Citation: Webby Appleton. "The Earth Died Screaming: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp36043)". Erowid.org. Aug 16, 2006. erowid.org/exp/36043
My girlfriend wanted to try acid badly. She had basically been a square up until now, 20 years old and after meeting me, a veteran low life, had the itch for the spiritual and transcendental experience of psychedelics. I'd done acid before and felt very strongly about it. A couple of experiences had left me a little nonplussed but the whole of my relationship with 'psychedelic' drugs was quite sound.
At that point, I'd run the gamut of drugs I could find around town- mushrooms, acid, pot, bad pot, ketamine, codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, a few other opiate pharms, cocaine, various forms of speed, fake speed, and shitty legal highs like nutmeg, ephedrine etc. I'd had my flings with most of those drugs; little periods of habitual use that wore off after a few months. I did them until their usefulness wore off and then put them away, except opiates where I had settled gently in the comfort of casual methadone use at this point.
When she decided to do acid I told her I would most defiantly share the experience with her- for her safety and comfort. In the back of my head I thought that it didn't seem like my time to do it again. I had no urge to do the drug itself, but only to share the experience and hold my girlfriend's hand through it and enjoy her excitement. It worried me a bit as doing drugs, especially drugs which are sensitive to 'off' psychic states but I did not voice this concern for myself to her. Not good.
After bumming around the local vendors and kiosks of the local drug scene we found that acid was out, but not for lack of trying (now one year later... still no acid). There was however an abundance of mushrooms floating around so we set a date.
I'd done mushrooms 5 times and acid -about- 8 times, the last time being about 2 years before this. I'd never had a bad trip. Boring, yes. Irritating, certainly. These situations had everything to do with my own hang-ups however, and nothing to do with my misunderstanding of the drugs or my personal chemistry (up until this point). We decided to each take an eighth, as I knew I could handle myself (although I was a bit apprehensive at first), and she who has always been positive that a normal dose of anything does not work as well for her (which actually turns out to be quite true).
Anyway we prepared the shrooms - ugly fuckers - in a herbal tea, my first. I was proud thinking that I sucked every last nanogram of psilosybin out with my fantastic steeping technique. We held the cups to the sky and I thought of the Burroughs mantra, 'Why not. Wouldn't you?' downed the concoction and then chewed the flaccid and soggy remnants of the mushrooms. I never disagreed with the taste of shrooms, and never felt a sour stomach from them. I guess I'm just too tough. The lady agreed and we took our rest for the come on.
Never before this had I watched television during the wait for a drug to take effect. This sucks. The preliminary stages of the trip made me feel cold and plastic, I could feel the emptiness of the television invading me so I took off to the instrument room of my apartment and turned on my bass. I was playing a very soft melody, some bass chords on the 12th fret with the low end all the way up. I could feel the tones perfectly. My insides vibrated gently and I felt waves of sound making contact with my skin. It was a fantastic feeling. I'd never really -enjoyed- a trip or part of a trip alone before and this was great. I began to have a nice conversation in my head while playing when my roommate came home from work and saw me in this dark room in my underwear playing the bass in my lap like a sitar and began to laugh. He was not unaccustomed to seeing me in altered states but the situation was so absurd we both began to laugh before saying anything. 'You asshole! What are you on?!' I told him I'd taken 1/8 of mushrooms and they were good and only getting better. Then the giddiness took over. We laughed and he gave me the normal sober person jive, 'Ooh, are you seeing jests? Look at the rainbows!' Waiving his hands like an ass all wide eyed in mocking gestures.
The music room scene was getting a little stale when I remembered my girlfriend. I had not forgotten her and anyway I was sure she was still waiting for it. She's too headstrong to get high at the same amount, intensity, or e.t.a as anyone else. I came back into my room and she was sitting in a mound of sheets watching television. When she saw the look on my face she shouted, half serious, 'You jerk, you're tripping and I'm not'. All I could do was giggle and play it off like it wasn't as strong as it was but I know it wasn't very convincing. I laid next to her thinking that the bed would be unbelievably comfortable but for some reason it wasn't. My skin began to feel a little tight and warm, but still a little cold and itchy as well. I shook it off as normal come-on anxiety.
