Experiencing a Loop of Life and Death on LSD: An Acid Trip Report
Experiencing a Loop of Life and Death on LSD: An Acid Trip Report

It’s no secret that psychedelics are currently in a renaissance. It seems that every week there is a new headline about a new state in the United States that drafted a bill in support of psychedelic research or an article about how psychedelics could help treat mental health disorders. In the past five years, we have also seen a boom in psychedelic research being published since the 1970s. My own mother has even called to tell me about how a friend of hers told her about psychedelics or that she saw a news report about mushrooms. It seems psychedelics are everywhere nowadays.

Psychedelics are the talk of the town, but this talk is not usually comprised of people’s experiences on a trip. Current news usually includes news about how psychedelics are the next big thing in psychiatry, some update on the stock market, or how Company XYZ has created another proprietary psychedelic molecule. But people talking about their psychedelic experiences helps destigmatize psychedelics, which is why I will share what I experienced on a recent acid trip.

Acid has been a prominent part of my life for the past 4 years. After I first took psychedelics, they had such a profound effect on me that I actually decided to make psychedelics my research focus during graduate school. After both my first shroom and acid trips, I started learning more about myself than I ever thought possible and tapped into a part of me that felt long hidden. I prefer acid over mushrooms as my choice of psychedelic, and it has become an important part of my life that has helped me process past traumas, become more creative, and improve my overall satisfaction with life.

Psychedelic trips are highly subjective, so don’t take anything that I mention as the norm of what can be expected during a trip, but I will share what I experienced during my last acid trip. My trips are usually one of two types: a chill trip where I am aware of what’s going on and am not in a super psychotic state and a “trip” trip where reality starts becoming hard to discern and I am hallucinating. During this last trip, I experienced multiple lives and saw myself being born and dying repeatedly.

For this acid trip, I readied my space and took two tabs. Due to the high variability in tab doses, it’s hard to say exactly how much I took, but I would estimate around 200-300µgs. My intention was to find some sort of guidance in life, as I had been feeling a little lost. After an hour, I felt the acid kicking and moved into my room where I have all of my music equipment and art supplies at hand; most of my acid trips take place here creating music or painting. I spent about a couple of hours making songs by looping my voice and then decided to pack a bowl on my bong. I smoked the bowl and quickly started feeling much higher. I felt a slight pressure around my body and my thoughts began racing. My face felt tighter, and I got slightly uncomfortable, so I went to splash my face with some water to have a sensory reset. It was after this that things began getting pretty trippy.

I know that people always say not to stare in the mirror when you’re tripping, but I was feeling adventurous. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw myself getting younger and older. I saw my skin press against my bones and then fill me out. I saw myself as both male and female. I saw myself being everything all at once. Shortly after, my face turned stereoscopically 3D like an image out of a Magic Eye book.

Image of a Magic Eye picture, which is how the author saw his face during an acid trip.
An image of a Magic Eye picture. This type of stereoscopic 3D is how I saw my face in the mirror. Source: The Sun

When this happened, my surroundings started disappearing. I could no longer see anything around me. The only thing I could see was my head floating in the middle of a white room. Remember that SpongeBob episode where Squidward ends up in a white room where he’s finally alone? That’s exactly how this was. I kept looking at myself and then saw my face take on the shape of a pillar, with new rows of pillars with my face appearing behind and beside. The best way to describe this would be like the quintessential psychedelic image you find when Googling psychedelics with red face-like pillars throughout a room.

Depiction of an aicd trip.
This is how my surroundings looked like after staring in the mirror. Source: Alex Grey

I stepped back, looked away, and the room returned to normal. I went to the living room where my boyfriend was to tell him what just happened. I told him, “I think this is going to be a strong trip” and then spent some time talking with him. Whenever things start feeling strong like this, I know that the trip is going to be one of the ones where reality starts blurring and I’m not sure what is real and what is not.

