Citation: Phaser. "Weakening Towards Coma: An Experience with Diphenhydramine (exp16990)". Erowid.org. Jun 27, 2005. erowid.org/exp/16990
I am almost 30 now, and pretty much over my excessive drug use. Although I still indulge in the old favorites now and again I do so with decreasing frequency. Over the years I have taken all manner of drug, sometimes to excess, but I never found myself in such a confused state as the one I found myself in when I was 14 and ingested half a bottle of Generic Motion Sickness pills. Even with LSD, THC and Nitrous Oxide thrumming through my brain all at once I could still 'maintain'. Friends hated tripping with me because I always appeared sober to observers.
At 14 I had yet to get a connection to purchase weed or any other street drug, but my desire to experience altered states was strong. Where there is a will, there is a way. At the time I was in the habit of raiding my parents medicine cabinet. I was careful and researched every drug they had BEFORE popping a few pills. I avoided accidentally taking heart medication this way, and I suggest everyone reseach a drug before consuming it. I popped Diazepam, Halcion, and all manner of phenobarbitol drugs...however, my parents were starting to notice that some pills were missing and I had to cease my activities.
I turned to over-the-counter drugs. At the time, motion sick pills were based on one of two related substances: Dimenhydrinate and Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride. I bought a bottle containing Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride. If you have ever taken a motion sickness pill for its INTENDED use, you know that these things can knock you asunder when used properly. You may get dizzy, sleepy, cotton mouthed, groggy, and your brain may seem to want to stay in a dreamy state. You can also get diarrhea and (ironically enough) nausea the next day.
I took 16 of the things on an empty stomach. I apologize to the readers that I cannot remember the mg.'s per pill. It came on within 20 minutes. I was at home with my parents (bad idea, but I was young) and had nothing to do. I began to notice a strange feeling. The only way I can describe it is that it's similar to the feeling I get when dozing off and someone nearby speaks, jerking me out of that doze. A 'startled' feeling, but this startling sensation was constant and occured with each noise. It also happened with each turn of the head to a different field of view. It was not pleasant, it was a torment. It was so strong that I knew I couldn't appear sober in front of my parents.
I began to feel a physical sensation of floating, and a sense that the messages from my brain to my limbs was rapidly slowing. I would want to move my arm, and I did, but instead of instant motion there was a slight delay. This made it difficult to walk, handle objects, and it began to effect my speech. My tongue was sluggish in forming words. It was much like the lack of co-ordination one experiences with alcohol, but not nearly as fun.
There were mental effects starting as well. I began to feel 'dumb'. I could not concentrate on a thought, and not just complex thoughts either. There was no sense of psychedelic insight, just a sense that my mind was slowing down, thoughts were more difficult to form and input from outside was more difficult to understand. Not semantically difficult, but the basic concepts of what people were saying to me were lost on me like quantum physics is lost on me when sober. I did manage to understand that I could not 'maintain' infront of my parents, so I decided to leave for 'work'. I had no shift, but planned this as an excuse beforehand. I am sure they noticed I was acting oddly. You are never as cool as you think you are.
I put on my coat and walked out the door. I was starting to have slight visuals. Nothing solid, but shadows moving in the peripheral vision. My mouth was as dry as sand paper. My tongue felt swollen and numb. I had no saliva. The dryness reached down my throat and I had trouble swallowing. The constant sense of 'startling' was getting worse. I had a constant sensation that I was being woken up suddenly. This increased to the point where I had no short term memory whatsoever. I couldn't remember the last few seconds of my situation at any given time. My longer term memory was surprisingly okay. I could remember taking the pills and leaving the house...but I couldn't remember if I had dragged on my cigarette, or even lit it.
I began to walk around the neighborhood and my condition got worse and worse...each step thundered through my body and gave the senation of being startled awake. More worrisome was the physical weakness I began to feel. It began with getting tired from walking and quickly turned into the feeling that my legs were loosing strength altogether. I started to have trouble moving my arms. I could move them, but had extreme difficulty finding the energy to do so. I decided that I couldn't go back home because my parents thought I was at work so I went to the park.
