Citation: Psyduck. "Crash and Psychosis: An Experience with MDMA & Cannabis (exp100142)". Erowid.org. Feb 15, 2023. erowid.org/exp/100142
Post-MDMA Crash and Psychosis
[NOTICE: This is a long story, so I have divided my experience in 3 PARTS. The first paragraphs are an introduction and summary]
It all happened ten months ago but I still remember my experience very vividly. Still, I have had to do a lot of remembering, aiding myself with messages from those days that I sent or received on my phone, on social media or via e-mails in order to put in order what happened.
In summary, I took MDMA twice in a 3-week period, having very difficult comedowns or so-called crashes 2 days after consumption. The second time I took MDMA I ended up having what a psychiatrist would eventually call a “brief psychotic episode” and got sent to a psychiatric ward where I remained for 2 weeks. Although I think I have recovered since then, it took me a few months to come back to normality.
Although I think I have recovered since then, it took me a few months to come back to normality.
For around 3 months after my experience I was very slow in my day-to-day interactions, especially when interacting with people; I could not read or otherwise concentrate; and I was in a state of anhedonia, meaning I was unable to enjoy anything I did, from physical activity, to socializing or even watching TV. I should warn readers that although the psychiatrists that have treated me since do believe the consumption of MDMA might have been a catalyst of the psychotic episode I had, it was NOT THE CAUSE. The actual cause for what happened to me is so far unknown.
Before going into the story itself, let me tell you a bit about myself. At the time I was a law graduate student in Europe. More specifically, I was studying in the absolutely awesome city of Barcelona, a perfect place to do drugs with its Gaudi architecture, the ever-present beach and the never-ending nightlife; I also was living with one of my best friends from college and must say was really having a good time overall. I had smoked weed for a few years (starting on college) and had started smoking heavily, almost every week, for around a year. I had taken mushrooms a couple times (always in Amsterdam) and that was my whole experience with drugs thus far, so I was not someone really experienced with them.
The first time I took MDMA was in the form of tiny crystals which unless looked at carefully would just look like white powder. The way of consumption was oral. I went to an electronic music festival with a bunch of friends, including 2 very close friends who I will call Beavis and Butthead (who I lived with). I had gone to college with both of them and thus knew them for years already.
In the group going to the aforementioned music festival there were some people who had done MDMA before, but Beavis, Butthead and I had not, and we were very excited about it. In fact, I think I went to the music festival only so that I would get to take some MDMA.
I do not know exactly how much I took, the friend who got the MDMA for everybody gave us individual little plastic bags with an amount sufficient for each. From reading in several websites and from reviewing other experiences I think it is safe to assume I took something around 100 mg. – 150 mg., which seems to be the average amount for one person (taking into consideration none of us were heavy users who needed larger doses).
Beavis, Butthead and me met outside the festival and waited for another friend, I will call him Fox, who incidentally was the only one not doing MDMA in the group that night. We got in, found the rest of the group, got our MDMA crystals and went ahead with it. This was around midnight. All 3 of us (Beavis, Butthead and me) took it slowly and only in small bits at a time.
I probably did not even take a quarter of my portion for an hour while waiting for it to kick in before taking in more. I was being as cautious as possible as I had never tried anything like it before. Around an hour later I was getting tired of waiting for the MDMA to kick in. I had felt a little burst of energy and felt very positive too, but that was probably because of being with good friends, the music and the setting in general. I am certain I was not feeling the effects of the MDMA yet.
By that time Beavis had gotten lost, no one knew where he had gone. Butthead on the other hand was right next to me and I got to see him as the MDMA kicked in for him. He seemed to enjoy it from what I saw, although he later told me the beginning was not that positive as he felt like if he was “melting”. I did not notice he was not feeling that good, but when he asked me to go outside with him I immediately agreed. This was around 1 am. After a while outside we came back in and went to get water in a quieter area so that he could relax. By then I had already noticed I had taken so little of my MDMA portion (around a quarter of what I had) that it was as if I had taken none, so I went for a bit more, Butthead also prompted me to take more, telling me he wanted me to feel the way he felt as it supposedly felt amazing.
