In a previous article I recounted the experience I had during a drug trip many year ago on the then ‘legal high’ known colloquially as spice.
As I mentioned in that article, the purpose of this second instalment will be to interpret to the best of my ability the hallucinations, and to attempt to glean some meaning from what proved to be a fairly unnerving afternoon, I must admit.
Before we begin, however, it is important to reiterate that in the aftermath of using synthetic cannabis, I was was violently ill, struggled to control my limbs and spent the subsequent hours in a deep pit of depression.
This is something I do not recommended.
To begin with my fall, there is a clear and immediate interpretation which goes that my descent was one into depression (an ailment which has always been with me to some extent).
Then again, given my age at the time (eighteen), and not to mention my lifestyle, perhaps the meaning of my fall, and the depth of it in particular, was the fall from innocence upon both coming of age and my exploration of illicit drugs.
Another view might go that, since I had spent a great deal of time ‘away with the fairies’ in my using, the fall could have been quite literally away from reality.
One aspect of the initial stage of the experience which I have certainly contemplated since was the sense of days passing, and my awareness at the time of moments wasted and hours ill-spent.
The imposing outlines which flew by me during this stage of the trip were, for the most part, unrecognisable.
Having said that, I do remember that a number of what were clearly Churches and Cathedrals made appearances, which could be put down to my prejudices, my childhood disdain for Sunday services, or perhaps something more existentially relevant considering my belief at the time that I was dead, or at the very least dying.
Although I grew up with a pair of Christian parents, I also had instilled in me a dislike and distrust of institutions such as the Church of England characteristic of the Old-Left mentality.
After what seemed like days of this, coming to the realisation that I had forgotten my body (by which I mean not only that I was not aware of it, but that as a result of my loss of awareness, I had lost my body entirely) seemed to me a confirmation of my having finally died.
Upon that realisation, the light task began.
I have been informed by a therapist in the past that I exhibit some Obsessive Compulsive tendencies – something I can quite believe.
The nature of the task I was set during this stage of the trip, and the panic of finding myself unable to successfully complete it may have been an extrapolation of the aforementioned tendency.
Then again, the experience left me with the sense that another aspect of my character had been reflected during the light game: my view of myself as someone who often attempts to attain what I envisage as being perfection, or something akin to perfection, but at the same time as someone who tends to over-reach and therefore fail in my ambitions.
To return to the theme of coming to grips with my newfound manhood at the time of the experience, the urgency and responsibility I felt during the light game may have reflected my newfound sense of dread at the responsibilities of work, money, and all else which is stressful in the adult world.
Then again, the nature of the game itself could be said to reflect something of manhood, in that it was a challenge for the Will, involved strategy and foresight, and left me with the sense that the stakes of my action or inaction were now much higher than they had been not too long ago.
There was, too, an overtly spiritual aspect to this stage of the trip above all others, in that as I played the game, I was all the while aware that the task had been set for me by God and that, should I fail, God and I would be left with no option but to part company.
The God figure of my hallucination had set me a task which, to me at least, clearly reflected my sense of the direction of the well-lived life and the healthy Mind.
I had been asked to traverse a realm of almost impossible complexity, unfathomable convolution and which moved with unmatched speed, all with the intention of returning to the simplicity on the other side, simply more appreciative than upon entry.
The greatest fear of my life (and I imagine yours too, dear reader) could be characterised as being the fear of becoming overwhelmed with the ‘muchness’ and swiftness of everything: that things simply become too much, and the Individual breaks down in lieu of sanctuary or respite.
This was my fear during the light game, and I believed at the time that reality itself rested upon my completing the task set for me.
As I failed for the last time, the very darkness seemed to shatter around me, as well as the lights and the God I had not seen but been aware of up until that moment – the meaning of this crisis is clear.
Although I was no longer falling as I had earlier been, I felt that upon my failure I had ‘fallen from grace’, and that God had abandoned me, as well as divorced me forever from the real world.
In the first article I described this brief period of loneliness as the abyss, and that is truly the only word for it.
The final stage of the trip was the rejoining of Mind and Body, and my finding myself trapped in the tube light bulb.
I believe that the setting was a return to my childhood, when I had a fascination with insects and bugs, and always noticed that the light bulbs of the schools I attended would be full of dead flies, moths and other small unfortunates.
I observed as a child, too, that similar lighting was often used in Churches for lobbies, halls and those rooms where the Sunday School children would be sent to be taught their Commandments and so forth.
It is possible that the tube light represented either my dislike of school, Church before that, or simply a melding of the two into a sort of institutional place of torment.
Upon finding myself in the light tube (whatever it may represent), the first thing which became apparent was my inability to move my legs or arms – something reflective of my actual physical state at the time, and perhaps something of a warning from the unconscious as to the struggle I would soon endure upon attempting to get back inside the house once the hallucination had ended.
For me, there could be no greater discomfort than a small, enclosed and claustrophobic space from which I cannot escape.
Add to this the fact that I could not move (another particular fear of mine being that of the loss of mobility, something which has bothered me for a long time due to my past work with the physically disabled, and especially given that, at the time of this experience I was just beginning to delve into that area of work), and the growing and oppressive heat which burned me and made breathing evermore difficult, I believed myself to be well and truly in hell.
It was only after I had managed to scream and punch and kick the light tube, and once my energy had dwindled and I had largely given up the fight and resolved to end my resistance to the pain and the horror, that I was finally returned to the garden, my body and the waking world.
Whether there is a moral to be found in that, I will leave up to the reader to interpret.