Are “bad trips” actually bad?

The short answer is no, and it’s beneficial not to think of these trips as “bad.”

At the time, my bad trip was certainly bad. I was terrified, and I felt crazy. I was so confused by the strange, haunting things I saw. During the trip, I was convinced that I was surely going to die, or that the person I was tripping with was going to kill me. When the sun came up and I was coming down, I felt relief, but only to a certain degree. For months and months afterwards, I had anxiety, fear, and panic attacks. Falling asleep was a grueling process. Even when I finally got the anxiety under control, I had lost confidence. I always worried that the panic attacks would come back.

It’s been a long road to healing, one that has sent me searching deep into the recesses of who I am on this Earth, what’s buried in my past, who I truly am as a soul or spirit, and what I want my life here to be like. It’s a road that has taken me on a learning journey of all kinds of spiritual and philosophical systems, brought me together with mentors, and helped me to shift the direction of my life to a positive one.

Healing from a bad trip

The goal of healing from a bad trip is not to return to the “before-you,” but rather to use the “after-you” as a starting point for one of the most important personal transformations in life.

Psychedelics can be our greatest teachers, because they allow us to get back in touch with the content of our subconscious minds, to reconnect with who we truly are when we’ve gone astray. Psychedelics are powerful reality checks, helping us wake up from inauthentic behavior or separation from our core. It’s my personal belief that these substances come into your life exactly when you need them the most, and that a trip always gives you exactly what you need.

This can be hard to stomach, but the truth is that our society and our fragile egos have gotten very accustomed to things being easy. We shy away from hard lessons, difficult courses of action, or almost anything that requires us to go at it completely alone. This is a natural response to hardship that is hardwired into our brains, but it leaves us like sheltered children emotionally. A bad trip may have come to you because you had gotten in a rut of taking the easy way out of problems, ignoring red flags, or doing what everyone else is doing. I know this was certainly the case for me.

Changing the way you view a bad trip

It’s important to realize that bad trips aren’t really “bad.” They’re just difficult lessons from difficult teachers, calling you to wake up and do real, hard work to get yourself in order. Ultimately, if you work hard to heal, you will be so much better off than you were before.

A few tips for starting this process:

  1. Try to understand why you had the difficult trip. You can read my post about this topic for some guidance.
  2. Take action on things you do understand about what went wrong. (i.e. Did the friends you tripped with make you extremely uncomfortable and trigger your negative experience? Start thinking about breaking up with them.)
  3. Make a list of things you don’t yet understand in the form of questions. (i.e. Why am I afraid of death?) Eventually, you’ll find the answers to these questions.
  4. Take steps now to better understand yourself and where you’re at in life. I would recommend taking the Myers-Briggs Personality Test for free or getting a natal chart* reading if you like astrology. Take an inventory of your life, finances, job or career, and major relationships. Is there somewhere you’re going astray or compromising yourself and your values?
  5. Last but not least, don’t view your trip as “bad.” View it as a great life lesson, a gift, or a blessing in disguise. Framing it this way will help you be more open to the ways it can positively impact your life.

Always remember that you can (and will) get through this.