Citation: Happas. "Delusion, Delirium and Disorder: An Experience with DXM & Dimenhydrinate (exp20246)". Erowid.org. Dec 14, 2006. erowid.org/exp/20246
I have been meaning to write this account of an experience I had the misfortune of enduring several months ago for a while now (damn those people who say that time goes by too fast – it seems to me to meander along at an excruciatingly ponderous rate, this event for instance, seems to have occurred years, not months ago. Oh well, maybe it’s just because I don’t have a job/ hobby/ ambition/ motivation of any kind etc) Anyway it occurred a few months ago and for those of you who aren’t in the know it resulted in me being suspended from school for a week and having to endure a series of predictably infantile and utterly worthless ‘counseling’ sessions. Having said that I must acknowledge that it was a stupid thing to do on my behalf – getting busted was a sad inevitability on that many drugs.
It was near the beginning of spring when I did it. Maybe that had something to do with it. Maybe it was an esoteric response to the dawning of a new cycle of life and weather. Perhaps, just as the flowers were blooming in the garden on the outside, something, just as fragile yet beautiful and immutable was blossoming inside of me. Namely a tremendous desire to get completely shit-faced on any drugs I could lay my hands on – a spiritual affirmation of all that is alive and joyous in an otherwise painful, dreary and dead existence. And since I was at the time, merely a student in an ultra-conservative Catholic College, the only drugs that I could obtain on such short notice were of the over-the-counter variety.
I first took Dramamine at a recreational dose the week before the incident that I’m talking about. I was going to see a movie with a friend and decided, semi-spontaneously, (I’d been reading about other people’s experiences with the drug for a while) to purchase a packet of these brain-bending carsickness tablets. I consumed the whole pack (20tablets I think) surreptitiously in the foyer of the cinema before the movie, much to the annoyance of said friend who was anticipating another arduous time caring for me.
It was a bum trip. About halfway through the movie I became lethargic. The feelings of lassitude increased when the film ended and by the time we got back to my friends house I was nearly falling asleep. That was the extent of the intoxication. But buying that packet of Dramamine was not a total waste of money, the tingly feeling in my hands and the few aural disturbances that I may or may not have imagined were enough to convince me that at a higher dose, this drug might be worthwhile.
I waited until the following Wednesday. That day I had a double free in the morning so I didn’t have to turn up to school until 10.45. I’d been on various drugs at school before without being busted so I wasn’t particularly concerned about getting into trouble… I really should have been.
That morning I visited three different chemists buying a different item at each one (for some reason pharmacists always seem to be suspicious of me so I try not to buy too many items from the one store.) I purchased the following: two packets of Dramamine and one bottle of Robitussin Cough Syrup. The idea of the cough syrup was to get high off the DXM contained therein obviously- but also I figured it would be good to keep me fully conscious since I’d virtually fallen asleep after just one packet of Dramamine, a double amount was guaranteed to knock me out unless I had something to counter it. Since I didn’t have the right connexions to score for speed, cough syrup had to suffice. Besides I’d taken DXM often before and loved it, I’d only stopped because the revoltingly thick, sweet flavour and subsequent nausea had become intolerable.
On the previous occasions where I’d drunk Robitussin I had done so in one horrendous, stomach-churning skull. This time I bought a packet of salt and vinegar chips that I ate in between gulps. They really helped quite a bit. I also ate up half a packet of Dramamine a few minutes before I even began drinking. DXM and Dramamine combine well in that they seem to cancel out each other’s bad effects, though it’s a crazy, incongruous kind of synergy that develops between them as the high progresses.
My plan was to walk from town, up through the park and into school after having taken all my drugs. I had some pot that I intended to smoke covertly in the park to further reduce any potential nausea. The time spent drinking the cough syrup was lengthened due to the fact that I was in a public place (on the bench in front of the lamo-local art gallery in fact) and there were people walking by on a fairly regularly basis. By the time I did get the stuff down I was beginning to feel a little queasy, in all my vast intelligence I decided to eat up the remaining packet and a half of Dramamine.
Having done this I began to walk, at a very brisk pace, towards the park. I was in a hurry cause time was moving on and I didn’t want to be late for school – though I felt it was imperative that I stop in the park and smoke cannabis, just to bolster the anti-nausea agents of Dramamine of course. The drugs began to make their presence felt in my empty stomach while I walked to the park, just a light giddiness but enough to know that I hadn’t endured the horrible taste of that cough syrup for nothing. It was quite hot and I was sweating rather heavily by the time I arrived at the park.
