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post #1 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Psychedelic Medicine, Therapy and Science


Continuing this thread, which you can't respond to anymore (This Thread is more than 121 days old, you can't reply to it. )

Brilliant writer Michael Pollan just released his new book, How to Change Your Mind, subtitled What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.

ABOUT HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND
A brilliant and brave investigation by Michael Pollan, author of five New York Times best sellers, into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs–and the spellbinding story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences

When Michael Pollan set out to research how LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety, he did not intend to write what is undoubtedly his most personal book. But upon discovering how these remarkable substances are improving the lives not only of the mentally ill but also of healthy people coming to grips with the challenges of everyday life, he decided to explore the landscape of the mind in the first person as well as the third. Thus began a singular adventure into the experience of various altered states of consciousness, along with a dive deep into both the latest brain science and the thriving underground community of psychedelic therapists. Pollan sifts the historical record to separate the truth about these mysterious drugs from the myths that have surrounded them since the 1960s, when a handful of psychedelic evangelists catalyzed a powerful backlash against what was then a promising field of research.

A unique and elegant blend of science, memoir, travel writing, history, and medicine, How to Change Your Mind is a triumph of participatory journalism. By turns dazzling and edifying, it is the gripping account of a journey to an exciting and unexpected new frontier in our understanding of the mind, the self, and our place in the world. The true subject of Pollan’s “mental travelogue” is not just psychedelic drugs but also the eternal puzzle of human consciousness and how, in a world that offers us both struggle and beauty, we can do our best to be fully present and find meaning in our lives. [https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/b...9781594204227]



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post #2 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 09:16 AM
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Really?

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While you HUMILIATE, OFFEND, & INSULT her,
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post #3 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-27-2018, 04:03 AM
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Psychedelics? Mental expansion/exploration? Cosmic transcendance of consciousness? God forbid! Lol.


Why havent they legalized this stuff already! Heck a little bit of weed helped me to get a good understanding of derealization, helping me to have a far better knowledge when it comes to coping with/curing my depersonalization-derealization disorder. I can barely imagine a glimpse of what psychedelics can do. Probably would cure all the mental crap i have in my head lol.
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post #4 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-27-2018, 10:01 AM
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Welcome back @Tuan Jie !


Thanks for the info on the book. Have you tried any of this stuff yet? It seems to me that you wouldn't want to do it alone, but under the guidance of someone very familiar with it; like a therapist of something.

I am fascinated by the literature that talks of psychedelics stripping away one's sense of self. I can't really understand what that would be like and so it sounds scary. Here's something I read on "shroomery" regarding what they call ego-death. It makes it sound like it involves looking behind the public mask that we wear, and seeing what we really are. I can't quite grasp that. I think I can already see behind my public mask. What do you think about the subject?

"3. Ego Death: What exactly is ego death? This could be debated until the end of time, and usually the confusion will come when people who have truly not experienced it argue with those who have. And in many ways, each individual experiences things differently, hence although we both experience loss of ego, that person who we lost was different. But.. lets explain what ego-death is at the least:

Ego death is the absence of who you have built yourself to be. It is the splitting of the mind when it first begins to happen, and the ability to truly LOOK at who you normally are, without rationalizing your flaws which you might normally do. It can be one of the most beautiful experiences in your life, but even more, if understood and dealt with properly, it can be more then just a single experience, but a way of life. But furthermore, it will draw out extreme hurt and pain because you will have uncovered a mask that the "real you" normally wears, and is so comfortable in wearing. It strips away your security of who you are, and it will be very clear to you that there are some serious issues with who you are that need to be dealt with. It is the feeling that you are speaking with your own mind, or watching the person you usually are on a movie screen, and a person with the opinion of only wanting the best in this world sits watching. But.. Let me make this very clear: There are very REAL positive and negative effects of ego death. These effects are the reason I am writing this report.

5. Negative effects of Ego Death
It can be very confusing. It can cause a person who lacks balance in their life, or someone who is already very emotionally unstable to see the pain too quickly, and experience feelings which they are not yet ready to deal with in such volume.

It will unmask your securities, and unlock doors in your mind that hold back your fears from surfacing.

It will show you a different person, because you will be truly stepping out of your usual shoes and looking at the person who usually stands in them. This can be scary and for some who are so-tied to their ego for protection, insanely mind-shattering (overload).

It can make you disgusted or sick with the way you act. It can make you feel so awkward about who you are, that you don't feel as if you can continue living the way you are.

It can do many things psychologically, and change your thought patterns towards a very negative and volatile state.

Positive Effects of Ego Death:

You can feel extreme feelings in volume, and if prepared for this, it can be a euphoria of beauty, and a feeling that every moment in time can be wonderful.

It will unlock doors deep within, and allow you to get constructive criticizm that is of the most real honesty. You will see parts of you that you will want to change, and can be extremely happy to realize these things, knowing that you can make yourself a better person.

It will open up emotions that you usually are unable to feel, and allow you to touch yourself towards ideas and wants that usually the ego holds you back from. It can make you want to be a better person, and give you ideas of how you can accomplish that.

It will change the way you look at the world, maybe only temporarily, and it will undeniably break away a small part of the ego from who you will be when you return from this state. This will happen because people who have an ego which they have made COMPLETELY who they are, in the way that they are unchanging will not be able to experience ego-death in its wholeness. Their ego is attached to strongly, and they will need to experience much change in their life, before that can be achieved (to my knowledge and observations.)

