Scott H.'s DXM Experiences



VERY FIRST DXM TRIP
Saturday May 27, 1995

It's four a.m. The room is still swishing dramatically whenever I turn my head. I'm coming out on the other side of a DXM trip.

Okay, I read the FAQ, I read about three dozen personal cases here on Usenet, so I decided to try it, having finally figured I was bored enough, and had enough time to spend, and frustrated over the lack of acid in the area (which I've tried three times).

So at about 8:45 on a Saturday night, I sauntered on down to the supermarket, which has a new pharmacy wing, and to my delight, found a source of pure DXM in non-liquid form. The FAQ I'd obtained from ftp was out of date; it had said that you could get Contac Cold Caps in Canada, but in the U.S., you pretty much had to chug down Robitussin or similar. However, Drixoral has just introduced these "Cough Liquid Caps" which are pure DXM with no other active ingredients. After buying two boxes of 10 caps each, I rushed back home and reconnected to the Internet, and discovered an up-to-date version of the FAQ on the WWW, which mentions the Drixoral caps.

With water, I gulped down 7 caps, at 30mgs each, which I thought would be enough to put me into the first "plateau" (I'm about 220 lbs.) However, I was going by the outdated FAQ's recommended dosages, which didn't take body weight into account. Hence, over an hour later, nothing is happening, when I should be feeling effects within 20-40 mins, acccording to FAQ. I connect to irc, channel "#drugs", and ask if anyone has any experience. (I veil my questions in the format of an anonymous "friend's" activities.) Not much help, although one guy tells me my dosage was too low. Well, it's 70 minutes later-- how much do I take to "supplement"? Supposedly, if you stagger it, the effect of the early dose is dramatically decreased. How much of this stuff have I let go to waste? I sort of go for broke, and end up taking more than I really intend-- 330mg, for a total of 18 caps (540 mgs). (My intention was to take 8, maybe 9 more, but I emptied the first box and *then* took 8.)

At this point, it occurs to me to take notes, while I still can.

-- FROM NOTES:
" 9:30 pm took 210 mg"
"10:40 pm noticing no fx whatsoever, took another 330 mg"

Not long after I took that second dose, about 11:00, I start feeling a teensy bit nauseated. Great, I thought-- no good effects, but I get gas all night. I lay down on the bed to read some old Stan Lee Spider-Man comics. Twenty minutes later, I notice that things sway when I tilt my head. So I stand up and walk into my computer room, which begins the two-hour period (11:20-1:20) that I think of as the WEIRD TIME.

-- FROM NOTES:
"11:00 pm begin to feel slight gas/nausea, laid down"
"11:20 pm stood up, noted disorientation akin to dizziness"

"11:20-1:20 watched star trek ds9, noted enhanced perceptory fx during viewing, got up, lay on bed, definite environmental distortions, then nausea & vomiting; logged onto Usenet, very disorienting"

Thinking that I need to watch something on videotape to gauge perception, I watch the most recent episode of Deep Space Nine I had on tape. I don't think I was cognizant of it at first, but from the very start, I knew something was different. The best way I can describe it is that watching this was like watching a Deep Space Nine movie. By that I don't mean that it was like a theatre, with seemingly enhanced acoustics, etc. I mean that the emotional scope of the show seemed like a movie; it was like a movie in that resided in my head to the exclusion of everything else as I was watching it. My involvement was that of seeing a movie. It was very strange, and I'll always remember that episode as the DS9 episode I watched while tripping on DXM. After the episode went off, I pressed "stop" on the control, and there was some silly promotional thing on the satellite dish for Johnny Mnemonic, which totally entranced me for fifteen minutes until the host cut away from that to the woman who plays Dr. Quinn. I staggered into my bedroom and lay on my bed, with the "travel memory" of how I got there totally erased once I did it. It was like I was retconning my existence such that walking from room to room never happened--I did it, I know I did it, but my immediate memory didn't show it. Just then, the nausea side effects that I read about in the FAQ began to surface. I teleported to my bathroom and puked in the toilet 2 or 3 times. I have a vague memory of toweling off the rim, where it had splattered, and tossing the towel in the laundry. (This was at the height of my non-recollective state.)

I came back to the computer to connect to Usenet, where I read messages about DXM, Johnny Mnemonic, and the episode of DS9 I'd just watched. The feeling of connectivity was really, really intense. I guess the cyberspace element of Johnny Mnemonic sort of helped, because there were moments when it was sort of like being part of some universal cyber-environment. Even though I watched about an hour of TV, the fact that two hours passed was really unreal.

