Interim Decision Patient Submission Highlights
S. Ball: “I have had severe PTSD for 34 years since the age of 19, following a childhood of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Over that period I had been treated by 18 therapists, including 3 psychiatrists, and had been hospitalised following a failed suicide attempt.3 years ago I moved to Amsterdam where I was able to receive MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD following the MAPS protocol. I had 3 such sessions and experienced a complete cessation of all PTSD symptoms. The psychedelic experiences themselves were the most profound healing experiences of my life and relieved me of the burden of pain, terror and shame I had been carrying. I am now re-assessing my life from a “post-PTSD” perspective, something I never thought I would see. It has been like giving me a new life.”
T. Mason-Smith: “I am a mother who lives with the daily fear that I will lose my child to her illness. I have journeyed the tortured path of mental illness with my daughter for the past 15 years. I have seen the agony and desperation in her eyes, and I have struggled to maintain the stability of my family as we have all been overwhelmed by the pain she suffers. I need answers. I need help. I need treatment. And I need it now!
So, its time. Enough time wasting and enough politics. It’s time to ask yourself what is the real agenda and reason behind drugs such as Psilocybin and MDMA being denied to Australian patients. It’s time to ask yourself who you are responsible to? Who should you be caring for? The answer is MY DAUGHTER. She is not a number; she is a real person, and she WILL NOT be a suicide statistic. I need your help. I can’t save her without your help, understanding and willingness to give her every possible treatment option. It’s time to make a shift in Australia’s approach to the use of all drugs and to show we are not under the influence of the large drug companies or driven by conservative political or hidden agendas. But most of all it is time to save the life of my daughter and potentially thousands like her. I am relying on you, please do not let me down.”
J. Castran: “It is appalling to think that psychiatric patients such as my eighteen-year-old daughter face having to take years’ worth of ‘suck it and see’ medication with associated side effects including gastrointestinal, mental, increased anxiety, affected libido, fatigue and others, when psilocybin treatments only involve 2-3 sessions with the medicine and that they are safe and non-addictive when used in this way as part of therapy.”
J. Banks: “I have 15 years’ experience in the Community Services Sector. I also now suffer from treatment resistant Depression and PTSD. If I had access to these medicines, my quality of life and that of my family could be so much better and could possibility have full remission. I do not want to be a burden to the system, I want my life back, I want to be an active member of my community and don’t want to end up taking things into my own hands.”
- Read more first-hand accounts here
Variety of testimonials including from patients in First study of safety and tolerability of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in patients with alcohol use disorder: preliminary data (UK 2019) and other participants.
MDMA-Assisted Therapy patient, Israel Trial participant: “I felt like I went through 15 years of psychological therapy in one night.”
US Army SGT (R) Jon Lubecky: “MDMA is the reason my son has a father instead of a folded flag.”
New York University end-of-life study participant: “…everyone deserved to have this experience… that if everyone did, no one could ever do harm to another again … wars would be impossible to wage.”
New York University end-of-life study participant: “I was being told (without words) not to worry about the cancer … it’s minor in the scheme of things … simply an imperfection of your humanity and that the more important matter … the real work to be done is before you. Again, love.”
Joel Harrop, Veterans of War: “Trauma creates a prison in the mind, leaving countless Australians shackled by mental illness. While there are traditional therapies that provide a path to peace for some, scores languish in suffering. I believe psychedelic therapy, responsibly administered in a safe and supported environment, is the key to unlocking those prison doors. “Lest we forget” is a powerfully iconic statement steeped in tradition and honour. Yet, the nation does forget, every day, about those veterans who put their lives on the line for their country, only to be classified “treatment resistant” as they struggle to cope with the scars of war. Did you know 8% of Australian veterans in the year after discharge develop a full suicide plan? I was one of them. My personal journey is a fall from grace, followed by healing and redemption. After honourably discharging from Army in 2008 as an Officer, I went on to be the State Party Secretary of Australia’s largest political party, riding high on the tide of success as the scars of war seeped silently through the cracks. I could not run from my trauma for long. Ultimately, I became homeless, alone, attempting suicide, masking my pain in destructive fashion. My clinical diagnosis was PTSD, major depressive disorder with anxiety and substance abuse disorder. I was treatment resistant and the Department of Veterans Affairs wrote me off as a lost cause.
In desperation, from a place of abject hopelessness, I turned to safe and supported Ayahuasca psychedelic therapy. One week of intensive treatment provided transformational healing. I’m honoured to be an example of what is possible with guided psychedelic therapy, and it is my passion to help my brothers and sisters in arms find their own healing journey.”
Michael Raymond, ADF Veteran: “I am a Veteran and healed my trauma through psychedelic medicines. Thankfully, I am free from my dependence on anti-depressants after 10 years on them. The therapeutic use of psilocybin and MDMA are a godsend for Veterans who may be dealing with complex traumas, such as PTSD and other mental health issues.”
