Citation: PseudoIvyAlum. "Absurd Reincarnations Psychological Surgery: An Experience with LSD (exp108860)". Erowid.org. Feb 8, 2018. erowid.org/exp/108860
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This was my first experience with this substance. I was extremely depressed about perceptions of my career stalling and post-graduate identity diffusion and losing touch with people who had mattered to me-- this depression had been growing on me gradually for years but lately had worsened further in severity. None of the medications worked; they seemed to be just masking the underlying structural or cognitive problems and made things worse in some respects. I felt that I could no longer live up to my own expectations or those of society, that I was fundamentally flawed in my attempts to engage with people, and out of these motivations I had been planning my suicide for weeks. In a fit of desperation I had ordered a variety of drugs from various sources to try to see whether anything might change my perspective, or at least to collect a few experiences before I left. By the time this trip was over, apart from having indeed collected a vast array of experiences and far more than I had bargained for, I found that I wasn't even depressed anymore. It was almost a sort of psychological surgery. Though I had not expected this outcome, LSD may well have saved my life.
T=0:00: I took half a tab and waited 30 minutes. Listened to the first half hour or so of Dark Side of the Moon. As was proper, I thought.
T=0:25: Felt nothing so I took the other half. Listened to the rest of the album.
T=0:50: I took a 2nd tab because I still felt nothing. Supposedly some effects were supposed to begin by 30-60 minutes into it. Waited another 45 minutes while listening to some music from the Matrix and doing email.
T=1:30: Still noticed nothing. Had a snack. Drank some juice. Took a 3rd tab.
T=2:00: I finally noticed some intensification of perceived colors. It was pleasant. Pretty. Seemed like this stuff was perhaps a bit weaker than advertised (classic novice mistake apparently...). Took a 4th tab.
T=2:30: I finally started to see some weak visual trails. Still no 'breathing walls' or anything I had been told to expect by friends or read about online. Colors were still vibrant and beautiful though. Grabbed a sodium acetate hot pack to look at because I figured the crystals that form in them would look interesting with these visual effects. Took a 5th tab. Got into bed since I wasn't sure if I would feel drunk/unsteady when the stuff finally kicked in.
T=2:45: I noticed that the fuzzy setting patterns and support marks in the concrete ceiling of my apartment had begun to intensify into something resembling densely composed Aztec writing or an angular Celtic braid pattern. The grain of the wood of my door took on much sharper edges and more saturated colors. It was gorgeous. I spent a while looking around at various objects in the room. I picked up an abstract bronze sculpture and twirled it around in my hands. I wondered whether I would hallucinate it melting or merging with adjacent objects (this never did happen, oddly; I was always able to perceive it clearly). I went to my computer and moved the mouse around and saw some visual trails of its path, but didn't it always do that? (It did, though not so strongly.) I got back in bed. I wondered whether the 5th tab had been a mistake.... In retrospect I should have been wondering about the 4th and perhaps the 3rd as well.
I wondered whether the 5th tab had been a mistake.... In retrospect I should have been wondering about the 4th and perhaps the 3rd as well.
T=2:55: the intensified patterns in the concrete ceiling began to swirl and blend smoothly. The support marks seemed to dance like rainbow-hued cartoon bones. The saturation of the colors of the wood grain patterns of the door began to pulse. Fascinating. I activated the chemical hot pack and watched the trails of crystals grow. The warmth was nice. I felt rather cold for some reason. I had read that temperature regulation could vary on LSD though-- so perhaps that was prudent. The visual trails became more intense. I saw jagged edges suspended in the air when I moved the hot pack. The trails seemed to be more pronounced with sharper-edged objects. I didn't see them around my hands for instance. I put the hot pack under my shirt because I was cold, but then had a sudden desire to take my shirt off and pull on a comforter instead so I did.