She asked me what it was like, was I seeing anything, how was it comparatively, etc. I tried to explain what was going on but I really didn't want to talk. Listening and paying attention to what was around me became very irritating and stifling, almost like when Iím crashing from some drug; just at the beginning of the end when Iím still feeling it a bit and I know it's going to be over, my body's crashing out and my head is tired and I just want to either get high again, which I can't, or not feel it anymore. That's the worst feeling for me and sensing that at that point made me very upset. It didn't seem right and I felt ripped off by the universe. I began to feel jittery and overwhelmed. I was beginning to feel panicked and my actions and words seemed short and manic.
I took a minute to center myself, burying my head in a pillow and telling myself that I was in control and the feeling would pass, that this happens and it's no big deal. I pulled myself together and began to smile again. I kept coming up, I felt it in my stomach and I knew this trip would be great. My girlfriend was finally coming up I was in control and we began laughing and joking and rolling around in the sheets. I began to get overheated again so I took another minute. I stripped to my boxers and sat at the edge of the bed. At this point, my timeline becomes distorted. I don't know where things go and at some points it seems like too much time has passed between events or too little. My girlfriend says that we played around and talked for some time after I got undressed, but as I said...
I'm pretty sure I begged her to let me have a cigarette (I promised earlier not to smoke during the trip because she hates smoke). This may have happened earlier or later in the evening. We struck a deal that she would go to the bathroom and hang out there for a minute feeling out the trip alone while I smoked in the room. I remember feeling a terrible ache in my neck and head like a dull annoying pain. Not painful, but an intense sensation. The cigarette tasted terrible which is odd because I love to smoke on mushrooms. It was hot and choking and I felt the smoke clinging to my throat and lungs, sticking there as a film. I almost wanted to go purge myself when I realized that I was letting the drugs effect me way too much. I was feeling very schizophrenic and manic.
She came in and told me to come into the bathroom to watch the moonlight on the shower curtains and the mirrors. I did not want to get up and look but I did not want to stay. This is a general feeling for the rest of the night, for the part of it I was able to communicate with myself. I wanted so terribly to leave and stay, to cool down and warm up, to smoke and to not smell the smoke in the air, to concentrate and to ignore, to be touched and to be left alone. I wanted the two conflicting things more than I've ever wanted anything.
Everything I said sounded like an order, so negative and short and everything she said sounded so sweet and innocent but compliant to my demands it made me feel ugly. I tried to choke out, 'I think I'm freaking out a little bit, but I'm okay. I just need to take it easy.' She offered to put on a tape of Sifl and Olly to cheer me up but I don't know if I agreed or not. I do remember fixing some problem with the VCR at some point, but this may be imagined because I don't think I was in any condition to do anything. The video did end up on at some point and I'm sure it did cheer me up.
I remember laying in bed feeling very infantile. Not the infantile thing I've felt before on these drugs: happy, comfortable, autonomous in my own world. Now I felt crippled, impotent, unable to comprehend. She was taking care of me like an invalid, 'IS this okay, is that okay? Do you want this, are you okay'. The voice in my head now sounds like a sweet and understanding mother figure but I can't say what I was thinking at the time. Most of these things are just feelings or interpretations, images like pieces of an old dream. Through this I know I was having little or no actual thought, like I was just doing these things reflexively. I lost complete control of my thoughts and soon lost control of my actions and words.
I think after all of this- we may have been laughing together at some point before this at the television but it may have been me laughing manically and my girlfriend just dealing with it, putting on a show to keep me from freaking out- it began to turn from insane to nightmarish. I was laying in bed speaking either gibberish or insults, but defiantly both at some point. The things I remember are not like things I did, but watched somebody else do because I have no connection or point of reference for why I was doing them. It seemed like some piece meat talking and flopping around on the bed.
At some point during the worst of it, probably my peak, I saw my girlfriend pick up her phone. I was almost sure it was a hallucination because who would she be calling? It seemed like nobody was awake anywhere, and anyone she would be calling was not a person I wanted getting involved with this trip. (At least I was aware I was on drugs at this point. This connection to reality helped a bit). I clawed at the phone because this wasn't really happening. I may have said or just thought to ask 'Who are you talking to', and continued to grab and toss on the bed as comfort was a long forgotten concept. I saw her crying, or I was crying and the situation seemed dire and ominous like one of us was going to die or was in danger. I may have been handed the phone or I may have taken it, but it eventually hung up in my hands.
