this is a DRAFT of dark, dark tale of a ‘bad trip’ made real. DON’T READ THIS if you’re looking for someone to tell you what to do or how to do it. This is a story of what NOT to do and my experience with getting it wrong. Plus it probably doesn’t even have complete sentences, yet.
first off: this all happened years ago, I have made some art around this experience, and I’ll find a place to post that soon. I share these words here in the certain knowledge that, if not helpful in themselves, they lead me to create the work that WILL benefit all. apologies for the poor writing, this is my first attempt.
i wasn’t comfortable, but I put my best face on and went anyway. That was a mistake, as it turned out. In hindsight, my inability to decide on which shoes to wear was a total sign, but at the time I did not see it. I was not ready.
I was at a smallish music festival, which I thought was just so cool. I’m a small-town gal and I was living in a foreign city, rubbing shoulders with the big players in the local creative collective scene, and though I was in heaven!! Especially because (in my mind) all the hippest and coolest people from our city were going down on big coaches all together.
I suffer from social anxiety and I was uncomfortable. Plus my ex-husband showed up there, and I was unprepared, having left him quite publicly the year before.
I was sitting in a circle with 3 other women, on a hill just a little removed from the others, under the light-colored canopy of our shared, multi-room tent. One of the women I was with was my friend. The others I had not met before, but was known to me. Some people were already dressing up, and there were multicolored, fairy-winged sprites erecting tents and carrying crates of food, beer, LPs, everywhere.
our mate the chemist came round with a vial from his freezer. i reached out my hand and he dropped the dark-colored liquid onto the skin between my thumb and forefinger. The tiny puddle was about the size of a fingernail. I did NOT bless my medicine, not did I have a question in mind, or even a consciously set intention.
As we came up, I looked around the circle and I saw the others illuminated, shining brightly, and heard my friend’s voice as clear as anything say “hi, there”. but her mouth hadn’t moved, the words were spoken directly into my head.
This horrified me, and I pulled back (DON’T resist it - go WITH the flow. we are all one, we share collective consciousness)
and i somehow flew very far outside my body. Peaking, i was walking up a grassy hill and watched myself physically stumbling around, clumsy, ‘fucked up’. i felt like an amygdala on sticks. or a ballon on legs. clumsy footed-legs. This disturbed me greatly. I somehow felt broken, isolated, insensitive, unaware. None of these are comfortable feelings for a human being.
over the course of 4 days, that fingernail-size dose was repeated twice, along with at least one balloon of nitrous and quite possibly some other substances too. Also, I was unable to sleep for 4 days. (MIND YOUR DOSE)
Luckily, the people I was with were better organized, and way more together than I. They had brought food, and cooked, and shared. They looked after me the best they could, and continued for some time, for which I shall always be grateful. It wasn't easy for them, as I became extremely paranoid, convinced that everyone around me had been cruelly manipulating me for their own ends.
I remember didn’t have my own tent, which became terribly important at one point. Not feeling safe / actually not being safe became a theme that recurred over some months afterward. Also - at some point I threw myself into the eye of a hurricane in a misguided urge to reground by putting my hands in the earth. I was afraid to give any of that awful abysmal energy to the plant, because it hurt so much and I didn't want it to hurt anyone else. 'Buy the ticket, take the ride', that was what I had already known. I knew better and I'd fucked up and it was all my fault and everybody knew it. It was my mistake, and nobody else should be made to suffer for it. Under any circumstances. This became a lasting delusion for a time. There was nowhere to hide.
I was, quite obviously, ill. between depression, anxiety, and desperately wanting to BELONG, I had I had somehow backed myself into an impossible corner and couldn’t face it. I had forgotten how to play.I did not sleep for those 4 days, although I tried.
In the following weeks, sleep became of great concern to me, and in my bed, in my bedroom became the place I felt safe. My bed and the bathtub. Until the night that I heard a rustling sound coming from the floor of my bedroom. The lights were off, and I was in bed. It was maybe 2 months after I had dosed. the sound grew louder and louder until it sounded as though there were a cat inside a plastic carrier bag that was on the floor. I was terrified, huddling in the bed hoping it would just go away, but finally, in a great act of courage I turned on the light. And when the light came on in the room, something that looked kind of like a naked-lunch-y scorpion, thing with a whip tail rushed out of the carrier bag and across the room, whooshed out the window and skittered straight down the side of the 2-story brick building.
around that time, I decided that I was dead and horrible and possibly possessed by an evil alien entity and that I had to remove myself from the collective for the greater good. I got on a bus one day, and most of the people on the bus appeared to be dead. I was terrified, I had to remove myself from the planet for the sake of humanity and life as we know it. Also I had to protect my family from what had happened to me at all costs. dying would be better, i thought, than have to feel them faced with the broken wreck that their beloved daughter had made of herself. It was ALL MY FAULT. The state of the planet, humanity, international politics, religious fundamentalism were all my fault.
One night, I took all the pills I had laying around, mostly just painkillers for menstrual cramps. I felt disappointed when I woke up. Then I thought of the bathtub. The next night, I was in the bathtub, with a razorblade in my hand, ready to go, almost looking forward to relief. But anguished because I could not see a way to accomplish what I thought was my goal without hurting anyone else. My family back home would wonder, forever be searching for answers. I couldn’t do that to them. Also my friends, with whom I lived, would have found my corpse and been traumatized, plus they would have been terribly inconvenienced by the mess. The next day was trash day, and I thought bitterly that I should take myself out with the trash. I got to the bus stop and it occurred to me that I could throw myself in front of a bus. but then the bus driver would have been traumatized by accidentally running over me.
