What is a bad acid trip?

In refrence to this GQ thread.

I didn’t want to hijack that thread with my question. Plus this question may not be factual, because a bad trip may be defined differently depending on the person.

So what is it? Do you freak out? Do you get sick?

While I’m at it, what is a good acid trip?

Bad - stuck in your ego, your “trip” doen’t go beyond the pretend reality you have created in your mind (ego). You spend your time in a state of … hyper-worrying.

Good - submit to the power of the universe around you, lose the ego, spend your time in the Here and Now, feed your own energy back into the world, instead of trapping it inside yourself (ego). You know that point in your favorite song, where it breaks down and brings you to another level, and time and space don’t exist? And you get chills down your spine? Yeah, its like that, but for eight hours.

Interestingly, I think that LIFE is a giant trip, and what makes your acid trip either good or bad is the same thing that will make your life good or bad…

Interestingly, I am not very good at losing my ego, but I am working on it. I spend a lot of time worrying when sober, what a waste of a good trip! But I am begginning to see the light.

/my 2 cents

Not to far off my one experience. I was getting hallucinatory critters that were always moving on the periphery of my vision, but disappeared when viewed head on. Consequently I was constantly twisting about, yet never able to come to grips with my little tormentors. This spooked me a bit, though never to the point of full-blown panic. More just constant nervous, antsy, paranoia.

It wasn’t a horrifyingly bad trip ( like one that one of my step-brothers had, where he spent the whole time gloomily fantasizing about clawing his eyes out ), but it was certainly unpleasant.

  • Tamerlane

My one bad acid trip was, I think, an overdose. My senses were so screwed up that I was more or less immobilized. My entire visual field seemed to be waving in a strong wind, except that it was inside. I didn’t freak out or anything, I just decided to wait it out, and it took most of a day to come down. Trips were usually 12-18 hours, followed by a very heavy crash.

I had quite a number of good acid trips. Good is when you can wander the streets with your tripping friends and compare sensory experiences.

FYI, I kind of think of mushrooms as acid Lite. Very similar experienced but toned fown a notch or two.

My best, most educational, most deeply therapeutic and life-changing acid trip was also my worst, most traumatic, most frightening, and potentially most life-destructive trip.

LSD is not brain-candy; it’s not a “recreational drug” in the sense of being a good thing to use for “fun”. It can be thrilling, and deeply moving, but it is first and foremost powerful and that power can destroy as well as create.

The second thing to understand is that when people drop acid, they often feel while they are tripping as if life in general their life in particular, all the big question stuff, suddenly makes sense, which is (as you can imagine) very exciting. And then as they come down, less and less of that seems to be something you can hold onto, it ceases to make sense or loses a dimension or something, you cease to see your new “insights” as important or special.

Some people deal with that by shrugging and dismissing the entire “important insights” stuff as dismissable. (IMHO, they are the ones most likely to get in trouble with acid if they continue to play with it).

At the opposite extreme, others get serious about it the way some folks get serious about religion or focused meditation – they try to replay the things they experienced when tripping and extract more permanent insights from them.

I would explain it like this: your mind always tends to use shorthand to represent concepts on one level when thinking about how one concept affects or interacts with another. For instance, if I ask you to think about the relationship of marxism and trendy Italian cooking, and how they each interact with Islam and western medicine, you aren’t going to be simultaneously holding in your head the full philosophical thought-system of marxism and the entirety of the other theories and disciplines – you’re going to conjure up a sort of shorthand token that sort of encapsulates what marxism means to you, in order to visualize it in relationship to the other tokens that represent the other mind-sets you’re thinking about. We do that all the time. When I tossed out those four incongruous examples, some of the things you know about each of them probably came to the fore of your mind (working-class Italian cooks or marxists eating chicken parmesan while discussing politics? dietary restrictions in Islam? relationship between cuisines, dietary restrictions, and what’s healthy for you to eat?) because they were interesting in relationship to the other three. With me so far?

Well, LSD is the mental connection-maker, and in very short order you can conceptualize stuff for the first time, then “tokenize” that new understanding in order to consider how it fits into other patterns, then “tokenize” that as well. The understandings are (usually) real and (usually) valid, but often that which the tripper understands and is so excited about is understood only in a very compressed shorthand form, a form that takes a lot of unpacking before it could be put into words and explained to someone who hadn’t thought of things in those terms before.

