Subject Beta

This is the trip report of my friend:

So I’m apparently a dog now.

I am Subject Beta. I’m not entirely new to Psilocybin. I have taken it on at least one other occasion to measure my tolerance to it and evaluate the effects. This had been only a comparatively small dose however and before this week I had not gone beyond 2 grams of cubensis mushrooms or 15 grams of truffles. That all changed in the last few days when I was given 45 grams of Hollandia truffles in a therapeutic setting with the intention of treating the depression I have suffered from since around 2006 and allowing me to come to terms with a lot of traumatic things that have happened in my life that caused this.

The event itself began with a huge amount of anxiety. I had been losing sleep from the amount of worrying I had been doing and had at least one panic attack during the week approaching it. I was deeply afraid of what I was about to do and of what it might put me through and if I would even come out with my mind intact. I knew I would forever regret it if I did not go through with it however and I downed the disgusting brew before I was able to second guess myself. What followed was the biggest “oh shit” moment of my life. I knew I had just committed to something I now had no further control over. Like that moment the restraints click down on that huge roller-coaster that you’re really apprehensive of riding but made yourself stay in the queue for. I was in for a very rough ride and I knew it.

At first, the anxiety was all there was. And it was a lot of anxiety. I sat there waiting for the inevitable and held on tightly to the plush toy I had brought with me. I waited for the signs I recognized to identify that I was tripping and to begin with it was the same as when I was on the smaller dose only with a lot more anxiety. Then my stomach joined the discussion, insisting that it would not retain its contents and that it would evacuate them immediately. I managed to avoid vomiting after gagging a good number of times and requesting the newly titled “bad vibes bucket” on which I had drawn an angry expression. The nausea eventually subsided somewhat and the signs of tripping became more prominent. I remained where I was for a while but after almost throwing up a second time moved to lay down on the sofa. This seemed to work to lessen the feeling of needing to vomit at least for the time being and allowed me to close my eyes and focus on the trip itself.

For at least 30 minutes but what seemed like over an hour the only things I could feel were intense anxiety and nausea. Then all of a sudden these gave way to a lot of emotions and for a while I was lost in the chaos of my own feelings and with my eyes closed I could see colours and patterns everywhere. On the last trip I had done I was able to visualize coherent images and places but this time it was all chaos and very intense. I was feeling every single emotion all at once and all turned up to 11 and over the next few minutes this intensified until I found myself completely forgetting where, when or even who I was. This was the ego death I had heard about. It was supposed to be scary but it seemed natural to me and felt very refreshing for suddenly I no longer had a me to feel bad about and I could truly appreciate what I was, whatever that was at the time. My sense of self looked for something to make of me and the first thing I could identify was the dog plush I was holding onto. In a moment of intense self realization I seemed to somehow merge with it and all of a sudden that was me. I was a dog, I was happy with it and nothing else mattered for that moment.

The second half of my trip began after I remembered my former self and more or less who I was supposed to be. I had prepared a playlist that would bring out the emotions I had relating to the past, in particular the difficult times I had been through including the deaths of people close to me and the breakdown of my last romantic relationship. I began to feel all of these emotions very strongly and I had no choice but to face up to all these feelings that I had locked away, unable to process or deal with them before. Then a song came on from my playlist that represented all the happy times I had spent with my former partner and the future we had planned. I had expected the other more negative songs to make more of an impact on things but as soon as this song began something that I had been blocking out for literally years broke free and I was filled with the deepest sadness and all the hurt and emotions of broken dreams. I just cried uncontrollably for the duration of the song, and the next song too. It was all being released. I had cried a lot when it all happened but it never helped at all and all the hurt remained inside me. Not this time.

What followed was an emotional roller-coaster, I went between crying, laughing and feeling betrayed and hurt. There was a lot of anger towards my ex that I had not been able to resolve and this followed. I cursed them for abandoning me when I needed them most and I cursed the person they abandoned me to pursue. I denounced them for the selfish, foolish and dishonest person they had been. I called them dirt and I knew I was better than them even if I was still alone. I thought the trip might have made me want to forgive them and accept more blame for things myself but it showed me the absolute truth. I did my very best and I was used and discarded and then to add insult to injury, called a bad partner who didn’t deserve to be loved by them. They didn’t need or deserve my forgiveness. There was no middle finger big enough. I felt vindicated.

Throughout all of this, the feeling of nausea had not died down much and every feeling, emotion or thought process I had traversed had been punctuated by gagging and my now empty stomach trying its best to empty its non existent contents. To add to this, by this stage I was now mentally exhausted and this persistent physical discomfort and nausea was causing me a lot of additional anxiety. I could tell I was beginning to come down but it was happening very slowly and there was no more I could take. I tried to sit up and let reality back in. I spoke about how the trip had gone and tried to distract myself from how sick and anxious I felt and sat there for a few minutes with the disgusted looking bucket waiting to somehow bring something up. After a few minutes I decided it was time to eat something, even if it was just to give my stomach something material to purge. I was pretty sure I wanted this all to stop by now so I chose a sugary muffin to accelerate the come down. This helped a little and reduced the feeling of sickness somewhat and myself and my sitter ventured out to find something more substantial to eat as they had also not eaten all day.

After the surreal experience of ordering McDonald’s whilst still tripping, we sat down and discussed everything. The only thing I was really certain of at that stage was that I had somehow become a dog. This was not so unusual for me as I have spent a good number of years involved with what is known as the “furry fandom” but I had formerly identified as a slightly different animal and it was still a little strange to say the least. My sitter felt like the trip had definitely been effective and that I had gotten through a lot. I didn’t know how to feel yet, I was still not entirely back to reality and by now so tired that all I could think of was sleep. I had not managed to sleep well for the last few days due to anxiety and unfortunately despite feeling more tired than I have ever been I was only able to get a few hours before I was woken up by the tremendous pain in my head. Possibly the worst headache I have had in my life and by the next morning it was still in full force.

