If you know what psychedelics are then you have surely heard of the dreaded ‘bad trip’. You never know how things are going to go when taking part in a psychedelic experience as these compounds affect you differently each time you take them and in completely unpredictable ways. Doing psychedelics takes courage as you are rolling the dice every time. Although these experiences are not 100% unavoidable, there are definitely ways you can reduce the chances of travelling down a tunnel of darkness with the only company being your deepest insecurities, fears, and more…
Well, now that we have started off with a positive beginning, let’s get into this little step by step guide!
What are psychedelics?
Essentially, psychedelics are a wide class of hallucinogenic drugs that offer unfamiliar states of consciousness via the serotonin 2A receptor agonist. Taking psychoactive amounts of psychedelic compounds will result in both psychological and sensory alterations, changes, and amplifications. To put it very frankly, taking enough psychedelics can completely tear apart your entire concept of self, existence, and reality.
These substances are extremely sacred and many of them have been used by humans for centuries for spiritual advancements and various ceremonies by tribes across the globe such as magic mushrooms. Psychedelics have followed humans throughout history. Perhaps they are to thank for some of our self-awareness that we treasure to this day.
What is a bad trip?
Okay, let’s not sugarcoat this because there is no beating around the bush as this experience may be one of the worst things someone could imagine. Although a bad trip looks different for everyone, there are some similarities we can see.
A bad trip is an unpleasant experience that can occur after taking psychedelic substances such as lysergic acid (LSD) or magic mushrooms. That is a very light way of putting it as well. When you take psychedelics, it will amplify whatever emotion you are feeling to extents you never thought possible. That being said, if something very negative comes up during your trip, like an event happening or a thought popping into your head, it can create a turn for the worst.
Feelings of paranoia, fear, anxiety and utter dread can take over your entire being during a bad trip. Making things even worse, it is extremely hard to come back from such a dark place and regain control. This is why I am making this step-by-step guide on how to prevent a bad trip from happening in the first place!
Why would you want to take psychedelics if it means you could have a bad trip?
This question comes up a lot… and for good reason, too! Why on Earth would anyone ever want to consume psychedelics if it could result in such a horrible experience? I can imagine this answer differs depending on who you ask.
One of the general answers to this question is that having a few bad trips for a few good ones is definitely worth the sacrifice. It may sound crazy, but experiencing a positive psychedelic experience filled with love, bliss, and flavours of what could be heaven, will have you conclude that it is worth the risk. Additionally, in the end, you will always be fine. While feelings of dying are common during the psychedelic trip (sometimes referred to as ego death) there has never been a single recorded death from psychedelics. Keep that in mind! Everything is temporary and you will always be fine.
When you get a taste of what an amazing trip is like, the risk of a bad trip is worth it. There is no highs without lows and the bad must exist for us to experience the good.
Steps on how to not have a bad trip
Choose your circle wisely.
Never trip around someone who you do not trust or you are on questionable terms with. This is bad trip prevention 101! Only surround yourself with those who have a love for you, make you feel safe, and allow you to be openly vulnerable. Never, and I mean never, trip with someone who enjoys seeing you (or others) confused or upset. Instead, trip with those who offer you love and light and preferably individuals that understand the serious power of psychedelic substances.
Trip Sitter – A loving guardian
Whether you are tripping for spiritual wellness or purely recreational purposes, ensure you have a sober trip sitter to look after you and be attentive to your needs. Make sure this person loves you and knows how to talk to you with kindness and patience. This is a vital part of trip precaution. Sometimes, you need a level minded friend to bring you back down to Earth when things become too much. Needing a friends helping hand is something that can either prevent or stop a bad trip.
‘‘I get by with a little help from my friends.’’ – John Lennon
Setting is suggestive.
One of the main things we note during psychedelic research is how interactive and in tune we become with our surroundings. You could even say we become our surroundings. Psychedelics bring feelings of complete connection, unity, and oneness. Your setting/space can make or break your trip. Here are a few tips to better your setting:
Clothing – Wear clothing that is appropriate to the environment and make sure it is super comfortable. I always like to lay out a few things for sensory enjoyment such as fuzzy jumpers or hats! I often find myself in my fuzzy bear onesie by the end of my trips…
Comfort – Not only is it important to have comfortable clothing but also make sure your surrounding is comfortable. Lay out a lot of pillows and fuzzy blankets so you can ensure you will be comfortable. Also, make sure your space is clean and tidy! Nothing will send you into a bad headspace faster than tripping balls in a scattered messy house.
Enhancements – Make sure there is a playlist for your trip sitting to control filled with your favourite songs that only make you feel emotions of joy and safety. Lights are also a great addition, such as fairy lights or water effect lights… but make sure they are not too intense! Even hanging up a pretty tapestry on a wall can enhance a trip drastically.
Make sure you plan accordingly. Start earlier in the day if possible and always trip with a belly full of nourishing food! Have your trip setting prepared as well, eg clean your home and/or tidy up your garden.
Do lots of research on the substance you are taking! Study the chemical, the dosage, and trip reports. Go on Reddit and ask questions in the community as there are loads of people willing to help you with further clarification. Ensure you’re always getting from a reliable source as well!
Closing thoughts: Be Mindful
Don’t go into a trip when you are feeling lost or depressed unless it is in a controlled setting. The only time this is advisable is if you are doing psychedelic therapy in a clinic alongside a professional psychedelic researcher that knows exactly how to help you through this time in your life.
Be super mindful and put a lot of thought into your trips. You never know what you are getting yourself into as every experience is completely unpredictably unique! Psychedelics are super powerful and should be taken seriously. That being said, they are not suitable for ‘party’ scenes. It is helpful to look at these experiences as medicine for the mind, body, and soul. If you have this approach, it may help you reduce the chances of having a bad trip.
I hope this article helped in guiding you on the necessary steps to reducing the chances of a bad trip. I am sending you love as you return to your roots!