I’m 56 years old and yesterday I tried a tab of acid for the first time. I’ve always been pretty wary of psychedelic drugs, but what with quarantine and already being in my 50s, I was just thinking, “What the hell….”
Also, when I was younger and my friends were trying drugs like acid, I was too afraid of my OCD-riddled brain to take anything. But now that I’ve rid myself of OCD (see previous posts in this blog) I am not afraid of adverse effects that might be particular to my type of brain.
I’m also in a stage of my life where I want to explore stimulating my pineal gland, through various techniques including drugs, to have as much of a mind-opening experience on Earth as I can.
And so, my friend and I placed tiny squared of acid-laced paper on our tongues and went for a walk in the new spring weather.
This acid did not have the hallucinatory effects that I expected from movies about hippies — I didn’t see the walls melting. It was easy to function normally, but colors were very bright and everything was BEAUTIFUL. The trees, the flowers, the houses, the dumpsters… I found beauty everywhere and I was very happy. It was a wonderful day saturated with feeling of pure love.
Then today happened. Things look dull by comparison. I’m having trouble seeing beauty even as much as I did before I took the acid (I always intentionally notice beauty in nature and am grateful for living in the age of trees). Trees look like, well, trees, and dumpsters are ugly again.
My friend who took the drug with me is experiencing the same thing, and is pretty sad about life today.
This got me thinking about the heart chakra. My first thought was that I had to fix this — I had to recharge my heart chakra with energy work, maybe with teas made from herbs like hawthorn that affect one’s heart.
But now, I’m thinking that my energetic heart is just tired — it was super-charges and extremely opened up all day yesterday. It’s natural for it to close and rest, and for my thoughts to turn inward. My friend and I are not trying to push our feelings away, not trying to “fix” them, but just to observe them.
I am still planning to do lots of energy work — reiki, qigong, to keep the qi flowing. But I am going to allow myself to be grateful for my experience on LSD and to give my body and mind a little quiet recuperation time.
I think there can be benefit for me in trying drugs like LSD, and being open to any insights that come to the surface during those altered states. But, though at the time I thought it would be great to live every day on acid, I recognize that my heart chakra needs balance. You don’t run a marathon the day after you run a marathon!
Need another metaphor? I spent the whole day in the sun; The sun felt great, sunlight is good for me, but I got burned and I need to let my skin heal before I jump back outside and get more sunshine.
Time to appreciate the balance that resting provides, and keep enjoying this life journey. And you know, the tree right outside my apartment door is still beautiful.
This post first appeared in OCDFREE.BLOG. Please follow me there. And for my other blogs and YouTube channels, see https://linktr.ee/EricIndiana.
I attended college in the years that President Reagan was supporting both the brutal South African slave state and murderous right wing terrorists in Central America. It seemed natural to split the world into good and bad. That was perfect for me at my level of moral development, which could be categorized as “absolutist.”
I held that same air of all-knowing rightness when I went to see local bands. On the day of the Spring Festival, I walked around to check out the various bands. I was careful to step over all sidewalk cracks with my right foot. This took some concentration so I wouldn’t have to do a double-step right before a crack. On patches with cracks near one another, I took small steps, on other patches, big steps. I got to an old section of sidewalk that was broken up by lots of cracks created by years of weather. I had to let my left foot walk over a crack now and then, but made up for it by stepping over a whole lot of cracks with my right foot. 19, 20, 21, 22 … that should counter the effects of the one left foot step-over … I also had to drag my toes behind me now and then. I tried to appear to be walking normally, but ever so slightly let the toes of my rear foot scrape the ground. I had no idea that this ritual would wreak havoc on my knees over the years.
There was an alleged rockabilly band playing on a low hill on the edge of campus. I was happy to get off the crack-laden sidewalk. I walked over in my torn jeans and ripped New York Dolls shirt held together by safety pins. In my musical world view, fifties rock’n’roll was an acceptable genre for a punk rocker to like, as well as ska and reggae.
I shouted out requests for Eddie Cochran songs, but the band stuck to more mid-sixties music. I was standing near the back of the sparse crowd, arms folded, only allowing my head to nod to the beat of their better songs. I walked across campus to a group playing original music. They sounded like they were trying to play aggressive rock and roll. I judged all such bands by how much the music sounded like the only real rock and roll band recording at the time, the Ramones, or whether the singer had the same energy and attitude of my friend John back home, who had been the singer of the Panics. The beat here wasn’t quite fast enough to dance to. Plus, the singer didn’t belt out the lyrics in a hybrid of singing and yelling, like John. I would have even been impressed by out-of-tune screaming, but it was just too radio sounding. I stood back, arms folded as usual, trying my best to look somewhere between unimpressed and disapproving. Boring, corporate pseudo-music, I thought.
I felt a compulsion to touch a certain light pole on the edge of the field. I walked by the pole and pretended to be looking for someone and then surreptitiously touched it with my fingers on the way back to where I had been standing. But then, I had to touch it a second time, so I walked back and casually leaned against the pole, my arms folded, touching the right spot on the pole with the fingers of my left hand, under my folded right arm. There was another pole about 20 feet behind me, but I decided that I didn’t need to touch it. If I walked away from my pole, I’d have to go back repeatedly to touch it. Better to stay leaning against it.