T=3:05: I had a sudden flash of connection to ancient ancestors. Perhaps it was taking the shirt off; I'm not sure. I twirled the sculpture in my hands and thought about ancient Europeans in continental Europe hunting large mammals during the winter for food. I thought about the structure of human societies and how historically women had stayed in the village and anchored the society/tribe while men went out in small bands to hunt. How women often communicated better and had stronger personal networks while men often had stronger ambitions and tended to be better at spatial reasoning and strategy. How modern society was being controlled and constrained and often broken and damaged by abstract representations of society on websites (Facebook, online dating, etc.). How society and the economy were becoming more materialistic, more winner-take-all, more dependent on perceptions. I envisioned hunting a wooly mammoth with a few lifelong tribesmen with spears, coming home to a wife in an age when divorce did not exist, when children were raised semi-communally and always had potential friends nearby (instead of going to school and being ripped away from their communities every time they graduated or their parents were forced to move by faceless corporate employers).
T=3:10: My hands began to glow yellow-orange in the light from my lamp. I was still envisioning ancient ancestors and thinking about society. Time seemed to be slowing down. I tossed the sculpture back and forth between my hands but seemed to be barely noticing it visually or what it felt like. I laughed. This felt nice. For now.
T=3:15: I tried to think about the software project I was working on but couldn't think past the first 2 or 3 stages of the pipeline I was building. That was a bit concerning. I can normally do that even when I am very drunk. Oh well. I assumed it would come back. I had to struggle to remember my name. The hairs on my arms were glowing in rainbows.
I had to struggle to remember my name. The hairs on my arms were glowing in rainbows.
Thought about names as anchors to society. Names and numbers and abstractions over top of underlying biological-chemical-physical reality. Assumed reality. My view of reality was about to become a great deal more direct, however.
T=3:20: I began seeing psychedelic patterns when I closed my eyes. Round paisley 4-way-symmetric patterns, fern-like patterns, 2-tone paper-cut-artwork patterns. They seemed to have a recursive or fractal structure. They zoomed inward and always resembled themselves. Every 30 seconds or so they would 'reset'. I opened my eyes and checked the time on my phone. The visual trails were incredibly intense. The home screen looked like something from a futuristic movie or video game, with trails sliding off the graphics like white angular fading vapors or sparks. Beautiful. I momentarily thought of messaging a few of my friends who had had extensive experience with psychedelics in the past but thought better of it. I don't drunk-text so I certainly shouldn't trip-text. I wasn't sure if I even remembered my password anyway.
T=3:30: I closed my eyes and suddenly envisioned being reincarnated as a caveman for about a minute. Then a different caveman. Then a woman. Then an African tribesman. Then a rainforest tribesman. Then something genderless entirely, possibly from another planet, seemingly some imagined hypothetical species. 'All my best trips were on LSD' began to run through my mind like a mantra. It was strange. Time was very slow now. I seemed to live out significant life experiences of other hypothetical people, other hypothetical creatures in general each over the span of about 30-60 seconds. I kept re-checking my phone for time and I remember each of these episodes was barely a minute if even that. The circular 4-way fractal patterns overlaid on the imagined reincarnations; the trip had taken on a sort of recursive character. The mantra replaying in my mind, the imagined reincarnations, and the visual patterns each 'reset' every 30-60 seconds or so.
T=3:35: There had been a protest nearby earlier in the evening and now there were police sirens. Uh-oh. Suddenly my anxiety levels spiked and I felt nauseous. Not because I thought they were coming for me -- just because of the change in background noise. 'Set and setting'. I was worried the trip was about to take a turn for the worse. I had money, no criminal record, had been careful all my life, was being quiet, was safe and undetectable in my apartment. They were coming for people less careful on the streets. I thought about how arbitrary the war on drugs was, how police were their own culture and the urban poor were their own culture and the technical professional classes were their own culture and only ever occasionally intersected. I wasn't hurting anyone, and I would get away with this anyway; meanwhile people far poorer than me who sold things to pay their rent were risking jail time and destroyed lives and homelessness. It all seemed so artificial. Structures of social regulation and control. Ten thousand years ago we had been cavemen and tribesmen; we had taken substances like this for mystical experiences and rites of passage. There were no controlled substance laws back then -- so arbitrary, some grandstanding congressman trying to make his career on oppressing others who he had never met, had never conversed with, had never even genuinely tried to understand. The sirens and the sounds of cars and trains blended together into a smooth background soundscape of modernity and anxiety. I went to the bathroom to lay on the cold tile floor because I suddenly felt overheated and a bit nauseous.