Another thing that happened: My ex husband was at the festival, and on day 2 or 3, I found myself in his tent, naked, with him - desperately trying to regain some sort of groundedness. Sex helped for a bit, even though i felt rough and dry and not right. but I could no longer expect him to babysit me, especially as I had been so public in my leaving him. I knew I'd hurt him, that he really loved me after all, and that I had not seen how hard I had been with him. I spun out again. He told me later that he had felt a strong 'hum' off my body on that day. On the last day of the festival, he gave me a small crystal ball. I showed it to my friend, who told me of her 'window crystal' that she'd lost. She said 'don't lose it', so I put it in my mouth. Reading her expression as I did so, I thought - 'why did I just do that, a pocket seems a much more sensible place to put this', so I removed it form my mouth and that's the last time I saw it.
3 weeks later, my period was late and I panicked, thinking perhaps I'd conceived some sort of monster that would destroy the world. I couldn't let go of this notion, and wound up at the free women's clinic, where a very strange nurse inserted an IUD up into my uterus. This, I was assured, would prevent any monsters being born. But, she said, she had delivered plenty of babies with IUD's on their heads. The procedure was quite painful, and I bled and leaked a horrible brown pus for days afterward. I became convinced that the nurse thought I was a prostitute and was doing some sort of public health service by rendering me infertile.
The psychosis was partly triggered by cannabis. I smoked a LOT of ganja, it was my thing and I loved it, but it was also an obsessive/compulsive kind of behavior. A spliff-rolling ritual, followed by the requisite cup of tea and smoking. aaaah. it soothed my nerves and had been my daily habit for years. except it changed, and became a trigger for psychosis somehow. I’d stumble somehow through a day, arrive at home on the back patio (we didn’t smoke indoors). And I kept doing it, even though it hurt. because something about it was an anchor for me somehow. Maybe it was the only thing I felt able to do.
So I’d smoke, spin out and then go hide in my bed. I was terrified of other people, and interacting with the world of passports, money, etc etc. Paranoia in the extreme.
One evening, I felt the combined forces of the islamic world directed at me. I had been invited to a Somali wedding, and had attended with my husband. It started in a lovely way but then there was dancing. I had been told by S. to 'keep dancing!', so I did. And I regretted it. I could feel unkind energies projected my way by some of the people there, who must have seen me performing and judged me now as a fraud, a fake, a cultural thief and immodest.
Also, I became obsessed with somehow meeting some sort of heroic challenge, I was being called to fight FIGHT FIGHT! But each time I did make my lamest best effort to stand up, I fell flat. over and over again, until the shame of failure and what I perceived to be public ridicule made fighting impossible. that seemed to be the groove that was wearing into the LP that was recording my life. The LP became a black hole, and I was smeared along the black hole until I was lost. I actually emailed an astrophysicist friend of mine to make sure she figured out how to retrieve information from black holes.
I walked away from my job one day, unable to maintain on any level. Quickly ran out of money, had to leave the shared house where i lived, my passport and visa both expired and my visa was not renewed, as I had actually left my husband a year before, but stayed living abroad in his hometown.
I ordered a time machine from another friend. He is one of many people who supported me through what I can only describe as subsequent years of self-inflicted torture. 3 months and 3 suicide attempts after the day I dosed, I was on a plane back to my hometown. I remember speaking to my father on the phone shortly after arriving, and I heard him cry as I described the physical sensations in my body, the unbearable sensory blocks that I perceived were now in place made life unbearable. I told him “I can’t live like this, I don’t know how”. Partly the geography of my experience allowed my mind to separate it enough to cope, barely. My mother cried as I told her that I'd "killed my vagina", but could not sensibly explain myself beyond expressing my pain. It's excruciating for an empath such as myself to be around people who I have made unhappy. It was torture, and I put them through hell and I know it because I felt it.
Contacting my parents was horrible. I was convinced I was doing something terribly wrong by making contact with either of them in the first place. In the second, I knew it was awful, anguishing for each of them to see their daughter so terribly broken. Returning to my hometown, my family, had become the sign of my ultimate failure in my mind. And I made it real. i had no choice. I was not made for the very rough levels of experience that I was witnessing more and more around me. In the end, I could not even pack my suitcase on my own. Deciding was such a complex process that I just couldn't do it. I left most of my belongings, including my library and my laptop, behind me. I still don't know why I decided to bring back some of the artifacts that I did, but among them are a notebook, a house key and a mobile phone. There is also a bellydance costume that I made, and have not worn since.
There was a habit of avoidance in my mind, avoidance of confrontation. It was disguised as pride, but I hadn’t grown myself up very much at that point. I know now that pride is not the same as self-worth. I had very poor personal boundaries, which was made very clear to me very quickly. And it frightened me, I did not feel safe. I believed that I was a fraud somehow. What I was, and still am in an empath. I didn't know what that meant back then. As i child, I had simply developed the psychic survival strategy of making the people around me feel good, so that I felt good, too.