Earlier this year I read Lost Connections by Johann Hari. It’s very good and I loved it and not JUST because there are celebrity endorsements on the cover. It’s all about the “real” causes of depression, and look, I know I should probably be dubious of anything that claims to be the “real” truth because it implies “surprise, centuries of science got it wrong”, and I generally think centuries of science is probably right … but he had footnotes! And references! And celebrity endorsements!
I sound like I’m shading Ol’ Joh but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I loved it. You should go read it. Then let me know what you think. Only if you also liked it, otherwise, go write a review on Goodreads and leave me out of it. I prefer friendships where we just agree with each other. I’m not even really joking. Why would we argue when we could eat pizza together and give each other compliments?
In one of the later chapters of the book Joh-Joh talks about a new experimental method of treating depression, where psychiatrists give patients a smidgen of LSD then talk them through a trip. Now, I’m a goody-two-shoes who has never done ANY cool drugs, and I’m not just saying that to impress my mum. (Because, if we’re being honest, she’s probably a little disappointed I’ve never even seen cocaine in real life.) I mean, I did get high in Amsterdam once, it’s a crazy travel story, buckle in, so, what happened is, I ate an entire special brownie that I purchased legally, then I fell asleep in the movies.
Lonely Planet, please contact me through my agent.
So back to these doctors giving patients LSD. LSD! A proper 60s drug, which is or isn’t acid? Are they different? (Nevermind, I googled it, it’s the same thing). I was fascinated! A doctor sits with you, keeping you physically and I guess emotionally safe, and guides you through parts of your brain you’d never even thought to visit. You access emotions and memories buried under walls you didn’t know you’d put up. Right now I can think of anything I can think to think of, but I can’t think of anything I can’t think to think about.
I want you to read that back. Are you with me? Good.
In the book, he then went on to say that the same brain activations can be seen in people who can achieve deep legit zen in meditation. That means if you practice meditation for literal decades, you too can think of things you didn’t think you could think of.
Reading this annoyed me. I didn’t like the idea that my brain was capable of things I couldn’t make it do. All that unlocked potential! I had massive FOMO. I wanted in on this lark when you could think things you didn’t know you could think. Imagine what thoughts are not being thought right now! (Well, you can’t, because by thinking of them you have therefore thought of them and they are no longer thinking about things you didn’t know you could think.)
I weighed up my options. I could either:
- Find a friend who could get me some LSD
- Start meditating and continue for over twenty years and then hopefully achieve some sort of enlightenment even though it’s extremely rare in general, I think; and especially rare in the cohort of already-30-somethings-only-doing-this-to-do-drugs-safely-and-for-free, which seems entirely the wrong motivation and is likely to just corrupt the entire experience.
Reader, I’m sure you know what happened next.
Ding ding ding! I purchased a year’s subscription to the Headspace app.
The year 2038 better look out, we’re in for a very good time.