LSD: My Life-Saving Drug
February 6, 2016 8:28 AM   Subscribe

When a freak brain hemorrhage struck out of nowhere a couple of years ago, I became a little depressed, stuck in a rut, and strangely fearful of death. So when I heard about people (in my neighborhood, even) using hallucinogens to push beyond their preoccupations, to help them live without fear, I decided that was a trip I had to take.
posted by pwally (44 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wouldn't it be wonderful if people were allowed to decide for themselves what they wanted to do with their own bodies? Or, at least perhaps make educated choices instead of having poor ones made on your behalf? Or, if not that, then at least study some of these things?

Here's another: Onetime party drug hailed as miracle for treating severe depression

Here's one about opioids preventing suicide.

See, thing is I think we'd know more of these things if we didn't have such a puritanical approach to drugs, if we didn't have a war on drugs, and if we didn't lie to people about drugs. You tell a kid that marijuana will destroy his life and he tries it and realizes he can do pretty much anything while stoned and he didn't even feel sick the next day, well, suddenly that kid wonders what else he was lied to about. When you tell people, "Cigarettes are legal, and so is alcohol," what you are suggesting is they are somehow superior to the illegal methods of ending sobriety. Again, you're lying and the kid knows it. You have no credibility, so hey, let's try this other shit.

Getting caught for marijuana will destroy your life. It will take a perfectly functioning tax payer and turn him into an incarcerated prisoner. Yay USA! Even if I stipulate that these drugs are bad and should be controlled (I don't) I would still suggest treatment is far superior to imprisonment. Our judicial system and prisons are embarrassing. Like Muslim sharia law and alcohol level of embarrassing.

If I want opioids (and I do) I should be able to buy them without risk of losing my liberty or my job. If I want marijuana (I don't) I should be able to have it. Personally, I don't take either, but I see their access as a fundamental human right. The US would be a better place if the 2nd Amendment granted people guaranteed access to opioids and marijuana.

I gave up drinking about half a year ago. I might drink tonight. I might go another 6 months. I might go forever. I don't miss drinking, but I do miss ending my sobriety. Occasionally it's wonderful to turn off your brain, to take the edge off, and to get outside you head. If other drugs were legal, but regulated (I want to know what I am taking and at what dose) I might take them.

I would pay my dentists serious money to hook me up to nitrous for an hour or two on a Friday. Diluted liquid morphine on a Friday night. Maybe a cup of opium tea on a lazy afternoon. Why aren't these acceptable?

We allow tobacco products which when used as intended will kill you, and alcohol that when prohibited may also kill you. Yet we believe these are socially acceptable. Why make laws about these substances? Why not just the behavior? If I am a drunken ass in a fight or an impair driver that should be illegal. If I want to roll a joint in my own home and smoke it on the deck that should be my right.

I could go on.

The list of illegal recreational drugs that they are finding out have additional medical benefits is growing, but even without this, my life, my choice.

As someone that suffers from chronic pain and depression (one leads to the other), who has found absolutely no help through socially accepted methods, or through the medical profession, I have given up on there being other legal choices for me. I would love to try a couple hits of acid, or maybe a ketamine kick, or MDMA, or or or or. But I don't, because I want to keep my job, don't want to be in pain and depressed and in jail.

But hey, I have a passport now, so I plan to figure a few of these things out!

Also, as an aside, relating to the article, Murder Ballads turned 20 yesterday. It was the soundtrack to my deformative years, but not what I would pick to rewire my brain with.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:54 AM on February 6, 2016 [48 favorites]


An otherwise moonbatinsane counter culture person I spoke to related that a discussion with a heavy DEA agent about the guy that had the biggest LSD lab in an old missile silo. The thesis was that that single bust was the primary cause of the Meth epidemic, which the DEA guy also agreed was a significantly worse problem.

