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Salvia Divinorum Permanent Trip?


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Hi folks, this is my experience with Salvia divinorum and depersonalization/HPPD. I never did any drugs except one marijuana try when I was 19-20 (I only got anxious from that, no pleasant feelings). I am now 32. I didn´t know anything about Salvia, my good friend, fan of psychedelics, just said to me that if I experience anything bad I shouldn´t be worried, it will last only few minutes. Well, after several weeks I must say, it simply didn´t...! It was horrible experience beyond any imagination. It is like I am high ever since. I smoked dried Salvia plant (no extract). I took two hits of it within a minute because I though it is not working. At first I felt that my consciousness is opening and widening, which was interesting. After five minutes I sensed that inside myself opened a huge vast space full of green-yellow light. It was enormous. I got panic attack and things got worse and worse after that.

I hoped that it would fade away in the next few days, but I was wrong. After few days I started hallucinating (hypnagogic hallucinations). My opened consiousness simply didn´t close itself, it stood irritated and wide-opened. I was not able to return from my trip. I was seeing strange light around me and felt like not entirely rooted within my body but partially dropping out with my consciousness (having my mind outside my skull). My anxiety was so bad that my hands and legs were constantly shaking for weeks. I became sensitive to light almost to the point that I though I should adopt vampire lifestyle. I hated sunlight and all plant forms (they reminded me of Salvia). I felt as if electricity was running through my body: I was like burning in flames, my skin was hot and sweat. I couldn´t sleep. It was like sitting on electric chair, shouting for mercy, crying for somebody to stop it but it was impossible. It was permanent. I was so scared that I damaged my neurochemistry forever! Not I am on neuroleptics (sulpiridum, risperidonum – I don´t the tolerate the second one very well) and antidepressants (sertraline) which didn´t solve my problem but eased my depression and anxiety little bit.

Few days after my Salvia trip I tried so hard to come back just to realize that the only way is forward. The depersonalization came in instantly. When I closed my eyes I saw bizzare objects and patterns in myself (geometric shapes). I felt nothing, my head was empty. I felt like I killed my soul. I even had suicidial thoughts. This was simply beyond my ability to cope, I couldn´t imagine I will stay in this condition forever. I lost all higher feelings, no love, affection, motivation. My mind and perception were altered, I was unable to concentrate. I had to quit my dream job (coaching) and hoped I won´t loose another one (I am also a teacher). I couldn´t imagine how will I be able to write scholarly papers, when reading simple text was nearly impossible: letters begun dancing in front of my eyes, meaning nothing. I was so desperate, I felt I lost all humanity and sense of life. I had bizzare vivid dreams, like full color movies, very intense emotionally also (that´s a paradox because I feel emotionally numb when I am awake).

Now about Salvia and responsibility. What happened to me can happen to anyone. Nobody knows how his brain works, how much of a dose is safe. No guarantees. I would disagree that some people are blaming drugs for their own troubles. I did my best to solve my troubles before the drug experiment and still ended messed up! I studied psychology for some time, went to therapy (wanted to became therapist someday), resolved all family and personal problems (you know, childhood trauma and so). I was perfectly mentally healthy. Untill Salvia... (my psychiatrist diagnosed me F-23 – Acute Psychosis Disorder). I take full responsibility for what I did to myself. I am so sorry for my stupid decision to take that drug with absolutely zero information about it. But I think that even if drug effects last only small amount of time (when you have active ingredient in your body), they are changing chemistry in your brain and sometimes the dose is so huge or individual brain is so vulnerable (like mine I guess) that this change will last for extended period of time (months or years) or even became permanent. The drug is gone, but pathways between your neurons are set in different order, they are cut off, so parts of your brain remain disconneted and – voila! – mental disorder is born.

Why I did Salvia? I am that type of person, who likes to explore. My last stupid experience was one year ago, went I tried active imagination without therapist or experienced trainer. My unconscioussness simply poured into my conscioussness. I got vivid, three weeks lasting spiritual/psychological experience, I saw demons and I dropped into the underworld, pretty crazy stuff. But I found a way out of it: I simply close the door to the underworld by using some sort of reverse imagination technique. I never dreamed that I will be f*cked up even more than that!

I wanted to check up if drug induced expanded consciousness is the same like I experienced in meditation (you know, Stanislav Grof experiments with LSD). I am strongly spiritual person, I am practicing contemplative prayer for several years and also have half year experience with meditation (contemplative prayer is kind of meditation but it is oriented towards the God - absolute personal being). My friend told me that Salvia high will last three or five minutes. Well, it lasted 12 hours. I felt that it is complete fraud. I sensed something „holly“ in myself, but it was meaningless and empty – like watching some sort of abstract video on MTV. It was nothing like beatifull, rich and safe experiences in meditation or prayer! When you meditate or pray, your consciousness may expand but you are in control. You never lose your self or identity (although you are losing your ego – but you know and feel that you are loosing your false identity – you are not loosing your mind and that is the point – actually, your mind become stronger and healthier throught meditation or prayer). After Salvia I realized that: 1. my „self“ is gone, 2. my mind has changed in a very unpleasant way, 3. I cannot control anything what is happening to me (panic attacks, electricity sensations, depersonalization). It was not like „my“ consciousness has expanded but „something“ alien entered my self, some sort of artificial entity („it“) became to live in my head. I expanded into nothingness and this emptiness became part of me. Horrific.

But now some positive news! OK, I did stupid thing when taking Salvia. But it is a life lesson. I started reading heavily on depersonalization, hallucinogens, anxiety, identity, HPPD. There are dozens of stories similar to mine. I am not alone in this. Over the time (its been almost two months) I accepted my strange feelings. The psychosis became unwanted but inevitable guest in my mind. I am trying to learn something from it. What hurts me most is the loss of everyday sense of normal life, normal self. It feels like I killed myself and become zombie. When I am praying and meditating, I feel like the inner child in me is dead. I aim doing my best to ressurect my soul. What helps me most in this depersonalization, is contemplative prayer. I pray 30 minutes in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening. Within the prayer, I am able to regain my identity, to feel and expercience my „center“. I am learning the basics again: how to remain completely silent and focused. Praying did huge improvement in my depersonalization (one hour and half a day literally changes your life. I would recommend for every sufferer of depersonalization 20-30 minutes of prayer or meditation in the morning and in the evening). If God reveals himself in a personal way, than relating to Him may reduce depersonalization, I guess. It works for me, without my spiritual practice I would be without any real hope. When I am outside, I am practicing mindfulness meditation (focusing on the present moment, on my body and its environment – noticing colors, temperature, surroundings, etc.)

I simply believe and hope that after few months I will recover or at least find a way how to live with this strange herritage of my Salvia trip. At least some of my vivid dreams are really beautiful... I wish I never did Salvia but I know only one thing: I cannot undone it so I don´t have any choice but to proceed. I believe that God can ressurect me, he can even heal damaged neurons and pathways in my brain. That is my faith.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Incredible story man. Never read anything quite like it. You seem exceptionally prone to psychosis and HPPD type things... Im especially interested in how you say Active Imagination affected you (without drugs). I had never heard of that.

Please keep us updated on your future progress!

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Hi Alex 79.

Smoked salvia is incredibly powerful stuff, especially if you are sensitive to such things. In my limited experience, it can be quite a harsh, unforgiving and alien experience, and so be much more difficult to integrate than other hallucinogens (I would personally class it as more of a dissociative that a psychedelic), or spiritual experiences. However time is a great healer and it sounds like your spiritual practise is of immense help to you.

Wishing you all the best in your journey :)


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