“Thank You For Today, and I Ask For The Gift of Tomorrow”
This episode is all about how we can use some really unique tools, like psychedelics, to overcome mental health challenges.
A Virginia native and Army veteran, Chase is a Virginia Commonwealth University alum, graduating from their Health, Physical Education, and Exercise Science undergraduate program in 2013. Having completed his MS in Health Promotion from American University in Washington, DC he also holds the following credentials: ACE Certified Health Coach and TRX Certified Suspension Trainer.
Living a life of wellness has always been a part of him – since growing up eating fresh food from his grandparents’ garden, played baseball throughout school, and enjoying time in the mountains surrounding his family’s southwest VA home. After six years of active duty, Chase was medically discharged from the military due to a string of injuries that ultimately required him to have bilateral reconstructive hip surgeries. After learning how to walk again, twice, exercise as medicine and healthy lifestyle modifications became his passion.
In this podcast, The Power of Psychedelics in Overcoming Trauma, we cover:
How health is not a matter of chance; instead, it is a matter of choice
There is always someone worse off than you; find gratitude in your situation
The connection between mental health and physical health
Tips to improve your mental wellbeing through therapeutic experiences
Ketamine: how this tool can be a rapid relief for massive mental health challenges
The power of psychedelics for curing mental health illnesses
Health Is Not A Matter of Chance; It’s A Matter of Choice
First and foremost, health has to be a choice. We have to choose that we want to maintain the level of health, emotional intelligence, mental, spiritual, physical strength, and wellness that we already have. Maintenance of what you have still takes work. When have you been in the maintenance stage of your health? Well, maintenance doesn’t mean you get to rest. Instead, maintenance means you are staying consistent. If you choose to maintain what you have and what you have worked for, it’s a choice. Beyond that, you don’t have to accept the cards you dealt. Instead, it would help if you chose to get back to your health.
Remember, Someone Else Has It Worse Than You
There is always someone else who has it worse than you. By other people showing up, it can empower you to show up. If you have a new diagnosis of a chronic illness, take five minutes and find someone with that exact diagnosis which is doing more than you are. For instance, Paralympic athletes choose to do more with the cards they are dealt. With every diagnosis, there is a way through it. The first step is to accept that there is a different way, and you have to take responsibility for yourself. Then, it would help if you practiced gratitude on your healing journey. Lastly, you need to take action steps.
The Challenges of Dealing With Your Mental Health Journey
Dealing with your mental health is more challenging than your physical health. Mental health is not as obvious on your journey to health. When you’re enduring an injury or an illness, it will get worse before it gets better. However, what you’re doing now is going to help you get strong in broken places. If you properly rehabilitate a broken bone, it will come back stronger than before. In addition, if you focus on the parts of yourself that have been traumatized, you will mentally come back more substantial on the other side. Allow yourself time and space to feel.
Improve Your Mental Wellbeing Through Therapeutic Experiences
Chase has been using recreationally but very intentionally a lot of therapeutic experiences. There’s a lot of biochemistry with certain plant medicines and psychedelics, but at its core, what Chase believes is happening is this incredible unlocking experience of the mind and the body’s ability to detach from the self. Consciousness is first and foremost out to protect us to keep us safe and away from any physical or mental harm. You don’t have to first go to plant medicine if you’re trying to heal from mental health challenges. Instead, breathwork can be something that gives you an out-of-body experience.
Ketamine: A Tool For Rapid Relief of Mental Health Challenges
Chase has gone through multiple ketamine-assisted psychotherapy sessions. All of his sessions were life-changing and profound experiences. It helps you detach from yourself. Chase has had multiple ego deaths. You can recognize the oneness through psychedelics and become much more at peace with death. With psychedelics, there is a tremendous sense of love. Our ordinary day-to-day consciousness doesn’t allow us to understand. Psychedelics helped Chase navigate grief, PTSD, anger, and sadness. Now, Chase is finally in the acceptance phase of grief after three sessions of ketamine.
Dr. Mindy You know, with what I really want, I think we can learn so much from each other stories. So I really want to bring this concept of PTSD into more conversations for humans of all backgrounds. And I think when we hear your story and we hear what you’ve been through, we actually see ourselves in that process. So why don’t we start with that, where tell us a little bit about your background, how you became so passionate about health and wellness, and especially, especially the mental health aspect?
Chase Chewning How did I become so passionate about health and wellness? Interesting question to start off with, you know, I really feel that it kind of found me It found me is really part two part one, I really feel like I was born into it, Mindy, I, I there’s a big debate of nature versus nurture, you know how well we are groomed or raised. I kind of was born into it, I feel very fortunate and lucky had a very strong foundation of quite literally being rooted I grew up with my grandparents with relatively medium sized family grew up in them literally the middle of nowhere, huge land, big farm garden. So we you know, we ate a lot of the food that we grew ourselves and sourced locally. And I was always outside playing running in the mountains with my brother and sister in the woods in the Crick, as we like to say Virginia. Moving playing sports. So living an active lifestyle, a well, lifestyle was kind of all I just started off life. Within the part two I was telling about was when life kind of knocked me down, like knocked me down in a big way, right around the ages, really 19 When I lost my father to a terminal illness, and that was kind of which we’re sure we’re going to get into with the mental health aspect. That was kind of the big, significant traumatic event in my life that I endured for 1012 years later. Yeah. And then about two years later, I suffered career ending injuries in the military in preparation for deployment. And when I’m getting medically discharged, in fact, the nature my injuries were so severe, I was medically retired, meaning the military deemed me Hey, not only are you broke, but you are beyond rehabilitation for our needs, our purposes here. And so I long story short, I went through bilateral reconstructive hip surgeries, had to learn how to walk again, twice, I spent almost my last year and a half in the military, a patient just in and out of rehab, the doctor’s office at home, just surgery, rehab, surgery rehab, then they kind of kicked me out quite literally. And it was during that time, I realized that this can’t be it. I don’t want to accept the cards, I don’t want to accept these injuries, I don’t want to accept this life that life has given me. And so I began to just study the human body a lot more. When I got out of the military, I studied exercise science, went to school, got some of my education benefits, and I fell in love with it. And so I say that wellness really kind of found me It found me by me being born into it. But then in my you know, 1921 22 year old self I was, you know, really broken by it mentally, emotionally and physically. And that kind of began the next chapter of my life.