Unintended consequences are a bitch.
posted by sammyo at 9:03 AM on February 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


A lot of things in this world are organised as they are simply because people, in general, get a kick out of controlling other people's lives. Marx can only take me so far when I think about these things, and then I have to turn to Nietzsche.
posted by howfar at 9:06 AM on February 6, 2016 [13 favorites]


It's a funny thing: I have seen people use LSD as basically just another drug to party on. Or one can approach it with great seriousness of purpose, even reverence, for therapeutic or spiritual use.
posted by thelonius at 9:09 AM on February 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


I hear you about the reverence and spiritual use, but I think it's symptomatic of our culture's disrespect for drugs that we sometimes feel like we have to justify using them in that way.

Like, my depression gets a lot better if I push myself to go out dancing on a regular basis. Dancing is fun and happy-making and good for me. It is not a deeply spiritual practice, or a voyage of self-discovery, or something I approach with great reverence, but it's still one of the best forms of self-care I've got and I really cherish it for that.

Sometimes tripping is like church, yeah, or like the sort of carefully-shepherded death-and-rebirth experience the article describes. But sometimes tripping is like going out dancing, and it's good and fun and happy-making and harmless, and I feel like that should be all the justification for it that anyone needs.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:23 AM on February 6, 2016 [32 favorites]


It's a funny thing: I have seen people use LSD as basically just another drug to party on. Or one can approach it with great seriousness of purpose, even reverence, for therapeutic or spiritual use.

Agree. See also: alcohol, cannabis, many others.
posted by Cookiebastard at 9:34 AM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


LSD had been used by a doctor in the Netherlands to treat PTSD among concentration camp survivors. In this book, the survivor, a well known novelist-survivor, details his treatment that allowed him to function and lead a productive life till into his 90s.

" Ka-Tzetnik 135633 ( House of Dolls ) is the pen name of Yehiel De-Nur, a pseudonym derived from the tattoo branded on his arm in Auschwitz. In an unusual footnote to the large body of Holocaust literature, the Israeli author describes the LSD treatments he underwent in 1976 under the supervision of a Dutch psychiatrist and specialist in the so-called Concentration Camp Syndrome. The hallucinogen incongruously prettifies some memories (in his European heder "our rabbi's sidecurls are a bouncing phosphorescence, while we little ones are translucent, ethereal, floating"). But, for the most part, the drug allows De-Nur to combat his demons as it intensifies his recollection of grotesqueries that were the order of the day in Auschwitz, the "planet of death.""
posted by Postroad at 9:41 AM on February 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


Relatedly, I think it's cool that the author here doesn't report that the experience put everything right with him, taught him the deep secrets of the universe, or anything like that. It was interesting, and intense, and beautiful, and changed his outlook on life in some small and subtle ways, and he's clearly fascinated by it and glad he did it. But, like, he also pretty clearly disclaims the Transformative Experience narrative:
And the biggie—my fear of death—seems to be in fine fettle. By experiencing the mysterium tremendum of the void, I may have even made it worse. Instantaneous transformation, I think it’s safe to say, is a seductive myth.
That's a lot closer to my own experience, even when I've gone into a trip with a set and setting that were aimed at Transformation. Some things get better and some things get worse and some things just get different and that's probably okay.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:42 AM on February 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


And! I like the frankness about bad trips being a thing that kind of just happens pretty often if you're aiming for something super-heavy and super-intense, and not a catastrophe or a sign you fucked up.

Anyway, this is cool, lots to think about, thanks for posting.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:48 AM on February 6, 2016


I don't miss drinking, but I do miss ending my sobriety.

I'm pregnant at the moment and this is an excellent way of putting one of the things that has me most discontented about this temporary state of being. I don't miss being drunk, really, but I miss not being sober. It's nice having some variety. It's nice having choices beyond "conscious" and "sleeping".
posted by town of cats at 9:50 AM on February 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


I've been fascinated by the LSD microdosing trend. I havn't tried it myself as I'm too square.
posted by humanfont at 9:50 AM on February 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


This was a great article. Read it if you aren't philosophically opposed to long-form journalism.

