Citation: holothewise. "Dinosaurs and Other Childhood Relics: An Experience with LSD (exp116943)". Erowid.org. Jan 9, 2023. erowid.org/exp/116943
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This report covers a trip that happened three days ago. Myself and my wife (“G”) each took one hit of LSD. I’ve used LSD around five or six times before. This was my wife’s first experience with it. We’ve both taken psilocybin many times (including “heroic/ego-death” doses).
The LSD in question was obtained from a source that a long-time friend assured me could be trusted not to sell potentially dangerous alternatives. We had the substance in our possession for probably around 8 months before ingestion as the right time never really came up (stored in a cool, dark place protected from air/temperature changes).
Having finally decided to take it, we settled on heading to a local botanical garden for the onset, and then seeing how things developed. This was a paid-entry park, full of beautiful trees and flowers, and very safe. A perfect place to enjoy nature and relax while the LSD kicked in. Our intention going in was simply to enjoy the experience but, as is often the case, the drug itself had other plans for one of us.
Our intention going in was simply to enjoy the experience but, as is often the case, the drug itself had other plans for one of us.
I took my blotter first, sliding it under my tongue and paying careful attention for any hint of bitterness/numbness that would indicate this was a no-go. The blotter tasted like nothing at all – a good sign, and “G” followed suit taking her own hit. I’d pre-packed a picnic bag for our expedition, so the only thing that remained was to call an Uber and make the +- 10 min trip to the park.
T + 00:15
In the Uber, I already started noticing that the trees on the side of the road had started to take on a little more intensity. A green and happy sheen that told me I was in for a good time. A very slight feeling of euphoria was starting up at this point (Note that while this seemed very early for the onset of any effects whatsoever, the “brightness” of the trees at this stage was confirmed later by “G”).
T + 00:20-00:30
At our destination, we joined a fairly long queue of people waiting to enter the park (peak season in our very tourist-friendly city). After a while we heard some others behind us discussing buying tickets online as this meant you could just head straight in, so as we waited “G” proceeded to navigate the online booking system and we managed to get digital tickets long before we were anywhere near the front of the line and then headed inside. Good timing, as we were both starting to feel distinctly “happy” by this point.
Once inside, we wandered around for a while looking for a nice shady area to set up. It was a very hot day, and we wanted somewhere that wasn’t too close to other people, so we walked through the gardens for probably around 15 minutes, looking for the perfect spot.
T + 00:45-02:00
We eventually settled on a patch of shade under a tree that was a good distance from the next nearest people and spread out our picnic blanket and supplies as an increasing feeling of euphoria took hold. The trees and plants around us were becoming more enjoyable to look at by the minute. There were also birds, small insects, and the sounds of people all around. It was, in general, a very enjoyable and relaxing atmosphere, and we settled in on some pillows we’d brought and started listening to Dead can Dance’s “Anastasis” album on a shared pair of earbuds. This meant we could hear both the world around us (in one ear each) and the music playing.
The lyrics of the first song immediately made both of us quite giggly, and we lay on our backs staring up into the canopy above us, intermittently laughing. Every now and then I’d roll onto my stomach to observe the people around us in the gardens and I started to find it very amusing how seriously they all took themselves and how adamant so many humans are that we aren’t just apes. Watching people, it became very apparent to me exactly how apelike so much of human behaviour still is and when I mentioned this observation to “G” she concurred, and we proceeded to giggle to ourselves over this idea. In between, we snacked on the cheese and crackers and fruit we’d brought, and everything tasted amazing in our euphoric state.
We continued chatting about all of the bizarre things humans do – and “G” remarked that no wonder no-one had wanted to be drafted to go to Vietnam back in the 60s/70s if they were taking LSD and having these kinds of feelings/observations about the human race.
After a while, we both settled back onto our pillows and just let the music take us. At this stage, I was starting to have some visual distortions, mainly if I focused on the canopy (fractal-like patterns), and “G” was moving her hand through the air above her, apparently seeing some tracers.
