My Battle With Chronic Depression: How LSD and Psilocybin Changed Everything


Glenn Irving, left, with world-renowned psychiatrist and advocate of plant medicines, Stanislav Grof.

Like numerous others, Glenn Irving turned to psychedelics at a very difficult time in his life.

“I was halfway through my university program and battling a chronic depression that made getting out of bed an insurmountable task,” the 28 year old from San Francisco revealed.

“My mother lost her job of 30-plus years, my childhood dog was having traumatic seizures, and I had no clue what I cared about in life.

“I remember one particular morning, I felt so weak that I couldn’t stand in the shower without my palms propped up against the walls. I cried hysterically feeling utterly useless.

“Believe it or not, this was an improvement from the hollow shell of a person I had become. Shortly thereafter, a psilocybin mushroom and LSD experience changed everything.

“The shift in perspective allowed me to see the beauty in the world again. I was reminded how deeply connected we are to each other and everything in the universe. I felt a sense of belonging and that I’d be okay.”

Glenn is so grateful for his transformational experience that he is now a Global Organizational Leader and Regional Volunteer Manager in the US promoting the ThankYouPlantMedicine (TYPM) movement.

“We are fighting for healing and transformation that is really unparalleled in any other medium,” he insisted. “Our campaign is one of gratitude, but suggests that everyone has a conscious choice and decision to make.

“I’d compare it to the choices people have regarding the likes of vegetarianism or smoking cigarettes. People should have the freedom to choose for themselves regardless of preference.

“This campaign is truly universal – not just for immediate members of the plant medicine and psychedelic communities. We are giving everyone a higher level of sovereignty or autonomy over their own bodies, minds and souls.

“If we can remove stigma then we can protect the spaces where work can be done properly.

“An organized and informed process creates a safe environment, so that when trauma rises to the surface it can be tended to in the correct manner and inspire healing. In a chaotic setting, trauma can compound and be reinforced, thus injuring a person further (i.e. added PTSD).”

“Our education prevents chaos, and that drives me to work hard on the campaign. We need to protect productive spaces and create many more. The precursor to this progress is the ability to have a legitimate conversation.

“Altered states of consciousness have done everything from relieving chronic depression to providing a quantum perspective on who I am as a person, and what my function truly is in this world.

“I cannot emphasize enough how critical a proper protocol is in supporting the efficacy of these medicinal tools. Dangers occur when protocol is flippant or circumvented.

“It’s also crucial that accurate information regarding plant and psychedelic medicines are disseminated. Dissolving stigma removes barriers for organizations to extend safety and harm reduction techniques.”

Glenn as a boy with his dog, Fudge. The family were heartbroken in later years when the dog’s health started failing.

Glenn said that a recent ayahuasca experience helped in identifying pain from his broken engagement that he believes would have otherwise sat and festered.

“Ayahuasca, like other plant medicines, works like the car mechanic’s diagnostic test; it highlights the areas of the vehicles systems which need attention,” he explained.

“While on the medicine, a person can ask ‘Mother Ayahuasca’ questions and can receive answers from a very real voice or vision.

“When a person resists or fears that message, the medicine highlights the incompatibility and forces the individual to confront it through physical manifestation, i.e. purge, shakes, headache, etc.

“Once faced, the inner pain can finally be approached, healed, and ultimately transformed. When my break-up came to mind I told Mother Ayahuasca I was fine, but this was wildly inaccurate.

“My ignorance was instantaneously met with purge and hysterical tears, but then later, a love and warmth washed over me upon entering into the ceremony circle. I was then able to identify other areas of pain that were hidden in similar manners.

“Since then, I have experienced a wealth of growth and transformation. Without this experience these traumas would have continued to lay in my unconscious, slowly and toxically decaying my humanity.”

Glenn added that the most important part of the psychedelic experience is the process of integration.

Glenn with psychedelics expert and author Dennis McKenna at a talk he gave on psychedelic medicine in California in September 2019.

“The psychedelic experience is tantamount to taking a thimble to a waterfall,” said Glenn. “There is so much information cascading before you, yet you’re only allotted a small amount to take with you.

“The task is to fill your thimble wisely, and then in the weeks following, work to integrate that information into your life.

“Integration is a complicated and insurmountable task without the support of community. ThankYouPlantMedicine is creating a global community, so no person is abandoned while in this vulnerable and impressionable state.

“Yes, these experiences can be difficult, but ultimately, they are valuable when met with love and support. Above all else, TYPM is a gratitude campaign, and I am beyond grateful for plant and psychedelic medicines.”

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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.

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