Spiraling Bears of Self-Realization
Citation:   mustardhead. "Spiraling Bears of Self-Realization: An Experience with 2C-E (exp101496)". Erowid.org. Apr 2, 2017. erowid.org/exp/101496

  insufflated 2C-E (powder / crystals)
    insufflated Cocaine (powder / crystals)
A few years ago, it was easy to get 2CE online, and it was cheap. My friends and I were going to a three-day hippie camp-out, so we decided to buy a gram of it to bring with us to use and probably share. The group was me, my boyfriend at the time Cupcake, my best friend Tarantula, her boyfriend Cameron Diaz, and Quark, a mutual friend to all of us.

The first night of the event, we smoked pot and drank beer, and nobody touched the 2CE. We were all in very high spirits. The second night was incredible - we were able to score some really amazing molly (looking back, I feel shame for using molly and cocaine, knowing how much suffering is caused in order to get those drugs to us, but anyway...) and had one of those nights when everybody tells each other how beautiful they each are and how ever-lasting our love will be and we all chew a lot of gum and give each other back rubs and breathe Vick's.

The third day was when the mood started to change. Cupcake and I went to do yoga/meditation with a big group being led by one woman while someone else played a string instrument of some kind. I was so moved that I began to weep almost uncontrollably. Looking back, this was probably indicative of the fact that my serotonin levels were significantly decreased from the night before and tripping now would be a little unwise, but that was definitely not the conclusion I came to at the time. The day was tense - Cupcake and I fought, Cupcake got drunk, Cameron Diaz got really drunk and he and Tarantula fought a lot, and I got jealous of Cupcake and Quark having fun together. Not an ideal situation.

We all really wanted to do acid that night, as we had done on the third night of the festival the year before - that had been my first time doing acid, and Tarantula and I had candy-flipped and walked around as if in a magical dreamland all night. I wanted to recreate that experience.

We were only able to get some shrooms, and we took them early enough so that they peaked for me during the giant bonfire, and it looked like a volcano erupting out of the ground and was really intense for just a little while. Cupcake and I walked around after that for a while though, me fairly dissatisfied with my short-lived shroom dose and him experiencing nothing.

When we found the rest of our friends, they were getting ready to do some cocaine, so we joined them and did some, too. Nobody had had any success coming up with acid. And thus, the fateful decision to do the 2CE. We had heard that it's caustic and to take it in little pieces of paper that are swallowed, and I think some of us may have taken a dose like that, but mostly we were snorting it for convenience, and I think we were a little too hopped up to notice the pain of it much at first. This was probably around midnight.

It's hard to say how much of it I did over the course of the next half an hour - at the time, I think I estimated 30 - 40mg, Cupcake 20MG, while Tarantula thought she'd done 40MG and Cameran Diaz was saying he'd done something like 60mg. There's no way to know for sure, we were estimating 5mg dosages out of a 1g bag of it and snorting it off of keys. Dosage for 2CE is tiny, and this stuff was pure. We knew this and were consciously over-doing it anyways partly because we had so much, but also because when we first snorted it, it gave us each a rush very much like cocaine, except stronger and much more euphoric, like a shot of ecstasy.

Probably around 1AM, the intense hallucinations began. I had done a few different psychedelics at that point in my life - shrooms, acid, truffles - but nothing could compare to this in terms of intensity and not being able to tell what was real. The 'quality' of the hallucinations, from my perspective, was not so good. Things were sort of shapeless, but would maybe make themselves clear in the form of sort of looking like a fish or something. The colors were very intense, which can probably be attributed partly to the fact that it was dark out but the woods were full of neon lights and glow sticks. From my perspective, it seemed like sort of a deep sea party where only the fish that light up or glow are invited.
it seemed like sort of a deep sea party where only the fish that light up or glow are invited.
I remember feeling sort of physically uncomfortable and maybe rolling around on the ground laughing with the others about all the stupid stuff we were seeing.

