Citation: Lesha. "Over the Rainbow and Through the Woods: An Experience with Mushrooms, Wellbutrin XL (Bupropion) & Cannabis (exp80326)". Erowid.org. Sep 21, 2009. erowid.org/exp/80326
My friend from high school, 'M,' was coming to visit me at a house I was renting over the summer with some college friends. We had planned for quite a while to trip together on shrooms and this seemed like a great opportunity. M brought enough to split between four people, so two of my housemates ('G' and 'S') also decided to join in.
Now, I would consider myself a relatively inexperienced user of drugs. I've smoked weed with some regularity for about two years. I tried nitrous oxide once, rather on a whim. Other than that, alcohol, and the occasional hookah, I hadn't done terribly much in the way of experimenting. This was going to be my first psychedelic experience and I approached it with wariness. However, my nerves were calmed by the fact that I had witnessed others tripping twice before. A few months previous, not feeling prepared to take the plunge myself, I'd tripsat some of my good friends as they spent the day exploring the zoo and the art museum. Their childlike wonder they'd expressed at seeing a camel, their delight upon glimpsing a giraffe, and their euphoria at simply laying in the grass watching the sunset were encouraging. I hoped for such an experience myself.
Confounding matters, the day before we planned to take them was the worst for me in recent memory. It was downright dreadful, actually -- I got fired for stupidly missing a shift at work and learned that my father had gone to the emergency room with chest pains the previous evening. I was scared for my dad and embarrassed at being fired. Money was weighing on my mind. I needed to decide if I should go home to stay with my parents for a while or whether I would be happier staying in my college's town for the remainder of the summer. My head was in a bad place; the pit of my stomach dropped whenever I replayed my boss's voice in my head. I hoped that these issues would not trigger a bad trip.
On the big day, I slept late and called my mother. She was sympathetic to my problems, but wanted me to figure out what I was going to do with my summer. After debating the decision with myself for a few minutes, I took my usual 300mg dose of Wellbutrin XL (generic: bupropion) at noon. SSRIs are supposed to interfere with trips, so I was unsure whether an atypical antidepressant like bupropion would have a similar effect. I ate an apple at 1:00pm, figuring that I shouldn't have a completely empty stomach when I ate the shrooms. I was anxious, but looking forward to the experience.
G, S, M, and I sat down at the kitchen table around 3:45pm. G had been elected to eat the largest cap. S and M ate mostly stems. I had two small caps and a few stems. G and S put their doses in sub sandwiches, nestled between salami and veggies. M and I chose the classic peanut butter sandwich route. The taste wasn't particularly dreadful, as the peanut butter covered it up well. All I could detect was a vaguely icky earthy note. The texture was very bad, like chewing a particularly dry and tough piece of celery. It was not a sandwich I'd want to eat every day, but it wasn't as awful as I'd been led to believe.
The guys immediately started to feel nauseous, so they tramped upstairs to take a few bong hits of hash. I sat with them but didn't partake. My stomach felt perfectly fine and I wanted to see how the shrooms alone would hit me. We left the house around 4:00. G was already feeling the effects as we walked towards campus. He was having some difficulty carrying on a normal conversation. About five minutes into our walk, I noticed that I felt very very relaxed. Colors seemed extremely bright-- I remarked to M that the trees seemed impossibly green. The world was bathed in sunlight. We ran into a friend on campus and talked to her for a few minutes. My conversational skills were not the best, but I'm not sure she noticed. Waving goodbye to her, we went down the hill and over the bridge towards the college arboretum.
As we set out on the path into the woods, M remarked that he was feeling pretty good. S said that he felt very, very stoned and relaxed. G had a big smile on his face. I did as well. The world was very tranquil and beautiful, under the canopy of leaves. Without the stress of having to act normally in front of a sober friend, we talked and laughed together very freely. In a short time, we emerged from the forest onto the prairie. 6 foot tall yellow daisies crowded the fields. My eyes were immediately drawn to them. I made a joke with myself-- wouldn't it be funny if I were tripping and thought that these flowers were the size of normal daisies. I'd think I was in miniature! Looking around at the field and the trees, I grinned and imagined that the prairie grasses were moss and that the trees were just tiny plants. What a hilarious and happy hallucination that would be! I thought about telling my friends, but I decided that I was quite pleased with having this little joke stay between me and the world.
We moved on, back into some woods. It was very hot out. The shade was extremely welcome. We found ourselves in a grove of knobbly oak trees. S exclaimed that they were just like something out of Dr. Seuss. We all concurred, laughing at the thought. I admired the intricate way the branches laced together. As we progressed, I felt quite peculiar, introspective, cheerful. My body was tingling all over. The forest was dark and I was proud of myself for not being afraid of it. There were dark, unhappy things around me, but some benevolent and protective force was watching over me. I felt safe. My friends and the forest, I thought, were lovingly carrying me on. My nail polish was neon blue and I saw this as a kind of amulet. It was the same color as the sky, so my hands were light as air, buoying me along.
