Some of us live with a nervous system that is beautifully adapted to unsafe environments. This can show up as chronic fear, anxiety, worry, “what if” scenarios, challenges turning our minds off, physical tension, difficulty sleeping, digestive distress, frequent illness, challenges with focusing, feeling like we are waiting for the other shoe to drop, feeling a need to hold it all together and be on top of everything.

Maybe we experienced trauma during our early developmental years. Maybe one of our parents had trauma stored in their bodies, and there was an unconscious, unintentional transfer to our bodies. Maybe we grew up in a fast-paced, highly stimulating, urban environment. Our nervous systems prioritize threat detection over safety detection simply because we are human beings with an incredibly strong survival instinct. Understanding the “why” can be helpful where it allows us to grieve. But it is not necessary in order to heal.

Our nervous systems remain adaptable. Once we are truly in a safe environment where our needs are met and boundaries honoured, we can practice sending signals of safety to our bodies. We can learn to connect to feelings of safety, love, warmth, reassurance, and support within our bodies. We can practice leading our bodies back to balance after a fight, flight, or freeze response has been triggered. There are many, many practices to support this process. Over and over, we come back to safety. Each time, we might stay there a little longer.

Psychedelic medicine can also help us distance ourselves from our fear. To allow it, face it, learn about it, and develop a loving relationship with it. Sometimes, we can get stuck in fear during a psychedelic experience. This can be very challenging and overwhelming, taking us outside our window of tolerance and leading to panic. Supporting compounds like MDMA can assist us by calming our threat detection system, allowing us to move through the experience, gain the benefits from psychedelic medicine, and heal.

Psychedelic medicine can help us access feelings of safety, unconditional love, peace, and an understanding that “everything will be okay”. It can help us anchor those experiences in our bodies, giving our nervous systems a reference point. This is especially helpful for those of us who simply haven’t had a felt experience of true safety. It can help us know what it is that we are looking for, what we are missing.

That said, psychedelic medicine is not necessary to heal nor is it a safe and beneficial option for everyone. Ensure you are working with a trained facilitator if you choose to explore this option for your healing and personal growth.