I tripped close to twenty times between the ages of 16 and 19. I never had a bad trip, even when on acid, alone in a cemetery, gazing through the bars at a reflective piece of copper in a mausoleum, watching my reflection turn into the face of Death Herself. Even when watching the world melting, I knew it was just the drugs. The only regret I have was the time, at a lake in a city park, in 1969, when an old man came by and told us about how those plastic 6-pack holders can strangle ducks. My friend and I couldn't stop laughing. I feel bad about that.

Once, after a hefty dose of morning glory seeds, in the night sky, the stars looked like holes in the black fabric of the sky, through which I could see pinholes of radiance emitted by The Book beyond. Plus, the stars were perfectly symmetrical. Now, that was fun! Until the next morning when my friend's mother found me, still awake, fumbling around for matches to smoke a cigarette and had my dad (a psychiatrist) come and pick me up.

Finally, on my 20th trip, I had the spiritual experience I had been looking for. That was my last trip.

Well, I took LSD about ten years after that, and shrooms twenty years later. On both occasions, it felt like my brain was scrambled, but my inner self was untouched.

I realize that many people are healed by trips. Not the GQ author, although he did nothing to discourage potential psychonauts. I wasn't healed...I didn't yet know I needed healing; I was too young. But it opened the door to meditation practice, something I would advocate as more fun and more permanent than psychedelics, if prosethelytizing were not something that would get me banned from Metafilter, a cyberplace I truly love.
posted by kozad at 10:02 AM on February 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


My friend asked me solemnly if I’d eaten the entire cookie.

“Yes,” I said.

He massaged my shoulder, very gently. This was someone who traveled with his own drug supplier. “Just remember, no matter what happens, it’s only hash.”


A good laugh. For those that at random times, eat a lot of kale, it has a lot of vitamin K, which is a clotting factor and moderation in all things includes kale.

I wish there were a magic reset button to suddenly be on the fine edge of innocence and openness that characterizes youth, if you were lucky, ever. But strangers and rooms, barf buckets and sleeping bags and all, don't seem like the way back to the uncomplicated, pure self.

I do remember once, being on the way to a special occasion, that seemed to be starting early, crammed into a VW bug, stuck in traffic, the Steve Miller Band was suddenly singing, do, do, da, do, do, do, do, livin' in the USA, somebody get me a cheeseburger! It seemed comical, dead on, the oppression of our invention. But later it seemed much more important to me how every single, tiny, growing thing was shaped by its reach for the sun, and I did not want to step on even one.
posted by Oyéah at 10:13 AM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Living without fear isn't a realistic goal. But when I've performed my own homebrew shamanic rites with LSD, I've decidedly changed my relationship with fear. We're closer to being partners now.
posted by Taft at 10:23 AM on February 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


This weeks expanding mind show

A talk with anthropologist (and "vibe-ologist") Graham St. John about entities, horror films, and his new book Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT

is worth a listen. Main focus is on DMT not LSD but several hallucinogenic / psychedelic chemical topics are discussed.
posted by bukvich at 10:28 AM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Tried LSD a few times at a festival. The insomnia is annoying, but the rest is ok. Probably got some low grade stuff, but I remember enjoying, as everyone else had gone to bed, sitting and watching the naked ladies in the campfire dance.
posted by triage_lazarus at 10:54 AM on February 6, 2016


One of the many damaging ironies of TWOD is that there is no shortage of intelligent, informed, responsible people who would - and do, of course - form a network of expert advisors on the best use of psychoactives. In a sane world, such networks would be seen as a major social good, part of the way society organises itself to militate against harm and promote good. Psychoactives can do great good, and cause great harm, but you simply cannot beat the involvement of wise, compassionate people in tuning that.

Isn't that what we're supposed to do?

Currently, of course, if you take that path, you risk great harm to yourself and those who care about you. Sometimes people get away with it, more or less, and bravery and honesty can still earn you a pass while the arbitrary Man decides to look the other way. Heaven help you if that changes.

Nowhere near good enough.

Yet are the regulators and law-setters even engaging with these ideas, these people? In the UK quite the opposite - we've just banned _all_ psychoactive substances that don't have explicit exemptions (Parliament actually organised its debates to exclude scientific or medical opinions and data), so we'll see how that works out.

