Citation: Ash. "Follow-Up to 'Naivety Resulting in Ego Death': An Experience with DMT & Mushrooms (exp115707)". Erowid.org. Jan 23, 2022. erowid.org/exp/115707
[This is a 30-month follow-up to report #112657, Naivety Resulting in Ego Death
The dose described in this report is very high, potentially beyond Erowid's 'heavy' range, and could pose serious health risks or result in unwanted, extreme effects. Sometimes extremely high doses reported are errors rather than actual doses used.]
A First-Timer's Foray into Ego Death
A quick disclaimer: this is an updated report to provide more insight, clarity, and specificity to my dimitri experience that happened in November of 2018. I had a challenging experience, and want my report to serve as a case study into how even exhaustive preparation and safety nets don't always lead to a positive experience.
When I wrote my first report, I did not know the amount I had actually taken, and omitted a lot of key details due to my emotional proximity to the experience. I have done much writing and reflection on the vision I endured, and use that to back up this report. This will be longer than my original retelling.
I thought I had consumed 50-60 mg of N,N-DMT. I had in fact consumed 165 mg. My tripsitter was the person who kept me grounded and from hurting myself during the experience, to whom I am grateful for protecting me. My tripsitter was also the one who overdosed me. I've spent the last few years in and out of therapy and integrating my experience as a rigorous daily ritual.
Onto the experience:
I had done mushrooms a handful of times, and after rigorous research into the compound DMT decided it was what I wanted to do next. Go big or go home, right? I was spiritually vacant then, and had heard through others' trip reports there were these grandiose colors, machine elves that communicated love, and all these lovely sights that to take back into sobriety. It seemed comforting. I wanted that.
It seemed comforting. I wanted that.
I figured with diligent set and setting protocols, I could have this positive experience, and avoid the disturbing ones I had also read about.
I cleaned up my living room space, invited my tripsitter, and set up the scene for maximum safety and comfort. I had a couch with blankets, water and fruit, and calming ambient music on in the background. I whetted my appetite with a few heads and stems of mushrooms I had for backup, and my friend loaded up our jury-rigged gravity bong with the 165 mg on top of a bed of oregano. I counted on the inhale, holding the smoke (it's harsh, tastes like burnt plastic, much like others say,) for 8 seconds before I began to black out. It was a nearly instant drop from cognisance to complete blackness. I felt heavy. My tripsitter later informed me that my eyes were open the entire trip.
I was wiped clean. I had no conception of myself. I was this atom of consciousness tethered to nothing in an immense blackness. It's like freefloating in space, but you feel crushed by the nothingness around you. I felt small, confused. I began to register my consciousness, that I was alive. But with no concept of what you are, uninhibited awareness is quite frightening. You react with the same primordial anxiety as when you can't sleep at night and contemplate your existence.
"Who am I?" and "Am I dying?" were the two pervasive questions. I felt my smallness grow into something more substantial, I was becoming, and so the answers became with me. They swelled up and consumed me as light began to slowly break through this sludgy antiplace. It was like holes being poked in a blanket I was under and light could finally shine through. When the blackness was gone, I was suspended in a white room with one figure before me. Carved from undulating white, a lightning rod of energy and vitality, they were human in form. They looked familiar. They didn't communicate through speaking, but through the thoughts in my head.
They introduced themselves, and I remember feeling scared. The thing about the DMT-fueled sensorium is it is wholly defined by its alienness, much like Terence McKenna said. You cannot articulate it within or without it, but you experience it. And experiencing something so alien with none of your reasoning or identity to save you from its randomness will harrow you. I directed all my questions to this figure of light, who didn't have a face, but assured me they were a friend. I trusted them. They were all I had to trust.
My tripsitter later asked if it was him I saw in the vision. For a while I thought it might have been him, but upon much reflection, I think it was an introjection of my subconscious, or one of those machine elves we hear so much about. But they weren't intimately familiar. They were distantly familiar, primordial, almost angelic.
This gentle guide stood imperceptibly and approached, taking me by the hands, and introduced me to life. The vision erupted in colors, along a tunnel I traveled through, and I was fed memories I had never seen before, but they felt like my own. It began spinning me, twirling me, dipping me as if we were dancing, and somehow while I was entrenched in this tango they bequeathed me with knowledge I cannot articulate, colors I'll never see again, and emotions too ineffable to recount. Overwhelmed to my core by the immensity and intensity of this beauty, I felt grateful, existentially, for what I was being shown.
However, equal and opposite forces are present in the DMT realm. I was thrown from beauty to terror on the flip of a dime, and back again, and back again. The questions re-emerged and persisted. "Am I dying?" I asked my guide. They smiled and said, "No, this is DMT."
