On the morning of the trial, I took the capsule of psilocybin and sat down on the sofa at NYU. It was a peaceful room and I picked up an art book to browse through. There was a fifty-fifty chance that the dose I’d been given was a placebo, but it soon became clear that I’d taken the real thing. When I felt the drug start to kick in I put a sleep mask over my eyes, headphones on my ears, and lay down.
At first it was terrifying, as though I were tumbling through space, or on a ship in a stormy sea. But then I remembered that the researchers were right there next to me. I stuck my hand out from under the blanket and said “I’m so scared!” One of the doctors took my hand and said, “Just go with it.” I let myself go, and suddenly I saw my fear. It was a black mass inside my body. I felt a volcanic anger toward my fear and I screamed, “Get the f-ck out, I won’t be eaten alive!”As soon as I screamed at it, the black mass of fear disappeared.
I began to feel like I was floating in the instrumental music playing from the headphones I had on, and I started to feel love. I felt like I was being bathed in love and it was overwhelming, amazing, wonderful. I kept floating and floating.
Several hours later, I became aware of people talking softly and the crinkling of paper. One of the researchers was unwrapping a piece of chocolate for me. I knew immediately that I had changed.