I have had a life-long relationship with psychedelics. I began using dextromethorphan (DXM), a sigma agonist that is available OTC, when I was 15. I began using it after severe domestic cPTSD. My interest in psychedelics grew from there. I was able to find an inner peace where I could escape for hours on end. A world of my own creation devised of beautiful geometric shapes and vivid colors. I should also mention that high doses of DXM paralyze you and you are forced to deal with yourself alone in a cosmic void. This can be terrifying for some, but if you have cPTSD, the experience can be exhilarating! To feel the full loss of control of your body and become one with the universe gives your “soul” or self a purpose. Something you lack greatly when all your life you feel like afailure just for not fitting into societies’ neatly placed jobs and routines. I was different, so I was rejected. In the void I found a deep connection and peace.
At the age of 19 I was placed on probation for three years. Most people would have done real time for my crime, but I had the lawyer of a small bank behind me who felt bad for my case and took it pro bono. For the next ten years I would be forced to abstain from psychedelics and use pharmaceutical grade antidepressants and mood stabilizers. I am sure these are good tools for some people with different mental conditions. For me, on the other hand, all it did was increase my suffering. They made me lucid enough to be aware of my failures, but incapable of acting on them. I went through the gambit. From Paxil to Lamictal I tried it all. Fuck, I even gave Lithium a try just to see what would happen. I can say the experiences with some psychotropics were temporarily beneficial. The biggest problem is they wear off. Doses increase. Tolerance goes up. Now the side effects begin to kick in. The higher the dose, the more intense the negative effects became. I argued relentlessly with my psychiatrist trying to explain to her that these medications don’t work for my condition. She brushes off my concerns and offers a new set of drugs. Of course, they have horrible side effects. For fucks sake, one of the side effects was potential Lupus! No thank you. I value my blood. I need it to see things and type.
It was spring of 2020 and I was losing all faith in pharma. I watched myself take the same ride of function to dysfunction as the medicines began to lose their potency. I would tell myself my brain is too powerful to be reprogrammed. It is intent on destroying me. Something had to change. I am taking care of an Alzheimer’s patient (my former grandmother) and my mother has severe fibromyalgia and I watch her suffer daily and nightly trying to keep my grandmother satiated. An impossible task.
All of a sudden the pandemic struck. We were dead in the water with no services to help during the lock down. No visiting nurses, no haircuts, no toenail trims. We were completely locked down. The despair in my chest began to grow stronger and I began to lose hope that I would ever make it out of here alive and with an inheritance intact. It was time for me to take control of my life again. We needed real medicine that will actually heal trauma. My mother and I needed a respite. Could I, for once, be a force for good and create medicine to save my family from self destruction? All I have in my life is my mother and after 19 years of abusive co-dependency it is hard for me to shake the mortal connection I feel to her soul. It is a curse and a gift to be so embedded in someone else’s emotions.
I discussed with her the benefits of psilocybin and LSD. I showed her the John Hopkins talks. We discussed the differences in use between psychotropics and psychedelics and once she understood the process of neurogensis she was on board. I began the most intensive project I have ever undertook that didn’t involve a computer.
I began doing practical research on mushrooms and came across a local spore seller that allowed the use of PayPal. They even sent me my first batch of spores for free! I won’t name them here since what I used them for could put them at risk of selling more. You probably understand. There were so many options to grow mushrooms. A simple plastic container, a craft box, a plastic tub for storage, a humidifier. So many things I’ve never worked with! I burned holes into the plastic for airflow. It was not a professional operation by any means and I had no plans to give any away so I wasn’t too concerned with the yield as long as it actually fruited.
My ASD makes it hard for me to know if I am going to produce something successful. It is extremely hard for me to focus on a single project for a long period of time. I had to make sure I was attentive once they hit the fruiting stage. I got so excited I ordered more spores, expecting mass failure. Some of my spawn is still waiting to be dumped into pasteurized substrate!
Fast forward 3 weeks. I was told that was way too long for something to spawn. They were very right! Some of my mushrooms found light peaking thru their tinfoil cover and grew right around the tin foil! One of my smaller tubs’ tin foil was completely ink black from what I assume to be sporulation.
I picked the long greasy mushrooms from their tub by gently twisting them off. I did my best to not disturb other pins, but some collateral damage happens. I brush the substrate off the ends of the mushrooms the best I can and begin the air drying process. I allowed the mushrooms to dry under a germicidal fan on absorbent paper towels for 18 hours. Once the next day approached, my little umbrella friends were stale to the touch and ready to be pulverized by an herb grinder!
I weighed the dry amount. It came out to roughly 5.56 grams. Excellent. A “heroic” dose as they call it. I grabbed my herb grinder and 30 empty 1.5g capsules and began filling them with freshly ground mushroom dust. About 20 minutes later I had myself a good pile of pills. More pills than any person probably takes in a day. I swallow fifteen at a time. The nausea raised my heart rate. I grab a joint and go out back to ease the nausea. I want to stress that the nausea was mostly from the shock of putting 30 pills in my system on an empty stomach at 1030 in the morning, not the mushrooms themselves. After smoking, the nausea subsided and I began to feel very spacey.
I attempted to watch YouTube and listen to SomaFM’s Space Station to chill out. It was tough to pay attention to the video as the screen kept melting words. I was fully aware it was a hallucination. I would zone out and cats I don’t own would pass by me in my peripheral vision. It was a surreal feeling, but I remained mostly grounded in reality. The feelings I was having were bordering on anxiety and fight or flight. I decided it was a good time to lay down. I went to my room and got in my bed. The fan was on. It was almost pitch black from the blinds being shut. I began meditating to mitigate the waves of anxiety and convert them into pleasure. Square mandalas began bursting through my third eye into my mind! They were absolutely beautiful. I swear I saw colors that don’t exist in this reality. My mind was bursting with untapped mental potential while my body lie writhing in a mixture of pleasure and pain. I spent 3 hours in this state. Once my mind settled to a point where I was in control of myself again I got up to get some ice water. The best feeling after a trip is an ice cold drink. For me, I am a water lover. I also love kombucha, but the caffeine potentiates my experience into a very anxiety ridden mess. I avoid that drug when I trip. Caffeine is a productivity drug, not a tripping drug (in my opinion).
I went to the kitchen. It was roughly 530pm now. I felt weak and yet powerful. Like I had won a gladiator competition. I could take on anything. My serotonin levels were blasting like a stereo on eleven. I wasn’t tripping anymore. This was the afterglow. I made myself a plate of leftover eggplant casserole and added some ghost peppers for fun. Hots while high potentiates the experience and allows me to fully feel my airways. It’s very invigorating without causing anxiety. I went to my office with my newly warmed plate of doctored vegetables and sat down to watch some YouTube.
5.5grams sent me to my source and energized my soul. It showed me energy and power I didn’t know I had. I am human. I am alive. I am important and my life matters. None of these things felt true pre-trip. For me, a heroic dose brought me temporary respite for my sanity to regenerate.
Remember set and setting are important. I took a big risk eating that amount of mushrooms in this unstable home. I am experienced at meditation and dealing with hallucinations. This helped me integrate my experience in a positive way. I am not saying I am fixed, but I am better than I was before. What happens if I keep taking them? Maybe I will one day draw on that untapped mental energy and create the masterpiece I know is inside me.