To Hell and Back

By Xagan on Thursday, 12 May 2016, hits: 6513

In hindsight, I was stupid to take mushrooms. I mean, I’ve always had an ingrained fear of developing a mental illness such as schizophrenia, so it was foolish of me to even contemplate consuming mushrooms. Maybe deep down I wanted to confront my fears. I also wanted to explore my consciousness and I liked the idea of having regular adventures within my mind, aided by taking a completely natural substance that has been consumed by humans for thousands of years. It all seemed very appealing.

The first two times I took mushrooms didn’t result in the typical effects that are to be expected, such as visuals or hallucinations. The doses were relatively low to be fair, although they were home-grown mushrooms so they were probably quite strong. For me, the effects were all in my head. Wonderful flows of thoughts, incredible abstract thinking and a generally psychedelic way of viewing life and memories. They provided me with a different perspective on things. It was incredible.

The third time however was a shock that’s still rippling to this day. I wasn’t ready for it. I was alone. It was traumatizing. The dose was moderately increased and the mushrooms were from a different batch, a stronger batch, so there was probably a marked increase in strength from the previous two times I took mushrooms. Again, there were no visuals, well not from what I can remember. I honestly find it difficult trying to reminisce about the experience, because it takes me back to that point and I get flashbacks of the horror; the detachment from my sanity.

It was like having your mind ripped from apart, leaving you bear and alone in the universe, whilst also being confronted with totally random concepts and horrors. I couldn’t think. I thought I was gone forever. It felt like I would never return to normality. At one point, I was lying on the floor clutching the legs of my computer chair, trying to hold back the tears, clinging desperately, wishing the horror away. I felt totally helpless. The terror seemed to last a lifetime. For a period during the experience, I somehow managed to claw my way to look at my laptop and sought advice in a live chat room on a forum about psychedelics. It was a minor help; being consoled by experienced users of psychedelic substances. Their help was comforting, but ultimately the intensity of the experience re-emerged and I was back down clasping a blanket on the floor, hugging it and rocking back and forth like a baby. That moment will be ingrained my mind forever.

Eventually I regained a small amount of control over my thoughts, and I finally had this euphoric realization that my body was metabolizing the drug in my bloodstream. The return back to sobriety however only reached so far, and halted at a point far from normal functioning. I was confused. I didn’t understand what was happening, because six hours had passed since ingestion and I should have returned back to normality. I was far from normal. Reality seemed like it was distant from me, as if I was walking in a dream. Nothing felt real. It was like I was separated from the world by some kind of ineffable haze or veil. It was terrifying. One of the worst moments was when my parents got home because communicating with them was incomprehensibly difficult; it was like I was still mildly under the influence of mushrooms.

These symptoms lasted for a solid eight days; it was the truest psychological turmoil I ever thought humanly possible. I had to travel back to university as well during that time, go back to lectures and complete some coursework. The experience was mentally taxing, but the worst part was the fear that I would have to spend my entire life like it. At some points, my hands and parts of my body didn’t feel real or like they really existed. It’s a symptom I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Those were the worst eight days of my life.

It was quite late in the evening on a Sunday. I was cooking some food and took a momentary sit down to contemplate how I was going to get through what was happening to me. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the veil was lifted. The clarity of life returned and my senses at last felt real again. I actually cried that night. I felt so thankful it was over. I promised to live a more meaningful life and to not get het up about the small things from that moment on.

Unfortunately, the return to normality only lasted a couple of days. I was walking to university when suddenly I felt disorientated again. One of the traits of suffering with derealisation/dissociation is that you become obsessed with monitoring your perception, to feel how closely you’re connected with the world. This obsessive thinking and the intense stress I was under (I was studying for a GCSE as well as my degree) ultimately resulted in continued problems with dissociation; I’ve suffered with it on and off ever since.

