Pain Management Reimagined: A Nurse’s Journey with Psychedelic Therapies

Psychedelics transformed this nurse's experience into a pain-free, profound journey. Discover their potential power for healing and relief.
Pain-free. Image of a person with long hair tied up in a bun, facing away from the camera. The image is cropped a little above their ears, and a little below the neckline of their white t-shirt. There is a graphic sea of wavy water ahead of them in blues and greens with white sparkles, and a pale blue sky/background above that. On the back of their next is a glowing red area, indicating pain. Their hand is lifted up and holding/massaging this spot.
Author: Natalie Goldberg
By Natalie Goldberg
November 6, 2023

The Quest to Document Transformation

For most of my life, I’ve been haunted by an ever-changing landscape of pain. As I age, old aches give way to new ones in unfamiliar places, each a nagging reminder of time’s fleeting youth. Yet, amid this personal struggle, I discovered a pattern. In counseling thousands of patients before they visited with the physician, I discovered we are all bound by the same kinds of pain, and desire to be pain-free. 

Reflecting on that time, I realize it was a turning point for honing my communication skills. Actively listening to patients discuss their ailments and echoing their concerns back to them wasn’t just about building trust. It was about forging a deeper understanding that we all face similar struggles with pain.

Having spent a decade training and caring for people, I offer a unique nursing lens to the psychedelic research table. One key insight is that painful symptoms often point to underlying issues. Techniques like palpation, time-tracking symptoms, and identifying what makes them worse are vital.

From 2020 to 2023, I’ve blended traditional nursing methods with legal psychedelic exploration to chart new paths to wellness. Risking my nursing credibility, I’ve dismantled stereotypes about plant medicines. My approach is unique: I don’t just observe but apply my nursing skills. I analyze the transformative impact, not as a clinician but rather as the patient undergoing these changes.

Pain Assessment Approach

Many nursing assessments rely on standardized tools like the Wong-Baker Faces Rating Scale. I, however, chose not to utilize this method. Despite my pain persisting even with pharmaceutical interventions, these symptoms consistently remained at the same intensity on such tools.

Instead, I adopted a simplified PQRST Pain Scale method (Provocation, Quality, Region, Severity, and Timing) to assess pain. This approach accurately describes and documents pain, aiding medication selection and treatment evaluations or changes. Unlike nurses’ highly specific PQRST questions for accurate reporting, my documentation uses a streamlined version for a head-to-toe evaluation.

Head and EyeSight

|| Head

My persistent migraines drove me to seek relief originally in 2020. Conventional treatments offered little help. Cannabis provided some comfort, but it was my 2021 microdosing journey with psychedelics that truly made a difference. These constant migraines began to fade, giving me hope. However, in December 2021, stress returned, bringing back headaches and prompting me to revisit psychedelics. I opted for medium doses of psilocybin, 2.5 grams, two more times, one month apart. This approach appeared to offer psychological clarity to longstanding confusions in my life.

By the summer of 2022, the migraines disappeared, and even regular headaches became rare. The neck and shoulder tension, likely exacerbated by pandemic stress, vanished under psilocybin’s influence—a transformation beyond cannabis.

|| Eye Sight

An unexpected gift from psilocybin was improved eyesight. I do wear glasses, and I am near-sighted, meaning I naturally see blurred writing just 3 feet away from me. However, these improvements in clarity persisted without me even wearing my glasses.

After a journey, every detail—from tree leaves to the beauties of a bird’s intricate color pattern—was clear. This enhanced vision lasted about a week, drawing me closer to nature. However, during the psychedelic experience itself, my eyesight behaved unpredictably, blurring the world and making bright lights uncomfortable. Therefore, I am strictly speaking of my changes afterward.


Today, I often find myself gazing at the sky, appreciating clouds and the world’s beauty more often. This clarity isn’t limited to psychedelic experiences; it’s a constant. Even while I’m in a clear state of mind, which has been the case for over six months now. I continue to relish the sharpness of tree leaves and the vivid lines of clouds against the sun.

In medicine, nurses often assess eyesight and consciousness with questions like the current date or pupil’s retracting to a penlight. However, psychedelics seem to shift focus on environment and sensory perception. Overwhelming settings, like busy city streets, can overstimulate the central nervous system, even without influence. After psychedelics, I still find such environments overwhelming. Fluorescent store lights discomfort me. And entering a mall with its harsh lighting and dry air feels inconceivable, leaving my eyes dry.

