Citation: Smokey. "Entering the Thought Wheel: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp67768)". Erowid.org. Mar 16, 2009. erowid.org/exp/67768
I took my first mushroom trip about a month and a half ago. I had become increasingly interested in drugs ever since I had entered college. I started off with DXM during my third semester of college, and spent about 9 months taking it every weekend. Shortly after that I smoked weed a few times, never really did much for me, and began drinking heavily. But I had never taken a psychedelic drug, and the only thing even close to that would be a third plateau DXM trip that I remember almost nothing from. I just know I woke up with a pool of vomit at my feet.
Anyway, my friend and former roommate, who was a real good sport about me tripping on DXM every weekend, managed to get 7 grams of Pscilocybin mushrooms from his new roommate's favorite dealer. We pledged to take 3.5 grams a piece the next weekend in our dorm rooms. We figured we'd take them together and then head off to our respective rooms when the full effects kicked in. However, I had that previous weekend drank way too much, so much so that I was vomiting for the next two days. So although I was usually very thorough in my preparation for tripping (reading about the drug, etc.), I was in no mood to read much about psychoactive substances. Also, my batch of 'shrooms seemed to consist mostly of stems with a tiny cap and a slightly larger cap. In my mind, I was not in possession of 3.5 grams worth of psychedelia. So my expectations of the trip were not of an intense variety.
Finally the day came, and I was ready to take the mushrooms. But despite my low expectations, I became slightly nervous about what the night's trip would hold. I began a crash course in psychedelic preparation. I tried to listen to my favorite music and read my favorite books to put myself into a good mindset. It was only a half hearted effort, though, and I knew it.
At 7 o'clock my friend joined me and we each pulled out our plastic bags full of 'shrooms. I was prepared for a terrible flavor, but found them surprisingly easy to get down. My friend (let's call him Winslow) found that they induced his gag reflex, and had much more trouble than I did getting them down. The mere fact that they did not disgust me reinitiated my prior skepticism about how effective they would be. I began to doubt that they'd do anything at all.
While we waited for the effects to kick in, we watched 'The Wizard of Oz,' which just happened to be on TBS (and TNT!). It's like God wanted us to trip. After about fifteen minutes, I noticed that I was seeing things move in my peripheral vision. I also noticed that my body began to feel strange and my face was fixed in a permanent and inexplicable smile. This was similar to the onset of a nutmeg trip, and made me think that something might be happening. However, I was afraid to mention anything to my friend for fear of looking stupid, because no report we had read had said that the effects would start that soon. But I couldn't resist and I said I thought something was happening. He responded exactly as I expected, saying that I was just wanting something to happen. However, soon the blinds in the window began to move and sway. When I looked away they would go back to normal, but once I looked back the movement began again.
Then I looked at the television and noticed that small multi-colored blotches began to appear on the screen. I wondered aloud whether or not it was our dorm's crappy Comcast connection, but Winslow said that nothing strange was going on. It was then that I knew that the mushrooms were for real. Soon Winslow also began to notice the effects taking hold of him too, and we both went to the bathroom to ensure that we would not have to leave our rooms later to do so and risk being caught by the RA.
I went back to the room with Winslow and sat down to watch more TV. However, the film began to make me uncomfortable, and Winslow asked that I put on some music. I picked up my chair to move it in front of the computer so that I could select a song when I realized that ever so briefly, I had completely forgotten that I had taken mushrooms. I was simply going to put on music because Winslow asked me too. I had forgotten all about the mushrooms.
This terrified me. I immediately became scared of seeing terrifying hallucinations and having no idea why they were occurring. I voiced my concerns to Winslow and he stated that he wanted to go back to his room. Being left alone terrified me as well and I asked in a pleading voice if I could join him there. He said it would be okay, and I again lifted my chair to put it in front of the computer. As I got it close, I knelt down to wipe up a silvery liquid that had fallen on the floor. I looked up and noticed that it was my chair melting and dripping down. I was still sane enough to appreciate one of the most enjoyably absurd experience of psychedelics.
