieces (the original moldings and shiplap). …
Warning: SPOILER ALERT
I am a very powerful witch, forged, not born. Like Wanda Maximoff, I have no coven, but I can do magic without any incantation.
At least that’s how it feels. You see, almost exactly a year ago, I cursed the world. And I cursed it hard.
I was tired of trying to explain to people how soul-sucking it felt to be trapped inside a sick body — living a diminished existence — unable to venture outside my home into the world.
And so, I cast an unintentional hex. I wanted the world to live inside my pain…
I do not behave myself in my illness.
I am the most impatient of patients.
I am prickly and on edge.
I cannot play the role of saint or martyr.
I tire of this endless rest.
This endless pain.
This endless lack of pleasure.
I long for life as it was before.
Before wasn’t perfect, BUT —
It was a life of relative ease.
A life of general health.
A life of endless possibility and potential!
And I took it all for granted.
I tire of even this –
My endless moaning and lamenting.
Woe is Me.
Last Valentine’s Day, my heart was broken into a million pieces by betrayal from the person I spent my entire life with. I was sad and depressed, sinking into a spiral of complicated grief.
I never felt more alone in my life.
This year, my heart physically aches because of an insidious virus called COVID-19 that broke into my home on New Year’s Day. The virus has latched onto my body, refusing to go away quietly.
I’m not a long-hauler yet, but I’m told it’s common to have symptoms linger for weeks and months.
Last Valentine’s Day, I was without…
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…
A year ago, I escaped to Jamaica to attend a psilocybin retreat. 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. I felt like I had known them my entire life.
The real stranger was me —…
“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…
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…
I write, create, instruct. My curiosity is expansive — health, happiness, relationships, spirituality, TV/film, psychedelics, feminism, neuroscience, life.