For the past nine months, I’ve been coming off drugs I took for 25 years to moderate a mild case of CFS/Fibromyalgia. I was prescribed relatively tiny doses of an old-fashioned anti-depressant to improve the quality of my sleep. “A homeopathic dose,” said my GP. If I was stressy, I took more, if not, I took less. It worked. I didn’t fall entirely out of the stream of life as do most people with CFS. So given an almost complete recovery and because the drugs were interfering with my clarity, time to stop. Tried to do it two years ago, fast, with exercise, like a lot of it. I was hill hiking for 8 hours a week, which put me into a kind of ecstatic state I highly recommend. I was so fully oxygenated; there were moments I actually felt I could fly.
But the combination of rapid detox and ten hours a week of exercise – I swam two hours along with the hiking – broke the homeostasis of my body and I very near killed myself. It was bio-hacking way into the danger zone. However, I brought myself out of it, gave myself a year in bed. Which I highly recommend, it is a magnificent reset, which, I am pretty sure, will add many healthy years to my life.
In any case, tapering slowly was, in the end, more interesting. I have learned to balance my body with supplements and herbs. “I am a highly educated health care consumer,” I joked to my naturopath last week, and he said, “Boy are you ever,” without a hint of sarcasm or caution, for which I was grateful. But still, coming off any kind of psychiatric drug is very very tricky, no matter how healthy you are or well-balanced. Whatever they did in those labs to create these drugs, has saved millions of lives, but the cost is high and the stories of people trying to get off them are more often than not, pitiable, even tragic.
I have had all kinds of symptoms. For instance, all the emotions the drug allowed me to stuff came up and had to be reckoned with. That was a lot of information to process. Also, since I am less tranquilized, my blood pressure and heart rate zoom up and down like crazy looking for balance. Forget chocolate, and certainly, forget drinking. No exogenous stimulants, not even diet Coke, not even too many parties and I like parties. My thyroid rockets up and down confusing the lab to no end. Nor can I push myself. Like, at all. This will all calm down over the next few months, so it is not worrying, just annoying.
There are few after-stories. It may be that once off the drug, people sail off and forget to report. It may be that life continues but is diminished. Or the depression returns, or the anxiety disorder, or the voices. In my case, no such thing has happened. I reckon I have access to an extra five or ten IQ points, I have returned to my disquieting and autonomic empathy and I am much more sensitive, the two latter of which are mixed blessings.
Was it necessary? I now know how to stop any physical or psychological disequilibrium with herbs or supplements which are GRAS, generally recognized as safe. Even schizophrenia can be virtually halted with large doses of flushing niacin, I’ve seen it in my own family. Moreover, the culture at large has been aware of this cheap rapid fix for more than forty years. There is almost no need to take sleeping pills or Ativan or in fact any psychiatric medication anymore. Biohacking is advancing so far ahead of conventional medicine you almost have to be in the slow stream to not be aware of the extraordinary feats you can achieve with your body, given an even average intelligence.
The future, therefore, is bright. Both for me, and for the ordinary Joe trying to manage the chaos of post-authoritarianism.
[epq-quote align=”align-center”]“[We will] live much longer, more productive lives”: “Because I’m a billionaire, I’m going to have access to better health care so … I’m going to be like 160 and I’m going to be part of this, like, class of immortal overlords. [Laughter] Because, you know the [Warren Buffett] expression about compound interest. … [G]ive us billionaires an extra hundred years and you’ll know what [true] wealth disparity looks like.” Sean Parker [/epq-quote]
I am an enthusiastic bio-hacker, which puts me into the crazy-ass category for my sex and age and profession, but I watched my mother cure her schizophrenia with diet, exercise, and nutritional supplements and that left an indelible stamp on my psyche. I was the eldest child, and a girl, so I spent my early life up close and personal with the vagaries of a diseased mind. Which made me admire her achievement all the more, I mean by this full-on deep respect. And it triggered my attempt, once given a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, to take my undiseased mind and see if I could not only improve its function but use it to heal a disease the recovery rate of which is around 12%.
Turns out I could. I have radically improved my sleep, my pulse-ox, turned around my blood lipids, hacked my hormone levels. My liver and kidney markers are that of a 30-year-old; the universal response of a doctor when they read them is raised eyebrows. My mind is more plastic and agile than a lot of people my age because I know which combination of nutritional supplements taken at which time works for me; I can race through policy papers that would have killed me twenty years ago. I’ve dipped my toe into nootropics, but tend towards herbal mind enhancers like low-dose lithium and Bacopa. Lion’s Mane alone turned my memory into a steel-trap, nothing is lost. Ever. I even nebulize Glutathione (I used to smoke) because I believe it not only helps my lung function, it also prevents brain and eye aging. I am yearning to try low-dose Psylocibin or LSD. And if I can figure out how to get an IV pole and infuse myself with vitamins, I bloody well will.
I’m 32 and spent $200k on biohacking. Became calmer, thinner, extroverted, healthier & happier.
But this guy, Serge Faguet, is out there where any whiff of there has vanished into the wind. Faguet is an island unto himself, he lives alone, uses ultra-high-priced Russian escorts to maximize the benefits for sex, goes to bed at 9, wakes at 6, takes hundreds of pills a day, and you can read about his entire mad thing at the link in his name. He is going for super-human. In a post called ‘How to Biohack your Intelligence Now or Become Obsolete‘, he explains just what is in store for us mere humans.
“I think that what we are doing with biohacking is the beginning of humanity’s split into separate species. Enhanced posthumans who will make all the decisions (and who will likely come from the tech communities of Silicon Valley and China). “Basic humans,” who will (maybe) be taken care of well, but will have no real say in what happens.”
Doesn’t that sound fun for the rest of us? Course being older than Serge, I know life comes for all of us, breaks us down, turns the arrogant human with a ruthlessness that is breathtaking. I certainly plan to be around to see how Serge and his pal Sean Parker reap the whirlwind.