Dr. Mindy You know, I resonate with your story. I was in college, I was a competitive tennis player, I played on a on a scholarship, and I was injured. And it was I don’t know if you had this experience, but I felt very much tossed aside because I was not physically able to do the job that they were at literally paid me for because they’re paying for my college. And that is a really, really tough place to be. Can you talk a little bit about that, because same thing for me is that it really opened my eyes to see that our physical health and our mental health are really intertwined. And when your physical health goes away, it plays tricks on the mental health, especially when you have something like the military, or like I had, you know, coaches telling me, You’re not good enough anymore. That’s really what they’re saying.
Chase Chewning Yeah. You know, it’s funny, the more and more I talk about this, and the more and more I’m asked about this story, and I reflect back on it, it the trauma of that experience and the weight of that experience, I realized more and more and more. And so it was something that honestly I didn’t fully process at the time, because I was just, I was still so young. I was 2021 years old when my initial injuries happened. And I was very lucky and I had been in the military active duty for three, four years at that time. And so I was just locked in on okay, what’s my what’s my order? What are the orders, what’s my mission? Okay, I can’t do this. I can’t do that. I can do this. I can do that. I was just so falling in line that even when I was broken, and they pulled me out of any deployment opportunity pulled me out of my unit entirely transplanted me units. Luckily, I was still stationed in the same city. I didn’t have to go too far. But they pulled me from my unit from my team, from my everything, put me over here with, you know, air quote here, special populations, when not to downplay that, not at all. I mean, we, that unit, the medical unit served a lot of burn victims, a lot of amputee victims, a lot of a lot of soldiers that were in dire need of rehabilitation, to maybe get back into their job, but just begin to get back into life. I say all that because that’s a lot to handle when you’re going through it. And when you’re going through it, you’re just so focused on in your case, the coaches, the team, the people saying, Hey, this is what you need to do, this is what you have to do, this is what you should do. In my case, it was that but it’s quite literally orders, I had no choice. But then after the fact, you’re like, Wait a second. I, you, you pulled me out of my team, you pulled me out of my world, I was put on hold my entire life, everything was put on hold, that has a lot of weight to it. And then not only after that, you told me I wasn’t good enough. And so much so that you ended my career and like thank you for your service. But move on to the next thing, soldier. And I’ve been out now I got out in 2009. I’ve been out now for what 12 years or so. And honestly, I’m still kind of unpacking what that meant. And the toll that it left. Because I didn’t have the skill set and have the emotional intelligence, I didn’t have a lot of things at the time to process that during,
Dr. Mindy yeah, it’s your identity. That’s the one thing that I really realized. And I had to come up with a new identity, because my identity was I’m a, I’m a collegiate tennis player. And now I’m not. And so I think that is probably what you went through and what a lot of people go through when all of a sudden their physical hurdles affect other aspects of their life that are, are, you know, making life more difficult than they need to be because they’re so physically depleted, or they have a chronic health problem. So how, what part of recreating your identity and finding the new version of Chase? And maybe you’re still doing it, but oh, how long did that take? And what what kind of mental procedure did you go through to be able to step into a different life?
Chase Chewning You know, I definitely think that I am still on the journey of discovering who is Chase, it’s, it’s this constant journey of going inward. Now I’m realizing more and more it’s going inward and less just reaching out for this thing is going to help me this thing’s gonna serve me this promotion, this relationship, this success, this, that and the other. It’s more and more nowadays. And I can say this with hindsight, you know? Yeah, you know, over a decade later, it’s just, I’ve been here all along. The next steps. The next questions, the next answers have been here all along. It’s just now I’m making time and space to go inward on that. But at first, I realized that if I rest here, and now odds are, I’m going to continue resting odds are I’m going to be these versions of myself that I saw in the not too distant future. And by that I mean, particularly soldiers, in my case, military members, in my case, broken people in my case, who were broken on the job, basically. We do get certain benefits, education, housing, pension, certain things like that. And I saw that, okay, I could have a life, like I could have a roof over my head, food in my belly, and live an adequate life. But I still saw a lot of these people, physically, emotionally, spiritually even broken. And I saw what that looked like. And I didn’t want that for myself. More importantly, I felt like my father and what he wanted for me in my life and what we wanted together for my life that didn’t fall into accordance with our mantra of this this family phrase of you know, move forward ever forward. And so when I separated I gave myself I was out for about, like three weeks out about three weeks of downtime or so before I enrolled in school, and and then I just started right away because I knew that I needed maybe was still the soldier in me probably it was, what’s the next mission? What’s the next objective? What’s the next task? And so I started in school, and I did it as a way honestly, selfishly I studied, like I said, exercise science. I got my bachelor’s of science, Exercise Science, let me learn the body. Let me truly learn the body to help myself. And then along the way, I realized that I just frickin love it. I found ways to just rehabilitate myself faster. I found ways to modify daily living, nutrition training. meaning, anatomy, physiology, exercise, programming all these things as it Wait a minute, not only is it a choice now that I don’t want to have to accept this life that the doctors told me that I couldn’t have, but I can build a whole new one. And so I kind of fell in love with health and fitness as an industry as a profession. And that’s how I got into coaching and training and, you know, then went to grad school and then worked in concierge medicine, and then, you know, kind of got into the whole health, fitness, wellness creator space. Yeah, it’s, it’s been one hell of a journey.
Dr. Mindy You know, what it reminds me of? Because I see a lot. I mean, obviously, different backgrounds, being in the military, and being a competitive athlete, totally different, but same kind of Taipei following orders. And I had to follow orders from the coaches, I just did whatever they told me to do it, you know, no doubt, yeah, you had no choice. They’re like, we’re paying your tuition. This is what you’ll do. But what’s interesting that I hear in your story, and I think so many people resonate with this is that when we’re in a stuck place with our health, the way we have been taught as a society is to go find the answer outside of us. So we dock shop, we go from dock to dock to dock, or we go to Dr. Google, and we start looking up all the explanations for why we’re feeling the way we are, and how can we fix it. But what I heard that you did, and this is exactly what I did, is go within and not go without and go okay, what do I need to fuel myself with right now? What kind of knowledge do I need to be able to pull my own self out of this current crisis? My one of my favorite new quotes is, knowledge is your fuel. And it’s something I’ve been using in the fasting world, because as I find people are more empowered on what is actually happening in their body, the more certainty they have with their health. So talk a little bit about your journey with understanding how to heal yourself, and how can we help the person that’s chronically stuck right now? And how what kind of steps can that person take to be able to empower themselves on their own healing journey?
