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Foiled by Time, Unable to Trust Reality

-The Back Story- I had been searching for mushrooms for quite some time, after not having any for a few years.

-The Back Story-
I had been searching for mushrooms for quite some time, after not having any for a few years. Finally I found a source and bought 4 grams. I don't know the specific variety, but I was told that these were particularly potent and that 1 gram would do the trick. I was a little skeptical of their potency, having had about 2 grams of mushrooms some years before and having a very mild trip. This time, though, I wanted something deeper.

It's also worth noting that this happened on Oct. 29, 2005, the day that the time fell back an hour. Someone had reminded me of this earlier in the night, but I didn't pay much attention.

The night I got them, I decided to put them into capsules for easier dosage and ingestion (although I don't really mind the taste of mushrooms). This being my first time dealing with capsules, I didn't do it very well. With the number I ended up with, I can estimate that one gram of mushrooms would have amounted to 8 or 9 capsules.

I've experienced psychedelics such as LSD and dissociatives such as DXM and Ketamine, as well as ecstasy and others numerous times and never had a negative experience, so I wasn't too worried about being overwhelmed. I only weigh about 145 lbs., but I have a pretty strong constitution. For example, it takes a LOT of alcohol to get me drunk, and despite all the substances I've consumed in my life, I haven't vomited since I was nine years old, 16 years ago.

I contemplated all day long whether I should start out with 6 capsules, to test their potency, 8, which I thought would be about the 1 gram that was recommended to me, or 10, for the deep journey that I had been wanting to try. I ended up doing all of the above. Precisely at 12 am, I took out 6 capsules, and looking at them, I thought "This looks like quite a bit. Maybe I'll just stick with this." I took them two at a time. Done. But about 10 minutes later I was thinking, "On the other hand, this is still probably less than a gram." I was still kind of questioning whether these mushrooms could really be all that powerful. I decided to take 2 more.

-Blast Off-
At about 12:40 the effects started coming on. The "rocket ship ride" during the coming up period of mushrooms that many people talk about as being too intense and unpleasant is actually quite enjoyable to me. I did feel somewhat overwhelmed, but in a good way; I felt overwhelmed with pleasure, as if my entire body were having an orgasm. Knowing that supplemental doses of mushrooms are only effective if they go into action before the effects begin to taper, it was at this point that I decided I did want my deep trip after all, and I took two more capsules, totaling 10 (probably somewhere around 1.2 grams).

-Too Much of a Good Thing-
A good thing indeed. I could hardly believe that it was possible to feel so wonderful. With all this pleasure, I began to become very sexually aroused. Suffice it to say that I took care of this, and it was almost immediately after this release of sexual tension that the real trip began. Since I swallowed the first capsules I had been watching the clock on my cable box very closely. I wanted to know exactly how things were progressing, how much longer I could expect it to continue, etc. It was now about 1:15. In retrospect, the 8 capsules (about 1 gram) that was recommended to me probably would have been just about perfect for me on this particular night, but I had my doubts at the time, knowing my general tolerance for substances.

-The Real Experience Begins-
The moment my sexual tension was gone, things progressed such that the enjoyable physical sensations of the experience, though still there, were no longer my primary focus. I was getting increasingly giddy, laughing at almost everything that occurred to me, and I gradually began retreating more and more into my mind, rather than looking for things to do that I thought would be fun on mushrooms. I realized that it didn't matter what I did, everything was equally fun and interesting. Whether listening to music, looking at trippy images, walking down the hallway, or digging through a bag looking for my absinthe, everything felt like an adventure, and more fun than seemed humanly possible. No matter what I did, or tried to do, I would get confused or distracted with other thoughts time and time again, making each activity last much longer than it normally would. I was unbelievably happy, and I said aloud to myself at one point, "How could anybody possibly have a bad trip on this stuff?"

