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Transcending Depression Without a Script

Antidepressants leveled out the highs and lows. So I found ways to supercharge them—to fully experience the agony and the ecstasy. And that feels better…

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<em>Edit Article</em> Transcending Depression Without a Script

Illustration by Andrea D'Aquino

Didn’t the people in Brazil warn you about antidepressants and ayahuasca?” my friend asked as we sat down at the sushi bar in Berkeley. She’d already had several revelatory nights drinking the psychedelic tea with a Peruvian shaman.“Not a word,” I replied.“Well, you need to stop your antidepressants seven weeks before you try ayahuasca. Otherwise, it could kill you.”I dropped my chopsticks.“Seven weeks!” I exclaimed. “The retreat is in three weeks and I have a nonrefundable plane ticket.”My friend reached across the table and touched my arm.“If I were you,” she said, “I’d wait.”Waiting is not something I do well.So I rushed home, went online, and found all manner of opinion about what a person should do before embarking on an ayahuasca journey. Some websites warn about antidepressants and ayahuasca. Others say you shouldn’t have sex for a week before drinking the tea, or watch TV, or eat raisins, or dairy, or meat, or gluten. According to some, you should only wear white. The usual avalanche of information on the Internet raised more questions than answers. How does one separate the science from all the …

Don Lattin is a journalist and the author of five books, the most recent of which are Distilled Spirits and The Harvard Psychedelic Club. To learn more, go to donlattin.com


Don Lattin

Don Lattin is a veteran journalist and the author of five books on religion and spirituality in America. His national bestseller, The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America, won the 2010 California Book Award for nonfiction. His most recent work, Distilled Spirits: Getting High, Then Sober, With a Famous Writer, Forgotten Philosopher and a Hopeless Drunk, is a memoir and group biography of writer Aldous Huxley, philosopher Gerald Heard, and Bill Wilson, cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Lattin’s stories have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle, where he covered the religion beat for two decades. He lives on an island in the San Francisco Bay with his wife, Laura, and his dog, Bella. Visit him at donlattin.com.


This entry is tagged with:
DepressionMental HealthAlternative MedicineAyahuascaTravel

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