T=3:40: I was abruptly reincarnated as something genderless and alien, prostrated in a ritual to Lovecraftian alien 'outer gods'. My body seemed alien to me; I felt unfamiliar with its structure. I could suddenly tangibly perceive the philosophical absurdism of Camus and live within it. I had always believed it intellectually, and if I stared at e.g. my hand long enough I could begin to perceive how absurd and how arbitrary the structure of the human body was (compared to any given alternative evolutionary possibility), but here and now I was living it and perceiving it fully. The fixtures and trash can in the bathroom appeared to be covered in vertical columns of alien writing made of thin lines and triangles that glowed and sparkled in pulsating pastel blue and orange and yellow. Another few cycles of reincarnation across alien genders and species, still with this strange religious overtone, this ritual prostration. (I was still on the floor or kneeling.) The mantra repeated over and over in sync with the successive reincarnations. It was fascinating. I felt as though I had greatly advanced in my understanding of absurdism.
T=3:45: I suddenly felt more lucid, remembered what it was to be human. No longer nauseous, I took a big drink of water (have to stay hydrated) and an anti-anxiety supplement that I keep handy. I often do have anxiety. (... in retrospect that should perhaps have concerned me.) I went back to my bed and thought about the visualizations of alien reincarnations. The patterns in the ceiling and door were still quite vibrant and beautiful, their colors varying gradually in saturation.
T=3:50: I was reincarnated as a captured spy or scientist, trapped in a delirium or virtual reality consisting of standing by my desk in this room (my apartment), with an overriding sense that foreign and perhaps entirely inhuman oppressors were trying to somehow break into my mind or cause me to admit to them some secret coordinates or cryptographic encryption keys. They were trying to capture or break my collaborators, who I envisioned as some of my closest friends; some may have already been captured; I did not know. I saw my passport on the desk, some foreign currency. I envisioned the apartment as a hotel room in which I had been staying before being captured, that they had somehow trapped my mind in this place through drugs or virtual reality while probing it for information. I felt a sense of great pressure and anxiety; 'you'll never break me; I would rather die than reveal the keys or lead you to my collaborators' I thought. I had a sudden sense that the LSD had 'blasted shards of my consciousness into adjacent lives,' envisioning them as shards of dark green glass in brass fixtures embedded in limestone. On reflection, this is true; what else is conversation? We all embed shards of our consciousness into those others with whom we deeply interact, in showing them how we see the world.
T=3:52: I felt a sudden recollection of what it had been like to be delirious from a fever when I was a child, when I could not identify my parents and they seemed to me to be cloaked in trench coats asking me who they were. I grabbed some paper and a pen and began writing what I could remember of my profession, that I had taken a large dose of LSD (for some reason I wrote 'face-melting dose of LSD' and underlined it, though whenever I looked in the mirror my face looked fine-- just a bit alien/arbitrary), 'why did I do this to myself?', then remembered it had been in part to try to overcome my mounting severe depression over my current path in life (at times I had barely left my bed in a week) and the seeming futility of continued post-graduation ambition in the modern industrial-technical system. I suddenly had a flash of vision of being suspended as a white drop between two curved spines in a vast void and the thought of something like pure lived experience. It somehow symbolized my life between beginning and end. Between two oblivions: one before birth, one after death. I had a monumental and overwhelming feeling that merely being able to have experiences at all was wonderful, that my former notions of suffering as economic subjugation and professional difficulties were entirely a matter of my own perception and that these things were in any event scale-free, that all the internal structure of my mind was merely how I happened to perceive the world and that far more of it was subjective and malleable than I had believed. That I had taken so much for granted. That my social anxiety was due to imagined assumptions on my part about what other people thought of me, that none of it was likely even real. That we all view the world through our own internal mental structures and representations and that just because it looks a certain way to us at one point does not mean that it looks that way to everyone or even to us at different points in our lives. That we spend so much of our time thinking about internal abstractions that we imagine accurately describe the outside world but are really just Nietzschean-perspectivist slices of perceived reality, or living in various imagined futures that for all we know may never even occur. That the Buddhist notions of cultivating mindfulness and living in the present and gently acknowledging impermanence and not being upset about it were key to avoiding suffering in the world. That so much suffering was subjective and caused by trying to fulfill brittle expectations instead of experiencing life.