Since then, I have suffered with emotional instability, severe depression, panic attacks, and anxiety on top of the dissociation. At the minute it’s the anxiety I find most difficult to live with. Getting through each day is a struggle; it’s like living with a chain around my soul. By most evenings I’m so exhausted by the mental stress that I can barely function past 9pm.

It would seem that the mushrooms were a catalyst for a deep spell of mental health issues, and I wouldn’t disagree entirely, but I don’t look upon mushrooms in a negative way at all, or any drug for that matter. I made a choice to consume mushrooms, after much research and much deliberation. I wanted to do it. I had wanted to do it for a long time. I didn’t rush into it, I was respectful and took them when I thought the time was right. I started with low doses to test the waters, and I incrementally increased the dose each time. I partook in what I believe to be the responsible use of drugs. And the result of that is that I’m now back on my feet.

Despite the slew of mental health issues that I’ve suffered with, and the fact that even at this exact point in time I am suffering with anxiety, I would say that overall I’m definitely on the up. I’ve made major lifestyle changes. I eat healthy, I exercise regularly, I do hobbies I enjoy, I don’t take any drugs and I take pride in looking after myself. All of these positive life changes have helped me to slowly get back on track and to cope with what I’m going through. I would say that although my experience has been very up and down, the bigger picture is that I’m happy, content and actively pursuing my aims in spite of my struggles. Everyday I’m coping better and better.

Dare I say it, I’m tempted to even say that in the long run, my experience with mushrooms has ended up being immensely positive, because I have finally made the changes that I always longed for and I appreciate every day of living more than ever. I strongly believe that my experience is an example that even if people are predisposed to mental health issues, that if drugs (mainly psychedelics) are approached with respect and in an educated way, then any serious or permanent ramifications can be minimized and dare I say it even strong lessons can be learnt. It’s the irresponsible and uneducated approach to drugs that leads to problems. In a world where the issues of substance use are brushed under the carpet, it’s no surprise that the majority of young people taking drugs do so in an ill-informed way, which unfortunately increases the risks involved.

I’m lucky that my life experiences and encounters led me on a path that channelled my curiosity for psychedelics into a responsible and controlled venture. I’m not advocating the use of psychedelics in any way, or any drug for that matter. I would profoundly not encourage anyone to take drugs, nor would I encourage them not to. In my opinion, it’s a personal choice and people should make their own decisions. I just believe that society desperately needs to accept that these decisions do exist and it’s best to give young people the best chance possible to avoid harm’s way. I find it a crying shame that my endeavours are rare and that the circumstances that led to my knowledge and responsible approach were fate alone and not that of the society in which I live.


