Citation: nono. "A Trip to Heaven and Hell: An Experience with LSD (exp115138)". Erowid.org. Feb 27, 2021. erowid.org/exp/115138
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The following is my account of my first LSD experience.
When I was 18 I had my first experience with LSD. Like many others before me, I had been raised to fear drugs, and to accept unconditionally and without question the so-called ‘drug propaganda’ we are all so accustomed to; drugs are bad, they will ruin your life, etc. etc. And, also like many others before me, it didn’t take long for 18 years of societal conditioning to be dropped when the opportunity to take LSD presented itself. I had had very brief experiences with mind altering substances before; I had smoked weed perhaps once or twice before to little avail, but still considered this all the experience necessary to dive headfirst into the psychedelic realm. I was also a pretty heavy drinker at the time (as most young and dumb 18 year olds are), so any chance to inebriate myself with a new and apparently exciting substance was too good an offer to pass up on.
My friend had previously ordered magic truffles from online and taken the entire packet, and told us that, although an overwhelming experience at times, was something that we ourselves just had to experience. After some ‘research’ (as much research as someone with no knowledge of psychedelics can carry out), we decided we would try LSD, with the effects being not too dissimilar to those of truffles and easy access to dark net markets. We ordered 10 250 microgram blotters from the darknet, managed to get a house to ourselves for the evening and split the blotters between us. After some discussion, two of my friends decided to take just under a full blotter (about 5/6 of one), and one friend sensibly volunteered himself for trip-sitting duty. I, on the other hand, felt it was better to go headfirst into the experience and saw no merit in cutting off such a small amount of blotter paper, and decided to take an entire tab. We dropped our respective tabs at approximately 6pm, with high hopes for what was to come.
I had prepared myself a notebook and pen to write down the effects during the trip itself, with the hopes of gaining some introspection or being able to report at a later date what I had experienced. After just a few minutes of the blotter being under my tongue, I was feeling like the effects were already coming on; I remember writing down something to the effect of “bright colours appearing, wall breathing”. I was very much under the impression that the effects would be subtle and that the reports of ego death and hallucinations were nothing more than metaphors; simple figments of imagination that I could easily observe and separate myself from. This innocent and naïve understanding of LSD was shattered just 20 minutes later, when I started to experience real, tangible open eye visuals. Any doubts I had about being able to feel the trip began to leave me as I sat there in the garden with my trip-sitting friend. I began to see what I distinctly remember to be hieroglyphics forming on the patio stones. They were constantly adjusting themselves, transforming into new and incredibly complex patterns. I remember thinking the patterns were being formed by worms, or perhaps some other sort of insect or creature. Just several minutes into this, I already knew I was far too out of depth, with the hallucinations becoming increasingly more potent and my sense of reality starting to shift. During this time, I remember feeling incredibly nauseous and sitting alongside my friend asking him if he was seeing what I was seeing, to which I received a funny look and a resounding no.
After about an hour sat outside and starting to wonder what I had gotten into, I returned inside and lay down on the carpeted floor. At this point, the come up had ceased and was turning into the peak, but at no point was I consciously aware of this. It was as if the short-term memory of having taken a drug was fully erased and only the present moment existed; no past or future, simply now. I closed my eyes and began to experience the most breathing and unfathomably beautiful visuals I have ever see. It is hard to remember exactly what I saw, but I remember the general theme of these visuals being overwhelmingly complex kaleidoscope patterns, moving incredibly fast and switching from colour to colour. This is where I can definitely make the distinction between shrooms and LSD; shroom visuals are much slower and stoner like, whereas LSD visuals move at a thousand miles an hour and adopt a form more similar to a kaleidoscope collage. Accompanying these visuals was an incredible headspace of awe, astonishment and disbelief.
I had heard the rumours about LSD and I distinctly remember laying there, telling myself over and over “This is where the trip begins”, accompanied by a strong sense of peace and euphoria. My original come-up anxiety had been replaced by this general sense of euphoria and I remember feeling like a sailor about to set out on a long journey, ready to explore the world that had inspired the minds of rocks stars and geniuses the world over. As the drug became stronger and stronger, the feeling of disbelief became to overwhelm me. “Is THIS what they’ve been talking about all this time? THIS is LSD?” The feelings of ego disillusion and connectedness were so intense I could not believe they were real. What I had once believed were simply metaphors, old wives’ tales and hyperbolised stories of over-indulgent rock stars had become a reality.
The realisation that these feelings were real brought an incredible sense of peace, contentedness and joy. I remember standing up, headphones blaring and visuals flaring, and thinking to myself “I could die now. Nothing in the universe feels better than this”. This is where I draw up an interesting comparison into the effects of psychedelic euphoria compared to the euphoria other drugs such as amphetamines can provide. Although the euphoria of the latter does certainly feel good, and provides a uniquely pleasurable experience, I still maintain the LSD euphoria is the purest and most intense euphoria an individual can feel. There’s no worries about comedowns, or what I have to do tomorrow, or whether so-and-so texted me back. When you can feel the universe pulsating through your fingertips, and you feel as if you have uncovered the secret to life, I think it’s fair to say that no other feeling can even come close.
