Citation: TheMerryPrankster. "Life-Changing Problems: An Experience with Nitrous Oxide & LSD (ID 79725)". Erowid.org. Aug 5, 2009. erowid.org/exp/79725
I have quite probably taken more Nitrous (at least in Whippit form) than anyone else alive. So I feel compelled to share with all of you - my experience.
Excessive Nirous Oxide abuse can cause permanent irreversible brain damage. I am Patient Zero, so please, everyone, read this all the way. If I had been fortunate enough to read what I am about to write, 30 years ago, my life would be very, very different. I could just post the facts, but if you will walk with me through my life, you need never run the risk of having what happened to me, happen to you. If you are a serious Nitrous user, reading this could help save your life. It's going to be quite long - but it is important to me to paint the whole picture. I also hope that it might prove entertaining - and some of you might recognize yourselves in the narrative - and those who feel a sympathy with my feelings - those who relate to my expression and understanding - those who think yes, Yes, YES!! are the ones who need to read this the most - as you are in the greatest danger - or could be if you are not careful. I am being honest about some stuff that I have hidden from others all my life - some of it is quite embarrassing - but I choose to share the humourous aspect with you all. I can't be the *only* lunatic in the world.
This is *not* an anti-Nitrous post. This is information that has only recently become available. Personally I wish our atmosphere was Oxygen and Nitrous Oxide instead of Oxygen and Nitrogen. So without further ado...
The tale begins in the dentists chair. I was 9 years old. I had never taken any drugs, and was not looking to at the time. But I had a phobia about dental work, and the new dentist told me that he would give me 'laughing gas', and it would remove my fear. So he attached the mask to my nose and told me to breathe normally. After about 20 seconds I began to feel a tingle, quite pleasant, which was getting stronger with each passing second. The dentist asked me if I could feel the gas yet - and a drug addict was born. I told him 'No, I don't feel anything', so he turned it up. By now I was really starting to feel *amazing* - it was fantastic. But it was more than just tingles and physical well being. Even though I was only 9, I started seeing patterns - in everything - a deeper connection - set of connections - a lattice that embraced reality, but which had a meaning - a message - beneath the surface - something *important*. The dentist asked me once more if I felt the gas. I told him that it was starting to take effect, but was not very strong - despite the fact that I could barely string the sentence together - as I wanted him to turn it up even more - which he did. The last thing I remember hearing was the dentist saying to the nurse, 'This one likes to fly high'.
From that moment, I knew that I had to obtain Nitrous Oxide again at some point. I had imaginings of listening to music while feeling that way and how awesome it would be (and I was right, of course). It stuck there - in my memory - unforgettable - I was 9 - and I no longer saw the universe the way that I had before.
Jump ahead 11 years. I'm 20, and I found acid about six months earlier. I'm in Amsterdam, having left South Africa to avoid military service. I'm a musician and making a living playing street music. We're on acid all the time, taking larger and larger doses each time. It's classic. I'm the messiah and I'm going to save the world by turning everyone onto LSD. I'm Ken Kesey, I'm Ram Dass, I'm Neal Cassidy driving the bus to the next Acid Test. I'm on a mission. I have found the ultimate truth, and I believe that I have the ability to express it. It's straight out of the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. I am The Merry Prankster - doing ever increasing doses of LSD because I believe that there is a reality behind this one, and I am going to evolve and become a transformed being - a metamorphosized, evolutionised, mental telepathical Guru. I even have a following. There are 5 of us - and I am the leader. I'm the fucking chosen one. This is why I am alive - this is why I exist - I am the new Messiah!@!
It's funny looking back on it now - a bit embarrassing (OK - a lot) - and I have never told *anyone* about this before - like who would admit this shit - but it's important to paint the whole picture.