Winslow and I left my room and I locked it. The hallway seemed unbelievably bright and the floor seemed to be of pure white marble (it's actually an old yellowish-white tile). There were also multi-colored dots of what looked like paint on the floor, they were similar to the blotches from the TV. We entered Winslow's room and I sat down in a chair in the middle of the room and closed my eyes. He was still not all that high, but I was beginning to reach the outer reaches of the universe. I would close my eyes and bow my head and see bright colors and patterns moving back and forth. For moments I would forget my body and simply take in what I saw. But I wasn't quite enjoying it yet. I was still nervous about forgetting why I was seeing such crazy things.
Winslow asked me what I wanted to listen to, and I chose The Beatles 'Sgt. Peppers.' He accepted my choice, even though he is not a huge Beatles fan, and it was greatly appreciated. The album began, and everyone once in a while he would ask me a question and briefly shake me out of my stupor. But I would usually just grunt and answer with an exasperated word or two. Finally, I began to feel somewhat nauseous and stood up. I told Winslow that I was confused and that I thought this may have been a bad idea. The fact that this trip was not going to stop for about 4 more hours was frightening. Winslow knew that I had been very interested in taking psychedelics and asked ominously 'Isn't this what you wanted?'
'But it's so strange,' I said.
'You need to just go with it.'
'Just go with it, man.'
I began to feel embarrassed. Winslow was really feeling the drug now too, but he wasn't freaking out like I was. And I was much more experienced with drugs than him. So I resolved to have a good trip, and I convinced myself that I had the power to do it. I laid down on his roommate's bed (who was out smoking salvia that night) and wrapped a blanket around myself. The blanket seemed to almost coat my skin, and it was comforting. I closed my eyes and began to take in the color show again, this time to the tune of 'Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.' A smile crossed my face and I began to truly enjoy the experience for the first time. Every once in a while Winslow would ask me a question, and I would grunt or give a curt reply. He would then simply say 'You're THERE, man.' And we both knew where 'there' was.
The album finished and I began to become concerned. I had reacted well to 'Sgt. Peppers' and I was worried that a different album could instigate a bad trip. So I was relieved when I heard Winslow say 'I'm just going to start 'Peppers' over again.' 'That's fine with me,' I said and felt momentarily relieved. It was shortly after that that I heard Winslow opening the door to go out into the hall. I sat up and hurriedly told him not to leave.
'I have got to go to the bathroom,' he said.
'No,' I tried to tell him, 'you can't leave.'
We argued for a little while and eventually he began to walk back to his chair and told me 'Okay, but I've really got to go, so I'll end up going in here, but it'll go EVERYWHERE, and you won't like it.'
I had read that you may feel like you had urinated or defecated on yourself even though you hadn't while on 'shrooms, and I tried to tell him that. But the words didn't come out. Only a few minutes later, he was back at the door, turning the knob again, and I sat up once again to plead with him.
'Hey, I've really got to go,' he said.
'I don't want you to go.'
'I know you don't want me to go, but I've got to go. You don't want me to go, but I've got to do this for myself.'
We had this conversation with him holding the door partially open, which scared me enough to make peace with him leaving, if only to get the door closed. Winslow would come back and leave again a few more times, but it never seemed too important to me after that. A few times we would have brief conversations, which usually ended with me telling him that I kept forgetting that he was tripping too. I would look for him to provide some sanity, but then I would realize that he had none to give.
But it was after he left the first time that things began to turn ugly for me. I got stuck in a thought loop, which I think was aided by the fact that I was listening to one album on a loop. I became afraid that Winslow would get caught and that they would then find me in the room tripping too. I became afraid that the music was way too loud and someone would come to get me to turn it down, and they would find me incapacitated and incoherent. I thought I heard knocks at the door that I refused to answer. I thought I heard laughing and running in the hallway, which would certainly be possible in our dorm, but the laughing and running would seem to occur at every repeated chorus of a song.
The music continued on its course, which I knew very well. It was then that the certainty of what was coming began to make me uneasy. I applied the lesson to life in general and found that all of the mundane tasks of life that we repeated over and over were sad. Why did we waste so much time doing these things? Waiting in lines, searching for parking spaces, watching the same television rerun we've seen hundreds of times before. I found it very sad, and felt stupid to have been drawn in by those mundane tasks just like everyone else (perhaps more so).