It's a chronic malignancy of political will that baffles me even more every time I think about it.
posted by Devonian at 10:58 AM on February 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


Relatedly, I think it's cool that the author here doesn't report that the experience put everything right with him, taught him the deep secrets of the universe, or anything like that. It was interesting, and intense, and beautiful, and changed his outlook on life in some small and subtle ways, and he's clearly fascinated by it and glad he did it.

Yeah, we can't all drop acid and then go onto create a billion dollar company. But some do. Point is, the narrative of the loser druggie is another one of those stereotypes that needs to di.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:01 AM on February 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


I have long thought that, if I could just have a pill that gave me, all day, that early-on effect when the LSD (or psilocybin, my preferred trip, actually) just starts to kick in...when the world brightens just a bit, the colors are just a bit more colorful, and you get just ever so slightly happy/giggly...I'd be of a much less depressed mind. Not a full-on trip, mind you. Just that happy start.

That's probably my favorite part of tripping...the beginning...when you're aware something wonderful is about to happen.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:04 AM on February 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I've taken LSD in circumstances most people would have had the sense not to, I'd guess, including in the hospital the night before early morning surgery to reattach ligaments in my hand.

I read Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon with the greatest pleasure until about 2:00 AM, when I could no longer contain my restlessness and started wandering the halls gorging myself on the innumerable incredibly beautiful small light sources of a modern hospital, but a nurse finally caught up with me and shooed me back to my room, which was OK because by that time moans of pain issuing into the hall from half-open doors were ripping through me like bandsaws.

I don't remember really sleeping, and I was still pretty high during the surgery, which was done under local anesthetic, and I have a vivid and exquisitely detailed memory of the (painless!) sensations associated with having a nail pounded diagonally through two adjoining bones and across a joint in my little finger.
posted by jamjam at 11:05 AM on February 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


400 dollars??!
posted by O. Bender at 11:41 AM on February 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I've tried pot and hash and neither had any effect on me.

Once, at a Christmas dinner party I was hosting, I threw out my back and, reflexively, took, for the pain, an Oxy and a muscle relaxant, which I'd had from an injury a year earlier. It never occurred to me that I was drunk and shouldn't take them.

About 40 minutes later, everyone had gone home, and my girlfriend and I were having sex and I was, momentarily, high. The first time in my life I've ever understood what that expression meant.

For a few brief seconds, I left myself and was above us and observing and I thought I was dying, but in a good way. I don't think I've ever been happier, actually.

For years I've found myself thinking of those seconds and how much better my life was. I want to go back there but know that it was a fluke of *just* the right combination of pain, drugs, and booze. Though I still have the pills, I never have tried it again, perhaps due to a fear of being a person who chases that kind of thing.

A few weeks ago, I was on a streetcar and my brain sort of flashed--changed channels--in rapid succession. I didn't know who I was or where I was and when I tried to move, I realized I couldn't move the left side of my body. And I couldn't speak. I was rushed to an emergency room with all the symptoms of a stroke and after a few hours, I was fine. I'd had a Transient Ischemic Attack.

I've since had an MRI and am awaiting the results, which seem to be taking a ridiculous amount of time, but since the incident, I've found myself thinking of those bottles a lot more often.

Interesting article. Thanks.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:50 AM on February 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Wouldn't it be wonderful if people were allowed to decide for themselves what they wanted to do with their own bodies?

FROM THE DEEP ARCHIVES:

"And if this IS war, and I believe it is, then there must be two sides. So let's call Side 1 the normal side: the dominant media dream of the past thirty years - the one about fine trimmed lawns and hedges and straight cut geometric lines of landscape design - implausible Hollywood happy endings, happy face logos helping build strong YOUNG bodies in forty-nine ways . . .

"Side 2 would be the other side - the other THING, the non-THING, the anti-THING, the madness-boiling-sub-atomic-chaos that underlies EVERYTHING. And I suspect it's the stronger side, because we humans built the normal one - a deliberate and criminal human THING. We've burned forests for it, poisoned oceans, blown how many billion species to oblivion - but what have we acutally built it on? SOLID GROUND? Hardly. I know that much from my psychedelic excursions. I've seen it all melt down. Like you're watching a movie and the film gets stuck. The frame bubbles and melts. All the colours run and then the alien comes flooding through. That's your psychedelic secret right there. We've all got a full universe boiling away inside us and it cannot be contained no matter how hard we try.

