Citation: Jewels. "Very Much Feeling the Vibes - Good and Bad: An Experience with MDMA (exp112022)". Erowid.org. Jun 16, 2018. erowid.org/exp/112022
The experience I am about to describe is not my first with MDMA but is definitely my most intense and the highest dose I have ever taken. My few previous experiences were pleasant, but this one came with a mixture of emotions, mainly airing on the negative side. I am writing with a fresh perspective, as the experience occurred yesterday.
To set the scene: my friends and I had planned to attend an EDM concert on a boat (extremely fun in theory) and had had high expectations for a long time prior. Many of us listened to the artist and we would be celebrating a friend's birthday - something fundamentally very positive. A few drawbacks, however, made this experience stressful from the get go:
1. Only a few of us were planning on taking MDMA - which I will refer to as 'rolling' in this piece - with the rest of the group either adamantly adverse to the drug or apathetic towards it. Because many people did not take the drug, they did not realize how the drug would affect us which may have skewed their impressions of us while we were rolling.
2. My friend's (whose birthday it was) girlfriend was planning to come with us. My friend was planning on rolling while her girlfriend fell into the category of those adamantly adverse to MDMA. She debated whether or not to take the pill up until the moment we took them, ultimately taking them.
3. I had been harboring negative feelings toward a good friend in the group for a while, but had repressed the feelings and given her the benefit of the doubt for behavior I found questionable or unacceptable. I will call her Miranda* for the sake of anonymity.
4. Our group was an odd mishmash of everyone’s friends, and friends of friends, from various places meaning that many of us had not met before. I am typically skeptical of new people and shy around them.
The energy was generally good when we entered the boat. Spirits were high and everyone who wasn’t rolling was drinking. Members of our group were generally positive. Miranda was repeatedly making snide comments and jokes about the fact that we were going to take molly, but I just brushed her aside telling myself I would ignore her and enjoy the music once the drugs kicked in.
The crowds on the boat were pushy from the start, and our friends were situated right by the bar. I hate being cajoled, especially when I am rolling, and like plenty of room to dance and do my thing. Because of the crowds, my friends were also repeatedly separated throughout the night.
The six of us that were taking MDMA took the pills at 8pm on the dot. I didn’t begin to feel the effects until the main artist came on, at which point they whacked me in the face. I had never felt such a strong rush of a drug before. At first, it was great. I was with another friend, Jan* who was rolling with me and the music sounded amazing. It took over my body completely – I felt as though I had no choice but to move in sync with the music. As Jan and I danced to the opening song, however, a man grabbed her from behind and started dancing with her aggressively without permission. I hate this whether in an altered state or not. She pushed the guy away and he didn’t seem to respond at first so I pushed him away from her, too, and shielded her with my body. The vibe, from there, changed.
I could no longer focus on the music. It was almost dull and uninteresting to me. I needed water. I was suddenly so thirsty. I never remembered ever being so thirsty. I went to grab a water and ran into a friend, Lizzy*, in the line. She took one look at me and pulled me aside. I honestly didn’t realize how overwhelmed I was by everything until that point. We didn’t even need to verbally communicate for her to know that there was something wrong. She fed me several waters, each of which I thirstily gulped down, repeatedly asking for more and seemingly sweating it out all at once.
Suddenly the crowd on the other side of the bar looked like somewhere I didn’t belong. The crowd didn’t carry a negative vibe, but I was uninterested and frightened at the prospect of joining them. It made me very uneasy to picture myself there. The music, too, was not fun and beautiful and giving me reason to dance as it had very briefly. It was just background noise to all the rest of the crazy shit that was happening.
Lizzy walked me to a nearby bench where I could feel the ocean breeze, gulp down some necessary water, and take some deep breaths. She told me to look out at the ocean. I did. It was surreal – the city lights were so far away, smudged across the scene like they were moving fast. They were beautiful, in a sort of messed up way that I couldn’t wrap my brain around. Something disturbed me about the lights. I became cognizant of the fact that we were on a big globe floating in space, perfectly balanced to sustain life, and I began to cry.
