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A quick Google search will tell you that magic mushrooms are a known, yet (rather absurdly) illegal, anti-depressant. To quote a headline from The Metro, magic mushrooms, "do in 30 seconds what anti-depressants take four weeks to do." And believe me, they’re not lying. It’s true, and I want to scream it from the top of every platform on the internet.
It’s been a mere two weeks since I learned of my soon-to-be-fiancés infidelity, sat in a shitty Chinese restaurant that she decided to "treat" me to before dropping the bomb. Admittedly, we had been having problems that enriched a particular depressive episode for us both, but I think we can all agree that mundane relationship struggles never have, and never will, warrant cheating. No matter how hard your immature, insignificant other tries to justify it.
Unsurprisingly, I was completely heartbroken. To the point where my heart hurt to beat and I couldn’t breathe for the pain. My life had been ripped from my feet. She was my future, my past, and my present, my home of which we had worked hard together to make our own. Everything, gone. Over a plate of rapidly cooling prawns with fried rice.
I spent three days continuously crying, unable to eat or sleep. I chain smoked approximately 142 cigarettes and drank more alcohol than I would in a month. When the initial shock was over, and I had gained some sort of strength to actually do something about it, I packed a bag and got a train back to my beloved hometown where my family and friends were all too ready to help a girl out.
Unfortunately, like an increasing number of people in the UK, I suffer from episodic depression of which the last six months had played out quite potently. The black cloud condensed me so violently that I was regularly contemplating suicide. It was impossible to find reasons to live; to stay and fight the light of the morning every, single, day. Throw a cheating partner into the mix, and you got yourself at the bottom of a hole deeper than the repercussions of a North Korean missile.
"Are you sure I can take these if I feel so bad?" I cautioned, surrounded by a hundred fire-breathing hippies upon the sand of one of the UK’s finest beaches. They assured me that it would be fine, to take it slow, and perhaps swallow only half to begin with. Although my experience with psychedelics was reasonable, I had never had this strain of shrooms and neither had I felt so fucking bad within myself. I was undoubtedly going through the worst time of my life. But what followed…is what I can only describe as an awakening. On so many wonderful, colourful levels.
The serotonin that had been dangerously low in my brain (since puberty, probably) took only 20 minutes to storm with a vengeance. A tsunami of positive emotions contoured my cheeks into a smile so pure and wide that I was using facial muscles I never knew I had. Honestly! I was really, truly smiling for the very first time. The grey, dejected exhaustion of the world flipped on its head and I was swimming in the bliss that actually does exist for us humans. It’s just that some of us spend our entire lives struggling to perceive it.
Amongst the giggles and textures of the sea reflecting the moonlight, the Envies gifted me with a solid realisation that life is a blessing and I’m lucky to possess it (the polar opposite of what my consciousness was previously screaming into my thoughts). Even once the colours stopped twirling and the hexagons relaxed, the heightened feeling of self-worth and understanding remained.
The next morning I was genuinely, ecstatically happy. I was productive, clear and it felt amazing. It still feels amazing even a week later. Why? Because of a little ingredient called psilocybin. This gem of a chem gives the user an almost immediate release from depression and anxiety, stimulating the brain to a chemical frequency that can give very profound and very meaningful experiences. Some would go as far to describe it as spiritual. Myself included.
In 2016, the Medical Research Council conducted a study with University College London and The Royal London Hospital to test the effects of psilocybin on people with moderate to severe depression. 12 volunteers were given a single dose of psilocybin and measured in terms of intensity during their trip, to calculate the potentiality and relevant side-effects of the drug in treating depression. The results showed that over half of the volunteers were free from depression for a week after treatment and the remainder were depression-free for up to three months.
This is because psilocybin is a serotonin receptor, allowing the "feel good" chemicals in your brain to function at a higher rate, obliterating the black cloud and all the other relentless anxieties some of us battle with on a daily basis.
The magic in those mushrooms dictated with precision that I didn’t deserve what she did, and in return, she didn’t deserve me. I am not only wholeheartedly accepting of the sudden end to my relationship but I am accepting of pretty much everything that surrounds it; I’m still an ageing, recently single, technically homeless, under-educated struggling writer with an unstable government negotiating a messy Brexit but it’s my outlook on all that shit that has infinitely changed.
And I’m over you.