Not What I Had Planned...
Citation: Mr. Bad Example. "Not What I Had Planned...: An Experience with MDMA & 5-HTP (exp43077)". Erowid.org. Apr 5, 2006. erowid.org/exp/43077
On a Friday evening with nothing much to do, I decided to take a rather low dose of MDMA (salt) that I had laying around (from cache that I'd already tasted and had a good time with), just to see what it would do. I was in a good frame of mind, and felt okay. Set and setting were good (my house, which is purposely very trip/roll friendly). I normally roll on about 200mg (I'm 300#, so I normally need a bit more than the average bear). This scrap looked to be between 40-50mg, so I decided I'd try and combine the MDMA with some 5-HTP to see if I couldn't amp up the scrap of E. My wife S was going to start a yoga work-out, and I was hanging out in my den messing with my PC and net-reading. I decided that I'd 'do it for science' and take real-time notes. Interesting how fate shows up right when you think you've got things sussed...
Started at 5:15
5:15: Took 200mg 5-HTP on a relatively empty stomach.
5:20: Took [what I thought to be] approx 40-50mg of MDMA in a gel-cap with water.
5:22: Feel the gel-cap open in stomach. Immediately hit with a mild nausea. More like pre-dose jitters in stomach, but with a queasy note. I feel slightly excited.
5:28: I go get my book, my water pipe and some incense and bring it in my office. Take a hit and hope it helps the stomach. Start to read more of Howard Marks 'Dope Stories'. Feel tingling...
5:33: Not really able to focus on reading. Feeling dizzy-ish, but not in an unpleasant way.
5:35: Nausea subsiding. Fluttery now. Feel like I'm starting to come on to something a bit.
5:37: Definitely off baseline. Music feels good. Find myself bopping in my chair to the thump of 'Uforica' by Infinity Project.
5:38: Just had my first real push up. Felt like I went over a dip in the road, and your stomach flutters. Mild neck tension.
5:45: Definite (+)! Cool! I actually didnít think Iíd get this far up. Stomach still whooshing. Tactile enhancement. Mood is up. Switched to _Future Sound of Ambient 3_. Cosmosis' 'AfterGlow' feels very nice.
5:50: Went and ground up some very nice cannabis. S came and chatted and we smoked. Switched to porn for entertainment. Much better. Dry mouth. Sip of water.
6:03: Stomach flutters again. A bit more up. Chick on screen is tasty, but I'm also inclined to just close my eyes and listen to music. Sundog's 'Seven Minutes 2 Midnight' is luscious...
6:08: I'M UP! Definite ++! Sweet! Closing my eyes was the key. Loud music aimed at my ears was great (I sit with my head directly between two good near-field audio monitors). Zoom! [In retrospect, this was an up, but still wasn't fully characteristic of an MDMA up. This almost had LSD attributes to it, and that should have alerted me more, I guess. Regardless, I couldn't possibly have perceived what was to come...]
6:18: Feeling pretty damn good. Staring at viz [Milkdrop] through my closed eyelids is awesome and get's me flirting with a ++. Shpongle's DMT gets played. God I love this track...
6:21: Considering taking a half a Viagra and trying to have sex in this space, having had half a V last night... Maybe just go toss S in bed regardless...
6:24: way up
That 'way up' was the last entry in the real-time description portion. What follows is a reconstructed timeline from memory.
6:25: This is where everything goes kattywampus. The push is hard (so hard that it really takes me by surprise), but is not quite right from an 'E' perspective. To use a directional analogue, if MDMA (by itself, doing what it should) is 'up Up UP', this is 'up, uP, uPsIDe DoWn'. Complete disorientation. Nausea. My blood pressure goes completely out of whack. My pulse goes thready for a few moments, and I feel like I'm going to faint. I shut off the music and call for S, who is doing her yoga workout in another room. She comes, and I tell her that I'm being pushed around by this stuff, and we decide to relocate me to her yoga room so she can finish her workout, and I can be with her.
6:30: In her room now. Her music is a disc I mixed for her of Deuter tracks that is particularly soothing. It comforts me as I sit in the hard-back chair in the corner. Very tense, but still feeling like all the fluid pressures in my physical systems are out of whack. I start to get a bit of tunnel vision, and fear a black-out is coming. S says that I look crappy, but not too bad. The weird tension building up in my body is starting to become really uncomfortable. I try not to fight it, but every time I consciously try and let go, it shoves me into some place I don't want to be. We move me to the futon couch, as sitting up is becoming more and more uncomfortable (more like impossible). To use Shulgin's scale in reverse, if I was at a (++) ten minutes or so ago, the pendulum has swung back, and I'm now moving into the (-) territory.