When I closed my eyes, I started seeing bright glimpses of fractal patterns, and after a while I had the distinct sensation of being on a beautiful tropical island. This bit is somewhat hard to explain, but the sensation here was really delightful. I was seeing colours like one of those tropical island logos with the horizontal stripes of orange/pink for sunset and had the distinct impression of being on a tropical beach.
I could feel the palm trees around me, the crystalline, turquoise water lapping at the sand near my feet. My whole being felt like it was being bathed in this warm tropical water. It had a distinctly Caribbean vibe to it, and I was very, very happy and relaxed, feeling completely at ease in this soporific setting. When I eventually reluctantly opened my eyes again “G” informed me that she really needed to go find a bathroom and declined my offer to accompany her to look for one.
I asked her if she was sure and she insisted, so I watched her make her way (remarkably steadily) across the lawns and up a path under the trees and then turned my attention to a book of Japanese poetry I’d brought with me. I read a few pieces (the English translations) and then for the first time actually attempted to read the original Japanese as well (Romanized words) which was a very interesting experience. The sounds seemed to align perfectly with the sentiment being expressed in each poem.
After a while, I checked my phone to see if “G” had attempted to contact me but there were no messages. I was having difficulty keeping track of time by this point, so I sent her a message asking if she was managing (which also gave me a time stamp to refer back to so I’d know when I should start worrying).
From here on in, the times get a bit fuzzy so the following are approximations.
T + 02:15 (?)
After a while had passed without seeing “G”, I started wondering whether I should go look for her. I didn’t want her to get back to our spot and find me missing however, so I waited a little longer and eventually she turned up, making her way back across the lawn towards me.
When she reached our spot, I could see she was a bit worked up and she sank down onto the picnic blanket looking pretty stressed out and informed me she’d gotten lost and hadn’t managed to find the bathrooms after all.
“G” seemed at this point like she might be having a mild panic attack, so I tried to calm her a bit and eventually managed to get her to eat another plum and breathe normally (she was on the verge of hyperventilating) and she then mentioned she was experiencing pain in her back. After she’d settled a bit, we decided to go together to find the bathrooms, and we took the same path she’d previously gone along.
As we walked, “G” explained to me that part of her anxiety was around the fact that there were dinosaurs in the garden. Now at this point I grew somewhat concerned about how strongly the trip was affecting her, as I had barely had any open-eye visual effects apart from brightness and some fractalization of the scenery if I stared at it for long enough. Seeing entire dinosaurs seemed like a far leap and I assured her there weren’t any until we turned a corner in the path and I was taken aback by the presence of a something that looked like a small diplodocus standing among some prehistoric plants.
It took my high mind a few moments to parse this new development, and then I realised that this was part of an exhibition they had put up at the gardens. There really were dinosaurs peering out of the vegetation all around us as we walked, and I laughed with “G” about what a freaky thing this was to encounter by yourself on LSD in a botanical garden.
Eventually, with the path looping back round towards our starting point we managed to procure directions to the bathrooms from a kindly couple and finally completed our epic journey, and then managed to make it back to our spot under the tree.
A grand total of about 20 minutes had passed from when “G” had left me originally to us finding our way back to the spot from the bathrooms (judging by the time stamp of the message on my phone)
T + 02:30 (?)
After this, things seemed to be going south rather quickly for “G”, and she couldn’t quite regain the happy space we’d started the trip in. The pain in her back was getting worse (muscle spasms), and we made the decision to head back home where I hoped she’d be able to relax into things again.
I called up an Uber and we headed home, chatting to the driver as we went. I was feeling very confident and friendly throughout and had no problems talking to people and navigating the process of getting us home, while “G” was still somewhat more subdued, though she chatted with the driver a bit as well as we neared our house.
T + 03:00
At home, things seemed to take on a lighter tone and “G” was initially much happier, and also relieved to be at home with our animals rather than out in the world. We started up some music, and she got out some art materials and started sketching, and I relaxed on the couch, enjoying some very beautiful, closed-eye fractals – the same kind of bright, light visuals that I often get at a certain stage of psilocybin trips. These are usually patterns of white-light shapes on white backgrounds, that feel like the inside of a “temple of light” for lack of a better term.
