In this inspiring podcast episode, Paul opens up about his lifetime struggle with treatment-resistant depression, highlighting how he overcame his challenges. He details his unique approach to coping with his father’s loss, including early psychedelic work with Ayahuasca. Paul’s experience as a guest at Eleusinia is also shared, where he underwent a transformative experience through a macro dose. He talks about the integration process that followed, and how his life is evolving positively as a result. Listen here, or on Apple Podcast.
Eleusinia Retreat Podcast
Tawnya: Paul, thank you so much for coming to the show. It is such an honor to have you here. It’s wonderful to see your face again. Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what brought you to Eleusinia?
Paul: Absolutely. Well, clearly my name’s Paul. You’ve already introduced me. So I am an educator.
I’ve been involved in education for about 30 years. From, started off as a Montessori teacher, then got a master’s degree in philosophy and started teaching at the college level for a little while. Worked as a consultant and now I’m kind of freelancing, working to facilitate literacy workshops for public school teachers. So that’s where I’m kind of headed at this point. Been a long road in education. Worked as a learning specialist for a while in some independent schools in San Francisco. But really decided that the politics were a little too much for me working in a school. I just wasn’t, I’m, I’m not, I don’t have the constitution, I’ve realized to, to deal with the people problems that come with working in a school. Schools tend to be a little dysfunctional. So yeah, so that’s career and I’ve been a musician from an early age, loved music. Started playing drums when I was eight. Play guitar, banjo, been in bands, put out some CDs. So I’ve lived a, you know, relatively creative life up until a few years ago, when things started to go haywire with my mental health. I’m married. I’ve got two little chihuahuas. All of the, the three of them, my wife and the two chihuahuas keep me very happy. And we live in Oakland but we’re moving soon to Northern California, so up near north of Sacramento. So anything else I should mention around all that?
Tawnya: No, that sounds good, Paul. Yeah, that’s good. So you mentioned a few years ago things kind of going down a hill. What happened then, and where did you find yourself and who were, you know, how were you feeling before all that? And then where did you find yourself after?
Paul: It actually started more than a few years ago, so I started suffering from depression 30 years ago when I was, I’m 59 now, so this was like in my late twenties when this all started to happen, and it kind of came outta the blue. I didn’t really know what was going on. Didn’t seem to be anything in my life that was triggering it, but all of a sudden I’m crying on my way to work. I’m coming home and curling up on the floor, crying myself to sleep with all the blinds closed, isolating myself and then just trying to put on a happy face when I was out in the world. They put me on Zoloft when they finally discovered what was happening, and I seemed to be okay for a while. And then a few years later, another one came along. So this was happening, you know, every few years I would go through these depressive episodes and they would last anywhere from a few weeks to a few, couple of months, three months, four months, and then I’d be okay for a while. In 2012 I lost my father, who I had a complicated relationship with. Fairly difficult while I was growing up, but then I ended up having to take care of him, moved him out to California from St. Louis, where I’m from you know, put him into an assisted living facility, which he was not happy about. Complained bitterly every time I saw him about having no freedom. Oh, these four walls, Polly, that whole routine. And so I took care of him for about four years, I think. It’s quite a while. And he was suffering from dementia, so that was why I moved him out here. And when he passed away I was with him 24/7, you know, from the time he was admitted into the hospital and started really going downhill. Until just before he died and he just, he waited until I left to go home and take a shower, and then he, he decided to go. That was a, a hard period. I didn’t really know how to feel about him. There was part of me that was like relieved in a way that he was gone. I hated to admit that, so I felt guilty. But it really got into me and I think in, in, in a deeper way than I ever really knew. I found out part of it when I did an Ayahuasca journey, which was literally a week after he died, which was a big mistake. So , if anybody out there is planning on doing ayahuasca after a parent dies, do not do that. In this journey, I relived his death from inside of him over and over and over and over until finally, you know, the Ayahuasca journey