Citation: timeo. "What is Saturday?: An Experience with 4-AcO-DMT (exp116265)". Erowid.org. Sep 2, 2022. erowid.org/exp/116265
Yes, I really did accidentally and recklessly consume around 80mg of of some kind of psilocybin salt/ester. It was the most intense psychedelic experience of my life, past and hopefully future - I'm not keen on repeating it (to put it mildly). It's the only one I've had that left me with HPPD.
As reckless as this was, I also can't quite say I regret it. It showed me my self, at its most raw and vulnerable, nothing more or less. It was remarkable to behold, and something not many people ever experience, so in a way I feel privileged. And in a twisted way I even feel pride - not that drug use like this is something to be proud of... but... gosh, my mind is really something, withstanding a dose like this alone in my apartment without making a peep!
About me: I'm a heavy cannabis user with a history of depression, body dysmorphia, anorexia and a stressful lifestyle, and I've started using psychedelic drugs again recently for the first time in more than a decade. For about three months I've been taking either a lysergamide or psilocybin ester obtained from a street pharmacist about once every two weeks.
The experience occurred after an emotionally draining, lonely, hopeless, exhausting work-week of very little sleep (probably less than 6 hours of sleep over four days). The pharmacist had two great deals, one for an ounce of hash oil and another for psilocybin chocolates, and I ordered both. This was unusual for me, as I usually stuck to whole dried mushrooms. The bars were sold as containing psilocybin but it's well-known that products like this frequently contain so-called synthetic shrooms. But I thought I might try it to see if I could avoid some of the nausea and dysphoria of psilocybin by taking the drug in a tastier form, and I wasn't discouraged by what I'd read online about 4-AcO-DMT.
To say I was unprepared for what I'd experience is an understatement.
T0:00 – I wake up after a fitful night of no sleep and prepared a cup of coffee. I briefly consider eating only one bar before deciding, with a Greek chorus admonishing me in the background, to throw caution to the wind and gobble down both. The bars are branded simply: "4000." It's a scheduled drug so actual substance/dose can't be ascertained.
T0:15 - I recognize the distinct "swoon" of serotonin, from SSRIs prescribed as a young man. This is distinct from and much stronger than a typical mushroom foreglow.
T0:30 - Whoa, nelly, this kick's got a mule... uh, I mean... wait, what was I thinking about? My body's so heavy, and my balance is so bad, and this room feels so big... The walls and lights are throbbing and shifting. The venetian blinds now extend all the way across my wall. I can't stop squinting and stretching my face muscles - it just feels so pleasant and sensuous.
T0:40 - I take a nice big healthy yank from a battery-powered hash oil pen and lie down. Bright, intricate fractal patterns glow and shift on my white ceiling and walls. A creeping, terrible sense of dread and impending doom begins. Mild nausea, but I steel my stomach and avoid vomiting. The mushroom takes complete control.
I can't create a timeline for the next few hours of the experience because time lost all meaning in the state I was in. An overwhelming hallucinatory psychosis - that's the only way to describe it. I experienced complete ego/memory loss, blinding visual distortions & hallucinations, bizarre delusions, and a total shutdown of analysis and language skills. My appearance would have shocked and horrified anyone.
Suddenly I can feel myself struggling - a struggle I perceive very acutely as a fight for the last shreds of my sanity. I keep repeating aloud to myself small phrases to anchor myself to reality: I'll be fine. It's Saturday. I'm on X Street, in Y City. But... suddenly I realize these "facts" have become meaningless - just as meaningless as this "reality" I'm struggling to stay connected to for some reason. Why am I telling myself it's Saturday? What is Saturday? I reach for my cell phone absent-mindedly out of habit - then quickly realize I can't remember why. I have a vague memory of this thing, that it belongs to me, and that it's called a "cell phone" - but I can't understand anything I'm seeing on it or what purpose it serves. I can see distinctly the word "Saturday" on it, and some numbers... but I don't relate what I see to anything useful. I don't realize that seeing "Saturday" confirms what I'm repeating aloud to comfort myself - that it is, in fact, Saturday. To be perfectly honest, now that I'm trying to think about what I'm doing, I realize I don't understand what Saturday is, or what today is, or even what days are...
(In a sober state, I remember the numbers on my phone at this point - they indicate about 2 hours had passed since ingestion.)
I turn, see the folded textures of a couch in the dark, and suddenly it becomes a face with eyes - distinctly cat-like eyes, blinking, shifting, focusing on me... I turn, sure that I see them everywhere - hundreds of sets of eyes, cat-like and feral, watching me - but they vanish as soon as I'm sure I've caught sight of them...
I see them everywhere - hundreds of sets of eyes, cat-like and feral, watching me - but they vanish as soon as I'm sure I've caught sight of them...
