Citation: Martinez. "Paralyzing Hell: An Experience with Diphenhydramine with Acetaminophen (ID 62810)". Erowid.org. Oct 18, 2009. erowid.org/exp/62810
I am a frequent user of diphenhydramine, as I am a self-diagnosed chronic insomniac -('self-diagnosed', courtesy of Wikipedia and the obvious fact that I can rarely achieve sleep).
I've been taking Diphenhydramine, regularly, in the OTC form of Excedrin PM for the last two months. Last night I switched to Advil Pm. I am in good health, aside from the insomnia. I've become adapted to pills and consequently had to up the dosage by one pill at a time. I took the 114mg at approx. 2:30a, and waited the usual 30-40min. to allow the occurence of any effects.
I did my routine bath, reading, etc. then decided to lay down in the dark, as it would be likely that I would succumb to the effect of the pills unbeknownst to my conscious mind, and it would be the only safe way to go about matters. As usual, I became extremely relaxed and content in my physical state, but this was quite abnormally preceeded by a slight nausea, which I hadn't experienced with the aforementioned brand of the same drug.
Then came a state I've never known. I've had experience with hallucinogenic substances numerous times -drugs such as psilocybe cubensis, but this was nothing like that. I lay in the darkness expecting the approximating comfort of sleephood, but what I got I did not expect at all. The most prominent observation was the auditory insanity. I'll describe it plainly. My body simply could not move. I lay virtually paralyzed. I knew that I was not in a dream-state because I was able to distinguish the walls and dimensions of my room, as well as the location and trajectory of these sounds. It started with the plainly discernable knocking at my door, a door which carries a distinct and unmistakable acoustic tone of it's own. So naturally I answered verbally. When I got no response, well, that was when I realized I was hallucinating. The knocks returned throughout, followed in sporatic intervals by the very clear and distressed voice of a woman calling out for me. Calling out in plain english words, 'Jason, help! Jason! Jason!'
Alien sounds ensued from a not-too-distant place, sounds which I can only describe as completely alien. Completely. There were maddening scratches coming from beyond the wall nearest to my head, from the outside of my house. These were the sounds of animated hands tauntingly scratching at my walls, torturing me with the possibility of my own doom, as I was still unable to achieve mobility. Periodically I answered toward the knocks at my door. Periodically I prayed to a god that I don't even believe in to grant me a merciful sleep. The sounds were unrelenting, taps, alien clicks, reverberating echoes of a non-instrumental manner, infinite, and I must stress, inescapable sounds. I had only to wait in horror for sleep. Wasn't that the point? To induce sleep? Indeed it was, but it seemed to never come.
Ultimately, sleep must've come, as I awoke the next day at 5:00p from a nightmare to the rings of a telephone and the supremely pleasing voice of a familiar woman. I'm certain I'll either stop taking diphenhydramine and practice more natural methods of reaching a sleep state, or perhaps I'll even return to my loyal brand of sleep-aid. Time will tell.
It must be noted that these auditory experiences were accompanied by an equivalently balanced physical immobility, as I have stressed numerously throughout my account. Also there was the epic, tingly pleasure that diphenhydramine is reknown for, but that hardly mattered to me in the face of my mortal eradication. Another noteworthy observation is that I was not, in any way, out of practice to my ordinary health customs or routine habits during this experience. There was, however, one dominant factor that may very well have provoked such a reaction, stress. I am currently undergoing a highly stressful period in my life, which is no doubt the initial prompter of the insomnia anyway.
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