Stanislav Hybadulin was born and grew up in Chisinau, Moldova. In 2013, he founded Scutul Social, a right-wing organization where he led raids against pedophiles and drug dealers. His attitude to psychoactive substances was extremely negative.
When the war broke out in Ukraine, he moved to Kyiv to join a volunteer regiment in the east, where he received the call sign Hitman.
He received three serious injuries and returned to the battlefield after each. These events left a deep imprint on Stas's psyche. Diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, treatment failure. But a bold move to try psychedelic therapy radically changed his life. Currently, Stas is studying law at Taras Shevchenko National University and wants to join the ranks of the anti-corruption prosecutor's office.
I will never forget the day and time — February 22, 2018, at 17:00. We were probably ambushed.
It was near Svitlodarsk; we were shooting back. Me and my friend — a close friend — came under grenade fire. His death greatly affected my life.
His name was Ilya Serbin. He was the kind of person who is so confident in himself and his actions that when you are around him, you feel safe and know that he is doing everything right. He was a psychologist by education. He knew very well how people think and what they are capable of.
My grandmother, an anti-communist, explained to me as a child what Russia was and who the aggressor was. When the war broke out in Ukraine, we organized rallies at football matches and in front of the Russian embassy. But it is clear that shouting "Putin is a dickhead" alone will not help. Like many nationalists from Russia and Belarus, I immediately decided to go to war.
In the spring of 2015, he arrived in Kyiv to join the Azov Volunteer Regiment. I mastered, learned my first Ukrainian words, and went to study in a sabotage and reconnaissance group. Then Azov was transferred to the second front line. I was transferred to the Kievan Rus battalion and joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
When we were taken out of the front line, when we were sitting in the barracks, I was frustrated. I trained every day, read — whatever I did, but still, I was going nuts without combat missions.
psychedelic-assisted therapy has changed my life in one session
I saw blood fly out of his jaw, a critical jugular vein injury. When evacuated, I asked God to leave him and take me away. Because he's better than me. I loved and respected Ilya very much.
The doctors said they took me out from the dead. Injuries to the central femoral vein and artery and the fragment entered the abdomen, cut the intestines, and entered the stomach and spleen. The spleen was cut out, and I lost three liters of blood.
Of course, I now understand that this is nonsense, but then all thoughts were about revenge, fighting to the last and dying in battle. This was my motivation to return, although I realized that it would be difficult at the forefront — the way I had to eat on prescription was very different from the army diet.
The peculiarity of my injury is that the intestines are brought out so that everything inside heals. For seven months I walked like this, then they sewed up my intestines, and gave me a month of rehabilitation. A month later, I'm back to war.
This is how our army works: if you say that everything is fine, no one will question it. And no one checks how you feel, whether your psyche is OK or if you have gone nuts. They don't know what a psychologist is.
The second wound I had was an anti-tank missile. The rocket exploded 20 cm away. It tore off my fingers. I looked at my hand and thought "Not bad, at least it's not the wrist, only the phalanges." It was winter, with a lot of snow, and I thought there was no point in looking for phalanges. There were shrapnel wounds to my arms, chest, head, contusion — I fainted. I underwent treatment for two months, and after that — back in action.
I came back, took revenge, and did the job. Being on one mission, I blew up at a mine. It exploded, but I did not fall — I remained standing on one leg. Everything was in slow motion. I had a thermal imaging sight and saw an elastic band slowly fly out of it. Like in movies! Then I turn my head, look and see my leg lying nearby, torn off. I also thought, "Well, I won't pick it up. It does not make sense." I started hooping to my people on one leg because I was the first to go as a division commander.
We blew up alongside the separatists' positions. It was in the woods, they started to surround us. I didn't want to slow down my fellows, I said, "You go, I'll stay." I was ready to shoot back to the last bullet, to death, that crazy I was. But the guys pulled me out.
I quit the army and spent some time in a military hospital. The thoughts of Ilya's death did not go out of my head, I constantly felt guilt, anxiety and fear, often thinking about suicide. And she (the psychologist in the hospital) comes to me, gives me a piece of paper and pencils and says: "Here, Stas, draw. It'll make you feel better."