-- FROM NOTES:
"1:25 more vomiting"

Yep, back to the bathroom. But the best was yet to come. I went back to my computer to diddle with Usenet some more. As far as I can tell, I just sat there for stretches of time and rode the effects. It was very much like a roller coaster where I hadn't yet decided if it was worth riding again once I got off. I had been playing CDs during this entire time, but noted that while I was watching DS9, the key CD, the one I really wanted to hear -- the Natural Born Killers soundtrack -- had played without me hearing it (since I had it muted in favor of TV). Somehow, I figured out how to back it up to that CD. For some reason, that soundtrack was a crucial element of my "peak".

-- FROM NOTES:
"2:00 felt room spin"
"2:05 feels like I'm 'riding' my desk"
"2:10 slight nausea"
"2:30 chatting w/fellow tripper on IRC"

Ah, here we go. The "riding" sensation I felt worked in conjunction with the music; my ride would come to a stop during some of the stretches of silence. It was (other than the puking) the one totally un-acid-like thing I can point to. In the three times I've tripped, I've never got anything close to that type of movement.

I managed to set alight on Earth long enough to reconnect to IRC, the #drugs channel again, where this time I was not at all equipped to feign anonymity. The most I could burble out, on my mushy keyboard, was, "whoooosh. dxm works." (Despite feeling very connected to the net, my typing felt oddly DISconnected; I had to carefully type out everything slowly for fear of not getting it right.)

That started a private conversation with a guy who felt likewise, as follows. (Keep in mind that this was extracted out of a heavily edited irc log with other conversations, people, garbage in the file. Quite an accomplishment for my state; I have memories of trying to edit the file down something like four times.)

*** *Me* has joined channel #drugs

whoooosh! DXM works!
Me: YAY! another happy DXMer!!!!
*Other Guy* (privately) you dxmin
*Me* Yup
*Other Guy* cool! me too!
*Other Guy* you get that fucking mondo-itch yet?
*Me* No... had to go puke twice tho, and can barely type now :)
*Other Guy* cool...i just got the satan itch in botch hands &
writss..now my+fuckin left hand feels like the bottom of my fingers are swollen..
*Me* No itching for me yet... just lotsa confusion! first time for+me
*Other Guy* second time here...i took 240mg this time...i took 150mg my+first...how much did you take?
*Me* I took 210mg, and nothing happened after an hour and a half or+so so I took another 330mg
*Other Guy* heh...it takes a while to kick it...it took 2 fucking hours for my 240mg to kick in
*Me* I've been trrying to take notes :-) I watched an episode of+Deep
Space Nine and it was pretty intense
*Other Guy* cool...510mg...ill do that much next

The fact that this guy was responding to me through all the muck felt very significant and assuring, though; it was like I was pinpointing and grasping a tether through an enormously noisy and busy storm. Interestingly, though the itch he mentions is an frequently reported side effect according to the FAQ, I had nothing even approaching it.

Seems like I made several hazy attempts to capture this text buffer for posterity before it worked. Once it did, I felt a sense of satisfaction, and CLICK, the CD player automatically changed disks. Ah!

--FROM NOTES:
"2:40 some cognitive skill returning"
"2:50 ditto"
"3:00 taking first real collected account of what's happened"
"3:50 can now function, although still feeling motor fx, still experiencing speech problems"
"4:00 language skills returned, voice still feels disassociated, motor skills still affected"

Wow, it's now 5:00. I feel fine, if still affected.

When I turn my head, I still feel a little dizzy, although this is noticeably dwindling. Reading small print is a challenge in concentration.

So.... was my experiment a success? I'd have to say yes, although I might have had a different answer if you'd asked me at 2:00. It's got some elements in common with acid, but it's not as social. The worst part was the puking, but it's not as bad as I've made it out to be, at all. I mean, one might be inclined to say, "ew, puking? Not for me!", but I really don't think that would be what would keep me from doing it again. The vomiting happened during a very hazy phase, so I don't even have a clear linear memory of doing it. The interesting effects would seem to be worth it; the nausea is really brief, it goes away quickly once you puke, and, as you're tripping while puking, it's not nearly as unpleasant as puking while straight. Next time, I'll try to have more of an empty stomach; I indulged in a hearty Taco Bell meal around 6-ish which I could taste coming up.

The other thing to be wary of, so I'm told, is sleeping it off. The best thing to do is to wait until all the effects go away before falling asleep, otherwise you feel stupid all the next day. I suppose this remains to be seen, since I haven't yet gone to sleep.

My main impression right this second is how strangely time is distorted. It seems like days since I watched that DS9 episode, and days before that since I talked a friend on the telephone--even though I know it was just this afternoon.


Okay, it's the next morning, now, and I feel totally fine. I must've successfully waited the whole thing out, mostly. After writing the above, I re-watched most of that DS9 episode (just to have something to do), and it was back to being a regular old TV show... rather odd comparing the two viewings. I think the lingering effect of the drug might have contributed to me not being bored by watching it again, though.

