Citation: Magellan. "Make Sure to Check Your Set and Setting: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp106334)". Erowid.org. Mar 5, 2017. erowid.org/exp/106334
So some back story on myself. I'm your average 32 year old male, married with a young son. I work a full time job as well as running a side business to help pay the bills. I don't drink much and like to dabble with psychedelics to learn more about myself and the world around me.
At the time of writing this I have tried DMT, LSD and mushrooms with all of the experiences being quite pleasant and memorable. I gained a lot from each without any issues and was able to tolerate the effects. That was until my recent mushroom journey or nightmare.
I had recently started to ween myself of lexapro because I didn't like how it flatlined my emotions, sure it helped with managing my depression however it left things washed out. Things had started to look up and I thought it would a good time to start coming off them. I was only on around 10mg so it wasn't a massive decreasing and from what I had a read on the net, some SSRI's can actually dull some trips. This fact would play a major factor in my upcoming trip.
I had about 4 grams of dried mushrooms leftover and was looking for a good time to drop them. My wife is unbeknownst to my psychedelic usage and doesn’t approve of the use of these so called ‘drugs’. So if she was away or I knew I had a day free from father and husband duty I would try to find time to trip, usually 4 to 5 weeks apart. After listening to a lot of various podcasts the idea of using psychedelics as medicine really appealed to me.
This time around though, the set was far from ideal. The wife and I had recently been fighting and she decided that it would be best if we spent a few days apart to cool things down. Her and my son were staying at the in-laws and the selfish part of me thought it would the perfect time to try a ‘heroic’ dose.
Coming home late that evening, the thought of going deep into the mushroom state was starting to excite and slightly scare me.
the thought of going deep into the mushroom state was starting to excite and slightly scare me.
I thought that smoking a little weed beforehand would help calm my nerves beforehand. Not really a great idea, as since I was no longer on lexapro, weed made me slightly paranoid and anxious.
I had dinner around 8pm and thought I would steep the 4 grams of mushrooms in tea and ingest them around 8:30pm. As I poured the remaining shrooms in the cup, I thought ‘wow, that’s a fair bit more than I usually have!’ I was a little hesitant to drink it but because I had the whole house to myself I thought I couldn’t have a better setting. I started to lock the house up for some reason, and made sure everything was comfortable for the trip.
The time was 9:45pm and I was watch ‘that 70’s show’ on tv in bed. I wasn’t really paying too much attention to what was going on. I was slightly stoned and waiting for the onset of the mushrooms to kick in. My first inkling that things weren’t quite right was when I started to notice how ‘fake’ the acting was on the show. The laugh track was really noticeable, and the show seemed different. I started to get drawn into the show and felt like I was in the scene with them. The big stopper though was when the dialogue in the show started to revolve around current themes in my life and then they would start to mention my name. ‘Woah’ I staggered, this is really different to my other trips, the actors and actresses then started to talk to me. Holy shit! I must be tripping hard I thought to myself. I reached over the bed and quickly turned the tv off. A sense of relief came over me as the horror of the tv trip was no more. That feeling was quickly replaced by physical pains as I realized I was now in complete darkness with the body load coming on really harsh. The darkness was replaced by vivid spiraling patterns in full colour, similar to DMT visuals.
My body was starting to feel extremely heavy and the disassociation also started to begin. I no longer felt like I was in my bedroom, my house or on earth for that matter. As I stared into the spiraling mechanical patterns it occurred to me that unlike the DMT trip this wasn’t going to be a 15 min blast off, but maybe a 6 hour roller coaster. That thought started to scare the shit out of me, I quickly grabbed my phone and started searching for some music that would calm me down. The phone itself felt like a toy, and navigating the various screens felt completely alien. The only music I was able to find was house rave music, not quite what I needed but it would do to help get me through the physical pains that were kicking in.
So here I am, sitting in complete darkness looking at a spiraling vivid full colour lightshow with techno music in the background. This isn’t too bad I thought to myself. That was until I realised that the patterns I was staring at was me, I was the patterns. I no longer felt like I was a human being but a soul that was everything but. Each time the pattern would rotate, shift or fold these sharp pains would shoot through my being. It was really starting to scare me, and the atmosphere of the trip took a really dark turn when the thought that I had died started to slip into my thoughts. Shit, ok so I’m officially going to be the first person to die from magic mushrooms, not cool.
