Citation: Lucius. "Is the Paranoia Real?: An Experience with Methamphetamine (ID 10028)". Erowid.org. Aug 22, 2005. erowid.org/exp/10028
The following story was written a while ago, after I had stayed up for a night and then went to an outdoor rave, which lasted for the duration of the next night. I have taken the time to edit what I originally wrote so that it made more sense in this context, but the essence remains the same. Staying up for two nights was not a big deal for me, but setting has alot to do with how drugs will affect you,and in such a negative setting as the one I am about to describe, the effects of sleep deprivation combined with crystal meth were largely negative - leading to what I assumed at the time to be a state of semi-psychosis. I came home at 4 or 5am and was able to compose myself enough to be able to document my adventures for further reference. This is part of my past and I can now say that the activities which I had engaged in were foolish and irresponsible, and I would not recommend for anyone to repeat them. I was lucky that I did not get busted, as I was very suspicious looking, obviously tweaking, and utterly paranoid. Normally, I have a very moderate sense of paranoia, and I would have to say that delusions of persecution are not something that I would harbour without good reason. Even now I am not sure as to the extent to which I was actually being watched and followed by security, and I am constantly going over the events in my head searching for what really happened.
During the previous night a small group of my friends were able to score a few grams of very nice crystal. We ended up smoking pretty decent sized bowls of it into the wee hours of the morning, with the full intention of attending a rave the next night. We were all experienced users of the drug, and had been able to sucessfully pull off staying up for a lot more than 48 hours in the past with minimal mental side-effects. We had absolutely no reason to expect there to be any problems with our plan to take meth and party for those two nights in a row.
Transcription of events...
Right now I am coming down off of crystal meth. I took two benadryls and had some chicken noodle soup to help me sleep. So far sleeping has been unsuccessful, so I got up and decided to write a little in the hopes of being able to clarify what happened. I've been up for two nights so far. At this point I would have to say that last night was probably the wierdest night of my life.
security at the party was tight, to say the least. There were uniformed as well as obviously undercover guards everywhere, and there were marked cars constantly patrolling the permitter. They had men stationed in the parking lot and would not let anyone go out to their car unless they were leaving. Needless to say, the security guards had a problem with me right away, after being there for little over one hour I was harrassed by a very intimidating looking security guard who barked at me for something extremely petty. I had gotten the feeling that the security hated with a passion the presence of the young raver-kids, and consisted of alot of off-duty and ex-cops. After a few trips to the porta-potty to smoke some crystal every 45 minutes or so, I decided that they were on to me. I suspected that security had started to pay specific attention to me. I rationalized this attention to myself by saying that I was very shady going into the porta-potties so often and staying in there for a good few minutes each time. As well, on multiple occasions people there had asked me for acid, or other drugs. Which would not be such a big deal except that I felt singled out as being the only one among my friends who looked like a drug-dealer. You would think that people at raves would ask anyone for drugs, but here I am standing around with my friends, and who do they ask but me? Consistantly. I suspected that a few of them may have been Narcs. My friends say that I looked like I was drug dealer because of the way I acted and dressed. I was not dealing any drugs and never have, but I was dressed in a somewhat different manner than the ravers were. To give you an example of how people have reacted to my appearance I will say that at points in time, even though I have a good job and a nice home, I have sat down on the sidewalk in a major city, and various youth organizations have come up to me to offer me food or various toiletry items. Another time, some students making a documentary stopped me and asked me what the worst part of being homeless was. So, I could see the rational for security to be following me. As well, there were some fully uniformed cops there early on in the party, and they had a video camera and were standing around taping people who were dancing and walking around. I told my friends about this and they did not know what to make of it.
I was absolutely positive that security was continually following me around. They were pretty professional about it. Not quite so obvious, but I picked up on it and at first pointed it out to my friends and they laughed. They noticed it too - a guard would follow me all around the party (it was large) and then when I stopped they would circle around incognito-like and find a dark corner to sit and stare at me. And this wasn't just one dude, I mean there were guys with walky-talkies taking turns. Plus, the security car with the flashing lights was constantly patrolling, but on at least a few occasions it stopped when it got to me, and I could have sworn that they were in communication with the security guards inside and were watching me.
This goes on and on and now I can't sneak off to the porta-potties anymore to do crystal because I know that they are out to catch me in the act. I determined that the porta-potties were very unsafe places to do drugs, as they had guards posted near them who would walk around behind your stall if they thought you looked suspicious, and there was no other square foot of that place that wasn't patrolled constantly by the nazi-like security guards.
Because of my lack of ability to do more drugs, and the short life of smoked crystal, sleep deprivation caught up with me, and thus my mind gave up on me and I stopped being able to comprehend complex situations. Man, did I get majorly paranoid! I tried to contain composure but it became virtually impossible not to look at everything that was going on for little nuances or symbols of my persecution. At one point I was sitting down and I was certain that the guard in the parking lot was hiding in the pitch-black areas between the cars and staring at me. My friends had by then made a point to discard everything I said about how I was being watched and followed, and told me to chill out. It was beyond my ability to do this, however. My eyes uncontrollably darted back and forth and tried to see everything at once. I could not discern relevant information from that which did not pertain to me, and it seemed that every noise or conversation or glance or every strange car or person somehow had to do with me. For the most part I repeatedly reassured myself that it was not such a big deal, and that I was just hallucinating due to my not having done enough speed in time to keep my mind awake while also being overly anxious.
