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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 10. 1969.

"Get Me Out Of This"

"Get Me Out Of This"

"Get me out of this" is the worst of all session games. In its most severe form it can turn a session into a nightmare for everyone involved. But you don't have to play it, if you make up younr mind not to.

It may take the form of a feeling of losing control, of not being able to keep track of your thoughts, of the idea that something is going on that you don't understand. The sense of losing control is in part illusory: you are in complete control of your body, if you had to use it, which you usually don't, since you are only sitting. You may not be quite in control of your thoughts. Actually, of course, you never are, even when you're not on a drug, but on LSD you seem to have more thoughts going faster and less logically. Your thoughts easily go off on a tangent, so that you may lose the sense of continuity, and moment seems to follow moment without the usual thread of sense connecting them. This can be bewildering, but it is not bad or dangerous, and can actually be quite fun if you don't fight it.

The reason you can control your body while your thoughts are racing on this way is that your body moves so much more slowly than your mind. For instance, if you were to get up to go to the bathroom you would think of a great many unrelated things while crossing the room, but when you came to take each next step you would remember what you were doing and take it. To you it would seem as though you were taking an incredibly long time to cross the room, but to an observer you would be moving at about your normal speed. It is important to remember that the sense of incompetency is an illusion, and if you do have to do something, to go ahead and do it, without worrying about the excessively long time that it seems to be taking.

But to get back to the game of "Get me out of this" — there may come this time, early in the session, when you feel uncomfortable. At this point you may think: Why did I ever get into this? I was happy enough the way I was, I don't want to get high! I want to come down!

Now the one thing you must not do is shout "Get me out of this!" Because the more you fight it, the worse it gets, and the longer you fight it, the harder it is to shift gears and go with it. Furthermore, by trying to enlist other people in the fight, you make the problem much stickier. Anything you do that affects the world outside your head is a lot harder to undo than the things you only think. If you think "Get me out of this" you can quickly remember that this is the wrong way to go, and correct yourself. But if you yell "Get me out of this!" you'll upset all your companions, and have them solicitously buzzing around you — and you don't want that.

If you persist in this game, it can snowball, You'll feel worse and worse, want even more to get out of it, provoke more anxiety in your companions, causing you to feel even more confused and helpless, and so on.

Your friends can't get you "off" LSD before it runs its natural course. Asking them to bring you down is as practical as asking your fellow passengers on a transatlantic jet to stop the plane and let you off in mid-flight. To terminate a session prematurely requires massive doses of a sedative given by injection, and amateurs are not in a position to provide this. Taking a tranquiliser or sedative orally can do more harm than good, by leading you to pin your hopes on being brought down — hopes which are not fulfilled, and which keep you in your bind of fighting the experience. Once you have started an LSD session you have got to go all the way through it, come hell or high water. If you can't make up your mind to this beforehand don't start.

What should you do then, when you start to feel scared or unhappy? Well what would you do in a non-drug situation that was scary and unavoidable? You'd try to be as brave and cheerful as you could be, and to keep up your companions' spirits as well as your own. The same approach can work wonders in the LSD session. Holding hands around the circle is a good way of communicating courage and support. In the LSD state you can change your mood very quickly. Here, as with physical action, there may be an illusion of incompetency. You may think you're so frightened or so depressed that you couldn't possibly smile, or get to like the experience. But just try for a moment to take your mind off your own anxiety and think of your friends around you, and you'll be amazed how quickly you'll feel much better. This sounds like a platitude from Sunday School, but somehow those Sunday School truths are truer on LSD than just about anywhere.

If you're simply not up to being brave, the other thing you can do is to Collapse. Just put your head in your lap, and abandon yourself to whatever-it-is. You can't go wrong that way — and you'll soon find that whatever-it-is isn't going to hurt you at all.

The typical duration of an LSD session is 12 to 18 hours, plus four to eight hours to sleep it off — perhaps a little longer if an excessively large dose is taken. Even people who freak out come down on schedule, feeling like fools for having made such a fuss about their fear.

People having their first session are especially susceptible to the belief that they will not come down — this goes for those who are having ecstatic experiences as well as for those who are scared. Probably this is because they have not learned to take into account their altered sense of time. Another common fear is of dying. There are various reasons why people get the idea that they are dying during a session, but you need not get hung up on this if you just remember that nobody has ever been known to die of LSD — and it's been around for more than twenty years and been taken by hundreds of thousands. No lethal dose for humans has been found, even though people have taken as much as ten times the usual full dose.

Some people worry about losing control and doing something wrong or crazy. This is an illusion. In reality it is just the opposite — it takes a certain amount of will power to do anything at all. You don't have to worry about what you'll do. The easiest thing is just to sit there, and in most cases, that's exactly what you should do. LSD doesn't take away your knowledge of right and wrong or your control over your actions.