Hi, I'm new to the forum, and have come looking for your ideas and feelings on something which I've struggled with for years now.
I am 23, and have suffered the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder from the age of 8 onwards. I only gained a proper diagnosis early this year, and the drugs they've prescribed have helped enormously with no notable side effects.
When I was about 16 years old, a year after leaving school, going through all sorts of hallucinations and the likes. There were weeks when I lost all self awareness - when I could perhaps not even be classed as sentient. Everything I knew broke down inside, and I rebuilt myself. While trying to understand myself so I might get better, I spent years introspecting, meditating, and questioning. I didn't know it at the time, but I was certainly meditating, and by the age of 19, many of the conclusions I'd come to aligned very closely with buddhism. It was around then that I came to know what buddhism is about, and surprised, I realised, I already seemed to have many of the same ideas.
About one year onwards, I made my first real friend. He introduced me to many more, and soon I had something I'd dreamed of for so long — A social life. After a while I came to see some of my friends using drugs. Relaxed people with sensible ideas - not the braindead stoners I'd typically associated with drug users - but something better, and more reflective. People I admired and enjoyed the company of were occasional users of LSD. Early this year, after much research, I decided it would be safe for me to try it, and was curious of it's effects.
It was truly an incredible experience. Having been through hallucinations before, I wasn't phased much by that aspect. It somehow cleansed me of all the busy thoughts and built up ideas I struggle against when meditating. I could sit and see clearly the incredible details and astounding wonderment of a tree, or just quietly enjoy the wind without distraction. It became so clear what was important to me, and what things I was routinely and thoughtlessly doing which were bringing me unhappiness. That relaxed sense stayed with me for many weeks after, effectively ridding me of anxieties built up over years.
Sadly, some of those anxieties eventually returned. Old habits were not totally broken, but six months on, I still felt so improved by the experience that I decided the next time I encountered a safe place with good friends, I'd try it again and see if it could bring further long term relief of modern stresses and harmful thought patterns.
That time came two weeks ago, and I'm still feeling good. I'm relaxed, and comfortable with myself. I'm less preoccupied with things which bring me no joy, allowing a calm focus on the things really important to me in life.
And yet, I still wonder - what are the downsides? Some very smart people with very similar ideas to me have been of the opinion that taking drugs is a bad idea for thousands of years, at minimum! So what's to it? If taking a safe drug in careful moderation brings about peace and speeds up the journey toward emotional well being, what could be the downside?
I look forward to your thoughts and ideas.