I had smoked weed for the first time with Butthead and I had also taken mushrooms for the first time with him so he was not only a close friend but someone I trusted on drugs and definitely did not want to miss our first time rolling, so I went ahead and finished my portion and even had the rest of his, as he seemed to be rolling pretty hard already and offered me what was left of his portion.
I am not sure there was a precise moment when I felt the MDMA kick in, but a little while later I was feeling as happy as I had never before (probably in my whole life) and enjoying the electronic music (which was never of my liking before this!) a whole freaking lot.
I realized how much the drug had affected me when we found Beavis again. I was so happy to see him I jumped and hugged him as soon as I saw him again. The MDMA had definitely kicked in and I was feeling very close to my friends, simple contact like putting a hand on a friend’s shoulder felt really good, like if there was a special connection with said friend. The feelings I got are hard to describe, perhaps it is a mix of openness and trust. Everything seems to be fine with the world, especially because of the people around you. I have only taken MDMA twice but from what I felt I am sure the drug is a social one that is enjoyed the most when surrounded by good friends (which now that I think about it is likely to be true for most drugs, including legal ones like alcohol).
Anyways, back to my story. I had been a bit worried about Beavis since he was missing for quite some time and it also was his first time rolling, but he was fine, he had been walking around, talking to people, completely happy and oblivious to the fact that his pupils were almost as big as his eyes.
Now is a good time to mention I had been smoking a lot of weed up to this point, both before and after the MDMA had kicked in.
I had been smoking a lot of weed up to this point, both before and after the MDMA had kicked in.
At first I wanted to feel the effects of MDMA without mixing it with other drugs, especially alcohol because from what I had read, the mix of alcohol and MDMA can be dangerous.
However, as time passed I got tired of waiting for the MDMA effects and accepted several joints which people in my group were passing around (I cannot give a precise quantity but trust me, I was as high as a kite). At some point after smoking a lot and feeling great I started feeling dizzy out of nowhere, I got a strong urge to go outside and be away from people but I knew it would be better to have some company so I asked Butthead to go out with me for a while. This was around 2 or 3 am.
As we walked outside the dizziness I felt turned into something worse. I am not sure how to describe it. I did not feel sad, but worse. I felt miserable for no reason and paranoid, for no reason too. I suddenly wanted to be away from everyone. As soon as we got out my mind was overwhelmed with memories of an ex-girlfriend, making me feel sad about not being with her anymore. It was really out of nowhere since I had not thought of her in maybe over a year, and had broken up with her 2 years before. Bad feelings flooded my mind, like if they were being injected into me. By this point I was barely able to walk, so Butthead and I sat down by a wall outside the area were the rest of our group was.
Butthead asked me what was wrong with me and all I could tell him was that I did not want to remind myself of it by saying it aloud. I could not tell him why I was feeling bad for 3 reasons. First, because it felt like saying it would make me feel worse. Second, because I thought it was ridiculous and embarrassing that I felt like that over something that old. Third, because I was feeling so confused and dizzy that it was hard for me to talk. As I looked into Butthead I noticed his face was blurry, like if I was in a dream. His eyes were especially blurry, and his face looked like a face from an expressionist painting (think of Edvard Munch’s The Scream).
I remember being very paranoid of people I did not know while being in this state. A random guy sat next to Butthead and me while we were outside and told us he had lost his friends. In hindsight, he was very friendly, but at the moment I thought he wanted to harm us, I did not know if he wanted to rob us or if he would be violent, but I just felt uneasy about him so I ignored him until he left.
After spending some time outside I finally calmed down and was able to go back inside, where Beavis, Fox and the rest of the people in our group were. I had some minor paranoid moments (some related to the same ex-gf) but in general the rest of the night was awesome; happiness and thankfulness for being with such good friends being what I mainly felt throughout the night. My friend Fox got everyone non-alcoholic drinks later in the night, which was a great idea as dehydration and overheating are common side effects of MDMA. A particularly interesting fact is that I danced to the music like I never had before, especially because it was electronic music, which had not been of my liking before and since that experience has become one of my favourites. MDMA, not only for me but also for my friends, seems to wither away inhibitions.
