A 56-year-old Frenchman, Claude, microdosed on psilocybin truffles in 2022 before attending a retreat in 2023. He had a profound and deeply connected experience, feeling a strong sense of communion.
“I’m quite an anxious person. I have been for a long time.”
How did you come to be interested in psilocybin?
I was never really that interested in psychoactive substances in general. I’m from a scientific background, and I really thought that all those substances were dangerous, especially outside of any credible experimental framework.
Then, one day, I saw a documentary on Netflix that showed the experiments carried out by Imperial College London and the benefits on patients experiencing depression. I quickly followed up with another film about treating post-traumatic stress disorder in Iraq war veterans.
The results shown in the film completely blew me away. I started reading articles online, but never thought I would experiment myself.
Did you not want to try?
I didn’t think I needed to. Apart from a couple of depressive episodes, I’ve never really suffered from depression, and it’s not like I took part in the Gulf War! However, having read up on the subject, I saw that psilocybin could have a positive impact on anxiety… and I’m quite an anxious person. I have been for a long time.
Have you ever been treated for your anxiety?
Not really. Only in some specific situations in my life, but I’ve never received treatment or even been diagnosed.
What encouraged you to take the leap and try a psychedelic retreat?
Curiosity, and the feeling that it was time to do something about my recurring anxiety. I continued looking into it and made my mind up within a couple of days.
Were you worried about anything?
Pretty much nothing. I felt confident after speaking to the facilitators. My biggest fear was that my friends and family wouldn’t understand why I was doing it. But you can’t go through life being held back by others’ prejudices.
“Being at such intense harmony was totally unique!”
What was your experience like?
It may sound stupid, but I experienced something magical. Memorable.
I prepared my mixture of truffle and tea with the others and drank it quickly because I couldn’t wait to see the effects. For half an hour, there was absolutely nothing. Then, all of a sudden, it was a cascade of emotions, a succession of extremely strong sensations, stronger than anything I’d ever felt before. To be totally honest, it wasn’t all pleasant! For an hour, I was upset, in a state of emotional confusion. And then everything become clear and so wonderfully beautiful.
I looked around at the other participants and I felt good. Good in where I was, with them, and with myself! Being at such intense harmony was totally unique. I wanted to see my wife and children and tell them the meaning they bring to my life.
What about after the initial hit?
The facilitators took us into the forest for a walk. I was enchanted by the nature, in deep harmony with all the elements. I felt part of a larger being. It was mystical.
How did you feel when you got home?
Honestly, very, very good. It’s like a wall had been taken down. Some of my anxieties had disappeared and others had calmed down. For the first few weeks, I was in ecstasy.
A few months after your retreat, what state of mind were you in?
I’m still glad I took part in the retreat. I feel better than before, less anxious. I’m able to think more rationally about subjects that used to scare me before. Ever since I took psilocybin, I can make better sense of where my pain and anxieties come from. It’s really refreshing to know more about yourself.
Some anxiety has come back. I imagine that’s normal, but I can say that two and a half months later, I’m less anxious and better at recognizing the good things in my life. I’m less blasé!
What word would you use to sum up your experience?
More than magic… you know, I’m not religious, but I know that what I experienced was an epiphany.