And as you come down, it is very very easy to lose track of what vast strings of those tokenized shorthand things represent.
Finally: the creation of those “tokens”, by necessity, usually involves seizing upon or creating an oversimplified symbolic thingie that represents a more complicated concept, but the combination of the great excitement of insight & understanding plus the sad fact of losing track of what it was they stood for can cause lots of trippers to attribute the entire importance to the oversimplified symbol.

A bad trip is when you go to an Ozzy Osbourne concert (tripping) coming out of the bathroom after some crazy freak tries to talk you into kicking some police womans ass out in the corridor. Then having said police woman interegate you when you come out of the bathroom; the whole time asking "Where’s the trip man? you know I’ll take you to jail, so just tell me where’s it at… Then after the cop f’d with me untill I was to the point where I was about to grab her gun from her holster and just start randomly blowing people away. She just laughs and says “Get out of here, I’m just mess’n with ya.”

The whole time this was going on a HUGE crowd had gathered to watch the freak show going on that was me.

(true story and NONE of it was imagined.)

A good trip is when you’re tripping and the phone rings, you answer it, only to find that Alvin and the Chipmunks are on the other end! LAUGHING their asses off at you!

(true story, that one WAS imagined)

I took acid about a 1000 times.

Never once had a bad trip. A lot of people to,d me about their bad trips, but I enjoyed every single one of them.

[sequential thread titles hijack]

This thread appears directly below “I’m seeing the pixies tonight” right at the moment in the “New Posts” lists.



This is a totally true story: a friend of mine was tripping on mushrooms. He decided, in the middle of March in central NY, to take off all his clothes except his boxers and run through the streets because “they” were chasing him. He wound up in 5 point restraints in the Emergency Room, where they told him he had amphetamine poisoning, leading to amphetamine induced psychosis, so those were baaaaah mushrooms. When I went to pick him up in the hospital, he was very much a deranged psychotic. He’s perfectly fine now, though the trip definitely had an effect on him.

Another friend of mine got really, really paranoid on LSD. I had to sit on the couch with him literally in my lap, freaking out about his own mortality. I have never seen a person so terrorized in my life. He was like a 5 year old kid. It was very sad, but eventually I got him to go to sleep/turn off his brain, and he felt better when he woke up. Paranoia and deep fear are the two most common elements I’ve noticed in people’s bad trips. Heightened awareness and altered perception are a double-edged sword.

Allow me to second what **AHunter3 ** said: LSD is not for everyone. Back when I was teaching high school, one of my students asked me if she should drop acid, and this is what I told her: picture your mind as a Gothic mansion with many rooms. Some of those rooms are familiar, but many of them are behind doors you’ve never opened. LSD allows you to open some of those. Sometimes what’s behind them is beautiful, or fascinating, or enlightening, or just plain weird, but you learn from it and are enriched by the experience. Other times, you open a door and a monster comes running out. Then you have a monster or monsters running wild in your brain, causing all kinds of havoc, even permanent damage in some cases.

You pays your money and you takes your chances. Some people, like spooje, never have a bad trip. Others only have bad ones. Most people are somewhere in the middle. At this point in my life, it’s not a risk I’d like to take, because even though the majority of my experiences were good, the bad ones were quite horribly bad. No more of that for me.

From what I’ve been told, it’s a very, very intense emtional low. Never had a bad one.

High-intensity, chemically concentrated euphoria. Indeed, euphoria is the most common effect of the drug. Your face hurts from grinning for hours straight, you want to run and jump up & down, and you want to drink beer. You might giggle for hours on end for no particular reason, or for very good reason.

Additionally, things are really “enhanced,” for lack of a better word. Colors and contrasts are much more striking—you might spend several minutes appreciating the visual composition of the green of a tennis court against the red brick of a nearby building in the full-moon light. Or you might be really enamored by the intensity of a particular brand of gum.