The weakness increased still. I found a bench and sat on it. I was having trouble moving even my fingers. I have never felt so physically weak in my life. I did not feel weak in the 'drowsy' sense, but weak like a sick person who is trying to pull a jetliner with a rope 100 yards. I was having difficulty holding myself in an upright position on the bench because I needed muscles to do so. I crawled into an area of bushes to lie down. I was on my hands and knees while crawling and it felt like I had 200 pounds extra to carry. I laid down in some bushes, hopefully out of sight. This began to worry me because the weakness began to creep into my diaphragm...and as we all know, it regulates breathing. I was finding myself making a huge effort to simply inhale and exhale. It took all my strength to breathe. I could not panic, because I didn't have the strength to do so.
My heart rate was slowing too. It felt weak. I knew then that this is the kind of thing that kills people. I was slipping towards cardiac arrest, and I am willing to bet my pulse was dangerously low as well. I had the sensation of all the energy being absent from my body...all my caloric, kinetic, and chemical energy was simply not there. I felt like a dead battery. I did drugs for my mind, not to screw up my body. To this day I have not experienced all-consuming weakness like this, and I have been pretty sick once or twice since then with flu, cold, strep, and concussion...none matched up to the complete lack of physical motor energy that these pills induced.
I knew that I was in trouble, so like a kid I did the wrong thing. I SHOULD have called for help, gone to the hospital, and faced the consequences. Instead I became my own doctor and decided I needed a stimulant to counteract the sedation and keep my heart from fading into arrest. I popped 5 caffeine pills and waited, trying to pay attention to my pulse while still experiencing the short term memory loss and constantly losing count. The effort of getting the pills from my coat pocket, unwrapping them and swallowing them was like climbing Everest. I have no idea how long it took me to complete these actions, but it SEEMED like forever. I could barely move. I felt like I needed to accomplish the task or die, and that might have been exactly right. I had terrible thoughts of dying in those bushes from a car-sick pill over dose. That would have been really stupid, after all, 'if you are going to O.D. you should do it on a 'real' drug like Heroin' (hey, I was 14, that was my attitude!).
I don't know whether the caffeine had something to do with it or the motion sick pills were wearing off or both, but I began to feel strong enough to at least get up and walk a bit. I still felt weaker than a baby, but I could move. Having some energy back was reassuring. At least 3 hours had passed so I went home and my parents were already in bed. I crawled into my room , but the confused sensation was still giving me trouble and I couldn't remove all my clothes without getting frustrated, so I laid half dressed on the bed and passed out.
I woke up the next afternoon still feeling too weak to do much of anything, including going to the toilet. My mother was starting to come in and ask if I was sick, so I feigned tiredness from work. The 'startling' sensation was still there whenever she spoke. This went on until the following day. But the weakness lasted for 4 days before it wore off. I was recovering, but VERY slowly. I began throwing up the second day, and I had diarrhea. This probably weakened me even further. By monday (I had taken the drug on FRIDAY) I had to go to school and drift through the day with a mouth that still felt like sand paper and I was moving slowly enough that teachers asked if I was ill. I couldn't concentrate on anything in school. I felt odd for the next week or so, but felt that I was improving. It was such a painfully slow recovery. I dont know if it was related to the pills, but I had low level nausea for at least 6 months following this experience, especially when trying to fall asleep.
I did a number of things incorrectly here, so if YOU are a younger user of substances, avoid my mistakes: Always have someone else with you, and CALL 911 IF YOU THINK YOUR BODY IS REACTING VERY NEGATIVELY...deal with your parents later, at least you will be ALIVE to get into trouble. And do everything in moderation, don't try to get as wasted as possible with a new drug. I might have had fun had I taken just 2 or 3. If you are raiding your parents cabinets for drugs, make sure you get the name of the drug and reaseach it in a catalog or on the web FIRST. Know the intended use of the drug, its interactions with other drugs, its side effects, its main activity in your system, and the signs of overdose. You may think your grabbing Prozac when you are actually grabbing Nitro for heart attacks. Enough of my preaching.
As for motion sick pills...well, they DO fuck me up but it is not anywhere near 'fun'. It is unpleasant and probably dangerous. It is not psychedelic or 'trippy'...all I experience is confusion and weakness. I could get the same kind of fun from a bad head injury.
I don't recommend this to anyone.
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