Citation: TPTB. "No Boundaries: An Experience with Ibogaine (ID 88298)". Erowid.org. Nov 19, 2010. erowid.org/exp/88298
I was reminded of ibogaine by my cousin who had recently opened an ibogaine clinic in Mexico, where it's legal. I had read about it fifteen years earlier, but I was only familiar with the addiction interruption properties of ibogaine, not its psychotherapeutic qualities. I was suffering from severe depression at the time. I had been through a very rough year. I was depressed to the point that I hadn't eaten for four days.
My cousin was encouraging me to fly to his clinic in Mexico to receive an ibogaine treatment. I expressed some concerns about that. Primarily, I was hesitant to take a hallucinogenic drug during a time when I was so mentally and emotionally unstable. I would never have even considered taking psilocybin or LSD in that state of mind, even when I used to experiment with those things. My cousin assured me that the best time to take ibogaine is when you are at your wit's end. He explained that you didn't have to be “cleansed” to take ibogaine, because the “Root” (as he called it, being that it comes from the root of the iboga plant) takes you to that state. He also assured me that after the iboga treatment, I would be fearless of change, and I would have no more addictions (I was addicted to nicotine, and I had been having some problems with alcohol). I decided to do it. So, I researched ibogaine as much as I could. I read everything available online and watched all the relevant videos. It would turn out that none of this information gave me the slightest clue about what I was going to experience, which is one reason why I'm writing this narrative.
I arrived in Mexico on a Saturday and was at my cousin's house by around 2:00 PM. Following his instructions, I hadn't eaten for the entire day, which wasn't difficult for me being that I didn't have much of an appetite anyway. After reviewing my EKG report to make sure I had no heart problems, he immediately gave me a “test” dose of ibogaine that was the equivalent of 5 mg per kg of body weight.
I felt the onset of the medicine within 30 minutes. My cousin said it usually took longer. He said it was a good sign that I was sensitive to it, and that my body seemed ready for it. It felt like the onset of a strong psilocybin mushroom trip, of which I am extremely wary due to some very frightening past experiences with psilocybin. I began to feel some extreme anxiety thinking I was about to go into a major trip. My cousin speculated that I might have some form of PTSD from a bad trip I'd had in the past, and we discussed how ibogaine is also used to treat PTSD. He then told me that the anxiety typically diminishes when one enters the dream state. He gave me two more capsules which I swallowed with grim determination. This brought the amount of ibogaine I'd ingested to 18 mg per kg of body weight.
Within twenty minutes I began to strongly feel the onset of ataxia, but I didn't feel nauseous at all. I suspect that people who tend to get seasick may get nauseous from ibogaine, but I don't get motion sickness. My cousin keeps a supply of Dramamine on hand for that purpose. I was also seeing very vivid shadowy trails laced with rainbow colors that followed any movement I observed. I decided to go into the bedroom and lie down. My cousin informed me that in a few minutes I would not be able to walk, and I would be incapacitated for about 12 hours.
Ibogaine must be experienced with one's eyes closed. I stayed on the bed with a blindfold on, and my anxiety kept building. Eventually, in the space-like blackness of my eye lids, I saw something floating above me. It resembled an afghan-like blanket with a jellyfish-like texture. It seemed to be sentient. It made a deep calm purring noise and slowly descended upon me and blanketed me. At this moment, most of my anxiety melted away. Then, it happened again, and the rest of my anxiety was completely gone. I felt as if the iboga was preparing me for what was to come, and for the rest of the experience I was convinced that the iboga was sentient, and that it had consciousness and an agenda. I still believe that today.
I then began to see other things. (From this point forward, everything I'm going to describe was animated...or in an animated world. It was like Pixar animation, for instance, but it was iboga animation. The iboga had its own unique style of animation. So, when I talk about seeing family members, cities etc., I wasn't seeing them like they would be in our typical reality. Instead, I was seeing animated versions of these things... representations... very amazing representations). I first began to see faces coming out of the blackness. They would drift toward me. I was looking them directly in the eye, and they were looking directly into my eyes. They tended to be male with white skin and they always had bulges coming out of their foreheads. As they drifted close to me they would disintegrate into nothing just as they got right beside my head. I kept expecting it to be gruesome when they disintegrated, but it never was. Then I began to see strange animated animals. They were all very puffy and had short stubby legs with large rounded bodies. I remember thinking that they could never walk with legs like that. They would drift past my head and also disintegrate. Then, in the distance, I saw a little blonde girl in a brightly colored canal boat. She was paddling toward me through space with a big red lollipop. As she rowed past my head she didn't disintegrate. She very clearly said, “Hello!”, and rowed on by. I can't stress enough how incredibly vivid this all was.
