Citation: Mmerik. "Great Therapeutic Tool: An Experience with MDMA (Ecstasy) (exp60967)". Erowid.org. May 3, 2007. erowid.org/exp/60967
This report is about a couple of my previous experiences on ecstacy.I feel I need to share this as on some level I feel a drug experience is superficial and wasted if there isn't some sense introspection and self-exploration associated with it. If I don't learn something from a drug experience but just feel 'good' from it I feel I'm damaging myself for no other reason than to experience a brief moment of happiness and euphoria that in the long run will affect me negatively.
One thing that I got from my past experiences is that ecstacy is a very powerful therapeutic tool. That is not to say I condone taking it, and in fact this might not be true for other people, but in my case I found that one experience on ecstacy had positive effects in the long run. Not in a physical sense, but in a way that it helped me analyze myself and discover my own thoughts and feelings without being burdened by neuroses and insecurities, to the point that I believe that the positive outcomes outweigh any negative effects that it might have on my system. That is not to say I will continue taking it. In fact, last night's experience will be my last (except maybe somewhere far down the line in a couple of years when I feel I want to address other issues).
Now on to the effects. These are not particular to any one experience, but rather I collated this report from any or all of the previous times I have taken it.
I find the come on effects are really slow, which makes it hard to judge exactly how much to take as it takes a while for me to peak, so regulating is not an easy task. It also depends on the pill. On one pill that I took several weeks ago the effects came on very suddenly (albeit after a long time) while on the one I took last night the effects came on slowly and smoothly, like a plane taking off on a runway and in fact that is a very appropriate metaphor, as I liken the feelings to my emotions slowly welling up inside me and building up until suddenly, they're up in mid air and I'm flying (peaking).
I found that the ecstacy 'feeling' is not like I envisioned it would be. After reading various reports and articles about it, I thought it would feel like a shift in consciousness (similar to marijuana except for the paranoia). The fact is, I felt no shift in consciousness. I felt more lucid and excrutiatingly happy at some points, but I still felt like myself. Just a more positive version of myself. I heard some people experience more vivid colours and their senses being expanded, and while I did experience this, it wasn't that profound. Not even close to the intensity they can get on hallucinogenics.
The feeling is nothing spectacular and in fact, I've felt it at several points in my life before. When I got a promotion, when I see a loved one I haven't been close to for years, when I am successful in persuing someone I'm attracted to, and even though I've never had children, I have heard someone compare it to the joy of seeing your baby being born. It feels like a warm inner glow that emanates from your heart, kind of like your heart is expanding beyond the confines of your body. Quite literally I felt like I was glowing.
At some points this made me rather uncomfortable as there was a sense of artificiality about it. In normal day to day lives when we experience these happy moments they come and go in waves and our mind has a way of regulating them. Here, I felt it was constant and I wasn't getting any respite from the happy emotions. Logically, I felt that this was bad, but frankly, I felt too good to care about it for too long.
Ecstacy has a way of dissolving my insecurities and complexes, and this is an understatement. It absolutely demolishes them. I tend to be rather nervous around people sometimes as I have a bit of social anxiety (not that much but enough to cause me some problems on occasions). After ecstacy, its like it never even existed. I feel I can talk to anyone, and I do mean anyone, on their level. Making connections, even with people you would not normally make connections with, is not only easy, it is pleasant.
While alcohol makes social interactions easier, ecstacy absolutely erodes any traces of discomfort that might have ever existed. With alcohol I find that after getting a bit drunk, approaching others becomes slightly easier, after ecstacy there is not even a thought of whether its hard or easy, I actually want to approach people. Anyone I see in the place I am at I have an overwhelming desire to communicate to. Most of the time I find that it has a positive effect on other people as well as they can sense a kind of comfort and warmth coming from me and they react positively. I've made more friends on ecstacy in one night than in one month without it.
I don't believe it's the drug that actually stimulates empathy. It felt like the drug stimulated extremely positive emotions, which broke down all the barriers and filters in my mind that were causing altered and incorrect perceptions of other people and situations, allowing me a glimpse of what people are truly thinking and feeling. In other words, we all have it in us to feel that kind of empathy once we break down these barriers, the drug is just a catalyst. I believe this because even weeks after taking the drug (the previous time I did it) it had a permanent effect as it broke down some misconceptions and I could more easily sense people's feelings even without it.
