By Daniel Stuart
I exhale the second toke as quickly as I can, but I know in that moment that the landing gears were being pulled up and I’m going for a ride that I will never forget. Once the drug has got you in it’s talons, the exit door can only be found at the end of the trip. If you make it that far.
My heart is racing, working overtime with no sign of slowing down, picking up speed every minute. My head is spinning. I need to lie down. I move as fast as I can, but time is slowing. During the short time it takes to make it to my bedroom the drug has already taken what I thought would be it’s most serious effect on me. I am wrong.
I’m getting scared. My mind is racing. Is this my house? What if the people who live here come back and ask me what I am doing? Do I belong here? And the ‘I’ part; who am I? I repeat my name over and over but I still can’t make any sense of why I am here.
Whose bed am I crawling into? Is that my book on the nightstand? I read? I see an arm lying beside me. It can’t be mine. And whose boots are those on the bed? I move my eyes and discover the boots are attached to legs. But whose? It seems that the only thing that belongs to me are these eyes. I am looking thru someone else’s head!
This isn’t true, I tell myself. This isn’t happening. My heart speeds up. I try to move. I try to wiggle a finger but I find not a single command works for any of the limbs I see lying here around me on the bed. They weren’t mine.
I try to control my breathing. My thoughts are running rampant. I’m starting to freak out. I’ve heard many stories about this same drug and not a one has ended with good results. I know where I’m heading. This is the day I lose.
I think about the historical significance that this day will hold for me and perhaps others. “Remember the day Uncle Daniel went crazy?”, “It was close to the same day ole Red lost his head,” “Sorry, my Dad can’t come to the phone right now, he went insane last week.” Not funny, Red!, I tell myself. It’s not helping the situation at all.
The world dims. This is my exit. I feel it coming and wonder how it will come about. Will I scare my family? I want the door locked so I can’t get out. Does it hurt when your heart explodes inside your chest? I’m thankful the door is unlocked but I don’t want any child to find me.
Breathe, Red! It doesn’t have to be this way! Work your way thru it! I tell myself that I’ll try but it may not be possible. I see the wall. It moves closer. It moves away. Near. Far. Near. Far.
I realize that somehow I have sat up on the edge of the bed. How? I am confused. I’m almost convinced that this really is not my body. But whose? It’s almost completely dark in my world now, which really scares me because when I had just been outside it was still daylight. Has it been that long? How long have I been in here? Will I ever come down?!
Will it kill me? Or worse, will I be the guy locked up in the insanatarium rocking back and forth, never remembering anything before that day? Never remembering the love and friendship that came from the people around me? Never remembering all the joy I shared with the numerous children in my life? Come back, man! Come back!
The room is getting smaller. It’s closing in. I know that in order to save myself I need to spread it back out. I need to open the curtains. Again, I can not find the right commands.
My heart rate triples. My chest hurts. My head is a carnival ride.
Water! I need water! The closest place is the bathroom. How will I make it there? Deep inside my head I know that I am not totally crazy yet. I can do this. With all my strength, I force my legs underneath of me. My eyes head for the door so I assume that my body must be going with them, even tho I can not feel it move.
Somehow, I have made it through two doors and am now standing at the sink. The movement has, what I believe, quadrupled my heart rate. I remember thinking that a mess would be easier to clean up here, in the bathroom, if my body does explode.
I feel cellophane. I hear cellophane and realize that the sound, and the feeling, is coming from within my head. I turn the water on. Cold, cold water. I cup my hands and drink as much as I can. Then, I drink some more. It’s not working. I hold my wrists under the faucet and let the cool liquid run down over them with hopes of slowing down my blood flow. It’s not working.
I refuse to look at myself in the mirror out of fear that whatever I see on the other side just might push me over the edge. My body starts to shake. The convulsions are unnerving. I’m still trying to mentally talk myself out of it. I think I can, but at that same moment I think that my thoughts are delusional. I feel that I am trying to talk myself out of talking myself into talking myself out of it.
I need comfort. I need someone else to know what is happening just in case I do die, or worse, in case I lose my sanity. Are there voices outside the room? They are not speaking any language that I understand. Why am I in this house? Am I at a neighbors or have I forgotten that I’ve taken a trip to a different world? I decide to try anyway.