After about an hour of this strong introspection into the universe and euphoric overload, something happened that would change the direction of the trip, and unfortunately not for the better. My phone ran out of charge. Seemingly insignificant, but in that moment, my music stopped, my train of thought completely derailed and I found myself completely confounded and confused. “Wait, WHAT is going on? What even is this? What even am I?” Extreme confusion set in, and I began to question whether what I was experiencing was even real. It was as if the sudden stopping of the music had dragged me out of the psychedelic bliss and placed me into an entirely alien world, void of any sense or meaning. I began to forget who I was, where I was, who any of my friends were, what reality itself even was. I began to panic and felt dread build up in me, and at times was sure I had simply stopped existing. I remember asking my friend if I was breathing properly, as by my estimation at least 30 seconds had passed since my last breath (although in reality it was more like 3 or 4). As this panic and confusion began to take over, I remember grabbing my friend by the leg to try and cling onto the reality I had once known but now had no understanding of. The being I considered me, with all its memories and loves, desire and hopes was completely gone, and there was nothing but a visual field. I was simply a human at an observer level, a set of eyes providing visual information to something, whatever, but it certainly wasn’t “me”. I began to wonder whether I had died, and looking back I suppose I did. That is, what I considered me, my ego, had died, and all that existed was a bundle of atoms walking around aimlessly.
The feeling that I had died began to overrule me, and I started to beg my friend to call for an ambulance. I tried desperately to run out the front door, but my friend calmy and firmly told me I was not going out. He refused to call an ambulance and instead tried to comfort me, but to little avail. Such a strong dose of a drug for someone so inexperienced will rock anyone to their core, no matter who the trip sitter. I entered the kitchen and began to walk in circles, grabbing my hair and combing it back to try and feel some part of myself, to try and remind myself that I was in fact human. The open eye visuals were almost unbearably overwhelming at this point; my phone had reduced itself to a puddle of metallic liquid literally dripping out of my hand, and the clock face of the clock on the wall was constantly changing colours from green, to red, to blue, to purple, and everything in between. I begged my friend to make it stop, to just do something to make it stop. I pleaded with the drug itself, telling it that if it just released me, telling it that if it made me me again, I would never touch a drug again in my life, that I wouldn’t tell anyone what I had seen or experienced.
My pleas went in vain, and after about 30 minutes of this my friend eventually dragged me upstairs away from my other tripping friends so as not to ruin their experience. Upon arriving upstairs, the most intense nausea I had ever experienced overwhelmed me, and I ran to the bathroom to vomit. I didn’t end up vomiting, but the entire experience of being in the bathroom, standing there and leaving seemed to repeat itself in my head for an eternity, as if the visual tracers I was seeing had latched themselves into my memories, and now my memories were tracing as well. I then experienced an extremely strange phenomenon, and one I haven’t read about before in other LSD experiences. I would go from extreme anxiety and stress to extreme euphoria within the space of a second, and then switch emotions again. And again. And again. For about 20 minutes, I was caught in a loop of feeling anxious, euphoric, anxious, euphoric, changing emotions every 2 to 3 seconds. My sense of time had completely disappeared alongside my ego, but even in my far out state I chuckled to myself at the absurdity of this phenomenon and had a brief moment of respite.
From this point on, it is unfortunately hard for me to remember what happened in the rest of the trip. I do remember my anxiety fading somewhat, and gaining my composure enough to help my friend put a pizza in the oven (quite the trip activity, might I add). At this point, I had been tripping for about 5 hours, and the peak was fading into a slightly more manageable glow, although I was still profoundly dissociated from my surroundings and still unsure whether I would ever be human again. I also remember looking at the stars outside and seeing the clusters transform themselves into a panther, or a tiger of some sorts, darting across the night sky. At some point, I put myself to bed and put on some music to calm myself and awoke the next morning to find myself pretty much fully back to me. I felt relieved to be alive, although had a peculiar feeling of reality for the next few days, as could be expected from someone who had gone through my experience.
What I cannot express adequately in writing, or indeed through any medium is the ineffable quality of the trip. The feeling of non-existence, the unbelievable visuals, the feeling of having broken through to some alternate reality are all feelings which are beyond the scope of the capability of language. I also wish to add that I know that the time frames for this experience do not really add up as I described, but as I had no sense of time during the experience, I have tried my best to put somewhat of a time frame onto it, so forgive me if this is confusing. Although I do not regret this trip experience, I know without any doubt that, if not for my friend, I would have ended up in hospital at the very least, and perhaps injured or permanently scarred in some way. LSD is an amazing drug, but always ensure you use a sensible dose with the right people, in the right environment.
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