I find it is also important to take it in the right setting. The previous night, while the overall experience was pleasant, the setting was not ideal. I can now fully understand why raves and dance parties are the preferred forum for this drug.
My friends ended up going to a club full of belligerent assholes. I walked in and could see other guys sizing me up with a kind of territorial attitude. This caused a kind of dissonance in me, as on the one hand I felt an overwhelmingly positive and happy attitude towards humanity, but on the other hand we were at a place where others did not feel like that. When I was at the bar buying a drink, some dude attempted to brawl with me. This was extremely confusing as I could not well up the anger and appropriate emotions to deal with the situation, all I could feel was love. It's like wanting to hug a wolf that is sneaking up on me growling, about to attack. Very confusing.
I also found that ecstacy erodes any sexual feelings. As a guy, whenever I go to any place and I see a girl I find attractive, there is a 'hunter' attitude that takes over. I try to flirt, to pick up. On ecstacy, rather than trying to pick up, I just want to bond emotionally. Sex doesn't even come into my mind (except maybe later once the pill starts wearing off). That's not to say the idea of sex is bad, it's just that it doesn't come into the forefront of every situation. This can make persuing someone you like easier as you come across as less intense or desperate making success more probable in the long run (but this would really depend on the situation).
There is a sense of clarity about everything making judging situations and my own actions a lot easier. Some people claim that it can make you take more risks as you feel more comfortable about taking them, but because of its empathogenic effect, I felt more empathetic to myself in the future tense, knowing that if I do anything risky or silly now I would regret it later. So while I wanted to do certain things, I had enough sense to stop myself. Stopping myself was not difficult because whatever I did, I felt good. I didn't 'need' to do anything as I was comfortable and happy doing anything. Just sitting back for a while and relaxing was exremely pleasurable.
Finally, onto the come down effects. This is not pretty, and if I had to name the primary reason why I decided not to take ecstacy again (at least for a long, long time) it's the come down. The secondary being the fear of causing myself any sort of permanent damage (the studies on that seem to be inconclusive). The come down effects begin coming in waves a few hours after initial ingestion. These are waves of discomfort and paranoia, like a feeling of impending doom, even if I'm in an environment I would normally feel safe in.
At one point I realised I wanted to run away. These must be the feelings of 'flight' I heard about when animals sense danger. Since my serotonin levels were depleted, I guess there was no control mechanism to tell me everything's ok. I'm not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination so thats more of a musing. Every situation felt uncomfortable, and my body felt a bit odd. It's difficult to describe the feeling, but the initial warmth that I felt when I was peaking on ecstacy was now replaced by a kind of chill. These initially come in waves so one minute I'm feeling great, another I'm feeling danger and paranoia, then I'm feeling good again. So it is gradual, not sudden, which I guess is good as this is an initial sign that its time to go home. Sleep is not difficult after a night on ecstacy (at least not on the pills I had). Ecstacy isn't really that kind of stimulant (unless its mixed with other drugs like amphetamines). It's an emotional stimulant but not a physical one. So sleep is not impossible.
The next day the come down effect lasts until late afternoon, when finally I'll feel it wearing off and myself returning back to normal (very gradually). Eating a good meal helps in this regard. But during the 'hangover', I feel absolutely horrible. Not physically, but emotionally. I wouldn't say it's that much worse than an alcohol hangover, just different. So maybe I just haven't developed coping mechanisms for it yet which at first made it seem much worse.
For one, I can't sit still. This might be the 'flight' response. Again, its not because of a stimulant effect (like after coffee), rather, sitting still feels horrible. I have to move. I have to do something. I usually just end up walking around my house and thinking about things, putting my thoughts back together (as they tend to get erratic during the come down). I also start questioning my actions from the previous night, wondering if perhaps I was inappropriate at any point. It doesn't seem like I was since in retrospect I got mostly positive responses, but I still find myself questioning it. I wouldn't describe the come down feelings as 'depression'. At least not right the next day. Rather, it feels like I'm riddled with conflicting emotions that feel rather intense and I can't 'relax'.
So that's basically it in a nutshell. I tried to be as thorough as I can be. For anyone considering taking it I would urge precaution. I read a LOT about it before I took it for the first time and took every precaution suggested by more experienced users and also by researchers.
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