My Psychedelic Healing

(My PTSD)

They say near-death experiences cause you to reflect back on life. I have a recently recovered memory of sitting in a hotel room thinking, “I may not make it out of this situation.” This was actually therapeutic for me. At that moment I realized I have not yet accomplished what I am meant to, I’m not ready. I evaluated the situation and concluded my assailant had a physical advantage over me, but I had the mental advantage. I strategized many scenarios. I’m not ashamed to admit I utilized my sexual energy to make it out, but I can say it changed the way I look at myself. This is a memory I repressed for over a decade. In my opinion, my brain repressed that memory in effort to protect my unborn child, I was pregnant. It was so early, I’m not sure I had awareness I was with child. Arguably, that stress should have resulted in a miscarriage, yet I sit across from my 15 year old as I write this. 

My first repressed memory came back while sitting on this same couch and drinking white claws with my colleague, friend, and lead clinical therapist from work. How strategic of my brain. After I depersonalized and spoke out loud the memory of the first time I experienced emotional manipulation and nonconsensual sex, my friend responded, “Dude, you just had a repressed memory.” I was so confused. Questioning my reality, “How can someone forget that happened to them?” My friend comforted, provided support, and stated, “Something triggered you. You’ve had one repressed memory surface, better start therapy now, cuz chances are you will likely resurface more.” Damn, she was right. My work and life performance started to decline as the memories, nightmares, hypervigilance, and impulsive behavior inclined. I went through a dark time, as I attempted to navigate the court system and pursue legal charges on my own. (At this point I started psychotropic meds.) 

The triggering event was my daughter coming forth and confessing this same man abused her, in the same way. I blamed myself. I couldn’t forgive myself. Several nights were spent not sleeping, but pacing in my room for hours with the intrusive thoughts, “I thought you were a good psych nurse Amanda, how did you not see this? I thought you were a good mom Amanda, how did you not protect her?” My daughter now assures me, I did save her. If it wasn’t for our relationship, she would have certainly ended her life. I learned a mantra, “I did the best I could with the knowledge I had at that time.” It was this saying I repeated to myself during my first psychedelic trip. My trip was taxing, with some moments of blissful understanding, and many dark twists. Throughout that trip I found peace. I finished my trip outside overlooking the backyard, thinking how beautiful this world is - if you look for the beauty in it. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the universe, and the opportunity to live. I have been gifted a second chance at life, and I will not give up or give in, but fight for my soul as well as the souls of others. I never spent a night pacing again. 

I described this experience to the therapist. She recommended to my employer I attend a substance abuse IOP. I’m currently on a mandated leave of absence and in jeopardy of losing my nursing license. My colleagues have turned their backs. I can recognize my self growth by the shortened amount of emotional down time this situation has cost me, turns out I’m resilient AF. I’m actively utilizing this experience and opportunity to better myself. I can’t predict what the outcome will be, but am confident a smarter, stronger woman I will become. 

The three core values of nursing I align with most are education, advocacy, and leadership. I choose to approach this situation by educating myself to best advocate for and represent myself as a positive example within the field of nursing. I have been transparent with my daughter and turned it into a life lesson, analyzing policies and preparing my defense on this same couch, “In the event you find yourself in trouble with authority, this is how you handle it.” It’s not expected of us to be perfect, but the expectation is to keep trying and keep fighting. I have been learning, and then implementing different forms of psychotherapy on myself under the influence of psilocybin, LSD, or MDMA. It has been an eye opening and life changing experience. It pains the ego my community of the last ten years cannot see. Regardless, I feel a paradigm shift as I find support within the psychedelic community. It appears at this time, the inpatient psychiatric community and I are no longer contributing to each other’s growth, and we must part ways. I am optimistic for what my future holds within the fields of holistic health and entrepreneurship. I feel humbled at the opportunity to walk beside others, holding space for their needs on the conscious altering journey to find peace.