The author of this piece wished to remain anonymous | United States
Before I tell this story, I want to make a few things clear. I am not at all opposed to the use of LSD. It is a wonderful substance, and I have had many indescribable experiences on it. This is not a story meant to scare anyone out of using the drug. It is a cautionary story, that I feel is criminally undertold in the world of psychedelics. It is a recounting of my experience, and the days, weeks, and even months after its use.
It was a cool, cloudy Sunday, with the temperatures in the low 60s. I was at home, with no major plans for the day. I decided to take a few tabs, and to stay at home for the day, relaxing. I had done this many times before and considered myself a somewhat experienced user. I took the tabs and went about my morning.
Soon after, my friend texted me, asking if I wanted to hang out for a while, and smoke a little bit. I said yes, in a decision that I would very quickly regret. He, living nearby, picked me up, and we went out to smoke. I was also not new to smoking and was a fairly frequent user. I hadn’t been feeling the tabs much at all, and it didn’t even cross my mind that the substances are known not to mix well.
We smoked a decent amount, nothing I was unaccustomed to. However, within 5 minutes, my world was changed. Instead of the normal relaxed/euphoric feeling that normally accompanies marijuana, I felt emptiness and fear. My surroundings became dark and cloudy, as if I had been transported to another dimension. I looked around, and it appeared that a deep fog was blanketing everything.
My friend, still oblivious to my situation, suggested we go to the store for snacks, or to his house to hang out. I barely heard him, and his words seemed jumbled and broken, and his hand motions and mouth seemed to be moving as if the framerate on my vision had decreased.
We walked to his car, and I refused to get in. Somewhere, deep in my mind, I knew that I would be okay and that I should just let him drive me home, or to his house. My body and acting mind, however, felt differently. I became paranoid and refused to get into the car. I argued with him for 10 minutes, all the while being scared to death for seemingly no reason. Eventually, I convinced him to just leave and go about his day while I opted to walk home.
As I was stumbling home, the world remained cloudy and shaded, with swirls of fog enveloping every object in sight. I passed a few people on the way, averting my eyes from all of them. The walk, which would normally take 10 to 15 minutes at most, took over an hour due to my frequent stops. Near the end of the walk, I saw a bench and decided to sit down to try and compose myself. Looking back, I sat there for 15 minutes, with my head in my hands, letting the terrors of my current world pass me by.
Eventually, I somehow found the willpower to stand up and stumble my way back to my house. I walked inside and didn’t know where to go or what to do. I felt extremely fatigued, which, for such a small walk, was very abnormal. I went to my room and lied down in my bed, surrounding myself with the small comforts of blankets and pillows. I lied in my bed for hours, afraid to open my eyes, but unable to fall asleep. Whenever I looked around, the familiarity of my room transformed into a foggy, new unknown that I felt unable to navigate.
After these long, torturous hours of purgatory, I finally fell asleep. Unfortunately, because it was a Sunday, I had to work the next day. I woke up late, and to my dismay, nothing had changed. I opened my eyes from a dreamless sleep and was plunged into my living nightmare. I prepared for work and somehow pulled myself together enough to leave. Once I arrived, the usually familiar faces of my friends and coworkers were gone. Replaced by them were just bland, seemingly emotionless bodies. I tried my hardest to act normal, and go about my day, feeling horrified the entire time.
Once I arrived home, I immediately sought the relief of sleep, desperately hoping that I would feel better the next day. I did not. I woke up and cried the second I opened my eyes. Nearly 48 hours after my bad trip began, it was still going, albeit slightly less unfamiliar. I went about my life again, resigned to the fact that the effects were permanent, and I had made an irreversible mistake. Outside of the fog and fear present in my mind, I also struggled with the emotions flooding my brain while trying to accept the reality of what I thought was my new life.
Fortunately, when I woke up Wednesday morning, almost 72 hours after the initial ingestion of LSD, my trip ended. I opened my eyes and was greeted by my room, now unaltered by my formerly distorted mind. I was finally home as if in my sleep I was transported back to my own life, instead of the horrifying alternate reality of my bad trip.
However, the impacts of my trip were even more severe than the trip itself. In the months after the incident, I developed severe depression. My life, previously completely under control, spiraled into a downspin of drug abuse and self-hatred. I sought out multiple therapists, all of whom confirmed the same thing. I had developed major depression. What none of them could confirm was the reason.
Now, many months later, after many efforts to recover, I have succeeded. My life is back on track, and I finally feel like myself before my bad trip. The scary part is that I am one of the lucky ones. I recovered. For many, a bad trip can lead to decades-long or even lifelong depression.
LSD is a beautiful substance. But it can never be forgotten that it also has immense power. Its effects vary greatly from person to person and can be devastating if used improperly. When mixed with other mind-altering substances, the drug can become quite dangerous. This is not a scare tactic, this is something I’ve lived through. I made the mistake and suffered the consequences. And if you think, like I did, that you have enough experience with the substance to be a little bit lax with the rules you set for yourself, I hope my story makes you reconsider. There’s no such thing as someone who is above the rules of any substance, especially psychedelics.
Editor’s Note: The intention of this essay is to share a personal experience. The lesson learned should be to be extremely careful in your consumption of psychedelics. Do not mix psychedelics with any other mind-altering drugs.