T=3:55: I went to get more water. I then felt a bit hot and nauseous again so I laid back down on the cool tile floor. I began being mentally reincarnated as increasingly strange alien forms -- radially symmetric things, undersea things, liquid things, gaseous things, abstract things, mechanical things. Always this mantra 'all my best trips were on LSD' and the sense of a recursive nature to the closed-eye visuals and the trip itself.
T=4:30: I went back to bed. I suddenly saw myself as completely immaterial. I felt that I was, most fundamentally, nothing but a neural network that could be connected to any arbitrary physical body/hardware/sensors, in any society or none, at any point in history in any place in the universe or an alternate universe. I thought about how even driving a car or piloting an airplane or playing a video game causes people to feel themselves as 'being' the entity that they control, how wielding a weapon or using another type of tool causes them to see it almost as an extension of themselves. How the network was almost agnostic to the underlying hardware. Just pursuing hierarchical concept-structures and receptor activations associated with them that controlled my activity-- dopamine to motivate, serotonin to appreciate and love, oxytocin to bond, GABA to relax, etc. Oversimplifications I know. I thought about lower mammals and how they were motivated by similar receptors and drives but lacked the same level of complexity to model and represent the world in their cerebral cortices. I thought about the AI research I had done. I thought about strong AI and deep neural networks and deep reinforcement learning. I thought about the future and the first artificial general intelligence, how it too might conceivably conceive of itself this way, but as the first known purely-abstract intelligence in the world. I thought again of myself as fundamentally just a form of deep neural network and a collection of hedonic drives and emotional shades toward tendencies of behavior.
T=4:44: For the briefest moment I saw something small and bright and shimmering, outside the network or between the layers or somehow transcending it. I have no idea what it was or what it was supposed to represent. Perhaps it was some abstraction of pure existence or a notion of divinity or the totality of the universe as perceived. I am not sure. There is no reason to believe that it had any particular bearing in existence or possible experiences, but I can't shake the thought of it even now. I was reflecting on the walls of Plato's cave as my own incoming sensory stimuli in the abstract, and then there was this outside thing. Perhaps it represented the fundamentally unknowable (per the 'cogito') nature of true reality unlimited by our perceptions. But I am not sure.
T=4:45: I envisioned my close friends and past lovers purely as neural networks and receptor activation profiles like me as well, each seeking their own satisfaction and fulfillment within their own realms of perceived experiences and internal assumptions. 'Is your blue my blue?' To say nothing of whether your assumptions about social constraints match my own. I had a sudden appreciation for the differences between people and their perspectives. I had an overwhelming feeling that I wanted to focus over the next few years on getting closer to my friends and making more friends in general and seeking new lovers, having spent almost all of my time over the past several years focusing on my technical career. I thought of the world in the Cartesian 'dream argument' sense, the notion that we really could be in a simulation or all brains in vats. But that somehow other people, other beings were more important and more ontologically fundamental than perceptions about the rest of the outside world itself. I had never had this thought before. I had always assumed the notion of solipsism implied others would be inherently just as ontologically contingent as anything else within perceived reality, but suddenly I saw them as something different. What I envisioned now was more like the setting of the Matrix, multiple individuals experiencing the same or a similar shared perceived reality, even if they were all really something or somewhere else. Perhaps because of my inability to completely simulate them the way I could with other phenomena, perhaps they seemed in some information-theoretic sense to be undeniably outside of me. Or at least outside of whatever parts of my mind I could consciously perceive. And right now that seemed like all of them. Certainly I felt a far more complete understanding of my own assumptions and sociocultural contingencies now than I ever had at once before. I saw my friends and past lovers as immensely bright sparks of various individual colors flying through a space of possibilities with me, at varying distances and speeds, as though we were all engaged in some common struggle or journey together and should help each other in pursuing it. Though we were all spread out over the country now, I momentarily flashed back to my earlier visions of living in primitive tribes. Abstract modernity brings us closer than geography, at least, in part. It was beautiful.