As I reach for the door knob, I catch myself wondering if I will be able to form words with my mouth, at all. What language will I speak? Will I speak the same words as the voices outside? Am I just thinking in English? It’s not real, I tell myself.
After another soaking of my wrists under the cold water I open the door and yell the only name I can think of at the time. A family member. Amazingly she answers. She comes into the bathroom with me and I tell her with thick lips and confused sentences what I have done. What is happening?
She doesn’t freak out and that makes me feel better. Offering to take me to the hospital, I refuse. First, I say, let’s try something else. What else? I don’t know. Cops and doctors tend to freak me out and on top of that I couldn’t imagine riding in a vehicle. Would I jump out? Would I cause her to have a wreck? I want to hurt no one. Not even if I don’t mean to.
I ask her to check on me every once in awhile and please keep the kids from coming in here. They shouldn’t find me like this. I don’t want to lock the door. I might need someone from the outside to come inside.
I need to sit. I rest on the edge of the tub and lean on the cool smooth sink. I breathe. Long deep breaths.
Finding a glass of milk in my hands, I think I have drawn it from the sink. Impossible! My mind goes back to a couple minutes ago that seemed so far away. Graciously, she brought it to me because I could not go to the kitchen.
Knowing I was fighting a losing battle, I didn’t want defeat to come while standing amongst the kids and other family members. I am still at the point where it could go in either direction. Just a little push would send me over the edge. I am still grasping at life and my sanity but I didn’t know for how long I can hang on.
Breathe. Drink milk. Breathe. Run cold water over my wrists. Breathe. Breathe! Slow. Steady. Deep breaths now.
Hearing the words being spoken out loud, I wonder who is speaking? I am in alone. My thoughts are now audible to me. My nerves are carrying the wrong message. I’m still scared, but not as bad. I have help now.
“Oranges,” she says. Something sugary, like oranges is what you need. “Oranges?,” I ask. “Sugar?” She opens up a container of mandarin oranges, just a crack, and insist I drink the juice. I believe her, so I do. And turning on that fan will help.
My heart leaps. I am overjoyed because at that very moment what she is suggesting is what I desperately need but could by no means come up with any good ideas on my own. Trying to keep myself sane and breathing has taken up 100% of my thoughts.
Turning the knob, I stick my face in the fan. It’s not working! She flips a switch. The blades turn forcing cool fresh air into my lungs. I concentrate on deep breaths. She opens up the can of oranges all the way and tells me to eat. I will. I will because she knows it’ll help. I will because I know it’s helping.
I can breathe easier now. My heart still races and my head still spins, but I know now that the worst thing that will happen to me is death. Not the insanity that I fear so much. I know I don’t want to die, but I’ve seen people that have flipped out and it can’t be the greatest way to live.
I need more time. The fan is helping. The milk and the oranges are working. I ask for more time in this room, not wanting to go back to the bedroom. Not yet. That’s where it all started to get dark. Afraid that going back in the bedroom will cause me to spin back out of control. I don’t want to lose ground. I am granted as much time as I need and I spend it letting the fan help me take breaths.
Knowing now that I am coming down, I am very thankful for that and for the help I am given. I concentrate on talking myself into standing up and going back to my room. What if the bathroom is needed by someone else? But, I don’t want to leave the fan. I feel it’s my lifeline. I take deep breaths and try to think.
It’s odd how tired I feel even though my heart is still racing. I remember a fan in my bedroom. I still have the glass of milk and container of mandarin oranges in my hands so I stand and cautiously but quickly make my way there. I make it.
I pull the fan onto the bed and lay down in front of it. I feel better now. I use my mind to make myself go to sleep. I don’t want to stay awake. I can’t anyway.
The experience has taken it’s toll on me. I drift out and only come to when she comes in to check on me, when she softly whispers to see if I will still awaken. I thank her. She has done more than neccessary to help me survive.
She tells me not to do that again. I promise.
Afterthought: I am scared, again. Not for myself, but for kids. This stuff is sometimes being sold openly, in stores, and it shouldn’t be.
I think of my son and all the kids I know, and even the kids I don’t know. What if this had been one of them? What if they smoke it and can’t handle it?
Tears come to my eyes as I think about a child going through what I just went through and not having the mental or physical strength to get them out the other side.
I was scared. Man, was I scared. I love kids too much and certainly never want them to experience this.
Synthetic marijuana needs to be destroyed before it takes a whole generation of people down with it.