Why Can A Psychedelic Experience Make Us Feel Worse Sometimes?

Many of us are curious about psychedelic experiences – their spiritual depth, emotional impact and transformative potential. But did you know these journeys can sometimes leave us feeling worse than before? Let’s delve into the question: “why does a psychedelic experience sometimes make us feel worse than before?” Decoding these experiences is not just about understanding the science behind them, but also learning about the emotional processes they often trigger.

The Two Roads of Psychedelic Experiences

Psychedelic experiences, like many facets of our life journey, can take one of two routes.

The first pathway sees the psychedelic experience starting and finishing an emotional process during the course of the journey itself. This may involve releasing a deeply buried emotion, shedding a layer of self we no longer need, or gaining profound insights that foster deep personal shifts. When you emerge from these experiences, you do so with an undeniable lightness of being. It’s as though a burdensome weight has been lifted from your shoulders, leaving you feeling liberated, full of love and ready to embrace the world.

Then, there is the second pathway of a psychedelic trip. Here, the psychedelic journey triggers an emotional process, but doesn’t complete it within the typical duration of the experience. The time frame can range between six to twelve hours, but sometimes, the process may continue after this period.

The result? You may find yourself grappling with unresolved elements from your journey in the following days or even weeks after the psychedelic experience. This protracted process can leave you feeling emotionally heavy and unsettled.

“The psychedelic experience can start a process but not finish it within the experience, leaving you to grapple with unresolved elements in the days or weeks to follow.”

The Importance of Integration Sessions after a Psychedelic Assisted Therapy Journey

Therefore, it is crucial to undertake integration sessions with a therapist or psychedelic coach to help manage these prolonged processes. Integration is the bridge between your psychedelic journey and your day-to-day life, and mastering it allows you to gain the full benefits of your experiences.

During these sessions, the therapist or coach helps you process and understand what the psychedelic experience brought up that you haven’t fully assimilated. By guiding you through a step-by-step assimilation of these experiences, they aid in identifying the insights and lessons learnt, enabling you to incorporate them into your everyday life.

My personal encounter with complex psychedelic experiences highlighted the essential role of these integration sessions. The journey had unearthed deeply ingrained fears from my past. Processing these fears was a daunting task that spilled over into the weeks following the experience, but the professional assistance provided in my integrated sessions proved vital in navigating this intimidating journey.

While psychedelic experiences and psilocybin assisted therapy can trigger profound personal changes, it’s important to approach them with careful consideration. When the psychedelic journey starts an emotional process but does not complete it within the experience, it can lead to residual emotional struggles. However, with expert guidance and continued integration sessions , one can effectively navigate these emotional challenges, enabling the transformation and growth promised by the psychedelic journey and speed up the therapeutic healing of unprocessed wounds from the past.

Why do we sometimes feel worse after a psychedelic experience?
Another Theory: The Onion Analogy

Imagine our existence as an onion. At the center of our personal onion lies our most authentic self. This is the pure version of who we truly are, untarnished by societal pressures, fears, or judgments. Surrounding this core are multiple layers, akin to those of an onion, each representing emotional armor we’ve knitted around ourselves.

“These layers serve to shield our authentic self. Although they’re not a actual depiction of our true persona, they play a crucial role in protecting our vulnerable core.”

The outermost layers depict a state of numbness, a way we often shield ourselves from pain by refusing to feel at all. Underneath that general numbness, however, lies a plethora of emotions waiting to be uncovered.

The Psychedelic Experience: Ushering the Subconscious to the Forefront

Here’s where the psychedelic experience comes into play. A typical psychedelic experience removes the numbness that we’re accustomed to, thereby enabling us to peel off that outermost layer.

Following the transpersonal experience, we find ourselves just one layer closer to our authentic self. However, this new layer reveals anxiety, which for many might initially appear worse than the numbness they’re familiar with. Despite that, it’s essential to recognize that this perceived worsening of our emotional state signifies progression towards revealing our authentic self.

The Importance of Therapeutic Intervention after the psychedelic journey

And here’s the twist—one that amplifies an often overlooked, yet significant, advantage of feeling ‘worse’. The emotional turbulence experienced post the psychedelic experience may bring to light feelings or emotional issues that previously lay dormant. It provides an opportunity to confront these newfound feelings, harnessing them as essential steps towards discovering our authentic self.

That’s where professional intervention comes in. A psychotherapist or psychedelic integration coach  can guide you in processing the unearthed emotions that you were previously unaware of.

“Psychedelic experiences can potentially awaken a broader spectrum of feelings. With the help of a therapist or coach, these seemingly negative emotions can serve as catalysts for deeper introspection and personal growth.”

In this journey towards achieving an emotionally balanced, authentic version of ourselves, the role of psychedelic experiences and professional therapeutic help can be pivotal. Is the pathway smooth? Not always. Can the experience often be overwhelming? Yes, but with suitable guidance, it can lead us on an exploratory voyage to discovering our true selves.

Understanding, Acceptance, and Action after the psychedelic experience

In conclusion, it’s clear that a psychedelic experience can sometimes make us feel worse initially. However, instead of resisting these feelings, learning to understand and accept them can catalyze positive transformation.

By peeling off the numb layers and exploring the emotional turmoil beneath, we inch closer to our core—the real us. And that’s an empowering journey worth taking!

If you or a loved one need help navigating the complexities and transformative potential of a psychedelic experience, consider reaching out to a mental health professional or psychedelic integration coach. Their expertise can be an invaluable resource in processing the emotions uncovered during the journey and mediating the transition towards self-discovery and healing.

Find out more about our psilocybin assisted therapy sessions and psilocybin assisted retreat.

Photo by Kylli Sparre.