Citation: opiana. "Lost in Space and Time: An Experience with Lorazepam & Cannabis (exp83354)". Erowid.org. Feb 22, 2013. erowid.org/exp/83354
For years, taking as many drugs as possible whenever possible characterized my entire existence. While I have now enjoyed complete abstinence from all substances for a significant length of time following an unpleasant ordeal with intravenous heroin addiction, it would be nice if my abundant experiences with chemical use could be of help to someone who is still using.
Here is one experience that changed the course of my drug use 'career' forever and should be avoided at all costs.
As an active junkie, it was not unusual for me to 'quit' doing heroin on a regular - if not daily - basis. On one such occasion, I managed to abstain from fixing for the majority of the day. By the early evening, however, the mind- and body-crushing withdrawals unique to a heroin kick began to set in. Being as I had no suboxone or methadone, I swallowed a few lorazepam (Ativan) tablets I kept in reserve to take the edge off of the restlessness, anxiety, and muscle cramping/spasming, or at least make me care less about these symptoms in the way that only a benzo can do.
Determined to make it through the day smack-free, I went to a friend's house in an attempt to distract myself from the withdrawals and the intense compulsion to fix. These friends were not into 'hard' drugs, so I figured it would be a safe place to ride out the rest of the day. When I was offered a few knife rips of hash to make me more comfortable, I could see no harm in doing so, despite the pharmaceuticals already in my system and my natural aversion to marijuana. While pot always made me feel intensely paranoid, hash always seemed to behave more like opium, so I wasn't concerned.
Still, to keep on the safe side, I only inhaled what I considered to be a small amount of the fragrant smoke billowing through my friend's modified soda bottle hitter. Proud of myself for my prudence and good judgment, I crashed on the couch with my then-boyfriend while the rest of our associates finished off the hash.
For a moment, everything seemed to be fine. For a moment, I enjoyed the slow warmth and pleasant confusion the hash/lorazepam combination ignited in my body and mind. It seemed I had found an easy, relatively safe escape from opiate withdrawals that would enable me to get through the night. I felt tingly and a little twitchy, but this was not particularly bothersome, and I attributed it mostly to the skin-crawling and muscle-spasming sensations inherent to dopesickness.
Within the next second, everything changed. It felt like a flashbulb had exploded in my mind - this was both a physical and auditory sensation that can only be described as a profound 'pop.' Immediately following this explosion, my entire body went from feeling tingly to hot and prickly; I could feel my heart racing and skipping beats, my blood pounding in my ears and behind my eyes, my breathing becoming harsh and rapid, and my chest becoming tight and heavy. When I moved, the sensation seemed to linger and blur, like it was separate from my skin and catching up with me as I moved. When I turned my head or looked from one place to another, my vision became intensely pixelated: just like the sensation in my skin, it seemed like my vision took a long time to catch up with itself. It was difficult to put together what I was seeing, since every time I moved my eyes the images would break apart and reassemble. There was even a shuffling sound in my ears when the visual pieces of the world around me would disintegrate and reconvene in different places.
I tried to suppress the panic that was beginning to set in, telling myself it was just weed and that I was going to be fine - that I needed to sit back and try to enjoy the trip. I turned as calmly as I could to my boyfriend and told him I needed to go outside and smoke a cigarette. I couldn't tell how loud my voice was, and it seemed like I might have been shouting; I felt like everyone else in the room was staring at me and judging me, thinking I was a lightweight because their hash got me too high. Then I heard myself saying the same sentence a few more times, but I couldn't tell if I was saying it or just thinking it. My boyfriend took my hand and led me outside, which was difficult because I couldn't remember how to walk; between the pixelation in my vision and the pixelation I felt in my body when moving through space, I had no idea where I ended and everything else began.