6:45: We discuss the fact that I've had virtually nothing to eat since a large breakfast early that morning (heavy on the starch, low on the protein, plus a chocolate coffee drink with 3x caffeine eleven hours or so prior to take-off). We postulate that my blood sugar is most likely bottomed out. I have S go and get me a banana, and as loath to eat as I am at that stage, I start to gnaw at it a bit. My physical downward spiral continues. When I close my eyes, I can feel them rolling up in my head slightly involuntarily. This worries me a bit, but I tell myself (again) that what I took was nowhere close to a full dose (125mg), that I am SURE of that, because I was sure of it when I was *sober* (even going so far as to confirm this with S by showing her the gel-cap and how much was in it, a technique that I often employ), and that the crappy feeling *will* pass. I just tell myself to keep riding the waves, and very soon, they'll smooth out. Definite (-) on the trip-o-meter. S says that I look pale, pasty and have dark, sunken eyes, with dark bags under them to boot, not unlike when I have a cluster headache. Interestingly, though, I have no headache whatsoever, nor do I develop one throughout the course of this entire experience.
6:50: Our friend K calls, looking for smoke. Before S even says who it is, I successfully babble out 'I cannot possibly deal with anyone or anything other than this tonight!' K accepts that I am under the weather, and we promise to call her tomorrow.
7:00: I hit [what I now know was] the worst of it. When I close my eyes, my head spins, and I have the distinct feeling that I'm sinking. I feel like I'm on the verge of blacking out. S says that when I lay still, I start to snore. The nausea is strong enough now that I have a waste basket close to me. I'm warm and clammy. I notice a few tremors in my legs and arms that give off the impression of a pre-seizure nature (twitching of muscles, tiny jerks, neck wanting to be tilted to the side and down and a drawing in of the extremities towards my fifth chakra--what would wind up being considered a fetal position). This concerns me a bit. Well, a bit more than a bit, actually, but I don't want to upset S anymore than I have. I tell myself that if it happens again within five minutes, I'll tell her, but it subsides and doesn't happen again. I actively wonder if purging may help, but I just don't have the energy to aim myself in any constructive manner, so I decide to give it a few more minutes. Full ( - - ) nastiness.
7:15: The worst has passed. I think the banana helped. The timeline's right; it takes roughly 20-30min for simple food sugars to enter the blood stream and truly elicit a change in glucose levels. Still feel crappy as hell, but I think I'm back down to a (-).
7:20: My brain's slightly less cloudy, and my blood pressure feels like it's stabilized. I sit up a bit from my recline on the futon (actually, it's more like a 'pile of me'), and although I feel a rush of 'buzziness' to the head, I don't feel like I'm going to faint, much to my great relief. S confirms that I look better. The nausea is almost entirely gone, although the stomach pain at the point where the gel-cap dissolved still hurts. After five or so minutes of sitting on the edge of the couch, I'm game for an attempt at standing up and maybe trekking to the living room. Standing is a minor adventure, but once I get my pins underneath me, I feel better. It helps that the blood's now being drawn by gravity towards my feet, and out of my head. I clear a bit more, and make it safely to the other room.
7:30: Definitely better. At a neutral point on the experience scale. Not positive, not negative, but not baseline either. At least it's not what it was. That was truly miserable!
7:50: S mentions that regardless of what I'm doing, *she* needs to eat, but we decide that I should too. This doesn't sound wholly unappealing as I thought it might. She makes a can of organic veggie soup, and we split a big veggie roll that I occasionally dunk pieces of into her soup. Taste's good. I probably eat 200cal worth of food, and feel better with every bite. I decide that I'm able to focus on things ocularly as well as intellectually (but nothing too heavy) so we pop in Red Dwarf--Season III. This works well, and soon we are both laughing and in a good place. I even have enough energy and wherewithal to get up and get water and a few other things from the kitchen, including a trip to the bathroom, which goes better than I'd thought it might. My kidneys are *very* grateful.
9:00: I'm almost fully down. Just off baseline. I'm certain I can sleep, and am looking forward to it. We head into my office where S can check her email quickly, and she takes a moment to peruse the honey I'd left up on the monitor from earlier, plus she picks out one or two more to look at. I decide that a bit more protein is in order, so I eat some pita bread and tofu pate. We cue up some good nocturnal music, and off to bed.
