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I Lost Track of Time
Floatation Tank
by pingu
Citation:   pingu. "I Lost Track of Time: An Experience with Floatation Tank (exp112006)". Erowid.org. Jun 14, 2018. erowid.org/exp/112006

 
BODY WEIGHT: 60 kg


First Time Float

I have suffered from both depression and an anxiety disorder for the past five years, following a work-related burnout. Over the years, I have been on medication: both SSRIs (paroxetine) and anxiolytics (the least bad being bromazepam for me), with great discomfort due to side effects ranging from acting upon suicidal thoughts to extreme drowsiness. I managed to wean myself off the medication gradually, with a transition period when I replaced the anxiety medication with cannabis, before going completely sober.

I now manage my anxiety through a mix of therapy, meditation, breathing exercises and yoga. Iíd also read about sensory deprivation tanks online and had been casually interested in that experience. A spa with the tanks recently opened in my area, which I heard of through an advertisement, so I decided to book an hour, mostly out of curiosity. I do enjoy meditation, so I thought this might be an opportunity for deep relaxation, and perhaps a little bit of introspective work. I was also just curious to experience the feeling of weightlessness described by other people who had floated.

The spa itself was very welcoming. I was fairly stressed out when I arrived and didnít even notice that my shoulders had been tensed up before taking off my shoes and changing. After a shower, I put my earplugs in, and got in the tub. It was fairly straightforward, the salt concentration in the water makes it difficult to be in any position other than spread out on your back. I tried to relax my neck and shoulder but wasnít entirely successful.

There was colorful light and meditative music for the first fifteen minutes, then the lights gradually dimmed until I was floating in complete darkness and silence for the rest of the hour. I spent the first half hour getting used to the sensation of floating, moving around a lot, stretching my body, and bumping against the edges of the tank. The salt water got in my eyes a few times and I had to reach out for water in a spray to clean it off. After a while, I lost track of time and started to slow down, paying less attention to the physical aspect of the experience.
I lost track of time and started to slow down, paying less attention to the physical aspect of the experience.
It felt a lot like being in bed and drifting off to sleep, but I also felt a sense of peace and euphoria. My sense of smell was heightened for a while and I smelled the salty water. Then the feeling died down, and I focused more on sounds such as splashing water. I tried making noise and felt elated at the feeling of the vibrations in my throat. Eventually, that also died down, I stopped moving, and focused on my breathing.

At that point, I felt a little bit cold, and wished I could be completely immersed in the water. I felt a salt crust form on the parts of my body that were out of the water, but my skin also felt slick from the Epsom salts, like I was floating in oil. Sometime after that, I got deeply lost in thought. I suppose it was similar to lucid dreaming: my mind felt very active and I could visualize images, but I still felt present in my body. This did not cause me any distress, but rather a sense of elation. Time had lost meaning, and although I do not remember what I was thinking about during that time, I remember that I did not approach negative thoughts with any anxiety, but rather with purposeful observation.

I kept floating in this dreamlike state until the lights turned back on. At this point, I sat up and felt very disoriented, and a little bit dizzy. Sitting upright was a challenge, I felt like my whole body was heavy and uncoordinated, like waking up from a nap that has lasted a bit too long. However, my mind felt like it had been on an extremely calm and soothing journey. Taking a shower after the experience helped me feel more grounded. However, I still felt like I was floating in and out of consciousness until I sat down in the waiting area and drank a cup of tea.

I loitered around in the waiting area for about an hour after the session, idly listening to people talk, reveling in the feeling of doing and thinking nothing. There was a sketchbook and crayons in the waiting area, so I drew a couple of pictures. There was also a cat, so I petted it for a little while. Doing things for no reason other than because they are enjoyable is something I have not been able to do in a long while. My anxiety which usually never leaves me felt like it had faded into the background of my mind.

I eventually left the spa to have lunch, and the taste of the food was more intense than usual, like a watered-down version of the munchies. I spent the rest of the day in a calm and relaxed daze and planned to go for another floating session next month.

This experience was similar to a deep meditation, and very beneficial to my mental health.
This experience was similar to a deep meditation, and very beneficial to my mental health.
I think the non-artificial nature of the high I experienced was especially comforting. I felt a renewed sense of purpose and motivation, like all my troubles could be solved just by calmly approaching them in my mind and taking my time with them. In a way, the idea that I could drop down into deep meditation and find stillness felt empowering.

Next time I go, I want to go further with the lucid dreaming aspect of the experience and explore the connection between my body and my mind.

Exp Year: 2018ExpID: 112006
Gender: Not Specified 
Age at time of experience: 28 
Published: Jun 14, 2018Views: 1,222
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Floatation Tank (369) : Alone (16), Therapeutic Intent or Outcome (49), Health Benefits (32), First Times (2), General (1)

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