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Forced to Experience

Sooner or later everyone has that one bad trip, the one where you think you've gone properly, permanently mental.

Sooner or later everyone has that one bad trip, the one where you think you've gone properly, permanently mental. The one where you scramble to leave a decent enough scene for your parents to find, a 'sorry' note if you can manage it, the one where you realise you've messed up and (maybe) tear the art from your walls in anger over the way people will view you; not as the persona you've cultivated over the years, but as a junkie nutcase.

I've had this bad trip now, and like most people I came out of it unscathed. It could be seen as a learning experience that is necessary to mature as a psychonaut,  but for the time being I have gone teetotal and tossed out my substrates. My mistake consisted of 75 fresh grams of  Golden Teachers. The reason I thought this wouldn't be a problem is that a few days before I had tried the first flush and they were very weak. So this second flush I figured I needed more, both because of how recent the previous trip was and because of how weak it had been.

I tried them in a new concoction, based on a recipe I found on the Shroomery somewhere*. It was a smoothie, blending the shrooms with plain yoghurt, lemon juice, orange juice, apple juice, and bits of watermelon, melon and mango. It masked the taste better than anything I had tried them with before, though it was still far from gourmet. The acidic juices had more effect than I was expecting, bringing the trip on fast and furious.

The first 40 grams made for a mellow trip. I tried this out for an hour, to see it if it was safe for the other half. The trip was physically, visually and mentally very satisfying. The usual patterns were there, exploring more surfaces than usual, flowing more actively. Everything made me wonder about things and trigger associations. With my eyes closed the Golden Teacher showed part of its peculiar temperament. Compared to Mexicans, which will for example show me dozens of purple-nailpolished fingers, or puppy feet, tapping on a glass plate 'above me', the Golden Teacher likes to fill my mind up with 3D scenes with lots of neon green, yellow and brown, frantically opening and closing sardine cans or filling rooms with jolly balloon-mines. It always tries to move out of the 'visually available space', to find a way of expanding my imagination to create more area and options for its antics.

With eyes reopened I saw a shadowy apparition on a black surface, which silently yet forcefully urged me to modesty. I took it as general advice on life, but looking back it may have been my subconsciousness hitting the alarm bells, as my mind was already somewhat of a pinball machine and I was only going to raise the intensity. I concentrated on modesty, expressing it physically and emotionally, but nonetheless downed the remainder of my fruity fungus smoothie.

After quickly drinking almost all of the remainder, the rush hit like a bunch of clowns gang-raping a tea cosy. There was an immediate oh-crap-I-messed-up moment. For what happened next, imagine a full trip happening in just a few minutes (and then again and again), with you going against the grain with panicked thoughts, grasping at reality. I couldn't form constructive thoughts about damage control, drowned as they were in the deluge of other thoughts, associations, colours and images. The thoughts, as far as they used words, were still in English, but the language I grew up with surfaced as an unending string of nonsense words, to a repetitive musical rhythm. At the same time my mind grabbed a bag of past fixations, so to say, and took them out one by one, tossing them around and laughing at me for having indulged in liking such silly things.

At this point I was losing a fair deal of control of my body. My body and face were spasming, I couldn't write legibly, and accidentally bit myself quite hard near a cuspid base (not sure how, but the swelling took more than a week to go away). I then became convinced that my apartment was all of reality, that all else had been designed to lead up to this point of crisis, where the ultimate battle for mankind would take place, between a Promethean demigod (me) and whatever the heavens could throw at me.

I'm going to leave out the pathos of what happened in the next hour or so, except to say that time 'stood still' for the duration of it. Checking the time again and again, it refused to change. Finally I gave up panicking and accepted my 'fate', that I had become the universe and that it was now my task as a transcended being to experience hell for eternity, in the form of all human experience. Only the vague contours of my apartment were still visible to me as I let all the madness wash over me. I felt like the guy in Clockwork Orange, eyes pried open to a multitude of overly stimulating scenes.
One second I was an old Arab man, dying of illness in a hospital with people watching me, the other I was observing myself in a childhood memory, crystal clear, and yet another moment I was a woman giving birth. But at the same time as these scenes there was another narrative throughout all the scenes about now, yesterday, in the future, eternally, never, the concept of time divided into weeks that begin and end, etc. And at the same time as that, there was an underlying narrative about disappointment, expectancy, love, despair, missed opportunity, etc. I say narrative because at the time it all seemed to fit perfectly, as if a team of scriptwriters had been sweating for months to come up with meaningful multilayered sequences of combinations and transitions. There was no story, though.

Reading it back it doesn't seem so hellish. All I can say is, it was hell. It could be compared to trying to sleep while a collection of douchebags are having a 48-hour party in your bedroom. One girl is shrieking karaoke, some guy is drunkenly announcing all the Latin species names for marsupials, another keeps poking your forehead with a q-tip, another may or may not be trying to stick something up your anus. You get the point. It was complete overload.

There was a particular moment where it hit me with great relief that this wasn't going to be eternal. I realised I was standing in my kitchen, just standing there. At first that was all, but soon I was able to concentrate on a cereal bowl and I tried to pick it up. I was holding it with both (shaking) hands, examining its texture and weight. "Matter exists!" I concluded. I examined various things in my kitchen. I looked out the window, but just for a second, because the stars had the intensity of car headlights. The floor danced with patterns still, but it was easy to ignore. I noticed the full pack of printing paper I had spread out across the floor, the stains of red and purple ink on the carpet, the cracks in my laptop screen (tip: never put a laptop on the floor). I could care less. It was over.

* https://www.shroomery.org/9552/Best-Fruit-Smoothie-ever

Some more details about this trip for those who are particularly interested:

1. The following two days I had an epic migraine, and the urgency with which I thought I should now help people who are suffering quickly dissipated. The only thing that remains of that night, strangely, is that during the next month and still today I almost faint with terror when reading most science articles. Or when I sit in the park and imagine what it would be like if the Sun was ten times closer, I panic and feel like I'm in a freefall. The other day I had to support myself on a park bench and calm myself down for a minute after thinking about visiting a parallel reality where my father never married or had children and was a different person as a result. My imagination has never given me vertigo before this trip.

2. What I experienced I had never read about in any trip reports, so during the trip I thought I was one of those people who go over the top, into full-blown insanity. I didn't know yet that it's a fairly common experience to have it this bad and make it out alright. Still, I'm not going to try it again, even knowing that I'd be able to handle it better.

3. The Golden Teacher strain has always been more wayward than other strains I've tried. To me, its character is primal and self-serving. Rather than giving you abilities, it 'wants' to see what it can do, spreading and experimenting rather than teaching and joking. All this is not to be seen as psilocin having actual personality, that is simply not the case, but strains definitely give different experiences that are dependent on chemical make-up of the strain rather than your own set and setting.

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