During this part of the experience, I had the distinct impression that the world I was in, and all the beings in it, already existed. It was as if I had dropped into this place with the assistance of iboga, and they were all interested in me, thinking, “Who's this new guy?” It seemed they were all coming over to check me out, as if I was providing some sort of entertainment for them. Then, something very significant happened. A black female baby in a diaper began to gently descend toward me from above. She was descending head first, and was holding her hand out in front of her with a red pill in it. She was moving like someone moves through water. She came down and gently put the pill in my mouth, then retracted slowly back up into the space above. This was important for me because it seemed symbolic of the gift that the iboga was giving to me. It filled me with hope and wonder. It felt like a deliberate message. My cousin entered the room, and I told him a black baby had just given me what I needed.
The faces and the animals went on for about an hour or so, and then a black female who resembled a preying mantis came down from above and settled about what I perceived to be 50 ft in front of me. In a very insectile-like voice filled with echo and reverb she said to me, “STAAAAAYYYY CLEEEAAANNNN!” Later she appeared again and said “DRIVE SLOOOOWWWW!”. I took this to mean that I should take it easier. In the past I've had many people comment on my nervousness and stress as I would always be demonstrating my anxiety by pacing around.
At this point, the intensity increased. I was being hurled through space making very fast and sharp turns. As this was occurring, I was seeing the most amazing fluctuating mosaic-like psychedelic patterns that were coming and going very rapidly. I was saying to myself, “Hold on, here we go!” Then, through space I saw a floating city down to my left in front of me. I was zoomed down to it, and I landed in a kind of park. The next thing I knew I was running through the city with a group of animated people. I was also animated. In the lead was a girl in her twenties who kept cheerfully motioning for me to keep up with her as she ran. I followed her for a while until we reached a space-aged car, and we jumped into it. Then my perspective suddenly changed to an aerial view of the car that I was in. I was about 1000 ft above it. This is where the strong auditory part of the experience began. There was a loud buzzing noise that morphed into the sound of a futuristic engine as the car began whizzing along a kind of futuristic roller coaster track. Then my perspective changed again to a point of view from inside the car. We began zooming around the city on this track. It was like a roller coaster ride that no human could ever dream up. We were defying the laws of physics as we took those curves at such ungodly speeds. But it was so smooth and sure of itself. It was a humbling but extremely fun experience. It stands out as one of the most significant parts of the trip.
When I got out of the car, I was back in the park again. There were many animated people all around me doing what seemed to be the most random and insignificant things. Most of the actions were all part of a constant sequence of events. It was like a vignette of nonsensical occurrences. Here is an example of a one or two minute segment of this: Two of the people were trying to walk in opposite directions and they bumped into each other and kept trying to walk but they kept stopping each other, then another person came from behind and bopped one of them on the head, and he went completely into the ground, and a tree grew in his place as another person chopped the tree down with one stroke of an ax, and as the tree fell it turned into small animals which scurried away while one animal got caught under the foot of another person who slipped and fell into a bucket being carried by another person who caught a bird by the feet and threw it at me but it turned into a ball which I dodged, etc. This went on for a long time. During this experience, I got the impression that the iboga was making fun of me in a way. It was as if the iboga was saying, “You thought you were going to have all these revelations and see these significant life changing visions, but I've got a surprise for you. I'm going to show you that you actually don't have the slightest clue what's going on, but I know what you need, and I'm going to do it my way with no boundaries, not the way you expect.” At certain points during this portion of the experience, an old “salty dog” type man with a short white beard and mustache would appear about ten meters away from me. He was always very angry with me, and he would be pointing his finger at me and “bitching me out”. I couldn't understand what he was saying. He was going “RUH RUH RUH RUH RUH” very rapidly, but I knew he was scolding me. It was actually quite comical.
There was an uncomfortable aspect to this part of the experience. As I was watching these things occurring, I would get a thought like, 'Gosh, I hope I don't see my family members get murdered', or something like that. Of course, on a trip like this, if you think it, it's probably going to get you. So, I would see it begin. Animated versions of my kids or other family members would come into play (because I “thought” them into it), and I would quickly pull the blindfold off for a few seconds, which would completely alter the parameters of the trip. Then I would put the blindfold back on. I never saw anything disturbing.
