H.B. Woodrose (HBW)
Citation: laughingbuddha. "A Slip into Schizophrenia and a Sea Change: An Experience with H.B. Woodrose (HBW) (exp57178)". Erowid.org. Dec 12, 2006. erowid.org/exp/57178
This happened to me three years ago. I always intended to write out my experience, but life happened and I never got around to it. Yet there's rarely a day that goes by where I don't think about that fateful night when I swallowed 12 HBR seeds and EVERYTHING changed. Luckily, things changed for the better...but that easily might not have been the case.
At the time, my friends lived in this really cool, really old house. It had a back room which was about as wide as a washer and dryer and maybe three or four times as long. My friends had converted it into this totally righteous 'opium/makeout den' by hanging blankets and sheets all along the walls and draped from the ceilings. They put several layers of blankets and cushions on the floor, an electric blanket on top of all that, and then on the very top this crazy gold colored sateen blanket they'd picked up at goodwill or something. They'd even gone so far as to invest in some curtains so that the room was partitioned into 1/3 entryway and washer and dryer and 2/3 pot smoker's heaven. It was very womblike, in a way, what with the blankets draped down from the high ceiling, the diffused darkness, and the warmth and all. We used to sit back there and get stoned nearly every day--it had great vibes.
My psychonaut buddy--I'll call him L-- had gotten the HBR seeds and done them a few times. Iíd done them with him once already, I took five seeds and virtually nothing happened, just a slight buzzing, mainly a physical reaction. Since five hadn't been enough, and he had 12 seeds left, he offered to prepare them in a water extraction for me, and I took his offer. I can't remember what time it was when I took them but let's say 10:00 pm for the sake of clarification. As for my mental state at the time, I was in fairly good spirits. It was the end of the semester and Iíd done very well, so I was looking forward to rewarding myself with some psychedelic action. I think my naivete reveals itself there, but I digress.
I think Iíve read elsewhere that if you take a hallucinogen or an alkaline drug like LSA and you start to feel its effects almost immediately or within, say, a half an hour--be warned. You're about to trip balls. Iím not sure if this is true or not but I distinctly remember feeling the aforementioned buzzing sensation almost immediately after drinking the solution (probably about 12 oz of water). We had lots of friends over that night, as it was Christmas break, so there was probably a dozen of us hanging out that night. We talked in the kitchen for awhile and then moved to the living room to watch TV. After a half an hour I remember feeling euphoric, energized, slightly anxious. L was watching me and I think he could tell something was happening, cause when I looked at him he said something along the lines of, 'How are you feeling?' I said, 'Good, Iím not really feeling anything.' I wasn't sure myself if what I was feeling was the LSA or just excitement mixed with anxiety. In retrospect I can definitely say there was something going on...
After a bit we moved into the 'opium den' to smoke pot and play telephone. I can't recall if I smoked, but I don't think I did. I wanted to remain purely on the LSA, no depressants or anything. This is maybe an hour, an hour and a half into my trip. It is at this time that things started to shift from euphoria to a barely-controlled state of panic. Keep in mind that there were about eight bodies crammed into our little smoking den, everyone's laughing, joking, having a good time. So we start playing telephone--you know, where someone whispers something into the ear of the person sitting next to him or her and then they whisper it to the next, and so on, until you get to the last person and they say aloud what it is they were told. Normally this is fun, but in my state I think the concentration required was simply too much for me to handle. Iím not sure if I felt claustrophobic or what but I definitely felt a rising sense of panic, like I was either doing something horribly, horribly wrong or something horribly wrong was going to happen to me...in any case, as the game went on I would cycle from relatively calm to increasingly panicked. Towards the end I had to muster every ounce of my will to not get up and start screaming, 'WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?! GET THE F*#K AWAY FROM ME! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!!' I seriously felt the urge to jump up and either defend myself from imminent attack or start stabbing the person next to me. This was alarming in itself.
