Hi, yantrapi here. I hope this report will stimulate some discussion/advice in Ythan's new Trip Reports message board.
At about 9am on a mild midwinter day (I live in Melbourne, Australia), I ate 3.5 x 5mL teaspoons (~3.5 grams) of powdered dry Psilocybe cubensis var. Amazonian, which I suspect has lost perhaps 30% of its original potency over time. I had been wanting to trip again for a few weeks, but had not anticipated the opportunity that presented itself this day. For this reason I may not have been as well-prepared as I could have been.
About 10-15 minutes after ingestion (seems to come on quick when mixed in lemon juice) I felt the first effects coming on. Feeling of wierdness, colours brightening, unusual tactile feelings, false sensations of loss of balance, but without the usual automatic correction you get when sober. These are the normal things I feel when it first comes on, in addition to some nausea of variable intensity which I have always attributed to anxiety and a revulsion to the taste, rather than a true physiological effect.
Things were going okay, but in retrospect I think that I always had some apprehension that perhaps this was not going to be a good experience. A brief history of my experiences might be called for here, skip it if you're not interested. My first two trips ever were bad, after which I dropped right down to a threshold dose to work my way up. I had attributed the bad trips to anxiety, so I felt that working my way up would be a good way to convince my minds's reality categorization and filtering memes that it is cool for them to be thrown out the window for short periods of time! When I got up to a level 2 trip, it "turned bad" half way through, meaning that the thought struck me that "this whole thing was a bad idea". Once I started thinking that, of course, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. The next three or four lower-dose trips were mostly good, in two of them I started thinking "this is gonna be bad" again, but I was able to flip out of that frame of thinking (take that, bastard bad trip meme!) within 5 minutes the first time and about 10 seconds the second time.
This brought me to the trip I describe here. The idea of this trip was to move back into a reasonable psychedelic dose, of 3.5 grams, since my experience clobbering the bad trip meme had given me confidence (and confidence should breed confidence, just as anxiety breeds anxiety, in the psychedelic experience). However, as I said in the second paragraph, the window of opportunity for this trip was unexpected and I probably was not adequately prepared. This may have planted a seed of doubt in my mind once more.
My feeling of nausea was stronger than usual this time, and after half an hour or so of fiddling round on the computer while listening to some of my favourite music, I started to feel a bit bored and 'on edge', like if I didn't do something soon, things might turn bad. Obviously I must have felt some doubt to be thinking like this in the first place. I decided to go outside since I had noticed other times how uplifting being outside can be, particularly in a forest-like environment such as where I live. I didn't really expect it to work much, though, because it was cold outside and overcast. But it did work, immediately upon stepping outside I felt much better, again feeling good itself made me feel good.
I wandered around the garden, marvelling here and there about the things one doesn't notice as much while sober. I decided that since I was getting bored inside, I should put some sensible clothes on (the water was soaking through the holes in my moccasins!) and spend the peak of the trip walking through the forest. I did, and had a good time getting down and looking at all the tiny complex things one finds like little mushrooms, moss, borer holes and so-on. The feeling of "this could still turn bad" was still there, and while still in the forest it fluctated and got to "this is definitely bad" a couple of times before some compelling thought would be propmted by nature, pulling my mood back up. An example of this was the thought that there were mushroom carpophores growing out of a fallen log, and that therefore the entire rotten log must have been colonized by the mycelium, and that perhaps _all_ wood rot is caused by mycelia. I began to tire of the forest and headed home, but on the way home I begin to feel anxious again, and this was amplified by the discomfort of becoming very hot and sweaty from the physical exertion, coupled with having cold ears and nose from the chilly air, and the ever-present nausea. By the time I got home I was in panic "this is bad" mode.
I tried various things to lift my mood, but none of them worked. I knew that being outside was the best, especially when the sun wasn't behind the clouds, but there was nothing to do out there, it was cold, and I was expecting a repairman to arrive soon. So, I tried to read for a while and then resorted to watching day-time TV (which I loathe). I was pretty depressed that I was having a bummer *again* by this stage, and since I felt I knew what was happening and that it was going to go away soon, I was able to essentially transform the feelings of panic and despair into feelings of depression. The depression was strong, but in a numbing kind of way rather than an intense kind of desperation. I think that this also helped reduce the intensity of the usual phenomena, so I have rated this trip level 2 rather than the 3 I probably would have had if it had turned out good.
I watched some TV news and a crappy unintelligent variety show, trying hard to follow the linear logic even such simple people as the people on this show were using, all the time being bummed out but knowing that I would just feel like crap for a while and then I would be okay.
Eventually the repairman turned up, about the time that I was starting to come down anyway, and this helped to push me back towards normality. By the time he finished pretending to fix stuff (grrr) most of the depression had gone, and I was feeling okay again. I also felt, though, that bad experiences were inevitable for me, that there was no hope of ever getting rid of them. I also felt, despite what I have always thought and the evidence for these beliefs, that perhaps my bad experiences were not simply caused by bad set and setting (predominantly anxiety), but that there was a genine pharmacological effect tending to cause depression when I take psilocybin. The reason for this was that this was the first time I had predominantly felt numbing depression rather than despair, and I am vaguely aware that clinical depression is associated with the neurotransmitter serotonin, as are the actions of the psychedelic tryptamines.
I usually argue with people who think that bad trips are inevitable and or pharmacological, but this time I was left feeling similar things. Perhaps my judgement was clouded by the trip, but then again, perhaps my retrospective attributions of the bad experiences to anxiety have always been clouded by the time that elapsed since the trip, and a desire to beleive that I can have the brilliant and important psychedelic experiences I have read so much about.
Does anyone have any comments about this?
My apologies for the length of this report, and for all the extraneous discussion and so-on, for those not looking for this...