Chase Chewning You know, I think you kind of said it, there many it first and foremost, it has to be a choice, we have to choose, we have to decide that we want to at least maintain the level of health the level of well being the level of emotional intelligence, mental, emotional, spiritual, physical strength, wellness that we already have. Because that in and of itself, is a choice, but also takes work, maintenance of what you have still takes work. How many I mean, how many times have you been in an airport here, maintenance phase, maybe with your your health, your physique, your training? I certainly have. And maintenance doesn’t mean you just get to rest on your laurels. Maintenance means, okay, I got to make sure that as many of these variables that are keeping me where I’m at stay consistent. And that isn’t just by luck, or happenstance. So even if you’re just choosing to maintain what you have, maybe what you’ve what you’ve worked for, up into that point, it’s a choice. And when you decide, that opens up your blinders, I think, to okay, if I’m choosing to keep this, what has gotten me here, I need to work on these things to maintain. And then beyond that, it’s, like I’ve said a couple times, you know, it’s I, I didn’t want to accept the cards that I were doing. And I know cepting No, no, because, because when you felt good, and you’ve moved your best, and you’ve had a good night’s sleep, and you’ve shown up to work, you’ve shown up to your relationship, you’ve shown up to your life, that your gym or whatever, if your kids, your family, at that level of being energized, and happy and fulfilled. And then when that’s taken away from you, it hurts, it hits home on a different level. And, and so instead of staying down there, and accepting that, it also has to be a choice of, I’m going to get back to that. And I’m going to then blow that out of the water. Because now it’s I need to get back to what I know I can feel I can what I know I can do. But you know what? Life boss, girlfriend, boyfriend job, you know, doctors, whoever that kind of said, Hey, no, you need to chill, you need to sit down. This is your new norm. Or maybe that’s even yourself. How often do we kind of say that to ourselves? I’m not worthy. I’m undeserving. I messed up, you know, I’ve fallen from grace so to speak. But we don’t have to accept that. You have to first choose you have to decide that you’re not going to accept that and when when you say that out loud, when you write it down and you think it and then just that first little part becomes becomes a reality. Because then your brain your consciousness, your your heart, your soul is already imagining Okay, well if I don’t accept this What do I accept? Right? What does that look like? What does that feel like, then you’re putting yourself on the path to, to kind of like finding the next stepping stone, find the next stepping stone. And then that’s exactly what I did. That’s exactly what I did. I put myself in the environment, the collegiate educational environment, but also around other people and resources. And every day was a choice for me. And every, every day, it needs to be a choice for the person listening, because the world, our people, our pets, our friends, our family, our co workers, a lot of them aren’t always in support of that. So every day, it’s a choice. But when you choose you every day, you’re choosing tomorrow, really, you’re choosing tomorrow, the life of your design as well.
Dr. Mindy So well said, The only challenge to that, and I 100% agree with you. And the only challenge to that that I find is when you are really stuck. It’s almost like you’re too close to your own situation. So it’s and this is I see this with people that I coach as well, it’s like they, they they have the desire to be well. But they’re so close to their symptoms are so close, they have all the words of every doctor told them they couldn’t do something or all the fancy diagnoses that they’ve been given all the prognoses they’ve been given that it’s, it’s like they’re in quicksand, and they can’t get out. So talk a little bit about I love that you immerse yourself in knowledge, but how do what’s that first momentum switch that needs to happen for people to be able to unwind that identity of being a chronically sick person?
Chase Chewning You know, I’ll answer that. In the way, I think that I experienced it. And I’m wondering if someone else can relate. There is always someone else who has it worse than you. Mm hmm. When I was in that med hold unit, and I give myself credit. Now over the last few years, I’ve begun to finally give myself credit for what I endured and what I went through losing the career that I had set out for myself losing the ability to walk for months on end losing a lot in my life. I looked around at the men and women that were seated, standing, wheeling up next to me, in this medical hold unit, whenever we did have a formation, it was a very unique situation. And what I went through sucked, and it hurt, and it was miserable. And it was not my plan at all. But when I would look to the left, and to the right of me and I would see other soldiers coming up in crutches, and wheelchairs, head to toe burns, missing arms and limbs. I was like, You know what, like, this sucks Chase. But that has probably got to sting a little bit more. And I just I get so emotional, because I get so grateful for what, what those soldiers and what all those other people went through clearly physically was more horrendous than my own, I’m assuming, but by them showing up empowered me to choose to show up and to just accept the fact that I didn’t have to accept this, you know, like, what I’m going through is not fun. It’s not ideal. But there is someone who has it worse, and they’re still showing up. So what I don’t maybe someone’s going through, you’ve got a new diagnosis of Hashimotos, maybe you’re diabetic, maybe you’re insulin resistant, maybe what insert any acute or chronic illness disease injury here, take five minutes out of the pity party you’re giving yourself right now. And go online, go to Google, look at a magazine, find someone with that exact same diagnosis with that exact same injury, who is at least doing what you want to do what you’re doing now, if not even more, look at Paralympic athletes look at all these people out there who are not choosing to, to keep the cards that were dealt, but to rather make the obstacle, the way and impediment to action is advancing action. And they’re just not accepting it. There is a way around it. There’s a way through it.