Then a little later I saw two cops get out of the bushes with flashlights and run into one of the tents. Nobody believed me, they just brushed it off and told me that I should have slept the night before. Following this, I said that I saw at least two police cars pull into the parking lot with their lights and sirens off, and again no one believes me. Next thing I knew most of the security guards had abandoned their posts and were running around frantically like they had some sort of mission to accomplish. After a while I saw at least 5 more cops run into the same tent that the first two cops ran into. So I went into this tent to see what the hell they were doing. Now this was the 'Cybertrance' tent and all the ravers were in it who were really rolling their asses off on ecstasy, laying on the floor sucking on pacifiers, etc. So of course they didn't really notice or care that the cops were there. Meanwhile, the cops were sitting there talking to each other, videotaping people. I told my friends, and they didn't believe me. Well, the cops ended up going to all the stages and tents and videotaped *everyone*. My friends saw this and finally they believed me. 'You see!', I said, 'even though I may be paranoid, everything which I said happened, happened!'
After those events took place, my friends realized that most everything I had told them had been true. Those tweaking and sleep-dep'd like me then proceeded to become paranoid too, they wanted very badly to leave. I was glad to have been able to catch a ride home with them, as the friends I arrived with had to wait for the party to officially end due to various personal reasons. These two friends of mine who rode home with me also had not slept in two days and were doing crystal. Well that was a fun ride home lemme tell ya, one and a half hour drive that turned into more than two and half hours because we didn't know exactly where to go to get home, and we were missing crucial turns because we were all so out of it. We did some more crystal and woke up a little, but then became even more paraniod and nervous about being stopped by the cops. On top of that, we had to borrow the car that we were driving and did not have the insurance papers or anything else official, and we were all completely tweaking hardcore on meth with the tell-tale signs of super-dilated pupils and uncontrollable jitters. Of course, we did not want to get caught as we all had something on us.
Every second on the road I imagined that the car behind us or in front of us or waiting on the road was a cop who wanted to pull us over. More than once we had to make an emergency pit-stop by the side of the road in order to accomodate the driver's bladder. This became especially scary when trying to find a suitable place to stop as the driver was female and it was nessecary to pull off in a secluded area. This of course leads to us turning off the highway and into a random residential town where we must be careful not to arouse attention or get lost. We made it back safetly and only saw a cop once, but luckily he did not pull us over, as there was no doubt in my mind that if he had stopped us we would have been busted.
It turned out to be a damn ass wierd night, with me being unable to distinguish the extent of my own ability to comprehend reality. The whole time I so sure that all the security guards were following me everywhere, and this was in fact also witnessed to some extent by others. However towards the end of the night the meth had started to where off and I was too scared to risk doing any more. It was at this time that my thoughts became truely unmanagable. It was when I saw the cops descend run out of the bushes that I began to heavily doubt the validity of what I saw. Talking to my friends did not help as they (understandably) disregarded what I told them and refused to believe that the cops were at the party until they appeared in front of thier very eyes. My friends are still telling other people stories about how paranoid I was...but the interesting fact is that my paranoia did not seem to be way too far-fetched.
It is impossible for me to convey my reaction to all of this as it was going on. It was really very scary having to smoke crystal out of a crack pipe in the porta-potty on multiple occasions in order to stay concious while there was a man walking behind me trying to find out what I was doing, and then having uniformed men follow me non-stop when I was hallucinating from lack of sleep. It also got very irritating when party-goers kept coming up to me sneakily asking for drugs while I was being stared at by security. I was, to put it midly, very concerned about these issues and my friends heard alot about it from me. I was ultimately relieved to get home but overall it was a very anxiety-stricken night, where I had a jumbled-mess for a head. I never had one moment to compile into some rational formula what was going on until it was all over. It is hard to imagine how I would have reacted had I been sober or not sleep-deprived. I guess that I probably would have just shrugged it off and laughed.
Relating this to the effects of meth, I have heard debates concerning whether or not the paranoia associated with its use is derived from the drug itself or from the lack of sleep. From my experience I would have to conclude that the meth was primarily responsible for the feelings of persecution, while the sleep deprivation was responsible for my inability think in any sort of reasonable or coherent manner. Possibly, not having eaten anything substantial during that day may have also played a role in my brain not functioning well. Thus the combination of these elements led to a questioning of my own sanity and a complete preoccupation with trying to decipher whether or not the things which I saw and heard going on actually pertained to me. I would like to stress that it seemed a very real possibility that I would be siezed and searched at any moment - and the imminence of such a thing happening was more than enough reason to try as hard as I could to make sense of the situation. Even when still mostly alert from being on the drug, I was fully convinced that I was being followed and watched at all times. Since third party witnesses were able to attest to the fact that this was occuring to at least some extent, then I feel comfortable assuming that the crystal caused me to pay much more attention to this than I normally would have and brood on it excessively.
The morals of the story:
1) Even though I think that I have a very stable personality, and can handle drugs which I have had much experience with before, the effects of such a powerful drug as meth on my mind and my ability to deal with reality are never predictable. The setting plays an important role in my reaction to any drug, and proper health and eating habits also have alot to do with it. Combine the effects of meth with a hostile setting and a fair amount of sleep deprivation and I can not always count on having the ability to cope with a stressful situation.
2) I no longer rely on my friends to reassure me that I have not gone psychotic. Most likely they will assume the opposite. But, just because my friends don't believe me doesn't mean that what I am seeing is not real. On the other hand though, I do not always assume that I am sane while others are just refusing to understand me. If in doubt as to my sanity, I try to keep cool and ride it out until I have a better idea of what is going on. Writing all of this down really helped me to figure out what caused me to react the way I did.
3) I will now try to stay away from populated public places when my thought-patterns have become unstable!
I hope that I have not been too long winded, and that you have been able to fully digest and relate to these experiences which I have transcribed.
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