There were other methods – dolphins, for example. I've seen the conditions under which those dolphins live, and I understand that these are bad conditions. And it's bad enough to justify catching and keeping these animals like this by rehabilitating the military because it just doesn't work that way. I'm against this therapy, it's cruel and useless.
I went to the tango, and it was supposed to be a kind of rehabilitation, too. But I don't think it's an effective way to overcome PTSD. Dancing, drawing – now I know it's nothing compared to psychedelic therapy.
I didn't know what PTSD was, I didn't understand what was happening to me. Often thrown into the heat, constant sweating, constantly wanting to sleep, and constant anxiety. I thought it was some kind of virus. Subsequently, I began to cough and gasp – often, 15 times a day. I didn't realize it was panic attacks. I tested for bacteria in the throat and did a blood test. I was even suspected of having cancer because of high white blood cells, but these are because of the spleen. As a result, the therapist referred me to a psychiatrist.
The psychiatrist of the military hospital prescribed antidepressants, so I began to take them. In three months, panic attacks began to, you know, mute. Six months later, the symptoms went away, but I felt that it was deep in there somewhere, still. But I'm not a psychiatrist, I don't know how to do it right. They said to take pills – I take pills.
A year later, the doctor says, "You can get off the antidepressants slowly." It was the summer of 2021, I finished my first year of university, and it was very difficult for me. Cognitive functions are very low in PTSD. For example, I start reading a book, I read it for five minutes, and I don't understand a thing, because my thoughts are in a completely different place. And after these five minutes, I fall asleep because of fatigue. The psyche just couldn't handle it.
Summer has begun, and I am no longer on antidepressants. In August, the second year of study was to begin. Whether on August 24 or 27, I start coughing. Coughing and choking. And I understand that it's not a cold or a virus. I call the psychiatrist: "Hey! Why again? What to do?" Turns out, it is an autumn aggravation. What could be done with it? Antidepressants, again.
Bought antidepressants, again. A new year at the university – there is no interest, there is no motivation. Every day it gets worse and worse – panic attacks happened even while I was taking Paroxetine (Paroxetine – an antidepressant with a strong anti-anxiety effect, a selective inhibitor of serotonin reuptake – ed.).
I wanted to study, so I started looking for the opportunity to treat PTSD. Thought I'd go to the hospital, and even made an appointment. It turned out differently. A friend talked about a special technique and introduced me to a practising therapist. We started to communicate, and he seemed very confident and very calm. And it reminded me of Ilya. I felt interested, of course.
I do understand English a little bit, so I came home and started reading articles about psilocybin. And indeed, a lot of scientists, a lot of information, in particular, that the FDA (Food & Drug Association – ed.) recognized this as a breakthrough therapy in PTSD and depression. I read everything and I realized that the information is reliable, not some bullshit.
I said I was ready. But I called my psychiatrist and asked him what he knew about this technique. He's a modern guy, not some owl fool conservative. He said, “Yes, I've heard of it, but I've also heard that it's dangerous. You may just not get out of this state.” That answer scared me a little, but I went to the therapy anyway. Cause, well, what am I going to lose?
It all started with the first sensations – as if the vessels began to shrink, a heartbeat was loud. It started to frighten me a little. But the therapist set things up quickly. I felt his empathy, I felt he didn't want to hurt me. He said, “I believe you can. You're a warrior. You're strong." And it gave a strong impetus to go towards all this.
We touched on various issues, but my main request was the feeling of guilt for Ilya's death. I felt that it was the biggest problem. During the therapy, I was able to truly realize and accept that it is not necessary to blame myself. That makes no sense. Completely. No sense.
I felt very well, but I was afraid of losing that state. It's been a week, and it's been fine.
Cognitive functions have grown incredibly: I could read all day and not get tired. I didn't take any antidepressants. I'm out of panic attacks. It's like everything's aligned in my head! I felt very good in a week, two, and three. I went to the Brazilian jiu-jitsu, started running.
Every day I had training, but there were no panic attacks. It felt like a miracle, like something incredible. I understood that psilocybin gave me what the antidepressants couldn't give. More specifically, psychedelic therapy.