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That's what I've been chasing my whole life. That clarity. The world got rid of MXE as quickly as possible; for whatever reason, nothing else is like that, and no one ever synths it. Even when it was still around, the UK batches were different from what came after.
Other dissociatives usually have this cognitive blunting effect... fun, but not especially useful. It was better being able think and focus while /dis/ed.
Quads deserve a response, even here. When I was younger, I was seriously depressed. I don't think I realized how far down I was at the time. That was why I did DXM (and later other dissociatives) in the first place. The afterglow was like a breath of fresh air when I was drowning. As you know, it doesn't last.
I drew up a list of things I was willing to try to get out of it. ECT was on there, a few items below ibogaine, just above the dramatic stuff (still curious about ibogaine - it might've been worth doing). It kind of says something that ECT was on the list at all. I would never consider it as I am now, but I guess I was desperate.
If I'm being honest, weed really contributed to the depression. There was some lift while I was high, but life was generally lower and more apathetic when I was smoking. I tried most of the better-known drugs, everything from catnip to LSD and heroin (as well as psych-approved meds), and didn't see any long-term improvement. Opioids and stimulants fixed things up for a few hours, but it's obvious where that goes; I never made them a habit.
I did do some K (albeit insufflated). It was nice in the hole, but didn't have even something like the afterglow of DXM for me. I know K, /psy/, etc works for some - not for me. For whatever reason, MXE turned out to be a godsend that did yield some change over time. Those were the best days of my life.
I didn't realize it at the time, but I had terrible social anxiety, to the point that I hated walking in public where there were other people. It felt like everyone was looking at me. As much as I hated it, having a job - where I was forced to socialize - helped a lot, too. Thee's a lot of stability in being at least that okay with people. I wish it was otherwise, but we are social animals. Isolation hurts most of us over time, significantly.
All that had me functioning. There were still a lot of low moments (days, weeks, etc), but nothing like the crushing depression I had in early college. Two things have helped with what was left; just getting older (and essentially more mellow) was one of them. Kratom is the other. I take some kratom pretty much every day. Tolerance got high at one point, but I've sorted it out and kept the dosage reasonable for a long time. It's not a drug I can really abuse, more like a medication. Kratom isn't satisfying like drugs are, but it makes your day that much better.
In the meantime, I also learned to fly. I'm near the point where I can quit my night job and live where I want, and I'm hoping that will take me the rest of the way home. Kratom - and getting out every day, talking to people (as much as I hate people on some level) - and trying to make a life have made something bearable out of all this. I'm not all the way there yet, but I wouldn't trade places with my early twenties, college self for anything.
The clarity of MXE haunts me, though. That was pretty much everything I wanted out of life. I'm not in a hole anymore, but I'm still trying to get back to that gnostic clarity, that level of inspiration and peace.