dissipated and I came out of it. But again, that experience really stuck with me as well. So, you know, we fast forward a few years. The depressions are coming on more frequently. They’re getting longer. This last one was over a year and deep suicidal ideations every day, 24/ 7. Basically kind of, you know, the feeling was like kind of clawing to stay alive. Not really even sure why I wanted to stay alive. It was, it was rough. I lost my job. So I wasn’t able to teach anymore. Now I’m gun shy of working in schools because it was such a terrible up ordeal that I went through at the school. And went on, I was on disability for a little while and I’ve realized at that point that the meds, this situation that I was using with my medicine, I was on six different medications for a while, for depression, they diagnosed, diagnosed me with bipolar too, anxiety disorder, so I was on meds for just about everything you could possibly imagine. But here I was in a deep depression for a year. Nothing was happening. Nothing. It wasn’t going away. And I knew that I had to take a different, course of action. If I wanted to stay alive, I needed to do something different. So I did a bunch of research and the biggest drug that I was on that was really hard to get off of was lithium, took me about three and a half months, maybe four months, to slowly taper off of lithium. And the reason that I did it was so that I could do the Eleusinia retreat. I had found it online. I was looking and looking. I found so many different types of retreats, but Eleusinia really resonated with me because, I’m interested in the science. I’m interested in how it affects the brains. The fact that that Eleusinia was basing this on the brain science and also approached it from psychological standpoint. Had you there right to, to work with us while we’re processing these things. And, and then the spiritual side of it, it really resonated with me. I had zero doubt this was something that I was gonna go through and actually, actually do. So got off a lithium and arrived at Eleusinia
Tawnya: At that point, during when you arrived, were you just barely hanging on because now you had taken all the meds that weren’t really working, but without them you probably, were you feeling worse? A lot worse.
Paul: I was feeling very fragile. Oddly enough, the depression had lifted a bit, and I have a feeling that it’s, I don’t know if this is true or not, but I have a feeling that the lithium was contributing to my depression. It was putting a wet blanket over everything, you know, this like very low ceiling, you know, and a very high floor. And I felt like I was stuck, trapped in this non feeling what’s the word that they use? There’s a word for just not feeling anything, but I’m blanking out on what it is. But basically just kind of numb and only the only feelings I had were hopelessness, sadness, anger. Those are the only things that I really felt like I felt for a long, long time. Once that wet blanket was lifted, suddenly I was feeling some positive things, but there were a lot of other things that were coming to the surface that were a lot harder to, to grapple with. So it was definitely it, I was not doing well. I felt like I was doing better off lithium, but it was scary cuz there wasn’t that safety net. And I didn’t know what Eleusinia was gonna do. Yeah.
Tawnya: What was it like when you met everybody that was going to be a part of your retreat? Did you feel like you were similar to them? Did it feel difficult to relate? Or did you feel like, okay, here I am with a bunch of strangers and I’m still a hundred percent.
Paul: You know, at first I, I, again, one of the things that I was coming into this with was this, this incredible isolation. Very, very hard for me to relate to people. Very hard to start conversations. When I saw everybody coming in, I was really impressed by the diversity of the people.
You know, people from older than me, you know, to very young people. Everything in between. And it was, it was actually really sweet to see that, and yet, I couldn’t bring myself to relate. I ended up like, moving to the front seat. There was an opportunity to move to the front seat of the van, so I felt like I was able to hear everything that was going on in the back, but still separate. So, yeah. So it was a mixed bag. Didn’t feel threatened, but I also didn’t feel like connected.
Tawnya: So then you arrive at the retreat and then that you spend the first night there and then the next morning there’s ceremony day. So how were you feeling as that begun?
Paul: Well, I, I wanna, I want to just back up for one little moment that happened, which was getting off of that van and seeing , it actually being greeted by the four of you just touched my heart in such a deep way. I knew I was at home. I think you were the first one I met and just felt like I knew you from forever, somehow. Not sure why that was.
