Category Archives: Drugs

Demons

Cobain, Robin Williams, Chris, Heath… the list of celebrities we’ve lost to depression is endless. But there are many closer to home that we don’t hear about.

I lost a gem of a friend and brother last week. Some say it was suicide, blaming depression. After five days of hurting, I wanted to write. And when I opened my laptop, this popped up, an old piece i wrote while fighting demons myself a while ago.

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I met my shaman early 2015, and from then up for the next six to seven months, I was living a life of bliss. When i got back to India, people usually walked by me without recognizing me – cos i’d lost over 25 kilos living in the amazon. And then they pulled a shocked face and silence when they realised it was me. Many thought I’d gone through some near-death illness. Or drowned in an ocean of drugs. My own folks thought my abused liver had finally given up on me. On the contrary, i’d never felt healthier. And happier. Of course, happiness is relative and all that, but i was beyond happiness.

For more than a year, i went through this state of bliss. Almost a feeling of invincibility. Walking on clouds. There was no shortage of anything. Love, friends, joy, laughter, I thought i couldn’t be any happier. And i thought it was how it’d be forever. Riding the wave of absolute ecstasy.

One thing i forgot during this phase, was nothing really lasts. Impermanence – that old Buddhist term.

Fast forward to April 2016. Something changes. Before that change, I feel different. Like a warning signal in the pit of my stomach. Something bad is around the corner. Dark clouds on the horizon. I love dark clouds, but these were going to last way longer than i thought, and they weren’t the dark clouds you see above the ocean.

In the few months since, everything in my life has come crashing down around me. The love, the warmth, the laughter and joy. I tried looking for answers, but that search drove me deeper and deeper into isolation, depression, and a never ending tunnel with no light in sight. Things slipped away from me and i could do nothing about it. A big fat FUCK YOU from bliss itself.

Every thing i touch turns to dust. Every move i make is jinxed. I’ve gone from self-loving to self-doubting, self-admonishing, maybe even self-loathing.

Once that self-love turns into loathing, things get very dark. Both outside, and inside your head. A cold wave creeps into your otherwise warm senses. Compassion gets drained out. Confidence gets deflated. Groove gets killed.

That pit in your stomach is now a black hole. Sucking you from the inside. Leeching on life force. Seeking to destroy. My own mind has turned into my greatest enemy.

At this period in time, the only resort in my isolation and loneliness has been yoga, meditation, and books. On the rare occasion i push myself to write, like now.

Just like enlightenment can hit anyone without warning, so can depression. Because I forgot equanimity. I held on to the bliss without respect, i took it for granted. Like a child with the cotton candy, i greedily chomped on, till it ran out.

Suddenly there was no ground beneath my feet.

I couldn’t be happy for myself. There was nothing to be happy about. I couldn’t meet people for fear of showing my dark unhappy side. I couldn’t talk to people. I couldn’t share love and joy with anyone. The moodiness was clamouring over me. I started to sleep longer hours, telling myself that the numbness of sleep was better than the dark of the waking hours. Better than all the thoughts running through my conscious mind. The dreams I saw were sometimes better than what real life had for me when i woke up, which was – absolutely nothing. I was never one for making plans, but now i couldn’t cook a dish without fucking it up. Hopeless. Powerless.

Soon I was in a corner, hiding from friends and family. Hiding the truth. Telling myself this was going to end in the worst way possible. Get a grip get a grip. This is going to end in the most peaceful way possible. Kill yourself. Get a grip.

‘How are you Bijou?’

‘i’m good!’

I lied.

Here’s the thing though. There is no cure. There is no drug. There is no short cut. I have to fight it.

The only healing, is acceptance. Time only heals if you accept you need healing.

Ride the wave, fall down. Climb up, try again, ride again. Sometimes it’s a long ride. Sometimes it’s a quick crash.

I’ve got nothing to prove. I’ve got nowhere to run.

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I survived that ordeal, for now. Things get better. Then things turn to shit. The wave will continue to make you, or break you. Accept whatever the outcome, but don’t give up on it. But really, despite how many times you tell people to ‘talk to someone, get help’, most don’t. It’s just how this works. It’s the greatest battle we fight, the one with our own mind – our best friend, and our greatest enemy.

Sometimes we win, sometimes we jump.

Next time you come across someone ‘not being themselves’, talk to them. Be proactive. Cos they will not talk about it. They will not open out to you, cos they’re scared of being vulnerable. They’re scared of being seen as weak and feeble. They’re terrified you will turn your back on them cos you only love them when they’re happy. I know cos i was there. I have family and friends who’d have cursed me if i did some terrible shit. A lot, a lot. I’m grateful for them, and that gratitude alone helped me fight harder.

The opposite of depression is not euphoria, it’s connection. Connect with those who need it.

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The Music Festival Guide to Drugs

Having walked into a dozen or two music festivals and having tumbled out or escorted or thrown out by security, I’ve had first hand accounts of the harmful effects of drugs on naive festival-goers. First up, hide it well when you’re going in. Secondly, there’s no doubt that drugs are bad for you, including the ones you get across the counter at medical stores and chemists. In case you’ve been blinded by TV commercials and Shah Rukh and MS Dhoni’s Royal Stag testimonials, even alcohol is a drug.

