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Going in to the outside

11/08/2015
headtrip

Psychedelics are special.

I’ve romanticised some drugs, both legal and less so. I’ve vilified others. There’s even a few I’ve had long, intimate relationships with. But LSD and shrooms are the ones that really mean something to me.

It’s not like I take them all the time. Or even regularly. I pretty much abused green beaver blotting papers for a few months the first time I got onto a reliable supply. Other than that I only use psychedelics once or twice a year if at all. A good trip is a powerful and holy thing, not a recreation, escape or obsession.

The longest I went without tripping since my teens was the ten or so years encompassing my worst spell of depression. I always had the idea that if I could just get my act together to score some acid or get out into the pastureland when the gold-top mushrooms were fruiting I might be able to break the bonds of my despair. Or even if I could just hold concentrated focus as I once had. In the end it was the spontaneous return of my psychosis – a sort of drug-free trip – that swept the dark clouds away. As it happens, the use of single doses of psychedelic drugs to bring about immediate remissions of mental illness are enjoying a bit of a research renaissance of late and it may not be long before LSD therapy returns to a doctor near you.

I’m not saying I think mental illness can be wiped out by getting everyone tripping. Depression isn’t a disease susceptible to a single cure. It’s a cluster of symptoms that can arise in response to any number of physical, psychological or social stressors. Maybe spiritual ones too. Different depressions will respond in different ways to different treatments. Or not.

In my case it seems a fucked up notion of my place in the universe was a vital component of the grief that crippled me for so long. The altered state of consciousness that came with a semi-directed spontaneous psychosis provided the platform to overcome it. I’ve had a bit of experience with that state of consciousness. It’s always the same one for me. On acid, on mushrooms, when psychotic, in deep meditative trances, occasionally apparently out of the blue. The side effects can be different though. Sometimes there’s visual hallucinations or visions. Sometimes auditory ones. Altered sense of temperature. Time distortion. Shivers up my spine. Hairs lifting on my head or arms. Tingling. Tears of pure bliss pouring down my face.

Keys to having a good trip include environment, atmosphere and attitude but most important is being open to be blown away. When you feel your self dissolving stop trying to hold it together. Just let go. Trying to fight is a recipe for paranoia or existential terror.

One of my beefs with mainstream psychiatry is the way it pathologises psychosis. Yeah, I don’t doubt it’s frightening, disabling and sometimes fatal for many sufferers. But I reckon it’s potentially therapeutic for at least some of us. Maybe what’s needed is less emphasis on preventing psychotic symptoms and more on how to deal with them when you have them.

The altered states associated with psychosis, psychedelics and meditation have been correlated by neuroscientists with increased activity in the D2 dopamine receptor pathways linking the limbic system (emotion, motivation, memory) with the prefrontal cortex (executive functioning, cognition, personality) via the ventral tegmental area (orgasm, addiction, love).

Typical neuroscientists. Pretending to explain mind with meat.

But Andrew Holmes and his NIH research team reckon you need good communication between the amygdala in your limbic system and the prefrontal cortex behind your forehead to process traumatic memories and overcome their long term emotional impact. Maybe it’s no coincidence so many psychotics have histories of abuse and trauma. Their D2 pathways have gone into hyper-drive trying to resolve internal and external conflicts. If that’s true, antipsychotic drugs (which work by damping down the effects of dopamine) block immediate symptoms at the cost of preventing long-term resolution. Sure enough there’s an accumulating body of evidence suggesting schizophrenics are more likely to recover if their use of antipsychotics is minimised.

So maybe the state of being in which there is no distinction between yourself and the universe isn’t necessarily a pathology, hedonistic indulgence or religious delusion. Maybe it’s not really a problem. Maybe it’s a solution.

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From → mysticism

7 Comments
  1. Amen.. it’s nature’s way manifest in humans of saving grace.. And no doubt the core of what is awakening in most so-called holy folks escaping the insanity of restricting culture on particularly free spirited humans.. Who are more dopamine sensitive.. which of course is core to social abuse as a substantial factor that even the director of the NIMH in the US suggests is anepigenetic trigger for the genetic pre-disposition for schizophrenia.. as what is now described in science as a type of genetic virus.. And yes as often is the case the medicine that treats the symptoms can be the REAL long term illness for those who cannot cope naturally as many have through history in accepting and supporting so-called more primitive cultures.. where it is seen as a vision quest instead of disease and or disorder..:)

    Like

    • For Fox Sake permalink

      Sometimes there’s visual hallucinations or visions. Sometimes auditory ones. Altered sense of temperature. Time distortion. Shivers up my spine. Hairs lifting on my head or arms. Tingling. Tears of pure bliss pouring down my face.

      Sounds like a hot flash to me. Maybe shrooms and LSD just gave you blokes a
      glimpse into what perimenopause feels like?! So how much money did you
      invest to feel like a middle-aged woman going through The. Change

      Pull my finger.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well that’s the other brilliant thing about the drugs innit?

        Even these days you pay less than $20 for an eight to twelve hour trip. Free if you find gold-tops or go psychotic. Back when I first started buying green beavers it was $2.00/trip if you bought fifty or more at a time (no, I didn’t take fifty at a time. my record is twelve.)

        Liked by 1 person

        • For Fox Sake permalink

          Hey diddle diddle,
          the cat and the fiddle.
          The moon jumped over the cow

          I once licked 35 Christmas stamps in a row in 1984; does that count?

          Like

      • Smiles.. I am fortunate.. I never need drugs and at my age at 55 my ‘experience’ in part.. better allows me profiency in Martial Arts.. Dance in general.. As well as physical strength.. leg pressing half a ton with ease.. Now 25 reps.. surpassing Marine Jar heads by double at my Military Gym.. with oh yeah.. YouTube proof for Internet evidence.. But alas only 14 reps.. 5 months ago in that video.. But the key is the i that is the truth and light behind I.. masters life as me.. all natural.. baby.. And I share that with the world for those with similar eyes and ears to see and hear it..:)

        Like

      • Victorian cattle farms are great places to hunt shrooms as long as they don’t use superphosphate (you can tell from the colour of the grass). Must be all the rain.

        So if you’re prepared to search a few cowpats you could experience being a doubly menopausal middle-aged woman who thinks cows are dragons.

        Like

      • Pull my finger.

        May The Pungent Ones be with you always, sister.

        Like

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