Citation: Inanna. "Cautionary Account: An Experience with MDMA (exp62728)". Erowid.org. Nov 9, 2007. erowid.org/exp/62728
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I offer this account of my experiences as a fairly written, accurate description of what MDMA can be like on a bad day relative to its positive effects. My aim is to give the reader a clear idea of what to expect and how to avoid or better manage a bad experience with MDMA, as well as to state the reality of the possibility for disadvantages of MDMA without presenting a picture skewed with undue fear or bias.
I first used MDMA in late 2005 with a boyfriend who used to be a raver. The quality of the stuff he was getting from his dealer was poor but the purity was good. That is to say, the pills he bought were not very strong but were unadulterated by other substances.
My first experience on the drug was nothing short of miraculous. I was moved to tears by the things I felt. Successive experiences were also positive and I feel that I accomplished more positive change and reflection on my first five rolls than I ever had in my years of psychotherapy for depression and issues related to past child-abuse.
As I mentioned earlier, my boyfriend at the time had been a raver who was introducing me to that scene. He was an experienced drug-user who'd built a high tolerance for substance use over the years. After my second roll, he began 'feeding me' more and more pills to keep the roll going because this was what he was accustomed to. I had little education on MDMA at the time and did not understand very much about the brain's serotonin stores. I only knew that I loved the drug and that I needed higher and higher doses to feel 'magical.' Additionally, we began taking the drug every other weekend.
After about three months of this behaviour, I had had enough. Experiences on MDMA began to feel unspecial. There was still an energetic, uplifting feeling, but the jittery and nervous side-effects began to make it less and let worth getting high. I began to educate myself around this time as to the effects of the drug on your neurotransmitter stores and advice on how to properly space out experiences. I also broke things off with that boyfriend.
A while after this, I met someone else in the 'rave scene.' I made plans to go with some friends and this man (who is now my husband) to a four-day, camp-out, electronic music festival in BC Canada. I decided to not take any drugs for a period of five months prior to the event so that I could ensure a better experience when I was there.
The first night of the festival, I had not gotten much sleep or much to eat all day because I had spent the whole night on a plane, and then we all spent the whole day driving from Vancouver to the festival, which was 8 hours away. I had not planned on taking any drugs until the following night. However, after my friend pulled out a bag full of about 200 pills, I couldn't resist the temptation. I decided to take one. That was my first mistake: taking drugs on no sleep and nothing to eat or drink.
Thinking that these pills would be close to the purity of the ones I had experienced at home, I decided to take a second pill right after the first because I was afraid one wouldn't be strong enough and I'd 'waste' my serotonin by only going 'halfway.' That was mistake #2.
Mistake #3 was pure stupidity. 25 minutes had elapsed from the first dose. My husband is also an experienced raver and did not feel the effects yet. He decided to take a third pill himself and at the time, unaware of my low level of experience, he offered me one as well. On a whim, and throwing caution to the wind, I took it.
That was the last bit of true clarity I have from that night.
An unknown period of time after that, the drug kicked in...hard. It turns out that the level of purity was very, very good. I began to feel agitated immediately. The 'rush,' which is usually a pleasant experience for me, was awful. There was a feeling in my gut of having the floor just fall out from under my feet--like being on a roller-coaster that just drops you suddenly. I got very bad chills and immediately felt that I needed to use the bathroom.
I didn't really know the area very well and it was nighttime, so my husband walked me to the outhouses on the festival grounds. I spent what felt like hours in there and couldn't bring myself to leave. I wanted to finish up my business and go be with the man I loved, but I was too nervous or scared to leave the bathroom. It was just an icky, icky feeling.
I finally got out of there and walked back to the tent with my husband. At this point, I was alternately sweating and getting the most severe chills of my life. No sooner did we get back to the tent, than I needed to use the bathroom again. This time, I knew pretty much where it was and insisted on going by myself.
That was the worst mistake.
As soon as I left the area where our tent was, I was immediately disoriented. I forgot why I'd left. I didn't know where I was, where I was heading or why I was standing in the middle of a campground. My mind was gone. I looked around for signs of something familiar and saw none. I knew I wanted to get back to my man somehow but couldn't figure out how to complete that task. I alternated between feeling frightened, frustrated and numb. If a stranger who wanted to hurt me had come up to me at this moment, I could have been easily persuaded into following him anywhere. I was all respects, Lost. I decided to stay in one place until I could get my bearings. I stood in the cold, night air for what seemed like ages. I have no idea how long I was there, but eventually, my husband came looking for me. I remember going back to the tent with him and spending the rest of the night in his arms.
I think it's important for people to derive from this an understanding of what a bad E experience is like and how it occurs, but also how to avoid one. Never take these drugs when you are exhausted. Know your dose and your tolerance threshold.
I also want to stress the importance of partying with other people you know and trust. When I was wandering around, I could have put myself in horrendous danger. I had no cognitive ability whatsoever. I had what I later learned is referred to as 'two-minute memory.' I'd say it was less than that. I couldn't think, I couldn't reason, I couldn't remember from one minute to the next. I doubt I could have counted for ten paces before forgetting what number I was up to. I am not exaggerating, it was that bad.
If someone less than honourable had found me, I might have been robbed, raped or taken advantage of in some way. I might also have been convinced by a well-meaning stranger to be led to an area far away from my campsite with no clue as to how to get back.
If you find yourself in this situation with no friends around, I have one piece of advice: ask for help from someone YOU chose, don't wait for someone to encounter YOU. You have much less of a chance of becoming prey if you pick someone at random rather than waiting for a predator who is looking for you. Look for an experienced raver and tell them you're disoriented and need help. If you can, try to ask them to keep track of where they found you.
If you see another party-goer in this situation, help them. Make a mental note of where you found them and ask them simple questions to find out where there are and who they came with. Understand that you may need to keep them 'on track' in the conversation because they will not be capable of remembering what you've said from one minute to the next. Do not abandon them until you locate their friends.
Have fun, stay together, help others and party safe.
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