Every surface, every shape shifts as if crawling with maggots...
Suddenly I feel an overwhelming sense of presence. "I know," I start repeating. I feel gazed upon by the eyes of the world, suddenly - and they all surely MUST know something is wrong, that this man is quite mad... "I know," I keep saying, as if to reassure this imagined presence, all these eyes watching me: Yes, I know, something's wrong with my mind - but I think I'll be fine soon... I keep saying it to myself, after all... I wander to the bathroom to retch, not really comprehending what I'm doing but associating this act with relief from nausea in my reptile-brain... unable to vomit, I look up and see a face, the ugliest, most horrifying face imaginable: pale, drawn skin bubbling and throbbing as if maggots are crawling underneath, stretched across bones pointing out at grotesque, uneven angles, eyes twitching and quivering madly... I have absolutely no concept that I'm looking at myself in a mirror, or what a mirror is, or what a self is, or who I am...
(In a sober state, I recall I looked absolutely spun and had the most severe nystagmus and mydriasis I've ever seen.)
As I stumble back to bed, I can still see my window and repeat as if for the first time: that's my window, I'm on X Street, in Y City, but... now my vision in fracturing and splitting - now I can only see half a window, and half a twisted, blurring, spinning void: a space that pulls irresistibly somehow, as if claiming me for the realm of the insane... I turn, realizing that reality has completely fallen away, leaving me certain that I am now an incurable mental patient, and that my sanity and life-force have shriveled up and died, gone forever...
The presence becomes clearer, somehow. It's clearly angry with me - this interloper, this wanderer who has rudely trespassed into a sacred space, trod upon forbidden ground. Well, now you've done it! Look at the mess you've made! "I know," I repeat. "I'm sorry." I weep uncontrollably, begging for forgiveness, professing love for family, friends, old lovers... and as I do, another presence becomes distinct - a different presence, maybe older, female? Forgive him, this other presence insists. He knows not what he has done.
Forgive him, this other presence insists. He knows not what he has done.
Show him, won't you?
I can distinctly sense that the other presence agrees, maybe grudgingly - and suddenly I feel an incredible intense wave of something indescribable. The only words I can find for it: an absolute certainty that the story of my life will end just as happily as I've always hoped, that all my worries and concerns and anxieties are insignificant and unfounded, and that complete, utter fulfillment and enlightenment has already been achieved, for me and every other soul on the planet... Then, a sudden rising swell, a sense of more souls, more presences, all rising joyfully, making themselves counted, affirming with one voice: Don't you see? Don't you realize? Now you see how clear it's been all along, don't you? "Of course," I begin to repeat to myself. "It's just as wonderful as I had ever hoped... I can't wait to see how it all unfolds..."
I weep softly, rocking back and forth, exhausted by the heavy yoke of my indiscretion and the magnitude of my foolishness, repeating to myself: "Beautiful, remarkable, wonderful..."
Then, as if waking from a dream, suddenly, I realize - my sanity is back. I know where I am, now; I recognize my window and my apartment and my city. I reach for my phone and check the time.
T4:00 - My body still feels incredibly heavy. I stumble back to my bathroom, awkwardly, struggling with ataxia, and begin to turn the faucet on to start a shower - but the shifting floor and walls make me change his mind. I can see in the mirror my pupils are still enormous. Firefly-like arcs of looping, swirling light in neon-bright colors flash in my vision. I'm able to steel my stomach and fight off some slight nausea, stumbling back to bed. The room still feels strangely large.
T4:45 - The peak of the drug's effects have now significantly but not entirely subsided. I try to relax and ignore a general slightly unpleasant serotonin wooziness.
I slept for a few hours, and when I woke I felt a little more rested. But though the serotonin sickness was nearly gone, I couldn't shake a distinct sense of dreamlike depersonalization / derealization and couldn't stop pondering the magnitude of what he had just experienced. The rest of my day, I tried with mixed success to follow a normal routine: paying bills, planning appointments, laundry/housework, a walk in a local park. The entire time my attention span was poor and I was clumsy and forgetful - as if a few bowls deep into a cannabis smoking session.
AFTER THE EXPERIENCE
It's been a few months since my psilocybin overdose and I've noticed some subtle aftereffects have persisted without subsiding, including: faint visual snow, light sensitivity and occasional visual distortions like diplopia and peripheral vision misinterpretation, particularly when hypoglycemic, sleep-deprived, falling asleep/waking up, or high on cannabis.
I know full well this is HPPD and that it might be permanent. That is the risk of psychedelics. Some may judge me or find it sick or a sign of addiction that I take such a sanguine view, but I honestly don't find the symptoms bothersome and maybe even find them a bit pleasant, They make me wary of consuming high doses of serotonergic tryptamines again, but that's probably a good thing.
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