Citation: Trippin Tom. "Intense Fear and Euphoria: An Experience with Mushrooms - Panaeolus cyanescens (exp13336)". Erowid.org. Feb 22, 2005. erowid.org/exp/13336
My second (and so far most well-executed) mushroom trip was, I'd like to think, substantially better planned and executed than the harrowing, trainwreck of a trip I had put myself through just a few weeks prior. Having learned the titanic significance of set and setting the hard way, I now felt ready to plunder the benefits of the psychedelic experience. What would follow would be prove to indeed be infinitely better planned and carried out, albeit with intense amounts of struggle along the way.
It was a Friday just like any other, and after a relatively uneventful day at school that entailed a moderate level of pot smoking, I began preparing for my second mushroom trip. Several days prior, I had given my room a thorough and decidedly tasteful cleaning, so as to create a comfortable, clean environment in which to voyage the psychedelic skies. The rest of the evening, then, was for the most part spent idling in my room, watching the hours slowly crawl by. Around 7:00PM, I ventured out to the local bookstore with the intention of reading segments of books describing and glorifying the psychedelic experience (mostly works by Leary, but some others as well). When I came home, I first became aware of a growing and seemingly uncontrollable sense of apprehension and anxiety. My previous, and insofar only, mushroom trip had, for all its mystical wonder and and sense of discovery, been somewhat of a five hour long nightmare that had been anything but enjoyable. Nonetheless, I was determined to overcome my anxieties and master the psychedelic experience, but what I had in resolve I lacked in confidence. Deep inside, I felt as though a catastrophic nightmare of a trip was awaiting me, and felt a sense of helpnessess in the back of my mind. Still, I knew there was no turning back, and was determined as ever to face my demons.
10:30PM rolled by before I wanted it to, and with a pang of terror I realized I only had 30mins until my planned time of ingestion. In order to ensure maximum potency and a quick onset, I had been fasting for about six hours; little did I know how monumental of an impact this would bear on my experience.
At 10:45PM, not being able to wait any longer, I decided to begin eating the Copelandia Cysancens that lay strewn before me. Two mouthfuls and five consecutive minutes of chewing later, I decided to take a shower in order to both kill time and blow off the day's steam. As I was walking to the shower, it was with a slight chill down my back that I realized the effects had begun. I felt slightly out of place and energetic in the extreme, and felt midly dizzy. After my ten minute shower, these effects became more pronounced, and although the speed of the onset had caught me by surprise, it was nothing compared to what was about to happen next.
After putting on some loose-fitting clothes (yet another measure I took to ensure an optimal experience), I began chatting online, waiting for the core effects to commence. Within no more than five minutes, I began to feel deeply out of place, as though I were caught in between states of consciousness; a sort of mental limbo. Suddenly I found myself focusing on the words on the screen with a great level of intensity, not really knowing why. Within a few seconds of focusing, the words began to very flicker and shimmer ever so slightly, and I was caught by surprise. Suddenly, the slight shimmering grew dramatically in intensity, within no more than a minute or two (by now it was 11:20PM) the words were mutating wildly. I had experienced a similar effect on my first trip, but this time it seemed more intense and otherwordly, perhaps because of the alarming rapidity of the onset. The melting, shimmering movement of the words was most certainly rythmic in nature, and seemed to follow a set pattern. I was overcome with the mathematical precision of said visual distortions, and felt sheer excitement. What really gave me a strong mindfuck, though, was that the pattern of distortion was unmistakably identical to the one I had witnessed in my last trip. I had scarce time to enjoy this effect, however, as my experience soon became several times more intense.
My friend was sending me links of trippy artwork, which mutated, shimmered, melted, and grew violently. The images would seem to grow a few inches out in all directions, only to slowly be drawn back in. This pattern went on and on as I started at the pictures, everytime more intense. Around this point,I felt growing anxiety within me, and the very fact that I was anxious served to frighten me even more. I was going up ridiculously fast, and in my state of heightened imagination I fancied that my rapidly loosening grip on reality took on visual form. I pictured myself as a small child lost in space, flying deeper and deeper into the regions of the nether. While viewing a particularly trippy picture, I was amazed at how realistic my pronounced hallucinations had become. I could see the sun rising and then setting, rising and then setting in the background of this picture, and every single component seemed to be a breathing, living mass of cosmic sludge. Suddenly and without warning, my hallucinations ceased to be limited to the words and pictures on my screen, and I found myself staring at a beautiful golden sun comprised entirely of geometric figures that appeared to be etched in to the very background of my screen.
All of this was simply too much for me to stomach, but my ego was still connected to me (albeit in a fragmented fashion), and this alone served to relax me. I felt as though some sinister, cosmic black hole was slowly pulling away more and more of my ego, and that the only way I could remain sane was to try and simply *not think* about how my ego was slowly dying (I highly recommend this as a method of avoiding bad trips, but it should be noted that is a lot easier said than done). I managed to remain relatively calm, and in fact what finally ended up freaking me out was the idea of my parents or brother barging into my room (they were still awake!). With this in mind, I decided to turn off my computer screen and get in bed, so as to pretend that I was sleeping.
This proved to be a huge mistake.
