Microdosing LSD & Chronic Lyme Disease

Toxic people are like a bottle of poison we ingest slowly

Let’s talk about microdosing LSD and the effect it has on mental health issues caused by Chronic Lyme Disease! Hold onto your self-righteous, anti-drug hats, kids! I’m about to extol the virtues of psychedelics as therapeutics.

In April 2019, I was finally diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease after suffering through strange symptoms and unexplained illnesses, on and off, for 15 years. Back in 2004, I started having sporadic bouts of (what I believed to be) depression/extreme irritation (aka Bat Shit Crazy RAGE-O-HOLIC and crying episodes). As I’m not a fan of pharmaceuticals with a long list of side effects, I rejected my doctor’s suggestion that I take antidepressants and I did my best to try to control my crazy moods with healthy eating and regular exercise. However, now that I understand that my moods were a symptom of Lyme flare-ups, I realize that most of the time it didn’t matter how healthy I was eating or how hard I was trying to take care of my body. Most of it wasn’t making a difference.

After much research in the past few years (as many other symptoms began popping up in my body and mind), I decided to try to heal myself with food by trying to balance my gut flora. The brain is directly connected to the gut and if your gut flora gets all fucked up, so does your brain, so it made sense that if I healed my gut, my mood swings and down times would disappear. I worked with a nutritionist for months to heal and balance my gut microbiome, but once it was finally firing on all cylinders, I was still suffering from persistent brain fog and unexplained rages and malaise.

I’m kind of “persistent” (aka RELENTLESS), so when I didn’t get the results I expected, I kept searching for answers and a solution.

At the end of 2018, I stumbled upon a 14-part documentary called Psychedelica on Gaia.com and—Boom!—I had my answer.

The “magical” cure for my extreme moodiness and persistent brain fog that I’d been searching for came with microdosing. [As an aside, microdosing is taking tiny, therapeutic doses. The doses are so tiny (micro, in fact 🙄) that they usually have little to no effect on the body. Microdoses are also not to be confused with threshold doses, which open up your third eye and make you trip balls.] I first tried psilocybin (aka Magic Mushrooms) but even the smallest doses left me with a bit of a “body stone” and I couldn’t stand it. I don’t like the feeling of being fucked up or not in control of my faculties, so I gave up on the psilocybin and kept looking. A good friend introduced me to the idea of microdosing LSD and I figured I had nothing to lose so I gave it a try. The irony of using a synthesized drug (essentially, a pharmaceutical) to help my brain was not lost on me, but since all the side effects were actually beneficial, I said fuck it and tried it anyway.

All I can say is WOWZAS!

Psychedelics have removed my moodiness and persistent brain fog and I experience ZERO side effects from them—no physical sensation at all, no strange hallucinations or really much of anything else, except a good feeling. My brain, quite simply, functions better. My moods are stable, I can get all sorts of shit done, stress seems much easier to handle, and I feel happier.

Let me say that again, I feel happier.

Even on extremely tough days—when Lyme is making my body hurt all over, I’m struggling to just move around without wincing in pain, I have a pounding headache, and I’m wrestling with a stressful day or something particularly challenging, I STILL FEEL HAPPY and calm. Where I used to get overwhelmed and anxious, causing Lyme to flare and my symptoms to worsen, my brain now whispers shit like, “Don’t sweat it, girl. It’s just one moment in a lifetime of moments. What you can’t do today, you can do another day or never. It simply doesn’t matter.” And, strangely, I believe my brain’s brilliant pep talks and just skip (often figuratively because it’s too painful to literally do it) through my day.

Microdosing also helps me keep an eye on the upside as I struggle through the painful and Cha Cha nature (one step forward, two steps back) of Lyme Disease.

I’ve been on a new treatment for Lyme for a few months (high doses of Vitamin D3…the subject of another blog I’m currently drating) and this, coupled with the microdosing, has upped my health and wellness factor by 1000. The combo of the two are, for lack of a better description, a GD miracle!

Life has become so much easier that I often can’t wrap my head around it. It boggles my mind that I can take a tiny amount of a drug (without experiencing any detrimental side effects) and it fills my world with rational butterflies and rainbows, productivity, and sense. How is that even legal?

