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Two Saturdays ago I visited a quaint bookstore on the other side of the city and picked up a copy of Tao Lin’s Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation & Change. Trip is part drug memoir, part philosophical discussion of the ethnobiologist Terrence McKenna, and part conspiracy exposé about the US government’s efforts to quash the dissent-inspiring powers of psilocybin, LSD, DMT, and peyote.

As I paid for the book, the 20-something-year-old college student ringing up my purchase said, “I’ve read this one; it was good. But I’m too afraid to try.”

“Me too,” I said, smiled, and walked out of the store.


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Mental health is a growing concern in the United States with more than 1 in 5 Americans living with a mental illness; over 51 million individuals in 2019 (National Institute of Mental Health, 2021). The most prevalent mental illnesses in the United States are depression and anxiety spectrum disorders such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Pharmaceutical and psychotherapeutic treatments for depression and anxiety offer varying degrees of relief. But for some, symptoms continue. When symptoms of depression and anxiety persist despite treatment with known pharmaceutical and psychological interventions, the condition is referred to as treatment-resistant…


image courtesy of @the_ghostina

“As I understand it, people who no longer want to be known as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but who have been, must then dissociate; is that right?” says Angus Stewart, the Senior Counsel Assisting to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Stewart looks briefly up at the witness under oath and then back at his notes. Across from him is a TV screen projecting a videoconference feed of Geoffrey Jackson, a member of the eight-man governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses responsible for the spiritual and organizational leadership of over 8.5 million Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide.

Jackson


The US needs mental health first response teams as it addresses increased suicide rates.

As the “second-leading cause of death among people ages 10–43” (Hedegaard, et al, 2018), suicide presents an ongoing public health concern in the United States. Naturally, the mental health community seeks to make psychiatric care as available as possible to individuals who are at risk of suicide. To this end, federal and state-sponsored public services such as twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week text message and telephone hotlines fill a critical need as the first line of defense in the fight against suicide.

However, at times extreme cases of suicidality require an in-person response from emergency services to…


(Ethical Disclaimer: The following article was prepared to fill the requirements of an undergraduate university course on abnormal psychology. This academic assignment in no way suggests that the author has the education or training to complete a personality disorder diagnosis in a professional or clinical setting. Moreover, the conclusions drawn in this article do not imply that Charles Sobhraj has been formally diagnosed with any psychological condition or consented to any treatment.)

The 2021 BBC mini-series The Serpent has brought the slippery character of Charles Sobhraj back into popular culture awareness. The Serpent tells the story of Charles Sobhraj’s killing…


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Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) has been fraught with debate since it was first included in the Diagnostics & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in 1980. The condition shot into the awareness of the general population with the release of the popular non-fiction book Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber in 1973 and a TV miniseries with the same name in 1976 depicting a woman diagnosed with what was then referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). …


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According to Fortune magazine, the meditation and mindfulness industries made over $1 billion in 2015. In fact, the popular mindfulness app Headspace has been downloaded over 6 million times. In recent years, the mainstream acceptance of meditation practices has become so common that critics have referred to it as the “McMindfulness” movement (Safran, 2014).

According to PsychologyToday.com, “meditation is a mental exercise that trains attention and awareness”. The earliest forms of meditation are based on Hindu Vendatism from over 3,000 years ago. Modern forms of meditation practiced in the West are based on the work of American Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn…


The following article is a viewer response to the documentary miniseries Heaven’s Gate: Cult of Cults on HBO Max about the Heaven’s Gate religious group and their leader Marshall Applewhite.

As a devout Jehovah’s Witness (JW), I would not have dared watch a documentary like HBO Max’s Heaven’s Gate: Cult of Cults. Because of the cognitive effort required to deny the similarities to my beloved organization, I avoided documentaries about Charles Manson, The Peoples Temple (Jim Jones), Scientology, and the like.

In general, a JW’s well-oiled psychological defense mechanisms are triggered upon hearing the word “cult”. From a psychological perspective…


The following article is a reader response to The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide-Safe, Therapeutic, & Sacred Journeys by James Fadiman Ph.D. It also includes my reaction to the prompts Fadiman includes in his book for those preparing for their first psychedelic trip.

What is a Psychonaut?

The term “psychonautics” was first used by the German author Ernst Jünger in 1970 (Taylor, 2005). It refers to an individual who intentionally explores altered states of consciousness.

An excellent definition of psychonautics derives from Jan Dirk Blom’s 2009 book A Dictionary of Hallucinations:

“the exploration of the psyche by means of techniques such as lucid dreaming, brainwave entrainment…


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Some readers may feel that my use of a pen name is needlessly aggrandizing and symptomatic of a kind of paranoia that is all too common among victims of authoritarian abuse. But recent aggressions of the WTS legal team to uncover the identity of a dissenting Physically-In-Mentally-Out (PIMO) Jehovah’s Witness (JW) on an online discussion forum of over 34,000 ex-JWs and PIMOs shows that my caution is warranted. It is not beyond the leadership of the organization to proactively uncover and disfellowship PIMOs who choose to voice their criticisms of WTS.

This brings us to the story of an anonymous…

Geoffrey Wallis

Author of “A Voice From Inside” | JW PIMO | Writing about Psychology, Mental Health, Religious Trauma & Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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