benjamin joseph burge, modified 6 Years ago at 10/30/17 8:41 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 10/30/17 8:41 PM


Post: 1 Join Date: 10/30/17 Recent Posts
I've been around for a while reading/researching but never having a reason to post, until now.

I need some help, or more accurately my friend Teresa needs help, she has been practicing vipassana for a couple years now, doing many retreats, mostly 10 day courses of goenkas tradition and most recently shes been going on retreats, then coming out and exploring magic mushrooms and after some time returning for a 10 day course, and then again mushrooms...

A few days ago she sent me this, which I feel is out of my field of knowledge, If I had to guess I would be inclined to think she blasted herself into the dark night by mistake by mixing the two together. Anyways here it is

Hey Ben, I just wanted to send you an update.. omg actually you may be the only person I'll have told so far who will even close to understand everything.
basically I had a traumatizing mushroom trip last week which sent me on a manic depressive spiral. I swayed back and forth between horrible harmful thoughts, and feelings of strength and love and coming home by myself.
At the moment I am in a Bangkok hospital receiving treatment.
I also have gone back and forth accepting the meds and arguing against them
My main conflict right now is keeping what little consciousness remains, fighting this on my own(seemingly, the only way to do that is my "meditating my mind back to normal" which is of course very idealistic, and vs accepting treatment and making things better but remaining trapped know, everything. In my mind.
I just wanted to share with you. I am not sure when I will come home or what will happen. All I know is I have lost such touch with my senses that I cannot make rational decisions.
I just wanted to share because you're a good friend who understands.
And also just wanted to be careful. Because I was on the meditation path craving to end suffering, where there were more underlying issues to be addressed. So just keep that in mind I guess. I came out of retreats feeling lighter and better causing me to crave life more. So just thought I'd pass on the perspective..hope you don't interpret this as preaching but I feel I needed to share.
Much love

So since that message, her father has flown from vancouver to bangkok to pick her up, bring her back to canada and shes started taking seroquel and a certain benzo I cant remember. Shes not in the hospital but shes under supervision

Im worried for her Im not sure what advice to give her, im hoping someone here can help

She doesnt know if she should continue meditating or not.

this is the last of the information ive received form her:

Basically I generated overwhelming sankaras so my senses shut down, so all I have is my racing mind to make decisions. I'm not seeing things clearly at all
Paul Smith, modified 6 Years ago at 10/31/17 3:46 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 10/31/17 3:43 AM

RE: Hospitalized....

Posts: 109 Join Date: 5/9/15 Recent Posts
- stop doing drugs
- keep taking meds for some time
- stop believing mind stories (treat stories as hypotheses that need testing before being accepted as true. ignore untestable stories). write them in a journal for organization. it'll be a fun read when she is back to normal.
- stop insight, start concentration / metta - this will stop the noise

if concentrating on the cushion is impossible, she can do activities like playing ping-pong, swimming, trying to play music on an instrument, etc - these activies require complex coordination and silence the mind.

SOURCE: I was hospitalized in similar circumstances and I'm back to baseline.
Lewis James, modified 6 Years ago at 10/31/17 10:12 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 10/31/17 9:18 AM

RE: Hospitalized....

Posts: 155 Join Date: 5/13/15 Recent Posts
Agreed - this kind of 'drug PTSD' is what got me to quit drugs and take practice more seriously. There could be other serious issues at play but it sounds like the kind of weird mindstate that comes about when you take a lot of psychedelics, have a lot of 'mystical experiences' that you can't integrate and end up having all too serious a trip that causes a horrible, traumatic reaction in the psyche.

I suspect there will be research forthcoming when drug studies are less taboo about this type of trauma. This is absolutely not medical advice and may not even apply in this case - I am not a doctor - just linking some relevant research that has shown promising results with drug related "PTSD", anxiety, etc.

There was some (unfinished due to the psychedelic bans) early research into using Propranolol (Inderal), a common and mostly benign beta-blocker often prescribed for performance anxiety, as a treatment specifically for what the doctor observed as LSD-induced PTSD (I can't find the research right now, but I will keep looking). Interestingly, it's currently been rediscovered in research into treatments for PTSD at large. Research is ongoing but the mechanism appears to be that since Propranalol blocks adrenaline, the trauma can be intentionally triggered with the help of a therapist without the overt panic/fear response, so over time the trauma is felt through, has less weight on the mind, triggers less aversion, and can eventually be processed and released.

Edit: Removed irrelevant medical advice. Believe the study is here (1971), though I don't have access to see.

