Personal Story: Iboga Helped Me Solve A Problem I Didn’t Know I Had

Photo: Tabernanthe iboga. Via: Giorgio Samorini | Flickr | Licensed by Creative Commons 2.0.


by Anonymous

on September 30, 2015

First a bit of background: After a somewhat traumatic childhood things went up hill for me. I worked very hard to achieve my dream job, which I thoroughly enjoy. I make more than enough money to do anything I like. I have a beautiful wife and two lovely children. I developed several skills on the side, which is a great way to express my creativity. The downside though is that I was spending way too much time behind my computer. Other than that, I consider myself spiritual, awakened, and grounded in life.

Or so I thought.

Even though I was quite happy, I had issues. I had a real hard time sleeping and I would feel sad inside from time to time. The sleeping issue got to a point where I had tried everything but I was getting nowhere. Some things did work but I felt it was treating a symptom and not getting to the core of the problem.

Then I came across ibogaine. I initially brushed it off because I had tried DMT before and that didn’t solve the problem. It also seemed to be more directed towards chemical addiction treatment, but that wasn’t my issue. Well, at least not a chemical addiction. More on that later.

At some point I saw a movie which featured a scene where someone went through withdrawal and woke up having a new life (Self/less). That scene intrigued me and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I didn’t understand why, because I wasn’t addicted and I never went through withdrawal. Because of this, iboga came up again and I figured I’d give it a try…

Via: A Golden Guide to Hallucinogenic Plants by Richard Evans Schultes & Elmer W. Smith

Via: A Golden Guide to Hallucinogenic Plants by Richard Evans Schultes & Elmer W. Smith

The therapist is very thorough in preparing you for the treatment. You have to follow a strict diet before taking ibogaine and there is a long list of foods to avoid. You are also required do a few medical checks in order to be accepted for treatment — and for good reason. A tragic accident at one of the other clinics in Thailand cast a shadow over the whole thing. It could have been avoided with strict protocol.

So after two flights, a bus ride, and two ferries, I ended up at a beautiful tropical place. I met my therapist and his wife, who turned out to be a nurse, which was a welcome surprise because I had heard about how hard ibogaine is on your body.

My therapist recommended that I make a list of questions and meditate on that, which I did. We started the treatment the next morning. I had to do a drug test and then I received a micro dose to check for any adverse reaction. After that I received the flood dose in pill form, which was nice because apparently it doesn’t taste good. He explained a bit about the bodily sensations to expect. I also was wearing a mobile blood pressure measuring device, which was a welcome safety measure.

The therapist and his wife take 8 hour shifts to take care of you round the clock, which in hindsight you really need. Never go to a clinic [where the practitioners] leave you alone during the first two days, because you cannot move and you will be very dehydrated. Not to mention the physical dangers of being alone.

After a short time I started to feel the effects. I got nauseous, which I managed to overcome because I didn’t want to purge the good stuff so soon. A short time later my arms and legs started vibrating or ringing violently, as if you hold a large diesel motor at full power. My actual limbs didn’t vibrate but that is what it felt like. Then I felt a strange sensation, as if a strong magnetic field moved as a fork through my legs every second or so. That was interesting and I remember thinking, wow, this is pretty cool.

Then I moved my arm but nothing happened. I thought, “Oh, this must be the paralyzation I heard about.” But suddenly, about two seconds later, my arm did actually move, making a humming sound. That sensation was just beyond bizarre. There was a large delay between any body movement and the sensation you normally get when you move a limb. The sensory body position (where you imagine your limbs to be when you close your eyes) was also delayed when moved around. [My therapist] told me to stay still which was definitely good advice.

Shortly after, I started to see some beings on the bottom of my vision. I was wearing a blindfold and earplugs, but I could clearly see them and hear them. They looked like cute little children, not human, but very human-like. They tried to get my attention, saying, “Hey, hello!”, and giggling.

I saw some other beings and then I remembered my question list. I started asking questions, but I received the answer in my own voice. It was a bit confusing as the audio of my own thoughts was delayed also. Both the delay and own-voice replies I had experienced before during my DMT trips, so I managed to overcome the confusion and get some useful insights out of it.

It was pretty cool so far, but now things started to change. I entered a typical DMT-like trip, full of patterns. It wasn’t exactly the same as with DMT, but pretty similar. I remember thinking, “Oh no, this is not what I am here for, please no.” But I was entering the trip no matter what. For the next 8 hours I was pounded with total insanity and endless repetitive tasks, visual patterns, and thought loops.

I purged so much, afterwards my therapist said he had never seen it so bad. I remember thinking, “Why am I doing these nonsensical things,” but I couldn’t help myself. I just had to complete this absolutely pointless tasks as if I was totally insane and suffering from severe obsessive compulsive disorder.

At some point, I heard someone who was with me saying enthusiastically, “Come on, we are done, let’s go.”

And I replied, “No wait, let me just finish this first.”

At that point I just turned myself inside out and had a massive purge.

All this purging had made me very dehydrated and [my therapist] kept nudging me to drink water, which I gladly did. I was in no state to hold a bottle and had to drink through a straw. My eyes were extremely sensitive to light. It was a combination of regular light sensitivity and total information overload by looking at anything. A bizarre experience on its own. Also your audio sensitivity is way off the charts. Any spoken language quickly becomes too much. Even the Airco fan was too much for me. When I see how they do traditional iboga sessions with people dancing, singing, and torches all over, I honestly don’t know how people can cope with that.