"So what's that say about accepted values and rules of the game? gravity and stability and Walt Disney movies with familiar plots and cute cuddly WILD animals and all the WHITE arguments for the well weeded garden, the straight fashionable tie, for showing up for work on time so you can sell people STUFF they don't really need so you can buy STUFF you don't really need.

"Meanwhile, we're eating the real planet. We're stuffing it back - one vast pig-feast after another. Then we induce vomiting, flush all the fresh poison down the drains infecting the lakes, the rivers, the oceans.

"So WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON HERE? What perceptual doors are THEY so afraid of? What files classified TOP SECRET not for our eyes? What visions are on offer?

"Get it straight. MAN. The game is chemical balance. THEY seek to legislate and control our thought processes. THEY seek to channel and dictate the very ebb and flow of our dreams and imaginations. It's that simple. They're that scared. They're that hungry, committed, evil and stupid.

"Because there are things they don't want us to see and understand. Because there are questions they don't want us to ask. Like, what's your PIECE worth if it's a VERB active vital living THING? Solidity is illusion. Property is illusion. It's all contracts, agreements, books of rules, reptilian scratchings painting profound LIES inspiring murder WAR torture incarceration - FOR WHAT?"
posted by philip-random at 12:10 PM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


> 400 dollars??!

No shit. It's only $20 in town.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:20 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


The only regret I have was the time, at a lake in a city park, in 1969, when an old man came by and told us about how those plastic 6-pack holders can strangle ducks. My friend and I couldn't stop laughing. I feel bad about that.


Okay, I'm sorry you feel bad about that... but that is actually hilarious. I can so picture me and my friends doing that when we were younger by accident too, had me in stitches (and I would absolve yourself, life's too short).
posted by pwally at 12:24 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Attitudes about drugs makes some useful drugs unavailable. I've had some nasty go-rounds with depression, but ketamine doesn't look like being available any time soon. Because some people enjoy it. See also pot. Plus, some drugs languish because no company sees massive profit in them. Not reasonable profit, massive profit. Health care in the US is nuts. There should be a drug for that, huh.
posted by theora55 at 12:29 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have long thought that, if I could just have a pill that gave me, all day, that early-on effect when the LSD (or psilocybin, my preferred trip, actually) just starts to kick in...

I believe micro-dosing has been covered on the blue before.
posted by ninazer0 at 2:11 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Okay, I'm sorry you feel bad about that... but that is actually hilarious. I can so picture me and my friends doing that when we were younger by accident too, had me in stitches (and I would absolve yourself, life's too short).

There's not much that isn't funny on acid - sometimes that's "we're all the butt of a truly mean-spirited cosmic joke" funny but you'll still laugh. And conversations with strangers that leave you convinced they must think you are completely deranged are a grand tradition too.
posted by atoxyl at 2:42 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


My first experience with hallucinogens (LSD, back before most "LSD" was actually a research chemical like 2CI) had a fairly decent effect on my life. It started out fairly poorly, but I managed to kick myself out of that headspace into something positive, had a good time, and managed to get out from under the BS I was struggling with.

All my more recent acid experiences were stupid fun and had no lasting effect. Same went for my couple of experiences with shrooms, just with a side of intense nauseation. Last time was 2CI, which was something of a let down as there were no visuals whatsoever, just that feeling of being about to trip that I get in my throat. It did leave me with a sense of well-being that I had never previously experienced (and have not experienced since) which was nice. Well, come to think of it, that isn't true. A couple of big hits of 10x Salvia extract did leave me with a similar sense of well being once I came back from the strangest combination of having my butt hanging out through the floor into interstellar space as if a wormhole had opened up beneath my chair, an intense visual distortion of some ad for an upcoming wrestling match that was on the TV, and my conscious mind hanging on to reality by narrating what I was seeing and feeling to the room. It was as if there were two or three different people sharing my brain for a few minutes.