According to the WHO, A drug is any substance (other than food that provides nutritional support) that, when inhaled, injected, smoked, consumed, absorbed via a patch on the skin, or dissolved under the tongue, causes a physiological change in the body. – wikipedia

‘Drugs’ as per the commonly abused definition of the word, are against the law. Then again, in India and most other ignorant countries, so is homosexuality. The law is dumber than the dude who decided this demonetization thing. So if you get caught, you’re on your own – like I learned at NH7 Weekender 2010, 2012, 2014… and still learning. In this post, we’re only talking about the drugs that the lawmakers and music festivals talk about.

More often than not, you don’t hear of scary stories. But there’s that one idiot who gives the whole crew a bad name by overdosing on some suspicious material, or mixing it all up and then face-planting into the sound console. So before you go all into your fear & loathing at the festival mode, it’s best to educate yourself about what to expect when you’re tripping balls. And luckily there’s enough ways to stay safe and alive.

  1. Weed/hashish/charas – the good stuff can be sniffed out from a football field away. So if you see those big bouncers running towards you, empty your pockets immediately and be ready to beg them to not tear your festival band up. Also stay close to the food stall so you don’t get lost trying to satiate your munchies craving. Caution: Do not mix with hard alcohol.
  2. Alcohol – yes, just because all your festivals are sponsored by them, and your dad drinks, and your grandpa drinks, it doesn’t mean alcohol is not a drug. It is, but the morality of it being legal is a different discussion. Stay hydrated. Eat well. And go easy. You don’t want to projectile at some unsuspecting chick dressed like a fairy. Caution: Slow down. Do not mix the darks and the whites. And remember all that coke and sprite and whatever mixers you use, have an obscene amount of sugar content. Make sure the ice is made with filtered water. Or skip the ice.
  3. Cocaine – now we’re going hard. It ups the energy levels. But it can also up the douchebag levels. Tends to make some feel aggressive. If you have that tendency, stay off the coca. Do not walk around like you dipped your face in snow. Caution: stay hydrated. Don’t start a fight. Somebody will clock you out.
  4. MDMA/extacy/molly – everybody’s fave party/rave/festival drug. Will help you dance 15 hours straight, but the body ache recovery post festival will take 10x that time. Also, you’ll be feeling the love a lot. But don’t get too touchy-feely with random strangers, aaite? The bouncers are always watching. Caution: There’s a lot of bad MD going around, especially at festivals when those greedy scumbag peddlers are out to make a fortune. So go easy. Watch out for really bad downers and anxiety attacks. Both cocaine and MDMA tend to increase your tolerance for alcohol. But when they wear off, the alcohol side effects will make life hell. Very dehydrating, so carry a ton of oral hydration salts or glucon d.
  5. LSD – magical colours, patterns, and love will exist where they never did before. Also this is probably the least harmful drug, physically. But if you have any case of mental or emotional trauma or baggage, stay off absolutely. LSD takes a while to wear off. And if you’re stuck in a painful psychological trip, you might even consider killing yourself to get out of it. Please don’t give the drug a bad name by dying. Caution: stay hydrated. Fresh juices/fruits are best.
  6. DMT – if you take this at a music festival, you’re probably out of your mind. Literally. And some of those EDM acts while tripping on DMT can be akin to sitting in a pitch black torture chamber listening to nickelback for days together on loop. Caution: certainly not to be mixed with other chemicals or alcohol or greasy food.
  7. Ketamine – aka fertilizer aka horse tranquilizer aka don’t touch that thing. But more often than not, this has been passed around as MDMA among unsuspecting festival goers. Given its low cost, its also become a popular choice of drugs among the youth. But honestly, I cant think of a worse drug than ketamine. If you DO end up using, make sure you stay hydrated and keep chewing gum as well. Those jaw clenches can be gnarly. And really, the 3-4 terrible days of recovery period – where your tongue burns and your jaws hurt and you have no appetite – is hell.

So yeah, I’ll recycle this post just in time for the next festival season. But keep these general tips in mind anyway, and stay psychologically undamaged/alive.

 

 


Throwback Goa – The Hippy Days

Ever since the post that featured Goa Gil, i’ve come across him a few times on various other links.

This one came up on my fb timeline today. A heart-wrenching look at what happened to Goa in a few decades. To think we were not even born during the best days.

It’s a thing with human beings; find something beautiful and destroy it. We’re all guilty. That’s why I’ve spent most of the last two years in sparsely populated lands.

And yes, when a man from the 60s tells you that cocaine and heroin killed the hippie era, stay off that shit.

This dude right here, if you can find him, spend as much time as you possibly can.


Peddla

I was just sitting there minding my own business, pooped from an afternoon of dune-boarding, and there was this model shooting for her music video by the oasis in Huacachina. So i kept busy at this spot.

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That was when this couple walked my way…

‘Hi’, the guy said.

