Citation: Sammy Shankar. "Losing My Mind: An Experience with Cannabis & Salvia divinorum (extract) (exp70068)". Erowid.org. Apr 28, 2018. erowid.org/exp/70068
I have smoked bud for a few years now and have often seen it as the most positive and pleasant experience possible. Until recently, I didnít know it was possible to get anything worse than desert-mouth when I'm blazed. Last summer was one of the most fun and exciting times of my life. Day was filled with chilling and smoking up in the sun, there were usually house parties several times a week at night. As youíd imagine, itís all a bit of a blur now. Then, near the end of the holidays I ripped a bong of Salvia Divinorum and changed my life.
What I experienced in that place disturbed and terrified me more than I thought anything ever could. I donít know why but there was something dark and hellish about that black extract. The first sensation I remember was when my body was paralysed and I was stuck partially paralysed in the feeling that my face was ripping itself apart. After that I seemed to focus on some terrible cartoony 3d image of some trippy animal. It was all flowing about and the shape and texture of it was dancing. It filled my vision; repeating itself over and over in bizarre poems. There are no real adjectives in that state of mind (I had, sometime in the last minute, entirely lost grip of identity/memory/perception of time or outside stimuli), but it seemed slimy and infectious. And it was oozing into the very substance of my being, if I still had one. I felt an agonising sense of pain; not localised as I wasnít aware of my body, but pulsing and crackling throughout my soul. I then slipped into a bright but halloweenish dimension. I had entirely what it was to have a body, or a brain. I was being stretched apart, divided, spouted out like radio waves. My universe was spinning around and becoming more and more meaningless. Except that trippy being from before was now there, I could sense the same indescribable negativity associated with it from before. I was emanating some imperceptible and unpleasant sound, like blurred words filling everything. I felt like I was forcing myself apart into coloured bands and the pain was getting worse.
Suddenly I visualised the creature from before and it began to morph into something else; something that jumped about and began to get divided up into 3, 4 or 5 distinct alien personalities. I pleaded with it to stop this, to break me out of the hell I was in, to let me die and be gone forever. Something new was working its way in, more words, more voices. I still couldnít make sense of them but I began to recognise the personalities from before as people I knew, people standing around me; asking if I was alright. I tried to explain to them what had happened but the words didnít come out right. I was sweating, I was thirsty and I wanted a cigarette. I went home and basically broke down, I couldnít reconcile what had just happened to me with the ordinary life I had been living until that day.
Ever since that day, I have been different
Ever since that day, I have been different
; Iíve changed in myself and I can feel it. I may be more mature but Iím also more cynical and much more cautious. I began to let go of my vivid memories of what it was like and I began to fixate in my thoughts on what happened in the time I couldnít remember. What had happened in the few seconds after I ripped the bong and before I got the face-tearing moment? My greatest fear is going there again.
Now, I have smoked lots of bud since then, though I have been cutting down. Iíve had some very good stones and the occasional fidgety-high when I couldnít relax properly because of being self-conscious. My point is that nothing bad happened when I was stoned and the experience was entirely and comfortingly different than my trip. However, a couple of weeks ago, I was at a friendís (I call him A) house with lots of other people around getting stoned. I went outside to smoke a joint (note: Just one joint) with a couple of friends who were getting blazed too. I inhaled deeply, holding back my tokes for about ten seconds to make sure I wouldnít miss out on the THC. I didnít feel any real effects for a few minutes and I got into a deep and good-natured conversation with a good mate (B) of mine. As this conversation continued, I began to feel more and more chilled. I got very into chatting away and so did my friend who was pretty drunk. We talked about music, God, our favourite TV show and lots of other stuff. He had more energy than me and I was quite chilled but when a third friend (C) came out to ask us why we hadnít come back inside for about an hour, we both felt more like staying outside where it was cool. However, I realised, after another ten minutes, I needed a drink and that Iíd quite like to go and join people in the living room. B agreed and we headed inside.
There were quite a lot of people in the kitchen as I went to get some water and they all began to talk to me. Suddenly, I had gone from chilled to being totally overloaded. I suddenly felt like I was on the very brink of going into a dark salvia-esque trip. All these people crowded around me and I didnít have any space, my heart was racing, I was suffocating and I was losing my grasp on normal reality. Time was messed up and so was my vision. I tried to be as calm as I could and I said ďI think somebodyís given me salviaĒ I said in a paranoid voice which seemed to amuse most people.
I headed outside as quick as I could, my thoughts were breaking down. All my chilled-out positivity from before had vanished and been replaced with pure fear and panic. Fear of going back, fear of finally losing my mind. I was intensely tripped out by the people coming outside to see if I was okay. I said, in disturbed tones, that I wanted to be alone and I thought I was tripping. Mainly, I wanted to be away from the horrible bright light and shifting dimensions of the house. I longed to disappear into the moonlit grass and be at one with the cool Earth, but I couldnít. More people came out and were all looking shocked at my scatty behaviour, seeing this I headed further into the garden and towards the flowerbeds at the end. After a very long few seconds, B started to urge everyone back inside. He looked plain worried about me. I tried to explain to him that I was sorry and that this had never happened to me on bud before. At the same time he said, in very calm tones, that I had not done any salvia and that I was fine before and he couldnít work out what happened.
