Citation: Sejjie. "Rebirth, Rebuilding, Rediscovery, Reset: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp115302)". Erowid.org. Apr 9, 2021. erowid.org/exp/115302
I remember thinking, before even trying mushrooms for the first time, that I wanted to write a trip report about my experience. Until that point, I had very little experience with mind-altering substances: I had smoked marijuana several times before with my parents, and I had attempted to trip on Benadryl once or twice, but I was not an experienced psychonaut by any means (nor do I make any claims of being one now, but I’m at least more educated on the matter then when I started). Reading other people’s trip reports was my little window into the psychedelic world, a world that was fascinating both because of the wonders others experienced in it, as well as how far away it seemed from my normal state of mind.
And then, finally, I had my first experience with the mushroom, my first true psychedelic experience. Almost immediately, I didn’t want to write a report on it anymore. It felt like attempting to describe it with a rational mind would be a mockery of the absurd nature of the experience I had. In short, I left with the impression that this was something that was meant to be experienced, not merely described.
So what made me change my mind and write an experience report about it, nearly 4 years later? Simply put, it was one of the most positive experiences of my life. As cliche as it may sound, I still can’t help but smile whenever I think about it. It’s an experience I keep going back to, and it seems like I relate much of my life to it even now. Yet, I feel there is so much more to explore about that one experience. In writing this report, I hope to explore exactly what this experience really was.
The scene: I was 18, almost 19, and I had graduated high school a month before. My mindset going into the trip was positive: I was slightly nervous, but excited to enter the psychedelic mindset for the first time. Overall, however, my mental state was not the best; I am a lifelong anxiety sufferer, had been diagnosed with persistent depression the year before after a brief hospitalization for suicidal thoughts, and though I hadn’t come to terms with it yet, I had been struggling with gender dysphoria for my entire teenage years thus far. I was not on any medications for these at the time, and was dealing with them strictly through talk therapy. The initial setting was at the house of a friend I knew in high school; they had talked to me about using shrooms in the past, and when I asked if I could hang out one day and they said they had mushrooms, I knew I had to try them.
+0:00 - I arrived at my friend’s house at 11:30 am. (Times of onset, when they appear, are estimated from the timestamps on chat logs and notes from that day.) Not long after I arrived, they pulled out a little baggie, which they said had 4 grams of mushrooms in it. Having done my homework on the substance the night before (per their suggestion), I figured it would be unwise for me, a first-time tripper, to eat all 4 grams
I figured it would be unwise for me, a first-time tripper, to eat all 4 grams
; so I eyeballed a dose that looked like it was just under 2 grams, sprinkled it on a double chocolate chip cookie, and ate it. Surprisingly, I wasn’t able to taste the mushrooms.
+0:30 - While I was waiting for the come-up, we passed the time by playing Battlefield 1 and starting an episode of Bob’s Burgers. It was around this time my friend asked me if I was feeling anything yet. Though I hadn’t paid much mind to my perception changing from baseline, when they asked me I did notice that I felt a weightlessness not too dissimilar from a mild weed high. (For the record, my friend was sober at that time.)
+1:00 - I realize the disadvantage of waiting 4 years to write this report is that it’s difficult to remember exactly how the events of that day progressed. Almost surely, a few of these events are out of the order they actually happened. But what I do know is that at one moment, I was feeling merely floaty and waiting for the effects to progress further; in the next, it felt like my body and mind were blasting off. I remember, presented with this new feeling, muttering “holy shit, holy shit, holy shit” to myself. When my friend asked me if I was okay, I responded “yeah, this is amazing, but holy shit.” I turned to the carpet, and it was transforming into a crowd of people, some happy, some demonic-looking, but I didn’t mind either of them. Slowly, I acclimated to this altered state of consciousness, seeing everything around me as normal effects of the mushroom I had taken.
The TV was now playing an episode of American Dad, and towards the end of the episode there was a scene where Jeff and Sinbad enter a wormhole in space and start rapidly changing forms. One of these forms is that of their real-life actors, which made my friend pause the episode because they were laughing so hard. While it was paused on that frame, I noticed a parallel between us and the scene, like we were in the wormhole, and I was rapidly changing.
