My motivations I got in touch with Harambe partly because ibogaine’s something I’d been wanting to experience for a long time for spiritual insight, and partly because I was in deep depression. I had arranged this years ago with another provider, which fell through, but I have met somebody who was treated by him before, and he said that if any of his friends gave up on their lives, he would really recommend it to them. As I was close to that point, his words got new significance to me.
Getting in touch I initially corresponded with Cathy, and we arranged my dates, my medical tests, and she advised me to take a week-long juice fast before the treatment. She later told me that she will be away during my treatment, and her husband Bilal will be with me. Bilal was a bit lousy with correspondence, and didn’t exactly put me at ease at first, but finally after spending a few hours at their house I felt reassured by his confidence.
His style of costumer care is not what you’re used to from Marks and Spencer, but he knew what he was doing and he took good care of me and has never overstepped any of my boundaries. I personally much prefer his extra casual style to those gentle-spoken hypocritically spiritual and enlightened people that you often find around psychedelics. Honestly, I was not 100% cool about giving my life in the hands of somebody I found online, but it reassured me that they allowed me to bring a friend, and Bilal even lent him his car so he could drive to town to do some shopping and look around.
The treatment at Harambe I took the magnesium salt drink that gave me the shits, Bilal explained that the point of this, and the juice fast is to create a clean slate for ibogaine. I was not allowed to drink during the treatment and the preceding hours, because any water makes you throw up, and when you throw up, it’s really violent, plus you lose any ibogaine left in you. This makes dosage difficult to keep track of, but Bilal does a good job managing it.
Bilal gave me a bunch of advice and reassurance to prepare me for what’s coming. He didn’t engage much in my story, like reasons to do this and the things I’ve seen, but I think he understood. I don’t know if this is his personal style or he felt that I don’t want to talk much, but I think it was a good thing, because I was engaging too much with my problems, and I didn’t need another person to enable me.
The treatment was in a room in the family home, so it’s very informal and no medical stuff like drips or heart monitor. I didn’t miss it that extra level of safety though. Although this was the most mentally and physically draining experience of my life, I never felt my health was in danger. The visions part of the treatment went like this: the first like 8 hours I was just seeing a lot of stuff. More than I can remember, but a lot. It was really intense, amazing, high frequency, and just exhausting to even witness.
In the meantime, I was conscious all along, but coordination of my body flew right out of the window, I wouldn’t have been able to as much as adjust my pillow. Bilal was next room and told me to call him when I need or want anything, and came in regularly to check on me even if I didn’t. Initially I thought I would feel more safer with somebody right next to me, but when I was in treatment, I understood there would be zero point to having somebody sit next to me, because this is a very internal journey.
My sensitivity to sound and light got incredibly heightened, and Bilal did a great job blocking out all the light, but not so much the sounds. Every noise sounded like it was coming through a big steel pipe pointed at my ear, so even whatever small noises of daily life would snap me out of whatever vision I was having, but the dog yapping away was really doing my head in. I entertained fantasies about kicking him across the valley, and laughed about how unenlightened that is. I didn’t see any particular point of a lot of my visions, and a lot of them were metaphors for things in my mind.
I got to see into my mind like never before, and at one point I could feel my true emotions and values (as in what’s important to me) without the distortion of thinking. The quiet part I was hoping to go deeper and have some breakthrough experience, and when the visions started wearing out, I started beating myself up over not having done so, then I just made the decision to stop thinking, and for the first time in my life I was able to do it COMPLETELY, for many hours. The next few days I could only think if I made a special effort, because my mind felt so exhausted.
Bilal said that this part is a lot more important than the vision stage, and that it matters a lot to stay in this quiet part for as long as possible, because this is what makes the most difference. I now really see why, because we think so much and even if we try, we can’t give ourselves much of a break from it, so several days are a miracle. When after coming home, friends have jokingly asked me if I’ve got enlightened, I said yes, but it’s passed It’s really good that Harambe gives the opportunity to stay for several days after the treatment, because having a space where you don’t have to deal with anything and force yourself to think is really essential to make most of the experience.
My life afterwards Although I didn’t have the kind of breakthrough or the afterglow I read about in many reviews, it really helped with my life. First of all, immediately I put the problem that was causing my depression into place: out of my life. I cannot say out of my mind, but I guess it’s normal, still it was a huge leap for me to be able to act in my own interest again, and stop wasting all my energy, so it flowed right back into my life. I am once again able to take part in my life, and cultivate the things that I really care about: friendships, my work, my health and learning things. As time passed, I noticed that I have changed in few ways. I didn’t become better or worse, but I became more me, I work a bit differently from before, and in a few respects different things sit right with me than before.