-1 # Diego 2016-05-14 08:14
Sounds exactly like my experience. However, I haven't been experiencing dissociations afterwards. All my trips afterwards were beautiful again, except dmt which brought me back to the EXACTLY same state. Fortunately it lasts 5 minutes. Even though it felt like eternity at the time. I hope you'll integrate your experience and get back to good mental shape. I'm thinking of having some Xanax around. I heard that a fair dose (2g) can effectively cancel a bad acid trip, maybe it can be used as a failsafe for shrooms too.
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+1 # Trish Holland 2016-06-07 08:15
Hi Xagan,
I don't know how I came across your post or this site - I was looking for something else! But here goes - I can relate to your experience, for me it was LSD. I continued to take this for over a year with impunity, then one instance left me alenated from (everyone elses) reality. It was indeed frightening, as if a door had been left open too wide for consciousness to cope, or perhaps it was just too blody strong. I longed for normality, just to be back with usual comforting stuff. Take heart, you will not become totally disassociated, life experiences will begin to have the usual meanings and you will not have flashbacks. But there will always be something in you that is like a well-earned treasure, it sets you apart from the 'normal'.
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0 # Ben Frank 2016-07-03 09:36
People in high places saw what happened when we were taking those things upon ourselves in the '60s and '70s. All the hippies were pretty well educated from their public schools and they began to ask questions and if they didn't like the answer they'd take to the streets to march/protest. The materials and text used in public schools from that point on were more heavily 'inspected' by the corporations printing them. And so began the dumbing down of the masses. Look at 'Murrica now with all that's going on and you can see that they accomplished that aim.
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0 # exiled reaper 2016-07-11 10:52
:sad: sounds like you learnt the hard way but nothing ventured nothing gained. Yes! an educated approach is advisable as these substances can and are dangerous so harm reduction is a must. Take it easy and hopefully future travells are more forgiving and set and setting, you were obviously concerned about your dose and that didnt help with anxiety which turns to paranoia and fear. Good luck! And safe travells
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0 # marty 2016-07-15 02:55
very nice story.. i throughly enjoyed! great information for anyone considering taking the plunge.
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0 # MemeLord 2016-07-27 12:15
Wow, I feel for you man. I have had similar if not exactly the same experiences, not on shrooms but on weed (sativa) and its potency allowed me to hallucinate quite a bit. I was so drugged and my tolerance was so low that I was part of reality but I didn't remember that I existed, the scary thing was that for some reason the body did not metabolise the drug as usual and I was carried to over 6 hours of hell until I regained my sanity. I thought I didn't exist and that hazy feeling you get unlike when you drink a lot of alchool is completely different. I must have smoked about two joints bymyself and nearly got a heart attack. I was on the floor ready to die and confused about this experience. It started gradually and I was having a blast, then the peak moment of processing came in and I saw this little green alien (the toy alien from toy story) say to me in a squeaky voice, he said something in the lines of the receptors of our brain are the same so when one person is experiencing...
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0 # MemeLord 2016-07-27 12:23
PART 2 : HTC FOR EXAMPLE, THE CORRESPONDING person can experience what they are seeing, weird enough straightaway I saw a vision of this teen laughing with his friends whilst extremely high on weed, it made sense since I was familiar with the theory of microtubles (cells and receptors have them) and their ability to exist inside the quantum world, effectively connecting us all :eek:

Regardless thats when I had a breakdown, my hear was beating from the chest, I saw my veins as big as a pencil each, the blood rate dropped and I went inside a frenzy state laying on the ground in the middle of the street, I was all alone and traumatised, I will never ever forget the experience as I have been trough a lot, but drug induced fear is hands down one of the worst experiences, it puts you off from doing it again, and I would say for good reasons lol. :oops:
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0 # MemeLord 2016-07-27 12:26

My recommendation to you is to not see psychedelics a something that is sensation driven. I understand the effects can be cool but what is cooler is your capacity to learn, not to disillusion yourself from reality, even mainstream society, but to use it as a tool of higher knowledge if it works out for you. A lot of young men and women with corrupt minds in this age take the substance and expect instantaneous bliss from it. It could go either way but you have to be ready and conquer virtually all of your fears. Most of us have incredibble receptors that date back thousands of years. Yes it is in the receptors, we can learn and understand a new and better world I believe, the modern one with all of its hyper-consumeri sm and (high and higher standard of living) is not the right way I believe and a cultural shift is what is needed, people go to such troubles to cure their illness, trough war and ravaging the earth for meaningless identity...
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0 # MemeLord 2016-07-27 12:28
when you can just as easily find everything you need by explaining you consciousness and finding like-minded people who are willing to experience and transform on this journey. I am not religious at all but I think its relevant, a man once told me: god works trough humans and so does the devil, there is not one existential force that can move a simple tissue, the interaction and influences comes from us. All the suffering and joy is ours too. Life is not absolute and there will always be both but trying to making a valid point. If this is not for you it will not improve trough experiences, try and find the best bits of it as a tool to help you learn and process things and forget the rest of your fear based experiences. Peace :)
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0 # DannyBoy 2016-07-27 12:40
Disillusionment and disconnectednes s in the most common of traits with drugs like psychedelic, I had so many friends telling me that they do not know if they have come back from their trip.You loose yourself and your innocence, its a hard thing to deal with if you are not careful. I have gradually gotten back my regular consciousness and have learnt plenty, You will be fine. I guarantee that over time, sadlly a few years you will very slowly regain normality. Sometimes I stare at my childhood photo, nothing creepy, Just to remind my self how I was and how I was thinking, I had a smile on my face and knew my future plans, I dont want to disappoint little me and all of the things we did to get to where I am, so this helps me ground myself and I connect myself more and more to this industrial and money based world :( and try to regain my innocence once again. I have doubts about letting go but for me this works and I am here to tell you then whatever you want will come trough TIME
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0 # Petey 2016-08-15 19:25
You seem to be a very intelligent young person. You certainly learned quite a bit of the lingo and no doubt read tons of experience reports to get an idea of what to expect. And I'm glad that it has been an overall positive experience for you. And I'm not trying to knock you in any way by telling you this - but I don't think you had the "psychedelic experience" that you think you did. So, as steeped in academia as you are, I hope you won't mind a friendly critique, which follows:
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0 # Petey 2016-08-15 19:52
What would give you that idea?