The park in my town is quite heavily forested; or rather there is a section of forest beyond the park that’s not paved and provides ample refuge for drug-users and rapists. I’d gotten high in there on numerous occasions before so I knew where to go. By the time I had found a suitable spot and filled up my bong with the bottle of water I was carrying I was feeling the typical onset of a DXM experience. I didn’t want to be fucking around getting high for too long because by this stage it was 10.30, my school is (was) right near the park but still it I only had 5 minutes to go before recess began.
I good way to get high really quickly is to pull a cone. I did it three times nestled under the bough of some mossy hunk of a tree and was reeling by the end of it. With the addition of cannabis in my system I began to immediately appreciate my surroundings; the sound of the creek flowing amiably below, the ferns staring at me suddenly alive and vibrant, the roots of the trees twisting wraithlike on the surface. This semi transcendent experience was shattered by the horribly obtrusive, almost vulgar ‘iiiiiieeeee’ noise of the school bell. Never the less it served to galvanise me into action and within minutes I was strolling up the school driveway.
I felt a peculiar hatred for the austere architecture of the college as I walked up the drive. In heightening the senses weed makes the shit things appear shitter as well as the pleasing things appear magnificent. It really did look more like a prison than a school; a sinister edifice of pale bricks, an indomitable barricade against the blue of the sky. That in itself wouldn’t be so bad, I can tolerate daunting sorta gothic cathedrals and what not, in fact I quite like the bleak significance of them, but this place just reeked of the poxy crappiness of corporate buildings in the 70’s and 80’s.
By the time I got to the top of the drive (it’s pretty long) I was starting to feel the DXM really coming on – only there was something different, it was smoother than usual, I thought it must be the Dramamine manifesting. I felt a twinge of paranoia as I approached the school; I knew that there were classes of people looking down at me from above. To negate this I walked under the huge oaks that lined the driveway, relishing the shade and shelter they provided from the sprawling catholic machine that I was about to grind myself into.
I stopped and contemplated a moment before stepping through the double tinted glass doors, once I passed that point I was stuck there for the rest of the day. The school crest stared back at me, some medieval symbol with the words ‘Love the Truth’ inscribed on the bottom. The same crest and the same words were extolled on the chest pocket of my, rather filthy, paint-stained blazer. A few years ago, in my young, disturbingly devoted to the Catholic cause days, I would have found some kind of meaning in the phrase. But the truth meant nothing too me now; as far as I was concerned it didn’t exist at all, or if it did I certainly wasn’t privy to it, and how could anyone love something so shady and discriminatory, so searing and transient, so downright harmful as the truth. That was why I was there. Disgusted with everything about myself and the world around me - self destructing impressively and more than a little proud of it. Intending to laugh and spit all over myself, and the rest of the cosmos for good measure…. then tell them I love them and it doesn’t matter and retire to some cave in disgrace, where hopefully I’d forget everything and everything would forget me.
I walked through the door. Thankfully there were no teachers in the immediate vicinity of the student’s entrance and I was able to make my way to the senior corridor unhindered. The drugs were still coming on at this stage; I was no-where near peaking but it seemed like I was getting real high, real quick.
As I climbed the stairs and approached the corridor to my locker I was confronted by a hubbub of students, it was recess after all. I walked on, staring at my shoes. This one little encounter immediately evaporated my bravado, for a few moments I was consumed by the Fear but managed to collect myself.
I walked briskly down the corridor not communicating with anyone and dumped my bag in my locker. From this point on things get increasingly hazy. I can feel the drugs gaining momentum inside of me, kinda puffing me up so as I feel as if I’m about to walk on air. I begin to go walk to the canteen but on the way the bell rings again and suddenly I’ve turned around and I’m walking into my 20th Century History class.
I only attended two lessons that day; History followed by English. My two best subjects ironically enough. The dissociative effects of DXM became noticeable in history. The voice of my history teacher (a corpulent bitch with hair-sprouting moles all over her face) was stilted and disconnected. I only had a vague idea of what she was saying. But oddly enough, I felt a weird sympathy for her; it was like the drugs had allowed me to penetrate her petulant exterior and glimpse into her soul unfettered. It was sad. She was just a bitter lonely woman.
