With the DEA finally allowing for MDMA use on ill patients, the public is beginning to accept the benefits of a drug that has been vilified for years. MDMA, contrary to the popular notions, was not created to give raver kids something to do while listening to bad electronica. It was initially adopted by psychiatrics in the 1970s as a psychotherapeutic tool in couples counseling. In the 80’s and 90’s it began getting marketed to yuppies, college students, and the gay community as a “fun drug” that coaxed introverts into becoming empathetic, love fueled party monsters. Just like everything else enjoyable in the world, the government began to crack down on the drug. After reading about the medicinal benefits of MDMA, I decided that I needed to give it a shot.
My History with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Over the past few years I’ve been reporting on Child Protective Services – on their true intentions, and the horrific consequences of their existence. I’ve attempted to be as honest as possible when discussing my work for them in explicit detail in order to help others. I’ve had successes and failures, and psychologically it’s been very taxing. When you’ve seen what I’ve seen, when you’ve been told the horrendous stories that I have, it’s difficult to keep yourself together. What follows is my attempt to deal with those issues when simple therapeutic methods did not work—yes, I’m talking about illegal drugs that have landed millions of people in jail. I’m doing this to help others, and because honesty is more important than projecting a façade.
Everyone Manipulates Their Consciousness
“I don’t want to take anything that alters my consciousness.” This is the most common method of demonizing mind-altering substances. This belief, that consciousness is a delicate flower that should not be changed, is a myth. Everything we do alters our consciousness. From sex, to food, to conversations with friends, and taking a walk outside, alters our emotions, perception, and grasp on reality. Consciousness is fleeting, ever changing, and adjusting and we take great lengths to aim it towards positivity.
Many of us choose to ignore the aspects which are negative, and they do so at their own peril. Over the course of the last two years, I would push back negative thoughts which started to overwhelm me. The emotional demons aren’t so easily dealt with—after working for Child Protective Services, I had many negative passengers rummaging through my subconscious.
MDMA was not the first drug that I’ve taken to alter my consciousness—from the age of 7 I’ve been on psychotropic drugs. From ADHD medication, to bipolar pills, and sleep aids, much of my life has been altered for the better and the worst by numerous drugs. Thankfully the majority of those drugs are now out of my life, but not all drugs are the same. Cannabis, for example, is still a stand by for creativity, social lubrication, and empathetic enhancement. The first time I took Psilocybin mushrooms my life became open to beautiful colors, enriching understandings of connection, and the power that ego plays in our life. Consequently, taking mushrooms played a part in becoming a whistleblower against the state. Nothing like ego death to realize that life is too short to not help others by exposing truth.
MDMA was something different though, and I feared it for some time. I remember scare stories that blamed MDMA on multiple deaths, brain damage, and a host of other catastrophic incidences. Once I began my research I found that—much like everything else the government and media discusses—the side effects were overblown. As long as I didn’t over do it, drink too little or too much water, mix it with alcohol, or overheat my body by jumping into a club with 10,000 people, I was moderately sure that I’d be fine.
After years of saying no to ecstasy, I decided to take the journey down the MDMA fuelled rabbit hole. A trusted friend offered me some Molly- a crystalline powder form of MDMA that had been tested for purity—and I ended taking .5 grams all at once. After the drugs began to take hold, we left the dance party we were at.
The Journey Begins
Many people imagine ecstasy to be a sex inducing, rave promoting drug that lowers inhibitions and cuts off meaningful conversation. Nothing can be further from the truth. The person who I chose to partake in this journey was and is a gifted, talented, and empathetic friend, and for 10 hours I spilled out everything that had been tearing apart my subconscious for the last few years. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of empathy that was bursting through my chest. I felt shame and a removal of that shame with every sentence I spoke, and all those filters—which make you fear being considered weak, soft, ignorant or sad—were immediately removed. True emotion and connection were the only things left when those emotional demons—which dominate our society—were cast aside.
Within that emotional connection, I was able to be vulnerable—admit how much guilt I still had for working for the state, and how I was ignoring the destructive patterns in my life that were shallow attempts at ignoring that guilt.
I’ve written a book on the subject, I’ve done radio show after radio show, and given speeches about CPS but I never took the time to take in the emotional impact. The mental scars that come from being held at gunpoint by a child, as well ripping families apart, and having people cry multiple times on you a day while working for the state add up. I’d ignore that pain through meaningless encounters which bolstered my ego, joking about catastrophic things that I had witnessed to dull the pain, and consuming a good amount of alcohol to enhance the latter two activities.
Even with all the work that I’ve done to help those who I had hurt in the past, the guilt had never subsided. I still had nightmares, I still had depersonalization episodes, and I still hated myself. It took MDMA to uncover that fact. That I hated who I was, I hated what I did, and that hate would never lead to happiness.
The words that came out of my mouth during the trip were unfiltered; they came out fast and without any hesitation. Complete honesty, without any fear of being judged, led to an overwhelming feeling of catharsis. I cried during this trip—I cried due to pain and due to happiness.
My friend who joined me for this journey did as well. She talked about the emotional burdens that prevented her from true joy, and I had a deep yearning for her to be happy. I wanted her to exceed in life more than anything else in the world.
The Benefits Are Not Overblown
Yes, I know, this is all coming off as hippy dippy bullshit. I imagine that when you’re reading this you’re picturing a bearded vagrant holding a flower and begging for everyone to “just get along.” In truth, I am a bearded man, though with a home and I don’t care much for flowers.
In honesty, the trip was also scary at times. I got very hot and drank multiple bottles of water, and there were times where the emotions felt overwhelming—which shouldn’t be a surprise because dopamine, which MDMA releases massive amounts, is signaled during pleasurable and fearful moments. I also went through about 2 packs of gum during and after the trip was over to compensate for lockjaw.
The fearful parts of the trip were insignificant to the cleansing of years of pent-up frustration—it was an ablution of my consciousness. I felt for the first time that I could breathe with ease—forgiving myself for my transgressions while acknowledging the importance of my work in helping families now.
I still deal with self-hate now. I am not cured of my PTSD, but MDMA provided a massive step in shining a light into the foggy emotions that were bombarding me constantly. This drug is not for everyone, but that doesn’t justify its demonization. Set and setting are important—for when the unfiltered words of decades of repression are spouted out, an empathetic ear on the other end is as refreshing as water in a desert. Take precautions, but don’t buy into propaganda which diminishes the beauty of self-knowledge and connection. Don’t be afraid of your emotions, for without them life is meaningless. There is beauty out there, and sometimes a chemically induced kick in the ass is needed to remind us of that.
Carlos Morales is a former Child Protective Services investigator, author of Legally Kidnapped: The Case Against Child Protective Services, president and founder of Child Protective Services Victim Support, the host of the Libertarian Atheist Podcast, and a committed legal advocate for family reunification.