When I took the blindfold off I saw some interesting things in the room. There were seaweed-like branches extending horizontally from the wall to my left that stretched to the middle of the room. They were there for the entire ten or twelve hours of the experience every time I removed the blindfold. Also, there was a large intricate looking African mask beside the window across from me. It was there so consistently throughout the night that I truly thought it was a fixture in the room. I didn't realize it was a hallucination until the following day when it wasn't there anymore. This is very different from other hallucinogens because with psilocybin or LSD things would constantly be morphing and pulsing. There would not be fixed hallucinations that remained for 10 or 12 hours. Whenever I removed the blindfold, I would also always observe a circle about 20 ft in diameter made of shadow sparsely laced with rainbow colors similar to the movement trails I'd been seeing. The circle was turning end over end around my body as if I was in the center of it. It would go across my field of vision from top to bottom approximately 2 or 3 times per second. It was annoyingly repetitive, and I could see why the iboga is best experienced with one's eyes closed. I should also note here that throughout the entire experience I was able to dictate to my cousin, in real time, everything I was experiencing at any time. Never was I “out of it” in the way that I couldn't clearly express myself, hence the fact that I can remember so much about the experience.
For approximately 10 hours I couldn't walk. Whenever I had to urinate I would call for my cousin who was always just outside the door. He would help me get up on my knees on the bed and hold me steady there while I urinated inside a pot.
Eventually, the trip went into another phase. I was looking at the city from an aerial view that varied from 10 to 40 ft at different times. I was being zoomed around the city seeing various things. At one point, I saw my wife's family standing on one side of a canal and my family standing on the other side. My wife's family jumped over the water, embraced my family, and they began dancing around in a circle performing a song with an amazing orchestral sound singing, “We're a happy family!” It was remarkable. This reflected a deep concern of mine being that my wife had recently forbidden my children from seeing my side of the family ever again, which was one of the reasons we had separated.
During this period, something slightly disturbing and uncomfortable happened. I heard my mother talking into my right ear just as plain as day like she was two inches from my head. But I had the impression that she didn't know she was there, as if I was listening in on her conversation. I couldn't understand what she was saying because it was extremely rapid gibberish. I found myself wincing and turning my head to try to make it go away. It finally went away, but then the same thing happened with my brother's voice, but in my other ear. After that stopped, it didn't happen again.
A very pleasant and significant part of the experience occurred here. Even though I still had the blindfold on, I could envision the room that I was in. At the far wall across from me, on the left side of a very large window, was the side of a jungle-covered mountain sloping downward from left to right. From within the trees were beautiful layers of metallic blue light as if the light was from metallic blue fires beneath the trees. African tribesmen were inside those trees. I could hear their incredible drumming, and they were performing a celebration of iboga. They were drumming and chanting a beautiful melody, singing, “Ibogaaaaaa, ibogaaaaa!” I enjoyed it immensely, and it seemed as if they were completely aware of me, and they were performing for my benefit.
At this moment, with the blindfold still on, I turned to my left, and there was a heavyset African woman with African garb standing beside my bed. She was not animated. She seemed real. She was smiling and swaying to the rhythm. When I looked at her she looked at me, and we were able to communicate telepathically. I asked if she was really there. With a big comforting smile she said yes, she was there with me. While doing my research before the experience, I had read of many people on ibogaine being visited by the “Spirit of Iboga”, who typically comes in the form of an African person. I assumed that was her. Nodding in an understanding way, with that big smile on her face, she indicated that the drumming/chanting/iboga celebration was being done for me, and she motioned for me to continue paying attention to it, which I did. So did she.
Then, I was again back at the city observing it from an aerial view, but I was being whizzed around in geometric patterns of about 10 to 20 segments, and it would stop and let me observe a two-second scene which seemed insignificant. Then I would be whizzed through another pattern and stop for two seconds on another scene. The segments of the geometric patterns were also occurrences that made up a sequence of linked events that led to each scene. The scenes consisted of things that seemed meaningless to me. For instance, there would be someone I didn't know putting something on a table, or another person crawling up a flight of three stairs, or someone lifting something. It went through hundreds of these scenes, but there were ten or fifteen of them that kept repeating themselves every so often. And the frequency of the repeats increased as the experience progressed. That is, the number of non-repeated scenes in between the repeated ones kept decreasing. Eventually, the repeated scenes started to bother me. And the more they repeated, the more revolting they seemed. I did not want to see them. As I kept seeing them, I found myself wincing and groaning. It was very uncomfortable, but I couldn't figure out why. I began to try to use my mind to interrupt the sequence of events that led to each repeated scene. I would try to envision different things to “fool” the process. I would keep thinking I succeeded, and then the repeated scene would inevitably appear. I was increasingly revolted each time. This went on for about four hours. The following day I realized that that was the iboga's strange way of forcing me to break my patterns of behavior.