Point is, for me, psychedelics are really only good for the fun of the visual experience, not so much for any mind expansion or treatment of depression or the severe anxiety I've developed in the last couple of years. Still fun, but they don't really do for me what they do for others, even when I take what should be a ridiculous dose. Aside from the first 5 seconds or so of that Salvia trip, my rational mind has always been there reminding me it's just the drugs.

TBH, a good opiate nod that leaves you in that half-awake, half-dreaming state is easily as entertaining and is similarly trippy in the weird thoughts sense. But you don't get the pretty colors, vibrating patterns, and intense beauty that LSD and psylocibin give.

Anyway, I'm glad they do good things for other people, and I definitely think that their illegality is unnecessary. People occasionally do stupid shit on drugs, but people commonly do stupid shit while drunk, yet we let people do that all they want.
posted by wierdo at 3:02 PM on February 6, 2016


man I know a thing or two about psychedelics and a thing or three about opiates and do not agree with that comparison at all. But to each his own.
posted by atoxyl at 3:45 PM on February 6, 2016


It's nice to hear someone write about LSD as something short of a miracle cure. I know too many people who think it's THE way to change your life, or that there wouldn't be any war if everyone on Earth dropped acid. I like to hear about it in terms that are more relatable for me: that there is no miracle cure, but that this drug might still be helpful.

My problem with it is that it is, at the end of the day, a drug. I have severe issues with anxiety, and the fear of a bad trip has always been enough to keep me away. I don't feel comfortable yielding that much control to such a strong drug for so many hours.

I always feel alienated from conversations about powerful drugs treating mental illness, because I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be wanting to try it or not. What do you do when you're worried that the drug will make things worse?
posted by teponaztli at 5:20 PM on February 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Reply All podcast has an episode called Shine on You Crazy Goldman where two of the staff experiment with therapeutic microdosing. Results are mixed. It's an informative episode, though.
posted by Miko at 5:43 PM on February 6, 2016


What do you do when you're worried that the drug will make things worse?

I wonder this too. I'd try any drug on earth if I thought it really had a shot at improving my depression, but with hallucinogens in particular I read such mixed things and am not sure which sources to trust and what would work for my brain.
posted by thetortoise at 5:44 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and I've talked to experienced trippers who specifically said "I don't think psychedelics are for you." It's like, oh great, nice to know you think acid is life-changing, and also something I shouldn't ever do. That's great.
posted by teponaztli at 6:49 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Murder Ballads turned 20 yesterday

Thanks for sending me down a rabbithole of nostalgia cjorgensen. That site is great!
posted by bendy at 7:01 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


"I always feel alienated from conversations about powerful drugs treating mental illness, because I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be wanting to try it or not. What do you do when you're worried that the drug will make things worse?"

Yeah, that's the argument I keep having with people. They say, "try it anyway!" and I am all, "seriously, if I go into work fucked up on side effects from depression meds, I'm getting canned, I can't be anything less than 100% perfect and happy." Hell, I get into trouble for having a minor headache :P

That said: I am very worried at the whole idea of tripping and hallucinating, but when I read stuff like this, it almost makes me want to try it, except there's no "legal" way to try doing it like this dude did. But...almost.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:50 PM on February 6, 2016


"seriously, if I go into work fucked up on side effects from depression meds, I'm getting canned, I can't be anything less than 100% perfect and happy." Hell, I get into trouble for having a minor headache :P

Jesus. That's terrible and I'm sorry. I think I'm sort of repeating myself from an earlier thread, but this struck me as a good example of why thinking that drugs constitute anything but a limited (although incredibly important) part of our approach to depression is misguided.

The incredible stress and misery of not having appropriate employment protection is enough to make anyone unhappy, and (given my anxiety-driven workaholic tendencies) would make me personally very unwell in a very short period of time.