We began to get hot and sweaty and a little tired. We decided that we should find the memorial, a set of benches and boulders under a tree on the prairie. As we rounded a corner, we unexpectedly ran into a friend, 'C,' jogging. The coincidence was mind-boggling. We alternately gasped for breath from laughing so hard and gaped at her in astonishment, unable to believe that we'd stumbled across her. Much later we would realize that she had known we were going to be tripping in the Arb on that day at that time without a trip sitter and that she therefore had intended to find us, but at the time it seemed like an impossible event.
Until C appeared, I had not realized that I was tripping. My thoughts had seemed very normal to me up until I tried to communicate with her. It was very, very difficult. She was friendly and gentle with us, though, so her presence wasn't uncomfortable. She offered to guide us to the memorial, which seemed very natural and right. To get there we had to backtrack somewhat and passed by the 'daisies' once more. I pointed out how yellow they were. C laughed lightly and told me that they were sunflowers. We all burst into giggles. S shook his head, amused. 'I thought I told you earlier that they were, but I forgot I didn't have telepathy.'
We finally reached the memorial, which is on a hill and has a spectacular view. The clouds were gorgeous, tactile mounds of white and shadow. M, S, and C sat on a bench. I climbed onto the rock right next to it, very happy that I could claim it as a seat. G laid down in the grass about ten feet away,smiling. We were very quiet, but it was not unpleasant. I became aware that everyone else was tripping much harder than I was. I was a little disappointed-- they could see a whole other dimension of the scenery's beauty! They were looking at the clouds. I did as well, but I was preoccupied. G was alone over there... was he okay? I watched him closely.
He WAS okay, I slowly concluded. He was alone, but he didn't seem lonely at all, with his quiet smile and dreamy eyes. He knew we were all there, within arm's reach, if he needed us. I smiled, no longer worried that I wasn't tripping as hard. I didn't need to be at the same place everyone else was in, not right now.
A storm was coming. The big puffy clouds we had seen in the distance were thunderheads, spawned by the summer heat. The sky was growing dark in front of us and we were all transfixed by the whirligigs of dark and light. Occasionally, I looked at my hands and arms. All over them I could see a faint, moving pattern, as though I were covered in leopard print. We all tried to describe what we saw in the clouds. M was seeing vortexes. S said it was like being underwater looking up. G said, 'I don't know about you guys, but there are circles everywhere and that means it's going to storm.' I was alarmed, not because I was frightened but because I didn't want my friends to be scared. 'But it's exciting!' I assured them earnestly. 'This will be fun!'
C got up from the bench and said she had to go. As she left down the path, waving to us, we wondered aloud why she had departed so quickly. 'Poor C! We must seem crazy to her!' M said.
S nodded emphatically. 'I kept on wanting to tell her that the tree over there was moving towards us the whole time.'
We all exploded in laughter, instantly knowing exactly which tree he was referring to. That droopy yellow-green specimen on the edge of the forest had indeed been crawling towards us for an unknowable length of time in absurdly languorous waves. 'Yeah,' I remarked through my giggles,'But G's been keeping on eye on it for us.'
G could barely talk, but grinned lopsidedly. 'It's been creepin.''
'Tangela,' S concluded authoritatively.
Not having gotten the Pokemon (?) reference, I gazed around in bewilderment. The whole time we'd been staring at one bank of clouds, straight in front of us, but suddenly it occurred to me that there was an entire 360 degrees of sky around us. I looked behind us and sucked in a breath of astonishment. While the previous view had been undeniably full of storm clouds, the western horizon was an even more impressive and vast whirlpool of inky blacks and shimmering grays. 'Look at that!' I cried.
'That storm was the decoy storm!' M guffawed. 'And all this time the REAL storm was sneaking up behind us.' Everyone gawped at the advancing front for a few moments.
'Hmm...arggh! Look at Tangela!' G garbled.
We whipped our heads back the other way. Suddenly the tree seemed right up close to us, breathing down our necks like an absurd animal. It was as though we had been captured between the 'real' storm and the 'creepin'' tree. It could have been scary, I suppose, but instead it was just comical, as thought nature had just played a fine practical joke. Tangela had clearly won this battle.