Dr. Mindy I love that. And what I’ve gleaned so far from everything you’ve said is the first step if you’re stuck with your health, is to accept that there is a different way you got to you got to take responsibility and find a different way. And then be grateful that I think gratitude shows up. That’s the actually the theme of our podcast this year. And it’s so common for us to look at somebody else and see that they look perfect, and we’re not. And gratitude gets especially in 2020 and 2021. I felt like gratitude was completely lost off this planet. So I love that that gratitude was part of your healing journey. Yeah. And then the third step, I would say and I’m curious if this is what you did, is then you probably created action steps and that’s what happened in the knowledge. And so can you talk a little bit about okay, you didn’t Except you created gratitude, and then you went to work. And my guess is you probably had to do physical work on your health, and you had to do mental work on your health. Talk to us a little bit about what that look like.
Chase Chewning Well, the physical aspect for my health, again, unique to my situation, I kinda was taken care of, you know, I had mandatory but you know, I had multiple physical therapy, rehabilitation pull therapy sessions to go to each week, and you know, if someone’s going through an illness or injury, I’m sure you have something similar. Or I would at least recommend it. Yeah. But when it comes to the mental aspect, I, I just dove into the books, honestly, I mean, I was stuck at home for a long time. And as you know, if I’m not going to accept this, and I want to change it, it being my body, it being my health, my wellness, what is going on in my body? What is physiology, what is nutrition, and so I’ll never forget, the very first book I ever got, that kind of was the Pandora’s box for me was you the owner’s manual, by Dr. Oz and had a co author, I believe, and it was just this incredible high level understanding of, here’s all here, all the systems in your body, here’s how digestion works, metabolism, you know, physiology here, here’s anatomy, here are things you can do to understand it and apply it. And then so, in order to change anything with my body, my situation, I needed to understand my body and my situation. And this can be a slippery slope for a lot of people, you know, diving into WebMD, or Google university can be so true, there’s so much out there, there’s a lot of misinformation, you know, dive into you understand you, but through credible resources, do your due diligence. But no matter what I mean, just gathering information to start is a really, really good place. And what that did, for me a couple different things it gave me It showed me what I could do, there wasn’t really hardly anything for a long time, I could do physically other than rehab and, you know, lay in bed and recover. But I could do something. And so I could read, I could study the internet, I could take these online courses, I could do a lot of things. And that was just using, you know, my upper body, and then my brain. And so that what that does, that helps give you momentum and confidence of something that you can do instead of focusing on what you can’t do or what you’ve lost, or could have showed up. And then also allow a lot of time with myself. And I hadn’t been just with myself in a very long time. And I think especially when going through an illness or an injury, we find ourselves with ourselves more often. Because we’re thinking more, we’re feeling more, or maybe like I did for a long time, these thoughts and emotions come up, and then we actively suppress them. You know, I don’t you know, I don’t have time for this pain, I don’t have time for that. I don’t want to feel sad, I don’t want to feel depressed. And so we just instead of enduring it and processing it or even getting help, we suppress it, we shove it down. And I did that for a very, very long time. I’m here to tell you. Personally speaking after about a decade, it radically reared its ugly head, changed my health for the worst PTSD, popped up, suffered panic attacks, almost to the point of back into the hospital. And so that suppression, while I thought I was focusing more on my real rehabilitation physically and I was over it, it was only a matter of time before it came back up. And so the initial work that I did mentally and emotionally showed me that it wasn’t enough. And so I was quite literally forced to have to face it again. So all the work that I did initially, to understand the body and to focus on what I could do. Well, I missed the mark a little bit. I was only focusing on one part of me. And of course, I don’t think anybody would blame me. Why wouldn’t you study the body Chase, your body was broken. But my mind my heart, my soul went through significant traumas as well. Loss of identity, losing the career, I’d set out, burying my father at age 19. Having just all of these large life events hit me. And while it didn’t show up or didn’t look as obvious as my physical scars, they were still there. And it was only a matter of time before they came back up again. And I wound up having to really face them, get professional, help open back up to myself open back up to my friends, my family, and to finally honestly grieve and to finally process that trauma and to make my mental and emotional health as much of a priority as I have been my physical self for the last decade.
Dr. Mindy Yeah, I again, I’m just gonna say I resonate with what you’re saying so much. Because I see this as as I’ve been working to help people back on to their healing journey, that when their health comes back on track their physical body, they’re left to deal with the mental part. And that is I’m gonna say that much harder than the physical part would you not,
Chase Chewning it’s the less obvious, it’s the less obvious, it’s the less sexy, it’s the less norm, which, you know, maybe to a certain degree, I do think this type of work is becoming more of the norm. I think a lot of people like yourself, or are prioritizing this work in yourself and with your clients and your content. But it’s, um, it’s not as obvious in the beginning. No, and it’s not as fun because you know, we can, we can relate. It’s not as fun, it hurts even just, it, it’s like, you know, this is going to hurt to go through it to make the hurt stop. But it’s the same thing in rehabilitation. Same thing, when in during an injury or illness. Oftentimes, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. You need to become, if you think about this, that what you’re doing now is to help you get Strong at the Broken Places. A bone when you break it, when you properly rehabilitate, it comes back even stronger than what it was before. Because it has rehabilitated the muscles, the ligaments, the body, everything around, it has become reinforced. It’s like this repetitive cycle with the body, but also the mental, the emotional self are just the same. If we focus on the parts of us that have been traumatized, that you know, we have suffered mental emotional, spiritual, anguish, pain, suffering, trauma, big T, little T whatever, lived through it and endure it. Honestly, if I could boil it all down to why am I mental emotional health wasn’t as successful then as my physical self. And why it is now is because then, when I was going through it all, I didn’t allow myself the time, the space to feel it was suppression of suppression of suppression was I’m not, I don’t want to feel these things. I’m not allowed to feel these things. I’m not supposed to feel these things. I’m not supposed to talk about it. I’m not supposed to share it. But these emotions are there for a reason. They’re not just flukes, they’re not just random things, just like if you go to touch something, you reach out for something, and it’s piping hot, you have sensors on your body to tell you, Hey, don’t do that. The same thing with emotions, these are our less obvious sensors, it is still an input mechanism for us to like, process it in our brain of hey, something here is a trigger for me something here is hot, something here is cold. And so if we can just instead of shutting it off, and just allow it to run its course like is this pain is this sorrow? Like where my body where my throat in my stomach? And where’s this showing up in my life? What does it actually feel like? Is this a happy, sad, sad, sad? Am I crying? Is there a memory associated to this, there are all lessons and clues embedded into the emotions that come up that are just more often than not too uncomfortable and too painful. So we shut them down. Yeah, but we’re also shutting down these clues and these hints, to better mental health to better emotional health to better process it. And now I can honestly say, I get through it so much quicker when something upsets me or I have a trigger that takes me back to the death of my father or back to the traumatic event of my injuries or back to any painful, sorrowful time. I can just okay, let me just go through it, I can go through it. Here’s the lesson. Here’s the memory. Here’s, here’s what I need to work on. And it’s just over that much quicker. Now, again, this has many, many years of work. But But still, I think emotions when they first pop up, we’re too quick to suppress them and too quick to shun them. When in reality we should be. I don’t know if welcoming is the right word, but just more accepting of being in their presence so that we can learn with them what we need to learn to make our mental self better. And even to make our physical self better. I can also tell you, a lot of times when I’ve gone through a lot of the work myself with a therapist, even going through psychedelic assisted psychotherapy is when I have a mental and emotional breakthrough. Several times I have felt this tremendous release from my body just this energy leave my body. I kid you not the next day I go into the gym and I’m moving quicker. I’m stronger. These areas of my body that I used to think were major weaknesses. I’m no longer concerned about to a certain degree. But you know, the Body Keeps the Score, like they say and when we can work on both the body and the mind, the heart and the soul, the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and get all of these parts of our wellness working in synchronicity together. They will all come back and service together. I believe that’s what I found.
