Art by Tarush Mohanti // Daily Nexus

Art by Tarush Mohanti // Daily Nexus

Are the lines on the desk REALLY moving right now or am I hallucinating? Why are the shades of brown changing every minute? During Dead Week? Three weeks after my last acid trip…? FUCK. This never happens. My mind right before winter finals 2015, followed by a trip to the ER that same night.

Rewind four weeks from this:

I just need an escape after these hellish midterms. Something that takes me to surprising depths of self and draws out whimsical mental matter to face. I don’t want to drink. I don’t want to do drugs that expand me only for a moment. I want the escape to stay for some time, and seep thick into my soul cracks. Where dat enlightenment at? — My mind periodically.

LSD. ACID. TRIPPING. The consistent solution I had found for the gaping hole in my personal legend. Human-made depth found its way into my mouth and released rainbows out of my creative caves. My intangible chaos took a beautiful form on this trip and soon, I thought this drug was made for me. All of my destructive tendencies turned into art. LSD: a way for me to feel free and a way for me to love myself.

If you asked me what I thought of LSD a few months ago, I would have given you this positive spiel. The whole, “You aren’t living without fear until you’ve had enlightenment on LSD!” or, “You haven’t really known yourself until you’ve listened to your mind on LSD.” I had taken LSD seven times in pleasure, and one time in pain. Before my last trip, I would have adver-tised the shit out of this drug to you.

This was my advertisement at hand:

Hey youth of humanity! Yeah you, all of you burned-out robots of university woos…
Do you want to go on a dreamy escapade? Have you ever longed to see your outlandishly creative dreams breathed into reality? Is drinking and forgetting the random shit you did the night before depressing you more than it’s satisfying you? Maybe it’s time to go on a trip.
You don’t need to pack anything. Take your mind; leave it behind. Take your buddies, leave them behind. Leave your rules, they will take up too much space and will never be read. Only your heart will ever be read. Did we mention that it’s a cheap trip, too? The prices are real, y’all.
This trip is only ten dollars a tab, twenty dollars if you want to see more imaginary friends. This trip is called the trip of LSD, or acid. It’s more trending “hippie” than those flower headbands you wear or those toe shoes you’re feeling really smug about. It is the closest experi-ence to enlightenment that I’ve ever had, and one that I fortunately and unfortunately CONSTANTLY crave.

I took up my own advice. But then I took up my own advice to the point of negative consequences — feeling remnants of an acid trip that never left. I’m here to talk about the posi-tive effects of tripping, the negative effects of tripping and the danger of getting addicted to an experience that starts to feel better than “real” life. Welcome to my LSD diary.

The word “ACID” sounds really harsh. It sounds like it will either burn you alive or suck all of the life out of you. I think it can do both. I took acid for the first time almost three years ago, not knowing anything about it except for its illegality. I came alive through this experience. As an intensely feeling empath by birth, acid was like feeling all of my emotions with every part of my body — every organ, senses I didn’t know existed, senses I was creating for the first time and parts of me I was afraid to love. I was a complete person, lit by fire I knew couldn’t scare me.

Many of my whimsical thoughts were conceptualized. I was faced with my creative raw-ness, and there was no voice to tell me that it wasn’t real. I couldn’t remember self-consciousness. I didn’t know what the norm was. Social constructs had disappeared from my memory. I was moving swiftly with the impulses of my uninterrupted mind.

My favorite part of acid is the ability to empathize with nature’s deeper perspective on the world. I thought I had borrowed nature’s mind, feeling and thinking what Earth does. I also got into the minds of my favorite poets, like Rumi and Forough Farrokhzad. I thought about my dad the first time I took acid and the painful things I had never told him. I cried at all of our lost moments of friendship, and I pulled my hair at the frantic words on my tongue I needed to express to him right then. And I did. I took everything on these trips seriously.

I wish I had asked myself a few questions before dropping acid for the first time. The trip will stay with you forever, because you can never unlearn all of the bullshit you unlearned and let go of the worldly visions your mind had kept quiet from you previously. It’s an awakening experience, but sometimes I wish I never saw what I see now, or what I desperately seek to get back.

Before you drop acid, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you have an addictive personality?
2. Are you extremely depressed?
3. Do you want to take it just to escape from some unbearable fate?
4. Are you unsure if you want to do it or not?
5. Do you have an unreliable drug dealer?
6. Are you super nervous?
7. Are none of your friends down to do it with you?
8. Is there a history of substance abuse in your family?
9. Is it hard to find deeper meaning in day-to-day routine?