T=5:00: Things took a sharp turn for the worse again. And this was a pattern on this trip. I wouldn't even call it a 'bad trip', any more than I would call a tense movie a 'sad movie' simply for having sad or frightening parts in it. There were overwhelmingly happy and illuminating parts as well. But this was a frightening one. I suddenly saw myself as this network. And the sun began to rise. As it rose the visual trails became more intense again and the visions stopped. I tried to remember my work again to check where I was on the trip, but I couldn't seem to remember how to write code at all. I forgot my name. I looked at my arms and saw caveman arms. I was momentarily horrified. The sentences suddenly went through my mind 'You thought cocaine was something, didn't want to try it again? That was nothing. This stuff can mess you up in more ways and on more levels than you can even fathom.' I thought of 'sheet eaters' who had taken too much LSD and gotten stuck in permanent recurring trips. 'Sometimes you just trip out for no reason; I tell myself that it was just a free trip and I should try to appreciate it.' Absolute horror. The temporal distortions made it somehow worse, the notion that I could be trapped here for years subjectively in the span of minutes, that I had somehow modified my own means of perceiving the world and that it was impossible to turn back time and undo any damage that might have resulted. I had a sudden thought of my own internal neural network, with the LSD suddenly jostling layers out of alignment, like the sharp-edged misaligned visual trails and notion of displaced 'shards of consciousness' but at higher and more conceptual levels of my cortical networks. I remembered an article about git that I had read that had alluded to a complex process called an interactive rebase, and something about 'so you misplaced these commits midway into a DMT trip; at least git will still track them for you'. This was LSD and I had never taken DMT; a friend said it had been incredibly powerful and he wondered if it had somehow damaged him. I wondered the same about myself now. I wondered whether whenever I thought about my current software project I would spiral into an unprompted trip, whether I had somehow woven or welded some of my real-world experiences to this inner world of perceptual distortions and recursive insanity. Had I really need to start this experience with 5 tabs? Periodic spikes of anxiety about different aspects of my life came back as well. I suddenly rushed to the bathroom and threw away all of my remaining supplies of various drugs. I decided I was never doing this again and desperately hoped that I hadn't damaged myself in some enduring way. And that regardless I was at least no longer depressed per se, ironically, and needed to live a healthier lifestyle.
T=5:10: The sudden phrase 'you have to integrate it' came to me like the voice of a psychotherapist. I had somehow chosen to do solo psychological surgery on myself with no anesthetic, and that implied that I was responsible for putting the parts back and closing the incisions now. Every time something felt like it might slip out of place, I grounded it. I felt as though I were realigning the jostled layers that the LSD had rattled and perturbed and revealed and cleaned and swept the dust out from under, the misalignments I imagined at various levels of my cortical hierarchy being symbolized by the visual trails I experienced at the lowest levels. Periodically I would slip back into being mentally reincarnated as additional strange forms, liquids and gel-like creatures, things with no skin painlessly living in a flesh-world, people of other races, people in the future, things made of yarn, things made of food products, multicolored aqueous chemical systems, the walls and building materials of the apartment itself, etc. 'All my best trips were on LSD' repeated every time it happened, this strange recursive mantra. I thought of my parents and my name. I thought of my friends. I saw the other people in my life as stronger anchors to reality than my perceptions themselves were, and of myself pulling my way back to this particular evolved reality, this particular realized form of what was possible, by thinking of other people, other consciousnesses as my anchors. Every spike of anxiety I worked through, I thought about its underpinnings, told myself that it stemmed from assumptions I made about the world rather than from the world itself. Assumptions that in some cases the LSD itself had shown me I had, so much I had taken for granted that in reality was merely a product of my lived experiences, environment, culture, physical form, and neural structure. In hindsight, LSD was perhaps the most effective cognitive-behavioral therapy I've ever had.