It will remind you of feelings you once forgot, and show you feelings you have never felt before. This can be anything though, as each of us forgets different things, although all equally important. Some of us forget how to love, or begin beliving that such a thing is not possible because of the pain/hurt we have pushed within.. Ego death is one of those mind openers, and reminders.

----- All of these explanations are important, but most importantly is not what you experience while you sit in the seat of ego-death, but HOW you change yourself with what you see. "

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post #5 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-28-2018, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you @Erroll ! Nice to see you again. How are you?

Phone book alert....

I'm a fan of Michael Pollan. It was a surprise to me his latest book is about this subject. If I had to pick anyone who I'd wanted to research and make sense of this, I'd have picked him. So I'm looking forward to his findings.

This is the third day I'm out of the abyss. I've been there for five months straight. I've been hanging on by my fingertips. I turned to books in an attempt to maintain my sanity and to find a spark of hope. Until a month ago, this was the only source of information available to me. I did and I didn't find what I'm looking for. It's a long story...

I've been reading a couple of books about psychedelics and I've been watching a lot of videos about it lately. I am very scared of psychedelics (me), but I also see their enormous therapeutic potential. As I've stated before, this possibility is a last resort for me. It may come to the point where the choice is between this or die. With each major depression I'm getting closer to the point of ending my life. I think it's fair to say it's only a matter of time if the way I experience remains as it is. And that's what will happen with any intervention which doesn't impact my wiring. The vast majority of "experts" is just as handbound as I am when it comes to treatment resistant depression. Nobody truly knows the ins and outs of this condition. My impression is you're at the mercy of your therapists particular conviction. Which one that is, is quite arbitrary. Due to my long history as a "patient" and my character, I rather take my own educated guess. I'm not looking for a magic bullet, just one honest chance to start a sustainable upward cycle. Many seem to have found exactly that in psychedelics. It's worth looking into.

Science is finally starting to happen again in this field and this time we have much better tools, like fMRI, to gather data with. The outcomes of the studies done so far are stunning. It gives me hope, which is in itself counteracting the hopeless void pulling my ankles. These results are only preliminary though. It's going to take years before a consequent treatment will be available to the public, if at all. I've signed up to be a guineapig in a study, but I didn't match the criteria to be included. I've also asked my psychiatrist to ask around, so far without result. Chances are, this is a dead end. I catch myself thinking: "Am I capable of hanging in here for, let's say, ten years?". I don't think I am. When push comes to shove, I don't think I want to anymore. When I fall through, I'm simply in another reality. It doesn't even matter if I'm aware of it or not.

So what's the alternative? These are murky waters. It's a terrain I'd rather avoid, but I feel I can't afford that. It all changes if you're "already dead" and out of options. I'm not wreckless though. I'll be doing my homework first and then make up my mind. I'll take as long as I need. This is the part where many folks seem to be irresponsible. Not all, but many cases where the outcome was dramatic, have this in common. Psychedelics are tools, and if you don't know how to use them, you can be in for a traumatic surprise if you're unlucky. There are crucial do's and don'ts to follow, but there are no guarantees. A big mistake is to think it's only about the substance. It is not.

One of the questions I have is how one best "harvests" the expereinces of a trip. It seems to be difficult to integrate these. Some experienced users say this and preparation is actually 95% of the whole thing. That makes sense to me, since what ultimately matters is how it affects your life. But there is also micro-dosing, which doesn't involve any of the above and is also promising. James Fadiman and Sophia Korb are currently mapping this territory. There's also a chapter on this in Fadiman's book The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide, which is on my list of books to read.

Ego-death fascinates me as well. I understand this can be a truly scary experience. Something like all solid ground starting to disappear underneath you. Everything you have learned to manage in life and you think you are dissolves. It must be utterly vulnerable and disorienting and it sounds a bit like what I've been through recently. It can be freeing and connecting on the flipside. A recurring theme is holding on/resisting makes it worse. But that's exactly what the ego wants to do. Letting go is completely counterintuitive. My hunch is that experienced meditators will have less problems here, because they are more familiar with noticing, rather than identifying with the ego. I'm pretty sure when curiosity prevails over anxiety, you're good. But I don't speak from experience. There are trip reports on youtube describing ego-death. It will always remain ineffable, but these people do speak from experience. There are tons of trip reports on erowid.org as well. This is also generally regarded as one of the best sources of information about anything drug related.

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post #6 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-28-2018, 03:48 PM
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I haven't pre-ordered Pollan's book yet, but I do intend to read it. I guess it doesn't ship until May. "Self" is a very interesting to me. Buddhism says that "self" is the source of all dukka or suffering. And when you stop and think about "self", it's really just a collective noun indicating that a person is a unique bundle of integrated experience. That is to say that each new thing that we learn, is learned in terms of our previous bundle of experiences. Each instant, a new experience happens, so each instant we become a new self. Mostly this is by slight changes that aren't individually noticeable. But sometimes an instant can change our whole worldview; like with the Florida School Survivor Students here in USA. And Tuan, in the hopes of shedding a little brightness on your tortured bundle of experience, in each instant there is hope . There is hope because each lived instant is an instance of change. It is hard to believe if one has not yet experienced it, but any new stick in the Jenga pile (any new experience) can result in a huge change in the nature of the jenga stack (one's experience of life) as a whole.