When the psychedelic trip finally faded, I was left with endless chatter in my mind, which was painful and tiring. My therapist told me that I came out of the trip earlier than usual and offered me another flood dose. But I declined the offer because intuitively I knew I would get just more of the same experience.

But the message of the core issue I was having had been delivered. What I basically did was solving complex problems in my mind, all day long. I actually enjoyed that, believe it or not. And I wondered why I couldn’t sleep. Whether it was behind the computer designing something or just during the day, I just had to solve some problem. I didn’t even remotely think it was that damaging. Sometimes I would wake up from a dream or just before falling asleep where I was trying to solve some nonsensical problem. I didn’t understand why that was, because at daytime the projects I was working on made sense to me and I thought it was important. I just didn’t get it.

I asked if this absolute torture I experienced for hours was really necessary to make the point. The answer was, yes, it really needed to be that bad. Then I thought that perhaps they blew the whole thing out of proportion to make a point, but I immediately heard a voice say, “No, it is not out of proportion, this is exactly what you were doing.”

For the remaining time, I was still very sensitive to my own thoughts, reminding me of the nonsense I was engaged in for so many years. I could see some beings again, which were small alien lifeforms but, like the others, looked very human-like. There were a lot of children and they were very playful. They lived in very advanced ships made of lines of colorful light. The ships where intermingled with each other and I was right in the middle of it. It felt very cosy being there. The children were really enjoying the games they were playing with some sort of virtual reality device. There also were some sort of ball-triangle shaped devices on top of the cluster of ships. Sometimes they would re-arrange making a humming sound. It felt very nice and at the time I know what they were for, but I have since forgotten. Meanwhile my mind was still pounding me with chatter.

I didn’t sleep for two days but I actually felt quite ok. When I could barely walk again, I decided to look at the mirror. I expected that I didn’t look too pretty, but I was surprised to see that I looked healthy and had vibrant eyes. [Over] the following days I slowly recovered, but I did enter a depression stage for about half a day. [My therapist] told me this is normal. It was interesting because all the things which interested me before didn’t anymore. I lost interest in my computer and even wanted to quit my job. Both of them would be unthinkable just a few days earlier. I felt very guilty that I had spent so much time behind my computer, and [felt guilty that] my wife and children suffered from that.

At some point I wanted to send an email to my wife telling her I was OK. I could feel that she worried a lot about me. The light from my laptop screen hurt a lot, even though I turned the brightness all the way down and pointed the screen away. My finger coordination was really bad and I had multiple tries typing each word. I noticed countless emails in my inbox from mailing lists I am subscribed to which I never read. Before I wasn’t bothered about this, but now I saw the lunacy in it and looking at all the nonsense hurt my eyes and soul even more.

After I felt a bit better and my eyes could handle daylight, I went for a walk outside. I had small amount of trails in my vision, but this only happened when I just woke up. Walking was still a bit hard and I had to take small slow steps. It felt nice to go outside though, as I had stayed in my room for two full days. It must have looked weird when I walked past other people — walking like a Zen Buddhist with an enlightened look on my face. But I didn’t care.

Another vision I had during my trip was that it doesn’t make sense to worry about what other people think because it doesn’t affect you. They are the one with a bad feeling and not you. I went to the beach and walked on the bottom of the ocean during low tide. I was still very emotional and had to cry a bit. When I went back to my room I had to cry even more. There was just so much I went through.

By the fourth day or so I felt like I had a new life. The feeling is hard to describe but it really felt [like] I had been given a clean start. It was quite surreal. I had never experienced anything like that. I felt lighter both physically and mentally, and the nonsense chatter in my mind was gone, although milder thoughts where still there.

I also lost interest in the obsessive projects I was engaged in, mostly on my computer. It really felt like I was addicted to heroin and I had to go through this terrible withdrawal to get rid of it. The addiction wasn’t a chemical but it was behavioral. Actually, people told me before I was addicted to the computer, but I just refused to see it. Now that my mind is in peace again, I can sleep really well.

I really enjoy playing with my two-year old son now, whereas before I would be bored quickly. I cannot believe I left him to play alone so much before, especially because I see myself in him. It makes me cry just to think of that. It is quite incredible how much I have changed in a few days of iboga treatment. It is quite a change for my wife too. She says I look different, eat different, talk different, act different — it is just a whole new me.

It has been a week now and I am still blown away by the experience. I enjoyed my first day at work (luckily) but I still feel a little bit depressed from time to time. But I feel better each day. I have the feeling that iboga uncovered another problem I am having.

Perhaps because of unprocessed childhood trauma, I created mental activities to cover up the depression. The layer of mental activities has been peeled away and now I am left with another core issue at hand. I am still in the healing process though and maybe it will go away after some time. Either way, I am grateful I had this experience as I don’t think I could have solved a mind problem with my mind. If this depression lasts, I will do iboga again, because even though the treatment includes suffering, it is the best psychological help I have ever had. Iboga is truly a magical plant.

One thing I would like to say if you ever want to try iboga is that you better be ready to accept change in your life. It is very heavy on your mind and body so make it worthwhile. If you refuse to accept the truth, iboga can’t help you. You will always have your free will, so you can do whatever you want. But if you have a serious enough problem and you want help fixing it, iboga is perfect for you.


Edited lightly for typos and clarity, and to remove the names of specific people and places.