But LSD is not a beast to be tamed. Oh, I *believed* that I was in control of the acid - that *I* held the reigns. I had become its master, and its servant. But I was treating it disrespectfully - and when you do that, the Acid inevitable turns around and slaps you down a peg or two. In my case it was all the way down from my lofty delusions of grandeur, to a smear on the roadside. A new acid had come out - called simply 'Mandala' (Amsterdam 1981). The dealer told me that it was not 'commercial' acid, a bit stronger. And to boot, a *half* a hit was a whole. I had been dropping between 5 and 10 at a time, and I did not assume that this half hit of new acid was going to top my multiple ingestions from the weeks before.
But I learned that day that what I had been taking was not truly LSD - but a pale shadow of what *real* LSD is. All my research - all my dosing - nothing - had prepared me for what happened. It was *phenomenal* acid - I had never seen such colours - and it warped dimensions that I did not recognise anything around me. It was too much for downtown Amsterdam, so we all jumped on a tram, laughing uncontrollably all the way home. Once home it was even stronger, having really kicked in. I made a big hashish pipe and took a huge hit of really good Afgan hash.
And then I completely lost my mind.
I had to reconstruct it all afterward, with the help of my friends. There was a huge flash - and reality had shattered - literally. It was as though everything I had been seeing was made of glass - like a mirror, and the hashish exploded the acid so hard and fast, that I suffered a psychotic break. More to the point - from one moment to the next I had total amnesia. I was with my closest friends - a girl who had come over to Europe with me who was like my sister - I had known them all for years - but I recognized no-one. And I did not know who I was - or where I was (and I don't mean which town - I mean which *Universe*). I was a total blank - wiped clean - nothing left. I realized that I was bleeding - in my throat - it had turned to glass - and shattered - blood was everywhere, and my life started slipping away - I collapsed slowly to the floor - and died.
However, a while later I appeared to be conscious. SO this was it - I was dead. This must then be the afterlife. A man walked up to me and looked at me curiously - and then said 'Are you OK?' But what I heard was 'A R E Y O U O K A Y' in a kind of deep Twilight Zone surrealism. Who *was* this person. If I was dead - perhaps he was me - a reflection of me - on the other side of the shattered mirror that was reality - so I said 'Who *are* you?' And he said to me 'You know who I am' - which I heard in a big boomy voice as 'Y O U K N O W W H O I A M!!!' The poor guy - he didn't have a clue what was going on - none of them had actually realized yet that I had quite literally lost my mind - all of it. So I deduced that if he were me - a kind of 'afterlife' version - that we would have the same mother as I - so in an attempt to confirm this I asked him 'who is your mother', to which he replied 'You know who my mother is...' which I heard as....
OK - you get the picture. I treated LSD as though it was something that I actually had control over - that I was bigger than Acid - that I was beyond a bad trip. I will end this part of the tale of this day here, but know that it took the rest of the day to reconstruct my *basic* ego - just knowing who and where I was. I still felt broken glass in my throat from where it had shattered when the 'mirror' shattered. I could no longer sing. When I tried I was overwhelmed by an abject terror, and shut down. It was weeks before I could sing again (which I needed to do to survive) - and I continued to have terrifying Flashbacks for the next 6 months.
This was the most phenomenally life-changing experience of my entire life. I was afraid - afraid to do acid - I had been so humbled - so beaten - so kicked in the teeth - any 'normal' person would have just said 'That's it! Never again!!'. But I could not do that - live in fear the rest of my life, because i had experienced this overwhelming and incomprehensible annihilation of ego. I had to face my fear. I had to get back in the driver's seat - I had to understand what had happened in order to be whole again. And there was born a true and devout Acidhead - for life (still going strong). I needed to *understand* myself - how my brain worked - and LSD was the tool that had both damaged and which would repair me.
The experience kind of put a crimp in my plan to save the world, as I realized that it was *completely* unethical to turn anyone on unless they truly desired to be turned on. It was a full year before in mid winter, Christmas time in Konstanz, Germany, that I did my next truly superb LSD - only this one was as soft as the other one had been hard - and finally - utterly high, I looked in the mirror and was no longer afraid. I finally had all of my mind back - and my fear was gone (but my respect has never faltered).