Collectively we decided that we should push on. We'd been at the memorial for what seemed like ages and we wanted to get a clearer view of the coming storm. We left the benches, staggering slightly, and started heading towards the Hill of Three Oaks, a high spot closer to campus. In retrospect, the journey only takes about 5 minutes, if that. Yet it felt like it took hours. Every little thing seemed incredible-- the wood chips on the path, the rustling leaves, the light. Then, as we walked across the broad soccer fields near the hill, something very peculiar happened. I could 'see' memories I had of this place, as though I were projecting them on a screen in front of me. There!-- there was the spot where I had first kissed the boy I love, on a blanket under the stars. Over there was the place where I'd shared a beer with my friend at 6:30am at a noisy drunken softball game, a campus tradition. I crinkled my nose, remembering how cold it had been that morning. And there was the tree I'd sat under when I felt inexplicably hollow and useless and sad late one night my freshman year. I'd lingered there, sobbing, until the sun rose in a blossom of red light. I 'looked' at myself, my chest tight with some inexpressible emotion. I was so incredibly thankful for all those little moments and seconds, no matter how painful. They were mine to have experienced and nothing could take that away.
We stood atop the Hill of Three Oaks and the visuals intensified. The storm was approaching with giant black paws that dragged it across the sky. Gazing out towards the Arb again, the landscape looked uncannily like a Van Gogh painting... I could even observe the chunks of paint along the edges of the brushstrokes. Below us, on the soccer fields, someone was running laps (why? Even sober I have no idea why this guy was running around in the rain). S named him Hermes. I could see the wings on his shoes.
The group was still in a traveling mood. We ended up roaming to a tree-shaded fire pit along the lakes on campus. The rain began, first a drizzle and then a downpour. I put the hood of my sweatshirt up and savored the sound of the drops as they hit the fabric. It seemed impossible for so much water to be in the sky and every time I thought that it could not possibly rain any harder, it did. The raindrops were fat and glimmering. I watched them explode into the ground. Words simply can't reproduce what I saw and felt... Water was a miracle. My heart wanted to burst.
My trip was still ascending, but G and M were coming down. I hadn't noticed the fact that we were soaking wet, absolutely drenched, but they had. We left the fire pit and ventured into campus, to start towards our house. The rain was still torrential as we walked up the hill towards the quad, but the sun started to come out. It was remarkable! Everything was covered in a skin of radiant, watery light. We stood in the mushy grass of the quad and turned to look behind us. Sprawling across the sky in a perfect arc was a rainbow, its colors more vivid than any I'd ever seen. It was fantastic, a perfect send off. We marvelled at it, unable to believe our luck. I don't think I've ever witnessed anything more beautiful.
At that point, someone thought to ask what time it was. How was it possible that the sun was still out? Surely it had been hours and hours and hours. G turned his phone on. It was 6:45pm, a mere 3 hours after we'd taken the shrooms. It had seemed like a lifetime.
I was tripping harder than anyone else by now. They were talkative as they meandered down the sidewalk along the busy road we live on. I looked at the cars with some anxiety. They seemed to be going in aching slow motion. I very much wanted to reach the sanctuary of the house. We made it there without any incident.
Once inside, I sat on a stool at the kitchen table, unable to even begin to contemplate how to change my dripping clothes. The patterns on our furniture were swirling around appealingly. Everyone else noted that I was definitely in a different place than they were, but they smiled and hugged me. I felt pleased, relaxed. One by one, the others went to go shower. Eventually, I managed to drag myself upstairs and put on some dry clothes. I didn't remember having gotten cold, but warming up was delightful-- all the pleasure and none of the unpleasantness!
The rest of the night, we sat together in the living room, rehashing what we'd experienced. We weren't tripping, per say, but the effects lingered. When we passed around a bowl, the high was different than normal, with many more visuals than usual. We watched a documentary about flightless birds, enjoying the colors and images and sheer absurdity of the animals. It was a great night cap. I slept soundly and happily.
This experience was one of the most positive in my life. I don't think I've ever felt such genuine euphoria as I did that day. I would recommend--even encourage-- the use of shrooms, with the following caveats. First, plan the trip. You don't want to be worried about who is going to see you. You need to be able to welcome the effects of the drug. This is powerful stuff that demands respect; it WILL alter your perceptions in a dramatic way and you have to be prepared for that. Next, do it with a group of close friends. It was endlessly wonderful to share this day with my best friends, to feel so full of love and respect for them. Third, go outside and explore nature! I really don't understand why people trip on shrooms and stay indoors watching movies and the like. It was interesting and pleasant to be so high indoors, but it was not as fantastic and magical as being in the forest even though I was tripping just as hard inside. Finally, embrace the trip and learn something from it. I don't believe that drugs, by themselves, reveal any independently verifiable truth or some objectively existent feature of the universe hitherto unknown. Yet they do allow us to think differently than we normally do, especially about our emotions, which can help us uncover important truths about ourselves. Sure, you could probably eat shrooms and just enjoy the visuals, but there's so much more to it than that!
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