Book 47 of my 2017 Reading Challenge
read from July 27 - August 9
A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life by Ayelet Waldman
Summary (via Goodreads)
When a small vial arrives in her mailbox from "Lewis Carroll," Ayelet Waldman is at a low point. Her mood storms have become intolerably severe; she has tried nearly every medication possible; her husband and children are suffering with her. So she opens the vial, places two drops on her tongue, and joins the ranks of an underground but increasingly vocal group of scientists and civilians successfully using therapeutic microdoses of LSD. As Waldman charts her experience over the course of a month -- bursts of productivity, sleepless nights, a newfound sense of equanimity -- she also explores the history and mythology of LSD, the cutting-edge research into the drug, and the byzantine policies that control it.
Drawing on her experience as a federal public defender, and as the mother of teenagers, and her research into the therapeutic value of psychedelics, Waldman has produced a book that is eye-opening, often hilarious, and utterly enthralling.
This is the kind of book that I don't have much to say about before a person reads it. It's fairly clear what it's about so if you think you'll find it interesting, the author has a good writing style and you won't be disappointed. I do have reactions and thoughts that would only make sense to someone that's read it, so if anyone else reads it and would like to discuss, I'm game.
Although parts of her research dragged along, I still rated this book 4 stars because I really enjoy her writing style and have a lot in common with her personality-wise. I haven't struggled to the extent she has but I also have anxiety, chronic pain and fluctuating, bipolar like moods. I completely agreed with the sentence, "So exhilarating and fruitful were these [hypomanic] periods that I sometimes thought they were sufficient compensation for the other, dark side of the disease.", because that's my approach as well. I've taken medicine for anxiety and pain but as far as my moods go, I tolerate the lows because I get so much done on the highs and would only seek medicine if the lows became intolerable, which luckily they have not for me.
I don't understand how she is able to freely admit that she was using an illegal drug, both for this experiment and when she said her and her husband have used Ecstasy as a form of couples therapy in the past. It's not just her I wonder this about, I also feel this way when celebrities talk about it as well.
This book was well-thought out and interesting, both for her own personal experience and for the thoughts/research on the "War on Drugs" in general.
A Few Quotes from the Book
"But I was suffering. Worse, I was making the people around me suffer. I was in pain, and I was desperate, and it suddenly seemed like I had nothing to lose. I decided to try a one-month experiment...A single month out of fifty years. What harm - or what help - could there be in that?"
"Humans live forever on the Hedonic Treadmill; whatever our life experiences, whatever our transient miseries or joys, we eventually revert to a mood set-point that depends not on circumstance but on individual predisposition."