Oh, right! It’s not! Please allow me to digress for a moment…

There’s the rub, right. Pharmaceuticals for ADHD, anxiety, depression, BiPolar Disorder and the like—with DEBILITATING side effects, including heightened thoughts of suicide and DEATH—are highly accepted by society, while truly helpful and life-changing, extremely affordable psychedelics (with no ill side effects from therapeutic doses), are considered “illicit” and “criminal”.

What, the fuck, ever.

Anyway, what was I talking about??? Ah, yes…

Life has changed astronomically for me, even on non-dosing days. The tiny amounts I take have rewired my brain to have better focus and a much better understanding of my thoughts. It helps me to look at all feelings and emotions with logic and easy understanding, so I spend less time overreacting and more time working through shit. It also helps me recognize the stuff I can’t work through and probably never will and allows me to accept it all with grace.

Even without all the shitty symptoms from Lyme disease, microdosing would still be helpful for balancing moods and increasing brain function and productivity. It’s like a friggin’ miracle in a 5 microgram, non-addictive dose. Did I mention that it’s proven that psychedelics are NOT ADDICTIVE…unlike antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. FFS, governments, get your shit together.

If you are looking for more information on microdosing, here are some good links:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-microdoses-of-lsd-change-your-mind/

Kids & Journaling

A photo of many coloured journals beside the words "Teach your kids to journal" as part of written therapy.

When I was in Grade 5 (10 years old), I wrote a short story and a poem and submitted them in a contest. As a result, I was invited to attend the Young Authors of Canada conference in Montreal later that year. When my radtastical teacher, Mrs. Kirwin, told me the news, I practically levitated with excitement the entire way home. Unfortunately, when I told my mom the news, even though she was truly proud of me, she told me I couldn’t go to the conference. 

I. was. pissed.

My 10-year-old brain could not even fathom the costs of flying a child and her mother across the entire country, so when mom told me that we just couldn’t afford it, I was less than gracious about it. I threw a tantrum. 

I remember this so clearly, in such detail, that it must be one of those defining milestones in a child’s life. I was mid-tantrum when my mom slapped me across the face. It wasn’t a hard slap (and shit like that was perfectly acceptable back then), but it sure as shit stopped me in my tracks. She told me she didn’t want to hear another word unless I could lose my attitude and be nicer. I stormed off to my room and stewed for hours, screaming in frustration every now and then. (Yes, I was a complete SHIT when I was a child…)

Just before bedtime, mom came into my room and sat on my bed, where I was still pouting, arms crossed and glaring out the window. She told me that she understood how upset I was about not being able to go to the conference and that she was extremely proud that I’d been invited because she knew how much I loved writing stories and poems. But, she said, despite the reasons for not being able to go, she wasn’t going to apologize about not being able to afford the trip and that my behaviour and treatment of her was totally unacceptable. She said that, from that point on, when if I became extremely angry, I was to come to my room and write down everything I was feeling and thinking instead of speaking out loud about it. She said that it would give me the chance to get all of my anger out and it would stop me from hurting someone’s feelings by speaking unkind words.  She also said that I didn’t have to apologize to her because she knew how upset I was, but she wanted me to really think about how I spoke to her from that point onward. 

She placed something on my bed and walked out of my room. I looked down to see a cute little notebook and a pack of ballpoint pens in assorted colours. It was one of those old Hilroy books with the top half of the page blank and bottom half lined and she’d written “Jo’s Anger Journal” on the front in her neat printing. 

Man alive, I was good at being a shithead.

Aside from the fact that I was THRILLED with the cool pens AND the gift of the new notebook, I immediately picked it up and wrote my mom an angry, assholish letter. I made sure to point out that she was a terrible mother, that she didn’t care about me, that if she really loved me she would find the money to make my dreams come true (hahaha, Jayzus, right!). One of the lines I wrote said, “My mom is such a bich. She is always trying to ruin my dreams. I don’t even like her at all.” 

I was 10. What in the actual fuck?