About half way through the class she asked me when she was going to get my Cold War assignment, which was considerably late. It was a terrible moment, I stuttered atrociously in my response – which was something like ‘err I’ haven’t done it yet.’ What followed was a banal diatribe about getting work in on time from the teacher. That I could stand, the unbearable part was when she had finished yapping and preceded to stare at me angrily for what seemed to me to be an agonisingly long period of time. It wasn’t just her either, the whole class was glaring at me; it was a horrible few moments in time.
When the bell finally sounded I felt a massive relief. Already I was more fucked up than I ever had been at school before. I was starting to become so high that I no longer felt paranoid; I didn’t cared what the hell happened.
I sat next to two of my friends in English; they immediately started asking what I was on. I’m not sure what I told them. I just sat down and stared at my book. Before long all the class had arrived and the teacher began to talk about the book we were studying. It was obvious that the guy hadn’t bothered to prepare for the lesson, he never did. Everyday he just repeated the same dull crap about the same dull book that his same dull superiors had decided, in all their infinite wisdom, was essential reading for senior students. It always amazes me what the Secondary Assessment Board selects for seniors to study: no Dostoevsky, no Celine, no Camus, no Kafka, no Joyce, no Miller; I mean if they had to be Catholic I’d settle for a bit of Evelyn Waugh… but no, they choose a trendy Australian writer currently en vogue because some post-modern critic with their head jammed so far up their politically correct rectum they can’t taste the difference between shit and literature has pronounced it a ‘poignant celebration of our life and land’.
About a quarter way into the lesson I began to experience a series of powerful brain-aneurism-like moments where my head would shudder violently and I’d close my eyes and see a vast tunnel of colours descending upon me. Each time I opened my eyes after these experiences I’d be considerably higher.
When I glanced down at the book I was pretending to read (not the school book but John Fante’s ‘Ask the Dust’) it would palpitate absurdly. The cover of the book is just a picture of typewriter keys with a finger moving downward onto them. But they looked nothing like typewriter keys that day; in fact I was convinced that they were a series of mushrooms dancing in the void. I turned to my friend sitting next to me and directed him to look at the mushrooms. He informed me that there were no mushrooms. I was amazed.
The voice of my teacher began to do weird things. I couldn’t precisely understand the words he was saying but I felt that I had gained a better understanding of his spirit. Oddly enough I thought he sounded just like one of my cousins. That was when I felt a huge surge of love for him. He was just some guy after all, just some guy surviving the best way he knows how. I actually talked to him a bit more after this incident. Discovered that he had worked for an electrical company for about 9 years or something, but one day he had driven to work, then at the end of the day he had walked home. He had forgotten that he drove to work! The tedious monotony of his job had so numbed his brain and spirit that he’d forgotten what he’d done that very morning! Immediately he quit his job and went to uni – much to the consternation of his family and friends who it seems preferred him living in a brain dead drudgeries hell.
I was ecstatic when the bell for the end of English sounded, that meant it was lunchtime. I made my way to the canteen, grinning ridiculously at everyone I walked past. When I arrived I sat at a table with my friends, those who hadn’t seen me were quite shocked at my appearance. Apparently my eyes were bulging red and my complexion unnaturally blanched.
About five minutes of lunch had elapsed when the year level co-ordinator approached our table. One of my friends made a bad call about paranoia as she came closer. ‘ Would you like to come with me’ she said as she drew near. I gave her my best sheepish grin and got up to follow her. I’d been in similar situations before and had got away with it so I was feeling quite confident to begin with. Also I knew it was imperative that I appear confidant. They can smell fear, these teachers.
She was leading me to the front office. I knew that I was fucked on the way when it became apparent that, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t keep up with the woman, I could barley walk! Not only that, I was veering wildly all over the place. By the time I finally reached the office area I was panting heavily. The teacher led me to a different room where the newly appointed principal was awaiting (the last one, a priest, had resigned in disgrace after his ‘improper use of the schools internet facilities’)
As soon as I had put my arse in a chair the principal began firing questions at me. It was at this point that I became terrified. Here I was, locked in the throbbing heart of the beast, being viciously interrogated by the grand mistress of it all. At some point in the early stages of the interview I must have confessed to having taken drugs in the morning, though I can’t actually recall this. It seemed to me that the woman was more interested in finding out who I had scored my drugs off than what it was I was actually on. She kept asking ‘where did you get your drugs, who gave them too you.’ For a while I rambled something that was incoherent even to myself but after she’d asked me for the 5th or 6th time I just told her straight out – ‘A guy called Michael Jackson sold them to me.’ Her countenance immediately changed from one of a sickeningly forced severity to one of a sickeningly forced sanguinity. She actually thought she’d had some kind of victory. ‘Right, who is this Michael Jackson and where did you meet him?’
