Coping with Tripping Anxiety
Anxiety – A unpleasant emotion that is experienced in anticipation of some (usually ill-defined) misfortune. It is a complex combination of the feeling of fear, apprehension and worry, keeping the mind in a state of painful uneasiness. It is sometimes accompanied by physical sensations such as palpitations, chest pain and/or shortness of breath.
Will I feel Anxious While Tripping?
It’s not uncommon to feel nervous or apprehensive at some point during the psychedelic experience. You are, after all, navigating vast cosmic realms. In these awesome conditions, many travelers have experienced some form of anxiety. For some people, it’s only an unsettling twinge that quickly passes without further incident. For others, it’s a rapid, heart thumping affair that borders terror. No matter how mild or intense the anxiety may be on your Journey, some proactive initiative on your part can make all the difference.
Just as you would not send any brave explorer out into the infinite unknown without some valued essentials, a traveler is served well by taking some time to prepare before his Journey. Material and activities that are mentally stimulating, positive in vibration and calming are appropriate. This is also referred to as "packing." If a traveler feels as though he is prepared, it can alleviate much anxiety during the experience. Whether you spend a few hours preparing for your Journey, a few days, or even a week or more is up to you and what you think you could benefit from. Some ideas for packing and examples follow:
• Reading: Books such as Timothy Leary's The Psychedelic Experience are essential, and can help provide the traveler with understanding and acceptance of the Journey to come.
• TV or Video: Watching documentaries or shows about nature or human development are interesting and provide good substance for the tripping mind. Some key channels to watch are: PBS, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, History Channel, and Travel Channel, among others.
• Nature Herself: Nothing is more soothing and relaxing then a quiet stroll through the natural world. Take your time and observe the world around you, hear the mosaic of sounds and see the tapestry of life. You are Nature’s child; try to coexist in harmony with all Her creation.
• Meditation: This can be an invaluable aid for the nervous psychedelic traveler. Meditation promotes mindfulness and peaceful awareness. Even if you do not regularly practice meditation, spending a few moments in a meditative state can leave you with a heart that is open and a mind that is calm.
• Creative Activities: Being creative is both fun and functional. We are creative beings and there is nothing as intimate and reassuring as exercising our imaginative gifts. No matter the level of your talent, activities such as painting, singing, writing or playing an instrument can soothe the soul.
• Diet: Special attention to diet is sometimes beneficial for the psychedelic traveler. It is entirely a matter of preference. Generally, a light meal 4-6 hours before you injest the mushrooms, is recommended so that the body has enough energy to feel healthy throughout the Journey.
Most anxiety during a psychedelic experience is felt within thirty minutes to an hour after ingestion. This is when the traveler is waiting with unbridled anticipation for the trip to begin, and also when thoughts of uncertainty become evident. The traveler might become inflicted with negative thoughts and intrusive worries about the experience to come. Again, this is quite normal and is nothing to be alarmed of as it is your body’s flight or fight response kicking in and is a sign that something is about to happen. Come up anxiety can be potent, but the traveler can ease his nerves by engaging in any of the following:
• Playing a card game: Uno is a great one for this if you’re in a group
• Looking through a book of art: Any artist with positive themes
• Playing with your friendly pets: A great comfort
• Watching a show or movie: Trippy cartoons like Fantasia are good
• Playing a musical instrument: Very relaxing
• Going for a walk in nature: Can be soothing depending on the traveler
• Besides any of these distractions, several moments of deep breathing and meditation can help calm and focus the traveler.
During the Trip:
While tripping, learn to go with the flow. If you have a thought or visualization that is disturbing, accept it with a smile and move on. Attempting to manhandle or “fight the trip” could result in a very unpleasant experience. Giving gently into the experience and allowing the psychedelic to guide you through its world is a great start. You took the psychedelic for a reason; now marvel at what it has to show you. If you find yourself beginning to become anxious or scared during a trip, relax and do any of the following:
• Meditation: Again, paramount for the anxious traveler, meditation can be a comfortable and pleasant practice while tripping. Anyone can breathe their worries away and find satisfaction where they are.
• Words of Grace: It can help to have memorized some comforting words to repeat to yourself if you become anxious while tripping. Phrases such as, “make me an instrument of peace,” “we know heaven is here,” “just be,” or “float downstream,” are very soothing to say.