Each experience brings change and each change brings new possibilities into sight; it's a cause for hope. Don't let hopelessness negate possibility. Each day that you hold out by exercising your hope based courage, is a small victory, and a little step towards a better life.

Thanks for the references on psychedelics. What do you see as the major impediments to your trying them? Lack of anyone with professional credentials? Money? Anxiety? I wish you some comfort from depression. Have you noticed that things we think of cause depression? Invariably, there are either things we anticipate with trepidation or things in the past which we regret or feel guilty about. Do you seek solace in just observing the present, much? At any instant, do you sense anything with your 5 senses that makes you feel bad? Not thoughts, they are always involved in the past and future and can make you feel bad, so not thoughts, just feeling seeing smelling etc, what you experience happening in the instant you are living , as you pass through these instants.

I would enjoy discussing Pollan's book with you on here, once it comes out and we have had time to read it.

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post #7 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-29-2018, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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I've been reading about “self” a lot lately. Particularly about how it and it's neurological reality is shaped by our interactions with our primary caregiver. It has dramatically altered my view of “mental illness” in general and my own depression/SA in particular. Subjective experiences, the nature of consciousness and self, the recurring nature of depression, SA, neuroscience, trauma, the fear of rejection, etc. Many pieces of the puzzle are falling into place since I discovered attachment theory and related studies. There's tons to say about this, but that would mean me dumping an entire off-topic phone book here.

It is very much connected to this topic though, because a fruitfull intervention has to involve rewiring of the brain. Neuroplasticity; the possibility to make new connections between neurons, which ultimately make up your reality and your self. Talking and psychopharmaceuticals are mainly palliative in this regard. It's also way more complex than a “chemical imbalance” or “unhelpful convictions or behaviour”. This is where psychedelic therapy seems to occupy a unique niche. It makes parts of the brain temporarily more plastic, which allows for alternative connections to form. The brake which is on in daily life, the default-mode network, is lifted, allowing for brain regions to communicate with eachother much more freely. It's, off course, much more complicated in reality and there are still lots of unknowns. Mendel Kaelen, on the psilocybine reserach team of Carhart-Harris, uses an analogy which might help (see video below). I have no idea how microdosing psychedelics relates to neuroplasticity.

https://youtu.be/f22c78CzBfg?t=415

There are several reasons why I haven't tried psychedelics (accept from a failed attempt with iboga about 11 years ago). The main one is the possibility of having a PTSD-type trip on top of my “mental illness”. Everything else boils down to common-sense homework which I'm not done with yet. There are several questions I'd like to have answered before I can make a proper assessment and decide if it's worth the risk in another than a clinical environment. If I get the chance to be a guineapig in a medical trial, I'll take it right away. A white coat is an amazing placebo and in this case the subject trusting the expertiese of the doc can make the difference. Psychedelic means mind-manifesting. What you are is what you get.

I'm starting to comprehend the essense of what's torturing me. I'm simply overwhelmed by extreme emotions, during which my body seems to have a mind of it's own. I just let it do what it needs to do. I trust it's wisdom. It is as physical as it is emotional. When I'm taken over by this, there hardly is any room for cognition, it just goes offline. Such is the language of trauma. The Body Keeps the Score, as Bessel van der Kolk puts it. There is a boy inside who's falling apart from all the hurt he carries. A baby on a bed of nails. His brokenness is beyond words, beyond tears. It's sub-rational. Although I have been through a lot in my life, the sheer intensity of these experiences has remained a mystery to me. Untill I discovered attachement theory (see off-topic video below). I have tools to alleviate, but actually addressing the issue is far from straight forward. Comprehending does helpt to determine which steps to take next. I'm not in this state of consciousness at the moment though. I've been feeling relatively well for four days already!

We'll get to discussing Michael Pollan eventually. Looking forward to it :-)


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post #8 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-31-2018, 05:17 AM
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"I've been reading about “self” a lot lately. Particularly about how it and it's neurological reality is shaped by our interactions with our primary caregiver."


I think that the way that this works is that the edifice of personality is built upon the foundation laid by the primary caregiver(s) early in life. If we understand a novel experience in terms of our remembered past experiences, then you could say our experiences with the primary caregiver is at the core of how we comprehend everything in life. Douglas Hofstadter talks about this in "I am a Stranger Loop". He compares Kurt Godel's mathematical self referential systems to the self referential system of consciousness (each new experience being thrown into the pile of all previous experience). The entire path that a pendulum takes until it stops is affected from the point of bumping it. If you consider the pendulum life, and each experience a bump to the pendulum of life, you can see how each experience has the potential to change the entire future. And the earlier that you bump the pendulum, the more it affects the future path until it stops. That's why the effects of early caregiver's lies so deep within each personality.




"It has dramatically altered my view of “mental illness” in general and my own depression/SA in particular. "


My opinion; there is no such thing as mental illness. By that I mean that everything that we call mental is, at the base of it, really physical. Experience causes neurons to fire, and sends calcium messengers into the cellular nucleus. A RNA recipe is clipped off and sent to a ribosome in the neuron, where the recipe is followed to build a chemical. And chemicals make feelings, just like a few beers promotes a feeling of wellbeing, L'haim. So feelings are in reaction to experience, but the process is mediated by the production of chemicals like Serotonin and Dopamine and what not. If you don't have the right mix experience to unlock the release of dopamine in the Ventral Tegmental Area of your brain, it makes sense to me that the situation can be re-mediated either chemically (drugs) or experientially.