We sat on our friends' patio and lit up some cigarettes. I tried to focus on the bars of the patio railings, hoping their linear solidity would help make sense of the chaos building in and around me. All of a sudden, I literally could not remember who I was, where we were, or how we got there. It felt like my whole life had been a dream - my drug use, the college I was attending, everyone I had ever known. It all seemed made up, and I couldn't figure out how to place myself in this jumble of fake memories, the tripped-out present, and the imaginary future. I began trying to explain this to my boyfriend, asking him who I was, who he was, where we were, what we were, etc. He tried calming me down by reminding me I had just smoked some hash and I was having a bad experience with it. This did not help, as I also could not remember what hash was - it seemed like a fairytale someone had told me once, an absurd idea of a thing that couldn't exist. It reminded me about the Ativan, however, and I jokingly told him I had imagined taking another made-up drug-thing called lorazepam earlier in that fake day. Additionally, I felt like what I was experiencing at that moment was itself a memory. I told my boyfriend about a wide variety of events I thought had already transpired but in fact had not yet occurred; for example, I told him I had moved from the city we lived in to stay with my grandmother after being disowned by my parents, that I had permanently quit doing heroin, and that I had left him for someone else. These false premonitions were incredibly vivid and specific.
We went back inside, and our friends took one look at me and became obviously concerned. They later told me I was twitching and salivating uncontrollably, that my pupils were saucered, and that there was absolutely no color in my face. They pulled my boyfriend aside and asked him if I had taken anything else during the day, and he told them about the lorazepam. They became more worried, which convinced me that they and my boyfriend were conspiring against me and had clearly dosed me with something. I began interrogating them - asking them who they really were and what they had done with reality, etc. At that point, they decided to take my boyfriend and I home, since I was freaking everyone else out, and suggested seriously that he take me to a hospital.
One of our friends drove us home. As soon as we got into his truck, things went from bad to worse. I was in the backseat, and the confinement of being in such a small space seemed to heighten the trip. I felt very literally that I had fallen into another dimension, which I believed to be some sort of hell/purgatory that I could not get out of. I was 'in the moment' in a way that is almost indescribable: it was like I had woken up into another reality totally separate from my entire life up to that point, and there was no way to ever get back to the life I had been living before or even remember it. In support of this feeling, my sight was extremely tunneled - everything was black except for a small circle directly in the center of my field of vision, which was still very blurry and pixelated and constantly disintegrating. Additionally, all sounds were muffled almost to the point of being inaudible; all I could clearly hear was my racing heart drumming inside my head. This is the most terrifying feeling I have ever experienced, on or off of drugs. In an attempt to bring myself out of this trance, I began pounding on the windows of the car and screaming as loudly as I could, but this only made things worse; it felt like the screams were causing the atoms of my body to break up in the same manner as my vision.
Our friend stopped at a gas station to buy me an orange juice, which he was convinced would help. My boyfriend stayed in the car with me and covered my mouth the entire time we were there because I wouldn't stop screaming and begging him and everyone who passed by to kill me (I believed that was the only way I would be released from the hell I was trapped in). Eventually he had to hold me down in the back seat because I was bashing my skull against the windows in an attempt to kill myself. Finally our friend returned and helped me drink the entire bottle of orange juice, which I almost immediately vomited up.
Somehow we made it home unharmed and without being arrested. My boyfriend must have somehow gotten me upstairs to our apartment and put me in bed. I remember absolutely nothing of the rest of the night - I went into a total blackout. I awoke the next morning in a vastly improved state of mind, but still physically high. The emotional and psychological symptoms of the trip were, for the most part, gone - I still felt highly agitated and anxious, but I was aware of what was real and what was not. Additionally, my skin remained prickly and tingly for the rest of the day, and the 'pixelated' or delayed sensations in response to movement and touch lingered for a few days, but were made far less noticeable by my resumed heroin use.
I still have no idea what exactly happened to me that night. My boyfriend told me later that he got very high from the hash, but didn't have any of the negative experiences I did. I'm not sure whether the lorazepam I took was responsible for my reaction to the hash or not, but the experience I had was so terrifying that I never again used marijuana or any of its relatives.
An interesting side note: several months after this experience, I did end up leaving my boyfriend for another man despite our plans to get married later that year, had a serious falling-out with my parents, and quit doing heroin for good. Weird!
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