Around 7 am everyone in our group headed out of the place where the music festival was and went to hang out somewhere nearby. I, on the other hand, had to go back home to finish an assignment for my masters that was due that very day at noon. I managed to finish it even while still feeling the residual happiness and energy (the so-called afterglow) from the MDMA. Also, I was sweating like a pig throughout the whole morning; another side effect from taking MD.
After sleeping a few hours, I woke up feeling somewhat depressed. The best way of describing it is: I felt like if I could never be happy again. A particularly frightening thing happened exactly 2 days after consumption. I woke up crying and trembling. I had had a nightmare that affected me so much that I woke up feeling miserable and like if still within the nightmare. I was having trouble breathing and could not control the tremors or the crying; I guess panic/anxiety attacks feel that way. Seeing I was in such a pitiful state it took me no time to go knock on Butthead’s door (who lived with me), but he was not there. I tried knocking on my other flatmate’s door, I will call him James; he also was not there. Since I was alone I went into the bathroom and tried washing my face, but I was still shaking and crying too much to be very effective at it. Worse than anything was the …uh… lightning I was seeing. I call them lightnings because that is what they looked like, although they were not outside a window or even inside the room, they were inside my head. I would constantly see, since waking up, blinding white-bluish light that would cover all of my eyesight, just like if there were lightning going on inside my head; although at least there was no thunder that I recall. This all lasted around 5 to 10 minutes, but it seemed an eternity to me. Once it was over, although I remained shocked for days, I had no more of the described symptoms (lightning, crying, etc).
The dream (or nightmare to be more precise) that triggered such an awakening is probable irrelevant for the purpose of this story. But in case anyone is curious I will shortly tell it. In my dream, I am inside a house and an ex-girlfriend is there too. Some things happen and then I decide to approach my ex and tell her something, I do not know what. I try talking to her, even scream, but it is useless, no sound comes out of my mouth, which is very distressing. After a while Butthead appears in the house, he grabs me by an arm and pulls me away from my ex first and then out of the house, he forces me to leave it all.
During the next days I talked to several friends seeking their help and advice about my depression, including close friends back home, and stayed busy with my masters. I still had classes to attend, so overall I had support and my mind busy with other things so as to not think about my depression all the time. Around a week later I was feeling completely normal again.
The second time I took MDMA I was also with Beavis and Butthead, it happened 2 weeks after the first time I tried it. Although this time only Beavis and me took it, while Butthead was busy with his girlfriend first and then left early. The night started at a small party by the beach. We were only having beers but Beavis and I decided to look for MDMA from random people at the party as we decided that it would be a good idea to repeat the experience while on a beach party.
Eventually, we found two guys who offered us a small plastic bag with MDMA inside it. I tasted it and the taste was the same distinct taste from last time, an ugly taste of a strong, sour, clearly man-made thing. I do not know if I am describing it right, but the taste is very unique so I immediately recognized it as MDMA. We bought a small plastic bag which we were assured was enough for both (the amount is hard to estimate, but since we both got the high I would say something between 200 mg. and 300 mg.) and started taking it, slowly, just as during the first time. This was around 2 am.
The party by the beach ended early (at 3 am) and the MDMA had still not kicked in, so Butthead (his girlfriend had left), Beavis and me were walking back from the beach, taking the MD (only Beavis and me) and deciding what to do next. At some point Butthead decided to go back home. He had not taken any MDMA and clearly was not in the same mood as Beavis and me. At the end, Beavis and I decided to go to the not-so-cool but free clubs by another nearby beach.
The clubs were nothing special and the partying itself was also kinda lame, but the MDMA had already kicked in and Beavis and I felt really good. We stayed partying until the morning (6 am) when the clubs closed down and we decided to go walk by the beach and talk to girls, preferably good-looking tourists that were most of the time, although not necessarily, drunk.