I would include electrical stimulation of the Ventral Tegmental Area to effect release of dopamine, as a chemical type intervention, just so it won't be confused with experience based interventions. I recently read this article about direct brain stimulation of this "feel good" circuit. And of course, people couldn't ever get enough of that kind of stim and developed tolerances, constantly requiring more stim to achieve the desired effect. Too great a concentration of neurotransmitter can kill cells, so direct stim is not a good intervention

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/a...piness/556043/



"Subjective experiences, the nature of consciousness and self, the recurring nature of depression, SA, neuroscience, trauma, the fear of rejection, etc. Many pieces of the puzzle are falling into place since I discovered attachment theory and related studies. There's tons to say about this, but that would mean me dumping an entire off-topic phone book here. "

Subjective experience is the experience of a current set of environmental stimulation interpreted in light of a subjects remembered life experiences. So the same thing happening in the environment can have different meanings for different subjects. I just saw an example of this on the news. Jeb Bush said that he was glad to be off of the campaign trail ,and at home with his wonderful children. He said it just as a compliment to his children. But Eric and Donald Trump Jr, trump's kids, took the same comment as an affront to their father, that Jeb Bush was implying that Trump enjoyed being away from HIS kids. Each interpreted the same words in accord with what was on their minds. It could be that you have an learned a self defeating interpretation of something in an innocuous set of environmental stimulus, that blows the thing up in importance and makes it seem like a problem which must be solved right now, and this causes you to continuously cycle through the same bad scenario, leading to an exhausted depressive state.

.

"It is very much connected to this topic though, because a fruitfull intervention has to involve rewiring of the brain. Neuroplasticity; the possibility to make new connections between neurons, which ultimately make up your reality and your self. Talking and psychopharmaceuticals are mainly palliative in this regard. It's also way more complex than a “chemical imbalance” or “unhelpful convictions or behaviour”. This is where psychedelic therapy seems to occupy a unique niche. It makes parts of the brain temporarily more plastic, which allows for alternative connections to form. The brake which is on in daily life, the default-mode network, is lifted, allowing for brain regions to communicate with eachother much more freely. It's, off course, much more complicated in reality and there are still lots of unknowns. Mendel Kaelen, on the psilocybine reserach team of Carhart-Harris, uses an analogy which might help (see video below). I have no idea how microdosing psychedelics relates to neuroplasticity."


And the way that you intervene to change the wiring is to curb your thinking. You have to exit the default, mind wondering state, and to pay attention to a new path of thinking which ameliorates your old perception of the problem. As you practice the new logical path in your mind, neurons which fire together begin to wire together. This makes the new way of perceiving the problem second nature and automatic. Meanwhile, the old connections which led to depression will be stripped away due to lack of use. It's called Hebbian Plasticity, after the guy who discovered it. Now the trick in all of this is to try to identify the path that your thinking takes when you find yourself in a given circumstance. So you have to take note of what circumstances lead you to your depressive state and the chain of concepts activated by those environmental circumstances. Once you've identified circumstance, reinterpret it more favorably, and practice the reinterpretation over and over; the more you do, the better you will be able to follow the new perceptual path to an outcome that avoids the depressive looping around the same thought.




This article claims that depression is caused by dwelling on self. It's a kind of OCD where the brain is constantly cycling through self-referential areas of the brain. That has to be due to either connectivity issues or chemical production/reception issues. Connectivity can be enhanced by mental exercises using these areas (The Hebbian Doctrine that cells which fire together, wire togeter.) And chemical production and use should be able to be addressed with chemicals that either inhibit production or inhibit reception of these chemicals.


https://www.sott.net/article/381014-...-sense-of-self


"I'm starting to comprehend the essense of what's torturing me. I'm simply overwhelmed by extreme emotions, during which my body seems to have a mind of it's own. I just let it do what it needs to do. I trust it's wisdom. It is as physical as it is emotional. When I'm taken over by this, there hardly is any room for cognition, it just goes offline. Such is the language of trauma. The Body Keeps the Score, as Bessel van der Kolk puts it. There is a boy inside who's falling apart from all the hurt he carries. A baby on a bed of nails. His brokenness is beyond words, beyond tears. It's sub-rational. Although I have been through a lot in my life, the sheer intensity of these experiences has remained a mystery to me. Untill I discovered attachement theory (see off-topic video below). I have tools to alleviate, but actually addressing the issue is far from straight forward. Comprehending does helpt to determine which steps to take next. I'm not in this state of consciousness at the moment though. I've been feeling relatively well for four days already! "

It sounds like a horrible thing to have to go through. I am happy to hear that you are experiencing a respite for a while. Analyze how you came to have this respite from the usual torture that your mind seems to gravitate to. You might uncover a clue to what gets you out of the bad state into a more manageable one.

And what I write here and suggest is just based my beliefs and understandings of things I've been reading over the last 10 or so years. Read; A little knowledge is a dangerous thing Good luck to you, buddy.

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post #9 of 116 (permalink) Old 03-31-2018, 10:06 AM
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I've heard it's very effective. Mushrooms and DMT especially. Something about expanding your perspective and understanding, so you don't get sucked into one particular thought pattern.

