I want to start with a snapshot of how I am possibly different from the average person. I don't smoke or drink. Before this chapter of my life began, I'd never taken any drugs besides prescription medication (and those as rarely as possible). I live in Melbourne, the coffee capital of Australia, and don't even drink it.
Yet today, my life revolves around psychedelic medicines - heavily stigmatised substances still illegal in most countries.This huge shift is likely confusing. However, my personal journey can hopefully provide a deeper understanding of why I co-founded Mind Medicine Australia (MMA), and how psychedelic-assisted therapy could change the face of mental health treatment.
Helping People find their Voice
Over the past two decades, I've founded 6 companies, 3 charities and am a Member of the Order of Australia. I'm a global speaker and an international soprano - performing both as a soloist and as part of a group and have released 12 albums.
Singing has always been a huge part of my life. This motivated me to create the charity Creativity Australia and social inclusion program, With One Voice. My mission was to bring together people from different backgrounds, generations, faiths, and cultures by forming social inclusion choirs that bring together 'haves' with 'have-nots'. Singing together can help alleviate loneliness, depression, and social isolation. I explain this further in my recent TED talk, which has received over 100,000 views so far.
I've personally witnessed that helping people find their voice can unlock their full creative potential. Similarly, I also believe psychedelics have a monumental role in helping achieve this. I know they will allow me to scale this mission… but I'll get back to that. First, I think it's important to tell you about my own experiences with psychedelics.
From Sober to Psilocybin Seeker
Taking an illegal substance had never occurred to me until I stumbled across Michael Pollan's article in The New Yorker titled 'The Trip Treatment.' Reading it not only made me aware of the current resurgence in psychedelic research, but also helped me to understand how these ancient plant medicines were assisting people to heal from a host of mental health issues.
From that point on, my interest in trying these hallucinogenic plants began to grow. I had no idea what it was like to be drunk or out of control. Yet the majority of people expose themselves to these altered states on a regular basis. I wondered if perhaps I was missing out on an essential human experience. What could psychedelics teach me about who I am or who I could be? Through exploring my psyche, what unknown parts of myself and our cosmos could psychedelics grant me access to?
So, I recruited the support of my now husband Peter, and set out on a quest to have a therapeutic experience with psilocybin mushrooms. Having sadly lost his father to suicide in his early teens, Peter was also interested in dealing with past traumas.
However, being able to do this in a safe and legal setting proved difficult. After first trying and failing to get into global trials for healthy patients, we were ultimately referred to a private therapist in the Netherlands, where the use of psychoactive truffles is legal. We ingested a large dose of psilohuasca - a combination of psilocin-containing fungi and Syrian Rue, a MAO inhibitor used to enhance and prolong the effects of a trip.
The Inner Journey
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