Amnda Efthimiou knows the medicine she needs

<\\/div><\\/div>\”],\”filter\”:{\”nextExceptions\”:\”img, blockquote, div\”,\”nextContainsExceptions\”:\”img, blockquote, a.btn, ao-button\”},\” renderIntial\”:true,\”wordCount\”:350 }\”>

Amnda Efthimiou told her story to producer Sarah Vitak for an episode of The Daily Gathering podcasts. It has been edited for length and clarity.

It was really up and down. I was depressed one moment, anxious the next. I took all kinds of pharmaceutical drugs. Not only did the side effects range from nightmares to my super low libido, but I really felt disconnected from my body and my body wisdom.

I\’m in the Tijuca National Park in the jungle of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I was raised in New York, USA by Brazilian and Greek parents, and have very strong ties to Brazil. I am a psychedelic wellness advocate and supplementation educator. I help people integrate the transformative experiences they have in altered states into their daily lives.

Growing up, I was a traveling pharmacy, so to speak. I took SSRIs, anti-anxiety pills, sleeping pills, to help and manage the depression and anxiety symptoms I had.

I suffered for many years and was also very young. I was finishing high school, going through my college years and still exploring what I wanted to be in the world and who I wanted to be in the world. I was also taking a bunch of pills and wasn\’t in my body in that process. It was very difficult.

For example, I remember my freshman year of college having a boyfriend. We were in this bubble of love but I was so out of it. I feel like I almost don\’t even remember the details of my relationship. The drug has numb the ups and downs of a human experience of love.

And so there was this moment where I was finishing college, and I was going to travel, and I was like, I want to be fully present when I travel. I want to be fully immersed. I\’m already well on my way to getting off antidepressants. I worked with a psychiatrist to do this. It\’s not like I just decided to go cold turkey.

So I went on a road trip, and basically went overland, starting from Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, in Argentina, to Quito, Ecuador. And I did most of that overland, over a period of eight months. It was amazing. There are so many different topographies: there\’s desert, there\’s mountains, there\’s beach, there\’s salt deserts, there\’s jungle.

I see other cultures and how they take care of themselves. I am seeing how these cultures are working with plant based medicines, natural medicines to help themselves, even if they are in pain or if they are bitten by a mosquito. They are working with plants to help them heal. And so I was really curious about this. How come we don\’t do that where I grew up in New York?

It was in Peru that I first heard about psychedelic wellness and knew I wasn\’t ready at the time, but that trip changed my life. It opened up the whole world to me.

I came back to the US and met this amazing community of people doing things differently. They have an alternative way of life. They were always talking about how they were feeling, and that\’s what I wanted to be in touch with the most. Not being in my head and not putting aside the uncomfortable things that were coming, and actually embracing them and making them a part of me, so that I grow and become wiser and better.

So when they expressed that they work with plant-based meds, psychedelics, non-psychedelics, all forms of plant-based meds, I wanted to give it a try. I was super scared. I was so nervous. But, even though I was nervous, I was ready. And I had no idea what was going to happen.

I had a profound ceremonial experience that essentially opened the door.

It wasn\’t easy, not at the beginning. It was these cyclical moments where I was in my body and not in my body, but when I wasn\’t in my body, I was watching myself. I was observing all the things that were happening in my life. So there\’s been a lot of conversations with myself, but in different ways so that we get all these different perspectives. And they are also conversations with nature, with animals and plants that exist within you, because you are nature, nature is you. So there\’s also this deep, deep sense of oneness with the world and the environment.

I was having a conversation with myself outside my body, and then I was right back in my body. And so when I came back, I came with all these tools and tricks and ideas to help arm me to become more myself. It gave me even more confidence in my body. It was this affirmation of the sacredness of my being in this world, as I am meant to be in this world. My body exists here now. Many people have this when they are actually in near-death experiences, but we don\’t have to go. It\’s such a kind and wonderful way to do it.

When I entered, I thought, it will be cause and effect. I will have this experience and I will be fine. But what it really did was set me on that path, because this is not a cure at all, but it showed me the rest of the paths that I didn\’t even know existed.

It wasn\’t until months later that I realized that moment is what increased my ability to feel the most. I was beginning to feel everything, all the emotions, all the sensations. It was like a transformation rocket. It showed me that I really had what it takes to find out the root causes of my problems and not just take a pill to treat the symptoms.

Believe in yourself. Take a moment to close your eyes and breathe, and be alone for a while in silence. What, who are you? How are you feeling? How does your body feel? For many of us, we can\’t even access it.

So, if someone even wants to try something like this, it simply starts with a deep trust in their body and stepping into it. And then when you go and work with plants then it\’s deeper. It\’s much deeper.

Amnda Efthimiou is the founder of Integra, which designs programs for hospitality retreat centers and wellness facilitators focused on altered states and transformational experiences. She is also the director of the El Puente Foundation, which connects indigenous wisdom to modern psychedelic applications.

You can followThe Daily Gatheringon Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you like to listen. Sign up for our newsletter and nominate someone to feature on the show.

#Amnda #Efthimiou #medicine

Leave a Comment