-10 mL Diethyl Ether
-200 mg Memantine
-25 mg 2C-C
-18 mg 4-AcO-MiPT
-10 mg 4-HO-MET
-12 mg 3-MeO-PCE
-75 ug LSD
Do not do this.
It was a hot day in the very middle of July. I had just arrived home with a whole weekend stretched out before me in the company of one of my dearest friends and a frequent partner in crimes against sanity. He will be referred to as J. My other recurring comrade in these ventures (who I also lived with) was away for the weekend, as were my other roommates, leaving us the entire house to ourselves to see how we could painfully contort our minds.
In the fridge I had been nursing a small vial of diethyl ether for the past several months. It was pure lab-grade, as I had swiped it from my organic chemistry lab. The summer was ending and I would soon reach a hiatus in my explorations. I was desperate to round the month out with some final experiments I never had the time to do before. The Ether I had postponed for a while after reading that the smell lingers on the user for quite some time after. I had nothing to do the next few days except for more drugs, so I figured it was now or never. Another drug to add to the list, another little point of prestige on the internet, another novel experience to brag about at parties. What was I to lose?
I emptied the vial into a plastic Ziploc bag and stationed myself in a bathroom with a fan. I was originally going to indulge outside, but declined due to the intense summer heat, which I feared would evaporate all the ether and allow it to slip by me before I could wrangle it into my respiratory tract. J came into the bathroom to witness the grim spectacle of me sitting on the floor, leaning against the toilet, and inhaling vigorously from a Ziploc bag. The smell was offputting to him however and he ducked out. So I was left alone, pummeled by Kode9 playing unceremoniously off my phone, the rigid edges of the open bag wrapped around my face. Each breath was vibrantly bitter. It was not the sort of sharp and sudden acridity that makes one instantly recoil and hack and cough, rather it was a smooth poisoning that slipped down my throat like a snake covered in gasoline. It was at once sweet and repulsive, meek yet fiercely adverse to anything a person should expect to inhale without consequence. As I drew my face away for some fresh air I realized it was nowhere to be found. The ether had made a home in my face and did not seem intent on dislodging anytime soon. It squatted in my respiratory passages, tainting every breath I took with its illustrious odor. The cognitive effects were lost in the sensory cornucopia- slight head buzz, slight feeling of dissociation, slight numbness in my fingertips. All very slight. It was like being buzzed.
I left the bathroom to air out the fumes and smoked a prerolled joint in an attempt to stir the lingering dust of the experience. Not much arose from this, with the overwhelming acrid flavor of the ether camped stubbornly in my mouth. After about half an hour had passed, this was all that remained of the chemical. It seemed to have evacuated my nervous system and was content to be an irritating presence upon my senses. So much for that experience. It was still early in the afternoon and we had the entire house to ourselves until the next day. On to the next stage of debauchery.
We decided we were going to go heavy on dissociatives in full view of the voyeuristic sun for once. Dissociatives had historically for us only been taken in nighttime, when we could shelter from our experiences in the darkness- or rather let the experiences loose like a dog off of a leash, free to run their course in the fields of our minds. We figured it would be interesting in the daylight, the experience stunned from us in the shock of the sunlight, and us stunned from the experience. I decided to bestow upon him the combination of 3-MeO-PCE and 3-MeO-PCP, a path I had tread a few times before, a combination that lent itself to an intense, stormy, and unrelenting experience, suitable for the experienced dissociative traveler who wanted to swim deeper than they were used to. As for me, I chose mematine as my poison. 200 mg of it this time, a very hefty dose by most standards. My last foray with memantine was 150 mg, and this proved to be an intense experience that dragged on for 3 days. This dose involved swallowing 20 pills at once- I highly doubt the inventor of memantine would suspect that some chump would be taking 10x the highest recommended dose of their drug.