And now the long awaited return to the topic of Nitrous Oxide.
WHo would have thought - who would have guessed - that Nitrous Oxide - laughing gas - was used to make whipped cream. I found out from a young freakzoid heroin junkie in germany - that 'whippits' were Nitrous. Finally!! The 9 year old boy in me shouted in glee. I knew it. I knew I would find it again. And this time I was going to really get to know it. I remember buying the whipped cream machine, and a box of the cartriges - I remember my total excitement - my fear of disappointment - what if he was wrong? I wound in the first cartridge (neglecting of course to add the cream). I hyperventilated for a minute, breathed all the way out, and inhaled the entire contents. Within 5 to 10 seconds I recognized the feeling - my insides screamed in glee - and for the next minute my world was perfect. it was exactly as I had remembered it - only more so (I have since figured out through much experience that the reason that breathing Nitrous Oxide through a whipped cream syphon is so much stronger than from a tank is because it is *compressed* in the machine. It's like taking Methamphetamine instead of plain old Amphetamine. I also learned over time that I can load about 2 to 3 cartridges into the machine before breathing - and that the more compressed the gas, the more intense and powerful the rush).
This is my encapsulated life story, so I have to jump to pivotal moments if I am going to keep your attention. Let's just say that over the course of the next year I did *hundreds* of boxes of Nitrous - maybe a thousand. And the more I explored the Nitrous reality the more sense it made - of everything. I was starting to feel that I understood the intrinsic nature of the universe - not just in the sense of thoughts - but in perceptions - understandings. There were times - and I am sure that most of you can relate - when I felt that for a moment I *truly* understood the universe - as it *really* was - and it was *so* simple - and funny - fucking hilarious!! I would experience the moment and crack up laughing uncontrollably - because I understood the core of the essence of God - the universe - matter, gravity, light, energy, quanta.
But as we all know - the profundity of Nitrous is fleeting, and after the epiphony it fades so quickly that one can't quite remember what it was that one was thinking - and why it was so funny. This, I found to be the curse of Nitrous - to have this understanding - so plain and simple - even expressible in mere words - if I could find them - or once found, if I could not lose them. How, I wondered, can we extend this experience - make the come down slower so that it would be possible to bring back some of this universal intrinsic truth to the real world.
On a beautiful summers day of 1982, I discovered the chemical synergy that I have affectionately referred to for the last 30 years as 'GASCID' - as in Gas and Acid = Gascid. And from that moment, my life changed almost as profoundly as the day I lost my mind - because it was the day that I found my answers - all of them.
I had done some acid - not a lot - maybe half a hit. I was still very cautious, after my annihilation a year earlier, and the theory was twofold. If I did Nitrous right at the end of an acid trip - like 8 hours into it - when everything had resolved on the Acidic level, perhaps a) the Nitrous would boost the strength of the acid to give me a momentary high that was like 5 or 10 hits of *really* good acid - and b) that perhaps the acid, would help to extend the duration of the Nitrous, and give me a little more time to try and bring back some of the deeper essence of the experience.
I was extremely careful. I'd lost my mind once already, and I was not keen on a second round. My first hit was miniscule. There was a very slight shift in my perceptions. I took a little more and felt the Nitrous very vaguely, but in a way like never before - and in a good way like I had never imagined. By the time I was on the last cartridge, I took the entire thing, and I experienced for the first time in my life, the Holy Realm that is Gascid.
The world that is Gascid is a story unto itself with so many facets. I am not going to try and define any of the experiences right now - too much of a tangent. I became a student of Gascid. I had found what was - at least for me - *the* key that unlocks the doors to everything - and more importantly, it was the most exquisite experience that can be. It is heaven to me - a perfect state of being - the thing that we all at the core wish to experience - even once.
