Citation: Distressed. "Finally Cured: experience with Cannabis, Olanzapine (Zyprexa), Paroxetine (Paxil), and Various Pharmaceuticals (ID 51558)". Erowid.org. Sep 12, 2007. erowid.org/exp/51558
When I went to high school I was really interested of drugs, especially psychedelics and that kind of stuff. After reading a lot about psychedelics me and my friend decided to try the legal alternatives such as LSA, and it was a really good experience. Very mild psychadelic experience, a very pleasant “come down” and “afterglow” as well, feeling narcotic in some way. We used it recreational some times and then we decided to try out Salvia, which we heard was “the real thing”. And it sure was. Being out of room and space for 10 to 20 minutes a hit, was a real deep and a meaningful experience for me, it was like opening “The Doors of Perceptions”.
Well, starting school again after the summer holiday, my friends and I started drinking heavily. I was studying at a high school which was about 100 km from my family home so I lived in a campus with my own apartment, and the culture at that campus was like “drink until you drop”. “Punch-drunk” was the pattern, or as we said: “Karate-drunk”. A lot of things were stressing me at that time, I was forced to raise my grades so I could get in at a nice University and there was a lot of tension between me and my parents. I was also drinking very heavily.
My friends back home were occasionally smoking cannabis, and I wouldn’t mind to try either, so I invited a friend who had the hashish with him. And it was not standard hashish, it was like “chewing gum”. So we bunkered up with some munchies and started to (I don’t know the English word so instead I say) “prepare the joints”.
Being such a looser like me, trying to have a “hardcore” image, at least back then, I was smoking way too much and holding my breath way too long, so I got pretty stoned. God DAMN I was stoned. I couldn’t stop laughing, which did bother and scare me in the first place, but then I figured out that it wasn’t dangerous so I had a pretty good time with my friend. I can recall that we were looking at some hilarious show called “Kenny and Spenny”. They where “far way out” I can tell you, and we had so much fun commentating the show. Drinking Coca-cola was like drinking “The water of life” and ohh my fucking god what that hamburger and candy was good.
During the influence, I started noticing how psychedelic Cannabis was for me, I started seeing numbers and letters flying around, and it was pretty cool. I called some friends to come over and se how much “out in space” I was. After a while they came over and where pretty concerned with me almost flipping out, but in a good way, on Cannabis. Well, after a while they left and I don’t remember anything more than waking up in the morning with somewhat “tired feeling”, you can call it hangover. People smoking occasionally have told me that they don’t get “hung-over”, maybe it’s just me.
Well, after preparing breakfast to my friend and me, my friend asked if he could call a buddy of him, who was a “real stoner”, so that he could join up and join the “smoking party” that we were having. My answer was obvious; of course he could join us smoking the night long. The friend of my friend came over, and he had some real good weed with him, hard to get here in the northern regions of Europe, so we prepared joints with hashish and joints with weed. And then we started to smoke.
This was my second time smoking CB, and I was mixing weed with hashish, and I believed that the “high” would be like yesterday, but it wasn’t. After maybe 15 minutes I was starting to have panic-attacks, believing that I was doomed and that I would have a “Cannabis-psychosis”. The good feeling that I had experienced the last time was the entire opposite. Instead of having great feelings I was suffering from extreme pain, extreme “mind-warping” and so on. A really bad trip I would say. It was so terrible so it’s nothing that I would my worst enemy to experience.
I was helped by my friends who were trying to calm me down. They were helping me to the toilet so that I could throw up, because they thought that that was the problem, but as I tried to puke, my “mind warp” was getting even worse. It was like my whole life passing through my head, and when I closed my eyes I was seeing burning landscapes and my own personal version of “Ragnarök”.
My friends tried everything to get me better; from cold water drenched towels placed on my head to forcing me to drink sugar water, but nothing could keep me from flipping out, badly. After a great effort I managed to stand up and went to my bed and tried to focus on the time, because I knew how long a Cannabis high would last, at least I thought that. I was in enormous physical and mental pain for about 3-4 hours I think, but it felt like thousands and thousands of years. My friends still tried to calm me down, but it didn’t work. I was looking at the clock at least once every 30 second, and I was trying to keep my head together. I cried like a baby, and was begging my friends to call an ambulance, but they didn’t and today I am glad that they didn’t. Because if I were caught smoking Cannabis, I would be expelled from the school because they had an extremely hard policy against drugs, and I really wanted to stay in school since I had been studying very hard to get in.
After 3-4 hours, the effects went of, really strange, as fast as they appeared they disappeared. And I was so fucking happy that it was over. Phuu, I thought that I was going insane and would be staying in that state of mind for the rest of my life. After maybe 20-30 minutes me and my friends agreed to go out for a stroll and smoke some more (I know, I am so stupid), but I only smoked just two small drags and it was okay. I was not experiencing any high at that point, I was just a little relaxed and of course very happy that my “panic-mind warp”-episode was over.
Well, after that weekend of both wonderful and really horrifying and terrible experiences my invited friends left, maybe a little shocked about me flipping out and so. But I had paid for about 2 grams of the “chewing-gum-like-hashish” so my friend left a joint for me and my other friend, the one who I did psychedelics with, and the next weekend we decided to smoke that one up. It ended up just like earlier, I was totally flipping out and had mind warps and panic-attacks. But I managed to get trough easily because I knew that it was not a psychosis or something like that.