I finally went to bed around 6:15, when I felt more or less okay. I woke up at 9-something to the sound of my dad doing work on the back porch, and managed to sleep to a more ordinary 11:15. When I woke up, there was a little bit of lingering dizziness and teeth-chattering -- I could get my lower jaw to compulsively vibrating like it does when your teeth chatter -- but that's completely gone now and I feel like the proverbial million bucks. At first I suspected that I might be afflicted with the lethargy that I had for an entire day following my last acid trip, but there's nothing even like that. Cool! Ta-da!



SECOND DXM TRIP
Tuesday May 30, 1995


This time, I look less than before: 420 mg, in the form of 14 Drixoral liquid cough caps. Someone on irc advised me to take, in mg, two times my body weight (in pounds), which would have been 440 mg, so I just rounded down to the nearest cap.

It worked! Unlike last time, there was *zero* nausea or ill effects. Not eating anything beforehand helped, as did sitting still for a large portion of the early half of my trip.

I also have yet to get any of the infamous itching effects from this stuff.

Instead, I just sat in my chair and listened to a fully-loaded five- slot CD player. The funny thing about music here, at least with me, is that the music itself doesn't seem especially enhanced. I've heard reports that DXM makes music seem more real, or textured, to some people -- and I do get that sometimes with acid -- but it doesn't really do it with DXM. However, music *does* definitely enhance my trip; it provides a pulsing soundtrack to whatever I'm experiencing, and is very relevant, even if the music itself doesn't sound that different.

Later, I walked around the house. Played with my cat, which was nice; the tingling of my skin felt like I had a normally-dormant "purr trigger" which was being tripped, so petting the cat was almost mutual in a weird sense. I helped my mom tune the family's satellite dish, which I wasn't sure if I would get through. It was a bizarre, sci-fi-like experience, like I was Johnny Mnemonic or something, but I kept a cool head and managed to hide my DXM-induced stutter and jerky walk.

I got a call from a friend during the tail end of my trip, and I was noticeably talkative and humorful; I think that would have been plenty of fun if I'd done it during the stronger part of the trip.

Having taken the DXM at 5:00pm, I was nearly completely down by the time I went to bed, around 11:30, and I was completely able to wake up this morning at 5:30 and function at work. The only noticeable after-effect was an occasional quivering of my lower jaw, as if my teeth were compelled to chatter due to being cold. This happened mainly when I yawned, and seems to have mostly disappeared over the course of the day. I wouldn't say I was active and energetic, as the FAQ says some people are -- probably due to me getting only six hours sleep and not being in very good shape -- and I wouldn't have wanted to do anything demanding like manual labor or interview for a job (the latter of which I have tomorrow), but otherwise, I was tip-top.

Conclusion: I don't think there's any explaining this drug. It works for some people, and for others, it's a bust. I recommend trying it at least *once*, under optimum conditions and in the proper form (no additives like guanefesin, and in cap form, not syrup).



MEMORABLE DXM TRIP
April 20, 1996

I spent my April 20 indulging in a 510mg dosage of DXM, to pass time during a power outage caused by an intense thunderstorm. (If you live in the Southeast or South-Midwest, you might remember the storms passing your way too.) I was by myself, and my car was in the repair shop. Not only did the power go out, but the phones were out too. I spent much of my trip hanging around the connective balcony of my apartment building, grooving to the rapidly shifting weather and watching the enormous tree which had fallen over our power lines. Being cut off from the rest of city, without even any transportation, produced an intense and frankly not unpleasant sense of isolation -- an almost languid, melancholy contentment, as if my apartment building was the last surviving relic of a nuclear war, and we, its tenants, were just going to have to deal with our fate as best we could. The air was warm, particularly in my stuffy apartment, and as I gravitated between the apartment and the outside, it seemed like the concepts of "outdoors" and "indoors" had been blurred. My apartment, which was warmer and, thanks to the power outage, no longer so much a controlled environment, seemed like a mere pocket, or extension, of the atmosphere outside. I watched night fall from my perch on the balcony steps. The phones came back online, although the power still hadn't. As I was coming down, I received a phone call from an old friend who'd once tried DXM with me; he was in town, and dropped by to give me a lift to an all-night gyro stand where we could talk and eat. Well, as most DXM-users can guess, I had zero appetite (a sometimes unfortunate side effect), but I did enjoy relating the details of my day to someone who could understand them.