Then as the death thoughts started to get louder this presence started to emerge. Similar to the presence of a DMT trip, this presence was all around me and felt unlike anything on earth. It felt old, ancient and from a different universe. I refer to this presence as the mushroom godhead, and in an almost angry voice the godhead asked me what I wanted to receive and how dare I summon him. This sent the death thoughts into overdrive and for some reason I thought that if answered incorrectly I would really die.
In an attempt to save my life I don’t know if I was screaming, talking or thinking this, but I started yelling ‘peace and love’ over and over for what felt like 20min. The patterns had faded and I was in complete hyperspace. At this point this overwhelming feeling of stupidity and sadness ran over me. Stupidity because I had just killed myself by overdosing on mushrooms and sadness because everything I knew was no longer. I was no longer a father, husband or human. It felt very similar to the ego death I had experienced on DMT however much darker because I also felt like I had physically died as well.
The following events I am unsure if they really happened or if I was dreaming them. The trip had turned into a dark hell in which I could feel nothing but intense pain and I had literally felt I had gone crazy. I felt like there was no turning back and all I could think of was that I wish it would all end. Nothing was making sense, my soul was stuck in a fucked up universe and feelings of regret, sadness and fright was all I was. Something inside me looked over to the corner of the room and seen this these small red lights. What is that? I thought, what are these funny red lines. Somewhere in my mind it told me that they were numbers off a digital clock. 11:45pm, what the hell?! Where have I been for the last 2 and a half hours. My mind was lost, where have I been. I think the visions and feelings got too intense that I passed out at some point. I knew I was still tripping hard as I didn’t recognize my surroundings and I couldn’t figure out if I was standing or laying down.
Suddenly a part of me thought that if I could find a mirror I could somehow salvage my life and remind myself that I was just having a bad trip. I staggered to the bathroom mirror and what I saw shocked me.
I staggered to the bathroom mirror and what I saw shocked me.
I didn’t recognize the being that stood in front of me, I knew I knew him. But from where? He looked plastic almost like he was made of wax. This person who was myself then began to melt. ‘Oh fuck, I need to get out of here’ I thought as I ran towards the front door. If I can get outside and see the night sky and nature maybe it can remind me that I’m still on earth and that I’m still a human being.
The night sky looked amazing, almost like a Van Gogh painting. The trees and mountains seemed to be breathing. The mushroom godhead was still in the air but this time he/she seemed to be approving. This gigantic feeling of relief washed over me. As I was about to scream out, ‘I’m still here!’ I suddenly find myself back in the bedroom in a fetal position holding my stomach looking towards the digital clock in the corner. 11:44pm?! Wasn’t it 11:45pm when I looked up? It didn’t make any sense. With breaks and gaps in events, I went from looking at the bathroom mirror to running to the front door to looking outside at the night sky. It was like I was stuck in this bad hellish groundhog day. I seemed to relive the same sequence for what felt like an eternity. I was stuck in this horrid time loop. Then I found myself looking at myself living the time loop from a third person perspective. What a waste of life, was the only thought going through my mind. I had given up all hope of getting back to reality and coming down from the bad mushroom trip. I began to dissolve into hyperspace again, and images of myself laying on my bed murmuring something about how much I love my wife and son started to repeat.
I awoke to the sound of the tv playing some early morning mma show. I looked at the digital clock... 4:15am. I still didn’t feel right, I still didn’t know who I was. The fighters on the mma show looked like WWE figurines made of plastic, I didn’t recognize any of them. I reached across the bed and saw my phone. Shit, did I ring anyone when I was tripping? Has it been hours or days?! I didn’t even know my name, I looked at the phone screen and just sat there gazing at this picture of a father and son. The longer I stared the more I realized the picture was of myself and my son. I felt like crying, I survived! Like being reborn all these memories of who I was and where I lived came flooding back into my mind. It was like I was getting rebooted or restarted like a computer. I then slowly started to drift back off to sleep.
It has now been 2 days since the above experience, and all I can think about is how much my wife and son mean to me. Even though the experience was like a terrible nightmare I feel like it got my priorities in order. I am still processing what the mushrooms were trying to show me. I don’t think I will be jumping back into a 4 gram dose anytime soon, but like always I have a new respect for the medicinal psychedelics. Set and setting should, and always be the first thing to check off.
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