I didn't know what DMT was, but their response was comforting. I began to associate DMT with a sort of god. DMT was what I was experiencing, and it was so sublime, and so kind, I didn't want to take it for granted.
But then, I felt whatever was grounding me disappear, and I fell into the black again. This time, with all the knowledge and experience already imprinted in my mind. I didn't want to lose it. I heard a countdown as I fell into the dark, and I felt myself return to that smallness once more. I fought with every ounce of life within me to resist this fate. Before the countdown could reach zero, the guide caught me in their arms, and once more I was held. I was safe. The guide seemingly multiplied, and passed me from one guide to another. They held me, and moved me upwards a chain of themselves into the sky.
At this point, the experience had thoroughly taxed me. I felt I could only take so much stimulation, the binary of pleasant and unpleasant sensations drained me. And that sinking fear that I would be returned to the blackness, to my death, became more and more loud in my mind. I convinced myself that when the chain ended, and I was the last being in line, I would be committed to the afterlife, whatever it may be.
However, something strange happened. The link between vision and reality had severed. I had fallen off the couch I was resting on, eyes still open, and suddenly I was aware of the room I was within. The DMT visuals were intense: geometry on the walls, a sickeningly-neon yellow painted each object in the room, and it was so alien. My tripsitter was in front of me, sitting cross-legged on my living room rug. I had never done psychedelics to this intense of a degree before or since; the room moved and breathed around me. The floor would fall underneath me, only for me to land on another iteration of the floor. I still couldn't remember myself, but now this new figure in front of me (who I didn't recognize) seemed like my saving grace. When I could finally hold the room long enough for it to stop swaying and phasing out beneath me, I launched myself at him and held on for dear life.
I was much, much more frightened by this part of the trip. In the vision, I surrendered to the experience and had no control of myself. Here, I could navigate this shifting reality, but nothing was safe. Nothing made sense. And reality began repeating itself. I hadn't heard about this phenomenon in psychedelia until after my trip was over, but my tripsitter would say something, or I'd say something, or I'd even just think something, and the words or thoughts would repeat themselves. Like a song skipping on a record.
The insincerity of reality truly terrified me. I thought I would be stuck in this nonsensical world forever. I would ask him "Where am I?", "Who am I?", "What's happening to me?" and so on. His answers would change as well as repeat.
"You're Ash. You took DMT. You'll be okay. It'll be over soon." I asked how soon. "5 minutes." An eternity would pass, and I'd ask, "has it been 5 minutes?" "No, it's been 2." And a moment later he'd say, "It's going to be okay. Only 20 more minutes."
I have not been able to verify the reality behind this. He remembers my confusion and answering my questions, but I cannot vouch for his authenticity. For all I know, he was telling me different time intervals. I had to trust him in my bewildered state.
Holding him became too intense so I would stand, pace the room, and claw at my neck for whatever reason. I left deep welts in my skin that lasted a few days after. I would bounce between intense emotions. I would be laughing, or entranced in beautiful sensations, only to fall to my knees as my body was overwhelmed with static and lead, head in hands, crying and saying "I feel like I'm dying." I didn't have the ability to articulate myself outside of asking for reassurance while I waited for the effects to wear off.
It took entirely too long for me to come down. I was later informed that the vision and the ensuing episode once I was back in my living room lasted 40 minutes. This is quite long for even a high-dose DMT trip. It could have been from the mixture of DMT and shrooms.
I crawled back onto the couch by minute 40, and wrapped myself in the blanket. I had never felt so cold or tired in my life. The looping effect would occur at increasingly distant intervals until it tapered away completely. I was in my conscious mind again. I remembered my name. Remembered the drugs I took. Remembered my friend, my life, my apartment. The relief of my identity returning was all I needed to recover from the trip.
The relief of my identity returning was all I needed to recover from the trip.
The shrooms lasted another 5ish hours, and I felt a deep pain in my chest, and my breaths were labored from the smoke I inhaled. I didn't say much for the rest of his visit.
He was supposed to go after me, but the experience shook him as much as me. He smoked a bowl of cannabis and cried. We watched the Netflix loading screen on my couch and he gave me food before leaving at around 9 PM. I started the trip at 1 PM.
I have mostly accepted this experience. I acquired PTSD from it and worked with 2 different therapists and a psychiatrist to cope with it. I am in a better place, and cannot imagine I'll ever do DMT again. While I'd say I learned a lot from the trip, and don't think of it as a wholly net negative, I know better now. Sometimes you cannot control the outcome of a drug-induced episode. I prefer to live with my new identity and not keep experimenting.
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