Dr. Mindy Yeah, so beautifully said. Talk a little bit about what you’ve done. You talked about psychedelic assisted therapy that has showed up on several of my podcasts. I’m actually quite fascinated by it right now, because two of my podcast guests, Sarah Godfried, who’s a Harvard trained OB, Austin pro mother, who’s a, you know, neurologist, when I brought up the idea of using either plant medicine or psychedelics, for processing traumas, they both were like, Absolutely, it is the way and we need to start to embrace it, and it was a whack on the side of the head. So talk a little bit about how you use that and other tools so that as people are listening, if they’re resonating with what you’re saying, what do we have, I mean, we have everything from go to your clinical psychologist to psychedelic assisted therapy to EFT to EMDR. I mean, there’s, there’s a lot you can do. And maybe you did more than just one thing. So talk a little bit about how you engaged in that process of healing.
Chase Chewning Yeah, I have done quite a few things. I still say I’m relatively new to the plant medicine, psychedelic therapy, psychedelics in general space, about a year and a half. Now, I’ve been using recreationally but very intentionally in a lot of therapeutic experiences. But let me caveat first by saying At its core, me personally, what I feel what is going on. Besides there’s a lot of biochemistry with certain plant medicines, certain psychedelics, but at its core, what I believe is happening that is this incredible unlocking experience of the mind and the body is the ability to detach from the self is the ability to introduce some form of altered state of consciousness, because consciousness is first and foremost out to protect us to keep us safe and away from any harm both physical or mental, emotional. And so you don’t have to just first go to plant medicine, you’re sharing a lot of other modalities. I first had my very, my very first out of body experience, significant altered state of consciousness experience that helped my mental health, just by breathwork, I was attending a breathwork class. And it was about 1012 minutes in Long story short, had an out of body experience. I was with my dying father in the hospital, and finally got that last goodbye that I never got, because he was unable to say it, just through the power of breath, and changing my own biochemistry, changing the oxygenation of my blood just through changing my breathing pattern. Amazing. Amazing. And then since then, I’ve gone through multiple ketamine assisted psychotherapy sessions. So going to a clinic, getting back working with a therapist, we do therapy, first, integration period, and then ketamine therapy. I’ve had three sessions, all life changing, profound experiences, just completely ineffable, and anybody listening maybe who has had a psychedelic experience like this, or particularly ketamine, it’s like, you know, and it just, it helps you detach from yourself, I had multiple ego deaths in terms of quite literally died separated from my body, and then you become much more at peace with death, you recognize the oneness, and connectedness to all and everything and everyone. So there’s just this complete sense of all in love that I think if I had a little bit of a before, I have a lot of it now.
And just helping me understand so much more that I feel like in our normal day to day consciousness, we can understand or we choose not to understand or it’s just too much to sit and think about. Ketamine has helped me profoundly I’ve had multiple reconnections with my father, it has opened me up. Honestly, my intention going into ketamine assisted psychotherapy was to really work through the trauma and to go through my diagnosed PTSD around his death. Because it had been 17 years since he passed away, Andy, and I still feel felt like I have not grieved, I’m stuck in that just unaccepting and kind of anger and sadness. And in three sessions, I can honestly tell you 17 years later, of watching my father die a horrible terminal illness. I am now finally into the acceptance phase of grief. Amazing. And how powerful is that? Just in three sessions. I feel like I’ve gotten so much of my life back. Yep. And anybody who’s gone through a traumatic loss to know that you know, that you can get into acceptance phase of grief, you get so much of your life back, you just get so much worry gone, you’re able to look at the past as the past and not stay so painfully tethered, or at least that’s my experience. And then beyond that I’ve used MDMA and psilocybin, psilocybin is probably I would say, the the plant medicine that has given me the most therapeutic benefits in terms of that experience I was telling you about earlier before of having this mental and emotional realization during a session and And then feeling that energy leave my body, all of my prior injuries all of my midsection, my back, my hamstring, my hips, and a about a three gram session. I was just thinking about it, I was reliving that trauma and I was finally just letting I was letting that version of me letting that young soldier Chase let go of that identity loss and just say, You know what, it’s okay. You had a plan, but this is your life. Now. It’s all served you you’re here your loved you are safe, you can let that go. And as I did, I was thinking about it, I felt just this energy, just this, this force from my hips, my entire midsection, just leave my body. It’s almost it just became like this beam of light that just kind of like just like, it’s like my body finally took this breath of air, it exhaled. Like it’s been inhaling holding its breath for 20 years. And that was the time the next day I literally went to the gym, and I’m repping out weight that I normally only able us to do for like one set one rep. And I just felt free, my body was moving and just there was something to it. Psilocybin for me has been my absolute favorite. I’ve had profound physical benefits. I’ve had multiple experiences, revisiting conversations and revisiting past versions of myself and visiting my father. And then at the end of that experience, the end of that two, three hour experience. I personally feel like I’ve gotten to three years of therapy, because there’s so much that goes on in there with ketamine and psilocybin, that gets you out of ego that gets you out of your current state of consciousness. There’s a lot of unique biochemistry, it leads to new neurons firing, it leads to nitro Genesis can have all these things happening. Yeah, exactly. And it’s not a one and done. So you’re literally going through brain changing experiences that help you see and process things then and they’re in a powerful, unique light. But then you get to keep that new version of yourself when you walk away,
Dr. Mindy which is so different than traditional therapy, where you’re kind of beaten the dead horse. I’m not saying that, like that is not good. But I have found just in studying mindset for so many years, that I don’t want to sit and talk about it over and over and over again. And what I just came to on psilocybin specifically but micro dosing plant medicine, I’m ketamine fascinates me, like I’m opening my mind to this more, but I have to go to the science to help me understand why does this work. And what I found is exactly what you just said is it’s creating new neurons. I like to call them baby neurons. They’re like baby neurons that get formed, and then you have a fresh start, you have a way of seeing things differently. The challenge that we have right now is that we tend to think of these things as we kind of trip back into the 70s. And we’re like, oh, no, this is what the hippies did. Or we worry that there’s a stigma. Yeah, we worry, there’s gonna be some I’m gonna go crazy, the Timothy Leary kind of ideas. But I feel like plant medicine and psychedelics for traumas, and overcoming mental hurdles is absolutely on the forefront of solving so many mental health problems.