That was a keyword, now that I think of it, that we kept saying at that time - that was when we started laughing about how all of our hallucinations were 'stupid.' We thought of 2CE as a designer drug, pointedly intended for experimental faux-rebellious youth to have a time without the difficulty or potential ramifications of acquiring 'real' drugs like acid. (Incidentally, Tarantula and I had recently faced some such ramifications, which was the main reason we started experimenting with a whole slew of research chemicals like J-W and MDPV and that night, 2CE.) We were laughing hysterically about how embarrassingly stupid and un-meaningful our experience on this drug felt. It was like everything around us, including ourselves, was made out of plastic, as if we were Barbie dolls living in a Barbie dreamhouse. I'm not sure who first said it was like 'the opposite of Acid' or when they said it during the course of that very long evening, but it was said more than once, and I agreed. The way that acid had made me feel like I was one with the Earth and God, this drug made me feel like me and everything on Earth were Fake, and I was one with the Devil. And then came the bears.

After the hallucinations relaxed enough that I could stand up and tell one thing from another, and it didn't all seem as much like the inside of an aquarium, around 2AM, I began to see the bears. To this day, I have never been so frightened of anything as I was of those bears.

I could see reality, or at least I thought I could. But between me and reality, as if I was wearing glasses with this projected onto them, there was a flat web of identical, color-shifting, kaleidoscopic images. The images weren't filled in, but more like shifting rainbow technicolor outlines. And the pictures shifted between three options only - crayons, lighthouses and smiling, mischevious teddy bear heads.

Cupcake was not feeling as strongly affected and actually reported having a good time, although he also joked that the drug seemed stupid. He and I started walking around. We talked about how everything felt like plastic, and how the world faced innumerable problems while we hung around like assholes doing a drug with the most intense hallucinations you've ever seen but that makes you feel nothing spiritual. It seemed like the perfect consumer-culture experience - all the glitz of powerful hallucinogens without the 'dangerous' side effect of heightened consciousness. The bears seemed like they were trying to say something to me, but I didn't know what yet. Whatever it was, even though it wasn't being articulated in words, just the vibe I was getting from the bears made me deeply uncomfortable.

When Cupcake and I were near the porta-potties, some random guy turned around and said something like, 'Hey, do you guys want some pure, straight up, incredible, free acid?' We laughed at the irony, and told the guy we surely wished we had met him earlier, because that was exactly what we did want, but unfortunately we were tripping our heads off already on world's worst designer drug. I'm not editorializing - that's pretty much what we said to him, and he was surprised by our weird negativity, since pretty much everybody else at this party was having a damn good time. At least we had the sense not to mix this nightmare with any more psychedelics.

Shortly after that conversation, Cupcake and I were walking down a path between people's different camp-outs, and I'd really had enough of the bears. I made the mistake of trying to make them go away, but that just made them multiply and spiral in and down on me as if from on high. Before I knew what was happening - it was probably 3 or 3:30AM at this point - I was screaming and pounding my fist on the ground.

Cupcake, also tripping but not freaking out, had no idea what to do with me. A woman who was a little bit older than us came over to help and lead me to some more of my friends. On our way there, she asked me if I wanted to check out a certain music tent - one I usually liked and had enjoyed dancing in the night before when on molly - and I vehemently told her that the tent was Hell, so we skipped it. It's a testament to how messed up I was that I didn't notice the entire time I was with this woman that she was completely topless, which I would normally really like.

We reached our friends at our camp-out. They were not doing much better than me, especially Cameron Diaz, who had taken twice as much as I had. Tarantula wasn't in a great mood, but she wasn't freaking out like either of us. She did reveal that earlier in the evening, she almost felt reality fall apart, but fortunately she had pressed its seams back together with her fingers just in time. Quark was actually having a great time - she had not done any 2CE and was just really high from a great pot brownie, which, incidentally, she had because I had gotten us half a pan of it by trading someone for a scoop of 2CE. I definitely envied her wisdom at that moment.

