Citation: Dr S.. "Epiphany, It Seemed: An Experience with Modafinil & Sleep Deprivation (exp74579)". Erowid.org. Jul 29, 2009. erowid.org/exp/74579
Hello, I am a 24 year old medical doctor from India. Am preparing for a residency in my favorite field. This is a rather 'subjective' account from my personal entry of what happened today. Interested can go through it.
Modafinil use with varying dose and schedules since long. Stopping and re-starting modafinil use many times. I get easy supply of these tablets at easy cost too. The brand here is 'modalert from sun pharma'. Also, have been using melatonin only for less than a week. I dont think it contributed to the event. I probably had too much modafinil which kept my mind wide awake but body totally fatigued at time of incident.
* Description of mindset & setting - Given it all!
* Dosage & timing information- too irregular
* Notes on over-the-counter medications- melatonin was used about 3 days ago. I wonder if it had an effect
[forgive my emotional account with too much of detail]
[ as I wrote it originally for my personal diary]
[not having the energy to re-write a version, oblige]
Ocober 22, 2008
Entry time: 5:33pm
This for me, is a life changing experience. UNDERSTANDING in its purest form. Just 'bestowed' on me, just like that. OK, I did think a lot about this and am trying to put it in detail, which may seem too irrelevant and subjective. But, I feel it was a series of events which led to this.
Always, I have had my mind open to the validity of the non-physical realms or dimensions of existance. To go back would mean including too much of detail. So I will restrict myself to the events that happened recently. I am not going to speak much about the largely 'low success rate and no satisfaction' experiments at astral travel and out of body experiencing which I did in 2003, and 2004. Incidentally, I totally lost touch due to studies in final mbbs [Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery?] etc etc. But still, occasionally have had a few experiences, may be at the rate of one every hundred days even when I am not trying to have such experiences. Throughout 2006, 07 and even 08.
But what happened today, is of such magnitude, I dont know what word to use now... nearest word would be 'profound'. Even using this word would be to downplay its magnitude. Just a few hours ago, I was a nervous wreck. I didnt know how to go on. I was (just weighing it as an option) thinking about 'suicide in case I dont make it through November 9 exam. But I was able to go on fine. Thanks to modafinil.
Here is the buildup to this day. January and february of 2008 were mind-hurting months. A lot of things went wrong, some due to my faults, some due to others', and some due to no fault of none at all. But I did go on. May 11th was another important day. Things went wonderfully during the exam. I was really beginning to feel that things were finally going well. But all of a sudden, a shocker came on May 26 when I found out that I was not in the rank list again. Then, it was like a blow to my brain. Everything came down in life. My urge to fight ahead, my urge to relentlessly surge ahead... was all gone. Suddenly, I was just a piece of biological tissue which just 'sustained', had no real happiness or sorrow. Previously people who had promised to be supportive started making 180degree turns. Be it my dad, younger brother, at times even my mom would poke me for answers to the unaswerable questions. A lot of classmates who did succeed went on (with or without their knowledge) speaking in a way as to mean 'I'm better than you'. I just let them all go. As I knew it was a part of the horrible human psyche to 'get him when he is down and out'.
But there were a few gentle giants (giants not on the scale of size of frame..., but that of maturity, rationality and their own self-experience) who didnt let me totally sink to the abyss. I also would like to thank fellow chums and cronies who have been enduring the same things as I have been (minus probably the weirder things). With mention of my feeling that 'it's impossible to measure how much their moral support or reassurances has helped me', I move on with the description.
Then came June 29, another academic failure. This time I didnt feel that bad at all. Suddenly I realised around mid-july that I was needing around 8-9 hours of sleep and at times even 12hrs a day. Didnt have the energy to move around as briskly as I could. I even had tried making a temporary return to my art, there I felt my creativity was dead. Couldnt go on a walk too. I used to switch off my phone to prevent people from calling me. It was a vicious cycle that I was in. And I knew, I qualified for the DSM-IV criteria for atypical depression. I did consult psychiatrists about treatment etc, without however telling them that I was the one who needed treatment. I didnt tolerate SSRI well. I did something on my own then. I got myself modafinil. Started taking 100mg during mornings. Suddenly I was back to my normal self. The transformation happened in a few hours. The old Dr. S, the hypomaniac sharp witted no-margin giving hyperintense guy was back. I was back to my priorities. I was steady with the drug and the dose. I was happy because caffeine would have caused me horrible palpitations if I had to take it enough to match just 100mg of modafinil.