To maintain my peace throughout the day, I consciously maintain a clear mental space. I protect my eyesight from excessive visual stimuli, particularly those featuring emotional violence. This practice helps me strike a balance and maintain healthy exposure levels. It emphasizes the importance of consuming positive content for our overall well-being.

Hearing and Oral

|| Ears

Before, noisy places made conversations challenging. Multiple people talking in crowded rooms or at dinner tables frustrated me. Now, I can hear individual conversations and choose which to respond to. While not entirely comfortable, I manage it better. I prefer calming nature sounds that are linked to spirituality.

Music is clearer, and I pay more attention to bird calls daily. Perhaps it’s influenced by spirituality, but it’s a helpful coping mechanism, shifting my focus to nature before energetic debates.

|| Oral

My taste preferences transformed remarkably. Formerly enjoyed salty and excessively sweet foods lost appeal, tasting somewhat medicinal, especially sweets. A significant dietary shift occurred in 2020, leading to weight loss from 185 to 150 pounds due to changing cravings.

For instance, I used to enjoy the rich, buttery flavor of chocolate chip cookies, no matter the brand. After my psychedelic experiences, however, that same taste began to remind me of the medicinal aftertaste of children’s penicillin. Similarly, I noticed that the accidental residue of lipstick left in my mouth had a specific flavor—one that I found mirrored in many commercially produced sweets.

Although not a vegetarian, I reduced meat consumption for improved digestive comfort. It reduced bloating and cramping, a notable change for someone accustomed to dishes like skirt steak with beans and rice. I previously believed meat was essential. However, reduced calorie intake through increased activity and less eating showed I needed less meat than I thought. I wonder if this change earlier in life might have prevented some inflammatory issues like PCOS initiated at age 17.


My enhanced sensory perceptions have reshaped my social life. Not only has it made me better equipped to handle noisy evening events. It has also driven me towards tranquil outdoor brunches that align with my sensory preferences and spiritual connection. While this shift may frustrate others due to my evolving boundaries, it ultimately prioritizes my well-being. It cultivates a more serene approach to socializing, even if it means making adjustments for others. 

Pain-free. Image of a branch with a butterfly at different stages of it's metamorphosis transformation hanging from the branch. Behind this is a graphic sea of wavy water in blues and greens with white sparkles, and a soft pink cloud-like effect over it. Behind the butterfly on the left in pupa stage is a glowing red area, indicating pain. Behind the butterfly on the right in flight is a glowing white area, indicating relief from the pain.

Chest and Abdomen

|| Chest

Initially, I heavily consumed cannabis flower to cope with the stress of urban living. That changed after my original 3.5-gram mushroom dose in 2020. I shifted towards using tinctures, which positively impacted my heart rate and eased upper chest anxiety, including symptoms of costochondritis.

My life was once a constant whirlwind of anxiety, fueled by endless decision-making against the backdrop of a demanding home life. My first psychedelic experience in 2020 was a watershed moment. Over the course of four experiences between 2020 and 2021, I noticed substantial improvements. My panic attacks subsided and I gained better emotional control. I shifted my focus to the present moment and specific tasks, rather than hypothetical concerns.


By the summer of 2021, clarity dawned. I understood that my high-stress work environment, heavy vehicle dependence, and violent-domestic situation were harming me. Empowered by these few yet impactful psychedelic experiences, I made a life-altering decision. I decided to step back from nursing and find safe living conditions. This reset allowed me to focus more clearly on the underlying issues affecting my well-being. It feels reminiscent of committing to a program of behavioral therapy. There’s Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. However, there’s also Psychodynamic Therapy, which emphasizes the patient’s relationship with the external world more than the patient-therapist dynamic.

|| Abdomen

I struggled with chronic gastrointestinal issues fueled by job-related stress and a poor diet. During intense 12-hour nursing shifts, I’d fast to cope, leading to stress-induced nausea at work. Upon returning home, the emotional relief would often manifest in loose bowels. None of this ever felt easy to manage.

My transition to psychedelics brought much-needed regularity to my GI system. Moving away from bedside nursing into clinic work, having an office allowed me to eat regularly and hydrate properly. The gastrointestinal issues faded even more after I started working from home as a writer.

