Citation: ADF. "A Fractal Whip Of Immediate Regret And Terror: An Experience with 25I-NBOMe (exp114578)". Erowid.org. Jul 16, 2020. erowid.org/exp/114578
The day of my first-ever psychedelic experience, I was riding my bike down the streets of Lincoln Park in Chicago, and I got a call from my friend, who, over the phone, sounded more ecstatic and purely happy than I've ever heard anyone speak. He says he and his roommate scored LSD and I should come over and trip with them. Having been curious about LSD ever since being introduced to/becoming familiar with cannabis, I thought this was the perfect opportunity. Even better, my friend lived just two stories beneath me in the same building. If anything went wrong, I thought, I could just go upstairs to my room.
I made my way over and took a tab of blotter under my tongue, and was immediately stung by its harsh, unceasingly bitter aftertaste. My friend and his roommate, at this point, are both shirtless and doing pushups while laughing out loud. I've never seen anything like it and was curious to see what such a state felt like.
After not really feeling anything for like 5-10 minutes, I went over to the bathroom to brush my teeth and try to rid the awful aftertaste that was still lingering. At this point, I'll mention that I thought I had consumed LSD, as this was what I was told.
I thought I had consumed LSD, as this was what I was told.
I didn't learn until years later it was in fact 25i-NBOMe, which provided a bounty of context and relief for me, following the experience that was just getting started.
I'm in the bathroom swishing water in my mouth trying to get the awful taste out, and that's when I start to notice tiny little creases in the sink start to wiggle around like caterpillars. I was utterly transfixed, and I couldn't believe such a visual hallucination could be so obviously "real." I thought, hoo boy. Let's get started.
As soon as I left the bathroom however, after probably 10 minutes of observing the sink’s wavy patterns, a deep wave of nausea wafted over me, to the point where I needed to take my glasses off and get on all fours just to get my bearing straight. I ended up vomiting pure water and stomach liquid because I hadn’t really eaten anything that day, and I was horrified to watch myself vomit liquid onto the ground that then immediately fluttered away, as if it had wings. At this time, I began to experience deep pangs of anxiety and fear and confusion over why my vomit had seemingly flown away.
Luckily, my roommate and my good friend happened to stop by to say hi, and as the only sober people in the apartment (my neighbors were far too blissed out and listening to music to notice me throwing up), they were a godsend and my rock to this reality as I began to slip further down the rabbit hole.
It should be mentioned that I have terrible eyesight without my glasses, and from this point on, putting my glasses back on would immediately shock my consciousness with an acute migraine, as if on command. It was just too much to see the world in normal vision for some reason, and I basically went the rest of the trip only seeing incredibly blurry shapes, light, and colors.
I was deeply, deeply ashamed for my sober friends to see me like this, but also overwhelmingly grateful for their friendship and presence. My friend handed me a glass of water, which I needed to hold extremely close to my face in order to make out properly. I managed to take a few drinks, after which I saw the glass of water melt into my grip and pool onto the ground like hot lava, except completely translucent. Freaked out by this apparent transformation, I dropped the glass I was holding and it shattered on the ground, and with the indescribably intense sound of the glass shattering on the wood floor, we entered full on Bad Trip mode.
Feelings of overwhelmingly, suffocating shame, fear, anxiety, disappointment and self-hatred assaulted me from all sides. How could I do a drug like this? How could my friends see me like this? Somehow I got the innate sense all of my family members knew what I just done, and all disapproved. I felt emotionally emancipated from every loved one in my life. These intense and terrifying thoughts were racing through my head far too quickly to gt a handle on any one of them long enough to actually verbalize them. All I could do was sigh--if I could at least sigh, that was something.
At this point, I basically lost all nerve function in my hips. I was sitting down on the ground, near where I had puked, up against the wall, and I physically couldn’t stand up. It was like my brain forgot I had a pelvis. I could move my toes and legs, but I just couldn’t figure out how to stand up, at all, which intensified previous feelings of fear and anxiety by like 10,000, and I immediately concluded I was losing my mind and that this would be a permanent condition for the rest of my life.
I attempted to motion to my friend that I wanted to take a shower -- I was profusely sweating, malnourished and dehydrated and freaking out -- but I couldn’t come close to articulating that. All I could muster was pathetically pleading for “water… I need water from that angle” while pointing up at the ceiling. My friend got me another glass of water.
At this time, any semblance of time duration has gone completely out the window. I don’t know if this next part lasted 5 minutes or 5 hours, but all of my already blurry visuals began to take on ever-intensifying layers of hypnotically entrancing fractal patterns, to the point where it completely overwhelmed my sense of time and space and there was just pure blackness.
The depths of my abject terror and shame kept finding new lows, and it felt as if I was being supremely punished by a divine being for violating some core tenet of existence that I hadn’t realized I had violated until it was too late.
For some background on what transpired next, just keep in mind that I am a secular and generally non-religious Jew, though I was raised Jewish through my Bar Mitzvah.