Tawnya: I know, and I, I remember saying, oh my God, I feel like I know you at, I felt that too. It was like very, very strong. It was I definitely felt like you were supposed to be there 100%
Paul: Yeah, I did too. And so that was, you know, and you guys all standing there in line to greet us was just so welcoming and, and lovely and grounding. Just felt like, here we go. You know, we’re in good hands being taken in by these people and it was so beautiful. I mean, you know, driving from Mexico City to that retreat is an adventure in its own. It’s like the terrain you drive through is so diverse. And so walking into those doors, seeing this just incredibly beautiful place with these beautiful people who were leading it, it just felt immediately at home. I was definitely nervous about that first dose. I didn’t know what I was in for. My last experience on psychedelics was that ayahuasca journey, and that was no fun.
Tawnya: Reliving a death again and again and again that wasn’t even your own. With an extraordinary amount of emotional suffering and physical suffering does not sound fun.
Paul: Yeah, I was, I was nervous coming into it. And especially because it’s like you arrive, like, you know, have some dinner, go to bed, and then boom. Like, there you go. You’re here we go. We’re starting into this. But I also knew that this was gonna be a path for healing for me. And it was a long time coming.
Tawnya: So you were sitting there for ceremony and with everyone and you participated in the smoke blessing that is traditionally done with Josephina. And did you feel at ease when you finally ingested and waited at that point?
Paul: I did. And I think, again, the things that made me feel so at ease were the care. You know, from hand to hand that you know from you and, and Josephina. Oh my God. I met with her before the ceremony. She saw right through me. I guess I’d just say she saw right into me and said some things that were just so insightful. So I think all of that coming into the ceremony and Josephina is just such an incredibly peaceful presence and you know, you’re in good hands when she comes around to give you your, your medicine.
Tawnya: So then you can you tell us a little bit about what it felt like when you first started to feel the effects and what started to happen after that?
Paul: Yeah. The effects came on rapidly and it was it was scary. I didn’t, it, it didn’t come on like I was expecting it to. I was expecting something more gentle. I was expecting more colors, more lights, you know, have beauty. But it came on with just this anxiety and disembodiment, like suddenly I just wasn’t in my body anymore. But not in a good way. Not in a way like, oh, I’m floating. It was, it was intense and I just didn’t know what to do. So yeah, so that beginning, that beginning part was, was challenging.
Tawnya: So then I remember, you know, you were struggling a bit and then you were feeling a lot of what if I recall correctly, you’ve, you were looking at your hands and you were feeling still a lot of that connection with your dad. Like you were feeling like somehow you’ve had become your, your dad. And, and I know, I remember you saying that Josephina had sat you and wanted you to, to individualize yourself. Separate from him in the way she did that was saying say your name. Say your name. And she didn’t know that your dad actually has the exact same name except…
Paul: Yeah, we just differ by the middle name. I’m Paul Lawrence McNeese. He’s Paul Cunningham McNeese. And so as she was doing that, she was massaging my head and just saying, say your full name, and just over and over and over again, she kept saying, I can still hear her voice saying slowly, slowly, say your full name. That gentle, beautiful voice and it was so hard because I felt like my, I had to struggle to not say his middle name. But, you know, eventually, eventually, you know, it did start, I did feel like I kind of came back into my body. I felt so frail, you know? Cause my father was 93 I think when he died. So, and I have pictures of his hands, you know, I’ve took photographs of him in different ways when I was with him, but that’s what I saw were his hands and his hair drooping down over my face and I just felt so frail and vulnerable and definitely not myself. I wasn’t myself. Something else felt like it was in me that Josephina was helping me work through.
Tawnya: And then it, you know, it still was, was hard, right? You were just really struggling and you couldn’t, it wouldn’t really ease up. And so it, it was a really good example of somebody who could really use a little bit of a, a benzo to kind of help ease their trip, and it’s a good opportunity for me to say that at Eleusinia you know, we, we do do that. We, if someone can’t use our tools and techniques to shift into it, and if they’re struggling a bit, then using something like a, a small amount of Xanax can really help ease it up. And, and that was you, you were perfect candidate. So we did give you a little bit and then within a half hour, like what happened then?