Thank you to trade-unionism and the EU is all I can say. I am very grateful for my medications, but decent labour laws do more to safeguard my mental health than anything pharmacology is ever likely to identify. There's set and setting for you.
posted by howfar at 12:24 AM on February 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


LSD has been instrumental in my healing. My partner and I started taking it at festivals and while out camping to have fun, but on about the 3rd or 4th trip emotions started coming up. That was how it began. Soon after we were having entire trips that were dedicated entirely to connecting to our emotional selves.

I first connected with my core self while on a trip -- the inner child who was locked in a deep dark hole way underground. I touched his pain for the first time. I let my partner in for the first time on a trip; I placed her hand on my chest, right at the core of the vortex of pain, and she felt it, and I cried, and after that the vortex had calmed, and I came to understand that the vortex was the main pipe into myself, and I perceived of it as a vortex of pain because I was hurting - but after feeling her touch, and feeling not alone at the deepest level, it lost its terrifying edge, and from then on it was no longer a vortex, it was simply pain, and I could approach it without being overwhelmed.

On subsequent trips I met all of my fears, and I met the various parts of myself that were out there battling the world, trying to protect me and keep me safe. They came to me as an image of soldiers out on a battlefield, versions of me out there alone, fighting. One by one I called them home, they dropped their weapons and stopped fighting and came in, and with a rush of emotions and tears rolling down I welcomed them back. In my therapy sessions i continued this work, exploring pathways and connections I had first built on LSD, building a tenuous relationship with my inner self, finding more soldiers and calling them home. Therapy and LSD became partners in my journey, with one trip having the potency of about ten sessions, and with the sessions being a vital tool to integrate and understand the new terrain I've travelled. In a trip that felt like a climax of sorts, my inner self climbed out of the hole and I held him, as my adult self, in the present. And the main pipe, which used to carry the vortex, which has been nothing but pain, has now in rare but growing occasions been wide open and not hurt. I have felt happy while connected to myself, for the first time in my life.

I unravelled my trauma history on LSD. I recovered sense-memories of my childhood sexual abuse that I'd felt only in flashbacks in waking hours. I spotted a troubling pattern in my mother's relationship with me and in a Eureka moment I realized she had been trying to get in, trying to take something precious from me, but I had kept her out by slamming the door. But I realized she had taken something from both of my brothers. I went tripping with one of my brothers and we collapsed sobbing into each others arms as we suddenly felt the bond that we had had as children. We remembered the feeling of holding one anothers hand - but so big, the hands of men, we were expecting the hands of little boys. We had been hiding from one another for so many years. When I told him what I had uncovered, a flood of memories came pouring back for him, parts of the story I didn't know but which confirmed her abusive behavior. Where to now, I am still figuring out.

My partner and I grew closer together on trips. In addition to her own personal healing journey, we used the time consciously to work on our relationship. We navigated an intimate space which was fraught and full of landmines as we are both survivors of sexual trauma. In particular I saw myself from the outside and saw how problematic my behavior was around sex; how I had bought into the societal narrative that men had a right to sex and that their value was defined by the sex they had (even though I find this abhorrent) and how this was driving my behavior in subtle ways. Eventually I kicked this out and we found a way of being intimate that was free of external pressures. We explore these pressures on trips and grapple with them and look for ways in which these are embedded in ourselves. We're both moving towards post-gender versions of ourselves, being our true selves without any of the limitations or expectations of masculinity or femininity. We wrote our wedding ceremony and vows on LSD; it gave us clarity, a space free of distractions where we could focus in on what mattered to us, what were we doing for the sake of others (which could go) and what was at the core of our story.

We are still tripping because it feels there is still work to do. Both of us are still working through our pasts, though we both feel like we've come most of the way there. Lately we spend a lot of time thinking about society; spotting the patterns and narratives that are being pushed at us, and trying to figure out our place in the world, and how we can make the world better. The dominant theme is the patriarchy because this is at the root of both of our oppression, and now that we're tuned in, we see it everywhere. We see our female friends being oppressed by our male friends; our mothers being oppressed by our fathers, and me oppressing her, mostly in the past when we were less aware of these, but it requires constant vigilance in the present to keep this away. Some kind of life purpose is emerging out of all of these trips, a major theme, about the better world we want to live in and therefore create for ourselves, and the ways in which we can help others find their way through the dark.