He said that I should go inside and rest, but I couldnít imagine a worse situation than to be in a warm, bright house filled with people asking me if I was alright. I canít describe the terrible panic that I felt there, it was another, if brief, vision of hell or insanity and I couldnít stand it.
I canít describe the terrible panic that I felt there, it was another, if brief, vision of hell or insanity and I couldnít stand it.
I did eventually come in, but only to isolate myself in the conservatory. B joined me and tried his best to keep me calm and he did a great job, but every time I tried to settle down in my out-of-focus environment, someone else would come in and disturb the atmosphere. B eventually left me after I said he could if he wanted. I didnít want to ruin other peopleís buzz. A got me a drink of squash, as I had heard that sweet drinks and vitamin C were good for bad trips. I think it certainly helped, even if it just relieved my thirst. I finally braved the living room to ask if I could lie down in Aís bed for a while, he said yeah. In that bed, I was a nervous wreck. I was terrified of how close I had been to let again losing everything. I could visualise exactly how that first overload in the kitchen could have led me to full-on lose it. Lose myself, I mean; my self and my sanity. Personally, Iíd rather lose the latter. I went home and my nerves wore off, but I still felt shell-shocked.
A few days after, I was determined to prove to myself that this was a one-off. I wanted to make certain that it was just a freak situation caused by trippy bud. But I couldnít shake off the idea that maybe the salvia, given extra power by my smoked-up brain, had done some serious damage. However, despite my fears, getting stoned that night was fine. I was with only a few people, three of them were A, B and C who I felt were certainly people I could trust more than most. I was confident and in control and experienced a very pleasant high and deep conversation followed by chronic munchies. I did experience a little paranoia and self-consciousness at first, but this often happens and I had grown used to it.
So, that brings me to today. Since that hard time two weeks back, I have been reading a lot of information about bad trips and the importance of not only setting but set as well, something I may have neglected in the simple assumption in my thinking mind that I was at peace and harmony (which I donít now think I have been much). Today has been busy, I was up all night listening to the Beatles and got up after about an hourís sleep to go into school for a morning of RS revision. I met up with and talked to lots of people. The ones of note for this little story will be called X and Y. I had a largely fun if very tired time as the atmosphere was pleasant and relaxed. And not to put too fine a point on it, there werenít many guys there and I was surrounded by pretty girls, which is always nice.
X and Y are acquaintances who have been moving more towards friends recently. I went for a cigarette break with both of them and then a second with just Y, who is a very nice if a little enthusiastic girl. I think we had a good conversation but I canít remember much of it. I agreed to see them both later on and get stoned. So, after band practise, me and another good mate (D) went to the nearby house of another friend (E) who had a nice little gathering, including all the people Iíve mentioned so far. I got an eighth off a mate who had gone to pick up and proceeded in smoking it with much enjoyment. I toked deeply and happily, talking freely about nothing much. I felt a great sense of happiness out there. I had a slightly giggly and happy moment with Y and soon we were back inside. There, I got out a packet of gum so to help my already dry mouth. When people saw this, someone asked me for gum, then two, three other people were. I was suddenly overwhelmed again and the whole thing started again, only worse. I was convinced that I was going to begin tripping, and there was no way I was going to be near any people who were having fun and wouldnít understand this. I walked out into the garden, unable to vocalise that I was feeling bad. Another mate, F, came out and, unaware of how I was feeling, began to mess around in a kind of playfight-ish way. This really disturbed me and I simply headed in a grim way toward the garden gate to get out onto the street and away from everything. Lots of people tried following me to understand what was going on. But I really couldnít explain, except in mumbled thoughts that I ďneed to get away, away from people. Away from everything. Right now.Ē
I walked around a sportsfield, up the road running parallel to it and then into the grounds of my old school. I walked through it, knowing that people were following at a distance, trying to get me to come and talk. But I couldnít, I was terrified that I would get overwhelmed again and fall into a massive and terrible nightmare. I didnít go back in. I stayed wandering around until I felt ready to go home. I left my jacket at Eís house and I suppose itís still there. My mind was in pieces and I couldnít get back to normal. I went to bed and tried to relax, but I began to hallucinate patterns and pictures over my floor and wardrobe. I tried to write down what was happening but my thoughts were still too disjointed.
I now have no doubt whatsoever that salvia has permanently damaged my brain, leaving me open to unpleasant panic attacks when I should, by rights, be having fun. I still need to think about this and Iím feeling a lot more chilled now that Iíve watched some TV and written this down. Wow, more than three pages. Didnít really seem like much when I was writing it. I think itís good to get this stuff out of me, to share it and to try to understand why itís happening.
I smoked the rest of my bud half an hour ago just to mark the last time I will for a while. It made me feel relaxed and well, just stoned. But after today Iíll be taking a long break, certainly until the end of exams.
I am noticing some new clarity, strange way to clear my mind though.
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