On October 21, 2018, I was in the depths of a bad acid trip, the second trip I'd ever been on in my entire life. I'd initially planned to enjoy the experience in a beautiful marsh miles from my home until sunset, and, stupidly enough, I was sure I could handle LSD to the point that I'd planned on tripping alone that day. As the old cliche goes, hindsight is always 20/20.

I'd arrived at the marsh at noon with a purse packed with sunglasses, headphones, my phone, my keys, my wallet, and the blotter tab. I took the tiny tab from the envelope, stared at it for a second, and placed it on my tongue. As I felt it soften against the roof of my mouth, I took a leisurely stroll around the marsh. It was expansive and idyllic, and the cloudy sky added an ominous element to the setting. As a precaution, I wrote a note on my phone instructing myself to relax and that I was tripping.

After an hour of sitting on a bench, it hit me that perhaps 47 degrees Fahrenheit wasn't the best temperature to be in for six hours straight. Although I was wearing a coat, I felt cold to the point where going home seemed better than staying in the marsh. I walked out of the marsh and on the long, straight road to the train station. The acid tab was kicking in. Life felt like a simulation, and the cars along the road seemed to slow and speed up intermittently.

At the train station, everyone had long tracers as they walked around. Keeping my eyes open made me feel sick and disoriented by the fact that what I was seeing wasn't actually real. I tried to keep a casual demeanor, but I attracted a lot of stares on the train, probably due to my dilated pupils or some other strange behavior.

I suffered extreme amnesia from that point on to arriving at my doorstep. I don't even recall how I got there. I realize how lucky I am today to not have been injured walking home. I pulled out my phone and stared at the note, wondering what purpose it served and what the words even meant. My short-term memory seemed to be five seconds long at most.

I must have stood there for probably an hour, although the memory loss made it seem like five minutes. I remember that the mail carrier came in at one point and opened the door for me. She looked at me, knowing something was up with me, but didn't say anything except "You coming in?"

I sat down on the floor of the hallway and tried to phone my close friend, who knew I was tripping that day. I don't remember most of these calls, but I had apparently called her 12 times, each time asking "Can you help me?" and "What am I supposed to do now?" She told me to relax and go to sleep, but I had trouble taking her advice seriously. I felt I was in a predicament that she didn't understand.

My memory loss led me to seemingly teleport to my room next. I felt extremely disoriented and simply rummaged through my purse, trying to mentally check that all my possessions were there, but my memory kept frustratingly short-circuiting, and I couldn't keep my thoughts straight long enough to count my items.

Embarrassingly enough, I deliriously approached my mother and started crying. I wouldn't tell her what I'd done that day, of course, and she was understandably unnerved by my behavior. She decided to drive me to see my father, who was working his part-time job at a fast food restaurant that day.

My next memory consists of them both sitting next to me, asking me what had happened and who I was with that day. The sun had set. The abrupt change in setting and time of day led me to believe that the restaurant and my parents were elaborate hallucinations caused by the drug. My parents gave me an old receipt and a pen to write my thoughts on. I proceeded to write a seemingly incoherent paragraph about getting back to the real world. I began to ramble wildly, and, although I don't remember this detail at all, I apparently briefly mentioned a sexual encounter from months ago.

This is where shit hit the fan, if you don't think it had already. My parents called 911, thinking I'd been drugged and raped.

I was strapped into a stretcher, put in an ambulance, and wheeled into the hospital. Still believing this was a hallucination, I started talking to myself to calm myself down, telling myself I'd get out of it eventually. Because this quasi-hallucination lasted for hours, I had a notion that I had entered a parallel world, and that I had to get back to my old self in the real world. I was transported to the emergency room for rape kit testing. Sexual assault detectives, hospital staff, and my parents entered and exited my room every few minutes. I believed that everyone around me was an illusion of my mind and that I truly was trapped in this strange new world. It was a Sunday night, unwisely enough, and I was desperate to prepare myself for school the next day. I frantically wondered how I'd even attend school, given that I was trapped in another world.

My thought process was indescribable. I'd cycled from panic to begrudging acceptance of my dilemma. I became determined to thrive in this strange world, even though all my accomplishments in the real world had all been for naught. I think this mindset was cultivated from the resilience of living in the same sleep-work-school cycle for all of these years, and what's the harm in redoing it if you'd been doing so all along anyway?

Long story short, I came down after several hours in the emergency room and realized that none of this was a hallucination after all. It was, alarmingly, very much real, and my parents were both bewildered and disappointed in me for doing drugs. I had to clarify to the hospital staff that I was not, in fact, sexually assaulted, and apologized numerous times to everyone for all the trouble. I was discharged from the hospital at 1 A.M. and had to wake up at 6 A.M. for school. I got no sleep, and to this day, it remains one of the worst nights of my life, though I did learn a lot from the experience.

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