Citation: orange juice. "Challenging Trip With Lasting Consequences: An Experience with Mushrooms (sclerotia) (exp115166)". Erowid.org. Feb 4, 2021. erowid.org/exp/115166
I am at my friend Peterís place. Weíre making pasta with Bolognese sauce and are going to eat mushrooms later that evening. Neither of us has taken them before and weíre both curious to try them.
Iím a bit nervous because I read that itís a good idea to fast as a preparation before doing mushrooms and that one shouldnít eat for at least two hours prior to taking them. So after eating, we wait for two hours and then open the box containing the shrink-wrapped walnut-like mushroom sclerotia. These are a part of the fungus that grows underground, which is still sold legally in the Netherlands. Apparently both parts contain the same substances.
We decide to take only half the amount (i. e. 5 gram each) and the other half at a later time, possibly. We eat them and then wait, it supposedly takes around 30-60 minutes for them to take effect. One thing that changes rather quickly: the water weíre drinking tastes different than before, almost like milk.
Weíre on the sofa waiting, watching movies. After 45 minutes (possibly a bit more) things start to change slightly: I feel lighter and start giggling. Peter feels nothing, which makes him wonder. We decide to take the other half as well.
Iím on the sofa, feeling light. My face feels as if itís slowly sinking into my head. Looking at my left hand, I see small, triangular, neon-colored scales on my skin, a bit like the ones on a dragon fruit or on a fish (but sticking out a bit more).
Until this point everything is quite relaxed but now it starts getting stressful: my neck, my stomach and my thighs start twitching, going into cramps. I stand up because this feels slightly better. The cramps remind me very suddenly of how my best friend friend and I, at the age of 10 or 11, ate roots we dug up in the forest and how afterwards we were throwing up for two days straight as a symptom of poisoning (they were elder roots which are only slightly poisonous but to us the poisoning came as quite a shock). As a result Iím panicking: the substance in the mushrooms that gives you the high is a poison, theyíre not meant to be consumed. Staying calm feels impossible at that point.
We positioned a bucket beforehand, in case either of us needs to throw up. Iím trying to, but I canít. Iím walking from one room to the next, with alternating bursts of cramps and nausea. Peter, trying to calm me down, says something like: "Youíre totally neurotic, try to relax!" The mushrooms donít show any effect on him at all.
Still going from room to room, I can clearly feel the veins in my arm, not quite sure if thatís usually the case or not. Then I sense the flesh peeling away from the bones. Something I mostly feel, but also see.
Next, I feel as if someone is pushing one button after the other at the control desk of emotions in my head: Iím happy, sad, shocked, etc. Shortly after, it feels as if I, my consciousness, is taken away from the control desk, as if I was lifted out of the controlling chair. Like a multiple socket outlet with all the plugs being pulled out. Or as if the thin skin in a boiled egg, which separates the egg from the shell, is being detached completely. I am deeply surprised that itís at all possible to break this connection between consciousness and the Ącontrol deskď, I remember a feeling of intense astonishment. Fighting the cramps and nausea I continue walking from room to room, talking to Peter sporadically, who frequently asks about how I am. I try to describe to him whatís going on inside me, with few inadequate words and moderate success.
At some point an overwhelming feeling of being chased sets in, as if a mushroom spirit had taken possession of me and although I mentally try to flee, I sense that there is no way out. In my mind's eye I see a forest or a jungle through which I am fleeing, trying to escape. I feel as if I am being chased by a wild animal or a menacing creature. The image that takes hold of me is heavy and threatening. I am on the run internally, having thoughts like: "This is it", "Youíre not going to escape this one", it feels ultimate, as if there is definitely no escape from this state. Itís like having fallen into a well, like being trapped in a dream. This lasts for quite a while (maybe 30 minutes?), I am despaired and angry and try to throw up, but I canít. I am stunned, have never experienced such a state.
I'm sitting on a step in front of the bathroom door, desperate and huddled, thinking something like, "sitting doesn't help, I should stand up" and as I stand up, the feeling of being chased is gone. In my mindís eye I see the image of an impressive, giant figure, as tall as a ship, in front of a bright blue sky. It radiates great sovereignty and strength. An archetype of serenity and energy. Another image I didnít know I had in me. Yet somehow, on a fundamental level, this serene figure is a part of me. I am impressed and also certain that I should stand up and be more upright in my entire life (in the same way I just stood up from the stairs). I have a feeling that I should quit my current job and do more of Ąmy own thingď. Itís a strong feeling, it feels right.
Then I see, in semi-darkness on a door, the figure of my father (a few days earlier, at the end of my visit, we had a dispute which at that point still preoccupies me). I feel my anger at the lack of understanding that sometimes stands between us and say something like "Why donít you die then" (something I would never say in reality). He then takes the form of a fern that slowly withers, surprise written on his face. This picture also impresses me very much, because it makes me aware of the mortality of my father, which I had always suppressed until now.
After that I see mostly geometrical hallucinations, patterns, that are in every darker part of my vision. Tiny circles, squares, dots and other neon-colored shapes. As Iím looking at Peterís face while weíre talking, I see his eyes many hundred times all across the room. My brain is detecting eyes everywhere, no matter whether there are any or not. Eventually Peter and I watch another movie on the sofa, I feel relaxed and relieved. At this moment I do not know about how stressful the next weeks and months are going to be. Ö
After the experience, I feel weird, but mostly OK, for about a week. Towards the end of that week, I have recurring intrusive thoughts about suicide and self harm which scare the living hell out of me.
After that, I slip into depersonalisation and derealisation for about 3 weeks. Everything feels distant, unreal and fake: the world around me as well as my own body. Luckily, I find tips on how to cope with this condition online. After all, itís a way of protection against intense emotions, the mind just shuts off and puts a cushion between you and the world.
My explanation for what happened during the trip: the panic attack I had and the feeling of being chased left me frightened on a very deep level, it left me traumatised. The trip didnít give me PTSD. But the intrusive thoughts I had are also a common result of trauma.
The second half of the trip was quite insightful and enjoyable, but the first half was truly like going through hell. Given the choice, I probably wouldnít want to take psychedelics again, at least not from where I am now. Iím still feeling stressed by the event today, one year after the trip.
Iím still feeling stressed by the event today, one year after the trip.
Iím not sure if Iíll feel normal anytime soon. Itís definitely a slow process.
For me, the dose was probably way too high. My friend, on the other hand, felt almost nothing. If youíre reading this and you havenít tripped before: Always start small! Also, if youíre related to someone with mental health issues (there are a few cases on my momís side), you might want to consider not tripping at all. Psychedelics are powerful substances.
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