Lesson #1 for the psychedelic explorer: Bad experiences can happen while you're tripping - what you do about these experiences makes the difference between having a bad trip and not.

Remember that you've consciously chosen to dramatically alter the way in which your brain normally functions. Acknowledge that that act of control was the last you really get for a fixed amount of time. The most important thing to learn in order for you to be able to cope with the next few hours is that you will (for the most part) not be in control of your mind or where it takes you.

Ride it out.

Quite possibly the most dangerous thing you can do in such situations is try to exert control over your faculties in the way you normally would. You simply can't, and whatever is bothering you will very likely get worse if you try.

Let yourself go. Change your surroundings. Pay attention to something harmless.

You're not going to freak out, you will return to normal, everything may not be the same afterwards - but you knew that going in.

For a lot of people this is a growing up process: you are never 100% in control of your life and its direction, take advantage of your time when you are less than 1% in control. Revel in it.

My boyfriend had a bad acid trip and it was one of the scariest moments of our lives.

We were at our friend Ute's flat with a few mates, just smoking weed and listening to music. Guthrie and I had bought 8 tabs of acid earlier with the intention of taking 4 each that night. Now you may think 4 tabs sounds like too much, "No wonder he had a bad trip!" etc etc. However, this was really weak LSD, a mere few weeks before this incident occurred; Guthrie and I, along with a group of friends all took at least 11 of these tabs each and everyone had a blast, it was amazing...that time.

We were sitting on the couch; me gigling away and squirming around in my seat, staring at the sparkles and rainbows floating through the air when Guthrie started murmering about how there was something wrong. His eyes were darting about uncertainly and he looked really uncomfortable. He kept mumbling but just low enough that I couldn't hear him and when I asked him what was wrong he just kind of shook his head and said "I'm not acting fine am I? I think I've smoked some salvia."

Now salvia is a totally different experience to LSD, it's more intense, it's scarier, it feels more real in your own mind and the good thing is the trip only lasts 10 minutes. However, I had no idea how or why he would think he had taken something that he hadn't.

He took my hand and pulled me up from my chair and ran out of the living room into Ute's bedroom. He looked really panicked now, he started pacing the room saying "Why won't it stop Sam? It's supposed to go away, why won't it? Make it stop will you?"

I was so confused, I didn't know what he was talking about, all I knew was that he was scaring me. I told him I didn't understand and he threw his arms in the air and said "All I talk is shit, why can't you understand? My brain must be fucked! It is isn't it, I'm full of shit aren't I?"
I asked him to sit on the bed with me, to try and calm down. He kept asking me to make it stop, he looked so desperate and panicked, like a lost little boy, he wanted me to promise it would stop. I told him it would, but not for hours, my reply wounded him, "But why?", there were tears of frustration in his eyes. I ran my fingers through his hair and whispered "It's a bad trip baby, it'll last a few hours yet. It's the acid you took, it's making you think bad things but what we need to do, is try and calm you down and take your mind off it."

He hadn't even realised it was the drug making him feel like that, he thought it was himself that was fucked. However the revelation that it was indeed a bad trip, triggered memories of an aquaintance of ours who ended up in hospital as a result of LSD. "Am I going to have to go to hospital Sam, I don't want to have to go there, I don't want other people knowing about this, what if my wee sisters find out, my mum, my work...." I held him and tried to comfort him as best I could but it was so hard. I love him so much, by seeing him so distressed I had tears streaming down my face. I had the idea of trying to keep his mind off the situation by putting on a video of something familiar, I chose the Simpsons. At first he seemed so into the idea, he really thought it would help.

The video was only on for 2 minutes and he talked through it all about how it wasn't helping and it was confusing him more, "Why are you confusing me Sam, please just make it stop" he whimpered.

I reached to hug him, to reassure him that everything would be ok and when I touched his skin it felt like he was on fire. I took off his t.shirt to cool him down and hugged him tight against me. His whole body felt like a racing pulse. I looked in his eyes and the whites looked red, I could see little red lightning bolts in them pulsing through. Obviously this was because I myself was still tripping. I ran my hands over his skin and he wasn't sweating. I've done enough ecstasy in the past to know when you're roasting hot you need to sweat to cool down and if your body's not managing it, then something's missing. Usually water or salt. So in my own fucked and tripping state I brought the only things resembling crisps from the kitchen, covered them in salt, with a huge glass of water to rinse them down. He drank what I told him to and ate what I told him to and pretty soon he started sweating, cooled down a bit and calmed down a bit.

