Citation: janedont. "Cartoon Hell: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (10x extract) (exp82006)". Erowid.org. Mar 20, 2010. erowid.org/exp/82006
I had never tried Salvia before. I have smoked marijuana on a number of occasions and do not like the effects, often becoming disoriented and feeling 'stupid'. I am a spiritual person, not a recreational drug user, and meditate with the spirits of non-hallucinogenic herbs on a regular basis. I asked the spirit of Salvia to come to me and heal me and offered her tobacco on the altar in my bedroom.
I thought it might be helpful to be outdoors and went to sit in a lawn chair by the pool on this cool autumn night but thankfully my trips occurred more or less indoors because I would not recommend this around water or in a public space. I first smoked out of a small pipe as if smoking tobacco and felt nothing but some mild dizziness. I smoked and smoked and held it in for 5 seconds or so a few times but nothing happened. I don't really enjoy smoking so I had to stop.
I went back to the house and took a 5 minute break. I have no bong but I filled up a larger pipe so I could get bigger hits and smoked some more outdoors. Still nothing. At this point I had gone through 2/3 of one gram and I began to wonder if something was wrong with me, if I was particularly resistant, because in many in accounts the dose was only one or two hits and that wasn't even necessarily at a 10X strength. The smoke was acrid and burning the back of my throat. My mouth was watering and the taste was horrible.
Yet, after another small break I decided to pack the rest of the pipe with the remainder of the gram and try one more time. Now I was on my back porch rather than the patio by the pool. During my break I had read you were supposed to hold the smoke in for 20-30 seconds. So I tried, my mouth was watering, burning, I wanted to spew. Looking at the night sky I began counting: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7… Just when I thought I couldn't hold it anymore it hit me like a ton of bricks. I don't remember putting down the pipe. All of the sudden I was in a carnivalesque atmosphere falling continually forward. I ran into the house (apparently, though I don't remember how I got to my bedroom). I had become stuck in a cartoon hell, with repeating, morphing visuals, that repetitive, hall-of-mirrors-effect that others on bad salvia trips describe. In my case my furniture was bubbly and smurf-like and everything in my environment blended into the other parts somehow. This isn't it exactly, it is impossible to describe, but imagine finding a component of your nightstand that looks exactly like the stairs to your apartment, and all the sudden you are outside on the stairs, when you see a railing that looks like piece of furniture in your living room. Then you are in the living room where you see a pillow that is actually a small version of the bed in your bedroom, etc., and this is all happening within split seconds wherever you look and there is no way to stop it.
Not only that, but you realize THIS is real life. Somehow you failed to notice how shallow and poorly constructed the illusion of your old life was. A few generic patterns in different sized and combinations made up your whole existence. The rest of your life has been a dream you have just woken up from it (another commonly reported bad-trip experience). Now you are stuck in this hellish reality again for eternity. I began to panic and think maybe someone could stop this. I had no concept of my body, but probably because I was slowly sobering up I found my phone and tried to dial 911. (It is good to know some things are so drilled into your head there is an instinct to perform them even under such extreme conditions.) However my fingers didn’t function well and I hit something like 61 and then accidentally called the first person on the contact list: “Andy”. As I came out of it further I still had no concept of what was going on but knew enough that I probably shouldn’t really call 911.
I was kneeling (probably, who really knows) on the floor in front of my bed breathing heavily as I began to regain consciousness. Now I vaguely remembered taking something that did this to me, which was a relief, but I couldn’t put a name to what it was. The phone was still open in my hand. The box and order form from the botanical company was nearby and I grabbed it (Maybe. It, it is all folded up nearly now, so I either imagined that part or put it back) and I mumbled aloud, “I took the…I took something…What did I…” There were moments when I considered that it was something I had taken early in the day and might have imagined the whole day including going outside and smoking in the evening, and then there were times when I thought I had actually gotten high the first time, and that the whole frustration, and second and third tries were hallucinations.