These doses did not occur concurrently- Memantine has a notoriously long comeup, similar to any marathon hallucinogen like the DOx series, AMT, and 2C-P. J took his dose when I was a solid 2 hours into my experience. The comeup was sterile and nondescript, typical for memantine. Upon peaking, we turned the lights off, the room bathed in the grey sunlight as it filtered through our thin blinds. We both soon found ourselves up to our necks in the dissociative flood, with movement proving more difficult by the minute. We both managed to take a hit of weed from the gravity bong to really maximize our peak before indulging in our desired activity…. Sitting on the couches curled into balls with our eyes closed listening to music…. Honestly we could’ve just done this at night, it really made no difference. Nevertheless, the two of us were entirely incapacitated and content in the safety of knowing we would not be disturbed for the duration of this experience. Both of us were sinking into our respective holes, being consumed by the battering of soundwaves, the gentle teeth of the music chewing us up from all sides, that filtered grey light of the sun disintegrating and cascading onto our catatonic bodies.
Part of my experiment was to determine whether or not memantine made me feel and think of the cold just because I took it in the dead of winter. Though it was almost 90 degrees outside, I once again found myself at the mercy of winter’s spears, shards of ice piercing my bones and zapping my muscles into uncontrollable shivers. I felt raw, exposed, curled up on a dry winter night, severely underdressed, where the frost hangs in the air and the wind saps all semblance of heat. I found myself drifting amidst the same dark winter landscape as before, pillars of trees screeching into the auroral sky. Vast dark fields would interject my journey, grids and intersecting planes and the same looming spectral lo-fidelity beings that drifted this realm aimlessly. After a few hours of immobility and grey, grey stillness, of us both drowning in our respective dissociative maelstroms, our experiences let up a bit. I knew from my previous experiments with memantine that this was but a brief respite- that it would all come crashing back down with force in due time. The taste of ether still lingered on my breath, so sickeningly sweet… I was eventually stricken by an intense nausea- not the sorta twisting cramps and eager discomfort of psychedelics, but more of a soft swirling queasiness, like motion sickness. This was no doubt exacerbated by those stubborn ether fumes. I ran upstairs and purged for what would be the first of several occasions that night.
J had mostly come down. I was lucid but still cruising, still teetering on the edge. 2 friends came over- one of whom practiced music with my friend in the basement. I spent the time lounged on the couch upstairs, dreamily staring at the ceiling and the intricate suture patterns that were dancing across it, still awash in nausea and the same cold sterile dissociation. Lying down was the most comfortable position for me right now. Soon another friend came over. I managed to ignore my discomfort enough to interact with everyone. They were interested in exploring substances too so I cut them both 25 mg doses of 4-HO-DET, as it wasn’t my favorite chemical and I had plenty to dispense.
It was now about 6 hours since I had originally dosed. The rest of the night was fairly foggy and nondescript. I felt cold, I curled into a ball and fell back into the hole occasionally with liberal applications of cannabis. The trip’s intensity came in rolling waves. All of my interactions had a potent psychedelic edge combined with a dissociative fogginess that kept anything from adhering too hard to my memory, except as specters of what they once were. The taste of ether persisted in my mouth and I had to vomit several more times. My other friends seemed to have fun on their trips, save for one who didn’t feel his dose of 4-HO-DET at all. Odd. The night wound down with us playing videogames and enjoying one of the last weekends I would get to spend in the place that had been my home for 2 years, where I had had so many formative experiences and formed so many fond memories. I went to sleep as the sun was rising, my skin still numb and my equilibrium still jilted astray.
My first step out of bed set the mood for the whole day, the feeling like I was stepping into the deck of a rocking ship, that whatever surface my feet set upon was sitting atop undulating waves. I forget how I spent most of this day. Lazying around, cruising on my residual dissociation I suppose. It felt like the aftershowers of sparks from fireworks but drawn out for multiple days. Each crackle was a synapse going silent as the same dissociative chills crawled across my skin.
I had originally planned on stacking psychedelics onto my memantine trip. I figured it would make for an interesting combination, especially considering that my baseline state right now was just raw chemical dissociation. I decided to go with my habit of mixing up a party pill- some absurd, “carefully” chosen concoction of chemicals. This cocktail was 25 mg 2C-C, 18 mg 4-HO-MiPT, 10 mg 4-HO-MET, 12 mg 3-MeO-PCE and 75 ug LSD combined into a single cellulose capsule. The different crystalline layers of different colors and consistencies made for a pleasing confectionary, the partial tab of LSD jammed unceremoniously into the pile. J decided to go for a trip too, something shorter- he opted for 4-HO-DET. I’m not sure what the plan was for the next few hours- the same lazing around? Who knows. I was just going to occupy the soft spaces downstairs with him.
