There are no words quite adequate to capture the emotional and physical abuse Paul Filippe suffered as a child, which resulted in his first suicide attempt at the age of seven.
The 43-year-old from Melbourne describes what he endured: “As with any child, I craved her love and believed her to be perfect,” said Paul. “Because of this, I saw her negative behaviors towards me as a reflection of something wrong with me.
“My mother undertook what I later called ‘programming sessions,’ starting when I was very young. I would be forced to sit on the floor in a room for hours. During this time, she would walk around me saying things about me, which I was forced to repeat.
“‘Everyone hates you and you should be dead,’ she’d say. Then, I would be punched in the head or kicked.
“I would repeat ‘Everyone hates me and I should be dead.’ Punched or kicked again.
“‘You’re a worthless piece of shit. No one could ever love you.’ Punched or kicked again.
“‘I’m a worthless piece of shit. No one could ever love me.” Punched or kicked again.
“These programming sessions would last from one to three hours. Day after day, month after month, year after year. These statements became how I saw myself. If this is what my mother thought, she must be right.”
Paul’s father – “a kind man” – died when the boy was just 10 and his mum told him: “I loved him, I hate you – why did he have to die and not you?” More trauma.
Such was the lasting damage that these routine sessions caused Paul, and such was his level of self-hate and low self-worth, that he would continue the sessions on himself until he was in his late thirties.
“I would stand in front of a mirror and stare at myself with utter hatred. I would repeat these mantras of self-hate while punching myself in the head,” he explained.
Paul’s mother, who was an alcoholic and had been consistently physically and sexually abused as a youngster, had fallen pregnant for the first time at the age of 12 and had five children adopted before baby Paul arrived when she was 18.
She died when he was 24 and Paul was left to find his own way in the world while scarred with many emotional wounds.
As an adult, Paul slipped into alcoholism to escape his demons, which saw him frequently fantasizing about his next suicide attempt.
He tried gassing himself in his car. At the time he was living in the vehicle, having quit his job to drink himself into a daily stupor, and was later diagnosed as bipolar with a borderline personality disorder.
He stopped drinking six years ago, but the pain and self-loathing continued. Therapy hardly skimmed the surface of his trauma.
It was only after consuming a large dose of psilocybin mushrooms that Paul experienced deep emotional healing through a breakthrough.
“I went on a journey with my deceased grandmother,” he said. “She explained to me that all the generations of trauma were the ingredients required to create the womb in which a soul such as mine could grow in, that my mother had to be the way she was for me to be born.
“She took me on a journey through our bloodline that stretched about 150-200 years. I saw the repeating traumas and abuses.
“Finally, for the first time in my life everything made sense. A reason for all the abuse, pain and suffering.
“A sense of peace overcame me unlike anything I had ever experienced.
“My grandmother asked me if I wanted to speak to my mother. I said yes. I spoke with my mum and forgave her unconditionally for everything. I saw her as the victim she was. I appreciated the amazing effort required for her to raise me without killing me.
“Later that night, I heard a higher voice – my grandmother was speaking through the mushrooms. She told she was going to remove the desire to die and suicidal thoughts from my mind for good – take the weight off my shoulders. She explained that now I had to learn to live, no longer just survive each day.”
“As I have moved forward on my journey of healing the results from psilocybin continue to blow my expectations out of the water. My capacity for truly compassionate, respectful and patient self-love is a gift, and I can’t find the words strong enough to express my gratitude.
“I love myself unconditionally, and I can’t explain how it feels to say and mean those words.”
A medical study involving psilocybin mushrooms published in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology in 2017 concluded that psilocybin use “encouraged connection and acceptance”.
Twenty people had taken part in the research, consuming psilocybin mushrooms for the treatment of depression, and were interviewed six months later.
Five experts from the Imperial College in London, who carried out the study, concluded that participants went from feeling disconnected from themselves, others and the world to a sense of connection again.
It was also noted that these individuals switched from avoiding their emotions to accepting them.
Due to his own remarkable healing experience, Paul has joined the #ThankYouPlantMedicine (TYPM) movement, which is spreading rapidly across the world and trying to remove the stigma surrounding natural psychedelic substances like psilocybin mushrooms.
The TYPM movement is raising awareness about the amazing healing benefits of traditional plant medicines, and educating the public about the importance of them being used responsibly in a safe environment with the right care and guidance.
On February 20, 2o2o, we will unite across social media platforms worldwide to share our stories of personal healing and transformation, using the hashtag, #ThankYouPlantMedicine.
Paul said: “I thought I was incapable of love or of being loved by anyone. How wrong I was.”
“I have a most magical and unique relationship with my new partner Emma. A love I could never have dreamed of. A relationship of pushing growth, boundaries and ourselves.
“A relationship with such open and honest communication that I often have to pinch myself. A relationship where our truest love of self is reflected in our love for each other.”
Today, Paul describes himself “as a proud, much-better father to two young children who loves his job as a design engineer.”
He added: “So now as I finish this sharing, with tears of joy running down my cheeks I say, ‘thank you mushrooms, I love you with the entirety of my being’.”
* DISCLAIMER AND IMPORTANT SAFETY MESSAGE
The #TYPM movement does not encourage any illegal use or abuse of plant medicines and psychedelics, whether cultivated in nature or lab synthesized.
Psychedelics and plant medicines, even within the confines of applicable laws, are not appropriate or beneficial for everyone. They are not magical cures; they are tools that, when used properly – with respect, clear intentions, guidance, and a safe, supportive environment – can catalyze personal growth and healing.
To minimize harm and increase therapeutic potential, it is imperative that one performs sufficient research, adequately prepares, and integrates their own experience.