Alone in the darkness, convulsing wildly from the energy my body was overflowing with, I was completely overcome with hallucinations. The hallucinations were most decidely Indian in nature. I felt as though I were in some distant Jungle, and watched as the shimmering outlines of black snakes slithered around me. Out of the corner of my eye, I witnissed my nearby desk transform into a black, stone statue of a panther that appeared to be half alive. Faces, hordes and hordes of faces, cascaded my field of vision like some otherworldly waterfall, each of them tormenting me with their sinister smiles and cartoonish expressions. At this point I tried to put the mental clarity of the mushroom high to good use, and essentially tried to kill my panic with rational thoughts. 'Why are you scared, why? Enjoy this, its not harmful, you're in no harm, enjoy it! See that snake over there? Isn't it cool? Look at how perfectly molded it is, impressive isn't it?! Look at those distorted, cartoonish faces...fascinating how your mind is generating all of this! Don't be afraid!'
No matter how much I tried to make reason out of the absurdity that is the mushroom experience, I just couldn't. In fact, the very fact that I had tried and failed to relax my anxiety only made everything a lot worse, as I felt more helpless than ever.
At this point, I decided that the dark aura of the hallucinations had been brought upon by the darkness, and so I went back to my computer. I felt slightly better here, but the hallucinations got severely more intense than before. The darkness that engulfed the eerie electronic glow of my computer screen would suddenly seem especially dark, only to slowly mutate into a spectacle of dim light, and back again. This slow, back-and-forth hallucinatory property was constant in all manner of visual hallucinations, and when I peaked they would infiltrate auditory hallucinations, even my very fucking thoughts.
By this point, I was rushing toward the peak. I remember looking at the clock again and again and again, not being able to comprehend the numbers that glared back at me. My sense of time was completely devastated; I clearly remember struggling to remember the properties of 'time' and the consequences involved with its passing, but all I could see were four seemingly inconsequential, random numbers glaring at me. Although the entire experience is still fresh in my mind even though its been over a month, the one thing I can't remember is what time I saw during this period.
Having been driven psychotic watching my ego so brutally and quickly turned to a puddle of proverbial shit, I again retreated to my bed. This time, however, it was a decision based purely in instinct, with no conscious thought attached to it whatsoever. My ego was in its death throes, and I was completely overwhelmed by the paradoxical nature of my situation. On the one hand, everything seemed crystal clear; I was still very much in control of my physical actions and had a great deal of restraint and discretion. On the other hand, I felt as though I had gone completely insane and as though some unnamed third party was controlling the freakshow kaliedoscope that had become my thoughts. Tossing and turning, thinking about both everything and nothing at once, my ego finally gave way and collapsed in what was to be the peak of my experience.
Although my eyes were firmly closed, I could see just as much as if they had been open. That is to say, I was way, waaay beyond the cartoonish level of 'closed eye visuals', and had entered a fully realized, three-dimensional dream world. The sheer oddity (for lack of a better word) of what I saw was enough to produce intense, all-consuming fear. I lay and watched, in stark horror, as quivering, mutating undescribable _things_ stared back at me. These alien-like monstrosities had dimensions and proportions that were utterly disturbing (think H.P. Lovecraft style monstrosities; the sort that are alien enough to lay outside of the spectrum of human imagination). My mind felt as though it was failing, as though it was viewing that which it was not equipped to handle or comprehend, and I just lay there, shivering, convusling and completely gone from this world.
The next few hours are somewhat hazy in my mind, but I faintly recall a very gradual lessening of effects. I fancy I may have drifted off into the forgiving hands of sleep for an undeterminable period of time, but I will never be quite sure. Somewhere in between the peak and when I first noticed I was finally beginning to regain contact with my ego, I felt the most extreme, all-consuming euphoria possible. It was the sort of sheer, unadulterated bliss poets only dream experiencing. It was a happiness free of reason, free of origin, free of logic, free of limitations, free of time itself (the very same properties attributable to the anxiety I had been experiencing only a few minutes before). I was still very much unattached from the physical world, and felt as though I had stumbled upon some cosmic isle free of earthly properties. As I tossed and turned in bed, I couldn't stop smiling, and was completely overwhelmed by my euphoria. It was the strongest sense of fulfillment and perfection I had ever felt. It felt as though it would never end, as though I was stuck in an etenrity of sheer, inexplicable bliss that refused to subside.
After an utterly indeterminable period of timed, I found myself lying on my bed, almost completely re-attached to my ego. I still don't know if I slept or not between my euphoria and this next period, and will never know. Although I was no longer in a state of pure bliss, the bliss had left a strong mark on me, and felt comfortably carressed by the embers of its dying afterglow. At this point I got up, glanced at the clock (my sense of time had fully come back, and it was about 2:45AM I think), and turned off my computer. I spent the next two or three minutes sitting in total silence and darkness, feeling as though my ego was infinetely stronger than it had been before. This two or three minute period, while on the surface somewhat inconsequential, bore a great deal of symbolic significance. Here I was, in the exact same conditions that just a few hours ago had served as a catalyst for my darkest fears and anxieties, feeling nothing but fulfillment. I don't think I've ever felt so comfortable and happy in total darkness as I did in those few minutes, and I'll never forget how strong and confident I felt.
The reason why mushrooms tend to act as such an effective catalyst for panic attacks is, I think, because of the disturbing level of mental clarity one maintains throughout. Unlike the muddy, loving high of marijuana, the mushroom trip is both crystal clear and psychotic; a volatile reaction if ever there was one. In retrospect, I think the anxiety was caused by the strain of mushroom (cyanescens is one of the more potent strains of shrooms available). On Cubensis, I feel virtually no panic at all. Cyancens is the sort of shroom to be used with great moderation (once every few months at most), as its intensity is simply far too overwhelming for constant use. The anxiety and sheer sense of fear I felt while experiencing its effects is beyond description, but then, so is the intense euphoria I felt after having passed the summit.
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