Chase Chewning I’m with you. I think I personally think psychedelic and particularly psychedelic assisted psychotherapy, psychedelic psychedelic assisted therapies. In Me personally, psilocybin, the tip of the spear when it comes to treating and I think we’re not far off from I’m gonna say my words here curing certain mental health illnesses. So many studies coming out of Johns Hopkins, the Veterans Affairs Department of using, particularly psilocybin, but also MDMA and ketamine, and soldiers, sailors, airmen, veterans, people who just suffered major, major traumas in their life, are going through these modalities. And not only because that experience is so unique, but because of the unique neurons firing and neurogenesis being created. They’re now able to go back into a new baseline. They’re getting their life back. And many, many are even reporting that like, it’s no longer even a diagnosis of PTSD. Yeah. And it’s so unique there too, is when we’re talking neurogenesis and increasing the neuroplasticity of your brain that has a lot of other unique long term benefits that I think we’re now beginning to look at is correlation. But pay attention to science for many years, I think we’re going to be seeing what happens we know when you have more neurons firing or old front and old neurons finally firing again, reduce inflammation in the brain. What does that lead to? Well, we know increase inflammation in the brain is the root cause or the root correlation. We’re looking at Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neurological diseases. So a lot of these things like psilocybin, even functional mushrooms, like Lion’s Mane things that can still cross the blood brain barrier, lead to neurogenesis are being looked at and studied for prevention, and even slowing down and reversing things such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. So not only you’re doing the emotional work, but you’re actually increasing your brain’s health and possibly thwarting off even future disease.
Dr. Mindy Yeah, I think it’s fascinating that you can have the aha experience in the middle of actually taking a psychedelic, and it’s not like alcohol or other drugs where the next day you’re gonna have to suffer the consequence. It’s, it’s actually the opposite, because now you have all these, again, I’m going to lovingly call them baby neurons, you have all these baby neurons that just like all of a sudden are there for you to start to think new thoughts, whereas without those, to your point, neurogenesis without that, you’re having to try to undo the old thought. And that’s hard.
Chase Chewning It’s possible, and it’s hard. But, I mean, why not use? Why not at least consider why not look at the efficacy of these modalities of these substances? And, and particularly, I mean, we’ve been using ketamine for decades. Now. It’s FDA approved, it’s federally legal in the clinical environment, of course, and it’s honestly, if you’ve had any kind of surgery, you’ve gone under anesthesia, you’ve been on ketamine. You just didn’t know it. Yeah. And you know, and then look at psilocybin again, I mean, over 60% of the DNA of psilocybin we share. So over 60% of the DNA between a fungi, something that occurs naturally in mother nature, and US, over half is the same DNA makeup. So no wonder there’s this unique lock and key mechanism going on. We’ve been living symbiotically with this stuff for eons. You know, but we’ve, because of history, because of stigma, because of a lot of things. We’ve had this hard separation for many decades now. But thankfully, the conversations such like this, and people who are brave enough to, to, to do the work themselves through these unique modalities, and then share it. I mean, that’s the only reason I’m here because of studying it from afar, talking to trusted resources and talking to people who I feel have a similar story like mine, so that I can see myself in them. More importantly, I can see myself in their pain. But now I can see myself in their healing. And I would much rather be on the other side with them and healing than the pain.
Dr. Mindy Yeah, I again, I went down and start researching this because my my science brain really wanted to understand it. And what I found was that and you may already know this, that they’re one of the ways that psilocybin creates this neurogenesis is by tapping into a very specific serotonin receptor site on neurons. And once it goes in through that receptor site, it actually up regulates BDNF, which is brain fertilizer, and now you have all these new neurons form. Well, then my functional brain went to well, gosh, so many people are serotonin depleted. I mean, this is why we have so many people on SSRIs
Chase Chewning Okay, so many people with clinical clinical diagnose depression, what’s going on there significantly lowered serotonin levels, right.
Dr. Mindy And but then you go, Okay, well, we’re serotonin made, serotonin is made in the gut. Okay, well, what’s going on with everybody’s guide? Well, too much too many antibiotics too much crappy food, a too much stress, like the poor microbiome of the gut, it has no chance to make enough serotonin. And then if without enough serotonin, you’re not fulfilling this receptor site, you’re low and BDNF, leading to anxiety leading to depression. And you go into a plant medicine experience or a psychedelic experience like you did in in a very assisted way. And you have now access the brain in a chemical way that is almost near impossible to access unless you’ve got yourself the perfect microbiome of the guy.
