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Ask The Old Hippy: Bad Trip Flashbacks   (Views: 51,229)


Contributed by skip on May 2nd, 2002

There are so many myths to psychadelics and i dont trust anyone at all with what they say since my trips have been entirely different than other peoples experiences but maybe you can help because of your age old wisdom!

i wanna talk about mushrooms (i know you dont do them anymore but you have done them and i need some reassurance) and the really bad trip i had on them. like it all started off great, the hardest i ever tripped in my life (i dont recommend mushroom tea unless you are prepared to be overtaken) but then turned into a tremor all of a sudden and i was scared to death and thought i was going insane and no one would be able to help me and/or i might die.

now this sucks when it happens but its ok when its over i mean you dont die on a bad trip but ! i have long term issues i need to talk about.

this might sound crazy but maybe a week after the bad trip i smoked pot and started having all these bad feelings like i had when i did the mushrooms but just went to my room and went to sleep and it made me nervous but i didnt worry too much about it. then a week later i smoked a sufficient amount of weed and i am damn sure that it wasnt a mind game it was like a mild trip on mushrooms and i started freaking out like having so called flashbacks (which i totally did not believe until now)

so i am definitely done with psychadelics for a while at the very least but even worse than now not being able to smoke weed is that now i am having these like mild panic attacks like in broad day light i will just get all paranoid and nervous for no reason at all and i am usually able to subside it but its still very uncomfortable.

i was just wondering what if anything can i do about this because whereas before ! it may just have been something someone said that set me off on a bad trip, now self inducement is causing all this and i am kinda lost with this. if you have any advice, have ever heard of such strange instances, please email me back, maybe just talking with an outside source will help. thanks, john

John,
This kind of reaction is unusual, but not that rare. Flashbacks are real experiences in that you can get into almost the same headset as when you tripped. The chemical balance of the brain is something we still have much to learn about. Psychedelics upset this balance, by either causing more of certain chemicals to be released, or to prevent their accumulation. These are chemicals that are already in your brain. So you have the chemicals on hand all the time in your brain, whether you are tripping or not. So what can happen is something "reminds" your brain of what recently happened on your trip, and suddenly your brain starts doing the weird chemical thing it did when you are tripping. It's not too different from when you hear a favorite song and it brings back the memories associated with that song. You can actually relive the feelings you had when you heard that song before. That's a flashback.

So to fix your problem you need to do stop that song playing over and over. Sorta like that song you can't get out of your head. I know one way is to play another song, but then that one could become the next one for your mind to obsess over.

It seems to me you probably have a lot of things you still haven't worked out yet in your life. These things are nagging in your subconscious and seek release. This might inspire you to do more psychedelics to get to the bottom of it, but I implore you not to do anymore at all. For some people psychedelics are not good. People with underlying psychological problems find that psychedelics often exacerbate these problems. This may be the case with you. Anything from repressed memories to borderline psychosis can surface and cause far more problems. In addition, as I've mentioned before, some mushrooms contain quite a few toxins that can damage your body. So these factors combined can explain why some people don't have pleasant experience.

The best thing I can suggest for the moment is that you try to anaylze what is happening to you and why. Why are you having such strong reactions long after the trip? I know that when I had some heavier trips I had to go completely straight for a period until I could sucessfully integrate the experience into my psyche. Pot would just give me flashbacks or prevent me from dealing with the internal issues that were trying to bubble up. That is what you should focus on. What is going on inside your head...

Now another thing you can do is get your body back in shape. Heavy trips often deplete essential nutrients from your body. I always recommend megadoses of B and C vitamins, and improving your diet to restore your body's functioning to normal. Also exercise does wonders for getting your system back in equilibrium. Long walks or hikes in nature will work wonders for you. Do it! It worked for me.

I hope this helps!
May your path be clear.

-The Old Hippy

P.S. I don't knock mushroom tea because it's an easy way to control your dosage if you wait and sip a little at a time over the course of hours. If you drink several cups without waiting, then you'll probably be in for a surprise, like the one you had.

Reader responses:
I just read your response to the person who had an unpleasant trip on mushrooms, and is having anxiety-laden flashbacks of varying intensity from using milder hallucinogens.

I went through a three-month long unrelenting anxiety flashback from taking LSD beginning a week after I'd taken it for the third time, when LSD was legal (1961).

What finally saved me from the anxiety was talking on the phone for five minutes with a Chicago psychiatrist who was familiar with the drug's effects from giving it to terminal cancer patients and from taking it himself. After asking me if I felt as though I might "go out and not come back" (lose my mind), and getting a yes answer, he said, "The next time you start to feel that way, just lie down, get real comfortable, and say, 'Fuck me'." I felt anxiety free immediately and never was troubled by a flashback again, despite my efforts to induce the flashback anxiety and despite my taking several different psychedelics after that.

I later read the psychiatrist's (Eric Kast, M.D.) monograph, entitled "Toward a Theory of Attenuation of Anxiety", in which he explained that fighting the anxiety induced by LSD as the mind reorganizes and expands itself under the drug's influence only serves to increase the anxiety in a vicious circle of anxiety, resistance, greater anxiety, more resistance, etc.

