Ellie • • 7 min read
The DMT Experience: The Good, the Bad, and the Unbelievable
When I first heard of the DMT drug, I was intrigued, but thought I would never do it.
At the time, I wasn’t comfortable with psychedelics. They were my least favorite type of drug and often gave me a lot of anxiety and uncomfortable questions. I much preferred sticking to something that I knew would give me a good time, such as ecstasy, rather than taking a gamble on spending the night fighting for my sanity.
Regardless of my closed-off attitude toward the stuff, I was intrigued. Was it really true that you saw “beings” that seemed to be from another dimension on this stuff? I found it amazing that so many people reported the same hard-to-believe phenomenon.
Eventually, my mind started opening up to the world of psychedelics and I began tripping on mushrooms and LSD every once in awhile. My roommate, who had been asking me every so often if I wanted to try DMT with him (to which I always said no) happened to catch me in a suggestible state of mind. I was already tripping lightly on some psilocybin and decided to try smoking a bit of DMT.
My First DMT Drug Experience
My first time, I didn’t aim to inhale as much as possible to “blast off” and leave my body and this universe. Instead, I took a small hit to see what it was like. The first thing I noticed was the strange and harsh flavor of the smoke, then the heavy, tingling and almost numb sensation in my limbs.
I closed my eyes and within the blackness, I saw bright neon lines of light running straight out in front of me, forming a sort of grid. It almost felt as though I were inside of some kind of place that had actual depth to it, not just seeing the flat hallucinations that most other psychedelics give you. As you can see, this isn’t easy to describe. I decided that I wanted to go deeper, much to my friend’s happiness.
This time, I inhaled a lot of smoke and held it in as long as possible. With DMT, if you get enough to blast off or “break through,” you don’t recall blowing the smoke out because by then, you aren’t in your body anymore.
Since this was a while ago now, the following is a conglomeration of the bits and pieces that stand out in my memory from many different trips, both good trips and one or two bad trips.
Kaleidoscopic mandalas and prisms dance at you, breathing and pulsing with life. Nothing in these visuals is stagnant or slow, it’s always changing by the microsecond, spinning, morphing, multiplying and dividing.
Although my ego was gone, I was still existing, observing, and moving through various realms and levels of this perceived reality. During all of this, I had the distinct feeling of exploring a dimension not outside of, but within the one I ordinarily occupied.
(All of what I’m describing here is but the tiniest fraction of what I both remember and am able to describe from the experience.)
Meeting the Beings
Many of these realms had dancing beings who seemed to spin in sync, shooting out and creating some of these visuals from their bodies. As the realms I passed through changed, so did the creatures. Sometimes it was just a solitary, silent figure that I could sense but not see. Other times, it was beings I could “see” but who seemed oblivious or indifferent to my existence.
There was a time or two that I decided to ask them questions. I asked what the meaning of all of this was, silently and mentally, and received my answer, “It is what you make it,” the same way.
During one memorable trip, I witnessed a joyful orange realm with golden, dancing creatures who were happy for me to be there, and passed down out of it to come upon a green place with insectoid beings. They scared me but thankfully, they didn’t notice me.
Living Hundreds of Lifetimes
A couple of trips stand out in my mind because when I woke from them, I felt as though I had just lived out hundreds of lifetimes within 15 minutes. Sometimes, I would come back to my human body with tears streaming down my face, saying “Thank you.”
What they say about the feeling of waking up from a dream and forgetting a lot of the experience is true, but these bits and pieces are what I’ve held onto.
I have always been an artist, drawing and painting weird stuff, but after DMT, my art took a new direction. I began drawing and painting a lot more fractals and symmetry. The art throughout this article was all influenced by DMT.
Disrespecting the Substance
During this time, drugs were not just an interest or hobby for me, but a way of life. Therefore, DMT became something that I did almost every day. I would do it before going to the store, right after work, while on other drugs or drinking, etc.
Eventually, I started having nightmares. One night, I had a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from involving a car accident where I died at the end. Every time I thought I was waking up, the dream would repeat, ending in the moment before impact when I knew I was about to die.
In my false awakenings, I would exit my room and tell my roommate about my dream, then she’d ask me to go with her on a drive, and we’d end up crashing the car with time for me to realize I was about to die. The dream looped and looped and looped until I finally woke up, unable to tell what was real.
I called a friend, tearful and desperate, and he assured me that I was awake. He also suggested that dreams often try to tell us things and that there was likely a lesson hidden in there somewhere. That night I fell into a fitful sleep but kept waking up periodically to the unsettling feeling of something watching me from my closet.
That night, a friend had passed out on our couch after a night of drinking and woke me in the morning to tell me I was thrashing around having a nightmare. He asked me who came in with me the night before, and when I said I was alone, he told me I had a “traveler,” or a spirit following me around. This comment from my friend, in combination with the feeling of being watched all night, was a bit much for my overstressed mind to bear.
Around this time period, I painted this painting by coincidence and later found out what the symbol means. It is meant to protect against evil spirits. I am undecided when it comes to the question of actual “spirits” co-existing with us, but this is one collection of coincidences that is hard for me to write off.
Regardless of whether I was really being terrorized by something outside of me, or being warned by my own subconscious, the result was the same. I needed to stop disrespecting this substance.
Considering how I was back then, I probably would have ignored these warnings, but oddly enough the effect of DMT stopped working for me. I would smoke it and get no effect, even if it had been a while.
I look back on my experiences with DMT, which happened a few years ago now, in much the same way. I have puzzled over whether or not I was really making contact with other dimensions and beings, or whether it was all in my own mind. Either way, the effect is the same. This reality is more than we could ever fathom, consciousness is vast, and substances such as these are to be revered and respected.
Bonus: What Does the DMT Drug Experience Feel Like?
These days, I make time for psychedelic explorations at least once a year, if I can. My next one is coming up soon. I’m in Peru and will be trying San Pedro cactus (also known as Huachuma) and ayahuasca.
I’m in a much better place mentally, living sober, and equipped to handle even uncomfortable plant medicine journeys. If anyone is interested, I will report back with my San Pedro or ayahuasca experiences.
A Final Note on the Safety of Psychedelics
DMT is an extremely powerful psychedelic, and we do not recommend seeking it out, especially if you’re fairly new to the psychedelic experience. As we repeatedly stress on HighExistence, psychedelics are not playthings. They must be approached with reverence and caution. We believe that in the proper context, certain psychedelics are powerful medicines with tremendous potential, but there are a number of physical and psychological safety concerns that one should consider before journeying with psychedelics. Please, please do plenty of research, and do not take psychedelics if you have reason to believe that they will not jibe with your personality or particular mental baggage (or if your family has a history of mental illness). We do not recommend taking psychedelics illegally or impulsively. The Essential Psychedelic Guide on Erowid is an exceptional free resource, and we recommend reading it, especially the section on ‘Psychedelic Safety,’ before ever dabbling in these substances. We also recommend reading our guide to psychedelic myths before deciding to try psychedelic drugs. It’s also imperative that you buy a test kit if you aren’t absolutely certain that the substances you’ve procured are what you believe them to be. Take care, be smart, and be well.