Citation: Dan. "Tearing the Burden Off My Back: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (exp102632)". Erowid.org. Jul 20, 2018. erowid.org/exp/102632
I've had generalized anxiety/social anxiety since I was very young. There is a time I faintly recall around the age of five or six where I was socially fearless (possibly to a fault, not picking up on social queues of others). That is the only time I can recall being completely free of anxiety and worry. In my mid 20's I became more aware of what was happening to me and began to seek out treatment, attending counseling, seeing psychologists, family practitioners, hypnotherapists, NLP, EFT, you name it.
While insightful, nothing has helped reduce my anxiety. Drugs such as Xanax give temporary relief, but I feel it's only a bandaid to a wound which will continue to bleed the moment the bandaid is removed. I do feel that through therapy, I know more about the mind body connection. Unfortunately, to this day I cannot pinpoint any event or series of events in my past that kicked off my anxiety disorder. It was simply as if one day I was fine, and the next day I had this weight on my shoulders which would follow me into every activity of every day from that point forward.
I began to research psychedelics as a possible avenue to flush repressed memories to the surface after reading about research conducted by MAPS, ayahuasca, and ibogaine reports. Of course, I read every report on a reputable harm reduction website I could find on these substances.
Ultimately I would prefer a legal route to obtaining any substance that I thought might help me, and eventually began to read up on Salvia Divinorum. Learning how one method of ingestion was traditionally done by the Mazatec Indians, I decided to prepare a tea from dried leaf that I ordered from an online vendor. Salvia Divinorum is still legal in my state.
I experimented with very light doses at first, only 200 milligrams of dried leaf, which I weighed out on a jewelry scale I purchased. My preparation was to boil the dried leaf in water for five minutes, and then let it simmer for five minutes. I then strained out the leaf as I transferred the liquid to a mug. As soon as it had cooled down enough to drink, I would sip a small amount into my mouth and hold it under my tongue and in the back of my throat (as if getting ready to gargle) for 30 seconds to a minute. The taste was bitter, but I've actually acquired a taste for the stuff which I don't mind. This would help me, as future doses were stronger due to 200 milligrams having no effect, and the bitterness increased. (Adding honey or sugar just made it an obnoxious concoction, so I prefer to just accept the raw taste.)
I began to ramp up the doses, for me, I began to feel altered at 2500 milligrams (2.5 grams). With this amount of leaf, the tea would turn much darker green, and when it was in my mug, it was as dark as coffee.
My first productive experience came one morning after taking about 20 minutes to drink the tea. At first I was drinking the tea sitting at my computer, but within about five minutes I was compelled to lay down on the couch. When I finished the brew, I had no visuals of any kind, but the best description would be that I was in a meditative state. My thoughts seemed to be racing around, but were more intense than if I was to simply relax and close my eyes without the tea. My intention going into the experience was to discover why I was anxious all the time, and about half an hour after I had finished the mug, I had this extremely present and clear thought that I had been severely embarrassed as a child, and that was the foundation of my present day dilemma. This thought was the same as if someone had been in the room five minutes earlier and had verbally told me the same information, and I was now recalling and reflecting on the conversation. There was no indication on whether or not this was a single traumatic embarrassing event that had triggered the anxiety or if it was a series of events which were cumulative. The effects of the tea lasted about an hour longer, but the only feelings were of being a little off balance or dizzy, there were no more insights. There was no stomach discomfort, but the brew tends to act as a stool softener with me. Otherwise, no adverse after effects.
After reflecting on this experience for a couple weeks, I tried again. I thought this time I would drink the tea before bed and would simply drift off to sleep when the tea wore off. My preparation with 2.5 grams was the same, although I did boil it down a little more, producing less liquid, but stronger brew. Again, I began witnessing the racing thoughts. My intention this time was to discover what the event was that triggered my anxiety to begin with. My mind jumped from one incoherent thought to another until it zeroed in on a darkened room, where I could see myself walking from about 15 feet away. This was not a visionary experience, it was as if I'd watched a movie and was recalling a certain scene with a high level of detail. As I walked forward, the dim light revealed something on my back. My perspective began to look at my walking body from an angle where I could better see what was attached to it. What appeared can only be described as huge 'antlers' (think like a moose rack) or possibly a coral structure growing from my skin. It was growing all the way from my shoulder blades down to my upper thigh, and extended out about two or three feet, depending on how intricate the growth was in that particular area. As I tried harder to identify what exactly this thing was, two individuals, a man and a woman began approaching my body. The woman was quite concerned and spoke with a southern drawl accent. She was going on about how this situation should never have escalated to this point. My body was oblivious to what she was saying, it continued to walk forward with a blank stare. She continued to rant about how this burden I was carrying was never mine to pick up to begin with and that I should be looking at my actions with the same degree of conscience as if I'd stolen an item from a neighbor. I had been going along with this grotesque thing growing for 40 years or so and I was never supposed to have had to deal with it, as if I'd made a mistake. She went on to say in a firm but just shy of scolding voice, that the burden had not been connected to me when I first encountered it, but that I had continued to focus my attention on it, and that sort of woke up the burden and gave it the energy it needed to attach itself to me. I got the impression that had I simply made note of the burden instead of thinking about it, it never would have become a part of my body and thus would not have become a problem. I also got an impression that when this happened, it was because I was curious about the thing and couldn't stop thinking about it.
She said something to her male companion who was quite large and he approached my body from the back, firmly grasping the growth which stopped my body from walking forward, despite my body continuing to try to move. She started issuing instructions to the man as he twisted the growth and began to tear it off my body. This was not like ripping off a bandaid, as the growth came off it took most of my skin with it, exposing blood, tissue, and muscle, a gaping wound which encompassed my entire back and buttocks. As the man finally dislodged the entire growth, he threw it to the floor, breaking the growth in half. My body, free of the man's efforts, continued to walk forward, all the while with the couple continuing to follow me. From my perspective, the growth/antler/coral thing began to fade into the background, like a movie camera on a track which continued to follow the actor, leaving the other things in the scene to fall out of frame.
As I watched this, I had a desire to look back and grasp one last look at the twisted mess of blood and gook on the floor. As if sensing this, the woman walked up to my body and said directly into my ear, STOP! Do not pay attention to that! Do you understand yet? This is exactly how all this started! My body, paid no mind and continued walking, eviscerated back and all, although the 'real' me definitely took note of the timing as to how the woman reacted as soon as I had the desire to look back.
The effects after this point began to wear off, but I did not sleep a wink the rest of the night and as I write this I am very tired. Just prior to getting up this morning I did an anxiety check, where I meditate and take note of my anxiety levels as I think of different anxiety inducing scenarios that I get into, sort of like checking the pH levels with test paper. There is no doubt that the anxiety is still present, and it doesn't feel reduced in the slightest, although, these two experiences have been like therapy on steroids for me. I no longer believe that I have to know the events that caused my anxiety in order to cure it. The drive that compelled me to discover the source of it was not born from the road to recovery, it was only driven by curiosity, and if I am to know where my anxiousness originated from, it will come after I have moved beyond this burden and have the strength to look back at the event(s) without attachment.
The key to these experiences seems to be intention. I could have consumed the brew, and just let my thoughts drift all over. It was not until I focused on my intention that anything began to play out.
I will continue to pursue curing myself with Salvia Divinorum's help, but anticipate at some point the gentle approach I experienced will need to be substituted for something with more of an ass kicking to get the results I'm after. For now, I am grateful for the insights that have been delivered to me and will welcome the next experience with whatever that may bring.
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