I did, in fact, get ahold of my absinthe (which I enjoy very much) and I wanted to see what it would be like to have it under the influence of psilocybin. So I fixed myself a glass. I didn't bother with the whole sugar and fire method of preparing it this time, knowing that in this state, it would take me forever to figure it all out. So I took about 10 minutes to go down the hall and get some ice water, then came back and mixed 1 part absinthe to two parts water. I didn't add any sugar, yet when I drank it, it tasted as sweet as could be. I was delighted at the taste. It occurred to me that practically no matter what I tasted it would be enjoyable, so I poured another small serving of absinthe, and this time I drank it straight. At 70% alcohol and with all the bitterness of the drink, this is normally unthinkable, but this time I even swished it around in my mouth to experience the flavor. It was quite amazing indeed. As I swallowed it the warmth of it made me imagine that there was a microscopic battle being waged in my stomach, but I loved the feeling.

I had some whippits, so I decided to try one. I had some trouble filling the balloon, as even though air was going into it I kept thinking the balloon was deflating. Eventually I made it work and I breathed into it for a bit. It was now close to 2 am, and by now the 9th and 10th capsules had gone into effect, so I was becoming too far removed from my normal physical self for the nitrous to have much of a dissociative effect. I did feel a certain tingling sensation and the familiar nitrous feeling, but it was not nearly as spectacular as I had hoped it would be. The mushrooms had taken me far from the world I knew. Everything was starting to become one; it was no longer interesting to listen to music anymore because it felt essentially the same as doing anything else. I couldn’t even identify songs anymore, because they just sounded to me like a collection of sounds.a

-Time Fails Me-
Now it would have been 2:10 am. However, my cable box automatically adjusts to daylight savings time. I checked the clock and was taken aback. 1:10? That couldn't be. I've been watching the clock this whole time, and it should be after 2! I looked at the clock and away from it several times, feeling truly confused for the first time of the trip. Certainly my concept of time couldn't have been *that* skewed by these mushrooms... or could it? Could it be that the entire time I had been watching the time I was seeing things incorrectly, and I had taken the first 6 capsules just over an hour ago? I started feeling like I was having a Fight Club moment, where everything I thought was real, was suddenly revealed to me as an illusion. I began to become very concerned about this. These mushrooms might have been so strong that I couldn't even trust what I thought I was experiencing anymore. I looked at another clock by my bed and it was in the proper 2 o'clock hour. I did another triple take. What's going on?? I kept looking back and forth between the two clocks. It was now apparent to me that I could no longer trust my eyes. Why on earth would the clock on one side of my room show one time, and the other side show another? The clocks have been synchronized all night long!

-Fear and Loathing-
Over the course of the next 20 minutes or so, this confusion began to snowball. I started feeling very ill-at-ease by the fact that I could evidently not trust A) my sense of time, B) my sense of logic, or C) my eyes. And if I couldn't trust any of these things, how could I trust any of my other senses, thoughts, or memories? I feared that the mushrooms were taking over and that I was completely losing control of myself. I rapidly started spiraling downward into fear and despair. I felt that, for the first time, I was drifting toward the dreaded "bad trip". Having read up on it and mentally prepared myself for such an eventuality (although I should say I never thought it would come), I put my rescue plan into action. I tried my hardest to fill my mind with nothing but positive and beautiful thoughts, while reminding myself that it would all end soon enough - it was only temporary. However, every positive thing I thought of somehow took on a dark and disturbing tone. There was nothing I could think of that wasn't frightening and disconcerting.

-Reality Is Illusion-
Despite my best efforts, my panic continued to mount. I must have been at the peak of the trip now, everything around me looking completely surreal and not always able to keep track of whether my eyes were open or closed. I curled up on my bed and looked at the clock that still showed the time I felt it should be. This clock became my only solace - the only thing I felt I could trust. I became frightened every time I looked at the other clock, that my eyes were still telling me it was a different time over there than it was here. Why?! I stared atthe clock nearest me, watching the minutes tick by and desperately trying to regain my own trust. "Look, the time is flowing exactly as it should! I'm still here in my world! Time is working just as it always does!" My internal guide was trying very hard to help me, but my mind would no longer trust him. There were two sides of my mind, battling over reason and reality. There was the paranoid side, like a lunatic waving a gun around and thinking everyone is out to get him, and the side of reason that was trying to get him to settle down and drop the gun. I kept assuring myself my looking at the time go by and repeating "It'll pass. It's almost over. Settle down." There were slight hints of the vague memory of being told of the time change earlier, but I passed that off as just part of the lie of the illusion and it didn't help me at all.