From this point on I was not sure what was happening and when I actually got a sense of being truly conscious I did not know if it was real or not, or what parts of it were real. I think I tried to burn myself to try to wake myself up but I'm not sure. I didn't think anything was really happening so I'm quite sure I was crying and laughing, pleading, taking gibberish, clawing, pinching myself to see if I felt pain, etc. Nothing seemed to be real or of any consequence. It was an excruciating feeling of extreme mental and emotional terror and physical pain, all at a fever pitch but at the same time so unreal I wouldn't accept it. This went on for what seemed like hours.
Some of my faculties began to come back to me as others still failed. I could walk at this point. I remember wandering the apartment trying to take note of objects in one room and wandering into the next, then turning around to see if the placement was correct in order to determine whether or not I was dreaming. I wanted to find some consistency. I thought I was either in a nightmare or these drugs were really effecting me badly. I reasoned (first clue I was not dreaming) that there would be no definite consistency to the rooms, I would not be able to manipulate things in a normal fashion, physics would be off, there would be no exact time, no set light source, no tiny details like if the carpets were dirty or if my keys were where I put them earlier.
This seemed like it would pull me from this limbo and put me in whichever reality I belonged in but I just could not tell what was going on. I could not comprehend my surroundings. My keys? Do I even have keys? If I did how would I know if where I found them was in fact the place I put them this afternoon or just a figment- how would I know for sure if any of these facts were reality or just part of this dream? Were any my memories real or just memories that existed inside this nightmare? I lost control and gave up thinking.
What seems to have happened next is that my other roommate came home and broke me from a trance of dumfounded and terrifying meditation. Don't get me wrong- I was not idly questioning these things as we often do on drugs but truly unknowing of anything. I actually felt like I was going to die or never wake from this, but all through it my thought patterns were not normal trains of thought but more like pictograms or something. Images, not words.
Something there without any means of conception. Feelings and not thoughts. I can still see them as they appeared then. My roommate tried to talk to me and his words were just as much gibberish as what I was speaking earlier. During the peak I lost all understanding of language. I was certainly not thinking in normal patterns. What parts of my brain were removed? It seems now like I devolved into a caveman or some animal mind.
Desperately trying to negotiate these alien surroundings and strange meanings. I wish I could analyze the events as they were happening as I can now because it would have been so interesting, especially I was able to record them properly in my mind.
The next thing I remember, the only part of the timeline I'm sure of is the ending. It started when I decided that, real or not, the only thing I could do that would not cause me anymore distress or confusion was to sleep. Perhaps it was my girlfriend's idea. We lay there together, the confusion very slowly blowing away. I was still not sure what had happened and what I had imagined or whether or not 'what was and was not happening' was occurring in a dream, drug trance, or in a psychotic state. I began to ask her questions I knew she could not answer, things inside my head, in order to make sure this all wasn't in my mind.
She explained in detail and with a bit of humor that she could not read my thoughts. I asked questions about the night and apologized for ruining the evening, etc. I was sobbing and still confused, only now sure I was not dreaming but wondering now if I was sane. My mind was still quite handicapped. The more that came back to me, the sadder, crazier, and more ashamed I felt. The sadness turned into depression which turned to acceptance.
I wonder now why the trip was so hard. Perhaps I was not completely ready to jump back in. Perhaps I was not mentally prepared. Perhaps during the time between trips I'd become a more negative person, cynical, depressed and empty. Perhaps a chemical imbalance or some other psychological malady developed. Regardless, I've used this experience to learn from. I am not afraid of 'psychedelic' drugs, but eager to resolve whatever caused this. I used ecstasy about 6 months after this quite a few times and feel like I reconciled with whatever part of me rejected the psilocybin. Coincidently, ecstasy (and other drugs) since have taken me to a few bad places inside my head and I was prepared for them and handled them with a coolness that I would not have had without this initial bad episode... see? Nothing in this life is without reason or consequence.
God bless my girlfriend for putting up with me, keeping cool, not holding it against me, and for always focusing on the happy moments of that night.
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