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A Way Through Sickness
by Trip
Citation:   Trip. "A Way Through Sickness: An Experience with Inhalants (exp80165)". Jul 26, 2009.

  inhaled Inhalants (gas)
    oral Caffeine (pill / tablet)
    oral Acetaminophen (pill / tablet)
I wonder if anyone suspected me of my habit. My addiction. It was on a whim, really, when I decided use inhalants for the first time. I was sick, frequenting the bathroom often while my body purged everything I ate in combination with somewhat large amounts of blood. Sitting there on the pot was often boring, and the onset of these moments were hardly predictable, so I rarely had time to grab some sort of reading material. I often read the backs of bottles of shampoo, hairspray, air freshener - anything I could get my hands on - to alleviate the boredom. If I was lucky, one of the boys would have left their World of Warcraft guide sitting on the sink for me to flip through.

Of everything, though, the warning on the back of the air freshener can intrigued me the most: ďCAUTION: USE ONLY AS DIRECTED. Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling the contents can be harmful or fatal. Help stop inhalation abuse.Ē From prior experiences running with the wrong crowd back at my old school, I knew that warning meant it could get me high.

Previous to this, I had been the type to pop pills, having easy access to them since my doctors always prescribed me all kinds of crazy shit that was more likely to fuck me up than to actually help my persistent mental and physical problems. Every now and then, Iíd have a smoke, or a drink, whenever my underage self could get my hands on it. Anything to get rid of the pain I was constantly dealing with, thanks to my poor health.

By the time Iíd started considering inhaling the contents of this can of air freshener, Iíd been clean for months, having recently moved away from my doctors, and my fatherís money that could get me the drugs Iíd wanted. I saw that air freshener as a possible return to the times when Iíd been happiest, and felt most alive.

It took me several days of picking up the can, staring at it, and putting it back down, before I could work up the courage to actually try it. The can did say, after all, that inhaling it was potentially fatal. I did not want to die. I eventually decided that if I only took one huff, it couldnít possibly hurt me, and I would still be able to get a little high. Iíd never liked getting majorly fucked up anyway. Something about losing all control of myself while under the influence of a drug never appealed to me, yet the pleasant buzz of a mild high always attracted me like nothing else.

At first, I couldnít decide how to go about inhaling it. Iíd never heard of anyone using air freshener to get high, but I knew it was possible from the labeling of the can itself. Eventually I figured out that if I depressed the trigger only a small bit, I could get the gas without shooting off the liquid as well. I took in only a small bit through my nose and mixed with air. Just one hit, and I felt pleasantly lightheaded, with little coloured dots surrounding my field of vision, much like how I felt while drunk. A small, almost insignificant ringing noise accompanied it. And then, just like that, the feeling was gone, leaving me feeling slightly, but decidedly off. As if something was not quite right. Almost tired, but not quite.

That off feeling persisted for several hours, but I didnít mind it. Somehow its presence made me feel like I was able to better concentrate on my current writing project. The words flowed almost effortlessly through my fingers.

It was several days before I tried it again, and when I did, I again felt the same feelings as before, only a little stronger. I decided then, that I needed that feeling, needed that high. It somehow made the entire world less disgusting to look at, and the filth of the house I now lived in somewhat less vile and easier to ignore. After a time, I started getting headaches when I used too much, but I simply took an Excedrin for the headache, and enjoyed the high I got from the caffeine in the pill.

I continued using it, up until I was taking two or three hits per bathroom gut-dump session. It got to the point to where I didnít ever know how much time would pass while Iím in there, but my ass would always be numb from sitting on that goddamned toilet for so long. Despite this, it took several weeks for me to finish off that can of air freshener and move on to the can of hairspray.

Immediately upon using the hairspray, I realized that it took far less from it to get myself to that pleasant lightheadedness I enjoyed so much. I went back down to taking only one hit per gut-dump session. I remember, somehow the sound of the gas entering my nose made me think of a choir of black boys all dressed in blue or maroon robes. I never quite knew why, but I found it entertaining, as those thoughts would inevitably lead to thoughts of Kermit the Frog. Possibly because I knew a black boy who went to a nearby private school named Kermit, and the uniform shirts he had to wear were always maroon.

As time wore on, I told myself I needed to stop and find an alternate source for my high, because the can of hairspray was an expensive brand, and I knew my mom would be pissed if it got all used up so quickly. But I never actually stopped. I found myself another can of air freshener to use instead of my momís hairspray, and continued my habit until that was gone.

Around then, before my second can ran out, I needed to go to the hospital for a week for several blood transfusions, due to the severity of my anemia at the time. The doctors all seemed amazed that I was alive, much less walking and talking and functioning like a normal human being without passing out somewhere along the way. Iíd been going to school, lugging around a big heavy bag with my books, and there had been times then where my vision would nearly black out and I would nearly collapse, but I never did. A part of me wonders if I was able to do that because I would push myself forward, muscles aching and trembling, and focus entirely on the movement of putting one foot in front of the other, to avoid the embarrassment of passing out in a public place. That same part wonders if the chemicals in my system helped with that focus, because the feeling of being high again as if Iíd been huffing, always seemed to coincide with those dizzy spells.

When I got out of the hospital, I felt better than ever, free from my addiction to inhalants, free from the restrictions that the anemia caused, free from the feeling of pain, as I was back on the medications Iíd been using before. Once those pills ran out though, and I couldnít ever convince my mother to refill the prescription, I returned to the inhalants.

I would continue huffing for another year before I realized the very real possibility that this could very well kill me.

I was at my momís fiancťeís parentís house, and while I was in their bathroom, doing the usual, I realized that this high was different. My heart rate went up drastically, and I felt as if I would faint, much like the since returned anemic spells I frequently had. I forced myself to lay down on that dirty bathroom floor, hoping it would pass. It felt like time dragged on and on, and my heart began to ache. I prayed that I was not dying and eventually it slowed and went away. What felt to me like hours, had really only been a matter of minutes, but it was enough to scare the living hell out of me.

I didnít touch inhalants for several months after that, fearing that if I did it again, I WOULD die. But the can of air freshener always called me back, and I once again fell into the habit, though I was slightly more cautious about it, now.

Iím not sure what changed, but in recent weeks, I havenít really felt the urge to inhale, and reading some of these other experiences, I know I donít want to ever touch it again. Iíve been free of it for several weeks now, yet my mind feels fuzzy. I know I destroyed something with my abuse. The headaches come more frequently, and they often turn to migraines, which by themselves are an entire new painful trip of their own. Now I just get high off of the Excedrin. I canít be sure what it is, but Iím positive itís the caffeine in it that causes my high, as I am still anemic, and Iíve lost weight recently. I donít mind. Caffeine is a legal substance.

Looking back, I know I shouldnít have started using inhalants. Itís made my already poor memory worse, and there are holes that cover nearly the entirety of my life prior to now. I doubt Iíll ever regain those memories, and not having a past to look back on, is far more painful than any physical hurt I have to endure. Itís a mistake I regret constantly, and I can only be consoled by my excessive need to keep a record of things Iíd done in the day. But even with reading those, I feel like Iím reading someone elseís story. Iím still young, though, and I have time to make more memories to replace the ones I lost. Iím lucky I pulled out of the habit when I did.

Exp Year: 2008ExpID: 80165
Gender: Not Specified 
Age at time of experience: Not Given
Published: Jul 26, 2009Views: 27,831
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Inhalants (29) : Alone (16), Addiction & Habituation (10), Retrospective / Summary (11)

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