We started watching Rick and Morty next, because my friend knew I liked that show. When the episode where Rick, Morty, and Jerry are in a simulation started playing, I began to seriously wonder if I was in a simulation as well, since I had never thought in depth about it before. If you couldn’t tell by now, the mushroom was definitely affecting the way I was thinking. I believe this was around the time that I attempted to say something to my friend, but my words escaped me, so I instead decided to transmit this thought telepathically. Call it a hunch, but I don’t think they received that thought. After that episode finished, I decided to break off from my friend to go explore outside.
As soon as I opened the door, I noticed a difference in colors. Although I was stepping onto a paved road, it felt like I was stepping out onto a beach. Everything outside looked more detailed, but less “realistic,” for lack of a better word; basically, imagine the difference between a low-resolution photograph and a high-resolution drawing. I walked around the abandoned tennis court in my old apartment complex, and when I looked at the trees that surrounded it, I saw details in the leaves that I had never noticed before. All around me, in the trees, clouds, the whole world, I was noticing things that were always there, but that I had never noticed before. I picked up a discarded Popsicle stick, the joke on it faded and illegible, and still admired it for the detail I saw in it. And yet, somehow, among all this, I was able to pull my consciousness together for a brief moment to text my mom, talking about a Father’s Day gift for my dad.
I went home after exploring outside for a while. Since my mom was at work, I had the house to myself for the next few hours. And, as I stepped in and started to relax, my consciousness began to disintegrate. I closed my eyes and saw a diagram of my brain, neatly divided into segments that made each part of my personality. I noticed the feeling of starting to lose my shape, like I was melting into the floor. I was losing control of my body; soon, my body’s control was completely taken over by nerve alone, and I mindlessly writhed on the floor for the next few minutes.
When my mind regained control of my body, I had forgotten who I was. Well, I had faint memories of the past, and knowledge of basic concepts, but for the life of me I could not assign them to the person I was at the moment. I had become a truly blank slate, identity-wise. I felt a mild panic, but it was overshadowed by my instinctual response of exploration. I went to the kitchen and opened the freezer, knowing there would be something in there, and saw a box of freezer pops. As I ate one, then another, I became entranced by the way they melted in my mouth, the way they changed from solid to liquid. This, I realized, was a thing that I liked, and I decided this would be the first piece in rebuilding my consciousness.
Trying to recall other things that I liked, I remembered that I liked music. I opened my laptop, and played one of the few songs I had downloaded onto it: Thousand Knives, by Ryuichi Sakamoto. The song was like a wake-up call that brought my new consciousness to life. As it played, I melted into the floor again, but this time I was conscious of it, and honestly enjoying the feeling as well. I played another song through my computer - Warm Moving Bodies, by Units - because I had remembered seeing a comment on another one of their songs saying that they were listening to it on mushrooms themselves. As I was listening to it, another memory sparked in my head: that this was a song I enjoyed before, and now, I was in bliss listening to it for the first time again. I had the thought that I was shaping my past tastes with what I was doing now. Inspired by this, I wrote a note in my phone: “we shape our past with our actions in the present.”
+3:00 - I recomposed myself and checked back in with my friend through Facebook Messenger. When they asked if I was enjoying my trip, I stepped back and took stock of things. Obviously, I was far from baseline by this point, and I was certainly aware of the mushroom’s influence, but my new consciousness apparently hadn’t yet realized how different this was from normal reality. I asked a question like “wait, that’s what this is?” Their reply that I was, in fact, “tripping balls” made me laugh. (In retrospect, maybe opening a conversation with “I have big hands but I have tiny thumbs” was a giveaway.)