Chase Chewning Which if you do, please let us know. I would know what you’re doing. I mean, I’m working on mine constantly. But yeah, absolutely. And that’s the one little caveat there. It’s unique. You say you know about the gut and serotonin. Some people will report I’ve had this sometimes not not regularly have mild nausea when you’re using psilocybin or even MDMA, because that’s what’s going on. You have this massive influx of creation and stimulation of serotonin that’s all going down in your gut. So quick little caveat there for people just to be mindful of should you choose to go down that path?
Dr. Mindy So how do you find some of these places because that’s the other. The unfortunate part is that we villainized it so you know how and then also, you know, how do we do it in a setting a controlled setting that is helpful to us. I know there are clinics here in America that are popping up that will you can just make an appointment and go in but how did you start that journey? Was it in your Home was it through a therapist,
Chase Chewning it was like all the above. But to answer chronologically how I started my journey, I was in a very safe container will say I was at an event with friends, peers, family members, you know, people that I knew and trusted, and it was a recreational experience. And MDMA was there and I was offered it, and I took it. And container being the key word safe, trusted container safe, trusted space set and setting you’re gonna always hear the more you look into psychedelic use, and had a very profound experience. And then after that, it was really looking at okay, sourcing it but also where, when am I going to use it? How am I going to use it because that was really the big disclaimer, I’ll say in really all psychedelic literature studies or even personal experiences where you want to be somewhere, you know, be with people, you know, be very safe. You know, you want to basically you want to stack conditions in your favor as much as possible. So unique to ketamine. I’ve never, I’ve never done ketamine recreationally or outside of a clinic. There’s they got them all over the US and now Canada and I think Amsterdam as well. I chose to go through field trip health field trip. Hello, that’s, I’ve heard that I heard that one. Okay, go for it. That’s where I went with ketamine. I’ve been following them for quite some time and full disclosure. Now my wife actually is there the LA clinic manager and Family Nurse Practitioner for field trip health here. But I had been in pursuit and studying field trip health long before she ever worked there. Now it’s just cool. So she actually was one that injected me with ketamine Have a nice trip, baby. And so it’s pretty cool person. It’s pretty cool to have that experience with my wife. So what there for me there’s no other trusted, more trusted setting than being there with my wife. Yeah. But so I was looking to like who who was pioneering the researcher who’s just providing education and research and you know, who do I know is going to these other facilities, so kind of word of mouth, but also looking at the science. Due diligence is huge. You know, anytime you’re gonna change anything in your diet or nutrition or medication, especially now with looking at psychedelics, it needs to be writing needs to be safe and you need you owe it to yourself to do that due diligence. Like I said, ketamine is FDA approved, it’s legal, you can go to these clinics, I use field trip health, you can go to other ketamine clinics, I, I would recommend someone to go the ketamine assisted or psychedelic assisted psychotherapy route. So you get therapy, you get integration, you get the container. There are a lot of ketamine clinics opening up now towards literally just walk in, they stick with an IB, they walk out, you do your thing, you have your trip. And I’m not saying that you can’t have a profound or unique or even enjoyable experience that way. But it’s like you’re leaving so much on the table. Yep, the therapy, the integration, the whole experience or surrounding that the mental, emotional and spiritual work surrounding that is going to truly maximize the efficacy and maximize their time. On your journey. Right here the United States, there are now many cities and states becoming more and more decriminalized in terms of psilocybin and MDMA. Seattle, I believe now is the first in the United States, I believe that it’s legal for 21 and up Washington State, excuse me, Oregon, I believe in Washington state as a whole are looking at making it legal as well. I think they’re gonna be the first states. But I mean, when we’re talking about technically federally illegal substances and some of these cases, to say it correctly, you got to know a guy,
Dr. Mindy right? You got to know somebody who knows somebody. And that’s where the scary part comes in. Which is why I love what field trip health is doing. Because I think if we can do it in a contained way, I think it will make everybody feel a little bit safer and it will feel a little more like it is therapeutic. It’s not just some you know, LSD trip you take and then all of a sudden, you know, your life changes. I think that’s hard for people to wrap their head around
Chase Chewning a couple platforms like them if you’re just looking for research and looking for anywhere that I would recommend to go to look to study to find resources to find even application, field trip health. I love the information they put out. I think it’s just field trip health.com via clinics all over also, I’m a big fan of maps. It’s the I always forget to accurate it’s an acronym, multi, multidisciplinary, a something of psychedelic Sciences. I’m butchering that as much as I love maps, but they’re just a really, really great trusted resource of current scientific and personal evidence. What’s going on in the psychedelic space, where it’s becoming decriminalized, legalized, you know, nationally, internationally, all that stuff?
Dr. Mindy The other One that I started researching is third wave.com. Yes, yeah, he’s got really good information on on his website as well.
Chase Chewning Yeah, it’s yeah, I just figured it out. I looked at it real quick, I cheated Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies as maps, it’s maps.org.
Dr. Mindy And we’ll put, we’ll put the links in our notes. So I mean, just so you all know, like, Jason, I have no investment other than I guess your wife is the clinic director. But
Chase Chewning I was a fan long before she ever was there. I just
Dr. Mindy think it’s really exciting. And I feel like there’s paradigms breaking apart from the pandemic, there’s, there’s the paradigm that we had to work at home, or work in a brick and mortar store, or in an office setting. And now everybody’s like, I can go wherever I want, I can move any place I want to go, which is really cool. I feel like I don’t know if you feel like this. But I feel like there’s a paradigm of I’m living in my own world, and this is my stuff. And that has been broken apart to I don’t want to be isolated. I want relationships to be at the forefront of building myself a happy life. And then I also feel like the paradigm of health is breaking apart, we have that, gosh, take the pill and everything goes away. And we realize maybe that’s not the answer. So would you say that things like ketamine clinics and what we’re understanding about psilocybin, that this is really at the beginning of a paradigm that has been broken and a new paradigm is forming.