Two weeks later, after seeing a “future-educating-counsellor” where I chose different educations and classes for my future University studies, I was having a flashback; at least I thought it then. But it wouldn’t stop, I also got HPPD-related symptoms, so after having, what I now know was a panic-attack with HPPD-symptoms in 24 hours, I called the emergency phone-line and explained how I was feeling and that I thought I was going insane. So they directed me to the “mentally-illness”-emergency ward who told me to get myself together and come by as soon as possible.
Well, I got there by bus and was allowed to go inside after explaining how bad I was feeling, and I was redirected to a waiting room. After 2-3 hours I was allowed to meet a psychiatric specialist who was asking different questions about how it all started, and at first I tried to lie to her about my experience with cannabis, trying to say that it was just a panic/anxiety-syndrome triggered by alcohol consumption and a lot of stress, but after she attracted attention to me that my symptoms sounded like a “Cannabis-psychosis” I figured out that I couldn’t lie more if I was going to be “normal” again. So I told her about my experience with drugs and then she told me that I was having a “Cannabis-psychosis”.
I was horrified, but she calmed me by saying that it would wear of if I followed and used the large prescribed amounts of Zoloft (Sertralin), Zopiclone (Zopiklon), Esucos (Dixyrazin) and Propavan (Propiomazin) that I got. I got some Oxascand-pills (Oxazepam) as well because I was in such an upset mood. I went home and swallowed all of the Oxascand-pills that I got and slept very well.
I started to use Zoloft and the other pharmaceuticals that I was prescribed. I got somewhat better after about two or three weeks, but after that it didn’t got any better, maybe a slow bettering, but over the time of 3 months or so I visited the “mentally-illness” emergency ward several times when I got panic-attacks, but they said that they couldn’t do anything more than to forward me to the “addicted to narcotics” ward. And that was something that I simply couldn’t cope with. I wasn’t addicted to any substance at all. Maybe I had a pretty high alcohol consumption, but except for that, it had none addiction at all. They also said that I couldn’t be treated for my anxiety-disorder there, because I still was resident of my home-county.
The HPPD-similar symptoms were there all the time and were a major reason of why I got panic-attacks. After taking Zoloft for about nearly 4 months or so, I gave up. I thought that: “Well I tried drugs, it was something that I decided and now I have to take the consequences of my actions. Maybe my life is destroyed but at least I can try to manage living on, in what is still left of my life”. So I went “cold-turkey” on Zoloft, which was a really unpleasant experience, and started studying as well as I could with the anxiety, the panic-attacks and the HPPD in the background all the time.
It was the last term in high school, and the reason to why I managed to get nice grades and didn’t commit suicide was because of my supporting friends. They where a real access to rely on when I got panic-attacks and was really depressed. During this time there where a lot of partying and boozing, and we where making our own home-distilled brew which held a percentage of about 38-42 percent of alcohol, so we were “karate drunk” maybe 3-4 times a week. My friends where partying to have fun, but I was drinking just to lessen my anxiety.
After high school, in the summer vacation between high school and University-studies, I spent my days working and boozing. I wasn’t getting any better, the HPPD was always there, and so was the anxiety and panic-attacks. When summer was over I moved 1000 kilometres from home to study Civil Engineering at a big University. And at first I tried to cope with my mental problems, but it didn’t work out well, so I contacted the local health centre and got an SNRI called Remeron (Mirtazapin) prescribed, which made me feel worse than ever and I gained a lot of weight, about 15 kilos in 3 weeks. Remeron was worsening me so much that the doctors suggested me to wind down the dosage and finally stop taking the drug.
After a period of about 3 months I was contacted by the local psychiatry ward and got an personal therapist to visit and talk to once a week. I started to feel a lot better and was prescribed and SSRI called Paroxetin (Paroxetin). My panic-attacks decreased and so did my anxiety, but the HPPD was still there, always luring in the background.
Under the time from that I moved to this new location and started studying I couldn’t even manage to go to classes because of the anxiety. So I didn’t get any grades the whole school term, but after I was beginning to take Paroxetin things went better. And now after 4 months of therapy and Paroxetin I went and visited a real specialist in anxiety disorders who had my whole medical history, and he prescribed Zyprexa (Olanzapine) to me. I was kind of nervous taking one more medicine, because of how bad I went when I used Remeron (Mirtazapin), but now after have been taking a 5mg pill 30 minutes before bedtime in two weeks I feel so much better. It is like being myself again! The HPPD is still there, but is reduced and that is why I will ask the specialist to increase the dosage of the drug when I have a following up meeting.
While writing this, I am studying the subjects that I have missed last term and it is going pretty good. On Saturday I will take on my first exam and I am sure it will go well. This was my story, but it hasn’t ended yet, it still remains to see if Zyprexa (Olanzapine) will reduce and maybe even take away all of my HPPD-symptoms. Today I am feeling strong; I am on a diet and exercises to loose those kilos I gained while I was taking Remeron (Mirtazapin). I am also studying more and better than ever before. I have also stopped boozing so hard as I did before to reduce the anxiety, because I don’t have so much angst anymore.
Finally, what am I trying to say with this? Actually I don’t really know. Maybe I am trying to help and convince people that there is a way out of the hell that psychadelics and Cannabis can cause, but I surely cant say that, because I am not complete cured. How this will end is up to the future to show.
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