Citation: The Man of Decency. "The Story of Tom (Schizophrenia Revealed): An Experience with Amphetamines, LSD, Cannabis, Aripiprazole (Abilify) & Quetiapine (Seroquel) (exp51872)". Erowid.org. Jun 22, 2008. erowid.org/exp/51872
As my final spring break has just ended and I am back at school, I am compelled to share the experiences of a good friend whom I saw for a few hours over the break.
Tom is, and always has been, extremely brilliant. Since the first day I truly got to know him my freshman year of high school, he always had profound insights into the workings of existence. However, as indicated by many of my other friends, he was extremely socially awkward, and did not make many friends. If he did make friends, he often chose friends that did not care for him or would look after him if things got out of hand.
Regardless, we both got along well and ended up going to the same college. Many good times were had drinking, smoking up, and exploring consciousness using various psychedelics. I would not be wrong in saying at that time, I held a god-like reverence for the power of psychedelics. Who can say what was going on in Tom's head? However, as my drug use gradually decreased due to various healthy influences, Tom chose to cross the fine line between use and abuse.
Around late sophomore year of college, Tom was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed 60mg of adderall a day. Although many thought (myself included) that this was a whopping daily dose, he assured me that his psychiatrist thought it necessary, and so with my trust in both Tom and the medical profession, I let the issue alone.
A year later, Tom had self-prescribed himself 120mg of Adderall a day. He would start with 60mg quick release and 20mg time release, and every six hours would take another 20mg time-release. Due to his admitted inability to sleep, he would smoke copious amounts of cannabis. Again, I did not say much, because he would often smoke me up. It was also at this time that he was involved in some crackpot LSD scheme and he would regularly take up to 600mcg of LSD a day. This is not an exaggeration, for one, I watched him dose on many occasions, and two, I dosed with him once, and indeed, it was an extremely intense trip (uncomfortably so). [Erowid Note:
Claims of measured microgram dosages for LSD are usually unsupported. Quantitative measurements for LSD are very difficult to do and cannot be done casually. Without further detailed information about how the measurements were derived, it is reasonable to assume that most statements of microgram dosages of LSD on blotter or in microdots are either misinformed or overstated.]
It was early fall of 2004 (our senior year), when Tom told me that he had gained psychic abilities and was able to project his emotional field onto others as well as read people's thoughts and feelings, regardless if they were in the room or not. He described his experiments with others in his new circle with great enthusiasm and reverence. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but basically chalked the psychic tendencies to one of Tom's harebrained schemes, which he was fond of cooking up.
The fall of 2004 was also the time I saw Tom's 'fall of 2004.' He was standing in a room of my house, looking out the window and describing something green and shimmery. I wasn't paying to much attention, for my roommate and I were sipping on an excellent bottle of Rose I brought back from California. I heard a loud crash, and upon inspection, I saw Tom lying in my crushed indoor plant garden, seizing. My roommate and I quickly ran to him and sat him upright on the couch, asking if he was okay. He regained composure quickly, and seemingly embarrassed, left my house with assurances that he was fine and just needed some rest. I suppose I should have realize that something more was going on than simply Tom's flights of fancy and general weirdness and BS. But again, I trusted my friend and gave him the benefit of the doubt that he would be alright.
I saw him once of twice over the next eight months and he seemed very out of it, but generally pleasant. We shared some beers on these occasions and simply talked of good times.
I finished my senior year of college (I am ultimately on the 5 year plan) and was leaving for my summer job as a director at a youth camp. A week before I left, I called Tom, but I received no answer. The same result was garnered each week I tried to reach him. I frankly had no idea where he went or what he was doing, but I had faith that he at least was alive and safe.
Late August 2005, I received a call from an unknown number but the area code was from my hometown. Indeed, it was Tom, calling from his parents house. After 15 seconds of plesantries, he informed me that he had spent his summer in the County Mental Hospital. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had spent three months drugged up on anti-psychotics, anti-convulsants, anti-depressants, and anti-anxiety medication.
His parents drove him down to a cigar shop near my house and I spent a few hours talking with him about his experiences. He said that he remembered very little about the hospital, and slept about 20 hours a day, mainly due to amount of medication he was prescribed. It was the hospital psychiatrist's ultimate conclusion that Tom's latent schizophrenia was exacerbated by the amount of LSD and amphetamines he was using. While the drugs might not have triggered the onset of Tom's illness, I doubt they helped it. While I tried to maintain a pleasant and comical demeanor, it saddened me to see him in that condition.
Tom is a veritable zombie to this day. He takes whopping doses of Abilify and Seroquel daily. He came over to dinner with my family one evening when I was visiting my parents and my mother described him as 'completely out to lunch.' Her assessment was not far from the truth. I saw him this spring break and very little has changed. Although he says that he had not had any episodes since he left the hospital, his speech patterns are chaotic and he has absolutely no motivation to do anything. Although the state will not allow him to drive, work, or enter school for some time, his ambitions seem limited to smoking cigars and drinking Blue Moon beer.
I miss my friend. The once brilliant, quirky, and insightful man that I knew is now a shell. I look at him and I can see that his body, mind, and soul has been scarred deeply. Partly by himself, partly by things beyond his control. I look at Tom and remember all the good times we shared exploring consciousness, exploring self, exploring G-d. I look at Tom and remember all of the aspirations he once had. I look at Tom with sympathy, compassion, and love.
In Tom I see someone I could have easily become if I had chosen a similar path. In Tom I see how I failed him as a friend. In Tom I see how my selfishness and concern with only myself prevented me from helping him when he needed it most. However, in Tom I see hope of light beyond the darkness. A pure light of faith and hope.
Hope for him, hope for me, hope for us all...
Peace to all and please go and live your lives as meaningful as you know how.
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