Paul: Yeah. It wow. How to describe this. I guess in a nutshell, it got much easier. I felt like I was, I was still grappling with this other presence in me, but it felt like I was there again, like some part of me came back into my body and was able to then differentiate between this, this feeling that I was in my father’s body or that my father was in my body or something happened there and, but the, but there being a tether back somehow, so it was Xanax, I guess that, that you gave me definitely calmed me enough that I was then able to sync back in to, to the trip in a way that was, what is even the word easier doesn’t seem to, to describe it, but, that’s the only thing I can come up with. It just everything felt easier.
Tawnya: And, but it was still, the intensity was still there and you were just sitting there.
Tawnya: With this deeper realization of how much your father had dropped into your body after his passing?
Paul: Yeah, yeah, very much so. I, I think the, the moment too that things really started to shift, I, I think you guys were kind of taking turns with me, sitting with me holding my hand. Andrew was there for quite a long time and he just sat meditating with holding my hand and there were, I think as that started to calm, I felt like, I would feel like, oh wait, that’s my wife holding my hand. And they’d be like, oh no, that’s Andrew holding my hand. And then it would be like, oh, my wife holding my hand. And then after a couple of those little kind of back and forth I, that had this feeling hit me of, no, it’s both of them. It’s, they’re connected in some way. And that was when it all shifted. It just, it became a completely different experience at that moment because the feeling of that connectivity was so profound. All of that stuff around my father just dropped away.
Tawnya: Wow. So it was like that connection reminded you of a thread of love and that threat of love just burst everything else.
Paul: Yeah. It wasn’t fear anymore. It wasn’t frailty, it wasn’t the fear of death. It wasn’t the fear of becoming my father or all the damage that happened through my relationship with him. All of that stuff just kind of dissolved away. I still felt connected to him, but not in a way that felt dysfunctional.
Tawnya: So when you started to remember love and connection and the love you have for your wife and your life, then did that also start to remind you of who, of who you are in that relationship? And
Paul: It started to, I, I think that that came the next day. I think that that came the next day. But I, I do feel like a feeling of of being me came back again and, and the me that was there before all the depression started, the me that was like kind of delighted by things. I, you know, the me that was found things funny, you know, like a lot of things, the me that was creative, that like, there was this, the part of me that wasn’t afraid to be that that came back felt part of like, felt, it felt like my soul had been someplace else for a really, really long time. It was getting smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller, and it just felt like it’s what? Whoosh and it, gosh, all of a sudden I felt like I was back.
Tawnya: That sounds beautiful. And it sounds like you know, the embodiment of who we are when we’re young, when we feel unstoppable and resilience and full of love to give, and we’re not burdened by just the tremendous fear and uncertainty that we gather as we, as we age and we move through professions and we move through life so, so that sounds really beautiful. What happened as the as the trip started to come to a close? Or where are we right now in the, in the macro dose day?
Paul: It was beautiful. It was beautiful. I, you know, I, I sat up you were there and I hadn’t laughed that hard in so long as I did with you sitting there, just looking out at the trees and, and just seeing beauty in a way that I, I hadn’t experienced again in a very, very long time. Like, I was able to look out at things and think, oh, that’s beautiful in a, kind of an intellectual way. But this time there was this connection to it that was it’s just indescribable. It really is indescribable. And that just, I just was able to sit in that, I don’t know how long I completely lost track of time during that whole thing. But I remember just sitting there for a really long time and. Oh, I went over to get something to eat and I got that corn dish and it was the most delicious thing I had ever had in my whole life. I tried to make em when I got home, didn’t work, it was not as as delicious as what I was served there. But yeah, everything tasted good. Everything looked beautiful. I felt like I was relating to people again in a way that felt natural.
Tawnya: there was some, we, we play music without lyrics on purpose because , it can take your mind, but there were a few songs that you didn’t necessarily recognize. Can you tell us about that ?