SECOND-PLATEAU DXM TRIP
June 23, 1997

Last Monday, I was sitting at my desk at work, much as I am now, bored out of my skull. Running out of things to do, I logged onto my Internet account and bopped around for a little bit, veering toward drug-related areas, motivated, I guess, by hearing about a friend of mine who had reported doing mushrooms over the weekend. There's nothing that puts me in the mood to fiddle with altered states more than hearing or reading about someone else doing it, so before too long at all, I was very much of a mind to exit my face for a while. In fact, just absorbing all these anecdotal drug reports on the 'net sort of induced a small, vaguely trippy trance in me. No doubt about it, my pineal gland was ready for some stimulation.

Since we have no acid, or anything else fun and illegal, and I was fresh out of LSA seeds, that leaves one viable alternative: a visit to the cough section of ye olde drugge shoppe. The problem was that it was *Monday*. My natural instincts told me that I would need to wait all week long for the traditional weekend trip, because you know that day-after recovery is so essential. My gland wasn't hearing this. It wanted satisfaction, it wanted gratification. I contemplated the implications of a Monday trip, a work-night trip. "If I do this," I thought, "it's going to seriously disrupt my week." Then I reflected. Life was going through a particularly boring stage right now. None of my friends were in town, and work was particularly mind-numbing. Dammit, I *needed* my week to be disrupted. It would be something to actually help me get *through* the week. That tore it; my decision was made. At lunchtime, I bought some Coricidin C+C tablets and anticipated my evening's excursion.

(Sidebar for the uneducated: The infamous Drixoral Cough and Cold liquicaps have almost all but disappeared from drug store shelves. While I still see them from time to time, it's possible to spend hours roaming an entire city's drug stores and not find any; believe me, I've done it while visiting friends out of town. Coricidin isn't everywhere either, but I do seem to have better luck tracking them down. Coricidin is actually superior to Drixoral, in fact, because the tablets are very manageable, Advil-sized puppies, much easier to get down than Drixoral's gag-inducing liquicaps. The one chemical difference is a dash of antihistamine, but I've never found this to much of a factor.)

Liftoff time was 5:45pm. I dropped the tablets while watching a movie to distract myself. (Ever since my Drixoral adventures, I have an unpleasant psychosomatic reaction to gobbing down pill after pill, so it helps if I don't think about it too much.)

DXM has a hellacious waiting period, partially due to the length (up to 2 hours in some cases, like this one) and partially due to the fact that I always get a little sick-feeling while waiting for the good part. There's also the familiar automatic built-in "this may not be working" doubt phase. After catching up on e-mail, I got bored again and started watching TV. Around 7:30 or so, the cloud finally descended. I think whoever christened the term "stupor" must have been diddling with DXM, because never a more apropros label was applied. The drug more or less nailed me to my sofa, where I ingested more television, now more by force instead of choice. At some point, an odd thing happened, which has never happened on any other drug: my mind "filled up" with television. It could hold no more. I *had* to turn the TV off. (Contrast with LSA, which makes me feel like I could be happy doing nothing *but* watching TV for the rest of my life.)

What to do now? Why, it's time to play CDs, of course. It's time for the show to begin.

It had been so long since I'd tripped on DXM, really tripped, I'd almost forgotten the procedure. With me, anyway, there's a mandatory period of time in which my mind sort of forces me to lie back, eyes closed, and allow the drug to do its thing, with music playing in the background. Here, we get the ever-popular CEVs: Closed-Eye Visuals. These are different from the visuals you get on most psychedelics. LSD causes patterns and such on objects in the room, but DXM's visuals are mostly in your head, as if the drug is beaming hallucinations directly in to your brain via satellite. Mine are all very abstract: colors, lines, fractal-like patterns, all moving to the beat and tune of the music. Hence, music is pretty essential for me; I always feel compelled to listen to something, to give my CEVs shape and form. I had selected Tori Amos's first album, a tried and proven choice. A good bit of gentle acoustic piano, which causes my patterns to flow very nicely, like a animated new age MTV video, but not entirely without a little frantic dissonance for flavor. I had a very dayglo feel to my mind-movie this time. Blue dots, pink lines, brightly contrasted backgrounds, a bucket of paint very quietly spilling into random, flowery shapes. Colors bended and shifted in time with the music. I had a pretty good bit of physical dissociation; I didn't quite get around to imagine myself flying, the way I did on that first magical DXM trip, but *things* were flying. The room was flying. Like being on a big cruise ship and knowing that you're at sea, even with the illusion of being in a building.

When Tori Amos finished, I felt a little frazzled. Well, let's say that I felt very frazzled, and liked it, but the music had to change. I needed something gentle. With wild eyes, I scanned my rows of CDs, cursing myself for not having set out some CDs beforehand. The entertainment center swayed and throbbed before me. Steady, lad. Getting up to change the CD player was just about the only time I spent moving during the peak of my trip, and it reminded me of the agony and the ecstacy of walking around while on DXM: like walking through water on the moon. I found Four-O'Clock Afternoon Cafe by the Cocteau Twins, and that turned out to be the perfect thing. I jerked my body to the sofa and relaxed again, the music smoothing out my edges nicely.