We've started doing this work in the day to day, now that the pathways are open and we have a vocabulary and language we don't need the LSD to see what's going on and understand it (though it definitely helps). It's sort of like doing chores so you can have the weekend free. One day soon we hope to have a 'fun' trip. And indeed we're getting close to this point, we're both close to the point where we can actually enjoy the time we spend together without the lifelong depression and darkness showing up and clouding everything over. I won't say that LSD cured me, that would be simplistic and untrue. What it did is give me access to parts of me that were normally inaccessible, either because they were scary or painful, or because they were cloaked by other stuff that had been implanted; and getting to know these parts and bringing them to the surface is the key to healing. In dozens of trips there has never been a false note; every insight about myself and others has been proven true again and again. In a way this is one of the most important pieces -- the trips have shown me that I can have insights about myself or others and that they are true, and I have learned to hear that voice, to distinguish it from other people's voices that are implanted in my head, and to trust it.
posted by anybodys at 3:07 AM on February 7, 2016 [20 favorites]


Mariah Carey’s version of “I Want to Know What Love Is.” ??!
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 8:26 AM on February 7, 2016


atoxyl, in years past, I could lucid dream on demand. It's pretty much the same as a good acid trip, if you aren't going for the deep exploratory healing thing. As I said, I tried to get into that headspace a few times, but it has never worked; I just can't get far enough gone to forget the whole thing is drug-induced.

An opiate nod can put you into a lucid dreaming state, if you get the dose right. I'd rather have my old on demand state back, though.
posted by wierdo at 11:08 AM on February 7, 2016


I do wish I could try to save my mental health without the whole risk of arrest thing.

I looked into growing my own magic mushrooms but came away from the research convinced I would accidentally blow up a pressure cooker.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:17 PM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


We are still tripping because it feels there is still work to do.

There comes a point with acid where all the stuff that was so fun and overwhelming during early experiences - all the drippy melty breathing stuff, and the motion trails, and the colour and sparkle and flash and sheer intense immediacy of every perception - becomes something one learns to put aside and not be distracted by, because there's a whole bunch of other stuff underneath all that which is way, way more interesting and way, way more useful.

That's the stuff that I, currently spending a few decades masquerading as a respectable pillar of the community, am missing the most. Some of it is indeed available via meditation but not all of it and nowhere near as readily.

I'm very much looking forward to resuming my friendship with this chemical once I'm old and grey enough to have earned my social invisibility badge.
posted by flabdablet at 2:22 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


> An otherwise moonbatinsane counter culture person I spoke to related that a discussion with a heavy DEA agent about the guy that had the biggest LSD lab in an old missile silo. The thesis was that that single bust was the primary cause of the Meth epidemic, which the DEA guy also agreed was a significantly worse problem.

More on Pickard: There Really Is An LSD Shortage, And Here's Why
posted by homunculus at 7:39 PM on February 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


"The incredible stress and misery of not having appropriate employment protection is enough to make anyone unhappy, and (given my anxiety-driven workaholic tendencies) would make me personally very unwell in a very short period of time.
Thank you to trade-unionism and the EU is all I can say."


Oh, I'm in an union, but they are extremely crazypants and I would not trust them to put me out if I was on fire and a union rep was holding a fire extinguisher in their hands. Even my pro-union friend who used to work with them and beg me to join as a voting member has gotten fed up and quit. The other super pro-union person I knew got fired anyway and honestly, other than their managing to negotiate the occasional pay bump every 3-4 years, I don't know what good they do. Unfortunately I work in a very lookism-y office and frankly, I wouldn't want to go to them and say, "I'm fucked up on depression meds right now, please don't fire me, I can't help this excruciating 5 day headache I've got" or whatever. I wouldn't trust the power that be above my head with that information or that it would excuse me from anything, and I don't want any medical black marks on my record unless I absolutely can't camouflage them.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:48 PM on February 21, 2016


« Older And now for something completely different...   |   RIP Theia, you crashed with Earth to create the... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments