Coming Down: A Companions Guide

So, you’ve climbed the heights, to the peak of your trip, and taken in the view. Maybe you’ve seen and felt life-changing things, maybe you just have had a good giggle. However your trip was— and of course, this depends on whether you are a newbie or an old hand, and the strength of your dose— the ‘comedown’ from shrooms is a vital part of the experience.

Due to this, it can be a nice idea to set out a plan for the comedown, as you might for the trip itself. Firstly, the term ‘comedown’ can be a little misleading sometimes, as it is usually associated with the discomfort felt after a particularly hard-partying night with various illegal substances. However, in this case we simply mean the softening of the effects of shrooms as they wear off. For many people this is a pleasant experience, as they float back into reality. Your senses become sharper, and you can begin to digest the thoughts and revelations you had more rationally.

If your trip was slightly unsettling, it can be nice to feel the warmth of normality returning. Remember, a trip is a journey, and you have traveled (in your mind at least!). You may be tired, and in need of home comforts. Now is when you can start to ‘unpack’ your experience. Did you leave anything behind on your travels? Did you pick up any souvenirs? 

Go Outside

Your high may be gently decreasing, but you probably still have some ocular effects and sparkles in the edges of your vision. As you start to feel more ‘down to earth’, it can be nice to go for a walk, especially if you’ve spent most of your trip inside. If you’ve been tripping as a group, suggest the idea— it can be nice to feel as if you are going out as a team, a little adventure together. If you are tripping alone, it can be a real opportunity to feel your own individual connection with nature. The breeze on your face will refresh you; trees swaying in the wind and ripples in water will vibrate and pulse as your high ebbs away. 

If you started your trip in the daytime, you are most likely coming down after dark. This is a perfect opportunity to do some moon-gazing. If it’s chilly outside, pull a comfy chair up to the window and peep at the stars from there. But, if it’s a warm night, you can do some moon-bathing! The glow of the moon can be hypnotizing at the best of times, but twinned with the departing waves of your trip, it can take on a new and spiritual dimension.

Refuel Your Body

As previously mentioned in our Tripper’s Menu, a large appetite for food is not usually associated with a shroom trip. But, eventually, hunger will make its re-appearance and you will need to refuel your body. Here, it is really personal preference what you fancy eating, but if you want to get a bit scientific with your choices, you should chow down on a good source of tryptophan. After your trip, your serotonin levels might be feeling a bit depleted. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that, as luck would have it, aids the production of serotonin. As serotonin is the neurotransmitter triggered by psilocybin, stocking up on tryptophan is almost like having ‘hair of the dog!’ 

Here are some sources of tryptophan for you to feast on:

Eggs— Also a great source of omega 3 and proteins!

Dairy Products— Milk, yoghurt… perhaps a 4 cheese pizza?

Nuts—  A source of healthy fats, and a good snack if you don’t feel ready to eat a meal yet.

Tofu— A great source of tryptophan for veggies and omnivores alike.

Salmon— The fish with the highest tryptophan! 

Pineapple— Refreshing and full of vitamins.

Bathe in Your Experience

Showers and/or baths often figure in people’s experiences with shrooms. Some people find the feeling of drops hitting their skin during a trip transcendent, and see rainbows refracted in the water. Additionally, many people use baths or showers to centre themselves when experiencing a difficult trip, feeling as though they are literally ‘washing away’ any worries. Equally, on a come down bathing can help you reconnect with yourself. It can be a good time to reflect on what you may have experienced and how it will now figure in your life. You could add bubbles or scented oils for a really relaxing experience, and, if you fancy going overboard why not listen to some whale song?!

Media

A great way to come back to reality gently can be through watching or listening to something:

You could try watching some psychedelic related films, but, often when coming down you might want something more comforting. Lots of people enjoy Disney films, as for many they hold a strong sense of familiarity and a connection to their childhood (also you can count on a happy ending!). Other good choices are Pixar or Studio Ghibli movies— for similar reasons, but with visuals that will really compliment your remaining ocular vibrations!

As with tripping, nature porn is a good option. It will help to ground you, but also wow you with it’s sheer beauty. Feel safe and protected under your duvet while watching the big wide world— obvious example being anything David Attenborough— Blue Planet or Planet Earth will do just fine. For something a bit more unusual you could try some Werner Hertzog documentary films, such as ‘Into the Inferno’ or ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’. 

Sometimes, if you are feeling a little sensitive, watching something might not be so appealing. In this case you could listen to something instead! Play your favourite artist, or go for music without lyrics such as classical or ambient, so you can hear your thoughts.

Another nice choice can be audiobooks or podcasts. Guided meditation podcasts can be very effective at this time, as you stand on the border between your psychedelic journey and reality, making you more open to taking on advice and teaching. Popular apps such as Headspace or Calm have a variety of different features that focus on different aspects such as breathing or soothing you to sleep. Which brings us to…

Insomnia

Some people have difficulty sleeping after a psychedelic trip. Despite the mind being exhausted they just can’t drift off. If this is you, don’t panic! Sleep will arrive eventually, and it’s best not to try and force it. If none of the ideas listed have helped soothe you, maybe it’s good to just wait it out and remember ‘This too shall pass’. Plump up your pillows, taco yourself in your duvet and focus on existing in your body.  

Curling up with a loved one can be one of the nicest things while you are coming down, especially if they have been tripping too. Even if you cannot currently sleep, their presence will be a calming influence on you. Enjoy the closeness you feel with another person.

Integration: The Next Day, and Beyond!

You may feel changed or different after your trip. If you kept a journal during it, you can look back on the highs and lows you recorded. Perhaps you had some personal revelations, or simply thought of some goals you wish to achieve in the near or far future. If you experienced ‘Ego Death’ maybe you got to know yourself for the very first time?

The question is, how do you integrate this into your everyday life?

By ‘integrate’ we mean apply it to your daily routine, or even change your daily routine or habits because of your trip. To actually internalise the things you may have felt, rather than brushing them off as an isolated experience. Remember how you felt during your trip. Were you attracted to nature? Maybe this implies you should make more effort to be outside, go on a trip to the countryside, or even just plant some seeds. Perhaps you enjoyed your introspection and want to incorporate meditation into your daily life. You can do this by taking classes or setting aside some time just for yourself everyday. Ditto with exercise or creative pursuits. To start yourself on the right track you could make a schedule: e.g. 20 minutes of meditation before bed, or learn a new tune on the guitar every week. 

Most of all, do not put pressure on yourself to be ‘different’ or ‘improved’ straight away. These things take time, especially if you are changing your long held habits. Continue to keep a journal; this way you can trace how you feel over the coming days and weeks, and chart your progress.

When you get back from a holiday, it takes some time to acclimatise again, but you keep all the good experiences with you. Perhaps you can treat this ‘trip’ the same way.

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