Updated: Sep 8
and it saved my life.
I recently put up a Facebook post that stated, “Being a wife and mom isn’t natural for me. I have to work at it. If it’s not natural for you, but you try every day to show up for your family. I see you.”
Jenna being sad on the internet again.
This was two days before I entered the clinic where I would spend the next six hours, high on pure grade Molly, breaking down exactly why being a wife and mother has been a struggle for me.
Were you born in the 80’s? 50% Chance you had a Traumatic Childhood.
Childhood trauma does not go away when you become an adult, despite how many times you tell your family, friends, or scream at yourself in the mirror that you are OK.
Being adolescent Jenna was not easy. It was fraught with abuse, neglect, constant upheaval, and an eating disorder that I struggle with to this day. Like many children who grow up in a tumultuous environment, I became excellent at compartmentalizing parts of myself to survive. My greatest skill was pretending I was not affected by my upbringing, that I was fine, strong, and above the permanent damage that insecure attachment provides.
When children have insecure attachments with their primary caregiver, depression, anxiety, a lowered ability to cope with stress, and poor relationships with others often trail behind.
It took me two years post-baby to realize the psychiatric drugs I was put on for postpartum depression were not the answer to my problems. The medicine was making my depression significantly worse because I did not have a chemical imbalance. I was simply not addressing the issue behind my depression, that pesky insecure attachment.
I was walking around the world in a constant state of flight or fight and thought covering that state with a dangerous anti-depressant was the only way to fix my brain.
Undoubtedly, anti-depressants are a lifesaver for so many, and I fully support everyone’s individual journey. For me, Duloxetine was a life-ruining medicine.
The River of Slime
I’m not an angry person, but I have a lot of anger inside me. I call it the river of slime. (Yes, it is a Ghostbusters 2 reference.) The ooze lies dormant until it’s triggered. When it’s triggered, unbridled rage follows, or I completely disappear.
The outside face I present to the world looks put together. Inside my heart, brain, and gut, there is low-level seismic screaming from a soon-to-erupt volcano.
After that previously mentioned nightmare scenario of withdrawing from the SNRI Duloxetine (a whole post for another day), I was ready to do the work of getting better. It was time to get better for my daughter, my husband, and me.
What is MDMA?
There is not much known about the history of MDMA or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, except that it was first developed in 1912 by the German pharmaceutical giant Merck under patent #274350. I’ve seen notes that it was created as an appetite suppressant, but it looks to be more of an accidental formula that was created during the search for blood clotting agents.
Enter MDMA Therapy
I have been keeping my eyes on research regarding MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ketamine to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder since 2017. I personally micro-dosed psilocybin to help with the brain zaps associated with SNRI withdrawal. A micro-dose tablet in the morning; would kill the zaps for four hours. Then I would take another tablet and be good for another four hours. Psilocybin was a miracle drug for me during this time.
Micro-dosing, is a technique for studying the behavior of drugs in humans through the administration of doses so low they are unlikely to produce whole-body effects, but high enough to allow the cellular response to be studied. Thanks Wikipedia!
As of 2023, scientists have completed phase three of testing how pharmaceutical-grade MDMA can be used in combination with psychotherapy to help patients who have a severe form of PTSD that has not responded to other treatments. The results are positive. The science is there.
We do not know exactly how MDMA works on the brain. The psychoactive drug boosts chemicals like serotonin and oxytocin. Molly also tamps down activity in the amygdala, this is a part of the brain that processes fear.
That allows patients to revisit traumatic memories and unpack those moments without feeling the panic, fear, and anger normally associated with those memories.
Let Us Begin to Heal
I have tried talk therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and hypnosis. Nothing worked. I was at the end of my rope. The thought going through another week, smiling on social media, while the crippling sense of depression and anxiety was eating me alive on the inside was making me physically sick . If taking a club drug and talking about how awful my childhood was would help me keep the river of slime at bay, I was going to try it.
I took a pill, put on an eye mask, and was instructed to lay down and get comfortable. Wrapped in cozy blankets, I waited for the drug to enter my system. Having never took Ecstasy or Molly before, I was not sure what to expect.
At minute forty-five, I noticed that my hands felt like they were moving but were not actually moving. I mentioned to my therapist that I thought the medicine had hit. They instructed me to close my eyes and look inward.
The MDMA Experience
My brain immediately went to my former stepfather who I forgot existed. I shot upright, looked at the therapist, and started talking. And talking. And talking. Every painful memory that I had dissociated with was flooding back.
Occasionally, I would touch on an issue that seemed extra important. During these moments of clarity, the therapist would instruct me to lay back down, put on the eye mask and look inward again. After ten minutes, I would shoot back up and keep talking about what I discovered in those ten minutes.
I think that Plant is Looking at Me
MDMA hits people differently, but I did not experience that sensation of wanting to touch things. I also did not want to lay down the whole time. At some point, I got up to use the bathroom – which not everyone is able to do on this medicine. I had no issues walking and wanted to move. After I did some yoga stretching, I went around the office and looked at every knickknack and piece of art. There was a painting of a chicken, and I felt like that chicken was a friend. I felt safe in the environment.
Hello new friends.
I did this for six hours, and in those six hours, I put together the pieces of my life. Why I am the way I am. Why I feel the way I feel. What I truly want to be in this world. Turns out, what I have always wanted to be is a writer. At my core, a writer is who I am. I am lucky to get to do some of that with Sixx Cool Moms, but know I need to do more writing to feel fulfilled.
I realized that being a wife and mother does not feel natural, because I do not have a model for what a normal healthy marriage or parent-child relationship looks like. Of course, it is not natural for someone who grew up in an environment where the relationships were messy and fueled by ego and narcissism to be the Worlds #1 Wife and Mom.
When I arrived home, I was still very much high. I retired to my bedroom with a headache and some nausea and fell asleep at eight o’clock in the evening. I woke up at one o’clock in the morning, wrote an angry email to my parents, deleted the email, went back to sleep at four o’clock, woke up at nine o’clock, wrote another angry email, deleted it, then went downstairs to spend the day watching TV with my husband and eating pizza.
Luckily my child was with my husband’s parents during this time so I could process.
Patients take the dietary supplement, 5-HTP, for one week post treatment. This supplement will help replace the serotonin lost from taking MDMA. Personally, I did not feel depressed after my session. I was relieved to finally make headway in a long battle with anxiety and depression. Addressing my trauma, lifted a weight off my shoulders.
This is not a one and done deal either. I will go through a few more rounds (you can do it every six weeks) before I come to a place where I feel like I have truly processed the trauma. At some point I will try this method with Psilocybin. This journey is ten years of therapy in one shot, but I need thirty-eight years of therapy.
I noticed an immediate change in how I process situations. With new tools to create better boundaries for myself, I was also able to have an honest conversation with my family about the past and make great progress in fixing those relationships.
I will no longer allow the past to damage my future.
The great work continues!
*MDMA is a DEA Schedule I substance and should not be used outside of the care of a licensed professional. Do not attempt to purchase this substance. Do not attempt to take this substance without supervision. With phase three trials being complete, this may be widely available in the next few years.
Visit The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) to keep up to date on the future of psychedelic studies.