Chase Chewning So well said absolutely, yes. And I think anybody that chooses to go down this route, and has even just the smallest little psychedelic experience of this, this oneness that we so many of us talk about that we experience, you realize that we are creatures, we are individuals, small, little tiny component creatures to a much bigger system, and the system must work together, ie we must be contributing to it. Yeah, there is this, this experience that you will have most likely of oneness of connectedness that makes you realize, we are not meant to be isolated, we are not meant to be alone. In fact, if we are isolated, if we are alone long enough, we will suffer physically, we will suffer mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and the big picture begins to slow down as well as this connection that once you have will never leave you and it has awarded me after these experiences, such higher levels of empathy, of dropping judgment, hell of even dropping road rage, it sounds so cliche, but you know, when someone do you live in LA,
Dr. Mindy it is to get round.
Chase Chewning But now it’s just it’s there’s so much more empathy and sympathy involved with these other experiences. Because we just dropped judgment, you drop ego, and you’re much more quickly able to see other people as another human being, instead of just somebody or something, you know, affecting my day, which, you know, you’re right and entitled to feel that way. But you know, it makes you realize, helps you understand really what matters. And, and also the end of that, like we all matter. And we all need to be here working together. And these experiences even through you know, altered states of consciousness, such as breath work and, and other modalities, it can happen, it can happen pretty quickly.
Dr. Mindy So beautifully said, I had a conversation for another time, but I had a near death experience in my early 30s That gave me that same awareness. And I said that as well. Yeah, yeah, the two weeks after that experience were some of the most profound weeks of my life because I that sense of oneness, the sense of purpose, the sense of gratitude that oh my gosh, I almost wasn’t here. And then life alters it, you know, and all of a sudden you lose it and and you can’t grasp it as much. So I’m really excited about because it was like a window into like, what was possible for my heart to feel and and i didn’t i If I could go back and recreate the gratitude I had at that moment. That would be really cool. It just, it just life got in the way and I lost it.
Chase Chewning And that’s it. Mindy, what you just said the brain in the heart for me psychedelics in this type of work in this type of integration around psychedelic and plant medicine for therapeutic benefit. Even recreational honestly, it is the connection piece it is the tool there to help finally connect the head and the heart. It connects the head and the heart in ways I personally have never experienced. But now there is a permanent bridge more than just the vagus nerve right connecting the head and the gut there. But there is this connection where I feel the two are finally working for each other with each other So many times we think we need to live in Act and work out of logic and reason to be head driven, and suppress and ignore the gut or suppress it ignore the heart or intuition. But now I have a much, much clearer understanding of when I need to let the head or the heart drive. More often than not, I need to let them help them come back together. And that’s what psychedelics have really done its bridge to the connection between the head and the heart.
Dr. Mindy Yes, that’s beautiful. I love it. Well, thank you for sharing your story. I’d you know, I think a lot of us as we’re starting to understand more on psychedelics more on on micro dosing, it’s, it’s, it’s so taboo that it’s kind of hard to share. And I think the more we share it, and we explain the science behind it, it opens people note, no pun intended, but you’re opening people’s mind to be able to see this as an incredible tool for healing.
Chase Chewning And one other thing I’ll say to the healing and science, you said micro dosing there last year actually went through a month long micro dosing psilocybin protocol, and did a lot of things. Memory, cognition, energy focus, but beyond that, no tracking on whoop, I’ve been using my whoop for two and a half years, I’d used it about two years, almost two years before that experience during that month, and now ever since that psilocybin microdose, increased my HRV 40% In a state elevated. So not only did I have mental emotional benefits, but physiological ones as well, psilocybin quite literally changed my body. And again, like the neurogenesis it didn’t happen, just went off and done. My HRV. My biomarkers are this in tracks now. 40% higher than before.
Dr. Mindy Yeah. And when we can see that statistics or data, that’s hard data. That’s amazing. Wow. Well, I again, this is my new fascination every every year, I have like, one or two things I want to study. And this year, it was plant medicine, psychedelics, because Sarah Godfrey, just, and Austin Perlmutter, I have to give them both the credit, they really opened my eyes to want to look at this differently. So I just love it. And I could talk for hours, like offline. Point. Yeah. But let’s finish up with this. So we decided this year, this is our third season of the recenter podcast. And we usually ask a question at the end. And each year, it’s a little different. So this year, it’s gratitude. We’re really focused on gratitude. So two questions I have for you. One, what does a daily gratitude practice look like for you? And two, what is something today in 2021, that you’re massively grateful for?
Chase Chewning My daily gratitude practices, besides maybe when certain things come up new unique things that I absolutely need to be grateful for right then and there. Actually, for a while now, I’ve had this little quick phrase that I say to myself at the end of every night, right before I close my eyes, and I’m a big sleep health fanatic. So I put on my sleep, my eye mask and my white noise machine. I simply just say out loud, I think, internally, thank you for today. And I asked for the gift of tomorrow. Call it a mantra, call it a prayer, whatever it just, it just puts me in that gratitude mindset going to bed. And then I’m automatically aware of gratitude when I wake up the next day as well. Yeah. And then forgive me the second question.
Dr. Mindy The second was something specific that you’re grateful, whether it’s in your life or in the world, that you’re really grateful for in this moment.
Chase Chewning To kind of put a big bow on our entire conversation and talking about the power of the power necessity of prioritizing your mental health, working through emotional traumas and my experience PTSD. This year, I have finally wholeheartedly gotten to a place of gratitude for all of my loss of the physical traumas I went through at a young age, I am grateful for the gifts that I’ve received from my father dying, which sounds very, very weird to say out loud, but anybody who is struggling in your mental health struggling with PTSD, I can tell you, I can promise you on the other side of this work, is gratitude in his gratitude for these things that are possibly wreaking havoc on your life that are deviating you from where you want to go and what you want to do with your life. There is gratitude for these events. On the other side of it, I am grateful for the loss of my father and the gifts that He has given me. I’m grateful for the physical traumas I went through in the military and the life that it took for me and the life that it gave me. I’m fully in a place of gratitude for all these things that kept me shackled to the past for so long.
Dr. Mindy Amazing. It’s so interesting to me how when we’re going through the pain of it, gratitude, it’s mean rarely do we show up. Here we go, oh, this is so horrible. I’m gonna be so much better when I come out of it. But when we look back, we realize that those were catalysts for change. Those were opportunities to grow us into different people and without them we would not be the people that we are today.