I had found the key - a gateway - a wormhole to what has for me become not so much a drug synergy as an actual *place*. I devoted my life to this 'faith' of mine - and my quest was to bring back some of these truths, and to find a way to share them with others - which I did in fact accomplish. I have kind of built an environment that almost *guarantees* arriving at this place. There is technology involved - it's all very complicated.
But this post is not about Gasid - it's about Nitrous, and the risks.
Over the next 12 years, I did Gascid about 500 times (and we're talking full blown 4 hour experiences with like 10 boxes of Nitrous each time). It is my world - my reality - my Guru - my god - and myself. I have no doubts - no hesitation - no lack of understanding - and it just got better all the time, as I learned to 'pilot' this space/time/ship that I built over the course of those 12 years.
I eventually left Europe and moved to Canada, got a new life and a new wife, and continued building and discovering. It was very hard at times. Terribly lonely. From my perspective I had found *the* answer. And what's more is I could pretty much prove it. And took a few select people on a trip around the universe. But it was *so* lonely. All I wanted to do was share what I had found. But very few people knew about Nitrous back then. I began to get adamant about finding proof - finding a way to bring back something significant enough that would *make* people take me seriously. I knew that if I told this all to a shrink that I would be labelled a schizophrenic with delusions of grandeur. But *I* knew that all a doubter had to do was come for a ride and see for himself. They would find their own truth - not mine - everyone has their own truth. All I had found was the medium in which to fairly reliably produce a very specific experience - and to be able to return and continue the thought - any time.
I was frustrated. My wife was not too supportive of this - and I wanted her on my side, so I tried even harder to find some tangible evidence that the work that I was doing was valid - telepathy - psychokenesis - some small evolutionary step that would demonstrate that what I was doing was *valid* - and that I was not just another nutter who did too many psychedelics.
This was the time that I almost completed my space/time/ship. It was an entire room, with a 'drivers seat' positioned in the middle - there were spinning wheels and stroboscopic lights - all synchronized to music - my own of course which was writted specifically to induce certain types of trance using light and sound to guide the subject on a 'solid' path. I was so *close* - but relations were getting strained with my wife, who thought that I was obsessed. She was right of course. I was. And why not? This was the most important thing in my life. It was the one thing in which I truly had unshakable faith. I *had* to find some evidence of the validity - I needed *support* on this - not criticism. I at least deserved a chance to demonstrate it to someone else - to have the years that I had invested validated by another fearless soul who was willing to walk through the gates of heaven and be embraced lovingly by the universe.
And now we start to approach the moment of truth - the point - the reason that I have written everything that came before now.
I am a scientist - not just a druggie. I don't just *take* drugs - I study them. I prepare myself, I am informed - I know the risks - I am *careful*. But this was before the Internet. The only knowledge that existed was in books - and almost no-one knew practically nothing about Nitrous. It had just slipped by - owing to the fact that it was legal - and a secret known by not a lot of people back then. According to Peter Staffords Psychedelic Encyclopedia at the time, Nitrous Oxide was a perfectly safe drug. There were two, and only two dangers. The first rule was - don't breathe directly from a tank - you can freeze your lungs. And the second rule was - don't tie a mask to your face, because if you fall unconscious, you will eventually die from lack of oxygen. That was it. Other than that - it was safe - they give it to *kids* for fuck sake.
I don't know exactly when it went from genuine psycho-scientific-spiritual research to addiction - but it was marked by the fact that I started doing Nitrous without doing acid. I know myself - I'm an obsessive raging fucking maniac when it comes to drugs. I have no brakes. So I made a deal with myself many years before (after doing way too much Nitrous for way too long and having spent a small fortune on it) that I would *only* do Nitrous if I had done acid. I tried to keep it to once a month - but not always - I kept it at least to once a week. But I was so intent on finding my 'proof' - *quickly* - that I made an exception - just once. then again. and again.