I'm curious about trying it, but Idk where do get mushrooms and I hear bad trips from DMT are horrifying.
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Originally Posted by RelinquishedHell View Post
I've heard it's very effective. Mushrooms and DMT especially. Something about expanding your perspective and understanding, so you don't get sucked into one particular thought pattern.

I'm curious about trying it, but Idk where do get mushrooms and I hear bad trips from DMT are horrifying.
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post #11 of 116 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Erroll. I'm going to try to stay on topic now :-) If I have gathered enough courage, I'll make a thread about how I think things got this way. Do you suffer from depression and has your method helped you to metigate it? Are you thinking about psychedelic therapy as well?

Rewiring the brain at the level of the default-mode network (DMN) has been proven to be a massive challenge. I haven't been able to hack it in all these years, not sustainably at least. Perhaps that's because it is the generator of “I” and there's no other “I” outside of the self-referential loop who can “interpret” differently. There's nobody home who buys into other truths, so to speak. It does feel like a prison or a hostage situation. I can't do this on my own. Not even a year in a therapeutic community where questioning your convictions and perceptions was the norm has resulted in significant changes, nor have a slew of meds, tons of self-help books and various other attempts. Some have helped for a while, but it always goes back to the default. Another approach is needed, hence this thread. Perhaps what's needed is to temporarily take down the DMN itself to experience outside the realm of these fixed settings. What's interesting is that the experiencer remains regardless. Any thoughts on that?

The 5-HT2 receptor has come up often. Pretty cool study narrowing down it's role in dissovling the self. It may lead to a more precise intervention in the future (although I'm weary of simple solutions in this case). I'm not going to wait for that though, it'll take ages, if ever. Since I've physically removed myself from a triggering enviroment leading to my distress, my nervous system has calmed down a bit. My amygdala is less marinating everything with danger. That includes my fear of a “bad trip”. I find myself looking for alternatives to volunteering in a trial. However, the largest trial in psilocybin therapy for treatment resistant depression ever is pending. It's planned to be conducted in the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the UK. I'm trying to get myself onboard. Otherwise, other legal options are available in the Netherlands. I'll also be looking more into neuroplasticity, which can hardly be a depressive thing to do :-)

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post #12 of 116 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
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If you're open to DMT, you may want to look into ayahuasca (which's active component is DMT). Are there any legal ceremonies held in the US? Maps.org will keep you posted on any developments with regard to psychedelic therapy within the law. It's founder, Rick Doblin is working with the FDA to make MDMA assisted psychotherapy available to the public. This could be as soon as 2021 and even sooner in some cases.

@sad1231234
How've you been? How has weed helped you? It's about the last thing I'd think off being helpfull if you have depersonalization issues. But the same goes for psychedelics for mental health issues. I've stayed away from it because of it. It would be ironic if it's the thing which is very helpfull to treat it.

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@RelinquishedHell
If you're open to DMT, you may want to look into ayahuasca (which's active component is DMT). Are there any legal ceremonies held in the US? Maps.org will keep you posted on any developments with regard to psychedelic therapy within the law. It's founder, Rick Doblin is working with the FDA to make MDMA assisted psychotherapy available to the public. This could be as soon as 2021 and even sooner in some cases.

@sad1231234
How've you been? How has weed helped you? It's about the last thing I'd think off being helpfull if you have depersonalization issues. But the same goes for psychedelics for mental health issues. I've stayed away from it because of it. It would be ironic if it's the thing which is very helpfull to treat it.
weed gave me a good understanding of the mind, thoughts, and the connection between reality and the mind. Before i used weed i didnt really know what to do about my derealization but when i used it a while back i gained an understanding of how to live in the real world more instead of living inside my own mind lol. Derealization is very elusive but getting a bit of a grip on how the mind works helped.
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post #14 of 116 (permalink) Old 04-07-2018, 08:13 AM
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Thanks Erroll. I'm going to try to stay on topic now :-) If I have gathered enough courage, I'll make a thread about how I think things got this way. Do you suffer from depression and has your method helped you to metigate it? Are you thinking about psychedelic therapy as well?
I have suffered from depression just enough to understand what a deep well it is to fall down. I feel better than at any time in my life now. maybe at my age, there's just less of a future to to worry about. Also, a lot of my past happened quite a while ago, and one has to remember the past to regret it Depression is half worrying about the future and half regretting the past. We live in the present. I meditate regularly and take a bit of Prozac to help keep depression in check. I feel a bit down occasionally, but I find that I can usually snap out of it on the smae day that I notice it. Psychadelic therapy is interesting to me from the standpoint of understanding the 'self'. How on earth can a chemical cause the 'self' to weaken and a person to encompass the environment in his sense of self. I'm looking forward to Pollen's book on that.

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Rewiring the brain at the level of the default-mode network (DMN) has been proven to be a massive challenge. I haven't been able to hack it in all these years, not sustainably at least. Perhaps that's because it is the generator of “I” and there's no other “I” outside of the self-referential loop who can “interpret” differently. There's nobody home who buys into other truths, so to speak. It does feel like a prison or a hostage situation. I can't do this on my own. Not even a year in a therapeutic community where questioning your convictions and perceptions was the norm has resulted in significant changes, nor have a slew of meds, tons of self-help books and various other attempts. Some have helped for a while, but it always goes back to the default. Another approach is needed, hence this thread. Perhaps what's needed is to temporarily take down the DMN itself to experience outside the realm of these fixed settings. What's interesting is that the experiencer remains regardless. Any thoughts on that?