My brain’s capacity to organize sensory input soon went completely haywire, and my conscious brought forth the phenomenological qualia of so many different senses from my past experiences all at once that it’s literally impossible to capture the full scope of feeling using human language. The best I’ve been able to describe it is, at one point, each one of my 10 fingers felt completely wrapped up in a different Chinese finger trap, and each of the 10 finger traps consisted of a wholly different texture, feeling, pressure, temperature, smell, and emotional supplement. My left thumb was wrapped in a tight rope of “feeling a smooth stone at the bottom of a shallow pond,” while my left index finger was wrapped in the feeling of getting too close to a hot oven. My left middle finger was wrapped in cold Cool Whip, and my left ring finger was unfortunately trapped in a blanket made of pure static electricity shocks. Like, I literally felt as if I was 100% being tickled by status electricity, but only on my left ring finger. Every bit of subjective evidence was there as if I was having the actual experience of being shocked my static electricity on my left ring finger. Every single finger was like this, as were all of my toes. Interestingly, my pelvis/ass also started feeling this way -- for some reason it became wrapped in the feeling of pressing your knees into the protective padding on a workout machine.
I didn’t realize this until later, but this was the moment I regained motor control of my pelvis, or whatever. I was too sucked into the overwhelmingly scary torrent of glitched-out sensory data from my past experiences being piled on top of my unceasing anxiety, nausea, and fear that this was it. I absolutely became convinced I was dying, and that this “person” I thought I was, with a first name and last name and social security number, was just a pathetic shadow of the failed dream that this dark, unaccountable energy couldn’t turn into a functioning person.
At this point, I began to come to the horrifying realization that Christianity was in fact the world’s true religion, and everything Christians believe was real, and was happening right now. This was the apocalpyse, and I had brought it on myself, and as a Jew, I was literally going to hell. Hell was absolutely real, and I felt unfathomably deep pangs of regret as I rushed to take away every joke about Christianity I ever made, every time I scoffed at religious people going to church on Sunday, all of it. They were right, and I was wrong, and I was about to pay the eternal price for my unfounded hubris. I crawled into a fetal position on my friend’s couch, and unable to escape the distraction of my two neighbors still having a fantastic time, not even worrying about me because I had my two sober friends to babysit me, they graciously walked me up the two flights of stairs to my apartment.
I was still in Hell. I only have vague memories of steps being progressed beneath my feet, but I was still without glasses and without any sense or frame of reference to the “normal” world that my babysitting friends were still in. The only thing in all of existence that existed was my eternal shame at myself for bringing on the Christian apocalypse to myself, and eternal and abject terror and fear at the unrelenting consequences my insubordination would wreak on me for the rest of my life. I was still sweating at this point but also shivering at the same time. I ended up shirtless with a very light pair of shorts on, wrapping myself in a thick fleece blanket as my two friends sat on either side of me, playing Super Smash Bros. With no volume on as I just sat between them and attempted to let time ride this thing out.
I still had enough sense of myself that I could tell a decent chunk of time had passed. I periodically tried putting my glasses on to see if I could avoid the instant-migraine I suffered in the past, and once I could get my glasses on without feeling that intense wave of pain, I realized there was light at the end of the tunnel, and that this thing would in fact end. I wasn’t dead, Christianity wasn’t “real,” and this was the point where I slowly, very gradually became to come up, to the point where, after probably a solid hour of sitting between my friends playing Smash, I got up and managed to make myself a basic hotdog with mustard and ketchup. Mind you, this is still the only real food I’ve had in like 12-15 hours, and the first bite immediately made me nauseous, and I gagged the food out of my mouth before I even had a chance to swallow it.
30 minutes I later, I managed to hold down my first bite of food all day. A few other friends came over to cheer me up after having heard from my babysitting friends what had happened that day, and they were a further godsend that helped me come to grips with the normal world again.
I probably took that one tab at 3pm, and I wasn’t able to finally lay down and go to sleep until 11am the next morning, at which point I was so thoroughly exhausted, mentally and physically, that it literally took my sweating the absolute last drop of the trip out of my face in order to finally fall asleep.
It was easily the most terrifying and unexpectedly traumatizing day of my life, and I’ve been grappling with the consequences for years, struggling to integrate it into my life. Never before had I even considered the thought that I would need depression or anti-anxiety medication. Now I needed both, and weekly therapy, just to regain a sense of the person I was before this indescribably terrifying experience.
In the years since, I’ve enjoyed spiritually renewing, and sometimes breakthrough experiences on psilocybin mushrooms that have greatly helped “correct” - or balance, maybe - the negative effects this trip had on my psyche for years afterwards. And after enjoying many positive, healthy, and euphoric mushroom trips punctuated by total understanding and deep gratefulness and love for all of existence, all I can say is that there’s literally no reason to try 25i-NBOMe. I thought I was getting LSD, and it absolutely wasn’t. It’s just not worth the risk. There are so many other psychedelics that have far greater bodies of research and other users who can report on their experiences so you can have a safe, knowledgeable experience. I just don’t see the point after what I went through.
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