Paul: Oh, okay. So the one that, the one that I recognized that came on was this really lovely acoustic guitar version of Guns N Roses Sweet Child. I fucking hate that song. That song just like, ah, I can’t say it. It was just like, gods so beautiful is beautiful song. Why?
Tawnya: And then you, when you realize what it was, your mind was blown. Like, I hate this song but it’s so beautiful.
Paul: There were several songs like that, but that was the one that really stood out because I really just don’t like that song, but my God, it was so beautiful.
Tawnya: So then as it kind of wrapped up, you had some snacks, you were listening to music, you’re feeling good, and were you able to sleep that night or, and were you feeling more connected to the rest of the group at that point?
Paul: Yeah, I think the group, it took a little while for us to kind of coalesce. We were all very respectful of each other’s spaces. But I remember there being that feeling opening up and I remember being able to, the feeling of connecting with at least a couple of the people that were there. It got so much easier. I actually had the desire to go approach someone and talk to and that hasn’t happened in quite a long time.
Paul: Yeah. To actually go, you know what, I like that dude. I’m gonna go have a little chat. But it was, it was just lovely.
Tawnya: Amazing. okay, so then, then that day kind of closed and then you went to bed. Did you sleep?
Paul: I slept better I think than I had a while. I still woke up really, really early, so that was a little difficult. You know, it’s like, what am I gonna do with myself until the coffee is served, kind of thing, you know? But I felt more, I felt rested, I think for the first time and, and again, quite a long time, actually felt rested. So that was nice.
Tawnya: And that, that that next day is a big day of like integration and massages and just a whole, and just so much going on. So you were still feeling a little, that sense of resilience and who you are coming back for that, that whole time.
Paul: I, that day that day was profound. I, so I I, in my time as a musician I recorded a number of of CDs, and the last one was five years ago. And because I got so depressed, I took it all out on my music and my ability to play music and just saw myself as a failure in music. And I haven’t listened to those CDs in since 2015. Long time ago had friends that have been encouraging me, you should really should listen to those CDs and start playing music again. You know, I was like, no, I don’t want anything to do with music. I, I suck at it, right? So I sat down and listened to my, the last CD I recorded out on the lawn and just, I, I heard it through such fresh ears and I was able to separate myself enough from it to be able to hear this person who was just longing so much to see beauty and love in the world, but just couldn’t and yet producing music that was beautiful was lovely poetic lyrics and I’m thinking, I did this right that’s, that’s me but then I also recognized like, yeah, that was, that is a person who is struggling to stay in the world and I have just heard it and it was the first time I’ve wanted to play that for other people and I mean, I can’t, it’s been at least five years that I’ve been wanting that, I wanted to play that for somebody else. And that really shifted things and, and I think not just for the music, but also that I think because of what happened the day before, I was able to, to see, have compassion for that guy who was struggling for so long with just this, you know, severe depression. And it’s hard to have compassion for yourself when you’re in the depression.
Tawnya: Absolutely. So you, so you had this extra space of appreciating the artist and like this tremendous empathy for the artist’s perspective, but also like this deep appreciation for the beauty of life and who you were then and you were able to share that music with, with all of us like later we all listened to, I remember some of the lyrics they were just, just beautiful. It was delightful.
Paul: Yeah. Thanks, that you, that’s, you put it perfectly. I mean, that’s, that’s exactly the experience. You know, I, I got back and I still haven’t quite worked my way back into music yet, but the desire is back. Mm-hmm. and I haven’t picked up my guitar again in probably seven years.
Tawnya: Wow. Yeah. And I remember, yeah, there was lots, lots on your plate. And so you’re kind of looking at how am I going to manage the, these depressive episodes because they became much longer. And you know, the severity is terrible when you can’t get out of it and the hopelessness is tremendous. And so you. You dropped into a mini dose. You were kind of discovering what your dose would be and figuring out how you were gonna take care of yourself on your way home. And how did, how did that, how did that look and how has that been going?