Tom Judd, Director, sharkeatsbear: “As a fairly new person to psychedelics, when I discovered the power of LSD and psilocybin, it was as if something had awoken inside of me. My many years of battling chronic depression, anxiety and Complex PTSD, suddenly felt like it was coming to an end. My mind felt “defragged” and organised. I problem-solved strategies of how to change negative aspects of my life and I felt free to explore new things that would otherwise give me anxiety. It’s not so much a drug, as it is a medicine.”
Jeremy, participant: “The breakthroughs I’ve achieved through this work cannot be overestimated – in as little as one session, I’ve managed to reverse trends and habits that were formed over several years. Particularly around alcohol, I was someone who drank 1-2 / night, and drank like a legend on the weekends. Since starting this work, I haven’t had a drink in over 5 months – truly an incredible achievement, and one that would’ve been near impossible with the help of this medicine.”
37 year old male researcher and presenter in design: “It is because of my exploration and integration of these life changing medicines and experiences that I have drastically improved personal relationships with my family and friends, realised the importance of my health, embraced death, become more self aware than I have ever been and have stopped using alcohol as something that was needed in order for me to socially interact and be comfortable in social settings. Recreational synthetic drugs are completely a thing of the past for me now. I don’t want them in my body or in my mind.
It has also definitely brought me closer to nature and given me a deep and profound appreciation for our environment and how we treat it. Additional to this, I have had the privilege of witnessing incredible transformations and shifts in people who are close to me. The ability to reconcile people with their traumas and work through it and thrive has been nothing short of inspiring and beautiful to witness the power of such important teachers/tools.”
34 year old school teacher healed from trauma and anxiety: “MDMA has helped me learn how to empathise with others and helped me work through relationship challenges by opening up and expressing my feelings without fear. Psilocybin has deepened my connection with nature and has taken me to a place of deep peace.”
Tania de Jong AM, Co-Founder of Mind Medicine Australia and lived experience: “Being born Jewish and having lost many of my relatives in the Holocaust, I’ve lived with intergenerational trauma for as long as I can remember. I was never really aware of what exactly was holding me back until I experienced supervised psilocybin treatments in the Netherlands. Since then I have been able to release and heal much of this trauma and also washed away lifetimes of collective trauma that we all carry along with us. I feel a deeper sense of identity, greater insight, compassion and connection. This has helped me to be more authentic and vulnerable in my relationships and has improved my productivity and creativity. It’s like all these missing parts of myself have been found. I am more integrated and much calmer.”
Terry Catipovski, Patient with lived experience: “In my case, conventional treatments over a number of years have resulted in a greatly reduced quality of life and long-term dependence on prescription medication, as well as significant monetary costs and damage to my professional carrier, all without resolving the health conditions that have led to such treatments. Over the last two years I desperately explored alternatives to the conventional treatments and have identified psilocybin as the most promising medication for my condition.”
Jerry Gigez, Patient with lived experience: “Within in an hour I completely came back into existence. I felt connected again to my body and mind. I was no longer a walking corpse but instead was re-discovering freedom again. It was the experience of being able to see, to smell, to taste and hear the world in the way it should be. The calmness within my soul combined with the electricity of life felt enormous in comprehension. My brain was functioning normally again for the first time in 18 years.”
Testimonials from patients in First study of safety and tolerability of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in patients with alcohol use disorder: preliminary data (UK 2019) and other participants:
UK MDMA-Assisted Addiction Trial participant: “It’s not about the drinking, the MDMA healed me inside and the drinking looks after itself … I’m seeing things anew, nature for the first time … I’m in control of my decisions, I’ve got control back … Life is just good!”
UK MDMA-Assisted Addiction Trial participant: “Better than other treatments, including inpatient detox … I enjoyed every moment of it. Thrilled to be part of the study … I feel energised … The treatment has worked for me, done me a lot of good. I’ve got a lot of confidence out of it. I’m calmer … It’s given me what I wanted; to be cured, to not have the cravings, to look at life differently. I’m not so angry at everything … Being under MDMA was beautiful. It showed me the real me; the me without alcohol.”
UK MDMA-Assisted Addiction Trial participant: “A weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I haven’t felt like that for a long time. There are no nagging doubts. I’m getting my life back on track … Everything is so much clearer. It’s like a smog has been removed. I can see myself moving forward … It makes me think: why was I drinking that rubbish? I was just being stupid, idiotic, killing myself. There’s no reason to be doing that … Taking part in this study has helped me focus more on life and my goals … An uplifting experience that I would recommend to anyone.”
