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3 mins

Simplify Psychedelics: Ayelet Waldman on Microdosing and Mental Health

In this episode of Simplify, Caitlin talks to bestselling author Ayelet Waldman about how microdosing helped her through a period of deep depression.
by Carrie M. King | Feb 7 2019

The turning point came for Ayelet Waldman when she found herself frozen before her medicine cabinet, wondering “What’s going to kill me fastest?” She knew it was time to try a new tactic to improve her mental health.

In this episode, hear the bestselling author describe her experience with microdosing LSD and how it improved her writing and her marriage, and maybe even saved her life. Waldman will bring you deep into the research around psychedelics and offer insight into why they’re so controversial—particularly when we don’t know a whole lot more about the doctor-prescribed medications commonly used to treat depression.

“…what psychedelics like LSD seem to do […] is allow different parts of your brain, that don’t normally communicate, to communicate in unusual and novel ways.”
Ayelet Waldman

For those who suffer from severe depression, it can often seem like there’s no hope. However, in this episode, Waldman explains how microdosing psychedelics, for some people, might be the answer to better mental health. Her moving personal story, combined with a clear-eyed look at the available research—including potential problems—offers a fascinating glimpse into changing views on the controversial world of psychedelics and self-medication.

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Who’s Ayelet Waldman

Ayelet Waldman

Ayelet Waldman is an Israeli-American novelist and essayist. She is the author of A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life. Previously, Ayelet was a federal public defender and an adjunct professor at the UC Berkeley law school where she developed and taught a course on the legal implications of the War on Drugs. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband, Michael Chabon, and their four children.

Ayelet Waldman’s Recommended Reads

1. Old Filth by Jane Gardam

Old Filth (Failed in London, Try Hong Kong) is the nickname of Sir Edward Feathers. After a stellar legal career, he’s retired to Dorset where he begins to look back on his life and reckon with his past.

Comment from Ayelet: “I am so jealous of you, because you have just the most delightful experience in store. Old Filth is a marvelous book. Everybody should read it right away.”

2. Other People’’s Houses: A Novel by Lore Segal

Hitler has taken Austria, and a 10 year-old girl leaves Vienna on a children’s transport for the safety of England. This novel is the story of the following seven years she spends in “other people’s houses,” experiencing lives not her own.

Comment from Ayelet: “If you haven’t read Lore Segal, she is a tremendously underappreciated magnificent writer, who you should also read right away.”

3. Less by Andrew Sean Greer

A middle-aged author accepts a series of invitations to literary events around the world in order to avoid the one invitation he actually cares about: the wedding of his ex-boyfriend.

Comment from Ayelet: “And the last plug I’ll give is for a book that just won the Pulitzer Prize, Less by Andrew Sean Greer. And if you want to not be depressed, this is wonderful, delightful, beautifully-written, hilariously funny book that is just scrumptious.”

Extra Credit Reading

If you would like to dive deeper into some of the topics Ayelet Waldman covers in this Simplify episode, check out this book list composed by Ben and Caitlin!

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics is a down-to-earth beginner’s guide to meditation – especially for those skeptics among us who think that meditation is a lot of new age hooey. Dan Harris presents readers with a first-hand account of how even people with restless minds and no time to spare can start experiencing the scientifically proven benefits of meditation.

Emotional Agility provides the theories and tools that will emancipate you from the fickle rule of your emotions. If you can distance yourself from the knots of anger and fear in your stomach, you can gradually learn to unwind and heal.

Since its first publication in 1990, Flow has become an integral part of how we understand creativity, satisfaction, and what it means to do good work. This book explains that state of flow that great creatives need to access to do their best work, and live their best lives.

What’s Simplify?

Simplify is a podcast for anybody who’s taken a close look at their habits, their happiness, their relationships, or their health and thought “There’s got to be a better way to do this.” We talk to bestselling writers, productivity wizards, sex geniuses, and happiness experts to find it for you.

Simplify is made with love by Blinkist. Click here to try Blinkist free for 14 days with the voucher code: micro

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Talk to us!

We want to hear from you! Drop a line to us at [email protected] about whatever tickles your fancy.

If you want to say hi to Ben, Caitlin and Terence in the meantime, you can find them on Twitter: @bsto, @CaitlinSchiller, @terence_mickey.

Who made this?

Your hosts are Caitlin Schiller, Ben Schuman-Stoler, and Terence Mickey.

Research and production assistance by Natallia Darozhkina, sound and editing by Terence Mickey, Ben Jackson, and Ody Constantinou.

Thanks to Nico Guiang for our awesome intro and outro music. Listen more on Soundcloud or check him out on Facebook.

Got links?

Ayelet Waldman’s Website

Read the transcript here!

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