Our good friend Wilkie came through after all this, which lasted an hour and a half or so, to see how Guthrie was feeling. He started telling him about when he had a bad trip and told him that he could empathise. We sat in the bedroom with Wilkie for a while just talking and Guthrie seemed like he was doing a lot better. He wasn't himself and he still looked and sounded scared of everything in the room, but he was keeping a conversation going, which was an enormous relief after 2 hours of him only being able to ask me to make it stop.

However, when Wilkie went to the toilet Guthrie turned to me and said "What's Wilkie trying to say, is he trying to freak me out? I think fate's talking through him to me, Sam I think we're going to die tonight, fate's out to get me!"

I thought I'd been doing so well, helping him, he'd seemed so much better when in reality he was just as freaked out as before! The rest of the night I just had to sit with him alone in Ute's bedroom. When other people came in the room he thought they were all trying to gang up on him. Just talking about normal things or passing him a joint made him think fate was trying to use his friends to trick him, the only person he could trust was me. I needed to go to the toilet and he refused to sit in the room alone or sit with everyone else so he had to come into the bathroom with me.

He desperately wanted to go home, to lie in my bed, because he knew nothing bad would happen there. We were miles from my house and the only way home would be by taxi but he was scared of the taxi driver knowing he was fucked up on acid.

Eventually it got to 5:00am, he was still tripping and full of bad thoughts and ideas about fate, but it was definitely time to go home. We called a taxi and went downstairs to get it. When we stepped outside he looked as frightened as ever, he jumped at the sound of wind blowing, every rustle, every squeak made his mind work overtime and panic. I was exhausted.

Finally we made it home, I wanted to stay awake to really ensure he wouldn't be left at all on his own. I didn't manage, but he got to sleep alright anyway.

I had one of the most terrible LSD trips possible, most likely because I didn't dose myself correctly. I had taken the drug before, a more reasonable amount, and enjoyed it... so this time the paranoia and complete loss of identity was a nasty shock.

The only way I can describe the experience is as a dissolving of myself and my way of thinking, which was confusing and frightening and meant me screaming in the back of my (no longer hahaha) friend's car... in the beginning I was fine of course, and then I became rather confused as to where I was (out with a pack of my friend's friends who I was not acquainted with) and then I became paranoid because I kept hearing cop radios everywhere and seeing flashing lights (in my head), and then I began forgetting who the people around me were and just what was going on anyways?

The problem was I could only keep one thing in my mind at time, so I decided it prudent to keep up a steady stream of questions (phrased as panicked demands) just to figure out of what I should be doing at the moment and where I was and if the cops were there, but each time someone gave me an answer I would forget it and another question would replace it. I seemed stuck in an unsolvable puzzle:

Am I in danger? If so, I should get myself home. But where am I? Could someone drive me? Would I be a burden to drive home? Wait, who can drive? Who else is on LSD? Ok then, whose drunk? I am freaking out? I am so sorry. Wait. Am I in danger?

I became rampantly sexist, starting crying because I thought my girlfriend should be there (although she lives in Spain) and basically turned into a small child. For a while I lost all concept of time, and my past and present kind of melded together and events of my life and everything that had ever been important to me (family, grades, lovers) all lost any kind of linear quality and just existed all at once in a kind of shifting pattern which I couldn't shut out, and I remember trying to open or close my eyes and not being able to alter the strange pattern hallucination of what my "life" was, and I remember trying to die and upon realizing that I couldn't do so by just wanting to, concluding that this was how my perception of life had always been and that's how it always would be and there was no such thing as life or death and existence would continue for ever(logical I know).

When the effects started to wear off I regained the memory that my thinking process had been different before, and I decided that I had made myself insane for life which made me very sad but I decided I couldn't change it. After a while I realized that my hallucination had changed of one from a shifting pattern to that of a car window, and my friend and the other inhabitants of the car were demanding directions to my house. Hmmm. That began to clue me in that I did not live in my own alternate universe. A pity that I couldn't seem to string syllables together to answer their queries (I ended up out of embarrassment just getting out of the car and taking random busses until I ended up downtown at 7 in the morning, and from there I found my way home. The embarrassment didn’t stop the next day though. Too bad).

My conclusion: Hmmm let people who are smarter than you determine your LSD dosage? Be smart in general about taking drugs? The thing is I should have known that anyways.

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