The Drugs Did… Something

The other night, at a birthday party in town, I was offered a pill on the dance floor. I’m generally not someone who is into drugs. A few experiments in my early 20s often resulted in awful comedowns and only exacerbated an already nervous disposition. But that night, after a moment’s hesitation, I said yes.

In hindsight, I probably should have taken half of it. After about an hour or so, the effects were overwhelming. I couldn’t dance but only shuffle on a stool at the bar. I was so excited to talk to just about anyone. The music playing felt like the best I’d ever heard. The storming set of weird techno felt unexpectedly harmonious, as if the rhythmic constancy and atonal melodies contained all the incongruities of the universe and bent them to its will in this tiny room through which everything flowed and nothing could go wrong. Energun’s “Impetuous” was when everything plateaued into an appropriate ecstasy.

So far, so predictable.

Then it all got a bit too much. With my brain completely flooded with serotonin, I felt like I momentarily went into shock. I walked calmly to the bathroom and was then quite violently sick. But it had this wonderful purging effect. Afterwards, I cleaned up and felt awash with clarity. It felt like those stories you hear of people who take ayahuasca ā€” a violent unwellness that is intensely physical but also seems to alleviate all psychic blockages.

I spent the rest of the night talking to a new friend and having a lovely time.

The next day, I was exhausted. I slept for most of it. But there was no real comedown. Just calm. The blockage cleared didn’t feel like a momentary drug-induced euphoria but seemed to have stuck. In fact, having spent much of the last six weeks physically unwell with various colds and infections, I noticed that even the lingering sore throat I’d come to put up with for weeks had completely gone.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how my anti-depressants were no longer working for me. After a decade on and off citalopram, I was moved onto sertraline after a breakdown last year but felt myself completely numbed by it, suffering through a near constant brain fog and excessive tiredness, with my GP uninterested in my repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction. After a few weeks off the drugs, I felt better but like the last year had nonetheless taken its toll. Until now.

Having long been interested but skeptical of the therapeutic impact of drugs like MDMA, since my early experiments had done little for me, I’m profoundly struck right now by the clear improvement in my sense of self. Though I do not anticipate one night to be a cure-all ā€” far from it ā€” it feels hard to ignore this unexpected benefit from what was otherwise a night on the town. Rarely has a night out ever felt like a good idea for my mental health. Today, I’m left feeling like taking that single pill was the best thing I’ve down for my mental health in months.

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