Psilocybin Mushrooms Gave Me The Compassion To Forgive Myself

Via: Anchiy | Shutterstock


by Damien Burton

on June 8, 2015

I was born and raised in the Southeastern part of the United States. I lived in a big city on the bad side of town. I spent 20 years learning how to turn my insecurities into bursts of irrational violence, jealousy, and delusion. That’s just kinda how people act here.

If your spouse or significant other was even communicating in any way to the opposite sex, then there was a problem. If somebody was funnier, tougher, stronger or had any kind of unique skill, that person was a threat. Much like the idiots who would see a UFC Fighter or a professional boxer and challenge them to a fight in the middle of a Las Vegas bar, they don’t have a personal problem with these people, they’re just extremely insecure and vulnerable to being judged.

I carried these burdens all throughout my life, but it was when I came home from my second deployment that people started noticing a difference in me. Again, not wanting to admit that I had a mental problem, I brushed off any attempt that my friends made to convince me that I needed to open up.

I spent the next four years burning bridges and destroying relationships in a haze of denial, depression, alcoholism, anxiety, and PTSD. I moved from Europe back to the States in late 2010. I met a wonderful girl that I fell madly in love with in the small town where I was stationed. I moved in with her in under a year.

After the honeymoon phase my skeletons started to come out, and it got really bad. My biggest loss in this life is definitely her. Instead of leaving me, she wanted me to go see a therapist, so I did. I knew how important she was to me, but the ghosts would always come back and fuck everything up.

Well, I was diagnosed with PTSD and sent to a behavioral hospital (insane asylum) for two weeks. I guess she was right. I went through every kind of mental therapy there is at that place, but nothing really worked. The meds either numbed my feelings making it WAY easier for me to be dick, or just sedated me to a point of complete uselessness.

I returned home to my beautiful girlfriend, humiliated, with a litany of prescription drugs in hand. I was hospitalized within the first week due to a severe reaction to one of them. I struggled with the medication for years. My job credentials had been taken away because I was on mood altering drugs, so I was forced to do menial work, which really fucked with my self-image. I gained a lot of weight, lost my sex drive, and couldn’t find any joy or appreciation in life. I hated everything. I blamed everything and everyone but myself. My girlfriend stuck with me through it, though.

Eventually I would get medically retired from the military. My girlfriend worked 13 hours a day as a high school teacher and soccer coach, so she was busy a lot. She avoided coming home because of me, and I don’t blame her. I was unemployed, overweight, hadn’t done jiu-jitsu in years, wasn’t getting good at anything, was always pissed off, never wanted to do shit, and was never in the mood for sex. Even if I was, how could that be attractive to anyone? I had morphed into a complaining little bitch who spent all day feeling sorry for himself, but wanted praise for some half-assed chore that I had accomplished that day. All I could focus on was my own confidence being crushed because she never wanted be around me. I never considered what all this did to her, or even that she had been by my side through it all.

She eventually had enough and I moved out. I started working with an old friend who re-introduced me cannabis. It easily took the place of Xanax, the SSRI, and the anti-psychotic, and the Ambien. Plus, I can grow it myself, which I do. The cannabis subsided my symptoms, but they never disappeared. I still felt like an entitled victim sometimes. It wasn’t until my first dose of Psilocybe cubensis that I really started paying attention to the healing powers that these plants have.

I wasn’t that experienced in magic mushrooms during my first trip. The people I tripped with claimed to be, but weren’t. Still to this day, they eat a bunch of mushrooms and go to bars, pool halls, and clubs. NOT what you’re supposed to do. Anyways, after that night I felt different. A good different, but didn’t connect the two.

Now, I’m a die-hard UFC fan. I’ve been wrestling/grappling since my freshman year. I’ve been doing jiu-jitsu for YEARS, so I’m a huge fan of Joe Rogan. I listened to his podcast frequently, but usually only the ones where his guests were fighters or something like that. Never Amber Lyon, Aubrey Marcus, or Graham Hancock.

I just happened to catch his second one with Amber one day and it changed my life. I did weeks of meticulous research to find out everything I could about psilocybin. After I was confident enough in [my] understanding of it, I immediately learned how to grow Psilocybe cubensis.

Nine weeks or so go by and I had my first “Golden Teacher” ‘shrooms. I made a music playlist, made sure nobody would or come by, turned off my phone, and ate five grams of dry mushrooms. The trip itself was an indescribable feeling. I wish I could find the words to describe what was happening to me. Literally, years of therapy compressed into five hours.

Rogan puts it wonderfully when he says the blinders come off. I realized everything. I was forced to look at the real me. No longer could my ego protect me from the real world. It was me. All those years. It was me. I felt such a euphoria come over me. I’m not a man of religious principle, but I can only describe it as some sort of energy relieving me of my insecurities, regrets, grudges, hates, and guilt. It was the single most effective mental health procedure that I had ever participated in.

Weeks after, I was noticeably different. I had extreme breakthroughs in my compassion, responsibilities, appreciation, everything really. Most importantly, I forgave myself. All the terrible things I did in the war, to my friends, and especially my girlfriend, no longer weighed me down. I know that guy is never coming back, and I have people like Joe and Amber to thank for that.

I look back on the person I was only a year ago, and I never want to even resemble that asshole. I know that guy is never coming back, and I have people like Joe and Amber to thank for that. I lost an opportunity to have a life with an amazing person because I wasn’t properly educated. I still love her more than she’ll ever know. She never got to feel the appreciation and love that she deserved. The love and compassion that I found after I had already ruined everything. Funny thing is, I can’t even work myself up enough nowadays to even bitch about the politics of it all. Because they worked.

Please don’t look at psychedelics as drugs for losers or hippies. Before mushrooms I was an unhappy, overweight, pitiful excuse for man. I had no ambition, no plan, no friends, and no hobbies. Now I’m a full time student, box 4-5 days a week, and competed in my first amateur fight a few weeks ago. I’ve cleaned up my credit, booked a trip to Peru, and saved more money than I ever have. After a LONG time I can honestly say that I really have my shit together. I will continue to grow and medicate myself once every other month, or as needed.

Thank you very much for letting me share my story. I hope this helps somebody.