When You’re Tripping, Treat Yourself Like a Child

drugs babies child psychedelics

Hello! Welcome to day 30 PSYJuly 🙂 Tomorrow we wrap up, but today, I’d like to talk about how drugs can make us like children, and what to do about it…

Drugs make us infantile

Drugs can make us childlike in many ways. How so? What are the upsides and downsides? And what does it mean in terms of how we approach taking them? I’m glad you asked.

Firstly, drugs can make us more open and playful. They can increase our sense of wonder, curiosity and awe. These effects have many positive implications, such as increasing feelings of enjoyment and appreciation. For the most part, this is a big reason why many drugs are so popular. 

Drugs can also make us more sensitive, and emotionally vulnerable. This can be useful to process feelings and experience other ways of being. However, it can also become uncomfortable, and heightened emotions should generally be handled carefully.

Another way in which drugs make us childlike, is that they can make us incapable of many ordinarily straightforward tasks. This type of debilitating effect can range from slightly inhibiting our abilities, to turning us into full-on babbling babies.

It’s hard to do things when high

Being high makes us less, or even un, able to perform a variety of tasks. This includes verbalizing thoughts into a comprehensible form i.e. speaking coherently; or successfully coordinating the body and mind to utilize motor skills of varying complexity, from carrying a tray of drinks across the room, to playing a musical instrument.

Being high can also interfere with our ability to conduct rational, linear, logical thinking. This can have all kinds of complications depending on the context and what one is trying to do or achieve. Trying to organize and book travel, such as a journey which requires multiple changeovers and modes of transports, for example, would be an absolute nightmare whilst high (I’ve tried it, it was unbelievably confusing). Using any kind of technical equipment can also be especially difficult. Basically, performing any task which requires thinking about and coordinating more than one thing at a time will become more challenging.

Maintaining focus and holding attention on one specific thing can also be difficult. The mind wanders more freely when high, and while this is great for creative thinking, it also makes it very easy to forget or lose track of things.

Simply put, the most basic of tasks can become incredibly difficult, arduous, or just outright impossible.

Yes, we are like children, infants, or babies, when we’re high. There is even scientific research that shows a tripping brain is similar to a child’s.

“In many ways, the brain in the LSD state resembles the state our brains were in when we were infants: free and unconstrained”
– Robin Cahart-Harris |Reuters

How to treat our tripping selves

So, if our tripping selves are basically children, what does that mean about how we will approach a session?  Well, children need parenting, and I’d say the best way to approach that role is in a loving and caring way. Whether we’re looking after ourselves, or tripsitting for someone else, this can mean a number of things.

When it comes to setting, this can mean childproofing the space and setting everything up to be as simple and straightforward as possible.

When it comes to sessions where more challenging emotions or content arise, it can mean being sensitive to the vulnerable states of that person.

For group sessions, or tripsitting, it can mean clearly stating things which may usually seem obvious. This might take the form of explicit agreements to remove doubts around safety and engender feelings of trust. Agreements can define boundaries and limits, and this can create a clearly defined container for the experience. This might include agreements to not: engage in any sexual or violent behaviour, leave the space or go outside, or commit to any future plans within the group.

Overall, it means being aware that people who are either tripping or very high, are not thinking or behaving like a normal, logical adult.

Final thoughts

Even outside of psychedelic sessions, treating ourselves as children can quite often be a healthy way to relate to ourselves. Of course it won’t work for a lot of our day to day life, and could be patronising or even annoying, but aspects of the approach such as gentleness and patience can be very helpful in developing healthy relationships both with ourselves and others. 

I have personally found the mantra of “I can always be kind to myself” to be one of the most useful phrases for self talk that I’ve picked up, and especially helpful in the context of psychedelic sessions. If you have any tendency to be hard or tough on yourself then I encourage you to experiment with this phrase, and call it to mind in moments of uncertainty and doubt. This includes the totality of yourself, so being kind to your future and past selves, too. 

So, what are you waiting for? You can start right now…

How can you be kind to yourself?  🙂