-The Mushrooms Are in Control-
I clung to my bed desperately, trying to assure myself that I was really there, while the other side of my mind told me that it was just being created by the psilocybin in my mind. Because reality was what comforted me and comfort is what I needed, this illusion was created while my physical body was somewhere else, getting into trouble. Everything I thought I was seeing was just an escape from a much worse reality. At any moment I would snap back to the real world to find myself in a jail cell. Earlier in the night I had thought that I could see why someone looking at a person tripping on mushrooms would think that person was being driven insane, spouting nonsense and laughing at nothing - no wonder people who have never had mushrooms would think they're destructive and dangerous. Now this thought was coming back to haunt me in a terrible way. This is exactly the kind of behavior that I've been engaging in in the real world and it's gotten me arrested or in some other way will have ruined my life by the time I wake up. Maybe all the people who are so paranoid about drugs are justified after all! All the ridiculous anti-drug propaganda I'd seen over the years was rushing back to me, and this time I was convinced it was all true. "Psychedelic substances DO make you kill people or throw yourself out of windows," I thought.

-The Road to Reality-
The reasonable side of myself just knew that I was still safe in my room, but I had to convince the other side. I finally got up the courage to get out of bed and slowly walk to the bathroom, feeling as if this maniacal side of me was holding the gun to my back the whole way and I was saying "Relax, everything is ok. I'll prove it to you. Just stay calm." I walked in the bathroom and flipped a switch. A brief moment of panic came when the light didn't come on, but a sound instead. It was just like in a dream when electronics don't work right. It *is* an illusion after all! But no, I had just flipped the switch for the vent. I hit the light switch and suddenly felt like a huge step forward had been taken, as I had proven that the electricity was working correctly, just as it does in the real world. I relieved myself, came back in my room, turned off the computer, all the while coming up with logical explanations to anything I thought was strange (the world still looked very surreal, but it was getting lighter). It was now 3:30 am by "my" time, and I decided to turn on the TV and further find things that were familiar and normal to me. Maybe if there was a movie on that I knew, it would be further evidence. I flipped through the channels, looking now at the time on the cable box and just calmly accepting the discrepancy. However, if that was the actual time, the schedule was wrong. Why were there infomercials on Comedy Central at 2:30? They don't start until 3. Finally I found college football, and even though I hate football it comforted me tremendously. Earlier in the day I had heard people talking about football scores, so this was further proof that this reality was the reality I have always known. Suddenly, it hit me. I really had been told that the time was changing tonight. I set the clock near my bed and felt better still seeing the two clocks displaying the same time.

I continued flipping through channels for quite a while, until it was after 4 am in the new time. (about 5 hours after ingestion). Things were settling down now and I had finally assured myself that I was safe and sound. I was still quite shaken, though, and there was no happiness felt for the rest of the night. I was too nervous to let myself go to sleep until I was firmly planted in reality, so I passed the time for another hour and a half before finally going to bed.

This was an incredibly unfortunate turn of events for something that could have otherwise been so wonderful. During the trip itself I never made the connection that all of the panic grew from the clock discrepancy, but it was shortly after realizing the time change had occurred that it suddenly clicked, and I was very frustrated that the whole ordeal started because of daylight savings time. (That's just further reason for me to hate that convention. Many other countries don't deal with that nonsense of changing the time twice a year.) Looking back, I realized that the entire dark period was spent desperately watching the clock, and grasping for proof that reality was indeed reality. While the time change easily gets 90% of the blame, I'm sure the extra 2 capsules and possibly the absinthe and nitrous had something to do with it as well. However, had I not been given that reason to panic, that journey inside my mind might have been something incredibly enlightening. Luckily the good times were REALLY good, and I don't feel that I've been scared off of mushrooms. I do look forward to my next trip, and this time I'll be more prepared for the proper dosage. I experienced the real potential of mushrooms for the first time, and I've probably gained more respect for them.

Let this be a lesson to all: when delving into the wonder and majesty of the mushroom experience, be sure your god damn clocks are accurate.

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