A revealing, courageous, fascinating, and funny account of the author's experiment with microdoses of LSD in an effort to treat a debilitating mood disorder, of her quest to understand a misunderstood drug, and of her search for a really good day.
When a small vial arrives in her mailbox from "Lewis Carroll", Ayelet Waldman is at a low point. Her mood storms have become intolerably severe; she has tried nearly every medication possible; her husband and children are suffering with her. So she opens the vial, places two drops on her tongue, and joins the ranks of an underground but increasingly vocal group of scientists and civilians successfully using therapeutic microdoses of LSD. As Waldman charts her experience over the course of a month - bursts of productivity, sleepless nights, a newfound sense of equanimity - she also explores the history and mythology of LSD, the cutting-edge research into the drug, and the byzantine policies that control it. Drawing on her experience as a federal public defender and as the mother of teenagers and her research into the therapeutic value of psychedelics, Waldman has produced a book that is eye-opening, often hilarious, and utterly enthralling.
©2017 Ayelet Waldman (P)2017 Recorded Books
"Ayelet Waldman gives an animated performance.... The audiobook blends history, science, and memoir, and, as narrator, Waldman displays enthusiasm for all of it. She uses pacing, pauses, and changes in tone to enliven even the most mundane details.... Her story will appeal to listeners who enjoy quirky memoirs." (AudioFile)
I enjoyed this immensely.
Entertainingly read and backed up with some extremely valid points about the crazy prescription and illegal drug industry in the US (and to a lesser extent in the UK)
"A Radically Different Approach to Self-Medication"
This book came to my attention a few months before its release, when a caring friend mentioned that it might be of interest to me. This friend, along with most people who know me, was aware that I struggle daily with my mood disorder, and she was right in thinking I'd be curious to learn about a radically different approach to 'self-medication'.
Ayelet Waldman also suffers from mood disorders and according to her, she has taken just about every pharmaceutical drug available on the market, AND suffered all the accompanying side-effects. Treating a mood disorder such as bipolar disorder is complicated business and usually involves a whole drug cocktail to stabilize both the highs and lows. Approaching menopause, Waldman found that she was becoming more and more out of control, and the feeling she was putting her marriage at risk with repeated angry outbursts along with suicidal thoughts prompted her to seek a solution.
Having studied a book on the subject of microdosing which provided helpful guidelines, and not least of all, having procured a small vial of LSD from a mysterious source, she decided to become her own research subject for a month-long trial which involved taking minute amounts of LSD every three days and journaled any changes she was able to perceive over this period. At the kind of doses she was taking (about one-tenth of a standard hallucinogenic dose), the user experiences no hallucinatory effects whatsoever. Instead, she describes the overall effect of the experience as providing a feeling that one is more focused, more in control and with the general impression that one is just having... a really good day.
Waldman makes it very clear that she is by no means a typical drug user and that in fact, with her background as a Federal public defender, she is probably more cautious than most. She did a lot of reading and research on LSD to discover that it is actually a relatively safe drug and that one is unlikely to ever overdose on it. Furthermore, she was very much against the idea of 'tripping out' or getting high in any way. The doses she was taking did not produce psychotropic effects, which leads Waldman to make some very good points on the merits of legalization of drugs, which might be beneficial for treating individual who do not respond to other pharmaceutical drug regimens. She makes good points on why there is a need replace the ineffective and ultimately racist 'war on drugs', and develop a more practical approach to drug use, to, among other things, allow for more clinical trials and ultimately to give adults a right to decide for themselves whether they would like to alter their consciousness with drugs or not.
I would not say this is a 'general interest' book. I had a keen interest in it because it treats on a subject that is very close to me, but I can imagine that someone expecting to read about someone's wild experiences with LSD will be sorely disappointed.
"Disagree with other reviews...."
I disagree with the other reviews that didn't care for the medical and historical content in the book. I found it very necessary and enjoyable. If you're looking for a light-hearted fiction novel about a happy go lucky "really good day", this is not what you want. If you want an informative experience on the curious topic of micro dosing from a relatable narrator, this is what you want!
I liked everything about the protocol, the HUGE insight into the war on drugs, the personal struggle the author reveals, and the performance was excellent. Ayelet is very intelligent, quick witted, no nonsense woman. I am thankful to know that women of her kind are taking risks and writing to tell about it.
"Mind-blowing, informative, daring"
This book meets two of my favorite criteria: 1) it is filled with information, 2) it is read by the author.
Her candor is breath-taking. Her information is powerful and thought-provoking. The themes of this book are controversial but she defends them brilliantly. What a pleasure to listen to! Thank you Ayelet.
I loved it so much I bought the hardcover to savor her ideas. (Which brings me to a suggestion for Audible - make the chapters in the audiobook the same as those in the printed book so we who read the READ the book can find what we are looking for more readily!)
"A little too medically detailed"
I wanted to hear more about the writer's personal life story instead of such extreme medical detail. It felt more like I was reading a book for a college pharmaceutical course.
"Wish she had not written a textbook on drugs ."
When I read the sub-title, I really expected more personal history before she started taking the lsd. There was very little anecdotal family life and way too much history of the drug culture which anyone could easily look up. Did not really give the reader a good clear reason why she needed to go to that extreme of remedy (the micro dosing).
On a positive note , she is easy to listen to.
"Yuck... I wish I could return this one..."
I am not sure... I thought it was a totally different subject...
I feel tricked...
Just want to return it...
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