Friday, 9 September 2016

Psychopharmacological Experiment in Artisan and Panacea

Saturday night: I took a group to Spinningfields bar Artisan before heading on to one of the most luxurious clubs in Manchester, Panacea on John Dalton St.

The group met near the floor-to-ceiling window on the upper floor, overlooking the Spinningfields area and took over a few of the comfortable couches placed there. I chose Artisan for the starting place as, the d├ęcor and cocktails are fantastic the clientele are frequently great to look at and it's nearby to the club. (They just need an extra server on the bar.) Now. Seeing as I wasn't driving, I figured the night was perfect for a little psychological experiment. Bear with me here.

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

I've written about how adolescent trauma can affect people in adulthood, and how events in school can still affect people (certainly myself) later in life. If you want to read a bit of a lengthy sob story, check out “Don't be a Twat,” and follow subsequent three parts. A school friend read it soon after I uploaded the fourth and final part, and told me it made her cry. So it must be either written pretty well, or pretty shit. You can be the judge. The point is, girls in school- we're talking people I knew around 2 decades ago- would tell me nobody would ever find me attractive. In later life no matter how many girls I pulled, I still believed the opinions of a group of teenagers who didn't like me and I hadn't seen for almost half my life. As a result of this, I have feared rejection ever since my school days. It's ridiculous.

Anyway. I get nervous around attractive women and it tends to stop anything from happening in the first place.

Some months ago I stumbled across Psypost, a blog covering the latest developments in the field of psychology. As someone with memory difficulties who has been though neuropsychology in the NHS, I find this area fascinating as it has helped me so much in gaining independence and building confidence. Now. Take a look at this particular post about psychopharmacology, “the branch of pharmacology dealing with the psychological effects of drugs.” (Dictionary.com.) The post discusses the party drug MDMA, and its role in assisting those with PTSD. The article states that 'injecting the mice with a single dose of MDMA prior to extinction training “resulted in persistent and powerful reductions in conditioned fear.”'

Weeks after this I managed to procure a small amount of MDMA in the form of a 'bomb' (a small amount of crystal substance wrapped in paper, tied at the top). I threw it in my cash box. Some weeks later the donor asked me if I'd used it, and I admitted I'd totally forgotten about it. I had to check whether I'd put it there at all, as I had no recollection of what I'd done with it (it WAS there). I devised a plan.

I put up a meetup with Manchester Cool Bars to visit Artisan and Panacea, with the intention of having a couple of drinks in the first bar then go on soft drinks in the club. Saturday 3rd rolled around, and I realised it was the perfect time to give the MD a shot. I'd gathered everyone's emails beforehand and got guestlist to the club, so entry was free. As Panacea started to get busy (mostly with gorgeous women) I broke up the bomb in my pocket and dabbed at it, ingesting it steadily and chewing up the paper.

I already felt good: I was dressed well and always feel a little pride at being the group organiser. The atmosphere was just right and everyone was enjoying themselves. Panacea is very smart, very elegant and everyone seemed friendly. (It was also very expensive: £10 for a shot of Highland Park. Someone in my group claimed they ordered the same drink 3 times and got charged a different amount each time.) It was so posh that when someone farted (it wasn't me, for the record) one of the bar staff came out spraying a can of air freshener.

A photo posted by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

I spotted a girl: in her twenties, blonde, big boobs and hair and in a nice orange dress. She was beautiful. It was nerve-racking, as it always is, but, the anxiety subsided once I'd approached. It was perhaps less intense than usual due to the drugs. I told her my name, she told me hers, and we got talking. All pretty normal really. (For most people, I assume.) She introduced me to her friends, and before long I'd kissed her. She had a table booked with her mates, so I joined her there.

We were still talking when the club closed. Since then we've kept in touch and we're going to meet; we're just trying to find the time.

Now. According to the findings in the Psypost article, it only took one dose to enhance the extinction of the conditioned fear. That's all the MDMA I had, so the next plan is to try the same thing again in possibly the same club (and hope the girl in the orange dress doesn't see this blog post. Nor the club, who might not be too happy. I don't want any problems at the door). The theory- THEORY- is I'll be able to approach other girls comfortably and my fear of rejection will have disappeared.

Or, maybe the girl in the orange dress might stick around and I won't have to.

Either way, I'll get back to you on it. It was a great night. Here's the club's album (that my group is for some reason not in, even though we definitely posed).

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