Everyone probably experiences impostor syndrome at least once in their lifetime. But for me, feeling as though someone else was better suited for the success I had obtained in life has been an integral part of my self-actualization.
Not only was I overly conscious with how others perceived me (which is a tough thought-pattern to escape when you work in the hospitality industry), but I had a hard time speaking up for myself and vocalizing what I wanted. Being in a crowd, even during a standard Costco run, was enough to make my palms sweaty and send my mind into a panic.
For years I turned to standard medication for help. I’d been on Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and anti-anxiety medication since I was 22 years old. And while they helped for a while, four years ago I lost my mother to cancer and the grief manifested into something I either couldn’t or wouldn’t let myself understand. She was not just my mother, but my rock.
Though I was functioning fine daily, there was still a huge void in my world that needed attention.
It was during the pandemic that I discovered Merlin Sheldrake’s novel, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures. Reading about mycelium (the vegetative part of a fungus) inspired me to re-evaluate everything I thought I knew about psilocybin. I dug deeper, and that’s when I discovered ketamine-assisted therapy and Field Trip Health.
I’d done psychedelics recreationally when I was younger, but they never lead to the mind-opening revelations I anticipated. At Field Trip, however, the guided experience allowed me to go deeper. During my sessions, I became one with the aurora borealis, and black holes’ event horizons flowed through me one moment while the next I manifested into its singularity. I realized black holes were a prevalent theme, recreating and destroying my past harsh memories—atypical imagery for someone like me.
As I continued the sessions, they led to some life-changing realizations about myself, my thought patterns, and my coping mechanisms. It was also there that I learned I had been masking my own symptoms and that I had a compulsive need to make sure everyone around me was okay. The therapy allowed me to understand and manage my anxieties for the first time in years.
Through the therapy I was able to dig deeper and to realize just how much my mother’s death was affecting me. During my last session (which was startingly rescheduled on what would have been her birthday), I had an intention to see her—and I did. She showed me what it was like to return to the womb and took me on a trip around the cosmos, and said to me without words, “We’re the same. It’s not your time, but see you soon.”
Coincidentally, I had applied for U.K. citizenship over a year prior as my mother was British, and two weeks after spending that time with her in the other realm, I received my citizenship in the mail, dated on her birthday, and I knew it was her speaking to me again.
Today, I realize things that used to make me feel bad are immaterial. A newfound interest in astrophysics has made me look at life itself through a simpler lens, especially when you compare it to all of the complexities around us. I am experiencing the beauty of nature in a way I wish everyone else could as well, and I’ve come to believe our existence is material and ephemeral—something bigger than any of us.
This entire experience has also changed my relationships. Now, I seek connections with others by finding commonalities that will allow me form more meaningful bonds. My ex-partner, who has dealt with his own social issues for years, was so convinced by my transformation that he too sought therapy with Field Trip Health. Later he broke down in my arms with gratitude, and I realized this is something that’s too important to keep from others. If I can help by telling my story, then I have done my job.
It’s astounding to believe that such a low dose of ketamine could have such an earth-shattering and profound effect on my life. But it truly did.
Now, I can go into large crowds of people and be okay. When I feel anxious I go to what I call “the other realm.” I remind myself of the experience and that my priority is to lead life with love and gratitude. Journaling has helped a lot; I’ve written roughly 200 pages so far in my ongoing integration efforts, and been more in touch with myself than I have been, maybe ever.
Through all of this I’ve decided to pursue what I’m passionate about, and now I am working towards goals: after having been a sommelier working for others all my life, I decided to open my own wine store and café because I realize the importance of my own self-worth.
I’ve let go of how I think I should be perceived, and become more aware of my own wants and needs. I’ve come to understand that it’s okay to express and pursue what you want in this short life. I do belong here, and you know what? It’s okay to focus on myself in the same capacity as I have always offered to others.
As told to Amber Dowling for Field Trip Health
The testimonials are the individual experiences of those who have attended at 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.