We encountered some girls that were on vacation in our city and spent some time with them, which was a lot of fun in the state we were. MDMA seemed to make Beavis the most social and friendly person in the world and I just enjoyed his company and free-rode on his social skills to talk to the girls. Despite this and other encounters the morning was mostly just the two of us walking aimlessly in the beach talking about the most random things, including how our pupils were incredibly dilated. I seriously do not think I have ever felt so close to a friend, family member or anyone as I felt to Beavis that morning. He was my brother and we were having the time of our lives, everything seemed to be fine with the world.
We walked for hours by the beach and then wandered into the city and went up into a nearby hill (called Montjuic) from where we had an awesome view of the beach and the city. At this point I thought I saw Beavis have a small comedown. He looked as if he was crying or about to cry for a very short time and when I asked him what was going on he simply evaded my questions. I knew something bothered him, but I assumed it was not that important. I felt so close to him that the idea that he would not share with me whatever was bothering him seemed ridiculous and I forgot all about it a few minutes later.
Around 2 pm we were already very tired from having walked all those hours, all the way up and down from the hill and then into a park, so we said goodbye and each went to his home to try to sleep (although it is hard to sleep after taking MDMA, I only managed to sleep a couple hours).
The next two days I still felt pretty good. I would sleep only a few hours, not more than 4 per night, and wake up full of energy, literally dancing and as happy as I could be. By this time I was done with classes from my master. I was starting and internship in a nearby European country in a month, but for the next few weeks I had no other responsibility than enjoying myself. The next night I went out with Beavis and kept on enjoying the summer, which had only just started.
Two days afterwards I went to buy weed with Butthead. We came back home, rolled a joint and as I was just about to smoke, all of a sudden, I had a very strong comedown
as I was just about to smoke, all of a sudden, I had a very strong comedown
. I would even call it a crash. The happiness I had been feeling for the last few days left me without notice and I immediately felt sad. Sadness overwhelmed me and I wanted to cry for absolutely no reason. I was embarrassed to cry in front of Butthead, who by the way I felt really mad with for no logical reason, so I went to my room. Butthead called me and told me to smoke up with him but I knew (or at least thought) it would not help so I instead decided to go running. I wanted to be alone, and also I wanted to be away from Butthead, who for some reason I loathed at the moment. I think now that I felt so angry with him because he had not taken any MDMA with Beavis and me the last time, I think I resented that he had spent the night with his girlfriend away from Beavis and me and had not shared that awesome night we had. But in any case, I had not had these illogical feelings before at all, it was only then that they appeared in my mind.
At the end I went running. I grabbed my mp3 player and a joint in case I decided to do smoke and went running. As I ran sadness kept on crawling under my skin, like if it was being injected into me by some unknown force; I could not fight it back. I cried while running, uncontrollably and quite pathetically to be honest. I stopped at a park around half an hour later and although I did wanted to smoke I was feeling so wrecked and miserable I decided it would be better not to take any drugs.
Later that day Butthead, who did not know anything of how I felt, convinced me to go to some roof-barbecue/party another friend was organizing; Fox and Beavis were also going. I arrived there with only a six-pack and a joint (which was standard for me to carry at the time). I did not take any food for barbecuing as I did not feel hungry at all and was sure I would not eat. The afternoon at the barbecue went fine; I drank a few beers, talked to people and in general felt good. But as the night came I started feeling angry towards Butthead again, as if he was not my friend anymore.
I smoked the joint, it was actually a pure-weed blunt, with a friend at the barbecue and went psychotic after that. **[From this point on my story becomes a little confusing as a psychotic episode is inherently illogical and therefore really hard to describe in writing]**. Now, when I say psychotic I really mean I went totally batshit crazy. From this point onwards reality was not reality anymore. Reality became whatever crazy thing my mind would think of. Most importantly, although illogical things would happen to me I would not realize they were illogical. Maybe being psychotic is like being in a dream, whatever happens just happens, and you are not aware enough to question what happens and think logically.