Around this time I realized that I could no longer remember my name and took a great deal of time to put it together. I also managed to utter the word 'Pscilocybin' and realized that I had taken a drug. I had taken a drug. The squeaky clean kid had gone to college and messed up his mind with heavy DXM use and very heavy alcohol use. And now he'd taken mushrooms and gone insane. I wanted it all to stop. I wanted to pick up a phone and call my parents and apologize. I wanted to cry and explain to them why I'd done what I'd done, why I had disappointed them. I wanted to tell them that my continuing good grades were a mirage and that I was surely headed for disaster. But I realized that wouldn't make the trip stop. I wanted to go get the RA and have him get a policeman and have him take me away somewhere. But I realized that wouldn't make the trip stop either. And I was at least sane enough to know that I would have more problems after it was over if I did that.
I tried to remember how many times I'd listened to 'Sgt. Peppers' to gauge how long the trip would continue. But I couldn't figure it out. I couldn't name the song I was listening to, even though I recognized it, and I when I tried to think of any other album I could listen to, I couldn't do that either. I'm a huge Bob Dylan fan and I tried to name the tracks on 'Blonde on Blonde,' which is one of his best albums. I thought doing this could force some sanity on me, but I could only come up with one track, and I began to question its validity too. At times I wanted the music to stop, or to be turned down, but I was convinced that those things were impossible. I didn't believe I could stand up and turn down the volume. Not to say I didn't think I could stand up, but that turning down the music was an IMPOSSIBILITY.
I fell farther out of reality, and sunk wholly inside myself. Nothing existed anymore outside of that room. Nothing existed outside of my mind. My mind was all that there was. All the other music I'd ever listened to was a creation of my own mind. My parents ceased to exist. The RA I wanted to confess to, the policeman I wanted to take me away ceased to exist. Bob Dylan ceased to exist. The only real music that existed were the songs I could hear in my ears. I was very distressed by this.
I began to believe that Winslow was only an extension of my own consciousness, and that he didn't really exist. I thought about the beginning of time and history, and realized that all of history was a figment of my imagination. Shakespeare had been created in my own mind. I realized that I could not comprehend anything that had existed before myself, that I could only use my own experiences to understand life. Therefore time began with my birth and anything before it was an elaborate piece of fiction. All of the pieces of art and literature, all of the poetry in the world were created subconsciously by me. All of my experiences with friends and family (hell, with enemies too) were of my own invention, because they were all just an extension of my own being.
I'd like to point out again that I did not find these to be pleasant thoughts of some kind of spiritual and universal oneness. I'd never felt so alone. Everything that had happened to me was phony. I had unknowingly had complete control over it, and I had somehow chosen to torment myself throughout my entire life. I realized that my own experience of life, extreme cynicism, occasional depression, a generally dreary outlook on life, were the only true ones. All of the displays of happiness I'd seen from other people were only there to make me feel worse. Happiness, at least prolonged happiness, was unattainable.
It was around then that I found the final and darkest place of my trip. I ceased to think of myself as a person in any way, even one that had the power to create the known universe, but as a life force. And this will be very difficult, and likely impossible to explain, but I'll try. I realized that I was this life force that had suddenly came into being, and once I came into being, I would eventually become aware of myself as the creator of all the world. But then I would question how I was created. As I did that I would realize that I had to have created myself, because nothing else existed. And then I would again become aware of myself as the creator of myself. As the creator of myself, I would realize that I had created the creator of myself. Which was myself. And this thought pattern continually got bigger and bigger as I realized that I was the creator of myself who was the creator of myself who was the creator of myself who was the creator of myself, etc.
This thought loop went on for an uncomfortably long time. My eyes darted around wildly and I tossed and turned as I tried to figure out an answer to where the hell I had come from. But I couldn't. I would occasionally take a brief break from the loop and think about how sad it was that I was laying there thinking that, and that I must have been laying there and thinking that since the beginning of time. In fact, that was all that had occurred since the beginning of time. A continuous loop of that thought pattern. And then I realized that me thinking how sad it was that I was in that loop was part of the loop, and that I had done that a countless number of times throughout history. And then that thought became a part of the loop, and I had done it countless times throughout history. Every time I would finish a thought, it would give me comfort that I was beginning to understand things, but then I would begin to believe that that thought was also part of the loop and that it too had been thought countless times already. It was a unique hell. A hell of being stuck eternally with myself and eternally asking the same questions and giving the same answers. Only to ask the questions again.