However, over the last 24 hours I have felt some positive changes. I don’t seem to be depressed any longer. I feel positive about myself and impressed I managed to get through such a rough ride with my mind intact. I feel important for the first time in a very long while. I’m still getting residual bouts of nausea and dizziness but i’m told my brain is still forming new neural pathways and repairing itself so I’m trying not to feel too anxious about it. It’s still very early days so i’m not making any definite judgments on things but I hope the next few days will show me some positive things and getting back home and into the things I recognize should help with feeling more comfortable.

 

 

EDIT (T+1 Week):
Understanding just how much things have changed over the last few days has been a little difficult. I have been incredibly tired and feeling quite rough from a virus I picked up recently. I had hoped this would have cleared up by now and I could get a true indication of how much energy and motivation I had since the trip but it’s still noticeably interfering with things. However, I have noticed the following:

  • My communication skills have improved and I’m better at starting conversations.
  • I’m able to make more natural eye contact.
  • I come across as more positive, insightful and less autistic.
  • I feel less intimidated by people I know and more comfortable around them.
  • I have had a strange desire to change my name.
  • I may be bisexual.
  • I’m still a dog. It’s confusing.
  • I have also been able to identify some things I’m still struggling or have problems with. I’m trying to look at this in a positive manner and set a goal to fix them.
  • I still find crowded places intimidating and feel uncomfortable around strangers.
  • I’m still lacking motivation and the ability to focus on activities or tasks.
  • I’m still having negative feelings about my situation and pessimism over the future.
  • I still feel as if it’s “too late” to fix my life.

Being back home hasn’t helped and being dropped back in to my old environment has caused me a lot of stress where my new mind rejects it even more strongly than my former self and I just want to be somewhere new and have a fresh start.

 

 

EDIT (T+3 Weeks):
Trip 2. All the tennis balls!

Life caught up with me, it really did. Everything that’s wrong with mine, that is. It was not more than a week before a lot of the initial positivity I had found from the first trip had been eroded, and coming back to my old environment felt wrong and depressing. I haven’t ever been fond of the place I live, having moved there from somewhere I considered more “home” and at my age, living with my parents is similarly depressing.

Subject Alpha has been helping me to turn the space I have at home into something a bit more pleasant to exist in, but I know I can’t stay there and feel right even due to the location alone. I really don’t know where to begin to change that though, as while I’m considered “high-functioning” as an autistic person, I don’t have a huge amount of independence when it comes to things like pursuing somewhere new to live and organizing things like rent, bills, food etc.

I had also identified a number of things that had not improved since the last event and all these things considered, I decided that my last trip couldn’t be the last.

Things began with somewhat less apprehension than before. I was a little more aware of what I was in for and less afraid of something particularly unpleasant occurring. Subject Alpha decided to not come with me this time for personal reasons and so another friend joined me as a sitter. This was helpful as it was someone who has known me for a long time and understood a lot of my problems.

The trip began with the same repeating patterns and geometric shapes as before with deep rainbow colours that resembled oil on the surface of water, swirling around and rippling out endlessly. I was still very anxious and I have been informed that it’s an effect of the come up so I did expect it. Then my sitter likened how I was feeling to being at the top of a roller coaster and all of a sudden, there I was, at the top of a huge roller coaster, moments before plunging down the first drop. Anxiety at once turned to adrenaline and I found myself plunging down into a tunnel of reflective colour and geometric patterns with a surface resembling a shiny hologram.

I held on tight and experienced this ride, which eventually slowed to a stop and let me off.
I then promptly melted, along with my sense of self.
Once again, I was in a state of existing but not having an “I” to exist as. At that moment, the puddle of fluid I had become evaporated into energy and I was flying upward, beyond the earth and the known universe. I felt like I was somewhere very special, somewhere that most beings do not experience while they are still alive. I felt my energy recompile itself into the form I recognized from my last trip and I felt someone or something tell me that I was being given this form. If there is a god, I met them that day.

I was in a huge grassy field beside a lake. I looked upon my reflection in the water and there I was. A black and white border collie. And not only that, but my eyes were glowing a new colour. I could not remember nor care about my former self and I was happy with what I was. I was even happier at what I found next. A tennis ball.

But it wasn’t just any tennis ball, it was MY tennis ball. I picked it up in my mouth and just enjoyed the feeling of having it. I guess it represented something that was important to me. Either way it made me happy and fulfilled somehow.

Suddenly, I realized I did not just posses the tennis ball I had picked up, but in fact I had every tennis ball in existence, right there. They were all mine. I must have been a really good dog to have so many tennis balls. Or a really bad one considering they weren’t all mine for the taking. I’m a good dog though, I gave them all back once I had experienced having them and I’m sure nobody would have noticed. I only got saliva on a few.

It was around this time my sitter played a few songs I had chosen to try and trigger an emotional release, as I had done last time. However, this did not occur, at least not in the same way. There were a lot of emotions throughout the entire trip, good and bad and both at the same time. But they pretty much all remained internal and there were no tears or laughter or anything of the sort I had experienced previously. I’m not sure if I just chose the wrong music, as it occurred to me afterwards that the song which caused the tears before was not one that represented loss but one that represented the happiness I had felt before it..

Eventually, I began to regain my memories and the sense of self I had possessed before the trip began. And I asked myself who I was. Alongside my old name, the first word that described me returned. And it was the same word as last time, the word I had hoped to disassociate with myself.

Failure.

There was a terrible sense of frustration and disappointment that I had been unable to redefine myself and that this was still the first thing I remembered about who I was. I knew I needed to change this somehow but I didn’t and still do not know how.