Eventually my friends grew weary of telephone and went back to the living room to play video games. I think at this point I somewhat calmed down and went to the bathroom. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and thinking something along the lines of, 'Okay dude, it's on now. This is for real. This is the night.' I went back into the opium den to find L sitting there, talking with our friend P. I sat down and tried to calm myself but I just couldn't. I felt incredibly restless and impulsive--sort of like being on acid but way worse. I think L was starting to become rather concerned with me, especially when I sort of curled up in a ball and closed my eyes. Knowing how fond I am of the movie blade runner, he put on the soundtrack that Iíd brought over in my CD case. Now, if you've ever seen the movie or listened to the soundtrack, you'd know that it's all about DEATH, dying, the life cycle, the brevity of life, that sort of stuff. Probably not the best music to listen to when you're slipping into a schizophrenic state of paranoid delusion. L asked how I felt and I think it was at this point I confessed I felt very alarmed, like I needed to be restrained. 'PUT ME DOWN! PUT ME DOWN!' I yelled at one point during the trip, I can't remember when.
Anyways, it's safe to say L was probably very confused when I DEMANDED that he leave the room. This was totally and utterly random. I wanted to talk to P, but of course this was not the time or place to say the things I wanted to say to her. But I couldn't make that decision because I was TRIPPING BALLS. Thus it was that I confessed some personal things to P that I will not, of course, include here! I remember how she laughed at some of the things I said, I think partially because she thought I was funny and partially because I was making her nervous.
Then it happened that in the midst of pouring my heart out to P I went into a completely tripped out, non-responsive fetal position. I remember kneeling on my knees while I confessed myself to her and then started to slowly, slowly fall over, drool coming out of my mouth all the while. I was utterly powerless--I was in the almighty grips of LSA. The panic which had earlier washed over me now turned into fear I was dying (no doubt aided on a subconscious level by the Blade Runner soundtrack reverberating through the room.) It was Christmas too, which happens to be my favorite time of year. I thought 'what a shame to die during my favorite time of year, my mother will be heartbroken.' I may have mumbled as much to P. I remember she kept asking me 'What? What? I can't understand what you said.'
This is probably around midnight or one o'clock am. P keeps trying to rouse me, L is practically yelling at me, but I am definitely not responding, let alone moving. I can hear everything that's going on, however. I can hear them talking about me--'I think he's dying,' P said to L. 'No, he's not dying!' said L. 'I think he was just hit really hard by the seeds is all.' I can hear them talking about me, wondering if Iím dying or dead, and this is all fueling the perception that Iím slowly cycling down, my life is ebbing away.
All sorts of colors and dreams occurred during this time...they'd be more vivid if Iíd written this immediately afterwards, of course. Some were of plants--I remember this weird, quasi-sexual flower thing, like a kaleidoscopic, rainbow colored flower swaying in the wind but with this thirsty, depraved, dragon-like tongue wagging out in the middle where the pollen would be...weird. I remember dreaming about discussing the paradox of life with one of my professors, I think in a way I was dreaming of trying to explain the ultimate vision I was being shown to him, and he just smiled at me. I remember how the noises of my friends in the other room filtered into my trip as little sound bytes--an 'OH!' here and 'DAMN YOU!' there and 'AWW, C'MON!' here, not to mention the sounds from the video game they were playing. I had visions of co-workers laughing at me--they were laughing at me because I was dying.
It seemed cruel but there was nothing I could do about it. It didn't help when one of my friends came back to see what was going on and, finding out Iíd taken some weird seeds and was possibly dying said, 'Well, that's what happens when you take some f@ed up seeds.' Again, I could hear everything but my normal mental pathways of processing were definitely being processed in a manner entirely dependent on the LSA's choosing. I also have an alarming memory of jumping up and trying to smash the CD player, possibly over the head of P. She never mentioned anything like this to me, so I may have dreamt it, but again I don't know. She just might not have wanted to talk about it. Nonetheless the CD player was not smashed, so there's some evidence I only dreamt trying to bludgeon my poor friend with a boombox.
I liken this period of the trip--which probably lasted for about three or so hours--to the idea of an old dog being put to sleep. I distinctly remember feeling like a dog. Dying, that is. Maybe the position that I was curled in made me think of a dog curled up as it sleeps, I dunno. The best I can do to summarize in words what was happening was that what I was hearing around me was contributing to a sensation of dying, of consciousness starting to slow down and ebb away. My connection to my body became increasingly disassociated, Iíve never done ketamine but I have an idea now of it might it be like. I was all wrapped up in the visions and the sensations the LSA was giving me. Alas, the beautiful failure of language is that it can never truly convey what it is we're trying to talk about, and this case is no different.
At some point L got fed up with babysitting my drooling, comatose self and went to bed, leaving P and another friend of mine--K--to watch over me. Eventually (probably around 5 am) they must've retreated to the living room to get some rest. This is when things get really, really weird. My slip into schizophrenia was nearly complete.