Finally, I heard the door open again and Winslow walked into the room. I paid no attention to him, believing that he didn't exist as anything other than a part of my psyche. But then he changed the music. He put on a different album from a different artist and I spoke for the first time in what seemed like eternity.
'I didn't know that was going to happen,' I said.
And I didn't. First the first time in forever something happened that I did not see coming. A piece of music that I wasn't prepared for. It was nice. That said, I still was uneasy and not in a pleasant place for a while longer. But eventually Winslow asked me how I was doing. Without thinking, I got up and laid down on the opposite of the bed. It was the first significant physical action I'd done in hours.
'I think I'm coming down,' I said.
And within 20 minutes, I was down. I still saw lines moving somewhat on the walls, and the paint would begin to melt down the walls if I stared long enough, but my thought processes began to make sense again. We talked for a while about what we saw and felt. I was unable to explain my time running in the thought wheel, making it turn and turn and turn.
He apparently had a rather good trip, feeling the universal oneness that is so coveted by those that take psychedelics. He had a glow about him as he talked and seemed very pleased with the experience. His only bad time was when he left the room and went out to sit outside at the campus square. And that was only bad when he became concerned that his leaving had sent me on a bad trip. And though I told him it didn't, and I meant it when I said it, I now believe it did. That was when thing began to turn for the worse. I can't draw a parallel between him leaving and the insanity of my thought pattern, but I do know that it introduced apprehension to my psyche that snowballed into that thought loop.
But I was simply happy to be back down to Earth, and happy to know that there was a world out there to explore. Happy to know that the world did not exist entirely in my mind and in that room. A world that I did not create, and that might have a few surprises for me. I found that very comforting to know. At the time I looked back at my thought loop and found it absurd. But writing this down has reopened those memories as vividly as they have ever been opened, and I begin to see where I was going with it again. We have nothing to judge life by but our own experience. And though we are creatures capable of imagination and empathy, the world will eventually be to us what we experience it to be. Nothing more and nothing less.
And although I am not religious, I felt I got an insight into what God may be. If there is a god, and though I do not believe in God, I certainly believe he could be possible. And I certainly hope that if he does exist that he is a good God, but not the kind of 'good' God that sends hurricanes to punish 'the abortionists and the feminists.' (I'm not missing Jerry Falwell very much). But there will always be the question of who created God. Surely there must be a beginning. And if he created us, he must wonder who created him. And we are truly nothing more than what he could imagine. And therefore, would he not be in constant wonder of how he could be capable of even wondering who created himself? And wouldn't he then wonder how he could be capable of wondering how he could wonder who created himself? Where would it end? Could it end? It's a painful existence, I know that. I lived it for what may have been a few hours or merely a few minutes, but I now know that singular kind of pain.
I am disappointed that I shrunk so far within myself rather than exploding out into the universe and taking in a view of all the world. As I said before, I didn't ever feel a true universal oneness, and I never talked to God. In a way, I became God. But I do not say that with any kind of silly or smug arrogance. It was not pleasant, and I did not enjoy 'knowing' that nothing that I had experienced was real.
I believe that given the opportunity, I would take mushrooms again. But next time, I want it to be in a situation where I don't have to worry about suffering from an anxiety that could lead to a bad trip. I would preferably take it with a trip sitter who would be prepared to remind me that I had taken mushrooms, that I would eventually be fine, and that I should just sit back and enjoy the trip. I have a hard time allowing myself to fully let go of what I know is real and experience something extraordinary. I realize now that I was foolish to believe that I could just decide one day to take something that I thought might not even work, but that if it did work would shatter my understanding of what was real. But that is a mistake you only make once, and I'm glad to be through with that one time. If I take another shot at it, I will be prepared.
But I remember thinking after it was all over about what it was like for the first people to discover psychedelic mushrooms. They grow in the wild and actually don't taste all that bad. If I was hungry and out in the wild, I could see eating far more than we did in the period of time it takes to ingest the 'shrooms and for the trip to start. I could eat 10 grams before I noticed something was wrong. And I would have no expectation and no understanding about why what was happening was happening. I guess some people still had a good trip or it never would have caught on, but I don't think I could even begin to understand the terror that many of them must have felt.
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