Such was the plan.
What really happened though-
On the couch I sat unsuspecting- I had just cast the die into a divine fire, entrusted my concoction of spells to the belly of the earth and turned my back to its cacophonous prismatic fire as it screamed into the darkening sky. From that womb of jagged dissociative stillness, of cold towering spires and the paleness of death was birthed a colossus, it’s thunderous gaze like black steel trusses cast across the grey sky. It crept from its birthplace, it lumbered towards its unsuspecting summoner, it heaved and dragged itself, ruining the earth behind it, ruining time before it, its essence drifting along like creek froth caught in a riffle. Breathing, heaving, it extended a single blocky discordant appendage towards me, tapped me on the shoulder, by now I realized I had been fully drenched by its shadow.
“I think I have to go upstairs”
The colossus, the colossi, the colossal, whatever they are, unclear in number, unclear in form, unclear in collectivity – they and it ushered me up the stairs, looming spectral sentinels with ritual smog a veil over their eyes. The colossus wailed at me for hours, scrubbing my memory mostly clean the way one would scrape the fat from bone. Their shouts were nothing to the kaleidoscopic zenith spiraling above them, looming, always one thing looming over another, all gray, all a lacework of intricate vessels and conduits cast in cold concrete relief. The great sky above, those upper waters of the firmament were a testament to an even greater screaming, something deafening, something bigger, golden mycelia from the twisted infected world above seized me and the colossus rose to meet me at eye level, its gaze vivisecting me and casting my neurons aside like bycatch, cleaning and gutting me before the even greater beyond could taste me.
Like crackles of electricity, like getting whipped by braided cables, the yawning above swallowed me whole, an infinite obsidian cathedral, its buttresses glaring over me, taking me into a place where my mind was naught but a jumble of dirty wires, scrapyard refuse cut from more effective machines, and the grey grey dappled light from above shone down on it like an altar, and in the corners of that light, forms, a single form manifest as many, or maybe all of them coming together as one, nevertheless their shadow is at first speculative, but then pervasive, and soon looming. Something is always looming. And me, tangled and flocculating, twitching with clonus and feeling sick and knowing that I am on the precipice of even greater and more terrifying things.
And I think about how much deeper this can go, about what unknown beyond lies beyond this beyond, about how notions of ‘knowing’ and ‘unknowing’ would not exist in the further beyond, as the concept of even existing would be a foreign theorem to the other beyonds. I felt ensnared in rusty shredded wires, writhing on cold concrete, muck and refuse about me as the glistening rains danced on prismatic puddles catching neon lights somewhere out of view. I do not know where these wires went or where they came from, but they were always tightening, always pulling me somewhere.
Eventually I reached the point where memory, along with existence, being, knowing, breathing and feeling were dismissed as foreign ideals, outlanders to be locked out from the bunker of this, of pure thought, of a mind left to deplete itself of all those trivialities, grow deep in its chamber alone and untouched and unbothered, allowed to flourish in the pitch darkness- not the darkness of light obscured or denied from those who seek it, simply the darkness from the total absence of light, the denial of it as a concept. This young sprout, it truly had to grow as pure as it could desire. In this not-darkness, in this not-being, I was invited to have an audience with the growth, having been appropriately stripped of every fundamental of my being. A bare nervous system now before the growth, it asked me to peer into what I could see, here where light and dark did not even exist. I saw chaos, the Sisyphean cognition of fever dreams, of things going where they don’t and shouldn’t, of non-things going where the things go and should, but most horrifyingly, it kept going, beckoning deeper, a minute cavity with golden tendrils- but I could not.
This could not go further, but perhaps I would be truly lost. What would I come back to after this? I destroyed the familiar world, would I be able to adapt again? The consistent explosions of gridded color around me seemed to speak otherwise. And yet there was grounding in delusions, the clawing of tangled and incomprehensible conspiracies based in a very material reality at the edges of my being, ideas of mind control, of other entities intruding on my autonomy at its very core, of my mind being the plaything of powers beyond my comprehension.