I burst into a hysterical fit of laughter. ‘Don’t you know who Michael Jackson is! He’s the artist of the millennium you fool!’
Well that really pissed her off, she started threatening to call the police if I didn’t co-operate. I was a little scared by this but when I thought about it, I wouldn’t have got in that much trouble. I’d smoked all my pot and nothing else I’d done was actually illegal.
After some time she told me that she was going to call my mother and have her come and pick me up. She told me that she would have to muse on my fate. ‘There will be a lot of people around the school who would want you expelled, which would be disastrous for you, this close to end of year exams’ She was not one of them she assured me, why, she liked me! Listening to her crap on was more nauseating than drinking 10 bottles of cough syrup.
In the mean time I was to wait in the sick bay. The year co-ordinator escorted me there. During this brief peregrination I completely forgot that I had just been in serious trouble. When we arrived at the door of the sick bay I just kept walking, intending to go back to lunch. The year co-ordinator reminded me of my plight. She seemed a little amused. That was a relief - she was human after all.
Being alone in the sick bay was hell. I kept staring at the doorknob, expecting some unnamable terror to burst through it at any moment. The doorknob itself began to move rapidly up and down the wall. At this stage I thought I was as twisted as I was going to get. But I was wrong. Waiting all alone there in the bowels of the machine I entered a delirious dreamlike state. I had a vision of myself convulsing on the floor and a whole bunch of teachers attempting to hold me down. It wasn’t until the following week that I realised this didn’t actually happen.
At one point before my mother arrived to take me home the college’s one remaining priest entered the sickbay. ‘My you don’t look so well.’ His voice was insufferably cheerful. I responded that I didn’t feel so well and he fixed me a glass of water, which was the kindest thing anyone had done for me all day. I slopped the water down my neck as the priest began to talk. What he wanted to know was ‘why’ I had done what I had done – how was it that a boy of my intelligence would be stupid enough to do something like this? (I phrase I would hear repeated interminably during the following weeks)
‘Well’ I said, ‘ Why do cows wear bells?’ I could tell the priest was not amused but he played along anyway. ‘I don’t know, why do they wear bells?’
‘Cows wear bells because their horns don’t work’ I answered in a hey-eureka tone of voice thinking that it explained everything perfectly. The priest assumed a more meditative demeanour. I waited for a while for him to say something but when it became apparent that he wasn’t going to I elaborated on my answer. ‘What I mean to say is, I’m sick of being a dog yapping after its own tail. This way I’m the serpent that’s not merely yapping at my tail, but eating it. Do you know how painful it is to eat your own tail? Not many people can actually do it… I’m gonna eat my whole grotesque, slimy body. And when I’m done I’m gonna eat up the rest of the fuckin universe as well – the rest of the multi-verse, there’s more than 1 universe you know. Imagine that. I’m gonna reduce myself to a flattened head and a pair of salivating jaws eating everything in sight. Only I won’t be able to see cause I’ll eat my eyes. And when I finish eating the cosmos my head will explode and out of the mucus and filth of my skull a new utopian civilization will grow’
Somewhere around this point my priestly friend informed me that I was babbling. I believed him and shut up. He then suggested that I lay down on the bed that I had, until this point, been merely sitting on the edge of. This didn’t seem like an unreasonable suggestion and I complied. He then proceeded to switch off the light that had after all, been rather irritatingly glary.
About 5 minutes later the principal entered the room accompanied by my mother. I was still lying on the bed and the priest was seated beside me in the dark. Someone switched on the light. The first thing my mum said, as I was adjusting my eyes to the sudden brightness, was ‘ do up your fly boy, your whole tackle box is showing’ I looked down and saw that it was true.
‘Thanks for telling me’ I said a little bitterly but with a smile on my face. The next thing she said was that I looked terrible and to come on lets gets you home. I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to see my mum or loved her as much as I did at that moment. Her presence instantly neutralised all the bad vibes that were ping ponging around that shit hole of a room. She was ten times the woman than that pretentious, power-dressing fuck-wit of a principal.
Of course everyone in the room was silently wondering why I was lying down with my fly undone in the dark with the priest. But I assure you; it was only because I’d forgot to do it up after taking a piss earlier on.
We had to go back up to the senior corridor to get my bag before we left. People desperately avoided noticing me as I walked by. It took me an awful long time to find my bag. I was still heavily fucked up. In fact the drugs had not yet subsided in the slightest. Well except for the weed wearing off, but that was negligible.
One of my friends approached at one stage, seemingly oblivious to the day’s events, and asked if I was going to psychology. I said yep, I’d be there in a minute. I’d forgotten all about getting into trouble again. This time it was mum that reminded me I had to go home. This complete ignorance of what the fuck was happening all around me was the nucleus of the DXM-Dramamine experience.
Eventually I found my bag and mum dragged me down to the car. I was bloody elated to be getting away from the school. I was emerging, literally, out of the darkness and into the light. Suddenly I was seeing trees and the ocean again and all the horror of the interrogation was forgotten. I can’t remember this but mum tells me that I spent much of the trip home attempting to retrieve the ‘CD’ out of our cars tape player.
But we didn’t go straight home. Mum wanted to have a talk to me and we went to a local café. The real reason for our delay I discovered later was that my pop was doing the gardening at our place and mum didn’t want him to find out what had happened.
In the café mum ordered me a muffin. If she talked to me after handing me that muffin, I was unaware with it. I did not eat the muffin. Instead I became locked with it in a deadly, silent battle of souls. Again my recollection of this event is dim but apparently after staring at the muffin for a few minutes I abruptly picked it up, hurled it on the ground and screamed ‘ I’m sick of you pushing me around!’ Before running out of the cafe.
I draw a total blank when it comes to the next few hours after storming out of there. Somehow though, my mum dragged me back home and put me to bed. By this stage the drugs were beginning to subside a little, though my heart was galloping along dangerously fast. Mum was panicking a little as well which I felt real bad about.
Sometime later that night I had a visitor. It was a girl from my psychology class. Our major independent study was due in that day; obviously I hadn’t submitted mine despite the fact that I actually had completed it. Granted it was more of a work of fiction than an independent study, complete with fabricated surveys and graphs - the point is it was done and ready to hand in. Well this girl came into my room to get my work so she could hand it in the following day (I was going to be absent from school for quite some time) but for some inexplicable reason I refused to hand over my work. I have a feeling it was because I was not entirely sure whether or not she was real; I didn’t want to lose my assignment to a ghost of my imagination.
Another possible reason for me not giving her my work was that I didn’t want her to leave. I began to relate to her my feelings of depression about the general futility of everything. The way I figured it the whole scenario had become so hopeless that there was only one thing capable of saving me. I reached around for a CD that I knew was lying around somewhere near my bed. ‘Songs of Leonard Cohen’ I found it soon enough.
The only problem was that I had broken my CD player in a fit of rage several months earlier. I told this girl about this and about how I was earnestly expecting a miracle. I was expecting the CD player to defy all logic and start working, I was expecting a spirit of some kind to galvanise the machine into life and redeem me. It wasn’t too much to ask was it? I knew that as soon as I listened to it all my pain would dissipate – not because of the quality of the music or lyrics (though both are excellent in my opinion) - but because listening to some random mans voice emerge from a black rectangular machine would make me realise, instantaneously, that all this was transient, it doesn’t matter, it’s all absurd and stupid anyway and I love it all, I love it all, even though I’m really not a part of it, I love it as a detached spirit, a mind floating and laughing in the void.
Well I placed the CD in the machine and pressed PLAY. The most incredible thing happened. My room was filled with the voice of Leonard Cohen, in all his pensive magnificence!
“And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water and he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower. And when he knew for certain that only drowning men could see him, he said all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them. But he himself was broken long before the sky would open. Forsaken, almost human he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone. And you want to travel with him… and you want to travel blind …”
I writhed around in ecstasy atop my bed, laughing hysterically. I was after all, just another sailor, drowning in my own weird psychedelic frenzy.
The girl went away.
It wasn’t until the following morning when I attempted to play the CD again, that I realised it had all been hallucination. The CD player was still very much broken. The drugs had worn off. Love the fucking truth.
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