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Blog Posted in avatar   Michael Cosgrove's Blog

LSD, the psychiatrist's rant, and the song

By Michael Cosgrove
Posted Mar 16, 2011 in Health
I was around 17 The first time I took LSD, and I remember seeing every single vein on every single leaf on that tree I saw that day, which was well over 200 yards away. The next week I took it again and decided that I had finally found out what real reality was. The time after that (or something) it was all about having fun throwing a Frisbee to each other between buses going down a busy London street.
After that, and in Dundee, Scotland, I was lying on someone's floor looking up at the ceiling for hours and listening to Pink Floyd's 'Meddle' whilst smelling incense smells that don't exist any more and watching the instruments that were playing tumble out of the speakers.
A while later it was all about trying to draw the perfect square freehand for hours, followed by a whole night sitting in a graveyard and crying for the dead people in there, and another occasion saw me watching the walls of the downtown building I was looking at just burst into flames, and one really weird trip involved some guy swallowing "the egg" before trying to climb out the 6th (or something) floor window to meet the luminescent blue boat we could all see hovering out there in the night sky. All on acid.
Then one day I was standing on a platform on London's Circle Underground line waiting for a train and when it arrived the platform tilted sharply towards the track and I was just about to fall in front of the train when I managed to grab onto a fire hydrant and hang on for dear life. Even more scary was the time I wanted to cross a busy road and decided to step over it (it was only two feet wide) and the cars (they were about six inches long) to save time. So I began to step out over the road....
....only to realize just in time that I was not on acid. I hadn't taken any for over a day and so I was having a very vivid flashback. Uh-oh. And then I realized that the Underground incident must have been a flashback too. I stepped back from the road. In other words, I had almost walked into a busy road full of fast-moving traffic, I was in deep and dangerous psychological shit, and I was capable of doing myself serious harm or worse. I was really in a mess.
So I went to see a doctor, who sent me to a psychiatrist.
When I arrived at the psychiatrist's place (his practice was on Edgeware Road, I remember,) he listened impatiently to me and as soon as I had finished he got extremely - almost violently - angry. That really shocked me! This is what he said (from memory and quite possibly embellished for effect);
"So here's a poor little rich boy from a good family who decides he's going to fuck himself up because he thinks he's more cosmically-aware and intelligent than everyone else because he takes hallucinogenic drugs which totally remove him from earthly reality as if he were a god. And now that our little god has drug problems he wants me, some 'straight' jerk, to give him even more drugs and treatment to cure him. Fine. Here's your drugs. Happy? Good. Now get out of here."
And he pushed a drug prescription across his desk before half-turning away. What had he prescribed?
The page was empty.
I got up silently and walked out of there, and once in the street I tore the prescription up and threw it in the nearest trash can. Then I walked home in a rage and listened to this Jimi Hendrix song (the video above), which describes an LSD trip.
The idea of doing that was that it would make me want to drop some acid in revenge. But that's not what happened.
I listened to the song then I got to the solo, which starts at exactly 38 seconds, and everything about it - the rush, the take-off, into orbit, having fun, getting very high, a sudden bad vibe, a door opening ("DON'T OPEN THAT DOOR!!!"), someone falling out, air rushing out into space, the stars, oh well, that's just the way it goes, another poor soul lost - reminded me so much of the scary, chaotic, hedonistic and totally insane moments I had lived through whilst taking LSD that I decided never to take it again.
And I never ever did. Thanks to the psychiatrist's rant, and the song.
(I still listen to the song though, and incidentally this video has excellent sound and some great footage from that time.)

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