Citation: John Borland. "Made Me Irresponsible: An Experience with Zolpidem (Ambien) (ID 36675)". Erowid.org. Jan 9, 2007. erowid.org/exp/36675
I suffer from insomnia and was prescribed Ambien. This wasn't my first experience, but will be my last. My experiences are divided into two classes, the parts I remember, and the parts I have deduced from clues the next morning because of the amnesia. In my previous experiences I would take Ambien, usually on an empty stomach (this increases the effect). Within 20 to 45 minutes, I would start to experience the usually pleasant relaxation, similar to alcohol and marijuana. Your body starts to relax and your reactions slow down. Then, usually mild hallucinations begin. Finally, I would wake up not remembering the time in between.
In this particular experience, I took 20mg (2 pills) of Ambien, again on an empty stomach, and started watching TV. This was my ritual to help me sleep. I began by feeling very relaxed. My head started to feel heavy. I felt slightly stoned. I was watching the Republican National Convention (even though I am a Democrat) and started to notice that their faces seemed distorted. This wasn’t a total surprise, since I had experienced similar hallucinations before.
After becoming bored of TV, I decided to get on the computer and start web surfing and instant messaging my friends. I did this because the geometric shapes and colors on the monitor made me more relaxed and the experience more enjoyable (don’t ask me why). I started by messaging a few of my friends. The window in which I was messaging my friends started to become distorted. I noticed what were normally parallel or straight lines became wavey and “soft”. This was very similar to my LSD trips, but not as strong.
Then, I began to associate objects on the screen with other objects. For some reason I began to think of the long rectangular window I was chatting to my friends as a bus or a train, where each of the characters were people inside the train. I would also look at icons on the desktop and think of them as robots or mechanical devices. Then.. I blacked out…
The next thing I know is that I wake up and its 10am! This is bad since I needed to be AT work an hour ago. Normally I would have panicked, especially since I’m currently not on such great terms with my employer, but I noticed that I felt very relaxed, and almost happy in a care-free sort of way. I leisurely get up, realizing that I am already late anyways, and check the alarm to see if I had even set it. I had, for 8am, and wonder how I could have slept through the alarm.
Walking from the bedroom into the living room, I am shocked to see the disarray its in. My collection of hundreds of CDs is scattered across the floor. I suddenly have a flashback to the stumbling incident I had when I got up from my computer and crashed into the CD tower because of my complete lack of equilibrium. I notice miscellaneous items that had once rested quietly on my coffee table now strewn across the floor of my apartment. Once entering the bathroom I notice that the soap dispenser is overturned, clothes are on the floor, and my contacts unfortunately are desiccated and shriveled up on the counter top. I put on my glasses, take a shower, and get ready for work.
I also suffer from depression, and went to take my morning pills (Zoloft) and notice that my kitchen counter top is littered with medicine bottles. Most importantly, my bottle of Ambien was completely empty, which had several pills in it the night before. I couldn’t believe I would do something as stupid and dangerous as that, and started to feel just how out of control I was. Then decided that I needed to get to work and that was my number one priority.
Driving while intoxicated, tripping, or extremely sleep deprived is dangerous and irresponsible because it endangers other people. Don't do it!]
I get in my car and start the drive to work, and notice that I am still a little “stoned”. I pull up to the automatic gate and hit it, knocking it off its track and disabling it. I would have normally panicked at something like this, as I should have, but I’m still relaxed and care-free. Now that I am unable to exit my apartment complex the normal way, I do a 3 point turn and go towards the alternative exit. On my way around a corner I bump into a truck parked in the lot. Normally, I would have stopped and left a note, but I’m totally in an oblivious almost drunken state that I continue out of the apartment complex. Little do I know that the owner of the trunk witnessed my crime and is running towards me. As I wait for the 2nd gate to open, the one I haven’t destroyed, he jumps in front of my car and I roll down my window to talk to him.
He doesn’t seem as angry as I would have been in his position. My memory is still a little blurry, but he states that his truck isn’t damaged near as much as my car, so he thankfully lets me go. Very gratefully I continue my drive to work with no further accidents, very late.
Later that day I receive other clues to what happened that night. A friend calls me saying that I called him at 3am babbling incoherently. I look at the chat logs later and see conversations that I don’t even remember having. I wouldn’t exactly call them conversations though, because at first I was stringing together confusing sentences, then typos and misspelled words to an eventually incoherent rambling of letters.
I hope this serves to warn others about how dangerous Ambien can be. It turned me, temporarily, into an incoherent rambling maniac, then into an irresponsible criminal. The problem with Ambien is you are totally out of control.
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