Here's a copy of the letter submitted to the journal:
SIR,-The letter from Dr. Bonn and Dr. Turner 2 about
their pilot study on the use of D-propranolol in anxiety
prompts me to report the usefulness of propranolol
(’ Inderal’) in three students with L.S.D. complications.
The first patient had taken 500 ug. of L.S.D. a month
before consulting me. He sought my advice because of
suicidal ideas and depression. During the course of
discussion it became apparent that the presenting symptoms
were in part a reaction to intermittent attacks of anxiety
with severe tachycardia and associated feelings of doom.
Chlorpromazine and diazepam only partially alleviated the
symptoms. However, addition of propranolol 10 mg. three
times daily banished the symptoms within a day and
prevented further attacks when taken at the onset of
anxiety symptoms.
The second patient had acute anxiety feelings following
the use of L.S.D. These were also effectively relieved by the
same dosage of propranolol.
The third patient had taken 2500 ug. of L.s.D. Believing
the tablets to be out-of-date, he had swallowed the whole
amount. The day after, I saw him in a very depressed
state which was relieved with chlorpromazine. Two
months later, he reported morbid and continuous ruminations
over abstruse questions such as the meaning of life,
religion, and the universe. He was anxious and depressed,
but chlorpromazine and diazepam were of little help.
Addition of propranolol 10 mg. three times daily rapidly
relieved his symptoms, both objectively in reducing his
tachycardia and signs of anxiety, and subjectively in bringing
the compulsive thinking under control.
Whatever the underlying psychodynamic or pharmacological
mechanisms of these anxiety states following the
use of L.S.D., the value of propranolol clinically has been so
striking that further clinical and pharmacological investigation
would be seen to be indicated.
University College London
Student Health Association,
17 Gordon Street,
London WC1H OAH.
Stirling Campbell, modified 6 Years ago at 10/31/17 10:44 AM
Created 6 Years ago at 10/31/17 10:43 AM

RE: Hospitalized....

Posts: 612 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
Your friend should definitely drop the drugs, and just do what the doctors suggest for a while. 

Psychedelics are NOT recreational. If you are lucky they don't bring anything big up. They can/do soften ideas around time/space/self reality, but should be dropped once that is seen. They aren't, and shouldn't be expected to be, a path to seeing through separateness/self.

Meditation stirs your shit up. Preliminary practices are DESIGNED to do this, in Tibetan Buddhism. Working through your obscurations is a primary path requirement. It would be nice if the whole mindfulness movement recognized this, and was better about making this clear, but things are as they are. My experience in watching peers and other students is that once you begin this process, it's not something you can jump out of. Meditation is the best way to deal with a lot of the trauma that surfaces as painlessly as possible. Don't STOP meditating until it's clear that it is making things worse, your teacher tells you to, or it is clear that you have larger therapeutic/psychological issues.

If you are mentally delicate or have had a challenging past, or have tightly held beliefs or ideas about the future, be ready to see a counselor, and have a relationship with one in place already. If you are taking meditation as a path seriously, drop the drugs and have an experienced teacher who can work with you on difficulties and wrong views as they arise. Be honest about when you need help, and seek it.

Hope your friend recovers soon.
Doctor Avocado, modified 6 Years ago at 10/31/17 2:27 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 10/31/17 2:27 PM

RE: Hospitalized....

Posts: 50 Join Date: 11/2/16 Recent Posts
Sorry to hear about your friends situation. You are a kind friend to research and seek advise how to support her.

Definitely encourage her to stay with psychiatry/psychotherapy at least a few months past the point she is stable and recovered. Wellbeing and stability is far more important than being on medication. It's also a common mistake to come off medication too early and destabilize further through either imagining an underlying condition had been cured or through psychiatric drug withdrawal. 

In terms of meditation, I think it's wise to avoid any potentially destablising or efforting practises. I imagine she's very exhausted and as she said herself, is currently not seeing clearly. When your body, mind, nervous system has been disrupted, you don't want to add anything more to the mix. I think avoid any insight or narrow concentration practises. 

If she feels it gives her stability, and as another poster mentioned, I think the most sensible thing would only be simple loving kindness meditation for now. Maybe even something guided on youtube, to take all effort out of it. 

From experience talking to teachers and meditators, it's very common to spiritualize what should be treated as psychiatric or medical probelms. Mental disorders can frequently be viewed as the "dark night" or "difficult sankharas". Physical illnesses can mistakenly be seen in the same regard too. A teacher once told me they knew of someone who had died from a heart attack because they'd hadn't sought medical attention, thinking the pain in the chest simply meant their heart chakra was blocked. So every issue needs to be viewed and treated on it's right level, rather than the meditators lens. And if there's uncertainty, to always take precautions. 

Stability of both physical and psychological health will lead to more fruitful meditation practise.

Wishing your friend a quick recovery. 
seth tapper, modified 6 Years ago at 10/31/17 3:01 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 10/31/17 3:01 PM

RE: Hospitalized....

Posts: 477 Join Date: 8/19/17 Recent Posts
I have found intense physical exercise, particularly with a mental aspect like tennis or boxing or another similiar sport, can stabilize and ground my mind after this kind of intense experience.   Maybe she should take up MMA and forget this spiritual nonsense for a couple of years. 
Yilun Ong, modified 6 Years ago at 10/31/17 7:39 PM
Created 6 Years ago at 10/31/17 7:35 PM

RE: Hospitalized....

Posts: 623 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Stirling Campbell:
Working through your obscurations is a primary path requirement. It would be nice if the whole mindfulness movement recognized this, and was better about making this clear, but things are as they are. 

Wow so much love! +1 to all the advice... emoticon

Hi Stirling, how would you go about making this clear in a precise and concise manner? I agree that this truth is more often than not, obscured from the audience... In the East, meditators are expected to deal with their 'shit' and I do not see this being discussed at all. Seeking psychological help is seen as a great weakness and no one I know will admit to it. This is not a solveable issue but I could at least try to spread the 'warning label'.