To start with, I told Butthead how I felt. I said to him “I love you, but sometimes you are an idiot” and ignored him from then on for the night. I talked to some people, my memory is blurry, and more and more I got the feeling everyone I talked to hated me. After a while I was sure everyone at the barbecue hated me for one reason or another and was trying to send me signals of how much they hated me by saying things that in my mind meant something completely different. Quite importantly, Beavis, who I think I would have trusted, was not yet at the barbecue.
I freaked out and decided to leave. I ran down the stairs and took the first taxi I found back home. My memory becomes blurry again at this point and I have no idea of what I did until the night after, when Butthead (who lived with me) and my other flatmate, James, insisted on me coming out of my room to smoke some weed and record a song (James was a musician besides doing his PhD).
After smoking I became convinced that James was Jesus; which is especially weird in my case because although I do come from a Catholic family and country I am not religious myself. In fact, I had been an agnostic for the past 10 years if not more. James was leaving the next day to go back home (the academic year was over and summer was starting) and since in my mind he was actually Jesus I became convinced he was leaving because of me, because I was the devil or the son of the devil or evil incarnated, or something along those lines. He had to leave because he, being Jesus, could not live with me, the son of the devil, and whatever he said until he left the next day I would interpret as having some deep, important meaning; lessons for me to understand and maybe change what I was.
That night I did not sleep at all and very early the next morning I felt the urge to do good things. From small things like taking out the trash and cleaning our kitchen to things like buying a new lamp for the flat, I tried doing good deeds all morning to redeem myself as I knew Jesus (actually my flatmate James) wanted to leave because I was evil itself. He, quite obviously, left anyways and went home. But in my reality he left because he was trying to teach me something.
The following night I went out with Butthead, I was still feeling miserable and had so many delusions in my head, but somehow I think Butthead and others who would talk to me would not notice anything beyond me being a bit down or shy that night. After smoking some weed with a few friends, including Fox, I became too scared to stay with my friends partying (part of a delusion too complicated to explain) and went back home. I did not sleep again and, well, world war III broke out. In my mind I spent 3 days and nights alone in my flat, without eating or drinking anything, while all around me world war 3 was raging on. I would log on into social media like Facebook and believed every status update from my friends were actually messages reflecting the war that was killing people I knew all over the world… all because of me, everything was my fault since I was evil incarnated or something like that. I know this last part does not make much sense, but in psychosis, nothing makes much sense. Quite importantly, at no point during my psychotic episode I thought that a drug (MDMA or weed) could be causing the weird things happening all around me, I could remember taking MDMA at some points but could not make a connection to my psychotic state.
After these “3 days and nights” passed, which in reality were only one night, I woke up in my bed and realized there was no world war. I was sure what I had lived was real so I thought perhaps I was in another dimension or it all simply was a warning of what was to come. In any case I was completely freaking out by this point so I tried to run away. I packed my things into my suitcase and went to a bus station in order to go to another country.
I mentioned before I was going to start an internship in a nearby European country in a few weeks. I was aware of this and decided to run away to the city were my internship was going to take place. I wanted to be away from everyone I knew as I was sure I was evil itself and would only cause them pain and even world war III to happen.
As I was trying to run away, while on a taxi to the bus station, I tried listening to music from my Mp3 player and I heard what I can only describe as satanic music. Scared, I stopped listening and then noticed the radio of the taxi I was in was talking to me directly and interactively, meaning that not only the message was for me but that the message would respond to things I saw or thought of in my mind. When I got to the station I was barely able to buy a ticket, I had difficulty communicating with the girl selling the tickets and spent most of the time hitting on her rather than trying to buy a ticket. At the end, the next bus leaving to the city I had to go to left in 3 days so I could do nothing but wait. For some reason I did not think of trains or flying and since I did not want to go back home I tried looking for a hotel, as I walked through the streets I heard random voices inside my head, each with a different tone and personality. The voices mostly corresponded to people nearby me, but what I would supposedly hear in my mind were their thoughts. They all despised me and criticized me in one way or another, as if they knew I was going to cause world war III or was, again, evil incarnated.