I remember opening my eyes, looking up at the blankets draped from the ceiling and thinking 'Okay...so is this it? Is this what happens after you die?' then I jumped up and literally RIPPED OFF ALL OF MY CLOTHING. I broke my watch and a hemp necklace a friend had made for me in Africa doing so. I was EXTREMELY thirsty and very disoriented. I walk out of the back room, through the kitchen, and into the living room where K and P are sleeping. I don't know if they'd just fallen asleep or if I said something to rouse them but they definitely woke up when they saw me standing there TOTALLY NAKED. 'Dude?' K said to me, to which I responded, loudly (and now infamously) 'WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?!'
I absolutely did not know who the hell these people were. All I knew was that I had to get out of there...and I was damn thirsty. I tried to get into my friendís room but K persuaded me to not open his door, so then I walked into the kitchen, grabbed a half-empty beer bottle off the counter and proceeded to dip it into the fish tank next to it, trying to get some water. Incidentally I broke the fish tank's heater while doing so. 'No, let's not drink that,' K said to me, trying to take the bottle from me. I think I then threw it on the floor. 'I NEED FLUIDS!' I shouted and went into the bathroom, attempting to fill up the bathtub. K followed me and prevented me from doing so, again saying something like, 'No, that's really not a good idea' (the tub was broke anyways). 'I need fluids,' I said, adding, 'But what are fluids?' I remember words and language began slowly filtering back to me, but this must've taken an hour or more. Keep in mind that Iím naked during this entire time. Thus K said, 'Hey, let's go back and get your clothes on, okay?' I followed him. I can't remember if I was clothed or still naked when I a) punched him, to which he replied, 'Okay let's not do that again' and b) lunged for the power cord of the space heater and promptly bit down upon it. Yes, I actually attempted to bite through a live wire while under the influence of LSA.
I think what I was doing with the wire thing was trying something absolutely outrageous to prove to myself I wasn't dreaming. K eventually succeeded in helping to get my clothes back on, during which time I made similar comments as, 'What are fluids?' I have an interest in words and language, so perhaps this isn't surprising. But it also makes sense that as elements of my psyche began to re-establish themselves, language would be one element that would re-manifest itself in my consciousness. I was struck by the quaintness of clothes, words, my friends, the house...everything seemed quite quaint, in a pleasant way. As you can see I was behaving almost like a baby in many respects, a child certainly. In fact, one of the themes of the entire trip was the fear over the breaking down of what I understand to be culturally acceptable norms of behavior. The line between appropriate and not appropriate--as in do you stab this person or not--normally quite a clear line, mind you, was clearly put in jeopardy while I was on LSA. This has had lasting consequences for me.
For the entire next day I felt serene and peaceful--quite the stark contrast to the previous night's paranoid schizophrenic breakdown. I remember colors were softer, the sun was brighter, I felt very gentle, calm, and peaceful. It was a very pleasant after-glow, one which I have never experienced from any of the other sundry drugs I have dabbled with over the years.
One last thing I should mention. This experience unhinged me. While the day-after was pleasant, the weeks were not. At one point about three weeks later I was delivering a pizza and a wave of absolute terror washed over me--the same kind of terror I felt as I lay dying on the blankets in the back room. Only this time I wasn't on drugs, and yet I was still freaking out. The paradox of death was upon me and was having real, psychological consequences. It might be fair to call these episodes residual panic attacks, but whatever you want to call them they lasted in earnest for weeks. Death had never troubled me so much before, but now I couldn't get the concept out of my head. Questions like, 'What happens when you die' and, 'Is there a soul?' and, 'If so, what happens to it when the body dies?' now preoccupied my mind, and not in a pleasant way. Every time Iíd think about death the same feelings of helplessness, panic, and anxiety Iíd felt while on LSA would wash over me. Eventually I overcame this paranoia by realizing that I was making a conscious choice to feel this way, I was not on LSA anymore and therefore could decide what to focus on thus how to feel. This has, in fact, become a guiding mantra for my life. Thus I say this experience was a 'sea change' in my life. I wouldn't want to do it again, and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anyone, but I wouldn't take it back for a billion dollars. That fateful night three years ago made me who I am today. Thanks HBR and LSA, you devils you.
COPYRIGHTS: All reports are copyright Erowid and you agree not to download or analyze the report data without contacting Erowid Center and receiving permission first.
Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.