Citation: Lila. "Heightened Empathy: An Experience with MDMA & Cannabis (exp30931)". Erowid.org. Feb 13, 2007. erowid.org/exp/30931
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I'm a 19 year old female, fairly experienced with drugs. I smoke pot, love mushrooms, and I've experimented with coke, ketamine, painkillers, etc. I had done half a tablet of ecstasy before, which had resulted in a fun, low-key evening. I was alert and sociable, and played scrabble with a few friends who were drinking and had good conversation/good vibes throughout the night, so I wasn't that worried about taking Ecstasy again.
My college throws large parties three times a year for various holidays, and for the Valentine's day celebration this year I decided to take Ecstasy again with a close friend. We arrived at the school, and checked out the scene. There were a fair amount of people, dressed in costumes, and most everyone was drinking/tripping/fucked up. However, because of rain, the celebration was being held indoors and the sound system and all dancing was inside, which made for somewhat cramped quarters. Although we kind of thought the party was lame, we weren't going anywere and around 12:30 that night we both took one one gel tablet with white powder inside, supposedly pure MDMA. Not much happened for a while, we smoked a joint and chilled with some friends in a dorm room.
I guess I should mention that I had been having problems with a friend of mine I was hanging out with that night, which turned out to be worse than I thought they were. Although things had been a little awkward, we had still been calling and talking to each other up even to the day before the party and we were still hanging out together with mutual friends. Under normal conditions, I think things would have gone smoothly.
About 40 minutes after taking the ecstasy, I definitely began to feel something. I felt happy, giddy, excited and all of the tension that I held in my muscles sort of evaporated. I was fascinated by a bouquet of flowers and found myself more sensitive to light. I danced around a little bit and enjoyed myself for another twenty minutes. My rolling buddy decided to go check out the party in the main building and left the room. At that point, three of my friends, who were drinking, got up and went into the bathroom to have a private talk or something. Like I said, things had been a little weird. I stayed in the room with another friend until it became clear they weren't coming out anytime soon. Giggling was coming from the bathroom, and it smelled like pot. I got up and left, my mood a little down.
Walking back to the main party was a strange experience. I felt detached from myself, and aimless and lonely. Even though I knew many of the people there, I didn't really want to talk to them as much as I wanted to sort out the problems I had been having with my friend and I was thinking about this while staring up at the sky, which I thought was beautiful. At this point some EMTs arrived on campus, and someone told me how some underage girl had drunk herself unconscious. It was about 2:00 then, and the party was in full swing, there was probably about two or three hundred people in various states of inebriation. This was probably when I got really nervous and restless. I wanted to have a good time, but I was feeling depressed and my body felt strange, my heart rate had quickened and I remember being worried that I was going to be the next person the EMTs took away. I still felt good in a weird sort of way, though, enjoying the sense of motion and light-headedness but worried I was having an adverse reaction to the drug.
I was trying to find some familiar faces in the milling sea of people gathered outside of the party, and I was uncomfortable with the close proximity of strangers, even though I had been to four bigger parties of the same kind and been pretty much at ease drinking alcohol and once taking shrooms. Some random guy who wasn't from my school grabbed my ass, and after this the crowd seemed a lot more threatening than before, and I definitely was not enjoying myself. My sense of restlessness grew, and I was frustrated by the fact that I couldn't have a conversation without being interrupted by the crowd of people.
One or two people gave me hugs and this made me very uncomfortable. I don't know if I can explain the feeling exactly, but at this point even though I was more sensitive to the feeling of excitement at the party, it depressed me. I was ashamed I wasn't feeling the same way, and thinking about how quickly this party would be exactly like the one that followed it, and other such unpleasant thoughts. In short, I was in a funk, mostly caused by the loud and tumultous surroundings which made it hard for me to ground myself enough to move away from my negative thoughts and feelings.
