Trying "The Mushroom Cure" For OCD

Trying "The Mushroom Cure" For OCD

An interview with comedian Adam Strauss about his autobiographical, one-man show.
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Psychedelic mushrooms might be able to help those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

This is the premise of comedian Adam Strauss’ one-man show, The Mushroom Cure, which showed at Cherry Lane Theater in New York City this past summer.

The show is autobiographical, based on Strauss’ real struggles with this mental health condition. Strauss was diagnosed with OCD after a breakup in his late twenties, though he had been seeing therapists and trying medication for other diagnoses, such as generalized anxiety disorder and moodiness. “I grew up in Newton, Massachusetts which has, I don’t know if this is true, but it was always said that it has the highest per capita of psychiatrists for any city in the world,” Strauss says. “I wasn’t diagnosed with OCD until I had already been on medication for about 10 years. And the OCD didn’t even emerge as OCD until around that time.”

“I was on all sorts of medications for about 15 years and about 6 or 7 of those years were when I was specifically diagnosed with OCD,” Strauss explains. “I tried I think every SSRI that was on the market then. I tried benzodiazepines, I tried stuff that I don’t even know what class of medication it is, I tried everything.”

Strauss’ OCD was rooted in decision making, and he was desperate to find something that worked for him after not reacting that positively to all the medications he had tried. That’s when he found something online about the benefits of psychedelic mushrooms for people living with OCD, so he gave it a shot.

While the mushrooms didn’t entirely cure his OCD, he did find them to be beneficial and has become an advocate for advancing medical research of them. In fact, all the profits from The Mushroom Cure go to MAPS, a foundation that looks to make psychedelic medicine a legal treatment. “There’s a lot more research coming out now than there has been in the past few decades but there’s still only a trickle,” Strauss says. “[MAPS] annual budget is $4 million, whereas Pfizer spent $210 million last year just to market Cialis. So the amount of money going into research is infinitesimal compared to the amount that’s going into pharmaceuticals. As a result, stuff is received relatively slowly.”

Aside from the mushrooms, another thing that has helped Strauss cope with his OCD is a 12-step group called Obsessive Compulsive Anonymous. “In my mind that was at least as important as the psychedelics for me,” he says. “It’s a great resource for people with OCD. It’s free, they have phone meetings so you just call in. No one has to know you’re there, you don’t have to talk if you don’t want. I got a lot out of that, I still get a lot out of it.”

When it comes to representations of OCD, Strauss notices they tend to be trivialized. “On the one hand, OCD is viewed as a trivial thing - people saying ‘I’m so OCD I spent three hours cleaning my apartment this weekend just because my parents are coming.’ So it’s trivialized but on the other hand I think when people are really confronted with real, heavy duty OCD, it’s bizarre, it’s freakish, and it’s terrifying,” he explains. Additionally, many people also only assume OCD is about cleanliness rituals such as handwashing. As a matter of fact, he believes this is why he wasn’t diagnosed with the condition earlier on. “My experience, all the psychiatrists I saw did not diagnose me with OCD until I saw [the therapist mentioned in the play] and I think it’s because I didn’t have the stereotypical hand washing,” he says.

In terms of feedback Strauss has gotten, many people have approached him after the show because something in it resonated with them. “The people who talk to me, they’ve had some sort of experience that’s been powerful or real to them,” he says. “And that’s what I’m going for because I guess it’s sharing, really, I want to share my experience and have other people share with me as deeply as they can.”

Though the Cherry Lane showings of The Mushroom Cure have ended, Strauss hopes to continue to put on this play in other theaters, or even create a movie version of it. “Telling this story is the most important thing in my life, to put it bluntly,” Strauss says. “I want to keep telling this story to whoever wants to hear it, in whatever form I can, wherever I can.”
Cover Image Credit: Theater Pizzazz

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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Forget Halloween Costumes And Trick Or Treating, Inktober Has My Full Attention This Year

Inktober dares artists to push some time for themselves to draw at least one drawing each day in their October schedules.

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Besides waiting for October to celebrate Halloween, artists look forward to something else in October, which is Inktober.

Inktober means artists can draw things each day according to the month of October, under the requirement that they must be drawn in ink. Often times, many people will think it is a waste of time to draw during the month of October, but it's not for artists. Other than putting up costumes and preparing Halloween decorations, artists can try out ink for the first time if they have not done so already during this time of the year when drawing. Also, for ink, artists do not have to use expensive or any fancy ink at all, it can just be simply drawing with pens that have ink. And of course, artists need to draw on a paper to do Inktober as well.

In addition, this does not only challenge artists in drawing in ink but also their consistency and time management. Inktober is more fun if you actually do create one ink drawing each day in October. However, many people who are so busy with their lives, have the tendency of not able to have time to draw. Therefore, Inktober dares artists to push some time for themselves to draw at least one drawing each day in their October schedules.

Besides challenging artists for time management and consistency, it is also a time for artists to see and view other artists' Inktober drawings. This is also the best part. Artists will then can see many unique and beautiful Inktober drawings posted on social media such as Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram. Then, all the inspiration will be overflowing within the artists during the month of October. This is the perfect time to do Inktober because this October is a big hype for many Halloween festivities and film anniversaries. Artists will then be in touch with their creativity and imagination this October.

Furthermore, this year is the first time that I have tried Inktober, which is great to do in an hour or so. Although I was cluttered with lots of work and homework, I decided to take a little time off from them and give myself some time to draw a little to celebrate October. It is a perfect way to cope with stress. As I was drawing for Inktober, I already forgot what I was stressing about. Then, I was amazed by what I could draw with ink. After, when I am done with an Inktober, I will have the confidence to finish up my homework. Other than that, you will also be amazed by how your Inktober drawing turns out at the end and the reaction you will get after seeing the finished product of your Inktober drawing.

It's another fun activity that I insist artists should do this October because it's another way for artists to express themselves through drawing. I also encourage artists to hurry to do some of the Inktober because it only lasts only in October, which means one month. Overall, I am excited to see what kind of Inktober drawings there'll be for this year!

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