I really couldn't afford it, and I knew my wife would be pissed at me for wasting money - so I kept it to myself. After all, I was almost there. 12 years of exploration and design was finally going to come to fruition. I almost understood it all - I was so close. And the Nitrous would run out and I would go to the store and get more - and then be wracked with guilt over it. And suddenly I realized that I was addicted to Nitrous Oxide. They had said nothing about addiction in the books. But I had been doing it every day for about 6 weeks, maybe more - and had been doing it excessively before it became daily. And when it ran out I just could not cope. This was not a drug withdrawal like an opiate - this was madness incarnate. I could not *stand* being in my body - it was blindingly intense and wouldn't go away.
The next weeks are only a vague memory - with scattered images and vague recollections. I could not afford to keep taking the Nitrous - but I could not survive stopping. I wanted to call out for help - but who the fuck would I talk to. There was no Internet - very few people knew about the recreational legality of Nitrous. I felt so stupid - how do I even begin to explain to someone that I inhale the whipped cream charges - they'd probably lock me up. So I had to stretch the Nitrous I had - breathe very, very little in between, hold my breath for minutes at a time. Not breathe - as much as possible.
I was losing it. I knew that. I was starting to go crazy - even by my own standards - and those of you who have actually read this far can probably understand that I am a rather bizarre individual. I don't remember much of the last weeks. I felt like I was dying - slowly. My thoughts were scrambled - there were 'dark patches' in my consciousness. At one point I thought I might have been possessed. I had gone from what I considered to be a self-respecting scientist (of the whackiest of varieties) to a fucking loony. I was lost.
I was doing a gig on Vancouver Island, sitting on the beach doing Nitrous all day long in tiny little gasps. The first night I noticed that I had lost the feeling in the tips of my fingers on my right hand. The next day, my left hand. By he time I got home, my hands and feet were numb. Two days later my entire body had no sensation, and I had completely lost my motor control. Then I was in the hospital - and the year that followed never became cemented in memory.
People - Please pay attention - this is not a well-known fact. Not a lot of people have screwed up quite as badly as I did - and it's never been made public in a big way.
The effect of Nitrous Oxide is *cumulative*. [See Nitrous & B-Vitamin Dangers]
If I remove the mental, and psychological, and emotional horror that followed, I'll tell you that the physical sensations finally returned - as did my motor control. But the problem is that I had damaged my brain - and the signals that should have just reported to my cerebellum that I was in fact alive and moving, were mistransleted by my brain as Pain signals. In short - when my feeling returned, I was in unbearable pain - everywhere - non stop - every freaking day of my life for the last 14 years.
I nearly commited suicide so many times. Not because of depression or sadness, but because I simply could not imagine waking up every day to *this* - suffering - and *nothing* to be done about it because it is not physical as such - it's neuropathic pain - and it did not heal - and there is no treatment. I have spent 14 years wishing to god that the internet had been around just a little earlier - because once it arrived I found another person who had done what I had done - and who had suffered identical damage. I only found this *two* years after the fact.
I could describe my suffering over the last 14 years - but I hope that I have successfully illustrated my point through this post. Nitrous is *amazing*. Gascid is *everything* that I have said it is times a *million*. There was nothing wrong with my perceptions - only my obsession, and total lack of self restraint. I had my cake - and I was eating it - and I could have continued to be privvy to what I consider to be the best chemically induced experience that there is. I found heaven - and I was such a glutton that I destroyed it through my greed.
I still believe *absolutely* in Nitrous - and particularly gascid. It is simply the best. Nothing is better - not even love.
I am almost done. There are so many aspect of this story that I left out - because we're talking 15 odd years - hundreds, maybe thousands of *cases* of Nitrous (and about 750 hits of acid). All I wanted to do was share it with someone else.
I have told only a handful of people about this - and I have never told the whole story at once. If even one of you reading this, ran the risk of making my mistake - and if this post at some future point helps to prevent that eventuality from becoming a reality, then exposing myself in this way will have been worth it.
Please friends - be careful. If you ever find Heaven - take care of it.
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