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When I was 13, I went on vacation with one of my friends for Labor Day weekend. Upon returning home, I learned that my father had unexpectedly passed away that Saturday from a massive heart attack. As you can imagine, my father was so incredibly important to me.
My fondest childhood memories were of my father and I riding our dirt bikes, and the many hours we spent at the airport, where he worked as an airplane mechanic. I would watch him fix planes, and spend what seemed like endless hours, riding around in the little car that was used to direct the airplanes as they came in.
After the loss of my father, I struggled with depression and self-harm for many years. I was so pain-stricken that my relationship with my mother began to crumble. I never wanted to talk about anything with her, and when I did, there was venom in my words, for absolutely no apparent reason.
It seemed as though I grew lonelier as the years passed. In my sophomore year of high school I decided it was time for a change in my life; so I began losing weight, eating healthy and working out religiously, every single day.
I had significant results; (Lost 75 pounds, and down to 9 % body fat), almost enough to compete in physique competitions, (a long-term goal of mine). It also boosted my confidence and self-esteem more than you can imagine.
I also found happiness in playing the guitar and analyzing all sorts of music, (and the composition behind it), something most people overlook.
This passion for music led me to meet one of my old friends, who introduced me to (who is now) my ex-girlfriend. We dated nearly two years, and then she broke it off. This breakup hit me particularly hard because she was one of the main sources of happiness in my life.
I know now that I should never base my happiness on anyone else, and that I am the only one who controls my happiness; (wish I could have realized that then, but, oh well.) Feeling alone and broken I began searching for some escape from reality, as I had known it to be.
I started experimenting with drugs, flushing out my pain, literally escaping my mind and this world. I had several very spiritual experiences (whole other story in itself), where I felt like I had communicated with my father, and other deceased family members, (and even God Himself).
All of these events were a foreshadow of what was to come. The last time I took mushrooms, they were laced with LSD (which I was unaware of). That’s what we got for doing drugs, never mind a drug we knew hardly anything about.
I recall sitting on a couch, feeling that something was not right. I told my friend, who was with me and also tripping, how I felt, and he was feeling the same. I walked upstairs and was so far out of my mind that I couldn’t even remember if I was a human or not.
Reaching the upstairs, I decided that I am a human, and humans need water, (smart, huh?) As I began to pour the water, I felt my body start to shake, and then I lost all control. I collapsed, smacking my head against the floor.
I had accepted death. All of my surroundings had faded, and all that was around me was blackness. What scared me, even more, is that I felt like I was trapped, sentenced to spend my existence, here, now. To this day, I believe it was God speaking to me.
I knew I needed to get up and fight against whatever it was that was going on. I felt as though my body was overtaken by some dark energy. The sensation was so real to me that, at one point, I couldn’t figure out how to use my body. I would try to walk, and end up moving my fingers instead.
What clarified this experience for me is that I had asked another friend to trip with us. He said he did not want to because he had tripped the previous weekend and had felt as though his body was overtaken by a darker energy.
The way I look at it, drugs such as shrooms, being psychedelics, leave your body in a vulnerable state, open to simply anything that is around, whether positive or negative.
This was cool sometimes because there were times when it seemed that I could feel my father’s presence, and the love of him, and all of my other passed relatives. This was the initial reason I continued to do shrooms on a pretty regular basis.
Nevertheless, I ended up having to call 911 because I thought my friends and I were going to die. One of my friends was having a seizure, and when they found us, we were all laying on the floor. It was a pretty bad situation, and around ten cops and three ambulances brought us to the ER.
They informed us that the shrooms were laced, and we were charged with possession of mushrooms, (felony, up to 5 years in prison), possession of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia (they searched the whole house.) Eventually, after getting a good, but expensive lawyer, the charges were dropped.
Since that night I have been attending church, focusing on my spirituality, and in doing the right thing. I am committed to my goals, and in trying to do as much good as possible for the short amount of time I have on this Earth.
I guess my message to everyone would be, to not waste the time you have here. Spend it doing the things you love with the people you love, and always, think about the long-term effects of your decisions.
Do good for as many people as you can, do your best to be selfless, find a purpose behind your life, find your motives, set your goals and don’t stop until you achieve them; because life is too short not to be everything you’ve ever wanted to be.
If I can realize this and put it to work, (I’m only 19), then you can too.
Jim's Testimony, United States