Drugs - Bad trips on Acid - why I say No to taking LSD
Mind-bending experiences on acid
In my late teens and 20s I got very involved in the drug-taking hippie culture and of course LSD or "acid" was amongst the substances I tried. I had both good and very bad experiences with this drug and eventually came to regard it as so powerful that the risk encountered by taking it just wasn't worth it.
Several times I took it I had what can only be called "bad trips."
I also discovered that what other people were experiencing on the same drug or their recommendations had very little to do with what could happen if I took it. I ended up saying a definite "no" to using this drug for recreational or any other purposes.
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The Strawberry Fields Remix
My bad trips
I had taken LSD a few times and thought I was used to its very mind-bending possibilities of totally transforming the world into some very bright and electrified sci-fi film reality where all sorts of things you normally couldn't see would be there. I knew it could be very hard to make sense of conversations or normal everyday stuff, but I wasn't prepared for what was to happen.
I was in a flat where some friends of mine lived. I had called hoping to take a girl I liked out to a Hawkwind concert but she had already gone with someone else so disappointed as I was I thought well, what the hell, I may as well join the others in taking some acid they had. It was supposed to be "Purple Haze" but we never really know what we were taking except that it was some sort of LSD.
The trip started off normally enough with everything getting more so, the music on the record-player more meaningful and the textures of stuff started to move, but then everything seemed to freeze and I felt like everyone was focused on me and time had stopped.
I also thought a mat on the floor was like a flying carpet and it was exquisitely patterned. People were putting records on and there was a pile of albums. I remember looking at the cover for David Bowie's Space Oddity and it looked amazing.
But things were getting weirder and for some reason I couldn't understand the words of anything that was being said or what was on the record player apart from Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix and the Hare Krishna mantra.
I turned and looked around and it was as if everything froze again and I got the paranoid feeling I had lost my mind and that somehow my parents had been told and worse that they were coming for me from the mental hospital.
I felt I had to get out so went out on the landing. I opened the door out on to the fire escape to get some fresh air but was unable to face going out there as it looked and sounded as if some form of war was going on and stuff was being fired loudly across the skies.
I looked back at the doors into the other rooms and a glass bevelled door appeared to have pathways leading down and away into another place via each strip in the glass. Fortunately I was still aware it was a door so didn't attempt to walk into it but went back in the other room.
I found a red pen and started drawing on paper and it looked amazing and then I carried on writing on the floor and got scared because it looked like blood. I thought somehow I was drawing and writing with my own blood.
Someone asked if I was OK and I said that no, I wasn't and they took me into the kitchen. I seem to remember that this was Janet whose boyfriend had also taken a lot of this acid and she told me he was trying to conquer its effects and was locked, by request, in one of the other rooms. I was given a lot of pure orange juice to drink to bring me down and Janet kept talking to me.
I felt helpless and just wanted to be back in normality again.
I stayed in the kitchen and eventually she said she was going home and did I want to walk with her as my parents house was in the same direction as where she lived with her family. By then I had come down a lot off the trip and outside all was now just a fine night with sparkling stars.
Eventually I got back to my parents house and went to bed. There were still all sorts of things going on with my eyes closed but eventually I dropped off to sleep and when I awoke I felt totally normal again.
That trip opened my eyes to how powerful LSD was and I realised I had experienced a "bad trip" but felt so relieved I was OK again.
The second bad experience I had after only taking half of a white tablet that one of the friends I was with had taken two of. It was said to be "White Cosmos" and had speckles in the tabs. I was told it was very "smooth" and "mild" but as we were going to a disco in the Students' Union I didn't want a strong trip and thought that taking a reduced amount would be a good idea.
It was anything but "mild" though because after I had "come through" on it I became incapable of doing anything. I couldn't understand what anyone was saying as all sounds were distorted.
Looking at people caused them to look like demons with horns and fangs and I couldn't cope with it. I went on the steps of some stairs whilst my friends on the same acid somehow did normal stuff like going in the bar and in the actual disco.
Some student went past in a gorilla suit and really looked like an ape but I knew it was really someone in a costume.
I was sitting on the stairs in a state very difficult to describe but basically I was unable to understand anything I could hear, I couldn't see my body if I looked down and couldn't remember who I was. It was as if I had disappeared and lost my identity. I was a nothing on a stairway or someone in a head that couldn't make sense of anything any more.
Someone I knew saw that I was in a state and they came to see what the problem was. One of my friends went to get orange juice to see if that would help get me down. Orange juice used to be a standard remedy for bad trips because of the high Vitamin C in it that is known to reduce the intensity of a psychedelic experience on LSD.
I was able to understand what one girl called Janet was saying, just about, (a different Janet to the one in the earlier story). She was trying to reassure me and was like a lifeline for me between the nightmare I was in and the normal world.
I drank more orange juice people kept giving me and was able to see myself again by now and knew who I was but everything was in multiple images. So if I raised my arm I saw lots of other arms with it. It reminded me of the multi-armed and headed Hindu deities.
I had kept my coat on too, not because I was cold but because I was unable to take it off or think about doing so. I stood up and felt like I had lots of bodies with lots of arms and was wearing lots of coats and was on multi-dimensional steps. This part of the trip was amazing and not horrifying.
Then I got sick and vomited all over the stairs. I was on my hands and knees and looking at the orange juice vomit made me try drawing in it with my fingers until someone stopped me and wiped me clean and got me down out of the way of the mess I had made.
Janet stayed with me and was talking to me and saying I would be OK. I wasn't able to do anything though. It was the second time a Janet had been my rescuing angel.
Then there was a tremendous explosion or what seemed like one and I thought I was going to die. In fact what it was a table had been knocked over and everything fell off it making the noise. My hearing was so amplified and distorted it seemed like an explosion to me.
I had no idea of how long any of this horrifying experience had lasted, all of which I had spent at the bottom of some stairs. Finally one of my friends called Ian said the disco was all over and it was time to go.
He and the others helped me to walk to the exit and out through the door. Then an amazing change took place. I was able to see clearly and hear and make some sort of sense again of the world. I could see the road and trees and cars and stars in the sky overhead.
I said, "Why didn't someone bring me out here earlier? I am OK now."
It was a lovely starlit night and I walked home with Ian through the park.
That was something I was to find again and again on acid that everything you were experiencing could change so drastically so fast and that it was easily possible to lose control on the drug by losing all touch with the normal world and how your senses work.
After many more trips on LSD, both good and bad, I learned to say no to taking it because I never knew what the drug was going to do or how strong it was.
Copyright © 2010 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.
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