Bansal Pradeep, a New York gastroenterologist, has undergone multiple surgeries and other treatments to deal with the physical aspects of his recurring cancer. Mentally, however, he was plagued by overwhelming anxiety and depression that clung to him after his diagnosis. From a place where he no longer knew where to go, he decided to undergo psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy.
From his diary:
"I died and was reborn. If I survive this, I can face anything and anyone in the cosmic scheme. I can become a part of it."
"How much sadness is in the universe? My cancer is nothing. Life does not end with the end of life. What has been will be again. Forever."
“It seems that as time goes on, I'm more relaxed and hopeful, calmer and more balanced. Family has become even more important to me now. Money, politics, material gains, or alcohol seem less important to me."
"I feel that I need to be more compassionate and considerate - less irritable and angry, more understanding of the needs of others. I feel that I need to be a better human being, a better patient, a better father, and a better doctor for my patients."
This experience, he shares, gave him something far more important than mere ease,it brought him a sense of purpose. On the physical level, Pradeep is still struggling with the insidious disease, but his mental problems have disappeared.
"I understood that I still have cancer and that it could kill me in a few weeks, months, or years. But my perspective has changed. It's like there's a part of me that's objectively observing me, going through the painful process of treatment, and saying: “This is okay. I'll be with you on this journey, through this experience. Don't worry."
– Pradeep Bansal, participant in the COMPASS Pathways study (more here)
"All my life I've been repressing a huge trauma - my dad died on the way to my birthday party. After my son was born, there was a suspicion that I had a serious illness, and with it the fear that my son wouldn't know his dad either. I developed anxiety-depressive disorder. For years I took antidepressants, went to therapy, but without significant improvement; I lost my job, my wife left me, and my mental state was only getting worse."
"For the first time in many years, I experienced a feeling of carefreeness and security. I realized that it is not necessary to understand and name everything, that I can let go of many things in life, not interfere with them, just observe them and believe…. I really feel much, much better.”
– A patient who underwent two sessions of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (more here)
Alis, a participant of an American research, was suffering from emotional fluctuations and a compulsive approach to food after a successful treatment of an oncological illness. After a psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, she noted that she gained self-confidence to commit to goals of losing weight. She eventually lost 12 kilograms and she attributed the results to the psilocybin treatment.
“I feel incredible. I feel much more capable of doing things that I have always wanted to do, but I never had the feeling that I could do them. That slowed me down. Now, I really want to enjoy every single minute. I want to fully experience life, which I’d already known before entering the study, but I couldn’t go through with the realization of my plans. I’ve found ways to do it now.”
- A patient who has undergone psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in the USA, published results from 2017)
"I feel like a whole bunch of crap has poured out of my face. The stuff that made me feel like my world was shutting down and forced me to look at the ground and silently watch the numbers tick by on the clock. That’s life happening there and so many things, just watching that tree blow in the wind over there, seeing the people on the street and all the different people in the vehicles driving by! It makes me feel good to be alive... It's always there; we just don't notice it and I I try to notice it and not forget that I see it anytime. I hear it anytime. It's like an awakening in the deepest way that life really is, it really is like this. We just don't notice it."
- A patient who has participated in a study of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in the USA, published results from 2017, more here)