Citation: Singer. "Genesis and Revelations: An Experience with Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) (exp101423)". Erowid.org. Oct 23, 2016. erowid.org/exp/101423
Yes, I'm a very tiny person. Don't let my mentioned weight scare you. I have no eating disorders, I'm just petite and skinny enough that a single glass of wine can get me drunk!
Just today(I'm writing this on September 29, 2013) I had an experience after accidentally overdosing with Benadryl. I've read about its effects from Erowid before, so I wasn't frightened by it, although there was a moment where it got a little scary for me.
For the past three days I'd been suffering with horrendous eye allergies and the only relief I could get was from taking one and a half Benadryl tablets. (NOT capsules, the hot pink tablets) and the dosage usually comes out to approximately 38mg. Since I'd been taking the Benadryl for so many days in a row, I wasn't really experiencing any sleepiness anymore, although I still felt clumsy and forgetful. This is why I accidentally overdosed.
It began when I got up at 7:30am with my eyes feeling scratchy since the previous night's Benadryl had worn off. Boo! at around 8am, I took the one and a half tablet dose I'd been taking while silently lamenting that it was going to mess up the high register of my singing voice. Usually when I'm taking a dose, I hold the medicine and say 'I'm taking my Benadryl at (time)' to create a point in my memory where I can go back and go 'yeah, okay, I took it an hour ago' if I get confused. This time, my cat came into the room and the distraction was enough to make me momentarily forget I'd already taken the Benadryl. I absentmindedly reached into my drawer and took another full and half tablet. I realized what I'd done as I was swallowing the pills down. Too late to stop.
'Shit!' I thought. Since I live at home with my parents right now, I almost raced out of my room to ask for help. Then I remembered I'd probably have to take five or six pills for it to do me any fatal harm. I was scared, but I shrugged and went about getting ready. If worse came to worse I told myself I'd claim I was sick and go hide in the church bathroom. I sing in a church choir, which is why I was annoyed by my allergies in the first place. Benadryl affects my singing voice because it dries out my throat, and my voice cracks on high notes. Not fun for a soprano!
About forty-five minutes passed between breakfast, getting dressed/makeup done/etc and being dropped off at church for vocal warmups. The scratchy feeling in my eyes went away during the warmup exercises. I also felt slightly hyper which is always the first indication of the Benadryl starting to work. I was happy to realize my voice sounded almost normal rather than cracking. The high notes weren't hard to reach, but I had to breathe in deeper than normal to sustain them. My mouth started getting dry as the choir moved from the parish hall to the church. My church is a beautiful building with stained glass windows depicting Genesis on one side and Revelations on the other(the biblical beginning and end of the world for those who aren't religious :) ). I love those windows.
The real 'buzz' began to hit after the entrance hymn. I had trouble focusing my eyes on my music and I kept forgetting what verse we were on, but covered by listening to the people around me. Right when the Glory to God sequence began, all that Benadryl hit me at once. I always close my eyes to sing this part of the Mass since it's so uplifting and beautiful. And as I closed my eyes this time, a calm came over me. I felt something run through my body from my scalp to my toes. A vibration, like a giant string suspended from the ceiling to the floor and my body was on it. The music moved into and around and through me, and the more I sang the more the string inside me vibrated like a slap bass. I truly was an instrument making music in the presence of God! I felt lighter and lighter until I didn't dare open my eyes because I honestly thought I was levitating off the floor inside this wonderful tornado of sound and sensation. I couldn't feel the ground under my feet. Against my closed eyelids, I saw purple TV static, but it went away as soon as the song ended and I opened my eyes. I wasn't floating. I did feel dizzy and was glad when the choir director gestured for us to sit.
I looked up at the stained glass window showing Genesis, and the water in it was moving. Logically, I knew I was hallucinating, and I think that's the only reason I wasn't scared. I watched in morbid fascination as the edges of the window shook. It looked like I was gazing at a reflection in water while somebody agitated the puddle, except I was staring at the real thing. I focused on the Revelations window and the shooting stars in it were literally raining down to the floor like sparks. Somebody behind me rifled through their music, and I remember being irritated by the sound of the paper crackling. I had trouble sitting still and kept fidgeting with edge of my hymn book.