After the Cocteau Twins CD finished, I felt it was time for interaction. I called up a friend of mine on the telephone, the one who'd done the mushrooms. I am in Alabama and he is in Washington state; suddenly he felt very far away. Answering the phone, the first thing he told me, before I could even relate my state, was that he had some folks over, and they were all completely stoned. Perfect timing, in other words. As part of their shared experience, he insisted on handing the telephone to each person in the room. One or two of these people were people I knew, but at least one or two of them were also very unfamiliar. I felt very much like the Balthazar Getty character in David Lynch's Lost Highway, when Robert Loggia phones him up. "I've got someone here I want you to talk to," Loggia says, and hands the phone to the ultra-creepy Robert Blake character. It was like that, only moreso, because the phone got passed to yet another person, and then yet another. One of my mini-conversations went like this:

Me: Hello.
Stranger: Hello.
-pause-
Stranger: Who is this?
Me: This is me. Who is this?
Stranger: Myself.

Needless to say, this sort of identity-fucking really sent my brain reeling off the far corners of my skull like an out-of-control pinball. Another voice commanded that I sing "The Star-Spangled Banner", which, of course, was pretty much the last thing in the world I was capable of doing. I noted at one point during the call that the room had begun spinning as well. DXM-induced room spinning is very interesting, because it's kind of stuttery and abortive. Instead of spinning around and around, the spin gets about 90 degrees around the circle and then resets. I felt like a television image where the horizontal hold was just barely off, or a fan blade you watch and cause the optical illusion of a rapidly vibrating object turning very slowly. Distracted, I was kind of grateful when they let me off the phone a minute later.

(Sidebar #2: If you've ever seen Lost Highway, the style of the movie is very reminiscent of being on the telephone under the influence of DXM. Muffled. Distorted. Everything seems dark and far away. There are vaguely sinister forces working in hidden places. I once talked to my girlfriend on the phone while tripping on DXM, unbeknownst to her, and I felt a million miles underground. She later reported that I "sounded awful".)

The rest of the evening is a blur, or more accurately, a smear. I make my way to the computer as I'm coming down, and log onto Usenet, where I read my subscribed newsgroups. Reading Usenet mail while tripping always provokes a strange, overly emotional response in me. Arguments and flamewars get my adrenaline pumping; I'm ready to fight too. I read a message where someone posts a disagreeable opinion, and my psyche shatters; I'm offended almost to the point of tears.

That's the only other solid activity I can recall partaking in before going to sleep. Remembering that tomorrow is a work day, I check the clock. It's not even midnight yet. We can do this. As is often the case on drugs, sleepiness creeps in under the veil of delirium, and I don't consciously realize that I'm getting tired, although my body does. Going to bed is a very gradual process. I lay on the bed with the lights on, without having changed clothes. Eventually, I turn all lights off except for a lamp. Then a little later, I change into bed clothes. Then later still, I turn off the lamp. At some point I actually get under the covers. Then, viola, I go to sleep. It's just that easy.

The next day is kind of miserable, thanks to having to wake up at 7 am and go to work. Superlethargy. A typical DXM+1 day is usually a Sunday, spent at home. It involves very serious vegging, watching movies while curled up with a pillow. This always feels quite nice. There's very light noshing involved; I may even skip a meal or two, since DXM tends to shoot down a large percentage of my appetite for 2 or 3 days. Unfortunately, all I can think about at work is how nice it would be to be lounging around at home. I actually have work to do at work, for a change, and while I initially curse this, it was actually more of a blessing since it kept me occupied. A lot of the veg-friendly feeling has dissippated by the time I get home, but that doesn't keep me from gluing myself to the sofa. I drift off to napville around 7 pm (while I nap rarely, there's almost always one on the day after DXM) and wake just long enough for a late dinner-snack.

I still feel a little wonky Wednesday morning, but over the course of that day, the last of the effects wash away.

Mission accomplished!


Minor regrets:

Not enough concentration during the CEV dissociative phase. If I work it right, I really *can* send myself flying through the ether. Must work on that for next time.

Not enough walking. Walking is rather neat on DXM. My first few trips were in my parents' house, so I racked up a good bit of foot mileage, but in my apartment, there's nowhere to go. Once on DXM, during a windy storm-induced power outage, I circumnavigated my apartment building, which was terrific. Might need to do something like that again, or have a friend around who can drive me somewhere.