“It’s so crazy that there’s so much in this world,” I said, unable to capture the magnitude of my emotions in my words. I cried and hugged Lizzy. I felt in that moment that she was like a beautiful angel to me, the sweetest soul I had ever encountered. I hugged her so tightly and apologized many times for her having to hang out with me instead of listening to the music. She told me not to apologize, and that she had just been downstairs for a while because she, too, had been overwhelmed by the crowds and music. I couldn’t stop telling her how much I loved her, how amazing she was. I thought about everyone I felt this way about and sobbed.
The ocean breeze, though lovely, became too cold for me quickly. I was shaking and I wasn’t sure if it was from the drugs or the cold, but it was probably both. Lizzy and I migrated downstairs, where a few people were listening to a different, smaller artist. There were no crowds and the space was basically empty. We sat on a bench far from other people, where I wouldn’t worry about people judging me or questioning me.
The music downstairs was weird and trance-y not the type I usually listen to, but it meshed well with the scene in front of me – a dim lit, nearly empty room, existing below the commotion of upstairs, seeming nearly unaware of it. The ancient lights dangling from the wall were an eerie, unnatural yellow, perhaps aged by years of being turned on and off for cruise-goers. The ceiling was webbed with pink-colored pipes, all criss-crossing over one another in a precise manner. The room felt alive in a weird way. I felt as though I was melting into it, becoming part of the strange vibe it was emitting.
“You’re smiling,” Lizzy told me, smiling at me, clearly excited at the change of mood. I realized then that her pupils expanded nearly to the edge of her irises and that my teeth were grinding.
“I feel good,” I said, laughing, “I feel weird.” And I was okay with feeling weird. I put my hands out in front of me and opened and closed my fingers. I liked the way it felt. It felt like I had regained some control and that I was able to become one with my surroundings, however odd they were. This feeling didn’t last long.
Miranda and a friend of hers who I hadn’t previously met came over to my friend and I. “The show is over,” Miranda said very factually, seemingly apathetic toward this news. People began trailing down the stairs, off the ship. We had docked. She then noticed me, with what I would later observe in the mirror to be wild eyes and grinding teeth.
“What’s wrong with you?” She asked. Her face contorted to a look of disgust. I felt unease once again.
“I just didn’t like the crowds,” I muttered unconvincingly.
“Oh,” she said with the same look of disgust, and a tone to match it, “I don’t understand. So you guys weren’t at the concert?”
“No,” I said.
“Oh,” same look of disgust, same tone, “I don’t get it. Did you just not like the music?”
I felt so uncomfortable I was ready to get up and leave. Her negative energy seemed to be radiating from her and being absorbed by me. I felt such negative emotions towards her. Ones that I had repressed for years suddenly spilling out at once, uncontrollably. She was unpredictable, and I didn’t like it.
“Miranda, can you stop?” Lizzy asked.
Miranda looked startled, as though she’d been hit. I couldn’t understand how she seemingly couldn’t comprehend her own wrongdoing in the situation. I was clearly uncomfortable, couldn’t she see that?
“Can I talk to you for a second Miranda?” Lizzy asked. Miranda and my friend stepped aside. I carried on a fairly normal conversation with Miranda’s friend. I wondered why Miranda’s friend seemed to be able to converse with me without making me feel so uncomfortable but Miranda, someone I had know for years, couldn’t. I was later told by my friend that Miranda was appalled that my friend had pulled her aside, and that she didn’t understand what she’d done wrong. She stormed off the boat after their conversation, and we didn’t see them for the rest of the night.
Lizzy and I met up with the rest of the group outside the ship.
“I want to walk,” I said. The group agreed, finding a club downtown to walk to, a mile and a half down the road. I noticed then that most of the group that had been rolling looked disturbed. As though they’d seen something they wished they hadn’t. I no longer felt alone in what I was feeling.
