Exactly a week ago, I ingested 1.25 grams of Treasure Coast Cubensis (psilocybin mushrooms). I had googled them and regular users claimed they were mild and easy on the stomach, which sounded good to me as I had never done psychedelics before.
Most users online didn’t seem to be interested in the therapeutical aspect of psilocybin, as I was. So when me and my friend hiked into a nearby forest, looking for a good spot for taking mushrooms, I had my own mental health on the agenda, while he just wanted to trip. I realize now this was less than ideal. I should have waited until some sort of professional could come with us, but I was so eager and so desperate for change I decided I wanted to do it despite the lack of sober / professional supervision.
I’ve been suffering from depression, anxiety and OCD since I was about 4-years old. That’s the earliest I can remember, at least — and my life has been seriously impacted by this. Sometimes it has been hell, and no psychiatrist or medication has helped me. On the day before my mushroom trip, I was so desperate (mostly due to OCD) that I actually considered suicide. This isn’t new to me, but I’ve always found something to hold on to so that I’ll survive another day, and this time it was the mushrooms.
“It’s okay,” I said to myself. “Tomorrow you’ll fix your head forever.”
Right I was. And oh, so very wrong.
I ingested the mushrooms and started feeling the effects after just fifteen minutes. Colors started changing, and I felt bubbly and childish, like on MDMA. I’d start seeing fractals in the sky, and trees would have rainbow auras around them. When I closed my eyes, I saw colorful fractals moving about. It was pretty, but I soon tired of it, because it wasn’t what I took the mushrooms for. I honestly couldn’t care less about the visuals, but my mind was too occupied by them for me to even start thinking about my problems.
Then, out of the blue (literally) a cloud started looking like an angry dog skull. I became very scared, but started telling myself it was only in my head, and that it would be okay. I closed my eyes and looked away, but the fear persisted. My friend was ‘gone’ by this time, he was perfectly happy just staring at things, while I gradually felt worse and worse. I vomited — not because of the mushroom’s effects on the stomach, but because of fear. After this, I was no longer afraid, just really disappointed.
At first, I was certain I was disappointed about the mushrooms. I had expected something wildly different. Then, I realized I wasn’t disappointed about that, but something much, much deeper. My mental image of myself became the 7-year old girl who was afraid her father would yell at her or hit her, afraid her mother wouldn’t care. I felt completely lost and lonely, and even though I wasn’t afraid or disappointed anymore, I was very depressed. I have never been this depressed my whole life. In my head, there were a lot of voices / ideas floating around — one was my father’s ‘being,’ telling me all my thoughts and all my actions were wrong and that I was stupid, unworthy, unlovable, etc. The other was ‘me,’ asking myself why I was scared all the time. I understood that I had been scared all my life. I didn’t understand why. I somehow knew the fear wasn’t me, but that it had almost always been around…
At this point I decided I had to go back to my friend’s house. I convinced him to come with me, packed our stuff (I was very ‘present,’ I didn’t disappear like my friend) and practically ran through the forest with my father’s ideas thundering through my head. When I reached my friend’s house, I called a friend of mine who is a shaman (should have brought him with me on my trip, I know), and he told me this would soon be over, that I should drink water, lie down, put on some nice music, etc. All I managed to do was to sit down on the porch and cry my eyes out about everything for hours. I told my friend about my father, how bad I felt about my life, how lonely I felt, and it actually got better. The last hour or so of the trip was spent laughing about silly stuff on the kitchen floor.
Then, later that night, when I was going to sleep, I felt very anxious. I couldn’t explain it — for years, I had always translated the anxiety into an OCD, and all of a sudden the OCD was gone. I didn’t know what to do with myself when I didn’t have anything in particular to worry about. After a while, I managed to sleep, and I felt better the day after.
Three days after, I left my friend’s house (he lives on a farm) and went back to the city I live in. I started having massive fits of anxiety. First I thought I was physically ill, that’s how bad it was. When I realized it was anxiety, I was very scared. What if I had ruined my head on mushrooms? My vision was still affected by it (light would linger in my eyes much longer than before), what if my mind was permanently altered? I couldn’t sleep very well, I had strange images intruding into my mind, just flashes of things I couldn’t remember thinking, stuff that I couldn’t control — sometimes scary, sometimes not.
I asked new agers, parents, grandparents, friends and random internet people what was going on, and some of them had no idea, but suggested I should consult my doctor. I knew I couldn’t do that. The new agers mostly suggested I should try to distract myself from my thoughts, as they could ‘attract’ my fears and would only make things worse for me. My problem, they said, was that I thought too much. Naturally, when conversations with these people ended, I was even more scared than before. I didn’t know why, though — weren’t they right? Shouldn’t I call my doctor? Shouldn’t I try to focus on something else?
Then it dawned on me, as I tried to sleep last night — distracting myself from my thoughts and trying not to think was what started my OCD. None of these people understand how my brain works. I got really angry at them, before I calmed myself down, remembering they had just tried to help me. I understood my brain — it’s not that I’ve thought too much, it’s that I’ve feared my thoughts. Like how my Dad made me feel everything I did was wrong, my brain was lead to believe all my thoughts were wrong, or even dangerous. So when the mushrooms opened the door to my subconscious and images started leaking out, I got scared because I had spent 20 years trying to put a lid on my subconsciousness. I realized I had to accept these impulses, and that there is no such thing as dangerous thoughts. It is fear that is dangerous, and fear is just a result of confusion and trauma.
I woke up today feeling very refreshed. My subconscious is still spewing out images now and then, especially when it’s quiet — and my eyes are still sensitive to light. I was permanently altered by the mushrooms, and while it hasn’t been pleasant, I’d never go back to where I was before.
It seems to me that some people (including me) expect a therapeutical mushroom trip to be easy on the nerves. That it will be over when you come down, and that your life is changed during those five hours, and that you don’t have to work with yourself afterwards. This is wrong. If therapy is what you desire going in, it’s likely that you won’t have much fun. And in my case, it made everything much, much worse — so much worse I had to find a solution… NOW. I couldn’t pretend it wasn’t a problem anymore. It was painful every second, and it has been since, but I finally feel I’m getting somewhere.
So, while I don’t know if I’ll ever take mushrooms again, I’m happy I did it this one time.
But for the love of yourself, if you’re gonna do it — please make sure it’s with someone who knows you, your problems, who has taken mushrooms before, and knows how to calm you down.
Edited lightly for typos and clarity.