As it all wore off I became more aware of a buzzing sound and nonsense thoughts echoed endlessly in my head. Eventually I was mostly back in the room and my body. I went out to the back porch to see if the pipe was still there and if I had indeed smoked something. It was, which was a relief. I checked my phone to see if I had really made those calls and I had, which was kind of embarrassing. I was hoping I had hallucinated them.
However, I was obviously not thinking clearly because I had already forgotten the terribly fearful experience I had just had and thought: Why don’t I try it again? This time I’ll shut the door and sit in my dimly lit room just like they recommend, and maybe I’ll go somewhere else. I was a few seconds into holding in the choking smoke when I was immediately catapulted back into cartoon land. It was like being stuck inside the TV, but I was slightly more detached this time, like “oh here we go again.” Some conscious part of me had the thought that I shouldn’t be smoking inside and went to open the window. I thought I would show “them”(these trickster drug gods?) how in control I was, proud of knowing that there was a window in my room and all. But I couldn’t open it. I had the idea that “they” were laughing at me and I gave up. I must have fallen backwards because I splashed water from my altar on myself. I know I really did that because it was on my pants when I woke up and the pipe and lighter were dropped in the corner near the window.
This trip I was still panicking, breathing heavily, heart beating quickly, but I was slightly less convinced of the reality of the world I was stuck in. I was lying on my back kicking and grabbing at things like my bed which I couldn’t really see but could feel. It was exactly like trying to wake myself up from a bad dream, (but probably actually kicking, and not being paralyzed as when asleep). I was able to stop the wild associative hall of mirrors effect by refusing to look left or right, and started talking myself though it, remembering things from my life like, “There is a bathroom down the hall. Yes, there is! And then there is a living room. I had a boyfriend. His name is…” I couldn’t remember his name or what he looked like but I was hopeful there was more to life than this crazy room I was stuck in.
As I came out of it I faded in and out of lucidity several times. I thought I remembered sitting in the middle of the room to take the salvia but I couldn’t find the pipe (because it was by the window) thus I was afraid I hadn’t taken any drug and was just plain schizophrenic. I went back to the porch to look for it because I thought maybe I had imagined the whole second time, and never actually woken up after the first hit, but it wasn’t there. My memory was screwed up so I probably went out to the porch several times not knowing if I had checked there yet. Eventually I found the pipe by the window and picked it up and put it on the altar. I kept forgetting if I had actually done that or imagined it as well, so I probably checked on it several times. I also checked the phone several times to see if I had made those calls the first time or if I had only imagined the space between trips when I had first checked to confirm that I had made the calls. They were still there, still embarrassing.
At times I would think I was almost sober and then realize I was seeing neon stamp outlines on everything, or hearing repetitive sounds and sigh with disappointment upon remembering that is not, in fact, normal. As I came to even more I noticed that standing up with the lights on brought more lucidity whereas lying down and/or having them off brought the trip back. I decided to lay down with the lights off now that I was partially aware to see if I could coax anything pleasant from the experience. I tried to talk myself though it as if guiding a child, saying something like, “It’s okay now you can relax and have a good time,” but my mind just wouldn’t go there and continued to fade in and out of forgetfulness and doubt about all the reassuring tasks I had just preformed. There was also some of the same forgetfulness about how horrible it just was and the same temptation for smoke some more, but I had learned my lesson. So I turned on the lights and here I am.
The whole thing only lasted maybe 30 minutes for both trips, and was pretty terrifying, like if you were to wake up one day and realize your whole life was just a flimsy dream, except this life is much, much stranger and more horrible. The difficulty of recalling the trip and the certainty that it was not “real” after I was out of it is equal to the difficulty of recalling my old life when I am in the trip and the certainty that it was not “real”. It is interesting how it clearly took holding in a certain amount of Salvia smoke all at once to 'trip the breaker'. I probably won’t do salvia again.
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