T=5:30: The sun had come up and I remembered how to write code again. I remembered my identity, though it still felt completely arbitrary and absurd to me.
I remembered my identity, though it still felt completely arbitrary and absurd to me.
I could have been anything. I could have been a tentacled underwater alien in a minor moon of a gas giant in another galaxy and in some fundamental ontological sense it would not have mattered. That this modern human western cultural existence was the particular form that my observed reality had taken was as acceptable to me as any other. But the LSD had not fundamentally changed the structures in my cortex; my knowledge and skills were still there and waiting for me. I felt so alive.
T=6:00: I cleaned up a bit, drank a lot more water. Occasional visual trails but they were receding. I could remember the passwords to my devices again. (Perhaps those had been the 'cryptographic keys' I imagined during the virtual interrogation scene; I had noticed at the time that I was unable to log into my devices and perhaps had mentally recast it as being willfully refusing to do so. I was reminded of 'bicycle day' and how Albert Hofmann had thought that he was going mad on LSD and perceived his neighbor as a malevolent and persecuting witch.) Occasional imagined alternate experiences and realities but they felt more controlled. Before, they had felt entirely involuntary, like my conscious perceptions being forcibly re-initialized in another body or another time. Now they were more faded, felt more like my imagination. It was like the difference between a lucid dream and a directed visualization-- less comprehensive and realistic-seeming, but also much more controlled.
T=6:30: I reflected a bit on the experience. The visual trails were very weak now. I felt clean and cold but rather unkempt, the way I feel when I am getting over being sick with a high fever or after throwing up repeatedly from a stomach virus. Like I was about to be healthy again. I reflected on the historical connection between LSD and ergot poisoning, on my own speculations about the relationship between past experiences of feverish delirium and this experience with LSD. I was tired but I felt peaceful and satisfied. I went to sleep for about 12 hours. I had been up all night tripping, though I was on a late schedule anyway.
T=18:30: I got up, took a shower, washed everything very thoroughly. I was still feeling a bit unsteady in my body and mind. I reexamined some of the assumptions I had identified toward the later part of the trip, particularly about social anxiety, and resolved again to focus on staying close to the people I care about.
T=19:00: I went out to my kitchen, drank some vegetable juice. Normally I hate vegetable juice. For some reason, it seemed to me rather arbitrary now whether people should drink fruit juice or vegetable juice or something else entirely, so I finished most of it. Then I decided that it still tasted a bit disagreeable and threw the last quarter away. Perhaps I was settling back into myself again. Into this particular possible reality. I had some cold pizza. I've always liked cold pizza.
T=19:30: my roommate came out and we talked about society and the economy and experience for 3 hours. I was astonished at how much was arbitrary, how much was a mere mathematical or biological/evolutionary or social consequence of something else arbitrary that had occurred before it. This permeated discussions of economics, politics, business, finance, career development, recent scientific discoveries e.g. about exoplanets, social dynamics and sociology, etc. I felt able to reexamine the world from a broader and less parochial perspective. I kept watching and wondering if I would relapse or start seeing visual trails again, like I had read that people sometimes could. I felt a bit unsteady. For some reason I was better at making eye contact than I usually am; I decided that there was no reason why I shouldn't, and that old habits and anxieties need not dictate the future. I admit I was a bit worried about suddenly relapsing into incurable insanity like some government propaganda psychedelic horror story, but nothing whatsoever happened and I was fine. By the end of the discussion I felt great that I had engaged with someone intellectually so broadly. Over the past couple of months we had only rarely spoken at length with one another, and usually about narrower subjects.