Paul: Yeah, so the mini dose was a really interesting thing. I was a little afraid of it. But really had this, well actually I want to just sort of back up to the, to the to the day before with the DMT which was, I think, integral in opening me up to the mini dose. It, I felt so much acceptance and I, I kind of opened my eyes and the first thing I said was, I am so happy to be alive.
Tawnya: Wow. Beautiful.
Paul: Because everything just looked so beautiful.
Paul: And I felt, I felt like an acceptance for myself that it was just, it was really profound that it’s really hard to accept yourself when you feel so dirty for so long. So I think that bad experience and then going into the mini dose the next day, I felt the courage in a way, you know, and in a way, the real true definition of courage, right? Like the, from your heart not just sort of an intellectual feeling, but in my heart, I knew that this was gonna be a good experience. The mini dose was kind of like, oh, okay, well , there it is. I didn’t really feel a whole lot, I didn’t experience a whole lot, but. What ended up happening was, again, I think that the, the, the psilocybin is such a teacher that after things started to kind of wear off a little bit, felt like a little more normalcy. I just sunk into the best that I can come up with was a depression, right? But as I was laying there, isolating myself from the group doing all the things that I do when I’m depressed. I’m gonna say that I did when I was depressed, cuz I’m gonna see if I can not identify with that anymore. The, I was able to identify it, I was able to label it. I was like, oh, depression is this, this is what depression is. Depression is isolation, depression is self-hatred, depression is blah, blah, blah. And I came up with a, like a page of descriptors that I was writing in this, in our little journal that we got. We went for a walk and I was still isolated, just couldn’t bring myself to engage with the group, just feeling like, oh, nobody wants to be with me. I’m just a drag. But then we were walking back from the lake and I saw everybody was in front of me. I was sort of at the end of the line. Everyone was in front of me and everybody kind of, everyone was kind of equidistant from one another. It was really interesting to see like everybody marching up the hill like, and I saw every one of them with their suffering, with their pain, with their addictions that they were trying to overcome with. Their whatever traumas they had endured in their lives, right? And, and I’ve had this moment where I thought, they’re the same as me. We’re all the same. We’re all carrying around all of this stuff, all of this trauma, all of this hurt, all of this pain. And yet here we are. We’re all human, we’re all smiling with each other. We just went down to this beautiful. And enjoyed each other’s presence. And I realized I don’t have to carry this for people anymore, which I think part of what I do that’s so hard is that I carry everybody else’s pain somehow. And it just lifted, gone, you know, what used to take weeks or months or like, you know, to, to finally pass dissolved in two hours.
Paul: And I’m back with the group.
Paul: Laughing, eating, having fun.
Paul: That was extraordinary. And I just feel like the, I felt like the medicine gave me this opportunity to go, here is what you’ve been suffering with, and take a look at it from out here. Mm-hmm, identify it. It’s not you, you are not that.
Tawnya: Yeah. It’s interesting how it’ll bring stuff up from our, our consciousness so that we can look at it and so we can have that space that you just referred to and set it down. But it’s not, it’s, it’s, way easier said than done. Like really looking at something, really being present with it. You know, the psilocybin has that ability to make you so present in, in that inertia, in that present moment with your suffering. So you really look at it and then you can set it down and it is so, it is such a teacher. It is such a, it’s such a profound experience.
Tawnya: So then as you wrapped up and were going home, I, I recall it being kind, you feeling nervous about going home because wondering if everything was gonna be the same, if, if this was really gonna last, and how, how was it when you got home? Were you like still feeling resilient or, or did you start to, you know, how did it look?
Paul: No. I, it was rough. It was a rough landing. I decided like, oh, I’m gonna stay one night in Mexico City at the hotel just so I don’t have to rush to get to the plane. Big mistake. Should have just hopped on a plane and come home. Just all the people and the chaos at the airport and all of that was just really kind of difficult for me cuz I felt vulnerable. You know, coming home, you know, it felt so wonderful to, to see my wife when she picked me up at the airport and was like, oh, you know, I felt like I was home again. And then we drive into Oakland, it’s like, yep, we’re home again. Ugh, God , you know, I don’t like it here, but I think what happened was that I was okay with not liking it. And it was like, no, I don’t like it here. That’s okay. I don’t have to like it here.
