Thoughts We Consciously Choose as Our Own
For most of my life I’ve suffered with a significant amount of anxiety and insecurity. It wasn’t until I attempted a DailyOm course of guided meditation and prompted journaling while on LSD that I gained greater self awareness of these feelings. It was brought from my subconscious to my attention, and I processed it down the rabbit hole to the origin. Prior to this experience I would have told you I am uncreative and lack the ability to write. I had never journaled before - I wrote 12 pages. Words poured out of me, and as I read them back I was astonished. It was actually coherent, cohesive, and at times beautiful. That came out of me!? How did I not know it was there? That concept was so fascinating to me - I wasn’t aware of my ability to articulate, but now I am. Another awareness shift shown through the exercise - how unhealthy my childhood relationships were. I wondered, “Were other people aware of this toxicity? How many others are in unhealthy relationships and not aware of it?” Curiosity to find the deeper meaning of life was awakened within me. It’s as if my previous life was on autopilot wandering around accepting what’s right in front of me without giving it a second thought. This experience helped me acknowledge, and then remove the lens of taught conditioning through which I viewed the world. That weekend while at work, I observed a coworker spend 30 minutes verbalizing her feelings over an incorrect lunch order delivered to her. From this shifted level of awareness I realized how much of my life had been spent watching others engage in that same behavior, how normalized it had become, and how I had at times mimicked it. That’s how I became self aware of the difference between inherited thoughts, and thoughts we consciously choose as our own. 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.