Editor’s note: New research has found that psilocybin—the psychoactive ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms—causes “significant reductions” in anxiety and depression in cancer patients. Here, our anonymous author discusses his non-medical experience.
You’re a man at war with yourself.
Those were the first words I spoke aloud when the shrooms started to kick in as I was walking an unnamed beach in Indonesia watching the waves crash against the shore.
My brain kept moving along those lines.
You want the best of both worlds. You want to be corporate while under your suits and ties you have chemical-themed tattoos and piercings. You want to attend raves while keeping up on those mortgages. You want to prove you can be good without their ideal of god. You want to be a good dad…from 8,000 miles away.
“The shit made no sense except for the fact that it absolutely did.”.
It was 30 minutes after I tried my first magic shake—psilocybin mushrooms blended with an assortment of various fruits. The gent asked whether or not I had ever taken a psychedelic before. I assured him I had. After all, how different could these shrooms be than watching snapchat filters shift a woman’s face as we danced to MDA under the moonlight with the cool Phuket breeze on our skin.
Turns out, very different.
If MDA was a baby step into the world of psychedelics, shrooms, for me, meant a full on sprint akin to Usain Bolt at the pinnacle of his success.
I say that MDMA changed my life and will never redact that statement. If I had to choose between the feeling of shrooms and the feelings of MDMA, Molly would win every time. That doesn’t, however discount the impact shrooms had on me nor my encouragement for you to try them.
After a brief walk on the beach we settled into a bar. It had a couple of tables, scattered chairs, and one long bar facing the ocean. It was here I confronted exactly who I am and where I fit in the universe.
If you’ve never tried them before, I’m sorry: What I’m going to attempt to describe is like trying to explain the taste of the color red or the sound the number seven makes. It’s going to be so far removed from reality that you’ll read this and think maybe I’m just trying to describe the Winnie the Pooh nightmare sequence (those animators were definitely referencing something).
The shit made no sense except for the fact that it absolutely did.
The sequence of shrooms is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. There were no highs and lows like an MDXX “roll.” There were moments of near panic, and moments where every nonsensical thing made absolute sense. It was a peak behind the curtain. But unlike Dorothy in Oz, my peek didn’t result in seeing the wizard for the frail old man that he was; my peek led me to horror and amazement and astoundment all rolled into one. My peek forced me to examine myself, my beliefs, my pains, pains I inflicted upon others, and just how minuscule I was in the universe.
It wasn’t all self-actualization though—some of it was very cool. When things got too heavy and I had to look to the left, I saw trees dancing and Minecraft rock formations. The At. Long. Last. A$AP album cover had me in a daze, and my headphones blasting Solomun from the table were the sounds of a rave next door.
The weird thing about self-examination is that if you’re very honest you’ll realize it’s not about you even when it is. It’s easy to assign blame to why you are who you are. We’re humans. We err. We’re experts at blaming others. Shrooms will let you do that. You can sit and stew in bitterness and anger, but if you push past that…if you allow yourself to accept some responsibility…you’ll have a moment of clarity. You’ll see the role you played in the why of why you are who you are.
Every time I closed my eyes I saw Jesus. I saw Satan. I saw succubi singing to me. I saw all kinds of unexplainable apparitions. I told myself, “If you get scared, open your eyes.”
As much as I tried to rationalize my trip and explain to myself, “This is just your brain trying to associate preexisting ideals,” I sometimes failed to overcome. My friend’s words, “Be careful in thinking you’re stronger than the drugs” kept coming back to me. There were moments close to panic where I found tranquility.
Amidst the turbulence and the chaos of everything that makes me me. The good. The great. The bad. The ugly. l found the nucleus of who I am. Everything around me was a storm of mixed emotions and in the center is where I found my peace.
In Walter Issacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, he described the first years of Apple, when if, during an interview a candidate expressed he had never done a psychedelic, Steve Jobs would pause the interview, tell them to go try some, and reschedule the meet. I now understand why he would do that. If you haven’t, but are an experienced drug user, I encourage you to try. If you’re inexperienced, start with MDMA… just be safe.