T=22:30: I had another snack, caught up on email, sent some messages to friends I wanted to talk to (not even about this experience; no one but me knows about it; I just wanted to stay in touch and hear from them again).
T=25:00: went to bed again, slept for about 8 hours. Woke up feeling completely normal, but not depressed or anxious or worried about the future or my career or society anymore. Realized that much of society and one's own environment and assumptions are arbitrary and malleable. Reflected on a comment by Steve Jobs about Bill Gates: 'He'd be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.' Saw billionaires as still just nodes in the network distribution like us, just in different places in society, having gotten there on their own respective paths and courses through life. I've met a few. If I made it, I decided, I would be a philanthropist; if I didn't, I was content to watch the world turn with my friends. Resolved to live life more focused on other people and experiences and intellectual contributions, and less focused on the narrow game of accumulating ever more money and buying larger properties to show off, less focused on rigid notions of career success or failure. Above a certain point it doesn't even matter anymore. Shredded the suicide note I had printed on my desk a few days earlier when I thought I could no longer live up to my own expectations; I had been obsessed with the idea of fitting into a pattern of career development and progression and felt that I was stalling out, that I couldn't go on anymore. I remembered that some of the wealthiest and most famous people I knew had been poor and obscure at 35, and that fundamentally life need not be focused on money or fame anyway. That staying in touch with other interesting people was far more important. And I had been so arrogant in so many ways. But now that seemed like just one of many possible former lives. I wasn't depressed anymore. LSD helped me see that my perspective and assumptions were merely one of an uncountably infinite set of possibilities and that I needn't be bound to my former self. That it was better to begin a new life than end one that seemed to be going off the rails laid out for it. LSD may well have saved my life.
That said, I remain deeply humbled and grateful that no damage appears to have been done. My actions were reckless; I took at least twice as much as I should have without realizing that it took so long to kick in for me, having assumed stupidly that it was just weaker or more dilute than advertised. Reading further, this appears to be a common mistake, and apparently the time of onset simply varies widely between people. I do not regret being solo, though -- some of the experiences that I had would have been weaker or less authentic or overpoweringly embarrassing and anxiety-provoking had someone else been there observing, and had I not had to make my own way through. I cannot say this is right for most people; frankly it probably isn't. But even in the depths of delirium and insanity I have always been safe with myself.
I did not expect to have full-blown loss of self and ego death and a thousand alien reincarnations and significant insights about perceived reality and historical changes in the structure of society and the resolution of longstanding psychological issues and an improved social attitude from my first trip. I was expecting to maybe see the walls appear to breathe like I had heard that they would, and maybe feel a bit more peaceful. Oddly, they never did, but I was ultimately very much at peace with the experience, and with experience more generally.
I may never touch this substance again. Many ancient cultures had one-time initiation rituals into their tribal religions, often as a rite of passage. To me, this has been similar, to say nothing of the risks of what could have been. But if things ever get as bad for me psychologically as they had been before this trip and I am seriously contemplating suicide again, years or decades from now, then perhaps I may consider it. I had gone into this with the attitude of 'what do I have to lose?' and come away with the conclusion that life is amazing and wonderful even in its absurdity, that most of my issues were internal and solvable, that suffering is fundamentally dictated by one's perspective on impermanence, and that society and culture themselves are incredibly subjective and malleable. I understand why psychiatrists experimented with this substance in therapeutic settings in the past. But as with everything, the outcomes can be rather unpredictable. My life and perspective as they had existed needed a shot of chaos, a perturbation in the path of the optimizer before it converged to a singularity-- and I am back in pursuit of my course through life now.
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