The notion of hallucinating on the drug is largely a myth: It is hallucigenic (sp?) inasmuch as it stimulates certain parts of the brain and you’ll see, perhaps, streaks of colored light when you close your eyes. You’re still conscious of perspective, sensation, and pain—you’re not gonna skin yourself alive thinking you’re an orange; however, under the right circumstances, devious minds might come close to making you question whether you really are jesus.

Or so I am told, since I’d never do anything like that.

Pretty cool responses all. I pretty much figure that a trip is just an intense high, but having never experienced it, I didn’t know what a bad high was like. Makes sense now.

It’s night time and just starting to snow. The pavment turns to wet indoor-outdoor carpet. As I start to cross the street two police cars scream down the road with sirens blaring and lights flashing. They skid to a stop, one on each side of me and the police get out with guns pointing at me. I blink, and they have disappeared. I go home to sleep it off. About 4 AM my father pounds on the door and tells me to go down stairs. A car has jumped a snow bank, plowed across our front yard leaving brown ruts in the white snow covered grass, and slammed into our car totalling it. I blink again, thinking it can’t be real, but this time it is. Luckily my father doesn’t ask why my pupils are the sides of saucers.

I think the “acid” was probably PCP. Injesting stuff you buy off the street is stupid.

Make that “*size * of saucers”.

I have a friend who used to take a lot of acid. One night, she was hanging out in a park, and suddenly the trees become a skeleton army, out for her blood. Thing’s didn’t get better from there. When she got home, she accidentally drank some OJ (which apparently intensifies or prolongs the trip?), and ending up having a bad trip for about 3 days, all told.

She never took acid again.

LSD is not and never “really” has been recreational, in the sense that marijuana or alcohol is. But that doesn’t mean people don’t taken it for fun, they sure as shit do. Its effects are long-lasting, mentally tiring, and physically exhausting. Coupled with a rapid but short-term tolerance, the drug simply doesn’t lend itself to abuse easily in the “addictive” sense. It is wholly possible, though–and I have seen it in a friend.

The idea that is very difficult to get across is just how intense the hallucinations are. Every day we offhandedly depend on our senses all the time. When those senses go obviously haywire, some people can’t handle it anymore, or possibly don’t even maintain the judgment to know what is happening. I’ve never had nor known anyone personally with that problem, but second-handedly I have (none of the turning into fruit stuff, just people who never quite grasped what a hallucination is, and how real they are). It has usually been very easy to keep my cool back in my LSD days. I even had a little mantra for when things felt slightly out of hand, “Stuff doesn’t do that, really.” It usually calmed me down and let me just enjoy warping walls, strange sounds, and so on.

My only bad trip came from being so completely at ease with the experience that my paranoia got a hold of me in a very complete way. Once it got its teeth in, it was impossible to remove. No one could be trusted, etc etc. Thankfully, part of my paranoia was directly affected by a hallucination and a train of thought that built a story in my head dealing with mystical powers of–yes–a McDonalds cup. So actually I “rescued” myself from that one without realizing it at the time.

The only bad trips I’ve seen from people were like that. A thought got into their head, usually a paranoid thought, that they couldn’t disengage. Even at that, their experiences were similar to mine: the whole “bad” part really didn’t last more than 30 minutes to an hour or so, but since your sense of importance and time are also completely on the fritz the impact of a bad trip can be much more emotionally immense.

I’ve never experienced, seen, heard of directly, or through third parties, of any person who felt they could fly or had other ridiculous super powers excepting ESP which is very common in my experience (especially a mental connection with other people tripping). I’m not suggesting I disbelieve these tales, but I am pretty skeptical of them.

Hallucinogens are no joke. Your senses are a direct link to reality. Mess with those senses, and you can see why bad trips can happen.

Actually, I forgot, there was one other time that I had a bad trip. About six hours into it, I did a trail check (“yep, still tripping”) and realized that I felt completely normal. The thought entered my head that I was going to be tripping forever, I could never trust my senses again, etc. That. Sucked.

This is a bad trip…

I was 15 at the time and (sadly) quite an experienced tripper when a friend of mine got a batch of blotter acid that was actually damp. Now I didn’t believe it was damp because it was saturated in LSD but in retrospect it looks like it probabley was. I took a tab of acid just before going into my parents house to tell them I was staying over at my friends house and wound up having an argument with my dad who said I couldn’t, I stormed out with my friend and headed down to the riverside to trip. This argument was my first mistake.