Suddenly appetite picked up. Got back in control of 'time and situation'. Started eating well. Got less angry, less irritable. There was more of an optimist in me. The energy seemed unlimited. Did even start feeling like never sleeping at all. I used to squeeze in insane amounts of reading per day. To satisfy my ego I would even start going in search of 'mistakes' in the 'standard books'. Schwartz surgery, Harrison's medicine.. all of them I sent emails asking them to rectify a few errors (though they never replied to me huh). Just to say that I was no longer relying on 'hope', I was a real hypomaniac warrior who would seek out to do more and more in less time. I did read a lot, sometimes reading more at the expense of reading the 'necessary stuff'! (THATS ME!)
But there was one big problem with modafinil. It would cause a bit of hyperthermia. Then, I got myself a thyroid profile. It said I was on the borderline, a bit outside the higher limits. So, I decided to stop modafinil to prevent being too hypermetabolic. Sept 10 [approximately] I stopped modafinil. Though sleep didnt rebound, there was a revert back to my previous emotional state.
Suddenly [ I wont be mentioning names here ] some other issue got out of hand. A person whom I cared (very much) about was behaving unethical. This incident had worsened my mood without my knowledge. Depression was now mixed with confusion and anger. There was only one way to go. To ignore the thyroid profile. TO assume as if I never got it done and re-start modafinil. I did so, in a daring 'do or die' way, I just jumped to a triple dose + caffeine + 2 lts of coke. I was a volcano then. I was looking at pages and information just streamed into my mind. I started having 200mg doses and went on with a 'sleep once in 48 hrs' routine. This made me finish off a lot of studying and reading, practise papers etc. Then around oct 15 I stopped modafinil and started melatonin. It was something that gave real good sleep. Compact sleep. Solid sleep. And the sense of freshening up that one has after long sleep. [it could give 4hrs of sleep which would be as good as 8hrs of sleep]. But I again stopped melatonin. Decided to do ONE MORE REVISION of some textbooks. So modafinil came in again since oct 19. Have since then been sleeping around 0-3hrs a day. Eating a lot of food. Taking energy well. In good moods. A fighting spirit and all.
Ok here is how. Yesterday about morning 3am had a 100mg dose. Then at 8am had a 100mg dose. Then again at 6pm had a 200mg dose. Then today at 2am had a 100mg dose and again at 6am had another 100mg dose. With the knowledge that it had a halflife of 14hrs, I thought about not having anymore doses for the next two days. Today I still had not completed as much studies as I wanted to. At about 3pm, I felt like talking a nap. But my mind didnt go to sleep at all and was totally fresh as new. But the body was totally sore. My limbs felt like they were lactic acid containers. My back felt like it would give away unless I rested it. I went out at 3am anyways. It was cloudy with just a mild drizzle. So didnt take out an umbrella. Went to a shop and bought some groceries. Then, unplanned before, but suddenly felt like going into college book shop to see if Ashish gupta for may 08 has been released or not. I got the book.
But it started raining very heavily all of a sudden. The raindrops felt like 'punches' on my already tired body. Saw people standing like losers instead of going ahead braving the rain. I just powerfully walked in the rain thinking about the reasons why I am more awesome than the general public. The rain kept getting heavier. To move forward was like moving into curtains of falling heavy heavy water. And yet, I didnt want to stop and wait for rain to go away. I moved on. Was just 3 minutes away from home. Went home. Felt like I had been freshened up. Coincidentally my comp was playing Belinda carlisle's - dancing in the summer rain. Felt good. But had to take a warm bath I felt. I switched on the heater. I was totally wet. So sat on the floor instead of a chair. I had to spend another 10 minutes before the hot water was ready. Sat there alone kept grinning to myself about how I walked off in the rain wheras common people stood there like losers hoping that weather shows mercy on them.
After about a couple of minutes, I started glancing through my notes. Then suddenly realised 10 minutes had gone and that I would have reasonably warm water. I got up from where I was sitting. Felt really odd. Felt extremely light. There was no soreness, there was no pain. Strangely felt 'totally well physically and mentally'. Moved a few steps forward and I felt it was totally effortless. There was no sensation of my feet touching the ground. I went on and suddenly felt like 'I should place those notes on the table or else I may not find it again'. I turned back and I was astonished. I saw MYSELF THERE. I saw myself next to the notes and I saw myself asleep on the floor and IT WAS ABSOLUTE SENSORY OVERLOAD for me. I was standing and yet I was looking at myself lying asleep/unconscious on the floor.
I knew from my 2004 experiments that I shouldnt try too much once I know I am out of body. Just was confirming that I was out of my own body. Was now moving around the room at will. Flying in mid air. Passing hand through walls. Taking it back. Now I slowly descended and sat near computer. Looking at my pathetic-looking body totally drenched in water lying on the floor with one of 'his/my' hands grabbing on to a page of the notebook. Now I was sitting on a chair. It was like I couldnt feel the sensation of sitting on an object. It was a 'position in space', thats all. Just calmly looked at the clock. It was going really slow. One second seemed like 6 seconds or so. Thoughts came without effort. My mind was able to experience many many thoughts at the same time. Things as they are, the current state of the universe. The detail was thrown into me. I did seem to comprehend and even felt the thirst for 'knowledge' being quenched. The satisfaction of comprehending all and how it is neither permanent nor non-existant. It was like thinking in a higher level and a person swimming in a pond being thrown into an ocean. So much to know, everything about everything was getting known.
Also with it came the occasional funny feeling of 'is this all this is about?', then occasionally 'it's much complex than I thought', then the paradox of complexity and simplicity coexisting. Then, I looked at myself on the floor again and felt that 'me' was okay as I was just like any other sleeping person. Breathing was seen, that was enough! I was not 'dead'. Just sat there and relaxed. Enjoyed the rapid thoughts and slow time. Kept flowing into my mind, many many realities. The non-permanency and permanency of every human action. And occasional 'things' coming into mind which were even more complicated that I could only get an abstract of it being something huge. But used to understand their importance.
It was like a person watching only DD-1 on a black and white TV with antenna suddenly being exposed to satellite TV. Infact thats too simplistic a comparison. Just to make a statement :)
Then kept silently 'being aware' of time and space... time having been slowed, and space looking more detailed and the room looking detailed as if I was looking through higher than normal vision. To look around was very easy. No need to turn the head. Visual field was 'however I needed it'. It used to converge into details of one thing at times and at times entire visual field would enlarge to 360 degrees in the X, Y and Z axes. That too with foveal type non-blurred vision throughout the field. Objects looked nothing more than 'mere yet immense pieces of existance'. A 'vicks vaporub' would look insignificant at one moment and when looked at, would start giving more details about itself, the complex of existance, rather than an aggregation of molecules. Inanimate objects looked like 'they were someone serving their purpose'. Looked into books. Felt like reading them. But was in that moment least bothered about the 'seemingly primitive information' in these 'latest edition' text books. They looked insignificant comparing with the reverence I used to pay when looking at them while in normal life.
I felt something was there. Something else. Could 'see' music flowing out of the speakers. The music, the emotions it arouses was all fed in as sensations... different from the audiological thing we experience routinely.
Then came thoughts like 'what am I doing here?', who am I and who is the 'I' lying on the floor so pathetic and vulnerable. But there seemed to be a purpose. To move on rather than in circles. To realise that moving ahead (I dont know if I can use the words 'move' and 'ahead') will be like moving through different densities of 'material called fate', to know whats there in it, one has to go to that point. but also came an opportunity like the suggestion 'if you would like to know you can anyways know earlier, but whats the point'.. I got too confused... whats the point whats the point! Each solution leads to a bigger question. And then, I feel like if I get to know solution to 'that' thing, there will be another bigger question. And then if the final truth is revealed still there is applicability of 'whats the point of all this' clause? Now more than anything questions kept pressuring me. I started feeling tense and suddenly in a second was 'lying with eyes half open on floor in the cold drenched clothes and sore limbs and such.'... Slowly got up. Had such a big smile I probably felt my lips stretch and crack! Had a 'hold of the situation'. Felt there is so much to go on. There is so much to know. Not just for a lifetime, but for an eternity. The only way to enjoy all of it is to 'behold and appreciate'.
My own analysis: It couldnt be cerebral in origin. If so, there would be millions of enlightened people around the world. Something beyond the 'brain' as a seat of thinking and comprehension. Maybe it was the 'modafinil induced wakefullness' combined with the severe fatigue-induced physical tiredness that led me to step out.
I am happy about the way I handled it. In 2003/04, I used to try too hard to step out. And if I did, I would wreck it all by trying to have fun rather than learn. I am glad I didnt want to fly out to the open and soar to the skies! That can always be done someday later.
The sense of control, and ability to realise that future is not yet decided, and that could be true or not true or neither, whatever that even means! Then the wonder as to whether this was bound to happen today? Or was it a coincidence? Or will it matter at all either way. How do I interact and react whenever I come across pseudo-preachers who go on to make obnoxious claims of everything supreme only in order to satisfy their inferior goals of money and a fake following. What was the 'source of so much free thought'??? Is that whats called 'God'?
I am starting to forget much of it. There is still a feeling of 'satisfaction' but am unable to find out 'about what'... there is a 'sensation' about it, but no words I know to describe it.
How should my future interactions with fellow existing individuals on 'this realm where I am typing this entry' be? Should it be of respect for all? Should it be of 'as situation demands'? or 'to avoid them all'?
Anyways, much to ponder over. Time seems to be flowing normally now. I wish I could slow it down again :) 16 days for a significant date for my future on this type of existance.
-October 22 2008, wednesday
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