Oh geez, almost totally forgot: at some point, I puked too. The first time I puked on DXM was the first time I got sick on any drug, and intellectually, I was slightly revulsed at the idea that I was making myself sick by doing this drug. However, and this is the perverse part--it's really not bad. It's a very healthy puking; it feels a lot more positive while tripping. Well, sure, it's not really *fun*, because you are, like, you know, sick, but while tripping, particularly on DXM, when the room is humming and your mind is flanging and you barely know where your own face is located, it's a lot more bearable and interesting than, say, getting sick from booze.



Latest Trip
The Third Plateau: Lift off, Transition, Splashdown

In my two-and-a-half years of occasional experience with DXM, I've learned to enjoy the drug and to value its properties, but I'd grown impatient with my inability to access this "third plateau" described in the FAQ and in other trip reports. Even coming across some pure DXM power didn't seem to bring me any closer to that "transitional phase" described in the FAQ. All my DXM trips had always been fairly disassociational, but I felt like I was missing out on something. No longer!

DOSAGE

Part of my problem is that I have no scale to measure dosages of the powder with. Stupid, I know, but I tried to make do with what I had, starting with small, manageable quantities and working up, which probably explains why I'm undershooting my dose. Ever since getting the powder, I've been using gelatin capsules to put it in, and I've experimented with taking two, even three capsules of the powder. I've also tried to gauge my tolerance to DXM by spending variable amounts of time between trips. This trip that I'm about to describe happened two months since my last excursion. I packed two capsules almost completely full of DXM powder. Therein lies the crucial distinction: for the first time, I followed up on another user's suggestion and tamped down the powder into the capsule with the head of a nail. Thus I was able to get a good deal more powder into the cap than usual. I have no idea how much two full capsules of DXM is, but I'd be interested in knowing if anyone has an educated guess. I'd estimate that the amount I took probably exceeds a full gram, maybe by as much as half.

LIFT-OFF

I took the caps at about 11:00 pm on a Thursday night. No work until Monday, thanks to the New Years holiday, so I knew I'd have plenty of time to recuperate. (I would need it.) No recognizable effects at all for over two hours, when I started to finally feel a little drunk-delirious, especially when walking around. Time-wise, this is about right, but at the time, I was thinking that it was taking too long. In addition to the drunkenness, I also started to feel the onset of DXM-induced empathy, a common symptom. I recalled things I'd done that I regretted or people I no longer had contact with. I was compelled, oddly enough, to send some e-mail to my ex-girlfriend, with whom I haven't spoken in a year and a half, to see if she wanted to get together and talk. (My God, what was I thinking?) At about 1:30 am, I called my friend Jon on the phone and informed him of what I was doing. I recall complaining about the seeming mildness of my trip. It was beginning to become a little more DXM-like, but I still remember thinking that I had already peaked and was on the way towards coming down. (Boy, how wrong I was.) After trying futilely to explain something to Jon, he replied, wryly, "Ah yes, the old DXM-related incoherent enthusiasm." (He later reported that, over the phone, it did seem as I were becoming "activated".) Even though it didn't feel like very much was going to come of this, I dutifully set up a handfull of CDs to play, with the intention of just listening to them on the couch. (This should have been a clue to me: I never feel like *just* listening to music and doing nothing else unless I'm on drugs.)

TRANSITION

Hanging up with Jon and turning my CD player on was pretty much the LAST thing I remember doing before I hit the phenomenon which I think is the same one described in the FAQ as the "transitional phase". I closed my eyes and noticed that the phosphenes in my vision were dancing about. I recalled a magazine article I read that day that mentioned how we are now able to write our names on the surface of an atom. I remember smiling to myself and thinking, I want to write my name on a phosphene. Then it hit.

My brain, and my entire consciousness, seemed to reboot. The next thing I remember was a "feeling" of whiteness, behind my eyelids, and gradually, visual perception re-emerged, on a very crude level. I could see my apartment around me, but the only reason I know that was that the images were familiar to me: my couch, my computer sitting on the desk, the interior of my bathroom. At the time, I didn't really recognize them in any kind of complex way. I felt like a very simply-constructed entity who would inhabit, alternately, these three stations, moving from my couch to my desk when I felt like it, and moving to the bathroom when I needed to. I spent time at each of these three locations either with my eyes closed or staring dully ahead.