Making incremental changes to my environment had a massive impact. Frequent GI issues no longer limit my public outings. I now don’t have to worry about finding restrooms urgently or suffering from cramps. It’s been a liberating change in my day-to-day life.


My long-standing gastrointestinal issues also saw remarkable improvement. Initially, I thought these changes were solely substance-related. It turns out, however, that they are actually tied to my newfound ability to live in the moment. By focusing on the present, I let go of unnecessary anxieties and worries about the future. I was freed from the gastrointestinal symptoms that were once tethered to my emotional state.

Mobility and Integumentary

|| Mobility

In the weeks following a psychedelic journey, I experience a sense of lightness that improves my mobility and circulation. This newfound freedom led me to incorporate daily yoga into my routine. Even the condition of my feet has improved—no more dry, cracked soles. It’s as if I’ve formed a new, harmonious relationship with gravity itself.

Previously, the thought of walking places seemed overwhelming. These days, I walk more, likely due to reduced inflammation in my feet. The dryness and cracks that once marred my soles have diminished, signaling better circulation. My movements are now intentional, which has drastically reduced clumsy mishaps in my life.

|| Skin

My skin has shown remarkable improvement due to reduced stress and better circulation. Minor cuts and scrapes heal more quickly, particularly when I apply CBD oils. I’ve become keenly aware of any skin irritations and address them immediately. Being naturally acclimated to Florida’s climate, I prioritize comfort over societal fashion norms. This is a departure from my nursing career when heavy scrubs led to chronic skin irritation. These changes have allowed me to live a life free from unnecessary discomfort, contributing positively to my skin’s integrity.


Daily stress can have overlooked yet significant impacts on both mobility and skin health. Ignoring these can trigger a cascade of problems, like inflammation or random bruising. I am more mindful of small things—my surroundings, the ergonomics of my workspace, and even my choice of chair. This level of awareness not only enhances your physical comfort. It also bolsters your mental well-being by preventing minor issues from escalating.

Psychedelic Insights into Self-Care

We often express gratitude when our common cold or upper congestion disappears, but we frequently overlook being grateful for the absence of pain when we are pain-free. Thus, I make it a point to do so and remind myself that I still possess flexibility I hadn’t previously appreciated. Perhaps I mistakenly believed I should compare myself to others in terms of their fitness maintenance.

However, I realized that by addressing many of my perceptual fears about life, I gained control over how I respond to my body’s needs. I value this newfound control immensely. With mushrooms readily accessible to most people, what if they knew they could achieve such a level of focused self-care? To the extent that they could rekindle their love for inhabiting their own unique bodies once more? I firmly believe we can attain it, just as I have.

Concluding Thoughts on Embracing Transformation Through Psychedelics

My journey into the world of psychedelics has been nothing short of transformative, both mentally and physically. Beyond the relief from migraines and other physical ailments, I found a sense of clarity and gratitude for life itself. The changes in my body mirrored the healing of my mental health issues, creating a holistic sense of well-being

As research continues exploring the benefits of psychedelics, I believe more people can experience the profound shifts I have undergone. It’s a journey toward focused self-care, a path to falling in love with our unique bodies and the world around us. We all deserve to live pain-free and with a clear lens of gratitude for the gift of life.

My psychedelic journey has been a game-changer for both my mental and physical health. Using a nursing lens and careful documentation, I’ve captured transformative shifts, from vanishing migraines to sensory upgrades and dietary changes. These aren’t just perks of plant medicine; they spotlight the role of mindfulness and a fresh perspective on holistic health. As we unearth more about psychedelics’ therapeutic prowess, we inch closer to optimized well-being. My hope is that by sharing my experiences, others can find inspiration to embark on their own journeys of entheogenic self-discovery, rekindling their love for inhabiting the autonomy of their general well-being.

Follow your Curiosity

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The content provided is for educational and informational purposes only and should be a substitute for medical or other professional advice. Articles are based on personal opinions, research, and experiences of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Psychedelic Support.

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Author: Natalie Goldberg
Natalie Goldberg
Natalie Goldberg is a psychiatric and pediatric nurse who recently transitioned into the cannabis industry, and has been giving Florida’s medical cannabis patients guidance and knowledge on how to treat their ailments. She’s currently writing to spread awareness on the medicinal qualities of cannabis and psychoactive plants.

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