Tawnya: And then everything started to line up for you guys to have your move right away. So like you, you’re looking to buy in a place that’s more natural with beautiful trees and getting outside of the city. Just it’s, it’s funny how like moving through the experience and then everything lines up for you to be able to step out and I just wish for you guys to find like the most precious home that’s perfect for you.
Paul: Yeah. Thanks. I, we will, I, I feel so confident that we’re gonna find exactly what we want. And I also know, you know, I’m kind of staying realistic and, you know, my wife and I were talking about it this morning and it’s like, it’s not gonna fix everything. You know, there’s still gonna be things that we have to grapple with, and, but I do feel like the retreat and my subsequent practice with it, is giving me, it’s grounding me. It’s giving me that resiliency that you’re talking about. Like, you know, I went through a couple days last week, they were pretty rough, you know, where again, I was dissing myself over and over and over again. Just like, oh, I’m a failure. Oh, I’ll never, and then it went away, cleared up. Sort of, sort of like the experience at the retreat, you know, where I got depressed, but then it lifted. And today I feel good. I feel like this day I feel really good. And I feel optimistic, I think for the first time in a very, very, very long time. and I attribute that to, to the retreat I really do. I, I really feel like that’s directly related.
Tawnya: So as you share and, and speak, and thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s just I love your honesty and your vulnerability and the way you describe everything like, if there’s people out there that are living a life experience that feel the same way, that you feel like then life has become that hard and they’re on a slew of meds and they need to, you know, get off a few of ’em before they can attend. And do you have any suggestions for taking care of themselves to get there? Or, or do you have any messages for people that may be going through exactly what you have been going though.
Paul: Well, I guess the first thing that comes to mind is I would, I would wholeheartedly recommend that they come to the Eulisinia retreat. I would also caution to be safe. Don’t try to just get your meds, get off your meds. Don’t go cold turkey. You know you’re gonna end up in a worse situation than you are now. Be kind to yourself. You know, be respectful of your body and what it can handle. And I know that western medicine, psychiatric medicine, can be a lifesaver and it’s not the end all. So I think my, what I would, what I would hope to have people think about is you don’t have to stay on this for the rest of your life. There is another way. To look at this and I really feel like psychedelic medicine is, is what is, is. That path may not be for everybody, but but it offers a path to healing that I think being on Lithium or Zoloft or Wellbutrin or God only knows how many, I was on six different meds for a while. And it’s, it’s a better life. It’s a better life. I feel in control of my life. I don’t feel like I have to take these meds in order to be a well person. That wellness is, is inside me now. That would be my my hope for anybody who’s suffering as much as I was suffering Is that they start looking for other ways. And I would definitely point them in the direction of Eleusinia.
Tawnya: Thank you so much Paul, that thank you for sharing and thank you for that advice. It’s in immeasurably important. I love how you said it, is that, you know, be nice to your body because. You know, we can’t, of course we can’t force ourselves, and having the support system is incredible. Knowing your limits, doing what you can, it’s all about embodying that self empathy beforehand, during, and after. And that as we move forward in our life and instead of identifying you know, with that brokenness and saying like, I’m so broken and I’m so ruined getting a little bit of that space so that we can have transformations. Just that, that mindful setback and you had done enough work and had tried so many things and and unfortunately, there’s so many people that are at that point, and there’s, they’re just done. They’re exhausted. They don’t wanna try, they can’t, they don’t have it in them to try anything else. And I’m just so grateful that you attended and I’m so grateful for your story and I’m, I’m so grateful for the well within that you describe and that beautiful Paul that’s in there and that creativity in your path forward. So thank you so much for being a, a part of it and for coming on and sharing your story.
Paul: Aw, thank you.
I identify so much with Paul and I feel the joy that’s now within him. I’m so happy he has found another way to allow his depression to recede and be more in control of it. Sending love and support and hope that the new house of their dreams is found!