Citation: Jikkle. "Neither Fun Nor Enlightening: An Experience with DXM (exp22317)". Erowid.org. May 28, 2004. erowid.org/exp/22317
I've been curious about the dissociative experience for a while. The notion of being cut away from my senses to live in a world of mind alone intrigued me, and the possibility of encountering alien entities and vistas seemed interesting. Accounts I had read in William White's FAQ had a very Lovecraftian tone, albeit much more benign, and I found that to be a particularly alluring facet of the DXM experience. I thought it might give me some insight into Lovecraft's writing and into the work of other artists preoccupied with alien form, motive, and substance (Giger comes to mind).
After a particularly profound, transformative DPT experience (see Nihilist Mysticism
), dissociatives began to interest me for other reasons as well. My essentially mystical contact with the concept of death made me wonder: people on dissociatives often seem to be indifferent to whether they die. Why? What is it about the experience which seems to destroy our practically instinctual fear of dying?
I thought a high-dose DXM experience (third or fourth plateau) could serve as a sort of allegorical death; dissociation would represent the cleavage of mind from body. The question that preoccupied me was this: if it's possible to look at dissociation as a death-like state, what does that imply about the mind? What can we learn about where the mind goes after death from the dissociative experience? Philosophically this is a bit suspect - I don't even know if I believe in the idea that the mind persists after death - but it's something I'd like to explore more in the future.
In short, my interest in dissociatives stemmed partly from desire for more mundane insight (deepening my essential understanding of certain works of art) and partly from a fundamental philosophical curiosity. Although the experience that follows didn't shed light on art at all, it illuminated certain aspects of using the dissociative experience as a model for death; it also made clear to me that I don't want to repeat the DXM experience - at least not at the same dose and in the same form. Any further exploration with dissociatives on my part will probably begin with ketamine instead.
Without further ado, here's what went down:
I picked up a 237 mL bottle of 3 mg/mL Robitussin Maximum Strength cough syrup a few weeks back. I have a strong stomach, so I was pretty sure I would be able to handle the miniscule amount of alcohol and the thickening agents. My plan was to drink the entire thing using the method laid out in White's FAQ; if you do the math, that turns out to be 711 mg of DXM. I weigh about 55 kg, so that works out to 12.9 mg/kg, a high third plateau to low fourth plateau dose.
I got around to doing this last Friday around 3 PM, when a friend, L, came over. L has previous experience with dissociatives, and we've tried many different substances together, so I asked him to be my sitter. He readily agreed. My set was fairly gloomy; I had performed disappointingly on a test that morning, and the grey weather and slushy streets that had persisted all winter were really starting to get me down. I was excited about the experience, though, and felt it wouldn't affect things appreciably. My setting would be my comfortably furnished room; I planned to stay in bed the whole time.
As L and another friend looked on, I slammed the bottle of syrup as quickly as possible (I had been eating some crackers and french fries shortly before to dampen the shock to my kidneys). I decided to lie down so that once the experience began in earnest I would be safe; L sat down in my easy chair and kept me company. Another friend, W, came in and started playing Animal Crossing, and I was happy to have the pleasantly repetitive music lull me into what I was sure would be an amazing experience.
After about an hour, I wasn't feeling anything except for a little queasiness, and I was burping a bit. L walked off for a while, leaving me in the room with W. Soon I felt sick enough that I finally got up and threw up most of the food and cough syrup. Although I thought this would probably terminate the experience, I was sorely mistaken.
Within about two hours I was feeling faint, and my sense of touch began to deaden - I could still feel myself touch things if I concentrated, but it took a lot of effort. Soon my sense of touch became too unreliable - I felt what I suppose were sensory echoes instead of actual sensations - and I began periodically asking L if my heart had stopped. I would ask him this question multiple times throughout the afternoon and evening.
This question was motivated by a feeling of both apprehension and invincibility; in fact, this is the only part of the experience which was relevant to my philosophical questions about why dissociatives destroy fear of death - in me, anyway. I was so convinced that death would be identical to the state I was in that, were I to die, it would simply be permanent dissociation. I'm definitely not convinced of that now, but it's one of myriad disturbing hypotheses about what occurs at and after the moment of
After an hour or two of feeling uncomfortably anesthetized, I somehow hauled my body out of bed to the bathroom, L in tow. I slumped to the ground next to the toilet and started retching my guts out. The rest of the experience is very much a blur, but the general outline is this: L sat on the floor reading and checking on me while I passed in and out of consciousness and the dissociated state. Every once in a while I would either spit some phlegm or continue vomiting. The entire time this was happening, I hallucinated about the slushy streets of the city; I had endless visions of looking down on a wet patch of road.
An hour and a half or so later, I felt better and got up. L was relieved, because at one point I had passed out for a few minutes; between that and the fact that my pupils were asymmetric, he thought I may have suffered some brain damage. I dragged myself into bed nevertheless and went to sleep.
When I woke up it was around 9 PM, I was still very intoxicated; in fact, I felt quite brain damaged. I got up anyway, and walked around the dorm for a bit. I was highly amused by the robowalk; I felt as though all of my limbs had 8 joints which wobbled and rippled as I moved. Onlookers later told me that I was walking perfectly normally but extremely slowly, which seems to contradict the description of the classical robowalk (huge, flowing motions). This provoked some comment and some concern, but I had already started to feel more normal, so I wasn't too worried.
Finally, I went to sleep. When I woke up again the next day, I definitely felt unmotivated. I also felt acutely for maybe the first time that perhaps my approach to exploring the wide world of psychoactive substances was getting a bit self-destructive. After all, what if I *had* suffered a brain hemorrhage?
With that in mind, I've resolved to consider dosages a little more carefully when trying new substances in the future. More importantly, I've decided to tone down the frequency with which I go tripping. I wouldn't want tripping to become a commonplace, humdrum thing, and this way my weekends won't fall into a pattern of tripping and recuperating.
Even so, I'm excited about what lies around the corner. There are so many interesting substances to try, and they promise *such* a depth and variety of experience. One unpleasant trip lacking in insight out of a large number of joyful, informative, and transformative ones isn't that bad. And now that I'll be spending less time tripping, I'll get to sample new and different experiences *outside* of my head. The future is bright.
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