If you answered YES to any of the above, I would suggest not doing LSD. I myself, have an addictive personality, was extremely depressed, wanted to escape and was super nervous about taking it the several times that I did and I ended up becoming addicted to the sensations brought on by acid’s intoxications. Be careful. Know yourself. It’s better to never start something you’ll have a harder time stopping. I always thought it was worth trying it if only once, but if you latch onto any trace of meaning that defies the norm (and is drug-induced), let the idea go before you even start.

When to start:

If you crave a deeper experience than your day-to-day, but you are able to find fulfilling depth day-to-day, and you are clear of the questions above, maybe you should try acid! I suggest you take one tab of acid with friends or family you are extremely comfortable around, after you’ve assessed your past, present and future drug use and tolerance. You should take it out-doors, into a land of fresh dew drops and springing lilies. Or maybe you like dry land, another kind of nature fantasy — take it to the desert, into the snow, somewhere you know has always enchanted you and scared you positively. Remember though, that you don’t want to be too chal-lenged before taking acid or during the trip itself. Be with someone you are extremely curious about for all the right reasons, someone who is already a place of love in your life and a place of consistent safety which you may only grow more with.

When not to start:

You never want to take acid when you’re feeling depressed about yourself or your life. It will amplify under these stimulations. You want to feel calm about the experience, and confident that you can restore peace if times get rough. Times on acid will probably always get rough. You’ll face your demons and your angels, but they can both be delightful if you learn to nurture their needs and laugh off what you know isn’t real. One time I saw half of myself as lightness, and the other half as a demon, with my right eye completely blacked out (like some sort of devil). I was at peace because I already knew that my darkness existed, in all its beauty too.
Do not take acid if you have an addictive personality, an escapist mentality or a need to mask some part of your life. It will most likely be a very deep experience, but you could become even more depressed after the twelve hour trip has ended, because that stimuli won’t be envelop-ing you any longer.

Possible Results of Taking Acid:

I’ve had thoughts on acid that I could never have imagined thinking up while sober. I didn’t even know I was capable of seeing the world a certain way, seeing myself in such a vast range, and really connecting with others as if I were in their personal headspace. Acid showed me a lot of darkness about the world — political corruption, systematic racism, institutionalized inequality and human apathy towards the environment, all of which I needed to learn. It also showed me intense beauty — the feelings of the trees, the visions of the mountains, the hope in life having no meaning but harnessing your own meaning and the magic that is hardcore deep feelings. I started taking acid too frequently. I craved its depth every time I was having a bad day, every time I wasn’t connecting with someone, when I felt lonely, hell, when I felt too sin-gle. I wanted acid when my depression was getting out of hand. I fantasized about all of the en-lightenments I could be having, if only I were on a trip. I would ask my best friend to do it with me randomly. It felt uncomfortable to be begging for drugs.

The last time I took acid was three weeks before Winter finals. I took the most I had ever taken — a little over two tabs — and took to nature. I had a scary trip for the first time. The trees were shaking too much, I felt out of control, I didn’t know if the plants were good or evil and spirits were summoned. The trip was positive overall, as I wrote down my passions, felt safe by the end and woke up the next day feeling like a better person. But during Dead Week, the hallu-cinations started coming back.

No hallucinations had ever re-occurred until this moment. I was in the library studying, and I started seeing the wood on the desk moving and changing colors. I went to the bathroom, and the tiles were dancing and blinking bright lights. I had to be taken to the emergency room a few hours later. Without further ado, I am no longer allowed to take acid.

When I found this out, I started crying. I started balling. A life with no acid? I couldn’t imagine my life with meaning. I didn’t know any other way I could grow so quickly or effectively without having this drug. I went to the Alcohol and Drug Program with my sadness. I realized that I was addicted to the acid insights. This is a scary place to be. A part of me wishes that I never took acid, never used it as the thing I look forward to. I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I didn’t have those trips, but I would be a different person, maybe a deep person all the same. Perhaps I would be happier.

Giving up LSD is painful, so I would encourage no one with any psychological illnesses, history of illness or insecurities in this field to try it. Maybe it’s better to trip off your sober ass than any make-believe fantasy come true. It’s safer, it’s more consistent and it’s healthier.
I love acid and I hate acid. Overall, watch out and know what you need. Your trips can be in-duced by the magic that is you without any chemicals. Maybe it would have been better if I never knew the pleasure acid could bring me. I could have found these same enlightenments in my own time if only I had more patience.