These types of trips can be fun because reality feels like it breaks, and the brain begins interpreting everything as one conscious thought. The TV, my thoughts, what my boyfriend says, music, what I read, etc. – everything somehow feels like it is connected, if that makes sense? For example, a common thing that happens during my acid trips is that the TV feels like it is talking directly to me about what I’m thinking, or dialogue from it seems to seamlessly match what my boyfriend is talking about. My brain begins interpreting stimuli differently and adding subconscious meaning to it. I begin picking up on nuances and synchronicities that I would not normally be aware of. I knew this was going to be an interesting type of acid trip, to say the least.

What happens next is hard to describe, but I’ll try. As I am talking with my boyfriend, my surroundings began slowing down and time started splitting into frames. I began experiencing time as a physical phenomenon. In a way, it felt like life became a slowed-down Super 8 film. If you have seen Interstellar, this felt a big like being inside the time tesseract.

acid trip
Production image from Interstellar, showing time as a physical dimension called a tesseract. Source: PetaPixel

I told my boyfriend I wanted to listen to some music to see how the trip progressed and excused myself to my room. I walked to my room and began having an out-of-body experience where I saw myself from above. It felt like I was lifted into the air and began seeing myself from above. I was both the player and character of my own Sims game. I begin feeling like everything I am seeing is from the viewfinder of a camera or from a monitor screen. My life began feeling strangely like a simulation. I then came back into my body and grabbed my headphones.

I put on my headphones and played I Love You, Jennifer B by Jockstrap. On the first track “Neon,” there is a section where singer Georgia Ellery yells out, “but is it working!?” right before an electric guitar instrumental break and in this moment, I saw my room begin dissolving into film strips that start flickering in front of my eyes. Each frame in the strip showing a moment of time that I had just experienced, while also still experiencing it. It felt like I was experiencing everything — past, present, future — all at once.

As the intensity of the song progressed to a declaration by Ellery singing, “I won’t do this again to you or to anyone. I won’t do this again to myself,” my hallucinations got stronger. I began seeing a movie of my life from the moment I was born leading up to the present and showing me multiple iterations of my death, just a cycle of life and death over and over again. The time distortions I experienced made me feel like I was living through the course of my life in the span of just a couple of seconds. I saw myself dying repeatedly and every time I died, the movie just restarted to myself being born. I then saw myself dying and being reborn as other people and experiencing their lives. I saw myself as my grandmother. I saw myself as a stranger. I saw myself as another version of myself. I experienced multiple lifetimes in the course of a couple of minutes.

I rubbed my eyes and the Super 8 film stopped rolling. Things were back to normal. I changed the song to “Concrete Over Water” and looked around for a sketchbook to draw in. In my experience, wanting to make art on psychedelics is a really strange thing. Whenever I want to draw, I simply have to hold a pencil and my hand will begin moving on its own, drawing whatever it wants with little thought. I spent some time drawing and then began hallucinating again. This time, I was hallucinating what the song said. I began seeing images related to what the lyrics described as flashes across my field of vision.

I took a break to go explain to my boyfriend what I just experienced, but talking became more difficult. I had difficulty trying to describe what I wanted to say and kept stumbling on my words. The more I tried to describe what just happened, the more I felt me slipping back into the trip. After a short bit, I started experiencing the life-and-death hallucination again, but this time as pages from a giant book that made up my whole life. Each new iteration of life forming its own book in my mind. These hallucinations made me fatigued, so I told my boyfriend if we could spend the rest of the night watching movies to distract my brain and just chill. We finished the trip by watching Mamma Mia! and singing along to ABBA, which is honestly the perfect way to end any night.

An acid trip tends to be highly subjective. People will experience different things depending on their state of mind and intention. Mine was heavily focused on life and death, which I believe happened because I started the trip with the intention of finding guidance in my life. I often suffer from existential dread, so what I got from my acid trip was that life can be anything I want it to be, and I should not be worrying so much about what is supposed to happen next. I should let things simply happen and everything will work out in the end. Which is true – the best things in my life have happened when I went with the flow and stopped trying to control every outcome. Every trip I have taken has taught me invaluable lessons, and this one was no different. This acid trip gave me some respite from my anxiety and allowed me to not constantly worry about what my next steps in life should be. I’m not sure what my next trip will bring, but I am excited about what I will experience.


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