I had lost just about all real memory of the things that formed my reality. I realized I was living in an apartment, but I had no actual feeling of possession toward it; it felt almost as if I were a wandering homeless person that had taken over an empty shell of a dwelling. I didn't feel threatened by the world, because I didn't really feel as if it existed; or more accurately, I felt like it was *so* large compared to me that nothing it did could possibly impact upon me. Otherwise, I might have been fearful of being evicted from my apartment, because I felt somehow that my position there was precarious in some way. I had a vague memory of the necessity to "drive" to places in my car, but I was puzzled by how that could possibly be, because I was not a creature made for driving, nor could I possibly accomplish such a task even if I made it out to a "car". My reality was gradually being rebuilt, but right now, it felt paper-thin. Names began coming back to me; they were hints of a past, a more solid existence, but I tended to dismiss them as part of a hallucination that had given way to this very fragile reality. I remember my friend "Jon", but I only knew him as a voice on the phone, and I didn't feel at all as if I could relate to him as a person. I remembered my job at "Greenhill", and that I seemed to be on vacation from it, but I didn't know when I was meant to return to it, and I felt sure that I wouldn't know how to perform my job when I got there. All these concepts felt very abstract, as if they were presented to me in quotation marks. There was a condition I recognized called being "on drugs", but I didn't really know what it meant, nor did I recognize that this is what was happening to me now -- I only knew that me and my friends indulged in it and we weren't really supposed to according to the dictates of others. Words like "pot" and "DXM" came to me, but they seemed like strange, made-up words that didn't mean anything. I refused to attach any significance to them. All throughout this period, I kept questioning the nature of my own reality. Was I sick? Was I insane? Was I dead? There seemed to be something vaguely wrong somewhere. I felt kind of like I had been brainwashed or something, like this was only mode of consciousness I had ever known, but with hints of something more elaborate, as if I was slowly becoming aware that I had *been* brainwashed. I felt like a simple alien or animal who could relate to no one or nothing on a truly human level. Luckily, this feeling dissolved with time. It was not really unpleasant, though, partially, I feel, because I didn't have enough perceptory equipment to feel frightened or frustrated by anything.

Sitting on the sofa, I regarded my life and my environment. At this moment, it seemed to be comprised only of going to the bathroom, interacting with the computer (in some way I couldn't yet understand), interacting with the television set and interacting with the CD player. This all seemed very empty and futile to me. I saw my collection of videotapes, and vaguely understood that the tapes went into the VCR, but the labels on them all seemed hopelessly abstract, and I couldn't make out why I would hope to gain by putting a tape in the VCR. Likewise, I realized that CDs went into the CD player, and I recalled obtaining some new ones recently, but this too seemed like far too abstract a concept to grasp. I dimly remembered that I was supposed to eat food once in a while, but like everything else, this didn't feel right -- I certainly didn't feel like eating now, didn't know why I would ever want to, and didn't know where I could possibly get anything to eat should it ever occur to me to do so.

I spent a lot of my time with my eyes closed. Whenever I did this, my body would suddenly seem to move, turn or slide in a particular, arbitrary direction. At one point, I felt like I was being wheeled around the room in a cart, in a circular pattern; at another, I felt like I was sliding slowly down through a spiral chute. I would be surrounded my a miama of abstract color and light. As my reality slowly returned and built itself from the ground up, I tried moving around more. I would sit at my computer desk, where I had been reading some Usenet mail with a newsreader before taking the DXM. Reading a single message was very hard, and it was impossible to understand what anything meant. The lines of text tended to scroll left and right of their own accord, leaving blurred images behind; I had to really concentrate to discern the spelling of a single word. I could read the words on the screen, but nothing made sense. Ordinary words and phrases like "on the contrary" and "underneath" seemed like a meaningless code that everyone on Usenet knew how to use; it might have made sense to me at one time, but certainly didn't now. The music I had set to play was going, but I only recognized it on an abstract level. I didn't remember setting those CDs up, or having any part in them being there. The only exception to that was when all five CDs finished playing, about 3:30am, and the first one, the Chemical Brothers' Dig Your Own Hole, started up again. Instantly, I was seized by a grim dispair -- I couldn't let the cycle begin again! I baby-marched over to the CD player and took out the offending CD. What to replace it with? I scanned my CDs but nothing on them made sense. Only when my eyes happened upon the Beatles' Abbey Road did a course of action become clear. I put Abbey Road in and I was much happer.

I walked back to the couch as John Lennon began singing, "Here come old flat-top" (from "Come Together"), and I remember thinking, somewhat self-derisively, "That's right, here come old flat-top -- that's me." As I reclined, listening to the Beatles, I tried to consider what I recalled about music in general. It was difficult. I was aware of the Beatles as a group, and that they'd come out in the 1960s, and that they were generally considered the best, but beyond those simple precepts, I couldn't really comprehend what it was they really did, or what they were in the general scheme of things. All I knew was the word "Beatles" and a few vague facts. The only other band name I could recall was the Sundays -- another CD in my player's carousel, the one which had just finished in fact -- but I couldn't think of anything to do with them, or anything about any other aspect of music -- at all.