• Trip Activities: Most creative activities are enjoyable to do while tripping and can be relaxing if you are feeling anxious. Having some paints, pens and paper prepared, or walking through a garden or nature area are good ideas.
• Change Scenery: Sometimes just getting up to get a drink of water, changing CD’s, or moving to another location is all it takes to alleviate anxiety while tripping.
by poke smot!
There is some comprehensive advice listed above. As with any psychedelic drug, everyone\'s experience will be different. This is because everyone is different. Keeping this in mind, before a trip you should rationally analyze if you are prepared for the dose you are taking. Plus, being sure about the dose and potency is an important factor.
If you have anything bothering you in your life, this may come up. Anxiety towards this can be for better or for worse. It just depends on which direction you take it.
Many people who take shrooms take it for a spiritual experience. Regardless of religious beliefs, the belief alone that the trip will go in the right direction, can help with tripping anxiety.
It is easy to get caught in a loop. Some people are susceptible to this type of anxiety, tripping or not. Be prepared for this. And if you get stuck in a rut, as has been said before, change the scenery. Do whatever is most comfortable for you, and don\'t be afraid to confront what is making you anxious.
Anxiety can stem from many places. Perhaps it is fear of the unknown future, and what the trip will bring. But if you take an existentialist approach and take things moment by moment, however you need whether it be second by second, minute by minute, or by the hour.
If the anxiety is from something that is bothering you, don't be surprised! How can you identify what kind of anxiety it is that you are experiencing? Don\'t be afraid to feel it, this can only make your fear of it go away. Feeling through the trip is very important: this can take you from a bad moment to a good one, or vice versa. But going with the flow of your feelings and what you think is right for you will surely result in a generally better outcome of the trip.
And sometimes it is good to think of anxiety as conditioning. The more anxiety you feel, the more conditioned you will feel towards it and the more tolerance you will have in the future. That is, the level of anxiety you have once been overwhelmed with will in the future be nothing to fear.
On the topic of unbearable anxiety, although it is rare, it can happen. Remember set and setting. Tripping in a public place, especially if you have social anxiety or paranoid tendencies, is a bad idea. And if you do so for some unknown reason, remember that acting out on your initial emotions (run away, get out) may not be the right choice. Don\'t let your mind fool you.
If all else fails and you still are worried (anxious) about a trip before dosing, perhaps it would be advisable to keep a small dose of a calming drug onhand. For some people it is pot, however for other people this can make things turn out for the worse. Benzodiazepines are very effective anxiety reducers, and if they don\'t reduce anxiety physiologically, they certainly reduce it by placebo. Valerian root and Vitamin B3 have also been said to help anxiety.
Extension on anxiety drugs
After the bad trip to end all bad trips (however unlikely, it does happens if you're irresponsible) I've taken to always having drugs on hand. Even when they're not taken, they offer the only chance for control once you\'re tripping and therefore pre-empt anxiety. I second the benzodiazepine suggestion. This is standard procedure in hospitals. They use either Xanax or Valium. Most benzos are made to be crushable so they can sprinkle them on mental patients' food (they taste sweet). The first time tripping after my heinous train wreck (20 months and a short psychiatric in-patient stint later) I took 2 mg of Klonipin, one of the weaker benzos. There was no anxiety. However, I don't remember much of what happened.
More importantly, especially if you're voyaging into deep space, the new atypical anti-psychotic tranquilizers are bomber; Zyprexa (olanzapine) specifically. It doesn't taste bad, so chew it and hold it in your cheeks. You'll start coming down fast. And in 15 minutes or half an hour you should be asleep. These drugs actively reign in and normalize imbalances of serotonin and dopamine. They'll also halt a flash back or get rid of Hallucinogen Persistent Perceptual Disorder. Beware, though, if you're not psychotic there's a wicked hangover the next day. For best effects I'd drop anywhere between 5 to 10mg on your self. Save this for a worst case scenario, ie in the event you're pretty sure you\'re going to having lasting psychological problems from the experience you are having (again, exceptionally rare, especially with mushrooms, but it happens).
Of course getting your hands on anti-psychotics (such as Risperdal/Risperdone), while not the hardest thing to do (they're prescribing them for bipolar disorder and major depression now so they're out and about), isn't easy. If you're experienced enough to know why they're nice to have around, you probably won\'t need them and if you\'re a newbie with that much anxiety you should probably wait until a more stable period in your life to embark on this journey.
Discuss at The Shroomery BB