UK MDMA-Assisted Addiction Trial participant: “I am so inspired by the potential use of these substances and very excited to help. I have made a promise to myself to help change the standard view after obtaining a deep understanding recently of psychedelics. I find it morally wrong that we don’t have easy access to such useful and life affirming tools in our society and want to help effect change. My husband and I have had incredible healing experiences with it, as has our 20 year old son, but are frustrated that we have to travel overseas to legally make use of such helpful medicines. Whatever I can do to help on a practical level with time and energy then count me in!”
Carolyn, 57 years old: “I experienced PTSD after childhood trauma. For decades I tried counselling and studied meditation and yoga. I tried EMDR and other somatic therapies, self-help retreats and prescription medication. I had temporary relief but the pain and anxiety returned, gnawing at me from within like a hungry ghost. I felt such shame and deep despair that nothing seemed to work for me. It wasn’t until I went to Peru a few years ago and tried plant medicines that I finally found a light inside of me, replacing the painful darkness that I tried to escape my whole life. The experiences I had there now sustain me with hope, allowing the other healing modalities to take hold. Because of the plant medicine, I continue the healing journey into freedom. I was lucky. Other people sadly give up. I hope Australians who need these medicines will have access to them. It will save many lives.”
The excerpt below comes from the story of a patient who has been diagnosed with Complex Developmental Trauma and PTSD. Below she tells of her experience with MDMA-assisted therapy.
“At first, I felt tingles throughout my body, then serene calm. There were two or three periods where I felt anxiety in my body/mind to which I surrendered, and it decreased markedly…I cried a little with sadness and grief for myself and all who have experienced abuse. I also felt gratitude for the medicine…Near the end of the session, I started to wail and cry, while feeling I was a somewhat detached compassionate witness.
In the weeks that followed my MDMA-assisted therapy sessions my chronic anxiety symptoms almost completely disappeared. My mood became almost uniformly level, day to day, and throughout each day. My daily cycling of automatic negative thoughts became negligible, suicidal ideation became non-existent.
In the year since, I have experienced returns of negative mood and bodily trauma symptoms. And then they subside or change. MDMA-assisted therapy has improved my mental health to a significant degree, but my experience has shown that these therapies are not by themselves a magic cure. Other body-based therapies and integration practices complement and support my ongoing healing. It is true however, that after 9 years of decline, my PTSD symptoms started to improve immediately after my first MDMA-assisted therapy session and I don’t believe I would be where I am now without it.”
Ram Dass: “Psychedelics helped me to escape… albeit momentarily… from the prison of my mind. It over-rode the habit patterns of thought and I was able to taste innocence again. Looking at sensations freshly without the conceptual overlay was very profound.”
Jessica Hickmott, Psychiatrist: “I have personally had three patients complete suicide in the past 5 months. All three patients were fully treated with the best available treatments including antidepressant therapy, psychotherapy, and intensive case management. It is frustrating and heart-breaking to have complete treatment failure in the majority of my patients with the best currently available therapies. I currently have another patient suffering end of life anxiety after a diagnosis of rapidly progressing motor neurone disease. She has requested psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy as she has tried every other available treatment without any relief of her symptoms. The evidence favouring the use of psilocybin to assist with end of life anxiety also appears very promising and there appear to be no side effects.”
Jesse Schnall, Junior Medical Doctor: “Current first line therapies for post-traumatic stress disorder have limited efficacy, with pharmacological treatments usually requiring costly and potentially side-effect prone daily use. Only 20-30% of PTSD sufferers fully respond to pharmacotherapy. Tragically, many of these patients are former soldiers and emergency responders who have spent their lives serving our nation.”
Caroline Dale, Clinical Psychologist: ”The most complex patients I see engage in regular therapy for years. For many, sub-optimal early life relationships and experiences have resulted in deeply ingrained belief systems which consider the patient to be unlovable, unworthy, and a source of shame. These “self-stories” are embedded within the Default Mode Network, a large-scale brain network which is highly active in rumination and self-criticism, and highly impervious to reason and re-framing. Traditional therapy can be beneficial, however the enormous commitment of time and finances required to begin to “re-story” these belief systems can be a challenge and is often an exclusory factor.”
Dr Stephen Ross, A/Prof. Psychiatry at NYU: “I thought the first ten or twenty people were plants—that they must be faking it,” They were saying things like ‘I understand love is the most powerful force on the planet,’ or ‘I had an encounter with my cancer, this black cloud of smoke.’ People who had been palpably scared of death—they lost their fear. The fact that a drug given once can have such an effect for so long is an unprecedented finding. We have never had anything like it in the psychiatric field.”
Andrew Robb, Chairman of the Robb Group: “Mental health statistics in Australia and globally support the proposition that current treatments are woefully inadequate. There has been no effective innovation, no effective alternatives developed for many decades in regard to anti-depressants and PTSD. The pharmaceutical industry vacated the innovation space long ago.”