At the peak of a DXM trip, my mind tends to erase all memory of movement from place to place -- it feels as if I just will my body somewhere and, pow, I'm there after a second or two. The first sign that this feeling is going away is that I can suddenly feel movement, although it's very jerky and feels pre-programmed. Walking across the room is done with quick but very short steps. Going to the bathroom also seemed very "automatic", and each time, I had a brief concern about the mechanics of zipping my pants up, but even though I didn't seem to be consciously doing it, all I had to do was stand there and watch, while my arm and hands did all the work by themselves. This was an oddly comforting feeling, that even though I felt mentally powerless, there were still parts of me that knew what to do.

SPASHDOWN

I don't really have any more memories of this plateau. I seem to recall that at some point, I regained enough consciousness to realize, "Oh, that's right -- I'm on drugs," which was, of course, quite a relief. I stayed on my couch for the rest of the night. It doesn't *feel* like I slept any until sunrise, but it also doesn't feel like I stayed awake all that time, so I'm willing to allow the possibility that I drifted in and out of sleep without recognizing what it was. Regardless, I was awake throughout the early morning, when the sun came up. When the CD cycle rotated again, I switched it off and listed to the radio, which was diverting. I had pretty much regained most of my faculties by around 8:00 am. I called a friend of mine, Matthew, whom I was supposed to meet for dinner the following night, but leaving a message on his voice mail proved difficult and awkward; he called me back about 9:30, and at that point, I could communicate acceptably, but not very articulately. Somewhere around this point, I fell asleep good and hard, and slept till about 2:00 pm.

AFTER-EFFECTS

The typical post-DXM lethargy seemed pretty average, maybe a little stronger than usual. I had to go out and hang flyers with Jon at 3:00pm, which I did with reluctance. I still felt very spaced-out and slow to move. Even at mid-afternoon, I was having very mild cognitive problems; once or twice, Jon had to re-explain something to me. I slept very soundly that night, and now, on Saturday evening, I can finally feel the lethargy subsiding.

In conclusion, I can say that this is almost certainly the most intense DXM trip -- indeed, trip on any drug -- I've ever had. The only DXM trip that compares is one I did in the summer of '95, not too long after I'd first discovered the drug. I took 840mg in the form of Drixoral, and at the time, had told my friend Jon, while peaking, "Don't let me do this much again -- I can't take having reality shook up this much!" Well, I think I surpassed that level this time, because my reality was not only shaken up, it was positively blown apart, whereupon I had to wait until it was ready to re-assemble itself.

This is the kind of drug experience that intrigues me the most. I like acid, but the amounts I've had to date seem to produce rather mild effects with me in comparison, and are almost always dependent on social activity. I've also tried smoking pot, to no discernable effect, and I've never tried ecstacy. DXM is one of the only drugs I've had that really makes me sit up and notice that it's doing something to me; it's the only drug whose effects I couldn't possibly hide to another person. For some reason, I kind of admire and respect that power. After reading my account, I know that someone uninitiated as apt to react by thinking, "Let's see, losing all contact to reality and not really knowing who you are -- yeah, that sounds like a LOT of fun!" For that reason, I stress that this was not an unpleasant experience. It was very interesting, and at times, fun. Trying to make sense of everything as my senses returned was like working on a puzzle or a mystery. It was a very compelling exploration of an alternate version of reality. Afterwards, not knowing the exact amount of DXM I took, I wondered if I approached the fourth plateau. I didn't feel like I was making contact with any alien minds or outer consciousnesses, at least I don't remember doing so. I didn't really have any definite out-of-body experiences, although I have a vague feeling that I *might* have been viewing myself as if I was looking straight at me from a few feet away while I was emerging from the transitional phase; this is more of a dream-like memory than something I can actually say happened, though. And any kind of interaction I had with foreign astral environments was limited to very abstracted closed-eye visuals that were fleeting at best.

An unexpected highlight was a complete lack of any kind of nausea or sickness, something that's come to be a predictable hallmark of my DXM trips. Even the good ones have invariably featured a quick puke session in the bathroom, but not this time. Odd, because I ate chicken McNuggets only two hours before taking the capsules. It's possible that not puking allowed me to retain more of the drug, so that's definitely something to be thankful for. As for the rest of it, it is something I will want to try and repeat at some point in the future, but I can't see myself wanting to do it more than two or three times a year. Next time, I'm going to try to ensure that a friend is present, because I'd definitely like to see how I would interact with another human who is actually there in the room with me. I definitely recommend *trying* it for anyone who wants to feel a little more than being stoned. I also insist that anyone interested in trying DXM for the first time DO THE RESEARCH and read, at the very least, William White's DXM FAQ at http://www.frognet.net/dxm. I mention that every time I post or write about DXM, but it's vital.

-Scott H.



1998 The Third Plateau
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