Jan, especially, became a solace for me. I could tell she felt what I was feeling, and that was comforting in an odd way.
“Can I feel your bag?” She asked. I said yes, and she rubbed my bag between her thumb and pointer finger as we walked. “I like how it feels,” she said. I just liked that we were on the same wavelength.
I made comments about things, observations as we walked by the water then closer to downtown. The city was bustling – something I liked to watch from a distance but didn’t want to be involved in. I enjoyed walking. The movement felt nice, the air felt nice. Some things I pointed out to Jan made her happy and excited. Other things bothered her. For example, the shared bike racks, she did not like. “Can we not talk about that?” She would say. And I would happily oblige. I could not predict what Jan would or would not like. It was like a game. But I did not like it because I didn’t understand the rules of the game. The walk was slow as we stopped many times for people to go to the bathroom/cross the street/buy a snack.
I caught the eye of Joe* one of the others in the group who was rolling, but highly experienced with drugs, especially psychedelics. It hadn’t dawned on me until I saw the deep look of disturbance in his eye that I’d seen in Jan’s and presumed was in my own that I realized he, too was having a negative time. I made small comments and chatted a little, but he seemed to be content singing to himself, occasionally opening his arms to the sky to belt out a chorus, and otherwise remaining quiet. It comforted me, however, to know that he was on Jan and I’s wavelength, too.
One of our friends, Alice*, who had not been rolling, but was entirely wasted from menthol vodka shots began performing a drunken stand-up routine on the side of the road. She began speaking really slowly into an imaginary microphone. I found it entertaining and comical, but didn’t like that she was being unpredictable in her drunken state. Jan really hated it and told me she needed to get away from Alice.
We arrived at the club downtown and found out that some of the members of our group couldn’t get in because of what they were wearing. We proceeded, against my will, to a club/bar in a snotty area of the city that I avoid. Somewhere I feel completely out of place even when I am sober. Again, I felt like an observer in a place I didn’t belong. The décor was ridiculous, it seemed for the setting – rustic feeling, wood-paneled everything, chalkboard drink menus, with a stuffed deer head overlooking the bar’s patrons, mostly 20-something, clean-cut, probably finance professionals. I went to the bathroom myself and felt the stares of all of the nicely dressed women, fully aware of my dirty Doc Martens, crocheted halter top and trippy-printed shorts. I will never fit in in a place like this, I thought. But that was okay to me. After four years of trying to somehow relate to my peers at business school, it was okay to me that I didn’t fit in with them. This was probably the most positive revelation of my night.
We didn’t stay for long, much to my relief. When some friends and I returned to my apartment, they fell right asleep but I laid awake until the sun rose, mostly spiraling into a pit of negative thoughts then talking my way out of them. This is a technique I learned when sometimes in a tough spot on marijuana, and something that proved helpful.
I am ultimately, in a twisted way, glad this experience happened to me for a few reasons.
1. I am learning to accept and respect my limits with hard drugs. I have only ever microdosed on hallucinogens and taken small doses of MDMA, because I like to be in control. I assumed, for some uneducated reason, that taking more MDMA would just mean more of the positive feeling. It did not this time. It just meant that it hit me much harder in the initial wave and that people’s vibes (i.e. Miranda’s) affected me waaay more than usual. I know now that I should take less or take MDMA in increments.
2. I know who’s there for me and who isn’t. It’s cheesy, but it’s true. I had repressed feelings about Miranda for too long to the point where, when in a highly peaked emotional state, her behavior and presence were extremely negative for me and I had to finally face my feelings towards her. Lizzy, on the other hand, ensured that I had a good time by, in a way, sacrificing her own night.
3. The setting where I take drugs is extremely important. Crowds are not my style. Boats, where there is not chance of escape, are not really my style either. I like to dance and be with my friends.
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