Some of my more strange experiences were from psilocybin mushrooms, also known as “shrooms.” They are, of course, a psychedelic drug and had the classic characteristics of any psychedelic compound but with a twist. Shrooms effects are very unpredictable. I use children as an analogy of how unpredictable shrooms effects are. Kids can be great, fill you with joy, remind you what makes life great. But they can also torment you with brutal honesty. If they don’t like you or think you’re “fat” they will tell you to your face. They can also scream with the perfect pitch that causes your earbuds to ache in pain. All psychedelics are unpredictable, but other psychedelic compounds were more stable in my experience. For example, DMT had a spiritual presence that resembled a grandfather. Sure, grandfathers can be pretty honest but aren’t usually frequently as brutal as kids are.
Because shrooms effects are incredibly unpredictable, I have such varying experiences with the compound from being extraordinarily enlightening to being extremely terrifying. Every time I took psilocybin mushrooms, it was like a completely different experience with some commonalities.
Shrooms Effects | The Commonalities
One of these commonalities was the come-up anxiety. Whenever I took psilocybin mushrooms, I would feel a wave of deep anxiety overcome my whole body as the active compound introduced itself to my synapsis. I would have thoughts of regret as a result of this anxiety. “Why did I take psilocybin mushrooms!? What if this anxiety lasts the next 4 hours!? I can’t handle that…” A ritual when I took psilocybin mushrooms was I would watch a movie to try and take my mind off the experience that was about to follow. When the anxiety kicked in, I would take my eyes off the film and lay there in silence waiting for it to finish its final wave hoping I would land on the other side in psychedelic bliss. Most times I did, but because they’re unpredictable, sometimes I didn’t.
If I were lucky and landed in psychedelic bliss, I would have euphoric states that surpassed MDMA. It had more of a natural sense of well-being and less of a manic episode that MDMA induced. My heart didn’t get excited, but the euphoria triggered by shrooms felt more organic and real which is what made it superior. Also, with shrooms, there are the giggles. My mind would go crazy but in a way that was fun. I would think everything was hilarious. I would even consider not laughing was funny so I would begin to laugh because I wasn’t laughing. I was laughing at nothing until I was on the ground clapping like a seal as I was mustering up all of my strength to stop laughing for a second so I could get a breath of oxygen. I would watch funny animal videos on the internet until I couldn’t handle it because my diaphragm and lungs would ache from all of the laughter. I would do some crazy things like play Indian flute music, death metal, old-school hip-hop, and EDM at the same time while I would watch porn and laugh at genitalia. Those were some of the good times I had from the substance and part of what kept me coming back.
There was the euphoric state of astonishment that accompanied racing thoughts that would go in a positive direction. I remember one instance I was walking with some friends outside and saw a gecko on the pavement. Usually, I would just be like, “oh cool, a gecko…” and move on. Because I was on shrooms when I encountered the reptilian critter, I paused. I looked closely at him, astonished. My mind raced with thoughts of, “this lizard has a story, he has a life, he has a hustle to survive, he even has a family. He’s just out here doing his thing and living the lizard life…” As funny as that sounds it opened my mind up to nature. I’ve of course seen trees and felt them with my hands many times in my life, but due to shrooms effects, I would feel trees with my heart. I would feel all of nature with a recognition of its significance. I once saw myself separate from nature as if I was above it, during shrooms effects I was a part of it. The astonishment not only manifested in nature, but in relationships with other human beings or memories as well. Art people created would blow my mind. The love I had for my friends would make me tear with joy. I could see setbacks in my life and rise above them with my altered state of perception. Yeah, shrooms can be great, but not always.
When I would close my eyes, I would see such beauty in geometrical patterns that would flow throughout my consciousness. My mind was like it’s own endless world of gorgeous colors, patterns, and alien beings. My body would radiate with a buzz that brought on the most relaxing feeling I ever felt in my life. My mind entertained by psychedelic imagery my mind could never manifest without psilocybin mushrooms. I laid there stuck in awe and bliss for hours. These experiences were the most blissful experiences of my life.
Terrifying Experiences from Psilocybin Mushrooms O.o
Know your dose, setting, and yourself are the rules to psychedelics to avoid having an overly-difficult experience. I always abided by these principles as if they were commandments. Hearing some of the hellish experiences that entirely ruin peoples lives as a result of using psychedelics scared me more than overdose – as irrational as that is. I never wanted to experience true hell-on-earth. Even though I never strayed away from these rules, because shrooms effects or so unpredictable, I suffered some of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life under their influence. Experiences so painful, no sober person could ever fathom that level of suffering.
I already mentioned the come-up anxiety, but that doesn’t always just happen during the come-up. Several times I was in a pleasant setting, knew my dose, and was in the right mindset. Even though all of the right things were in place, 2 hours into the experience I started to feel the waves of anxiety. I was good at letting go and allowing the experience to guide me wherever it wanted to take me, but this didn’t always stop the waves of anxiety to increase in frequency or intensity. It was like an unavoidable physical reaction to the drug. The waves got progressively worse and more frequent until I had full-blown panic attacks that lasted for hours. My body would tremble as I would go from being dry to soaked in sweat within seconds. My chest would ache. I thought I was dying; there’s no way I can handle this. I needed to call an ambulance, I never did, and in retrospect, I still think I should have. I rode through it. It was the most anxiety I had ever felt and likely ever will feel in my life. The substance quite literally clenched my anxiety so hard I shattered in sheer panic beyond comprehension.
I never considered seeing demonic things a problematic experience as long as anxiety didn’t accompany it. I’ve had the classic “bad trips” where I witness kitchens of human body parts. I’ve seen skeletal witches being nailed to crosses. A giant centipede eating and ripping apart alien humans. To tell you the truth, none of these explanations do justice to what I’ve seen on from shrooms effects with my eyes closed during one of these grim experiences. It was like a horror flick that was so far beyond anything Hollywood could think up that it was fascinating. I knew it was all fake, nothing jumped at me, there as no sound, so I was able to stay calm. I would just want to see something pleasant for a change after hours of viewing extraordinary grotesque imagery.
Psilocybin mushrooms are unpredictable. They can be your best friend or your worse enemy. Difficult experiences can be healing, but some doors once opened, can’t be closed.
Philip Markoff (Associate of Science) is an online influencer and thought leader on addiction education; he is known as his alias “CG Kid” who’s obtained a large audience primarily on YouTube as a vlogger and journalist. His current sobriety date from polysubstance chemical dependency is June 9th, 2013.