How do you know? Did the kid that sold them to you tell you that? You don't state your dosage, but from your description I'm going to guess either a classmate sold you some mushrooms from the grocery store or you ingested 1 gram or less of some run-of-the-mill average strength magic mushrooms. That would account for the lack of hallucinations. It would also account for the troubled mental state.
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+1 # Petey 2016-08-15 19:53
I would suggest reading "The LSD Handbook". Its a manual for psychiatrists doing LSD research, written in the 1950's, I believe. In this manual there is a passage warning against giving too low of a dose. To paraphrase, it says that if the dose is too low to trigger ego loss, the ego (and all the neurosis that goes with it) will actually fight to "stay alive" and strengthen itself (and the neurosis) in the process. In my own experience I find this to be true, and is something that could be at play in your case. Not to mention you seem to have taken the drugs while at home, alone, with your parents pending arrival looming in your mind. Set and setting do have a tremendous effect on the trip, especially in the beginning.
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0 # Petey 2016-08-15 19:54

It is perfectly normal to experience these types of feelings from time to time, everybody does, especially in your teenage years. The fact that you didn't suffer from these things before the mushrooms
makes you quite the curiosity. You make it sound as if being human is a mental illness.

I suspect this couldn't be any more true. If you do decide to try psychedelics again, go with a bigger dose, with a few friends, somewhere where you won't have to worry about interruptions from parents and the like, and just go with it. Good luck. Peace.
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0 # Dee 2016-10-01 18:23
I suggest you get involved with your nearest Buddhist or Advaita group and allow them to help you put your experiences into a context that you'll be able to understand.
What you're describing sounds like experiences that happen during spirit quests, however the person doing the quest is ready for it and has gone through steps preceding it; meaning that the experiences become a '''natural'' next step in sequence.
It sounds like you jumped a bunch of steps and are having trouble figuring out what to do with (or to figure out) the overload?
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0 # In addition 2016-10-01 18:24
Also, a natural herb called Bahmi Leaf powder (Bacopa Monnieri) which can be bought at a health store, can dramatically balance anxiety.
Take 1/16th tsp daily in a gelcap or on a spoon followed by water as a chaser.
It has a relaxing and balancing effect on the nervous system.
If you find it too relaxing (if your anxiety isn't too out of balance) it is usually paired with a stimulant like Ashwaganda, which is another herb from a health store. Ashwaganda acts as an adrenal support and should be taken in the morning, monitor to ensure it's not too much of a stimulant, but for your level of anxiety omit the Ashwaganda for now.
Monitoring yourself daily will determine how often to take Bacopa Monnieri (bahmi leaf powder) and there is no side effects other than perhaps too much relaxation as an indicator that it's working to balance your system and the dosage needs to be changed.
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