9:30: We listen to a playlist of Shajan, Deuter and The Orb. Everything's very soothing. As I collapse in bed, I realize that I'm not really in any kind of 'E after-glow'. I don't really feel particularly open or talkative. No chatty 'bed babble', as I've come to think of it. I actually think to myself that there was very little E in this experience at all. It was a scary, sedative place of nastiness, and had no MDMA feel to it in the least, save the few moments at the beginning (right before it all went terribly wrong back at 6:30 or so). Nor do I feel particularly bad either, which is a relief, as well as a surprise. You'd think after this experience, I would be a bit cranky and slightly cracked-out, but more than anything, I felt good that I didn't feel like THAT any more, and basked in the glow of relief that I was okay, and that I could sleep, (which I very quickly started doing, and rather aggressively, according to S, who said I was snoring good and quick. I even skipped my traditional after-E Xanax. She stayed up and watched me sleep a bit to reassure herself that I was okay before she went to sleep...) I slept surprisingly well, and only had to get up to use the bathroom two times.
The following day (today, as I write this) I started with a multi-vitamin and 100mg 5-HTP. Good but reduced appetite. No headache. Do feel a bit spacey at times, but at other times, I feel rather extra clear. I have been a bit emotionally detached, and somewhat cranky, although I have seemed to handle most things surprisingly well for as much running around and shopping as we had to do when taking into account the horrid experience I had the night before. At one point, I did have to excuse myself from the madness of a thrift store and go sit in the quiet controlled environment of the car, but I hate that environment when in a *good* frame of mind, so S really didn't think much of it. After we got home at roughly 6pm (T+25 hours), I took the 50mg Viagra that I was thinking of last night (thank GOD I didn't. That stuff messes with my blood pressure when I'm sober. I'd hate to think of what it would have done to me in that state!) S and I are looking to have a nice intimate evening.
In retrospect, I have the following opinions:
1) I now suspect that my eyeball measure was off, and that it was more likely 60-70mg in the cap. There was just too much power in the initial experience. However
2) Not eating was a mistake. Acid or mushrooms are okay with a fast, but I've found that amphetamines on an empty stomach are hell. I had no energy for a good experience, much less a *bad* one.
3) Taking the 5-HTP *right* before the MDMA was a MAJOR mistake. I really should have either taken them at least an hour before, or not at all. I really feel kind of stupid now about having done it, but (as I explained to S today about my reasoning for doing so when she asked why I did) I did it thinking that it was only 30-50mg of E I was taking, and that in order for it to do anything, it probably could use all the help it'd be getting from the 5-HTP. The difference between 50mg and 70mg of MDMA would most likely be a noticeable one to anyone by itself, and now that I look at it, I would most likely have had just a cool mellow minor roll if I'd left the 5-HTP out of it entirely (and maybe smoked some honey oil I have, which is very touchy-feely in its stone). But the 5-HTP takes about an hour to hit, and that was right when I was coming up. The tweaking of my serotonin (and dopamine) system all at once like that by so many different forces was just too much.
4) Taking the MDMA powder in a gel-cap was a mistake. God I *hate* doing this! I'm a major advocate of taking things like E and 2-CB salts in acidic citrus juice. MUCH easier on the stomach, and eases me into the experience more. Taking caps is always terrible, and when that cap dissolves and that concentrated chemical salt hits my stomach lining at one tight point, I... well... most of you are cringing now. 'Nuff said...
5) The combination of all of these previous elements produced what I believe now to have been a classic case of Serotonin Syndrome. Had I preloaded the 5-HTP 2-3 hours prior, I'm guessing my result would have been different (I've pre-loaded rolls with 300mg 5-HTP to good end before). I am kind of glad that it happened, though, because I now know the symptoms and 'feeling' of Serotonin Syndrome first hand, and am in a better place to help someone else who may get in this same place.
So, in closing, a word to the wise: respect the 5-HTP, and give it some space. Both S and I have used 5-HTP to treat moderate chronic depression and anxiety disorder with results so obvious that it freed us from using SSRI (me) and tricyclic (S) antidepressants. 5-HTP is not just some 'may work for some' herbal supplement; it's serious and can be rather powerful even on its own. It can be a real aid both the day of and the day after a roll or trip, but as I just found out, it throws a whole different variable into the mix, and it should be respected.
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