I told Tarantula that I thought I would eat something and see if that improved my state of mind. Tarantula informed me that I would not be able to eat anything, and that Cameron Diaz had been trying without luck. This seemed ridiculous, as I could feel my stomach chewing itself up inside. I fiercely shoved a piece of hot dog bun inside my mouth - and it was like the extreme dryness of my mouth clamped around the piece of bread so securely that I knew that if I didn't spit it out I would suffocate - so I spat it out. That was when I became truly morose about the whole thing. I became obsessed with thinking about the terrible state of the world and how I was a loser and a creep for doing nothing about it and spending all my money on stupid drugs and burn-out parties.

The bears continued in their intensity for hours. I had a long internal struggle concerning the conflict between deciding to spend my time doing what I wanted to do - party a lot - and what I knew I should do - attempt to make the world a better place. I did not want to commit to taking more responsibility for my life. But at last, I couldn't hold out any longer, and I made a promise to myself (and the bears) that once I got out of this 2CE nightmare, I would make a big change in my priorities. And once I promised, the bears actually backed off a little. That was such a relief, and it actually turned out true - I kept that promise and stopped my constant partying not long after that and got serious about my artwork. Drug use for purely recreational purposes had lost its charm - so much for 2CE as the Devil! More like a tough coach.

From around 4 -5AM I spent time just feeling still pretty awful and hungry with Tarantula and Cupcake, while Cameron Diaz threw things and stomped around. Around 5AM Tarantula, Cameron Diaz and Cupcake all tried to go to sleep. It only took a few minutes before they all came back out of their stuffy tents, defeated by the obvious fact that the extreme stimulant effects of the 2CE had not worn off yet.

When the sun started rising, between 5 and 6AM, I began to feel at peace. I felt like I now knew what it was to go truly out of your mind and come back with a renewed sense of purpose and humanity. A very sweet woman name Pegasus Glitter invited me to her camping area to chat and eat some baby carrots and strawberries. I found that this sweet, wet food was palatable and she allowed me to eat as much as I wanted. We chatted till almost 7. She wanted to talk a lot about her life, and I was extremely happy just to listen and watch her - in the daylight my hallucinations were gentler and very pretty. They were sort of random and more like acid now in their formations, just making everything into swirly fractals, instead of bears or anything particular. I remember really feeling good at that point. Light and hopeful, and proud to have gotten through my first (and still to this day, only real) 'bad trip.' The sky and the trees were intensely beautiful.

At one point around 8AM the bare-chested woman who had helped me when I was screaming suggested that I ride one of the communal bicycles, but I was sure I was too messed up in the head and couldn't manage it. She and a friend persuaded me just to sit on it, then to put my feet on the pedals, then to push the pedals, and I found that I could ride it, after all. I felt a burst of excitement and happiness at that knowledge.

For the next few hours, until I fell asleep in the car around 11AM, I was gently hallucinating and felt very tired but good, as if I was at the end of a long, difficult and important battle that I had won.

As a post-script to this story, I want to just mention that a few months after that, Cupcake and I dropped acid together and had a great time, then - after the effects of the acid had seemingly worn off - went back to his place to hang out with some of his friends and smoke weed. For some reason, that weed after the acid triggered a sort of 2CE flashback in BOTH of us, and I saw the bears again. Fortunately, I was not so afraid this time, and I stared them down and yelled, 'Bears! I'm not afraid of you!' which made them stop feeling threatening - for me. After I had calmed down my bears, Cupcake reported that he was seeing 'the bears,' as well. I don't know what his bears looked like, exactly - I didn't want to press the subject. I told him not to try to control them, just to accept them, knowing that 'all they can do is be there.' This calmed him somewhat, but both of us were still on edge and feeling 2CE-like effects for hours after that, so we just watched Buffy until we were finally able to fall asleep. I have never seen the bears since, though I have thought of them often.

Exp Year: 2010ExpID: 101496
Gender: Female 
Age at time of experience: 21
Published: Apr 2, 2017Views: 1,872
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2C-E (137) : Large Party (54), Therapeutic Intent or Outcome (49), Multi-Day Experience (13), Entities / Beings (37), Bad Trips (6)

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