The "self" that we act with, now, is a product of our past. The only way to address any problem with our current 'self' is to address it in the present. Analogically, we can't remove the old shingles totally and put on a new roof. But we have to patch up the roof that we've got. All the past is incorporated in us; in the 'selves' that we currently are. We have to take that 'self' that the past gave us, and do something now to change the way our modified self addresses the future. We can worry about the future until we shrivel up and die. Or we can take actions regarding how we conduct ourselves in the present to change the course of our future. Anything can happen in the future and it is all based in what we do right now. So we can worry about the future, or we can choose to have faith in ourselves and in the present actions we undertake, to reach a future free of the burdens of the past. Mindfulness exercises can help us live in the present. These exercises help us to pay attention, and become aware of when the default network (DMN) of the brain is taking us for a dangerous ride into regrets of the past or worries regarding the future. That is the methodology of, as you say, rewiring the default mode network. I wouldn't say that the DMN is the generator of the 'I or self'. The 'self' exists in the present as a product of the past. If anything, the DMN draws us away from our true selves and causes us to reflect on either past 'selves' which we used to be, or on future 'selves', which we might never become. Living in the present is the key.


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The 5-HT2 receptor has come up often. Pretty cool study narrowing down it's role in dissovling the self. It may lead to a more precise intervention in the future (although I'm weary of simple solutions in this case). I'm not going to wait for that though, it'll take ages, if ever. Since I've physically removed myself from a triggering enviroment leading to my distress, my nervous system has calmed down a bit. My amygdala is less marinating everything with danger. That includes my fear of a “bad trip”. I find myself looking for alternatives to volunteering in a trial. However, the largest trial in psilocybin therapy for treatment resistant depression ever is pending. It's planned to be conducted in the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the UK. I'm trying to get myself onboard. Otherwise, other legal options are available in the Netherlands. I'll also be looking more into neuroplasticity, which can hardly be a depressive thing to do :-)

The chemistry of the neuron is everything. To say that it is massively complex is an understatement. DNA codes for every aspect of the body, which I like to call an "Environmental Detection and Response Machine" (EDRM) . The soul develops over a lifetime and is totally dependent on what the EDRM detects, and how it responds. Chemicals work on the body directly. Meditation works on the body via the intermediary of the soul. In both cases electro-chemicals are propagated from the huge network of body sensors and flow up the nerves and spinal cord to neurons in the brain's sensory cortices. The electric potential thus generated in these neurons causes a chemical signal to enter the neuron's nucleus and clip off a recipe for a molecule (like a 5-HT2 receptor or a molecule of seritonin). In a perfect world, the 5-HT2 receptor allows molecules of seritonin to enter a neuron and cause it to fire stronger and faster, yielding a normal state of consciousness instead of a depressed state of consciousness. But neural DNA is not always perfect. The new science of Epigenetics shows us many ways in which DNA gets modified; sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. So, if a genetic mutation causes a slightly different 5-HT2 receptor to be generated, and that receptor's shape does not allow seritonin molecules to enter the neuron, consciousness remains depressed.

So, for instance, to address depression chemically, you have to determine if seritonin or another body chemical is the problem, if your gut microbes are making enough serotonin, if receptors in the neuron are allowing seritonin to enter the neuron, if you have too few receptors for the seritonin you make, etc etc etc. And knowledge of how this massively complex dance of chemicals works to produce mood is incomplete and sketchy at best. I have a textbook on the chemistry of the neuron and it's almost impossible to read, because it is not a cohesive story, but an endless procession of what this or that chemical does under this or that circumstance. It is short on integration of this information, so that you can follow it from beginning to end. That's why I prefer to talk about addressing depression via mindfulness and talk. But I find myself using both chemical and mindful interventions. It's just that it is almost impossible to know exactly how chemicals work. Thus our fear of psycho-active mushrooms etc. It really is sort of 'trial end error'.

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post #15 of 116 (permalink) Old 04-09-2018, 06:00 AM
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weed gave me a good understanding of the mind, thoughts, and the connection between reality and the mind. Before i used weed i didnt really know what to do about my derealization but when i used it a while back i gained an understanding of how to live in the real world more instead of living inside my own mind lol. Derealization is very elusive but getting a bit of a grip on how the mind works helped.
My experience has been that weed increases the acuity of all 5 human senses. Food tastes better, music sounds better, sex is more intense, odors are more pronounced, and visually things are more focused and crisp and colors are more saturated. This more intense sensory stimulation seems to facilitate mindfulness meditation because the sensory stimulation of the present moment becomes more vivid and interesting. Sometimes the richer sensual experiences can make it seem like time passes more slowly, because you experience more sensual information across the same time span. And its a matter of dosage too. Too much and you start to see things that really aren't there ...hallucinations, obsessive thoughts, paranoia. (So perhaps this is one area where Jagger's maxim, below, does not hold true )

