coping diaries

The Freelance Writer Using LSD for Depression

Photo: Florent Tanet

What do you need to get through the day? With Coping Diaries we explore the habits, rituals, and routines we rely on to get by.

I’m a 26-year-old freelance writer. I don’t make much money, so I’m a bit ashamed to say I live with my parents as a grown-up guy. I’m pretty lonely and I get down on myself a lot. I feel even worse when things don’t work out with girls. I’ve been microdosing LSD for a few months. I haven’t told my parents because I know they wouldn’t approve.

7 a.m.: I shower and I take 4.5 micrograms of LSD before breakfast. I dose three days a week.

Some people cut up their tabs but I do something called “volumetric dosing” — you take a quantity of liquid to correspond to the dosage of the tab. I take one 100 microgram tab of LSD and dissolve it in 50 ml of distilled water — and 50 ml of vodka so the water doesn’t get moldy. Then I squirt 4.5 micrograms into my mouth.

After a few minutes I feel myself “coming up” slightly … I’m energized. After an hour or so my thoughts and feelings start to change in subtle ways. My thoughts slow down and I can feel myself feeling more hopeful about the day ahead.

I had my first severe depressive episode in freshman year in college. I had strong feelings for a girl who liked me but I was too scared to act on it. I really beat myself up when it didn’t work out. I couldn’t get over it so I went to see a doctor and I was prescribed Prozac, but didn’t stay on it for long because it made me feel so dull.

Then, the same thing happened again. Last year, my girlfriend cheated on me and I had to quit my job because I became suicidal. I saw a therapist for two months and eventually started dating again. That’s when I discovered microdosing. My friend gave me one tab to try. It’s not expensive. He picked up 50 tabs, which worked out to $4 each. I didn’t know what was going to happen but I would have tried anything to bring me out of the darkness.

9 a.m.: I leave the house and go to a café to work on my projects. I’m focused on my writing. I have my headphones on and I listen to music. The dose is working. I’m very productive and my thoughts are positive. I don’t hallucinate, like you’d think would happen. I just feel at ease. When I’m feeling depressed my thoughts about writing are negative, like, I’m not making enough money. My writing is boring. My writing is terrible. I’m lonely. But when I’m dosing, if I have negative thoughts I just tell myself, Oh there’s that thought, let it pass, I don’t let it eat up my attention.

12 p.m.: I head to the gym for a midday workout. On a dose day my workouts are much more enjoyable and the energy boost and alertness make me really get into it. My post-workout “high” is enhanced and I feel even more energized.

11 p.m.: At this point, I still feel some of the energy from the LSD, but I also feel tired … not in a disruptive way like when I’m depressed, more like I’m at the end of a long productive day. I’ve struggled with insomnia. But when I’m dosing it takes me about half an hour to fall sleep.

7 a.m.: When I wake up, I can feel that LSD-like energy again, like my brain is charged. I’m more upbeat and silly around my mom. The more I microdose, the more likely I am to feel an afterglow.

Overall, I really feel like my depression is subsiding and I may even increase my dose slightly. I don’t think microdosing will cure my depression but it definitely allows me to have good days.

The opinions and methods expressed in the Coping Diaries are based on the experience of the subject alone.

The Freelance Writer Using LSD for Depression