“Psychedelics Could Be The Key To Solving The Mental Health Epidemic.”
© Illustration by INJECTION
Mushrooms, LSD and Co.; party drugs or an actual cure for your mental health?
Drugs are bad. Drugs are cool. Drugs are helpful in life. Even though everyone has a different opinion about them, everyone has an opinion on them. In our latest conversation, Erin and Naeem opened up about their psychedelic drug experiences. They tell us how it first started and how it has changed their lives. They open up about their worst experiences and also share with us how they transformed a party habit to an awakening ritual.
How was your first Psychedelic Drug experience?
Naeem: My first psychedelic experience was also my most intensive one. It was my first year of high school and I was 15 years old. A friend of mine and I were at a home party with some girls we’ve met the weekend before. Everyone was drinking and smoking weed, and the vibe was really chill. My friend went to a room with the girls and I ended up alone in the living room with all the strangers. I went outside, to the backyard and met the girl that lived at the house. She was 2 years older than me, but we hit it off pretty well. So, we were sitting on the lawn, making out and I remember thinking I had a damn good chance of getting lucky that night until she busted out a bag containing something I have never seen before. I thought it was old weed or shit, but it turned out to be mushrooms! I was trying to impress her, so naturally, I agreed when she asked if I wanted to do some, even though I had never tried them before.
We made some type of tea with it and she instructed me to eat the shrooms left at the bottom of the cup. It was like the worst thing I have ever tasted. Disgusting! Anyway, we finished and sat down to wait for it to kick in. It probably took around half an hour to kick in, to be honest, I don’t remember much anymore. The whole room around me kind of started bouncing and floating so I had to sit down on the couch. Walls were turning all kinds of colors and all I was thinking of was, what if this trip never ends. I remember being totally overwhelmed by everything I was feeling and I’m not sure how long it all lasted because eventually, I ended up throwing up for hours. Anyways everything turned out fine but it taught me to be careful with psychedelic drugs.
Erin: I think I was 18 or 19. It was at a techno festival and I was kind of drunk already when I lost all my friends during a concert. Some girls noticed me being alone and came up to talk to me. After the concert, we, the girls I just met and I went to meet some of their friends. We all sat down on the ground and smoked some pot. By that point, I was buzzed and had already forgotten about my friends. The girl next to me poked me and showed me some shrooms in her hand and asked if I wanted some. My friends used to do shrooms on a regular basis but I have never tried before. That night I didn’t care, or more precisely I was too wasted to care so we shared however much there was in her hand. Everyone told me about the taste but it was even more disgusting than I had imagined. But let me tell you, it was worth it! I just felt truly carefree and light. I experienced the most positive few hours of my life. Like all the weight on my shoulders was just gone and I was so happy I wanted to hug the whole world.
Are you still taking it and if so, why?
Naeem and Erin: Two years ago, we moved to London from Austria and we started getting more into the acid scene. Somehow here, everyone we meet prefers it to mushrooms. Both of us have actually never tried it before moving here. Since we didn’t know anyone here who could plug us with mushrooms, we just went along with our new friends. So, we took it like once a month for a little bit more than a year until one night, at a rave, some prat came up to Erin and started touching her inappropriately without her consent. She had a really bad trip after this and that was when we stopped with LSD and with partying in general.
After this incident, we calmed down. A lot. Now we are much more focusing on the truth behind life and less on temporary pleasure. We moved to the suburban area and are trying to connect more with nature and ourselves. We even found a plug out here who grows the mushrooms by himself. There are many theories, even some studies that show the beneficial impact mushrooms can have on mental health. Now it’s not about the high anymore, but more about reconnecting to our roots. We do it once a month as kind of a spiritual ritual and it has helped us a lot. As I, Naeem, am working in a healthcare institute, I know about the expanding growth of mental health problems around the globe. I have had a bad childhood myself and these trips really helped me process it. We truly believe if taken with the right purpose, psychedelics could be the key to solve the mental health epidemic. But on the other hand, who are we to talk...
Have you ever had a bad experience?
Naeem: Luckily I have never experienced any horror trips. The worst I have experienced is my first trip, the one I told you about in the beginning.
Erin: Only once, the acid trip we mentioned above. Usually, I also prepared for unpleasant appearances. I knew that sometimes you can see things that scare you. It happened to me before on other acid trips that I've seen monsters or creepy shadows but then I was mentally prepared for it and I always managed to accept them there without freaking out.
So when this guy came up to touch me I first thought it’s not a real person so I laughed and tried to move my mind on to a happy place but he held my wrist and didn’t let go of me even when I asked him to. I still felt euphoric about the moment but realized how I was losing control. It was hot, narrow, the lights, the sounds, everything came towards me like moving shadows, more in waves than in normal movements. I wound myself as if I were swimming in the seawater and trying to avoid the waves. Until suddenly, a feeling has turned everything else off. From one second to the next my head felt so hot that I wanted to tear it off. The guy was still holding on to my wrist, I think when I pulled away and ran to the bar and asked about ice cubes and held them in my face with my bare hands. The relief lasted only for a short time, then the glow was almost unbearable. I knew I had to get out of here.
Outside, however, I didn't really feel any better, I ran around the area in front of the club looking for Naeem. There was so much excess, uncontrolled energy again. I was desperately looking for something to get me down. But I had nothing with me, no water, no chewing gum, no weed. In front of the club, I found people smoking a joint and took some hits. That may not have been that much, but also here, the effect came immediately. After smoking, I couldn't keep myself on my feet. I was lying on the ground. In the dirt. All I felt was emptiness and the feeling that this state would never, never, never stop. I had this feeling of infinity on previous trips, when it was overwhelmingly nice to know that everything always goes on, nature, life and so on.
This time it was like a black hole that sucked me in and I thought it would stay forever. I felt this emptiness that was incredibly heavy and pressed me down. It was terrible. I have no idea how long I lay there. It could have been five minutes or five hours. At some point, Naeem came running. He was talking to me for a long time before I understood that I could move, of course. We took a taxi home to our apartment.
I usually didn't have a hangover from LSD trips, but after that evening I felt bad for several weeks. Not only had I caught a cold, but I kept having depressive fits. I'm fine now. I have also used other drugs, but I will stay away from LSD. My fear of a similar experience is now far too great.
Could you live without it?
Naeem: Can I live without it? - Yes. Definitely. Do I want to live without it? - No way! It is not that I am addicted to it in any means but the way we are doing it now is comparable to deep meditation. We allow ourselves to get to places our mind couldn’t go without the help of psychedelics and we have grown immensely from it.
Erin: The night we take mushrooms and dance to music is my favourite day every month. Not because we are high but because every time I feel even more connected with myself and with Naeem and it is just an incredible feeling. I can definitely live without partying on drugs but I wouldn’t want to stop our monthly ritual. We got a lot of inspiration from our plug. He is a shaman and he has taught us how to overcome our insecurities and trauma through psychedelic drugs. In the end, it is just a tool that lets your mind open up to different rooms, to different realities.
We do not encourage the consumption of drugs. If you struggle with an addiction, we advise you to seek help from a professional.