I went to sleep that night with the book on the floor beside my bed and, when I woke up, I noticed the book was on my desk. Curious, I walked over and opened it to the entry I’d made the night before. My mom, with the rad sense of humour that she was famous for, had used a red pen to cross out “bich” and wrote “bitch” above it. 😂She’d also written, directly underneath the part where I’d said I didn’t like her, “Sometimes I don’t like your attitude or your smart mouth, but I always love you, am always be proud of you, and will always be here for you.”

I bolted out of my room to the kitchen, feeling a huge amount of remorse for being such an asshole and so childish, and wrapped my arms around her and told her how sorry I was. 

I have been journaling ever since and it has helped me get through some of the darkest times in my life. That first journal turned into a lifelong therapy tool and, knowing how much writing helps me to process my own shit and connect with others, I am eternally grateful for her motherly insight and the push to get me started. 

I love Mondays!

Picture of a woman in a purple hat standing in front of an alpine lake and smiling so hard her face hurts.

It’s Monday ya’ll! My FAVE day of the week lately. Most people dread Mondays because they mean “back to the grind”, but lately I’ve been thinking of Mondays as a chance to start fresh, with positive energy and determination. 

Admittedly, I’ve had some shit days in the past month because of the good fight against asshole Lyme bacteria and my beloved OJ cat MIA since the full moon, but I haven’t lost my spark. In fact, if anything I think my light has been a beacon that I’m continuously using as a guiding light. Somewhere along the way—through the constant weakness in my hands and the debilitating Lyme arthritis migrating through my joints and the gut feeling that my wandering shitten is gone for good—my outlook has shifted into excessive joy. 

Life can be so much worse than the shit I’m rolling through right now (and it has been for me, many times). I’m alive, still mostly mobile, still able to do some of the things I love most (like hiking through the mountains), still able to write and be creative, and still able to choose positivity and joy on the hardest days, even through tears of pain and sorrow.
So whatever you’re rolling through, remember that YOU have the ability to make it a good (or at least tolerable) experience or the worst experience ever. You. Your choice, no matter what it is.
So yah, #ilovemondays

Haters Gonna Hate. A word about accepting this and moving on.

Last week, “someone” made a comment on my blog claiming that I exaggerate aspects of my life (namely my roller derby “career” and my “retirement” from professional photography) and advising me to be more honest with my clients about my writing and editing abilities. The comment was, of course, “anonymous” and tied to a fake Gmail address. When I saw the comment, I was surprised by it, but I immediately replied with a message of my own, thanking them for visiting my blog and congratulating them for having the courage to message me from behind the anonymity of their keyboard and screen. #keyboardwarriors #amiright

At first, I assumed that this person wasn’t someone I knew, but as I mulled over their comment, curiosity took hold of me and I wondered why someone I didn’t know would so personally and publicly attack me. My gut tweaked, so I asked a techy friend of mine to trace the IP address attached to the comment. I wasn’t surprised when the IP traced back to an address in Kamloops—one I recognized. Someone I DO know. [People just don’t realize how difficult it is to truly be anonymous these days. I mean, if you’re gonna say nasty shit about people on a public site without having the balls to show your face or name, at least use a VPN…details, details…]

Having discovered who sent the message and being both a bit shocked and also flabbergasted as to why this person would feel the need to throw shade on me, I still did nothing. My curiosity had been satisfied and, even knowing who it was, I still didn’t feel the need to react to it.

And then I sat back and had a huge A-ha moment about my progress in controlling my reactions. Five years ago, I would have lost my shit and felt an immediate need to defend myself and prove my worth or my truth or whatever else. Now, I recognize the futility of that kind of behaviour. There is simply no need to hang onto somebody else’s bullshit. It’s none of my GD business.

My point is this:

In life, you are always going to run into people who throw negative vibes like poisoned spears at your heart. Let them. Your shield is the knowledge that you have the choice to either let that spear pierce and infect you or bounce off you harmlessly because your skin is bullshit proof.