I decided to go inside and join the group of people dancing, since talking to people had put me on edge and I sort of figured since Ecstasy was a rave drug, it would do me well to loosen up and start dancing. There weren't more than 60 people dancing at this point, and the music was okay. I felt a little better and chilled out for a while, I closed my eyes and concentrated on the sound of the music, which seemed louder and more alive than it normally did. I definitely 'felt it' coursing through my body, and my feeling of being light-headed increased and I felt a curious distance from the world. Until I saw my friend dancing in the crowd, the one I had been having problems with.
I guess it was the Ecstasy, because I felt like we would be able to talk like we always had before, or just dance and have a good time. However, this turned out not to be the case and she refused to look in my direction, except out of the corner of her eyes and I felt like I could feel the waves of dislike hitting me physically. It was a very weird feeling, definitely not something I had ever felt before. On the one hand, the MDMA had made me sort of open and receptive and sensitive, but on the other hand this also made me hyperaware of other people's emotions and feelings, and more vulnerable to them. I really wanted to connect, and felt any chance of that being severed. I actually felt a sensation like a bunch of bees were stinging me all over my body, and I began to feel very nauseos and worried and paranoid.
At this point, all I wanted to do was to go home and sleep away any effects of the drug, but it was only around 2:45 and the party was still going and all of my potential rides were trashed. I decided to head to the quiet room, a room set aside for people like me who were having bad experiences with drugs or were too drunk and just needed a place to drink water and snacks and calm down. I poured myself some water, which I had been drinking all night, I got cottonmouth pretty bad and water tasted amazing. And chilled out on the couch.
There were only four other people in the room, and the music was quiet and I had a friendly chat with a guy who had graduated last year. Although the conversation was very easy, I still felt extremely disquieted and empty inside and I really just wanted to go home still. But, anyway, it still felt really good just to sit and a few minutes later some people I knew came in and commented that my pupils were dilated and recommended I drink some orange juice, which seemed to make me feel better. They tried to help me find a ride home, but were unsuccessful. A few people had taken Ecstasy before and said it was probably mostly the situation that was causing my adverse reaction and my relative inexperience with the drug. I agreed, but that didn't make me feel any better and I retreated into silence, frustrated that my brain felt too fuzzy for me to express how I was feeling.
I guess a little while later, my rolling buddy came in and sat down on the couch next to me and asked how I felt. I started crying and she comforted me, giving me a massage and I felt in a lot better spirits, probably because we were both rolling. She had actually taken a second dose of the same type, and was having an amazing time. All the same, I definitely had no desire to rejoin the party and we wandered around campus for the rest of the night, talking to each other and enjoying the sensation of the temperature rising and falling with the breeze and eating chocolate, which tasted awesome.
We swung on a hammock, and chatted a little bit with some people we ran into who were also rolling. Throughout all of this, my perception and awareness were definitely heightened and I could practically feel every single nerve on my body. I was still out of sorts, but I was able to put aside my lingering anxiety and enjoy the sensations of the night. I think I was coming down around then, and would recommend having a bowl to smoke to ease the transition.
We got home at around 5:45, and while my friend was still rolling I was just exhausted. We cuddled and smoked a bowl, which definitely eased my anxiety, and I fell asleep at about 6:30, a lot better. I'm glad that I finished up my rolling experience and didn't go home early, because even for the rough spots there was also some remarkably cool moments of heightened sensation and connection. I would just never put myself in such a strange experience on a new drug, and I definitely would not do Ecstasy around people who I'm having any slight tension with again.
I don't really think of myself as a particularly sensitive person, or at least I feel like I've built up a few barriers to keep myself from getting hurt, but the MDMA demolished all of those and made me very vulnerable. On the one hand, connections with people are a lot better because of the social/mental inhibitions that go down, but if things go wrong with anyone it makes you much more vulnerable and likely to get hurt.
If I decide to take MDMA again, it will be with a group of people who are rolling, maybe on the beach with lots of tactile stimulation. Definitely not around a bunch of drunk people or at a large party. The few days after the experience were marked with a bit of depression, until I resolved the conflict with my friend. So, even if you think it's trivial matter, any sort of negative emotion on Ecstasy can become extremely overpowering. Even though I went in went in with a good mindset, the setting made the roll a mostly unpleasant one.
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