Eventually, I popped out of the dream state faster than I had gone into it. I was completely famished. My hunger was back full force. I lay there for a while reflecting on the experience. It was about five o'clock in the morning. I finally got out of bed and stumbled through the door. My cousin was dozing on the couch. I asked him if I could have something to eat. He said I was only fourteen hours into it, and I should have some download/reflection time first as the food could interrupt the process. I went back to bed and reflected for what seemed like an eternity. My cousin eventually came in with a plate of sliced mango and banana. It was the best meal I had ever eaten in my entire life. Eventually I stumbled out of bed again and was up for the day. My cousin commented that most people stay in bed for the entire following day. There was no way I was doing that. Throughout the day I started to feel gradually down and miserable. My cousin warned me that it was very common for the day after an ibogaine trip to be a down and depressing day, and that I would resurrect on the third day. I was constantly questioning myself and thinking that the ibogaine didn't do for me what I'd expected it to do. It had been my last hope, and it seemed to have been a failure. I cried with hopelessness that night before I went to sleep.
The next morning when I woke up, I immediately knew that I wasn't addicted to nicotine. I felt like I had never smoked a cigarette in my life. I was truly in a pre-addiction state. What a gift that was. Such freedom! I got out of bed with a huge smile on my face and began to get dressed. When I looked around, I realized that for the first time since I could remember, I was truly happy inside my own mind. All of the chatter and worry that had constantly dominated my mind were completely gone. I was more focused than I had ever been in my life. I felt like a Zen master, even though I didn't really know what that was supposed to feel like. When I looked to the future, I saw opportunity instead of despair. I had a very strong feeling that everything was going to work out no matter what. When I looked to my past self before the ibogaine, I seemed like a total stranger to myself. I realized that I had been killing myself with negativity. I could only think, 'What was I thinking? Who was I?” I could see what a slave to addiction I had been. I felt as if layers upon layers of chaos that had accumulated in my mind over the years had been removed, and what remained was a tranquil feeling of the true “me” that had been buried for so long. I could tell this was a deep and fundamental change that wasn't going away any time soon.
Another amazing thing was that I was there for six days, but it seemed like I was there for a month. I kept checking myself and counting days to make sure I hadn't missed my flight. It seemed that since my mind was so clear, and I was now living so much more in the “now”, that I was noticing so much more throughout the day. This made my perception of a day seem four times longer than it used to. Even now, a month later, a week seems like a month. It seems like an eternity since I left Mexico.
Throughout the following few days, every time I physically exerted myself, I could so clearly and physically feel the natural high of endorphins. It was the most wonderful feeling. My cousin informed me that the way to keep the positivity of the ibogaine going long into the future was to begin to create new positive patterns of behavior. I had a clean slate, but a year down the road I would inevitably have new behavior patterns, so it was my responsibility to make sure they were good ones. I immediately began a daily exercise regimen that has continued to this day in order to keep a good supply of endorphins in my body. The ibogaine also changed my eating habits. I no longer crave sugary or fatty foods, nor do I crave as much food per meal as I used to. The ibogaine also got me off caffeine, but I didn't necessarily want to get off it. I decided to drink a small cup of coffee in the morning, about a quarter of what I used to drink. Even without any sugar it tasted sweet. It's only been a month since my experience, and I'm already seeing significant positive changes in my weight and in my physique.
When I went back to work, of course I didn't tell anyone what I had done. But many people told me that I looked younger. One co-worker said I looked as if nothing bothered me anymore. He actually observed this. Ibogaine didn't take away my problems, but it gave me the ability to deal with them in a positive way. Because of the ibogaine, I am now addiction-free, and I'm a much healthier and happier person. I can safely say that ibogaine is the most important thing that has ever happened to me. One might ask, “More important than the birth of your children?” I would say yes because, before ibogaine, I was not myself. I was not able to be the father that I can be today. I was not able to be the role model for my children that I can be today. I recently moved out of my house, and I did it with a positive attitude. I saw it as an opportunity. I'm currently going through a divorce with my wife, and I'm having some financial problems. But, I'm happier and more sure of myself than I've ever been. Ibogaine changed my life.
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