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post #16 of 116 (permalink) Old 04-09-2018, 06:34 PM
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My experience has been that weed increases the acuity of all 5 human senses. Food tastes better, music sounds better, sex is more intense, odors are more pronounced, and visually things are more focused and crisp and colors are more saturated. This more intense sensory stimulation seems to facilitate mindfulness meditation because the sensory stimulation of the present moment becomes more vivid and interesting. Sometimes the richer sensual experiences can make it seem like time passes more slowly, because you experience more sensual information across the same time span. And its a matter of dosage too. Too much and you start to see things that really aren't there ...hallucinations, obsessive thoughts, paranoia. (So perhaps this is one area where Jagger's maxim, below, does not hold true )
Yeah it does, i havent tried actual psychedelics or anything but from my experience with marijuana it increases the effectiveness of the senses. Not to mention it also helps the brain to sort of "multitask" more, like in picking out different instruments in music and stuff. Yeah you're right, i mean i havent done weed much but i would imagine it would be good for meditating and stuff. Yeah everything in moderation haha unless you're some hardcore psychonaut or something. But thats whats cool about weed, because it is pretty much a psychedelic that is intense enough to be an other-worldly experience yet soft/mild enough so that you are still in the real world and able to think fairly normally.
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post #17 of 116 (permalink) Old 04-09-2018, 07:23 PM
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"I've been reading about “self” a lot lately. Particularly about how it and it's neurological reality is shaped by our interactions with our primary caregiver."


I think that the way that this works is that the edifice of personality is built upon the foundation laid by the primary caregiver(s) early in life. If we understand a novel experience in terms of our remembered past experiences, then you could say our experiences with the primary caregiver is at the core of how we comprehend everything in life. Douglas Hofstadter talks about this in "I am a Stranger Loop". He compares Kurt Godel's mathematical self referential systems to the self referential system of consciousness (each new experience being thrown into the pile of all previous experience). The entire path that a pendulum takes until it stops is affected from the point of bumping it. If you consider the pendulum life, and each experience a bump to the pendulum of life, you can see how each experience has the potential to change the entire future. And the earlier that you bump the pendulum, the more it affects the future path until it stops. That's why the effects of early caregiver's lies so deep within each personality.




"It has dramatically altered my view of “mental illness” in general and my own depression/SA in particular. "


My opinion; there is no such thing as mental illness. By that I mean that everything that we call mental is, at the base of it, really physical. Experience causes neurons to fire, and sends calcium messengers into the cellular nucleus. A RNA recipe is clipped off and sent to a ribosome in the neuron, where the recipe is followed to build a chemical. And chemicals make feelings, just like a few beers promotes a feeling of wellbeing, L'haim. So feelings are in reaction to experience, but the process is mediated by the production of chemicals like Serotonin and Dopamine and what not. If you don't have the right mix experience to unlock the release of dopamine in the Ventral Tegmental Area of your brain, it makes sense to me that the situation can be re-mediated either chemically (drugs) or experientially.

I would include electrical stimulation of the Ventral Tegmental Area to effect release of dopamine, as a chemical type intervention, just so it won't be confused with experience based interventions. I recently read this article about direct brain stimulation of this "feel good" circuit. And of course, people couldn't ever get enough of that kind of stim and developed tolerances, constantly requiring more stim to achieve the desired effect. Too great a concentration of neurotransmitter can kill cells, so direct stim is not a good intervention

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/a...piness/556043/



"Subjective experiences, the nature of consciousness and self, the recurring nature of depression, SA, neuroscience, trauma, the fear of rejection, etc. Many pieces of the puzzle are falling into place since I discovered attachment theory and related studies. There's tons to say about this, but that would mean me dumping an entire off-topic phone book here. "

Subjective experience is the experience of a current set of environmental stimulation interpreted in light of a subjects remembered life experiences. So the same thing happening in the environment can have different meanings for different subjects. I just saw an example of this on the news. Jeb Bush said that he was glad to be off of the campaign trail ,and at home with his wonderful children. He said it just as a compliment to his children. But Eric and Donald Trump Jr, trump's kids, took the same comment as an affront to their father, that Jeb Bush was implying that Trump enjoyed being away from HIS kids. Each interpreted the same words in accord with what was on their minds. It could be that you have an learned a self defeating interpretation of something in an innocuous set of environmental stimulus, that blows the thing up in importance and makes it seem like a problem which must be solved right now, and this causes you to continuously cycle through the same bad scenario, leading to an exhausted depressive state.

.

"It is very much connected to this topic though, because a fruitfull intervention has to involve rewiring of the brain. Neuroplasticity; the possibility to make new connections between neurons, which ultimately make up your reality and your self. Talking and psychopharmaceuticals are mainly palliative in this regard. It's also way more complex than a “chemical imbalance” or “unhelpful convictions or behaviour”. This is where psychedelic therapy seems to occupy a unique niche. It makes parts of the brain temporarily more plastic, which allows for alternative connections to form. The brake which is on in daily life, the default-mode network, is lifted, allowing for brain regions to communicate with eachother much more freely. It's, off course, much more complicated in reality and there are still lots of unknowns. Mendel Kaelen, on the psilocybine reserach team of Carhart-Harris, uses an analogy which might help (see video below). I have no idea how microdosing psychedelics relates to neuroplasticity."


And the way that you intervene to change the wiring is to curb your thinking. You have to exit the default, mind wondering state, and to pay attention to a new path of thinking which ameliorates your old perception of the problem. As you practice the new logical path in your mind, neurons which fire together begin to wire together. This makes the new way of perceiving the problem second nature and automatic. Meanwhile, the old connections which led to depression will be stripped away due to lack of use. It's called Hebbian Plasticity, after the guy who discovered it. Now the trick in all of this is to try to identify the path that your thinking takes when you find yourself in a given circumstance. So you have to take note of what circumstances lead you to your depressive state and the chain of concepts activated by those environmental circumstances. Once you've identified circumstance, reinterpret it more favorably, and practice the reinterpretation over and over; the more you do, the better you will be able to follow the new perceptual path to an outcome that avoids the depressive looping around the same thought.