I wished that I had a dark pair of sun glasses to complete my detached punk look. As the band played in pointless precision without a hint of rawness or self-depreciation that could have partially redeemed them, I started my huge band-naming ritual, going through a list of all the bands I liked from my record collection. The order always had to be the same: “The Ramones, the Dead Kennedys, the English Beat, Black Flag….” I repeated those four sixteen times, but then realized that I needed to add four more: “The Sex Pistols, Fear, the Rezillos, the Who….” I did eight sets of eight, but then accidentally thought of another great band, the Avengers. So, I had to think of seven more bands. This made the list 16 long, which I repeated 16 times, plus an extra two times in case I had miscounted, along with a few repetitions of the first four bands, ending, of course, with the Ramones. At that point, it hit me that I had to do the same thing over again, but put the whole thing in quotation marks, “Quote the Ramones, the Dead Kennedys….” But then I couldn’t end with the quotation mark version, so I needed to repeat the original version of the list of 16, 16 times. I hardly noticed the live show ending and the crowd trickling away.
It was extremely frustrating that I could never just relax and experience a moment; whatever was going on around me — conversation, class, a party, or that outdoor band playing — I was constantly repeating rituals in my head, touching things, re-reading words over and over, etc. I decided after the spring festival to go to the library that night on campus to see if I could find out anything about my mental condition. It must have a name, maybe even a treatment.
I headed over to the Rockefeller Library and spent several hours looking for information about repetitive habits. Finally, I came across a description of a mental illness called obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD. People suffering from OCD felt compulsions to perform repetitive tasks even though they hated doing them. The book didn’t describe my rituals exactly, but I knew that this was it, I had found a description of my condition. It had a name. And this meant that other people suffered from it as well. I felt a wave of relief sweep over me. It was so good to know that it was something real, and I wasn’t alone.
The description of OCD made a lot of sense: it’s a neurosis, not a psychosis, the literature said. That meant that even though they couldn’t stop themselves, sufferers knew that what they were doing was irrational. This knowledge wouldn’t reduce my symptoms, but it was reassuring. I sat at the little library desk smiling and thought, I’m not crazy about being crazy, I really AM crazy!
Back in my dorm room, I took off my shoes, carefully placed them facing the window, touched the doorknob, my record player and the desk. I touched the desk a second time then sat on my bed. I wanted to finish the book I had been reading, Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. I looked at the book, but didn’t open it up. The last time I had tried reading it, I was stuck for hours re-reading the words at the end of one of the pages and I knew that I’d just end up getting stuck again. I looked out the window up at the stars, thinking about the countless beings on other planets who must be looking up at the stars, too. I closed my eyes and focused on sending them a telepathic message: I’m here.
If you just woke up from a one month coma and decided to go out shopping in April, 2020, the only logical conclusion would be that the entire world had become wildly OCD. Signs everywhere telling you to stay six feet apart. People wearing facemarks. Cartoon memes imploring you to wash your hand for 20 seconds at a time at every possible opportunity. All surfaces constantly being re-sanitized. It’s a germaphobe’s dream come true.
Living in the flow of life means being OK with where you are right now. It doesn’t mean you’re not going anywhere, it is just a release from the anxiety that swells up when you believe you arenot where of when you are supposed to be. And it feels really good.
Joey couldn’t take his eyes off the guy’s leg. Why did that guy have to constantly shake his leg? Why do people do that? Nervous energy? Does it sooth them, like playing with a spiky ball might sooth a kid with a mental disorder? It was driving Joey crazy. He couldn’t say anything because then he’d sound like an asshole. He held his hand over the right side of his face, blocking his view of the leg. But it was awkward to keep his hand there. He’d have to leave and find another table to sit at.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is designed by the brain to give relief from stress by restoring a feeling of safety. People controlled by OCD can feel like it is keeping them healthy. On a rational level, sufferers of OCD can know that it’s all in their head, but on a deeper level, the disorder is inexorably intertwined with fear: Fear of things going wrong. I was trapped for decades by multitudinous symptoms of OCD. I cured myself three years ago, and have come to realize that my OCD was blocking the healthy flow of the universal life force, qi.
I love creating worlds. I spend hours mapping out the details of the world my friends will explore after school. I am the Dungeon Master. I have control over everything that happens. My friends roll the dice, but I have already planned for all the possible outcomes.
The reason I have holes in the right armpits of most of my t-shirts is that I take my shirts off the wrong way. I don’t remember anyone ever teaching me otherwise. I resist changing the way I remove my shirts because I feel like it’s something that makes me me. My habits distinguish me from other people. Without them, who am I?
If you like this blog, please visit my Home and Index pages to see more posts. You can also share Daisybrain by clicking on these handy buttons.
If submitting to Reddit, be sure to copy and paste the URL of the specific post you like, instead of submitting the URL of Daisybrain's home page.
If you're like me, you'll want to know what I'm thinking. Well now you can be the first person outside my head to know what's inside my head. Enter your email address for updates on my blog. Sometimes you may know what I'm thinking before I think it. In those instances, please inform me of what I'm about to think so that I can send you an email announcing my thought. Subscribe to Daisybrain by Email
ABOUT THE ADS
I don't make any money from Daisybrain. Any ads that appear come from Wordpress and are a result of me being cheap and using their free blog-hosting service.
This is my 2006 report on the structural violence of institutional racism and poverty that produce an inadequate and unequal public school system in the United States. The case study is of Central High School in Providence, Rhode Island:
Central High School
Here are two large posters that I created that show the Citric Acid Cycle and Photosynthesis: