Citation: Star. "Like Sending Electricity to a Broken Light Bulb: An Experience with DXM & Damiana (exp91673)". Erowid.org. May 25, 2021. erowid.org/exp/91673
||(pill / tablet)
A Learning Experience
I have had very limited experience with psychedelics, and none whatsoever with the recreational use of dissociatives, but have been exploring various means of altering my consciousness in recent years. I first heard of DXM being used recreationally about fifteen years ago, and have had it in the back of my mind since. The House episode 'Ignorance is Bliss' brought the idea to the front of my consciousness. I related strongly to the character and to the desire to diminish my mental capacity. Some research online led me to believe that I was unlikely to experience a significant diminishing of intellectual capacity if I engaged in occasional recreational use, but that such an experience was certainly possible in the short term. I decided after further research and thought that I would make two attempts, the first for a high first/low second plateau and the second for a high third/low fourth plateau.
Shortly before midnight (~11:45pm), I consumed twenty 10mg DXM tablets (Symptompak 10mg). I washed them down with seltzer and settled in to watch a movie. I had eaten decently throughout the day, but had not consumed any food for several hours prior to taking the tablets. My stomach did not respond well, so I made a cup of damiana tea, which I have found to be generally soothing.
At 12:08 a.m. I noted the 'alert' sensation I read about, and decided that I wanted company. I sent an I'm to a trustworthy friend of mine, and asked him to serve as amanuensis. It seemed very important to me that I have someone to share my thoughts with, but I did not articulate that until he asked me why I wasn't simply keeping notes on my own.
The two of us discussed various drug experiences, including his prior experience with DXM, for about forty-five minutes. During this time I did not note any lowering of inhibitions, but I did note a strange heaviness in my limbs, particularly my right arm. I began stretching and rolling a bit in my bed, and it felt very necessary and 'right', but not amazing or sensual in any way. It was similar in nature to the desire to rock or sway during labor; I could not necessarily articulate the reasons for it, but I simply ::had:: to move that way to be comfortable, and to keep moving (albeit slowly).
Around 1:00a.m. I noticed that the musical soundtrack to the movie I was watching was much more interesting than usual. This didn't seem to be linked to any quality of the music itself or even to the (very significant, in this case) memories associated with the music as much as to its complete and utter importance. In that moment, nothing was more important to me in the world than listening to the music-- even though I was watching the movie and reading subtitles on the screen. I waited for the music to reveal some profound implication, but it never came. I felt let down, but closed my eyes and tried to relax further into the trip.
My memories between 1:05a.m. And 1:50a.m. Are somewhat hazy. I remember trying to move but feeling too heavy, and when I did move I experienced ::intense:: vertigo, even though I was lying down. I began sweating a lot during this time, and remember admonishing myself not to vomit. Though I was unaware of it during the experience, in retrospect I was very separate from my body, even more clinical and detached than usual. Around 2:00a.m. I began to vomit profusely. This continued for at least half an hour, possibly 45 minutes. I sent the following messages to my friend, who had already fallen asleep:
2:33 AM me: sick 2 am calm 230 halluc want hrlp resting
2:34 AM muasic awersome li stebnrt sttsfs
2:35 AM hurtzxsrtoo move sicccckninnnnnf trdst ttttt
(Translation: sick at 2 am, calm at 2:30, hallucinations, want help resting; music awesome, listening hurts; hurts to move, sick again.)
The poor typing was more related to the heaviness of my arms and the movement-related nausea I was experiencing than to any cognitive effects of the drug; I was still quite coherent both in my own mind and while speaking. The hallucinations I experienced were all straight lines in various colors at ninety-degree angles to one another; Squares and rectangles with the corners cut off, or only half of the shape at a time (e.g. Two perpendicular lines which did not intersect, like the number 7 on an LCD display). I only had hallucinations while my eyes were closed. They became intensified with any motion, as did my nausea. I vomited at least a dozen times, mostly between 2 and 3 a.m.
At 4:30, I was tripping very hard, experiencing intense visual effects and less-intense auditory effects. I sent a long message to my friend detailing my experiences during that time. I found myself completely unable to tolerate scrolling text, and very dissociated from the pain I was experiencing in my stomach while simultaneously very aware of it. The visuals I experienced while my eyes were closed struck me as being very beautiful, but I needed to focus on sounds in order to keep from vomiting again (this was only partially effective). I realized that I had very likely overestimated my weight due to the effects I was dealing with (*I used a weight of 200 lbs for the dosage calculator, as my weight was fluctuating around there the last time I measured; I believe based on the effects and duration that I need to work from a base weight of no more than 180 pounds at this point, +/-5 pounds).
By 4:45a.m. I noticed that I was yawning a lot, even though I wasn't feeling particularly tired. At the time I thought it might have to do with all of the vomiting (I was still throwing up occasionally at that point, but not ::constantly:: as I had been earlier). I did not recognize how dissociated I was from my body. I was able to move just enough to get into a sleeping position by going very slowly, and after writing a lengthy report to my friend about my experiences and state of being, I closed my eyes around 5:30a.m. In an effort to combat the nausea which had been induced by typing (::any:: motion was making me feel ill). I fell asleep shortly thereafter, to the beautiful but fading visual hallucinations.