Although by then I knew the city I was in very well (I had been studying there for a year and usually went out by bike) I became unable to recognize any street name, park, building or any other landmark that would help me know where I was. It was as if I was in another dimension where the city I was in, although still being the same, had changed to whatever characteristics were natural to that dimension/universe/whatever.
Seeing I could not find a place to stay in and I still did not want to go back home I took a taxi to Beavis’ house. Now, Beavis used to live in an old, narrow street cars could not enter (typical from of European cities old centres) so the taxi left me around 2 blocks from his actual building’s door. Although I tried getting to Beavis’ place I was unable to. I was having trouble pulling my suitcase, which all of a sudden became inexplicably heavy, very heavy. Also, I was still having difficulty recognizing the streets; and, most importantly, I eventually desisted from going to Beavis’ place as the idea that he also hated me crept into my mind. All this was happening while still hearing random voices in my head and, most odd of all, a melody that called me from a nearby church (this last part at least I was able to realize was just my mind playing tricks on me). Finally, I gave up and took a taxi again, back home this time.
The next days (5 nights and 5 days in total from the beginning of my psychosis until I entered a hospital) all sorts of crazy things happened. I was still feeling miserable for no reason and apologized, not very coherently, via e-mails or Facebook to people close to me for things I had done wrong in the past, like cheating on an ex-girlfriend. I also closed my bank account and began carrying all my money (a considerable amount since I was supposed to travel to and settle in a new city with that money) and even tried running away a couple more times, always unsuccessfully.
I also became sure my friends were following me like if I was the leader of some mysterious cult (that maybe Jesus/James had entrusted me?). I was sure Beavis and Butthead were both geniuses that were at the same time hackers that had infiltrated my laptop in order to follow my every move. I was sure everyone around me was actually much, much older than in reality, like hundreds or even thousands of years old, while I was just my actual age and so was someone who did not know anything compared to others. I saw some friends from years ago who had, well, sort of reincarnated into other random people as they had died in the world war I had foreseen or seen… or whatever. I had long conversations in my mind with Beavis and Butthead a couple days later while in the beach and in a Chinese restaurant as I was sure they communicated with me telepathically in order to carry out a plan to prevent world war III (one option was to kill me). All this happened while I was still convinced that I was evil itself, the reincarnation of all evil people in history, the son of the devil or something along those lines.
A week after taking MDMA the second time my friends Beavis and Butthead decided I was acting too weird (Butthead would later tell me that I had not even showered in a week). They did not know, quite surprisingly for me, of any of my delusions or my psychotic state but took me to a hospital anyways. I agreed to go, only because I thought it was part of a master plan to reunite me with an old girlfriend whom I felt I still loved and had to meet before I died so that there would be no world war III. While on the taxi to the hospital I gave all my important possessions, my wallet, all my money and passport to Beavis and Butthead which I was carrying with me since I was trying to run away almost every day.
At the hospital, the staff quickly realized something was very wrong with me. I was first unable to spell my own name properly and fill out a form, and while questioned by a psychiatrist I answered his basic questions (like my name and where I was from) with more weird questions of my own as I walked nervously around the room. Not long after I was given a pill to relax, tied down to a bed and kept there for the night; the next morning I was sent to a psychiatric hospital where I remained for 2 weeks.
I was sent to a psychiatric hospital where I remained for 2 weeks.
My mother had to come all the way to Europe to pick me up and go back home together; the hospital would not release me without someone taking care of me.
As I said at the beginning, it took me a few months to come back to normality. I was very confused and my thought process and reactions were very, very slow, although I do not know if this was because of my psychosis or as a side effect of the medication I was taking. I took up to 6 mg. of Clonazepam and 12 mg. of Risperidone daily while at the hospital and 8 months later I am still supposed to be taking 1mg of Risperidone.
This has been the most remarkable experience I have ever had; it was both interesting and horrible. It has been quite difficult to recover, although I think now I am completely back to normal. Thanks for taking the time to read this to those that read it all the way. MDMA is a wonderful drug, but if you experience a harsh comedown maybe it is not for you.
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