‘Hi…’

‘We’re looking for a friend of ours… thought it was you.’

‘Your friend looks exactly like me, then.’, i responded.

‘Our friend has drugs to sell.’

‘Oh…’

‘It’s not you, right?’

‘I’m certainly not the friend you’re talking about, but i think he’s two blocks down and on the right.’

‘So, you’re saying you don’t have any drugs?’

Now if i said no, that would have been a lie. It was true that i did not have any drugs TO SELL. But I couldn’t lie.

‘Look man’, I said, ‘the guy you’re looking for is behind that pub. If you don’t find him, come back here and maybe i’ll give you something. Just a little bit. But I’m not the friend you’re looking for.’

That’s a common occurence this whole trip.

That, and ‘hey amigooo/Bob Marley… you want to buy paintings? jewellery? cannabis? cocaine…?’

They really progress quick.

If you’ve liked my posts, show me love with hugs and/or donations over at johnnybizzle.bandcamp.com; also pick up free tunes while you’re there.


J-C

The first 7 days in the jungle in Cumbaza, there were 4 of us.

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(L-R: earth, fire, air, water)

Then two of them left. The two that said goodbye were the ones who could speak English. Now the ones left were J-C, who speaks 3 words of English, and me, who speaks 3 words of Spanish. The only English he spoke were filler lines from hip hop songs.

‘Yeah! Come on!’, Notorious BIG.

‘Alright! Yeah yeah!’, Diddy.

I thought that was the end of human conversation for me. I was prepared to start talking to the trees and the animals.

But, necessity, invention, and all that. We eventually coined our own language. The first night we spoke in the dark until four candles died out. After that it was a breeze.

When i first met J-C, i was intimidated. All of 6’2″ and built like a raw steak. Fists twice the size of mine. I thought he was a local thug in Tarapoto. Turned out to be a gentle giant. This is him trying to have his next fb profile pic done.

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He’s a funny guy. There was this time he told me once, when i opened my laptop, he said electronics were not a good idea while in the jungle. Spoils the energy, he said, with a very serious face. Then he went back to his cell phone, on which he spoke for over 3 to 4 hours in a day. Or the time he said the animals in the jungle were a peaceful bunch. They harm nobody. Then he bumped into a massive honeycomb and was chased around the place by over two dozen bees. Imagine a guy the size of an american football player, screaming and running from a bunch of bees. I wanted to help but i was busy rolling on the floor laughing till no sounds came out my mouth.

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Soon he was my ayahuasca consultant, he’s been to over a hundred ceremonies in the last four years. And as fate would have it, i became his relationship counsellor.

The hours he spent on the phone, all those calls were from his girl. Around 7, maybe 8 a day. He looked in anguish after every call. So finally i asked him if everything was ok. He let out a deep sigh, sat next to me.

‘Bijou… my woman. Crazy.’

Common problem. What happened J-C?

Every time J-C talks, there’s more action and hand motions than words. Hand motions like he’s swatting imaginary mosquitoes around his head. Cos he’s trying to figure the English words in his head, while muttering Spanish words, till we both come to the conclusion as to what word he was trying to get at.

‘She 35… but *hand motions*… mentalty…? mentalty…?’

Mental? Mentality?

‘Si! Mentality.. *hand motions*.. only 15.’

Aaah.

‘Sheeee… *hand motions* inseguridad? insecure? insecure? She vaaery insecure.’

Ya, insecure.

‘Insecure…*hand motions*… jayloos.. ego… aaaand vaaery*hand motions* arrogante’

Yeah, yeah, you’re getting it. Arrogant, si.

‘Sheeee…*hand motions*… Bee polar’

Bi-polar.

‘Bipolar, bipolar, si!’

He went on to tell me how it’s been a hard year, yadda yadda, she never understands. All she wants to do is go out and get coked out, smashed, and then cry.

Cry.

Cry.

And then go out get smashed again.

Told him ‘know when to draw the line’. You can try to help someone as much as you want, but not at the cost of your own peace and freedom. He’s fighting the good fight. His ordeal is, he’s the one who introduced her to drugs, and now she doesn’t know any other way. So of course, he believes if he doesn’t help her get out of it, bad karma.

J-C used to be a hydroponic dealer in Lima. For 10 years, if you bought the best weed in and around Lima, or anywhere in Peru, possibilities were they came from his terrace.

10 years. 400 soles for 28 grams the going rate. That’s about 10,000 – in rupees. When i told him the price of weed in India, his jaw hit the floor. Of course, that’s not even a fraction of the quality though. 10 years he was THE man to go get your stash from.

Four years ago he was sitting and flipping channels when he saw his friends on TV. Busted by the cops, with a jar he had sold them as evidence laid out on the table. He ran to the roof, and destroyed everything he had. The neons, the pipelines, the systems, and over 500 plants. Bags and bags of seeds and soil he’d imported from Amsterdam and Canada. All, incinerated within a couple of hours.

In four days he was out of Lima, that was in 2010.

This is him today, after our time in the jungle.

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I’ve always wondered, why is the weed in India so shitty, man?