After a chat with a random person on Omegle out of wanting to share the love with someone else, I decided to move to my room and take time to experience the effects in a space of my own. Giving myself this space gave me more room to feel the visual and physical effects: feeling myself melting into my room’s carpet, watching patterns reveal themselves on a ceiling that was moving around and warping. The sun felt like it was beaming directly on me from the window in my room. The physical euphoria became strong at this point, it was unlike anything I had experienced before. I thought “I know ecstasy is the name of a drug already, but this is what pure ecstasy feels like.” I took a selfie with a natural, beaming grin on my face; though I deleted it when deleting all my selfies from before I transitioned, I still remember how wide that smile was.
I closed my eyes and saw another visual: a black-and-white vision of a smiling, genderless figure, the light in a world full of demons. I recognized this figure as the avatar of the new consciousness I had built. Realizing this, I opened up my phone’s notes again, and wrote: “I am exactly who I should be and I am thankful.”
I played another song on my laptop - I Melt With You, by Modern English - as a sort of tongue in cheek ode to the changes in my physical perception that the mushroom had initiated. Even now, I associate that song with the experiences of that day.
+3:45 - Sadly, the demons eventually caught up to me. I was confronted with the truth that there is way too much in this world to be a light for all of it. I remembered all the people I’d forgotten about in my life, and the fact that I’ll likely never see them again. The light inside me was quickly dimming. I started to regret taking the mushrooms in the first place, as they had taken me to a depth of my subconscious I was not ready to see. I wanted to cry, but something inside was keeping me. Instead, I just let the sorrow mellow out into emotional dullness.
I turned to YouTube videos as a distraction, and I came across a video titled just “WTF?” The thumbnail was an old, bearded man, who I recognized from a meme video he did called simply “Hat.” I clicked on the video… it was the same man making loud orgasm noises into his webcam. The description of it simply read “Sexy Porn” (isn’t porn supposed to be sexy in the first place?). All of this - the video, the title, the description - came together and gave me the spark of absurdity I needed for my light to come back on. My mood had been elevated, and I remembered that some things are unavoidable, some things are exceedingly silly, and sometimes all you can do is laugh at them. Heaven knows I couldn’t stop laughing at this. (I think this is part of why when I went to college and studied philosophy, I was particularly drawn to Camus and absurdism.)
+5:00 - From there, the comedown was incredibly smooth. At 4:30 pm, my mom arrived with early dinner from a local deli, and I was almost back to baseline. We watched Forensic Files while we ate, as was sort of a tradition between us. When a detective named “Starks Hathcock” appeared on screen, I laughed at the bizarreness of his name, as I had with the “WTF?” video before, and even joked that if I wanted to prove we were living in a simulation, I would use this man’s name as proof.
+5:30 - When the episode ended, and I was finished with my sandwich, I was completely at baseline. Immediately after it was done, I wasn’t sure how to describe my trip. The mushroom had taken me to once unfathomable lows, but also showed me dizzying heights I had never seen before. One thing was certain, though: I slept like a baby that night.
In the days afterward, it became clear what my experience was: a “reset button” for my life up to that point
my experience was: a “reset button” for my life up to that point
. For the first time in years, my depression had decreased from an annoying background hum to absolute silence, and it stayed that way for months afterward. I recall the two weeks after my trip being a period where I was finally unafraid to let my full personality shine, after anxiety had been limiting what I felt I could show to others. Even my vision seemed clearer to me in those weeks. It definitely helped me be less afraid of showing my weird interests. Like, yeah world, I love left-of-the-dial 70’s and 80’s music, what are you gonna do about it? I also believe that the experience, in making me less afraid of showing my whole self, helped me become more accepting of my bisexuality; this ultimately made it easier to accept myself as transgender.
By finally writing this down, this experience might have lost some of the mythicality I gave it in my head. Maybe that’s bad, because it lessens the nature of the mushroom’s teachings; or maybe that’s good, because it means that I don’t have to look back on it when it’s more beneficial to live in the present. Regardless, I’d much rather have the mushroom continue to teach me, so I won’t have to go back to the lessons I had years ago. I hope to one day start growing my own mushrooms for this very reason. But until then, I’ll still have the most valuable lesson I learned to look back on in times of distress: “I am exactly who I should be, and I am thankful.”
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