What I Learned When I Died

Reading Time ⏱: 5 mins
Published 🕰: 1st Oct 2020

So I died the other day and it was very interesting. To clarify, I'm not actually writing this with my ghostly 👻 form in-between scaring the shit out of my friends 🙀. I had my first acid 🧪 trip which culminated in me believing that I was drowning, subsequently died and then snapped back to reality and decided to get some friends to look after me.

Putting aside the advisability to putting yourself in this situation (I'm not knocking 🚪 it, just be more sensible than me on my first time 😉. I got carried away and did way more than I should have), what I learnt from the entire affair (it wasn't all drowning 😛🌊) was super important for me and is still having an impact.

On the more positive side I've been curious to hallucinate for a while both to see what my mind would generate and how convincing the experience would be, so I can better understand and think about perception and reality. Also, sounds fun 🥳.

And on that side, it did not disappoint. I remember when it first kicked in and my senses (especially touch) became super sensitive and wonderful, mixed in with a literal sparkle/twinkling ✨ filter on top of everything I saw. I just burst out laughing 🎭. It was so magical 🧙‍♂️ and convincing, much more than I thought would be possible. I had assumed that knowing what I was seeing wasn't real and the way I think about reality would make the hallucinations less convincing. Kind of like if you knew a lot about how Disneyland 🐭🏰 was built, what was behind every prop and facade, then it could make the experience less immersive than if you knew nothing about it. This was not the case with acid.

It gave me an intense appreciation 🥰 for everything around me, the present moment and the tiny things in life. Aspects of that have definitely persisted afterwards. In my analysis afterwards I realised that many of the things I saw and felt during the experience revolved around subtle things in my life that I wasn't addressing as much as I should. Previously these things were in my head 🤯 but I just didn't really realise that I should be thinking about them more. The trip was basically a way of my mind highlighting to me what was important in my life.

One of the most prominent examples of this was that even though I know I am most likely going to die ☠️ in the next 100 years, I really just don't believe that. And I've never truly confronted that belief. I've thought about this topic a lot, the potential for AI and advancements in technology to help people today survive for thousands of years, if not longer. And I always tell myself about the low odds 🎲 of this happening. But until this trip, until the moment I died, felt this incredible sense of peace and was then reborn in an explosion of rainbow coloured light, I was afraid of death. To be fair, it's scary as shit.

I still don't want to die, and will work towards a future where we can all live indefinitely, but I think I'm less scared now. I'm more accepting of that which I can't control. Just like explosive diarrhoea 💩🤯. This specific part of the trip sounds terrifying (again much like explosive diarrhoea) but what I got from it has been invaluable to me. I'm glad it happened. Also I'm pretty sure I count as a ghost now. Or some kind of half ghost, half zombie, half curious wombat hybrid.

Insert pause to gather one's thoughts here...


...Onwards ->

Another big part of the trip was a sense of time dilation, minutes taking hours. And feeling like I was stuck in a never ending time ⏰♾ loop of beautiful scenery and feelings, but over time I was getting severely drained, physically and mentally (the whole experience was around 8 hours). It was like a psychedelic Groundhog Day. I had my fun but got to a point where I wanted the trip to end.

Most of these experiences were super fun or led to really interesting thoughts and realisations. On the flip side 🛹 there were some additional negative experiences and consequences that are a bit harder to see the pros 🤨 (although they are there). I've finally been introduced to a new friend, they're called Anxiety, and they are an absolute bitch. I've heard of this Anxiety character before, a few friends have met them and they've been in a few books I've read about. I met someone who I thought was like them once, but I now realise that was an imposter 🕵️‍♂️.

Now that I've definitely met Anxiety it's interesting to finally have a bit of an understanding of what others have been going through. The hardest part was realising that I couldn't think 🤔 my way out of anxiety. It just seemed to be an immovable emotional force that sucked when it turned up. I had it pretty intensely as the trip wore off.

Most of the anxiety I've felt since were from small triggers that made me think that I was about to cycle back to the start of the trip again, and that I'm still stuck in that time loop (even though this was days/weeks afterwards). Back to a state of being mentally 😴 drained and trapped in that life. It's not something that would actually put me into a psychotic break but is just the trigger for a short period of anxiety.

In some ways I'm kind of glad that I've been introduced to anxiety at a pretty stable time in my life. Where I have the time ⏰ and capacity to figure out how to best deal with it without having any dependants 🚸 that it would affect. It seems unlikely for someone living in a modern life to go the whole time without experiencing anxiety, so this is probably the best way it could have happened. And the biggest benefit is that it brings me a little step closer to sympathising with others.

Overall I'm very glad for the whole experience. It was fun, opened my mind, showed me what was important and introduced me to an inevitable friend that I should learn to understand and deal with. Also I saw a child sized toad wearing a technicolored hat and sipping pond water through a super long straw. Not sure if that was a hallucination or actually happened. Who knows, the world is a strange and magical place 🧙‍♂️.

Other highlights include:

  • Minutes feeling like hours
  • The most intense colours I've ever seen
  • Walking through a nature trail whilst seasons were changing all around me
  • My friend walking around with baby legs
  • Having hallucinated so clearly it increases how likely I think it could be to synthesize a reality. E.g. build Matrix-like technology
  • Seeing a ghostly form of myself travelling through time

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