Their appearance is typically accompanied by an elevated feeling, a kind of consciousness-expanding euphoria. I like this state of being very much, but it’s usually transitory, especially on mushrooms. I will note that the overall experience of LSD is quite different for me, however, from mushrooms. Somehow, psilocybin feels more “organic” and there’s typically more body-load, whereas LSD feels very “cerebral”.
The connection to nature is also quite different. Whereas on psilocybin I often feel very much entrenched in nature, on LSD the role feels more that of an observer – everything is still very beautiful but appreciated from more of a distance. A beautiful system we as humans are part of but not deeply interconnected with.
Though “G” was a bit happier by this stage, she was still experiencing increasingly painful spasms in her back muscles. She was also having trouble taking deep breaths as doing so would trigger the spasms. This would continue over the coming hours, eventually reaching a very painful intensity.
T + 05:00-08:00
During this period, my focus was mainly on trying to alleviate this pain by rubbing the muscles and trying to find a comfortable position for her to lie in, so I wasn’t paying much attention to the effects of the LSD. She also took some painkillers (two capsules containing paracetamol (acetaminophen) and ibuprofen) but these had no apparent effect. Eventually, “G” decided to take 10 mg of Valium in an attempt to get her tortured back muscles to finally relax. A quick google confirmed that this should be safe enough, and she took one pill while I kept an eye on her in the bedroom.
Amazingly, the back spasms persisted even through the painkillers and Valium. When “G” started crying, it finally sank in for me that there was something else happening here as well, and as I held her, she sobbed in my arms. I could sense there was something deep coming up here – a childhood pain I was all too familiar with from my own less than stellar experiences of youth.
I whispered for her to release it, let it go, and she proceeded to cry harder than I’d ever seen before, all the while still feeling the extraordinary pain of her spasming back. When she finally settled somewhat, we talked through what had just happened. It was related to a particularly traumatic childhood event that we’d discussed before, and I felt that these two things – the physical experience of pain and this deep traumatic event were somehow intrinsically linked.
She now proceeded to tell me this childhood story in greater detail than I’d previously heard it. The sensory experience of it. The aftermath. I had the distinct impression of her childhood self choosing this moment, and this vehicle, to highlight a pattern of thinking that had been hurting my dear wife for a very long time. She continued intermittently sobbing and talking to me, and in that moment, I somehow loved her more than I even knew was possible.
After these events she also confirmed to me that at a certain point she’d realised the only thing she could do was give in and let the waves of pain wash over and through her.
When things eventually calmed back down, “G” was exhausted – pretty much ready for lights out (it was evening by now) and still experiencing some pain from her back. I continued chatting to her about everything that had just happened, about our respective childhoods and the experiences we’ve had, and gently suggesting that she do some meditating and other forms of integration in the days to come.
T + 09:00 (?) through the rest of the trip
The final effects of the LSD took a few more hours to work out of our systems, and over this period of time, I had a couple of beers once I was content that “G” was going to be fine. It took me a long time to go to sleep, but when I eventually did so I only slept for a couple of hours, and then woke up for another four or so hours before I could finally pass out fully.
Overall, this experience, though deep and full of many painful aspects for “G”, was a very positive one for me. I actually felt pretty calm, happy and focused throughout, even in the depths of the worst parts. I was naturally concerned about “G”, but I knew she was going to be fine, and was pretty sure the pain aspect would solve itself in time, without us needing to resort to a trip to hospital (which would likely have made everything a thousand times more unpleasant and difficult). And of course, I knew she’d tell me if she felt that was necessary.
In the days since, “G” has been having a difficult time, but has dutifully worked on integrating the experience. Some pain has persisted. For my part, I’ve actually been in a really calm, happy mood throughout. I feel at peace and closer to my wife than before. I know this difficult experience is going to be one that ultimately leads to growth and learning, for both of us.
As always, the trips we go on aren’t always the ones we intend to take. But they most certainly are the ones we need to.
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