I was 17 and it was a bad Cactus (mescaline) trip. I'd been introduced to acid about two months before, maybe only a month, and I loved the stuff. Had some every second or third day then Barry introduced me to Cactus. There was one up the garden centre, a San Pedro, and he'd go chop some off of a night and do a boil up then you'd drink it, wait an hour, then spew it up... the gates to heaven opened.
Maybe I'd already read Carlos Castaneda by then, or had just started to, or maybe it was later, I had a thing for anything story wise about drugs... I loved them.
So by then it was maybe my third mescaline trip and the second I remember taking it, spewing up, then getting back to my place just as it's coming on and lying down in front of my radio gram to look at the lights... then it was morning. I'd just disappeared, whoever I was, whatever I was just sunk into the experience.
I'd also done that with the hitch hikers guide on acid. Took the trip over a buddies place in Long Bay, but my friends hadn't (had acid) and so they'd eventually gotten tired, went to sleep, and all I had was a copy of the book so when the trip started coming on, I started reading and then it was morning and I was just finishing it when I kinda came to.
Oh but this third one. The Black Power guys wanted to try it so my mate set it up and we all met up at the sergeant at arms to do the business. Patches on the walls and gloomy lights, bravado and machismo... I didn't like it, but I liked tripping. I drank the yucky brew, it's totally horrid, with them, smoked some dope to bring it on, started getting paranoid... it was all a bit too much, so made some excuse I was going to get something from my bike, the trusty little 100cc Honda my dad had given me, and scarpered.
Got home and tried to settle but the morbidity had me. Knew I should spew but for some reason didn't, couldn't, I don't know but I had a fucking bad trip and it just kept getting worse and I was all alone, fucking devil wanted my soul... eventually snuck into my parents room and stole one of my Dads tranquilizers... took that, and I came right. I wandered off down to my mates early the next morning and climbed in his window, didn't want to wake the family, he woke (he told me this later as I remember bugger all) and just left me there sitting giggling to myself and he went back to sleep... his trip had ended far earlier.
Eventually I walked home, about a mile and a half maybe, and preceded to my Mum and Dads bed and slept for three days solid. Poor Mum and Dad. My brother didn't want to tell them the truth, he knew I was going hard on the psychedelics, lovin' it too, so he kinda gave them a story and they all just left me sleeping... for three days solid.
That fucking scarred the shit outta me. I stopped there and then. I didn't know what had happened, except for the obvious, I didn't know how to deal with it so I just carried on and hoped it wouldn't have long term implications... but it did.
Then yesterday I read something about complex post traumatic stress disorder and fuck me, that's what it was. By the end of the twelve page article it was obvious that thats what had actually happened to me. All the stuff those who have that suffered through I had happen to me and didn't even know what it was. I knew it was related to the bad trip and the fear I'd felt during that episode as I'd get triggers and be cast back into self loathing and fear, absolute abandonment... these are all things that were mentioned in the article.
And it kinda made sense. I mean sufferers of Complex PTSD have it all build up over years of trauma but with psychedelics everything is so heightened, so wonderfully or terribly deep and sensitized... well, theres no reason the outcome can't be the same.
The name of the article, and what it's about, is emotional flashbacks and that's what I'd get, some trigger or other and I suddenly be terrified that nothing was real, it was all a dream... similar to Robin Williams Wifes plight in the movie 'What dreams may come.'
But I got through it, I managed it and I figured out, along the way, what was going on, not the whole thing but in increments of each type of fear based reaction, and I dealt with it. Meditation helped alot... I think, I'm not actually sure what I did or didn't do, too much time has passed but it's almost now, being able to look back, and this was kind of stressed at the end of the article, I'm a lot deeper now than I would have been without the trauma.
And that's a thing now. I've read a bit here and there which tends to state that traumatic experience is a precursor to creativity which is interesting because most art is therapeutic in some sense but the tendency is that the person, who undergoes trauma, is deepened somehow, that the acclimatisation to fear sends roots down deeper into the psyche which in turn, I suppose if the conditions are right, can create a bigger more opulent tree.
There was one particular incident. It was late one night at the house in Mangere, the original family home, and a movie came on that started with a wall, a simple brick wall on the side of a building and I was immediately full of dread, full of sense of foreboding and immediately went into my breathing exercises to calm down... it took a while and what ended up being quite a boring movie held no clue whatsoever as to why this dread had engulfed me at its inception (which incidentally, the movie inception, was tinged with for me too except many years later it was, almost recent, and I now understand what the feeling hints at... and am okay with) but I did get a clue at the end, quite a good one too, because the movie had been made in the town of my birth and that wall, that plain old brick wall, was the side of a convention centre in my neighbourhood and one that was across the way from the playground in the school I went to.
That eventually got pay dirt (no pun intended) as I realised we have much deeper connections to places that we know, that places themselves somehow care for us, yet learning their language, even accepting there is a language to place, took me a lot of time to fathom. And so it was almost an impetus to explore, the whole fact of trauma became, even as I didn't know I'd had it, or would admit to it even if I'd known it was a thing, a way of understanding myself and the world I inhabit but not as I'd been told to inhabit but how I needed to inhabit it... as me.
And maybe its that that counts. That even before the bad trip it was all about exploration and possibility and these ideas were already quite well formed as an outlook for me even at seventeen. Maybe that, being out of childhood and into early adulthood, was what allowed me to take on the endevour of not even admitting there was anything wrong but regardless dealing how I could with what happened as a result.
The thing was I'd had experience of terrible fear as a child, not many and not for long, and had a very powerful imagination, which doesn't help, but I'd also been kept away from religion as my father had had the shit scarred out of him as a boy by the Catholics who'd schooled him and he wanted, my Dad, to keep us away from it but then weirdly enough in my early teens I'd been introduced to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and that, as I learned later, had been specifically designed to bring little boys like me back to the good old good and bad dichotomy... it's true, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and another writer of fantasy novels had all met up at Cambridge or Eton, or somesuch other toff college, and were studying divinity and over late night suppers had decided that the hoi polloi needed being brought back to the fold so decided to write novels for young boys to teach them good and evil... bastards!
So there seems now to have been a genetic disposition ( excuse that use, it could be a psychic disposition... doesn't really matter what it's called so much as a link exists) to take fear on and get beyond it and realise what having a super duper imagination is really all about. Because pretty much at the same time I had my bad trip my Dad also had his own reckoning of sorts where his own fears appeared as outbursts of anger and he sought medical help and was put on tranquilizers. Dad, you see, loved New Zealand to bits, after Scotland and then Canada, with all the wild and the freedoms and was even getting into yoga and meditation, it was he that taught me the basics of those, and as we know now, is an almost established fact, that when you start doing stuff like this then repressed fears start to come up and with my Dad this would turn into anger at the most inopportune times.
And so it all cedes together, that's mostly what I'm learning, as 38 years later I can also chuck in a whole bunch of past life traumas as well. Except by the time they were revealed to me I was able to identify their meanings, their uses even, within the bigger picture of an on going spiritual awareness because, and now I seem to know this, and in knowing this there is acceptance, that it all has purpose to it, all of this supposed non-connected trauma is connected, and basically we're all in this together.
Yet even as we're all in it together we all have to kind of find ourselves alone, that only we can save ourselves, because in saving ourselves, finding that deep calm within, and finding it by the unique route each of us alone has to explore, we save each other. That is how we are all connected.