I came up in about ten minutes and by the time I had walked the four miles to the river I was tripping harder than I ever had before, evrything was trailing like mad, my depth perception was fucked so things would appear to be either really small and distant or really huge giving me a wird gfeeling of shrinking and growing. I could see flowers floating through the air like a semi visible wallpaper pattern and the colours of things were completley wrong; the grass was deep red and the sky looked like TV static. When we got to the river I told my friend that I was completley fucked and was worried because we were only an hour in so he suggested a joint to calm down. This was mistake number two.

After the joint things went even more haywire, I saw a huge paddle steamer glide past with a huge party going on onboard suddenley turn into a tini little launch, the pebble path turned into a huge lizards tale and I was briefly riding on the back of a brontasaurus sized lizard. I wasn’t really freaking out yet but it was so intense that I was beginning to fear the peak so I told my friend that we should head back to his house. The way home was an obstacle course of hallucinations so intense that I gave up trying to decipher if they were real or not and just crossed roads blindly and plowed through obstacles and amazingley none of them were actually real (or I would have probabley been killed) and somehow made it back to his house. At this point we were both scaring each other so we decided to split up. I called a couple of friends to escort me back home where I planned to hide in my room and wait it out. This was mistake three.

On the walk back I started to get really paranoid of my straight friends and we walked in silence. After what seemed like a few hours I noticed that we hadn’t got anywhere down the road and that the same side roads kept going past like some crazy repeated background scenery a la ‘Scoobie Doo’. I tried to stay calm but the feeling that I had fucked up my brain and got it caught in a time loop got stronger and stronger and I started to really panic. Just as my panic reached the point where I thought I was going to have a heart attack I felt something grab me by the scruff of my neck and force my head into the gutter, I looked down the street and saw my dad behind the wheel of a three wheeled car about a hundred yards off start the engine and accelerate towards my head. Just as the car ran over my head I screamed and got up and ran to my friends house, as I ran I looked down and saw all my bones had snapped and were poking threw my clothes and I was covered in blood with my intestines hanging out but for a mangled near corpse I sure covered the distance to my friends house fast! When I reached his door I banged and banged until his Mum opened the door and burst in screaming ‘I’m dead, I’m dead!’ she grabbed me and tried to calm me but I thought she was trying to stuff a tea towel down my throat with this really evil look of glee on her face. At this point I think my brain snapped, I lashed out at her and had to be sat on by his grandad to calm me down. They called my dad after my friend confessed we were tripping and he came to pick me up to take me to hospital. When he turned up I briefly became lucid and told him to get me to hospital. He put me in the backseat of the car and drove. As we drove my vision split into 6 screens each depicting me being murdered in a brutal and imagintive manner, I startedmaking ambulance siren noises as I thought I was in an ambulance. When we got to hospital it took 6 orderleys too restrain me and adminster a sedative. Apperentley my step-mum could hear my screams from four floors waya when my dad rang to tell her what had happened.

I woke up in a room covered with disney pictures still tripping but much much less so. I was in a hospital for mentally disturbed juveniles for a week. I am fine now and have had no lasting effect from this experience.

Whoo, can’t follow WILLASS

I think the main thing to grasp is that LSD can (if you take enough) completely alter your reality, it’s not just ‘seeing things’. You can (I have) forget that you’ve taken a drug. I’ve not had a bad trip but I’ve had anxious spells especially early on in a trip when going through an intense patch and you think - uh-oh, another eight hours of this. Knowing you’re stuck on this rollercoaster for hours and you can’t get off.

Yeah, I can’t follow WILLASS either. Oh well, I’ll tell you a story anyway.

A buddy of mine told me once about how he took a huge amount of acid and sat on his couch for at least 8 hours hearing voices in his head. After a while, he couldn’t tell which voice was his anymore. Each argued that it was supposed to be the dominant voice.

I tried LSD once. Didn’t take a whole lot, had a good time. But I’m not sure I’m interested in doing it again.