Name: Henry Hetz
Why did you decide to try psychedelics?
The first time around I simply thought it would be a fun experience with my friends. The second time around I was more interested in exploring my thoughts and feelings concerning my parents and my life as a young adult.
How did you learn about psychedelics?
A friend told me about them and I thought they might be enjoyable.
Which psychedelics did you use?
Who guided you through your experience?
A trusted friend.
How did you source the drug?
The friend with whom I took the drug brought doses for both of us.
How did you prepare for the experience?
I hadn’t eaten yet that day so technically I was in a fasted state, but not necessarily out of preparation.
How would you describe your experience?
At first, I was incredibly nervous that I was going to “have a bad trip” or get super introverted, etc. Once that feeling passed, I was a bit giggly. It was just after sunset and we were at Joshua Tree, a national park out in the California desert. We started climbing around on the rocks in the dark.
Side note: Miraculously, no one was hurt. I remember seeing a truly massive, dark, hairy caterpillar on the rocks and feeling a sense of wonder. I found out the next day it was just a bunch of shrubs.
After climbing for a while, my best friend and I went off to just walk and talk. Frankly, I don’t entirely recall our conversations, but we did open up about our childhoods, our parents, their shortcomings as parents, our growth as young men, and how the trauma in our lives is as much an opportunity to grow stronger as it is a scar that can hold us back.
At one point I thought I saw a giant black panther slinking down the rocks and panicked a bit, so we ran back to our campsite. We ate over the fire, got into our tent, and proceeded to have one of the most creative outputs of my life. We came up with an idea for a story, which was the first time I thought that I might actually be able to write creatively. I later ended up turning the story from that night into a play, which I submitted during grad school.
I think we fell asleep around 3:00 am.
What did you do for integration afterward?
How long did the effects of the drug last?
In total, the trip lasted about 10 hours.
How is your life different after taking a psychedelic?
The most profound thought or feeling I had was that my parents (and all parents) are just as fallible and scared and courageous and confused and determined as we all are. Specifically, I thought, “Wow… they’re just bigger children.”
Obviously, that’s not to discount the experience and wisdom adulthood can bring about, but ultimately we’re all the same.
If you could go back, what would you have done differently? Or what will you do differently next time?
I wish I had opened up about how nervous I was about taking it. I was scared I would “ruin the vibes” if I was having too specific an experience that didn’t necessarily include everyone.