When some functionality came about me I did some cursory reading into memantine and some dubious readings into its pharmalogical profile had me call in an abortion of the mission due to serious concerns of neurotoxicity and pervasive cognitive effects. This was likely a panic response to the unexpected intensity of the severe undoing I had just done. Something about it being an anticholinergic? Something about this being triggered by combining it with 5-HT2A agonists? I’m not sure what papers I cherrypicked to come to this conclusion. But the fear of having truly damaged my mind this time was tangible. I aborted with 5 mg Aripiprazole and 1 mg clonazepam.
As I crawled out of the craven cavity / non-cavity from where I was cast, from where that junk colossus had abandoned me, I thought to myself “why am I still doing this?”
“why am I still subjecting myself to being thrashed by non-entities? What have I learned from this? What have I learned from any of this in a while? What am I trying to achieve? Will I be able to live like this forever?”
Which led to thoughts of:
“Do I tell my parents how bad its been, under their noses, though they suspected the whole time, do I come clean about what my hobby for the past 4 years has been, but with a footnote, promise I’ll stop, risk getting disowned, break their hearts again but really come clean and start over?”
“Do I really want to stop? Where will I find the novelty and whimsy within the boundaries of my mind? This is something you’re good at, something you’re competent at that has lead to a great deal of creative and productive output- this is good for you”
It matters not what I settled on. I felt shaken, shaken by my own hubris, shaken by what lie ahead, shaken by so much uncertainty, from such a certainty of a world where certainty was not even a thing.
When I had come down a little bit I returned downstairs, now caught in the snowdrifts of a benzo fog, courtesy of the clonazepam. My mind was more gathered, I felt burnt though, raw and unstable. J was still down there, his trip mostly having passed at this point. He said it was just okay, nothing special. I was bummed that I was absent the whole time. As I came down more and more that traumatized fear was replaced by a sort of mania, I was giddy at having survived that trial, that my mind seemed to have come out mostly unscathed, that I was a person again. My roommate came home later to me babbling with a certain fear and fascination about my ‘experience’, which I had labeled as not even being an experience, but exposure to something… not even a thing but a state? Some word that doesn’t capture the non-existence of that existence. Perhaps language is not meant to address such absurd contradictions and betrayals of normal reality. J went for a snack run at some point, and being in no state to leave the house I had him get me some cranberry juice to try and wash the memantine out. J left later into the night while I pondered my future, shaken and fearful but hopeful. As the night progressed the chemicals in my cocktail fizzled out, leaving the great monolithic bedrock of memantine behind, that same cold dissociation I had woken up with, the first guest to come to the party and the last to leave. We smoked weed and hung out long into the night, each introduction of the cannabis flaring the dissociation up a bit. As the night wound down and the clonazepam demanded my attention I went to sleep.
Day 3: My job grants me 3-day weekends, a blessing. Today is recovery day. I wake up, take a step and have the same familiar feeling from yesterday. My equilibrium and balance are immediately off. I am spacy and dissociated all day, it feels the same as it did the day before, before I took all the other stuff. The clonazepam from yesterday only thickens the fog. I vaguely remember going to the corner store and buying a whole bunch more cranberry juice. Other than that, this day is lost to time. Probably smoked weed a bunch and lazed around with my roommate or alone in my room. Probably took a nap.
Day 4: I get out of bed and go to work. This is worrisome. My balance is still off kilter, I still feel like I could very easily stumble and fall if I’m not paying enough attention. I still feel spacy and distant, conversing with people proves difficult and confusing. I make it through the day without incident though and return home. I spent the rest of the night relaxing on my own, smoking, still trying to make sense of the past few days.
Day 5: I get out of bed and go to work again. This time I feel a little better, still feeling dissociated, still off balance, still spacey, still a bit numb. The feeling has passed by the time I go to bed. I awaken on the 6th day back to baseline.
This was probably the most intense trial I have subjected myself to, both for the number and intensity of the substances involved. I did not go into this thinking I was subjecting myself to a trial, it was more aimless hedonism. But I came out shocked and changed, my perspective on how I use drugs shaken to the core. I think it prepared me for taking a step back with my drug use for the following months where my living situation wasn’t conducive to it. But alas, nothing stays the same and the siren song would come calling again…