By Ayelet Waldman
Some time ago, I embarked on an experiment microdosing with LSD. Though I am not a neophyte when it comes to drugs, I am not your typical psychonaut. The morning I deposited 10 micrograms of liquid LSD under my tongue was the first time I had ever tried the drug. The inside of my head has always been a place that scares me. Getting too close a look at what’s going on in there is the last thing I ever wanted.
I didn’t take the LSD because I was after spiritual transcendence. Nor was I interested in performance enhancement. I took the LSD and continued to take it for the next 30 days because I was trying to not kill myself.
I suffer from a mood disorder that has been variously diagnosed as bipolar II, cyclothymia, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and just general bitchiness. (To be fair, the latter was an insult, not a diagnosis, though it may be the most accurate assessment of all.) At the time when I began my microdosing experiment, my medications had failed me. The reasons are complicated and described at length in the book I wrote about my microdosing experiment, A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life, but suffice it to say that everything goes to hell when you hit middle age, even (or maybe especially) your moods.
The experiment was — spoiler alert — a resounding success. I didn’t spend the month in a euphoric, blissed-out, zoned-out haze. I was, rather, a little less labile, a little less inclined to anger, and more important, a lot less anhedonic. I stopped Googling “how many Tylenol does it take to kill a person?” My children were the ones who noticed the change most strikingly. One of them said, “You’ve been much happier. You’ve been controlling your emotions. Like, when you’re angry, you’re super chill.”
I was also a lot more productive. Many of the people carrying out personal, secret microdosing experiments are doing so not because they are depressed, but because they feel the practice makes them more creative, more adept at problem solving, and generally more productive at work. CONTINUE READING