At 9:30 a.m. I woke up feeling somewhat slow and heavy, but also very clean. I took a shower and made myself another cup of damiana tea to drink while I composed my final report to my friend. I will sum up the report as well as posting the original (it is not exactly organized as 'reading material', as I did this for my own edification).
The most interesting aspect of the trip for me was related, I believe, to the 'motion sickness' I experienced. I function atypically with relation to space-- I do not perceive it the way that most people do. I felt as though the part of my brain which is unable to perceive space but which is 'supposed' to do so was trying to reach out to other parts of my brain, and that was throwing my entire vestibular system into disarray, causing the severe vomiting I experienced. At the same time, the effort that required seemed to draw focus away from my other senses, which are under ordinary circumstances extremely vibrant and full.
In general, I draw more sensory information from my surroundings than my peers (this applies to all five senses; I hear sounds which no one else can hear, see things which no one else can see, etc. I can point these out to other people-- they are not hallucinations-- but others do not notice them to the same extent that I do). While under the effects of DXM, it felt as though considerable brain resources were being redirected to a black hole, which just dropped the energy right through without any appropriate response from that area of the brain. It was like sending electricity to a broken light bulb. I found the experience decidedly unpleasant, but at the same time it felt like a learning experience. I knew that if that portion of my brain was active, I would not be able to collate and synthesize as much information from my environment as I can. I finally came to peace with my inability to perceive space, so despite the unpleasantness of the experience over all I feel that it was a very valuable one.
While I did not note any lack of embarrassment or lowering of inhibitions during the trip, I did note their return when I woke up.
While I did not note any lack of embarrassment or lowering of inhibitions during the trip, I did note their return when I woke up.
I had a series of memories come to me (this is something of a 'training exercise' I have done since I was a very small child-- I attempt to recall half a dozen random memories and pull as many details as I can from them, in order to determine my present level of awareness and functioning after any kind of traumatic or potentially traumatic experience), and found myself blushing with utter humiliation over some simple mistakes which hadn't been such a big deal when they happened. Once I recognized that this was a function of returning to normal, rather than some heightened sense of awareness or embarrassment, I calmed down quickly.
I still haven't decided whether or not to do this again, but if I do I will aim for a high third/low fourth plateau experience. After that, I will probably be finished with DXM. I gleaned useful information from the experience, but felt like the hallucinations were better with mushrooms and the vomiting was wretched enough that I'd prefer to avoid it.
What follows is my post-experience log. I do have logs of my entire trip conversation, but they are somewhat difficult to follow.
9:58 AM post exp: I should have been prepared for the vomiting, as I do experience severe motion sickness and only avoid it during 'normal business hours' through overwhelming mental control. I had been hoping to avoid it by taking tablets instead of liquid, but it seems to have been for naught.
10:01 AM while I did not note a lack of embarrassment during the experience, after the fact I felt a noticeable and distinct return of inhibitions. This was initially painful and humiliating, but once I recognized it as a return to a 'typical' level of functioning (rather than a substantial increase) I was fine with it.
10:02 AM after reviewing, I believe I attained precisely the experience I intended (high first/low second plateaus), and that this was sufficient to relate to others taking such journeys.
Intellectually, I believe that it may be worthwhile to experience a third/fourth plateau trip, but physically I do not believe I am prepared for such an experience and I do not believe that it is strictly necessary-- I think I understand enough of the character to relate the experience to others as well as to relate to the experiences of others.
10:03 AM (slight recursion; possible holdover effects)
10:05 AM I do not feel particularly hungover or lethargic; I do feel considerably 'cleaner'-- as though I have been through a heavy thunderstorm. This experience is inconsistent with the sense of lightness/emptiness which generally follows profuse vomiting for me; it's more like the sense of cleanliness after leaving a less spiritually-intense sweat lodge.
10:07 AM my sensory input did not change appreciably during the experience, but my review of erowid post-trip indicates (as the pre-trip review) that my natural perception is somewhat dissociative/atypical. This is a trip I could easily walk through with someone else, as such input may be distressing to those who are unaccustomed to it.
10:10 AM I did not lose stereoscopic vision during the trip; if anything, that effect was heightened (thus contributing to my motion sickness). Again, this is likely related to the natural state of my brain, including the perception of sensory data and the lack of spatial recognition/understanding. The portion of my brain which sleeps/malfunctions, disabling my ability to relate to physical space, seemed to be trying to access something else. I'm uncertain as to whether it was attempting to operate, or my brain was trying to circumvent it, or if my compensatory skills were simply thrown into disarray. I'll explore those hypotheses later.
I have noted no memory recall or synthesis difficulties; if anything, recall of the entire trip is crystal clear at present.
10:12 AM my room smells disgusting, despite the fact that I have contained and removed the vomitus; hopefully the fan will help, and I will vacuum with baking soda later today. My appetite is nonexistent, though I note a slight halo effect, consistent with lower-than-usual blood sugar and slight dehydration (likely due to vomiting).
10:14 AM if I do repeat this experience, I will aim for high third/low fourth plateau doses, remembering to dose down as I am either lighter than I estimated (a distinct possibility) or less able to process dxm than I realized (less probable, but still a distinct possibility). I'll need to think about it a bit more.
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