Please share my experience and Kast's monograph with the person who wrote to you, so he can evaluate both for himself. I'm keenly aware of what this guy's going through. Heya! I was reading John's story & it sounds just like what I'm goin' through. I was at a festival & mixed too much. I started out with whipit's, then acid, then mescalin, then I ate some rice krispy treats, then more acid (I ended up doin' 65 whipits although I didn't realize it til we counted the empty cartridges). After the second hit of acid, the music & lights stopped, so we laid down. I started melting. Into everything. Jim, the mattress, the earth, the universe. It was definitely the greatest trip. It was very spiritual until I realized I wasn't breathing. I eeked out to Jim that I wasn't breathing. He sat up & checked me(he's amed student), sure enough, intermitent shallow, slow respiration at best. (he says that I let the whipits breathe for me too long, not to mention the change in gas exchange) He picked me up to help me put some sweats on & as soon as he let go of me, I fell back. He said I looked like I was dead. All I remember was feeling like I was drowning, & every so often, Jim would call to me & I would look up & see him like he was looking down a well at me, & I would try to swim back to him. He carried me to the car & drove me up to the camphouse where he had a nurse look at me (She wasn't on duty, just my luck that she was there). She sat me down in a brightly lit room & between her & Jim kept me stimulated enough to stay awake through the night. When the sun came up, he drove me to his cousin's house where he sat up & watched me sleep. He says that every once in a while I would stop breathing for a sec, then gasp & then settle asleep again. I wheezed for several weeks, & physical exersion brought on quick bouts of exhaustion. Since then, all my trips on anything have been identical. No change whatsoever (that night was a year & a half ago). I have anxiety attacks randomly with fears of dying or not breathing. I am very aware of my breathing & sometimes I feel a physical manifestation like I get a warm wave come over me, tingling, dizziness, etc. I am still able to smoke weed, & I can occasionally have a very mild trip, but they're always the same, I don't enjoy it the way I used to because they're always the same & I'm always worried. I've sworn off whipits. I don't want to give up tripping, I've had some great ones, but I have taken a break, for how long I guess it depends. I guess pass this on to John if you could, to let him know he's not alone. His letter really struck me. I know exactly what he feels like. Thanks!


Bad Trip Flashbacks
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Re: Bad Trip Flashbacks (Score: 0)
by Anonymous on Saturday, December 10 @ 07:46:16 UTC
ive tripped hard on mushrooms a few times but the only other drug ive ever done was to smoke weed, and i smoked a lot of it. i dont do either anymore because six months ago i took one tiny bong rip of the best bud ive ever seen and shortly after some guy put something on my hand and told me it was lsd and that it was seeping into my skin. i completely freaked out. i had a serious flashback that lasted probably four months and which is now only beginning to recede. ive always had periods of anxiety since i was a kid but i was having panic attacks all day every day for months. to make things worse, i felt an intense paranoia that everyone was trying to dose me, and i still deal with this paranoia when i eat. its an awful, embarassing experience to deal with. i have also been noticing things in my peripheral vision a lot more which makes my panic attacks worse because it feels like things pop into my vision from nowhere. whats sad is that i know that im just way too in my head and i know that i have control issues. i know what my problems are i just cant fix them. and now since ive been having panic attacks for so long im starting to get depressed. nothing makes me happy anymore and almost everything scares me. the only times i feel normal are when im working or solving some other kind of puzzle, and the reason for this is that my mind is busy. sometimes i have the strength when i start feeling anxious to just say fuck it, and then i stop panicking. but other times it is too overwhelming. the other thing that has come back are my fears of death and meaninglessness, both probably caused by my severe control issues. im questioning everything about my existence. and to talk about it makes it sound ridiculous but these issues are so real. the only thing that keeps me going is that this might just be the last mental hurdle i have to overcome to rid myself of panic attacks. they come in cycles. when i was fourteen i lost my religion. when i was twenty i realized i was full of hate. and now i realize i cant just let go and live.  despire knowing these things, i still feel like im going insane. literally. i feel like i might be experiencing the beginniing of schizophrenia which scares the shit out of me. i guess im writing this because when came across this page it was comforting to read that others are dealing with some of the same issues because maybe that means that im not so crazy after all. good luck, john

Re: Bad Trip Flashbacks (Score: 0)
by Kid on Monday, March 05 @ 23:25:01 UTC
(User Info )
Man I have the same thing. I smoked weed and I layed on a pillow and exhaled but didnt breathe and I started to foam (or maybe have cotton mouth) either way couple of weeks go by and I decide I want to try again but this time all hell broke loose like I had suicidal thoughts and everything..... Any ways, I wanted to try again but in small amounts like one hit and everything was fine like super chill. Later on that day at night like 14 hours later I start felling it again and it stopped until I went to my friends house and he told me about his friends bad trip and then I started to have flashbacks and then he told me about his bad trip on shrooms and then every thing all flashbacks came back but then I watched Major Boobaje on South Park and pictured myself in the middle of all them boobs so every thing is chill... A week or so go by and my friend starts talking about his bad trip on shrooms again and I realized that, thats what triggers my flashbacks so now we just dont talk about shrooms anymore.
So just figure out what triggers it and just when ever every someone talks about it or if you think about it just tell them to stop talking about it or if its in your head just picture your self in Major Boobaje. Hope this helps you to get through your situation.

Re: Bad Trip Flashbacks (Score: 0)
by Samantha on Tuesday, September 25 @ 03:30:58 UTC
(User Info )
I drank a large amount of shroom tea in july and it is now september, i still have mild flashbacks and in my mind im always afraid of it happening when im with my friends.. i have been keeping to myself ever since then not even having a social life. Im always afraid of feeling like crap and i cant do anything about it. Also i have given up drinking beer because apparently it makes me feel sick and idk why.. im just wondering if i will ever go back to normal and get my social life back?

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