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“I Was Born With a New Brain:” Janine Shares Her Field Trip Health Experience

Depression is something that has been with me since I was a kid. When I was 8 or 9 years old I remember telling my mom that something was wrong, I wasn’t happy. Back then mental health wasn’t as widely talked about and my mom couldn’t understand why I felt sad all the time. From her perspective we had a roof over our heads and a bed to sleep in, and she didn’t want me confiding these feelings to my father. So, I just didn’t talk about it again.

Then I became a teenager and it all fell apart.

I experimented with self-harm and had a very negative self-outlook. Things got worse, yet I still held it all inside because based on what happened before I felt like talking about my feelings was redundant.

By 2017 things got really bad and I attempted suicide. To this day I think that Loki, my Australian Shepherd, is the only reason I’m here right now. I was married at the time and I just felt so numb to everything. So, I wrote my parents a note and I grabbed a bunch of medications, but Loki was following me everywhere and wouldn’t break eye contact. I’ve never felt a connection like that—I swear he saw my soul that day. I spat out the pills and called my family doctor.

For the first time in my life I went on antidepressants, but they didn’t quiet all of the negative self-thoughts and feelings of not being good enough or worthy. Not only did I have severe major depression, but that had also been the narrative for most of my life. Eventually, after two years of antidepressants I just couldn’t deal with the constant fog and memory loss so I went off them.

It was around then that I started talking to some people who had done psychedelics, and I decided to try MDMA for the first time. That was a turning point for me, because suddenly all of the negativity, all of the noise, all of the voices in my head just faded away. It was unlike anything I’d ever felt. I figured, if I could feel even 10 per cent of that every day, I would be such a happier person.

By the time the pandemic hit, I had more time on my hands and I began seriously researching psilocybin treatments. There weren’t any approved where I live, in Canada, but that’s when I learned about Field Trip Health and the ketamine-assisted therapy they were just starting to offer in Toronto. At 33 years old, I figured the timing was perfect, but I was actually stuck in the U.S. for a while because of travel restrictions. So by the time I was approved for the process that winter, my depression had grown worse and I had also developed social anxiety. I knew I wasn’t in the right headspace to start with Field Trip just yet.

As it turns out, listening to my body and trusting my intuition was one of the best things I could have done for myself. By the time I was ready to start the program in May 2021, I had already started doing the work. In the months leading up to my first session I’d begun daily affirmation journaling and trying to shift my mindset. I had also read a few books geared towards self-development and I’d started seeing a shamanic healer that my sister had recommended. All of those steps and the spiritual work allowed me to open up that side of myself again and to reconnect. It definitely put me in a better headspace for ketamine-assisted therapy.

All in all I spent three weeks with Field Trip Health, plus I returned for a maintenance block. I noticed immediate progress with each week, and at first I was scared that it would go backwards or be short-lived. I now know that’s not the case.

It was like I was born with a new brain after going through those sessions. I never thought I would feel this way in my lifetime, and that I would be able to so effortlessly think and feel the way I finally do about myself. Through the therapy I realized that I’ve always put everyone else ahead, caring first for those around me. But I had always been unable to care for myself in the same way. Until now.

Today, I’m rediscovering who I am and finding myself in new ways. I realized I was in an unhealthy relationship and ended things, and now I refuse to use the word “stupid”—not even as a joke. Considering all of the feelings of hopelessness, loss and lack-of-direction that I’ve been feeling over the past year, wondering how much longer I could be in such limbo, the transformation truly has been life-changing.

Others have noticed the change too. Since Field Trip I’ve spoken with my doctor about ketamine therapy, and she seems more open to the process than when we first spoke about alternative medicines and cannabis back in 2017. My friends have noted I sound much freer, even in my texts. And as for my family? They’ve also become believers in the process, which is one of the best parts about this journey. For my dad to drive me to my appointments and listen to the 'Field Tripping' podcast with me – and for us to have these deep conversations – is huge.

Is Field Trip for everyone? I think it’s not a one-size fits all, and it does require a lot of work. You can’t just go in and expect it to automatically change you. I still journal, practice meditation and use apps like Headspace and Luminosity. But I do think these therapies can change a lot of lives, just like they’ve changed mine. It’s actually really incredible what it’s done for me, and I’m just really grateful.

As told to Amber Dowling for Field Trip Health

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The testimonials are the individual experiences of those who have attended Field Trip and taken part in our treatment, however they are individual results and results will vary. The testimonials are not necessarily representative of all of those who have used our treatment.

Field Trip may have edited the testimonials to account for correction of grammar or typing errors where necessary. In other cases, the testimonials may have been shortened for brevity. Field Trip has not edited the testimonial in a way that would create a misleading impression of the individual's views.

Ketamine is also not for everyone and may result in serious side effects. Certain medical conditions and other factors may reduce the effectiveness of ketamine as a treatment or disqualify you from receiving ketamine. Please consult a physician or other medical professional before commencing treatment.

For more information about what Field Trip offers including an overview, risks of treatment, and cost, please review Our Therapy.

Are you disappointed with the results from other therapies or medications? Is something blocking progress, but you’re not sure what? Find out if psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is right for you.

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