I got that floaty feeling again while singing during the responsorial psalm. This time I kept my eyes on the choir director, and the striped patterns on his tie kept spinning. It was kind of cool. It happened again during the Alleluia. Then the priest got up to give his homily, and he had golden wings. The wingtips and feathers were clearly visible, but the wings kind of faded off before they touched his back like a rainbow that gets faint in one spot because the rain is getting lighter, so they just sort of hovered there and they moved while he talked. And they were big wings, too, each one probably five feet long fully extended.
The Mass went on to my personal favorite part, which is the meditation song. It's usually four part harmony and just the choir sings, rather than hymns for the congregation to participate in. I flipped open my octavo and the notes were all moving around like ants! I almost dropped my folder until I reminded myself I was high on Benadryl. The lady next to me asked if I was okay, and I told her I had a cramp in my foot. She bought it. So anyway, the meditation song began(Ubi Caritas if anyone wonders :)) and that amazing floating feeling came back. The harmonies made the water on the Genesis window ripple and the fire in the Revelations window gave off smoke. So cool! Then, through the corner of my eye, the hand of God seen reaching down from the sky in the Genesis moved its fingers. It came towards me and disappeared back to normal when I looked straight at it. As I continued singing, I saw wings fading in and out on the people within the congregation. Anything that was a straight line seemed to vibrate. After the end of the meditation song, I sat and stared at the candles by the altar. The flames kept stretching up to the ceiling and shrinking back down, and several danced a circle around the priest when he consecrated the bread and wine. The little dancing flames went into the big Communion wafer he held up, and they jumped into the wine goblet he held up next. I kept smiling, it was almost like seeing Pentecost!
Right after Communion was when the scary moment happened. I took the glowing(to me) Communion wafer, ate it and drank a sip of the wine. That's about the time all that Benadryl peaked in my system, right around two hours after the overdose. I tried to keep singing the Communion hymn, but I got extremely lightheaded to the point I couldn't even see through the 'static' clouding my vision. My stomach had an itchy feeling like I might throw up. I broke into a cold sweat. I've fainted in the past for unrelated reasons, and I recognized I was close to passing out. I immediately bent over, pretending to rub the foot I claimed had cramped earlier. My heart was going like a jackhammer and the blood vibrated through my veins. My eyeballs started to hurt as if someone put too much fluid in them. I whispered for Jesus to either take me now or help me stand up, and I swear on my life I felt invisible hands grasp my shoulders and help me up. I glanced at the microphone (my church has crappy acoustics and we need mikes) and the stand it was hooked up to undulated like some kind of tentacle. That motion stopped when the hymn ended. I got lightheaded again during the second Communion hymn, so I pretended to sing and focused only on breathing deeply and slowly, hoping the oxygen boost would keep me from passing out. It worked, and since I was surrounded by the loud singers in my section my lack of singing wasn't noticed too much.
The closing hymn was a song I knew by heart, so I dropped my hymn book at my feet and sang with my eyes closed, and OMG, it felt like zooming into space. I saw stars, nebulae and galaxies. I don't know if I reached my arms out or not, but I felt like I was moving with the music, or maybe it was moving me. Every note vibrated my bones and I didn't want to stop singing. I almost forgot to stop when the hymn ended!
I don't remember how I got my stuff and left the church...I just don't remember doing either of those actions. It's like I blinked and I was walking into the parking lot to my mom's car. She asked me if I was okay because I looked depressed, and I told her I had a headache, which was true.
The high started to go away a tiny bit during the ride home. I remember complaining about being thirsty in the car, but I'd gone through my entire bottle of water during Mass because my mouth was so dry. I tried to eat a tuna sandwich when I got home, but the lack of saliva made chewing it a huge pain in the butt. Eating seemed to help me shake off the worst of the high. As I type this(It's now 3:10pm) I'm still waiting for it to fully wear off. My fingers and wrists keep shaking and literally EVERYTHING irritates me. I keep correcting typos that I never make normally. All the events of today feel more like a dream than reality.
This experience was kind of fun, but I don't think I want to repeat it. I'm going to start writing down the times I take allergy meds to avoid a mishap like this in the future.
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