I put my story here mostly to serve as a reference should anyone be inquiring about the use of Psychedelics and Epilepsy. It's a rather simple story, but I believe it's one that could be extremely informative to some people.
I was a healthy 39-year-old male who battled a low lying depression for much of my adult life. After not responding to countless hours of talk therapy, and numerous SSRi's I became interested in utilizing Psychedelics as a mode for therapy. For those who aren't aware, we are currently in what is being described as the "2nd Renaissance" of Psychedelics. They are showing great potential and efficacy in treating various conditions where current medications and treatments are proving ineffective. For example, MDMA (ecstacy) will be FDA approved for PTSD by the end of 2021, Psilocybin (magic mushrooms) are expected to be approved for anxiety, alcoholism, etc by 2023. Other substances such as Ayahuasca and Ibogaine could be close behind.
I only give the backstory because it makes clear my intentions. I had no desire for recreational use. I wanted to feel better, to get to the root of my problems, rather than simply numb the symptoms with more medications.
I was 39 years old,.I had never had a single epileptic "episode" of any kind. I'm not sure I knew what the word meant. I decided to participate in 4 Ayahuasca ceremonies (Peru) under the guidance of a well respected Shaman. I n short had a variety of experiences, but one, in particular, was earth-shattering to my psyche. When I came back to "earth" I knew full well that this experience was not over, and I would be greatly impacted as began the road to "recovery" and "re-integration". I just didn't know how or to what extent.
Two days after that hell-ish experience, I was on a plane flying home back to Boston, when I experienced my first "what the hell is going on moment". I started having a confusing "deja-vu, dreamlike, familiarity / dual consciousness", experience that came with anxiety and confusion. I remember looking at a text that I had written moments before and I had 0 recollection of having written anything of the sort. I swore I hadn't written it. As one can imagine, this only increased the anxiety.
These occurrences started happening much more frequently to the point where I had multiple episodes in a day. I was so "destabilized" from the Ayahuasca experience, I was having a hard time differentiating what was what. I was battling a darkness and a fear beyond belief but also experienced these deja vu episodes that left me confused and with impaired cognition and memory. I eventually understood that they were separate from the "darkness" and after doing some research, I realized my descriptions were those shared by many who suffer from temporal lobe epilepsy. I eventually saw a neurologist, had several EEG's and the diagnosis was confirmed... Temporal Lobe Epilepsy stemming from the left temporal lobe. My neurologist (well renowned, Boston) had no prior experience with Psychedelics being the catalyst for Seizures. In fact he wanted to document my case. I am currently on Lamictal which has greatly diminished the episodes.
I share this story merely as a reference. I actually still believe in the potential of Psychedelics for therapy due in part to their ineffable power. But the same power that can re-wire brains, change chemistry, and allow for new behaviors and patterns to emerge, can also have long-lasting effects that are not so welcomed. I just think it's worth knowing this story for anyone who is educating themselves on the pros/cons of utilizing thee substances as therapy. Whether my current condition was caused the "DMT molecule" or the traumatic "experience" I will never know. Maybe both.
(Many people will say "you must have been pre-disposed" to the condition and the Psychedelics brought it to the surface. Goodness, that argument is so silly. For one, it isn't "prove-able", nor has it ever been or ever will be. Secondly, that's like saying someone who smokes and develops cancer was pre-disposed to the disease. It doesn't hold weight, and it actually doesn't matter since no one knows what their "predisposition" is. I have no immediate family members or relatives with Epilepsy.)