It has been months of this constant suffering, of not being able to rest, of constant stimulation, of my brain being overloaded, and I can’t take it anymore. I start to fantasize about death, about putting an end to all of this and finally being able to rest. But how to end it? I have an idea, the beach is a couple of blocks away, I want to walk into the ocean, and don’t stop walking until this is over. That’s how I want to go.
But then I remember that this is not real, all of this. I am just caught in a very bad trip, these months of suffering have only been hours, and this is all going to be over eventually. Killing myself would be a very bad idea.
OK, I’ll wait until this, this “trip”, is over.
I can see lights, I can see the universe, it doesn’t matter if my eyes are open or closed, I see the exact same thing. My body is shaking, I’m sweating, but at the same time I can’t feel my body. I don’t know if I want to go to the bathroom, or if I already went and I didn’t even realize it. I’m tossing and turning in bed, I’m hugging the walls, trying to hold on to something so I don’t slip away.
My phone is the only thing that holds me to this world, to reality. I know how the phone feels, the shape and texture of the case, the fact that it has a pattern that I can feel with my fingertips. I hold my phone and slide my fingers through it, to remember that I am still in the real world, that my body is still here, and is my mind the one that is not.
By this time, I forgot exactly where I am at, I forgot who I am, or what is my name. All of that has already slipped away, but at this point, I don’t really care, I just want to survive this.
5 hours earlier
It was the last day that Jorge and I were going to be together in Indonesia; the following day, he would be leaving for Australia, and I would continue with the rest of the world trip on my own. It is a bittersweet feeling since we have been traveling together around Asia for almost 3 months, we have had amazing adventures, the most fun we’ve ever had in our lives. But we knew we had to go back home, and this is it for him, this is goodbye.
We decided to party and celebrate one last time, his farewell party. After some days on the island, we had made many friends in the hostel we were staying at, so we all went out to celebrate. “Let’s get mushrooms first”, somebody suggests, or maybe I suggested it… I can’t remember. Out we go to a little wooden shack, where the secret menu is mushroom shakes. They sell them by levels: 1 is the lightest and 3 is the strongest. Tiago (one of our friends) orders a level 3, he is big and strong, he can take it. I order a level 2, safely in the middle, or so I thought…
We all cheered and drank them, excited for the night that had just begun. We walked around the island, and then, after around half an hour, we started to feel the effects. All of a sudden, Tiago and I were laughing at everything, we saw some faint colors in the night sky (in an aurora boreal kind of way), which was super fun.
We went to get some dinner, I ordered spaghetti. I sat down and looked around, the whole restaurant was alive. I could see the paintings on the walls moving. The tattoo on the guy sitting in front of me, yep that was alive too. My arms and legs got longer, and the walls were breathing. It felt like I was in a movie. I had taken mushrooms before, and I had felt its psychedelic effects, but never quite like this. The waiter brought my spaghetti, and I realized I couldn’t eat, it was moving! It was like a plate full of snakes, slithering. I tried to kill them with my fork, but it didn’t work, they kept moving.
I felt repulsed by this, I lost my appetite. The other people in the group were having fun, but I wasn’t anymore, everything was moving, everything was alive, even my food, the world was not making sense anymore. I felt like we had been sitting in that restaurant for hours, and I started to get anxious.
Finally, everyone finished their dinner and we moved on; now we headed to the night market. Leaving the restaurant felt nice, breathing some fresh air, and I started to feel better. Suddenly, Tiago was hallucinating too, and we were having fun with it, we were laughing and enjoying the colors. We got to the entrance of the night market and, all of a sudden, Tiago and I stopped, we froze. It was full of lights, and people, and sounds, everything was moving and that place also felt overwhelming. We looked at each other, laughing nervously, and told each other “We can’t do this, this is too much, we can’t go in there.”
While we waited outside, Jorge and our friends went in to buy some snacks. Tiago and I were just standing at the entrance in amusement, just laughing, looking at all the lights, the sounds, and the purple sky.
After the night market experience thing, we walked to a bar, and this was where I noticed that shit was getting real. It became really hard to speak, I was slurring my words, and I felt overloaded by the sheer amount of people; this was not fun anymore.
I told Jorge that I was not feeling well and that I’ll head to the hostel. He seemed surprised and disappointed- this was his farewell party and I was going to miss it. I felt guilty for leaving, but I was not feeling well and there was no way I could stay.
I started walking towards the hostel, following google maps instructions, since by that time I was kinda lost. While walking, I noticed that my memory started to fade away. I couldn’t seem to remember where I was, and then I couldn’t even remember my name, I couldn’t remember who I was. I knew nothing about myself, or the island I was staying at. The only thing I knew was that I had to follow the GPS, wherever it took me. I was in survival mode, this stopped being fun a while ago, and I was just trying to get where I was going before I completely slipped away from reality.
After walking for what felt hours, I got to the hostel. I felt so proud of myself since it took everything I had to get there. I went to my room, it was empty, and I felt relieved that no one was there to see me in that state. I lay down on my bed, “Yes! I did it, now I can rest and wait for this to be over.” If only I knew this was just the beginning…
This was one of the most challenging moments of my life, and the only time I’ve flirted with suicide. This experience gave me a new perspective on life: after suffering for what felt months, and surviving, it made everything else feel easy. Now, whenever I feel overwhelmed, I go back to this moment, the time when I really couldn’t take it anymore, when I really felt like dying, and immediately my current situation doesn’t feel so overwhelming anymore. “I’ve been through worse,” I repeat to myself.
What I learned from this experience is that we don’t know when we will encounter difficult moments in our lives, moments that will challenge us, that will make us feel like giving up. At the time, it can seem like the worst thing in the world, but those are the moments that prove to us that we can take way more than we believe.