Returning up towards a shimmering white light and high-pitched ting yelling in my ears, it took 5 minutes to formulate my words.
My (at the time) girlfriend was crying on the phone, to emergency services, not understanding what she just witnessed. Me? I’m just waking up. What time is it?
Why am I so sore?
I’m very sweaty now.
She told me I had a 60-second long clonic-tonic episode. A classic, 100% muscular contraction and convulsive seizure. I didn’t know – I passed out and woke up.
One week later I was in the base of the Italian Alps and sporadically went on a tandem paragliding ride. Conveniently I had 135µg of tested LSD just before.
Chapters leading up to the episode
I was living in Croatia at the time and my partner was in Denmark. I made visits every couple of months and would stay at her place for the week. This one started a little bit differently.
Throughout the week I had raging bouts of hives come and go in short 15-minute bursts a few times daily. Each and every time their severity increased and the itch factor wormed its way up to a 12/10 on the itchy-scale.
I was exposed to no new allergens, my diet was the same, and everything else was normal – of course except for the damn hives!
We were painting, drinking wine, and having a little herb on a romantic night-in. My hip was itchy again and I had to go pee.
I went to the bathroom and did my duties before looking at my hip in the mirror. The bulbous swelling genuinely appeared as though I was mutating and this concerned me.
Returning to the bedroom and focusing on my breath after a heavy set of dizzyness struck, I told her that I’m just going to lie down for a second.
I laid down.
A big bad. A Grand Mal. For over a minute I was supposedly out, violently shaking and exhibiting every motion a severe seizure would depict.
For me, time didn’t exist. I wasn’t there. I had no dreams, no thoughts, no feeling. I was gone.
I woke up – annoyed and irritated. Who is waking me up at this time of day?
Who’s playing that music?
Why is she crying on the phone?
Why am I so sore?
I couldn’t verbalize anything just yet. This Postical Confusional State continued for a few minutes until I could speak to the emergency responders on the phone. I’m going right to the hospital it seems.
Relaxed, tired, and oddly not scared, we zipped up to the Århus hospital and I was inside in no time. Immediately I went through a full brain scan and blood panel before being released with inconclusive information – no anomalies in the blood or brain. That’s a very good thing so they told me.
I was in church the next day
Not intentionally. My bus back to Croatia was a day afterwards and my layover was in Vienna for a brief time. Exploring the evening city I stumbled upon Stephansdom – St. Stephens Cathedral.
I was drawn in and found a spot to spontaneous kneel and pray. To whom I wasn’t sure, though I felt as though some divine essence may hear my gratitude and allow me more time on earth. I now realized that I had been spared by Atropos and my threads have been left in tact.
I went for a classic Schnitzel before the bus terminal sent me onwards. Several hours to Ljubljana, sitting 2:00-4:00AM on the rotting sidewalk as I caught the next bus transfer and then I was back home in Rijeka.
The hives never returned.
The Alps were already planned
Me and a CanaDanish friend already arranged to meet in Bassano Del Grappa, Italy, for some hiking and hanging out. We did some exciting adventures and ate the unbelievably pure food. Rich wanted to go paragliding but I wasn’t keen – it looked spooky and I’m not an adrenaline junkie.
However I met a man named Marek.
Marek is from Slovakia and we connected well. He told me of the thousands of flights he had, the expressions of the bewildered backpackers he would generously offer a free flight to when he was roaming Southeast Asia by foot (and air).
The next day he offered me a ride. If felt right. So did that little paper of lysergic goodness in my pocket. I decidedly put it under my tongue and we began hitchhiking up the mountain to get to our flight spot.
During this ascent in the back of the shaky truck, Marek told me of some of his life. In particular of his father.
His father was always busy. Never had time. Always working. “Next time.” Was the motto.
His father died suddenly. Out of the blue. In out day, out the other. Gone.
Marek felt deep resentment and frustration from that. He wanted to show his father joy, life, and the world.
I could resonate. For many years I’ve felt this way about friends and acquaintances. I want to show people joy, the life, the world. I want to connect, go to dinner, go on an adventure, a festival – life!
Never have the time. Always busy. Next time. Gone.
Abhorrently familiar, those above words find themselves frequent on too many tongues. A shame.
We came to the ridge where we would set sail from and got our gear sorted from the back of the truck. I acknowledge the new surroundings and feel something at my groin. This feels familiar!
I have to pee.
If you’re familiar with psychedelics, you might have had a moment where the world before and after going pee was substantially different. This was one of those times.
I shuddered from the overwhelming body sensation and fresh air gliding all around. I barely remember sliding into the harness and attaching my safety gear before the instructions came.
“Start running and then sit back”.
Confused, I start running down the hill in unison with Marek guiding my body into position. Before I was aware of it, we were off the ground.
I was flying high
In these moments everything shifted. That feeling of weightlessness overwhelmed and my body relaxed. My mind quieted and the houses shrunk.
My heart was soothed and my ears were treated to the sound of nothing but some wind and the altimiter relaying soft beeping information. Colours were enhanced and the landscape was given a whole new perspective.
This couldn’t be real; it’s so relaxing, so meditative, so… addicting!
We twisted and turned in the drafts and valleys while I witnessed my mind coming to terms with life. Touched by death and soothed by life, it’s an incredible existence to enjoy.
Have you ever noticed how good drone shots look? That’s how it felt! Except this drone had a lens of psychedelia and made no annoying buzzing.
Time quickly waved goodbye and we made a gentle landing. At those moments I was hooked – I need to fly more!
While I want to bask in this sensation further I know I had to go – my bus back to Croatia was later that day and I have quite a few kilometers to cover.
While I stick out like a banana among grapes in both physical outfit and headspace, I somehow managed to get to where I needed to be.
Stumbling through small villages and hitchhiking to the train terminal had me arrive early and afforded me some time to enjoy a meal. A unbelievable panini and 2L of the most reinvigorating spring water I’ve ever tried nourished my system and I hopped on the train towards Venice.
Another small break and some black rice risotto with homemade tortellini’s from a tiny café exploded my mind with the masterclass flavors. I hopped on the bus shortly after and began the countryside ride back to Rijeka.
Music, headphones, and hours on the road.
Now is the right time to process what has been digested. Both figuratively and literally of course!
Unfocused eyes scanning the horizon, I was treated by the sparse vistas of vineyards and clay-topped houses. The thoughts flowed in and out like a clear stream of information.
Some of those thoughts were reeled in particularly clearly and cemented their philosophies deeply into my mind.
What I’m doing in life is fine.
No matter what, follow life the way I feel I should.
Breathing life is very limited.
Enjoy and experience all which I can.
I’ve always had this outlook for many years, but especially after this series of oddfortunate events I’ve come to terms with the way I want to carry out and follow life.
Had my life outlook changed? Not too much, honestly. I’ve been on this thought process for a while, however this all entrenhed the messages in my mind – it’s all temporary.
About 3 years since incident (in 2019), I haven’t had a seizure! Follow-up EKG and epilepsy testing showed no signs and the neurologist only came up with 1.5 explanations; my immune system was ‘glitching’ and my brain did a reset, and supposedly 1/3 of all seizures are psychologically induced.
All I know is I’ve never had hives like that come back and I’ve never had another episode. While I’m glad that no other unannounced tragedy has entered my life since then – it’s just a matter of time that it happens to me, a close one, or you.
Much love and thanks for reading – It’s one of the most impactful life occurrences so far!
Please let me know if you liked this story and if I should write up more of my odd life experiences 🙂
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