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A Really Good Day summary

Ayelet Waldman

How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life

4.2 (114 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman is a personal memoir about her experience microdosing LSD to treat depression. She shares her insights on the benefits and risks of the practice while questioning the legality and stigma surrounding psychedelics.

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    A Really Good Day
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    The author always struggled with her mood, irritability and shame, but had never found an effective treatment.

    Ayelet Waldman had been at the mercy of her moods for decades. On a good day, she could be sparkling company – cheerful, friendly, affectionate and productive. But on a bad day, Waldman was worn down by self-hatred, guilt and shame. She’d start arguments with her husband, feel overwhelmed by pessimism and had little sense of self-worth, despite being a successful, published author. Her erratic moods have always made her life, and the lives of her friends and family, more difficult.

    Seeking help, she turned to therapy, spending many hours sitting on the leather couches of professionals – from Freudians to cognitive behavioral experts, social workers to family therapists. She tried mindfulness – spending long periods meditating and even longer telling her therapist how much she hated meditating.

    One day, crossing a bridge while driving home, she found herself considering steering to the right and hurtling into the water below. Shocked at this suicidal thought, she sought medical help. Diagnosed with a form of depression – bipolar II disorder – she started taking drugs. For years, Waldman tried numerous medications: Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft, Cymbalta, Effexor, Lamictal, Adderall, Ritalin and many more. Some helped a little, for days or even months at a time. But they had unfortunate side effects, such as weight gain, irritability and a decreased interest in sex.

    Eventually, she discovered her diagnosis hadn’t even been correct. She realized her moods were fluctuating in direct correlation to her menstrual cycle, and that she had a type of premenstrual syndrome – called premenstrual dysphoric disorder – that caused mood swings at certain points in her cycle.

    This discovery allowed her to learn the cycle and timing of her moods and take medication only when necessary. But when Waldman entered the perimenopause, her period became irregular, and so did her mood. Things took a turn for the worse, and she became exhausted with fury, irritation and despair.

    It was at this point that she happened upon the work of James Fadiman, a psychologist and former psychedelic researcher. Fadiman was popularizing the microdosing of LSD – people taking tiny doses of LSD to treat mood problems were reporting that they’d enjoyed a really good day. And a really good day was all the author had ever wanted.

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    What is A Really Good Day about?

    A Really Good Day (2018) is the true story of one writer’s attempt to tackle her struggles with depression and mood disorder through a novel – and illegal – remedy: microdoses of LSD. Charting her experiment with the drug over 30 days, Ayelet Waldman explores her reactions and discovers a newfound sense of serenity in her everyday life. At the same time, A Really Good Day is a broader exploration of the history of LSD, the myths that surround it and society’s attitudes toward legal and illegal drugs.

    A Really Good Day Review

    A Really Good Day (2017) by Ayelet Waldman provides an intimate and informative account of her experience using microdoses of LSD to treat her mood disorder. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With candor and humor, Waldman shares her personal journey of self-discovery and growth, offering invaluable insights into mental health and alternative treatments.
    • The book explores the fascinating history and scientific research behind psychedelics, shedding light on their potential therapeutic uses.
    • Waldman's engaging storytelling and vivid descriptions create an immersive reading experience that, despite its serious subject matter, is never boring.

    Best quote from A Really Good Day

    I took the drug, and went on to have a really good day.

    —Ayelet Waldman
    example alt text

    Who should read A Really Good Day?

    • People interested in new ways to treat depression and mood-disorder
    • Readers skeptical about traditional medication for depression
    • Those interested in drug policy and legalization

    About the Author

    Ayelet Waldman was a federal public defender and taught a class on drug policy at the University of California’s School of Law, before turning to a career in writing. Her published works include seven novels in the series Mommy-Track Mysteries, and the non-fiction Bad Mother (2009) – a collection of personal essays about her experience as an imperfect mother.

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    A Really Good Day FAQs 

    What is the main message of A Really Good Day?

    A Really Good Day explores the benefits of microdosing with LSD and the potential for treating mental health issues.

    How long does it take to read A Really Good Day?

    The reading time for A Really Good Day varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is A Really Good Day a good book? Is it worth reading?

    A Really Good Day is a thought-provoking and informative read. It provides unique insights into alternative approaches to mental health.

    Who is the author of A Really Good Day?

    The author of A Really Good Day is Ayelet Waldman.

    What to read after A Really Good Day?

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