Everything Happens For A Reason – Jo Johnson Writer

Writing prompt from the weekend. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Admittedly, at first, 64,000 thoughts came to mind, but after 30-45 seconds, only one remained: nothing.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Even if I could, I wouldn’t change anything. Not the deaths of my babies nor anyone else I’ve lost. None of the struggles, the triumphs, nor the challenges. The fact is, every moment of my life—the good, the bad, and the three-ringed shitshow moments—have shaped me and grown me into who I am.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

And I love who I am. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I love all of my light and my shadow, my ever-present sense of humour, and the way I feel too much about certain things and nothing about others. I love my strength and resilience and my vulnerability. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

As much as life has hurt at times, it has always been balanced by periods of growth, usually followed by joy. It’s been a perfect balance and I wouldn’t change any of it.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

The Dragonfly is my Spirit Animal

When I was a little girl, my mom told me that when a dragonfly lands on us it is always one of our deceased loved ones or spirit guides checking in and letting us know they’re around and watching over us. I grew up obsessed with dragonflies—always wondering who was stopping in to say hello when one perched delicately on my hand or shoulder. It wasn’t until I was regularly swarmed by dragonflies after my mom’s death that her story and my obsession really started to wake me up. After a few years of dragonflies following me around and landing on me all the time, I finally figured out that my energy changes with their visits.

After my daughter Cora died, a little blue beauty landed on my leg and hung out for hours through periods of ugly sobbing and total numbness. Lightly perched on my knee, it would look at me, turning its head from side to side like a dog who is trying to figure out what its human is saying. When my sobs shook me too hard, it would flutter up and land on a different part of my body, always looking at me, turning its head. It even rode around on my dog Juno for a little while. On some level, I knew that the moment was significant and that I should pay attention, but I was too exhausted from grief to acknowledge it. Months later, when some of the haze of grief cleared, I remembered the little blue dragonfly and finally recognized it as the first sign Cora had sent me to let me know she was still with me.

Now, nearly nine years after losing Cora (and 20 years after losing my mom), I always recognize the significance of dragonflies. I giggle when they only land on me and follow me, even though there are other people around. I recognize that my vibe jumps instantly when I even see a dragonfly flit by, let alone when one lands on me.

Yesterday while I was outside in the yard, attempting to finish up the ties on our new chain link fence and cursing the pain and lack of strength in my fingers and wrists, I had a quick visit. It’s very early in the season, but a small red dragonfly flew by my face and landed briefly on my gloved hand. The shift was instantaneous. The pain in my joints lessened, my frustration with my body’s limitations right now eased, and I felt sunshine fill my darkest places again.

Believe what you will, but I am 159.6% convinced that dragonflies are my spirit animal…bug…spirit bug? LOL

Letting Go of Photography

“You’re a really good photographer! Why did you stop shooting Boudoir? ”
A good friend of ours asked me that yesterday and I had a really hard time framing my answer. I sputtered out, “After trying to convince women of their beauty for 11 years, I just kind of gave up.”


And, since the first answer that comes to mind is usually the real answer, I realized this is my truth. 

I gave up. It lost its lustre and I lost my passion for it.
However, I didn’t give up in the sense that I failed, more that I realized that in a world where 90% of people we see on social media and in print are filtered, what the fuck is point? Women have to have the presence of mind (or find it through life experience) to realize that they are comparing themselves to bullshit. 

I would often do a shoot with a gal, show her the final result, she would oooh and ahhh and say things like, “I can’t believe that’s me!” or, “I feel so beautiful and more confident than I ever have.” But then I would get, “Can you just tuck in my rolls a bit?” or, “ I don’t like the way my ass looks. Can you lift it up a bit?” Uhm, no. If you want your ass lifted, get off it and go to the gym. Boudoir is not supposed to be about digital nipping and tucking, it’s about seeing your body in a new light and learning accept it and love it, even if you are working hard to change it. Then she would start posting photos on IG or FB that were filtered AF and all I could think was, “Do you actually think that people don’t see that you’ve completely changed your appearance? Why are you so terrified of letting people see the real you? Why isn’t the real you good enough?”

Exerting futile effort is never a good feeling.

I know I did make a difference for some of my clients and it is a beautiful thing, but after so many just reverted to that place of insecurity that has existed for so long within them, I eventually just said, “Fuck it!”
I wanted to feel the passion and satisfaction of creativity running through my veins again, so I moved on to the one thing that has never left me feeling disappointed or burnt out—writing. 

I figure if I can’t reach women with photographic proof of their innate beauty, I’ll reach them with my words.