This article claims that depression is caused by dwelling on self. It's a kind of OCD where the brain is constantly cycling through self-referential areas of the brain. That has to be due to either connectivity issues or chemical production/reception issues. Connectivity can be enhanced by mental exercises using these areas (The Hebbian Doctrine that cells which fire together, wire togeter.) And chemical production and use should be able to be addressed with chemicals that either inhibit production or inhibit reception of these chemicals.


https://www.sott.net/article/381014-...-sense-of-self


"I'm starting to comprehend the essense of what's torturing me. I'm simply overwhelmed by extreme emotions, during which my body seems to have a mind of it's own. I just let it do what it needs to do. I trust it's wisdom. It is as physical as it is emotional. When I'm taken over by this, there hardly is any room for cognition, it just goes offline. Such is the language of trauma. The Body Keeps the Score, as Bessel van der Kolk puts it. There is a boy inside who's falling apart from all the hurt he carries. A baby on a bed of nails. His brokenness is beyond words, beyond tears. It's sub-rational. Although I have been through a lot in my life, the sheer intensity of these experiences has remained a mystery to me. Untill I discovered attachement theory (see off-topic video below). I have tools to alleviate, but actually addressing the issue is far from straight forward. Comprehending does helpt to determine which steps to take next. I'm not in this state of consciousness at the moment though. I've been feeling relatively well for four days already! "

It sounds like a horrible thing to have to go through. I am happy to hear that you are experiencing a respite for a while. Analyze how you came to have this respite from the usual torture that your mind seems to gravitate to. You might uncover a clue to what gets you out of the bad state into a more manageable one.

And what I write here and suggest is just based my beliefs and understandings of things I've been reading over the last 10 or so years. Read; A little knowledge is a dangerous thing Good luck to you, buddy.
You are on to something here. If you feel like talking g about your thoughts I would be interested in monotizing them. Maybe you re opposed to monotizing on these things, but in the modern world, that's the only way to get the word out.

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post #18 of 116 (permalink) Old 04-09-2018, 07:29 PM
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I've heard it's very effective. Mushrooms and DMT especially. Something about expanding your perspective and understanding, so you don't get sucked into one particular thought pattern.

I'm curious about trying it, but Idk where do get mushrooms and I hear bad trips from DMT are horrifying.
Mushrooms are easy to grow and legal to buy the spores (in most places). I highly recommend as I've had a bad trip on acid, but not on shrooms.

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You are on to something here. If you feel like talking g about your thoughts I would be interested in monotizing them. Maybe you re opposed to monotizing on these things, but in the modern world, that's the only way to get the word out.

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Thanks for reading, Solution. The theory of consciousness upon which I base what I write was developed by Douglas Hoffstadter of Indiana University, and discussed in detail in his "I am a strange loop". It makes more sense to me than any other consciousness theory that I have ever encountered. I think that he's dead on.

The neurological substrate upon which consciousness runs, in the brain and body, is as as complex as life itself. What I say about that comes from my readings on anatomy, neurology, and connectome.
It's functions are coded in the 3 billion base pairs in human DNA. But, I believe that that substrate could be replaced with computer-like hardware. I believe that if you had a deep-enough Markov Neural Network, running on a fast-enough machine, and if you exposed this neural net to a training set consisting of every single sensory experience that a 3 year old has had and in the same order, that you would end up with something very much like the consciousness of that 3 year old. That, of course, would entail that the machine had a body to house all the various sensors...vision, feel audio smell taste, etc, and it might even need a gut to house the microbes which send messages to the brain via the Enteric Nervous System and the Vagus nerve.

The human nervous system does everything with electrical potentials, mediated by electro-chemical transmitter molecules. A consciousness running on a hardware substrate would skip the chemical intermediaries and message directly with electricity, and that should reduce the complexity of the 3 billion base pairs of DNA, acting individually or in unison to produce bio-molecules based on electro-chemically mediated environmental messaging. I believe that feelings or quales, like pleasant/unpleasant are based in learned experience. The internal feeling of 'pleasantness' is created in analogy to outcomes of previous remembered pleasant experiences. I think that that is where all of the confusion used to occur in questioning whether infants could feel the pain of circumcision. I think that pain is not felt until it can be associated with previous causes and outcomes of similar circumstances which caused pain. So pain, like everything else, is not felt until it is learned. For example; the first few times that I used Marijuana, I did not notice the high, and the stuff seemed useless. But after repeated usage, I LEARNED to feel the high. You simply do not pay attention to meaningless feelings until you learn to associate and compare them with remembered previous experiential outcomes. (And Eric Kandel's work with Aplysia is a good place to read about how memory works.)

I love theorizing about this stuff and would enjoy discussing it in messages/posts, but my social anxiety prevents me from organizing my thoughts in real time, so I write. I discuss my personal ideas about consciousness in my blog on here, if you are interested.

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post #20 of 116 (permalink) Old 04-10-2018, 05:20 PM
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I don't think I agree with the idea that pain only happens if you have a memory of it. If that were true then it wouldn't have hurt when I broke my leg because I had never experienced it before.

There is a first for everything, and often times the first experience is the most painful because you haven't developed a tolerance for the pain.

I like the rest though.

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