Citation: Anonymous. "Edge of Our World: An Experience with Diphenhydramine (exp55371)". Erowid.org. Jun 19, 2007. erowid.org/exp/55371
Prior drug experience: Marijuana, dextromethorphan (in the form of Robitussin cough gels), diphenhydramine (in the form of Benadryl gel capsules) on several occasions, Vicodin, caffeine (yes it is possible to overdose on caffeine), Nutmeg, Morning Glories.
Drugs taken around time of experience: Marijuana smoked several days before, Centrum vitamin taken every morning
Preparation: Nothing ingested for several hours before taking the pills. Based on prior experience I have learned this is best, as I have a rather weak stomach for pills
Setting: My living room, late at night. Comfortable, familiar surrounding. Blankets for comfort and dim lighting to set the mood. Family members all asleep in their beds.
Mindset: Curious. Slightly anxious my mother would come downstairs and find me tripping. Overall relaxed, slightly tired.
Goal for experience: Conscious expansion. I had experimented with dph on several occasions before, at low doses (around 250 mg). The first time I experienced only dysphoria and impaired speech, which I will elaborate on later. The second time, several months later, I experienced nothing except drowsiness. Natural tolerance? Possibly. I’m not sure how to explain that. Several people I know had been into using dph recreationally for a while. Experiences all started out pleasant enough. However, they all abruptly stopped at one point or another, after reaching “a land where humans don’t belong”. This place is inhabited by “Shadow People”. Despite all of their warnings, I felt I had to see this phenomenon to believe it.
The last of my family members has gone to sleep. I check on each one of them just to make sure. Feeling relatively safe, I scurry into the bathroom and pop 15 generic antihistamine tablets that I had purchased at work that day. It was $4.00 for a bottle of 100 pink and white capsules. I work at a grocery store chain, so the actual brand was America’s Choice. After waiting a moment to make sure the pills were all down and were planning on staying down, I begin sipping water slowly and head back to the living room. I settle in on the couch with my favorite blanket, my dog at my feet. I decide to watch Date Movie, a comedy, while I waited.
The movie is over. I feel the first stirrings of the drug begin. I feel slightly light-headed and my limbs feel as if they were “floating” (To get a good idea of what this feels like, stand in a doorway and press your palms hard against the walls for a minute or two. When you walk away, your arms will “float” – magic!). I get up to refill my water bottle, as I know cotton mouth will set in soon, and this feeling mostly disappears. When I touch my finger tips to my arm or any other part of my body, it feels very strange and unfamiliar. I can only feel it from my fingers – not from the body part being touched. I also feel very cold to the touch and the texture of my skin feels foreign somehow.
After I get my drink I restart the dvd and set it to “repeat”, so that the movie will replay itself. I thought that it would be interesting to see how different the movie seemed as different stages of the drug passed.
2:00 - 3:00 am
I begin to notice movements in my peripheral vision. It appeared as if several bugs were flying about the room, except for that they disappeared when I turned my head. By the time the movie is halfway over (it is about an hour and a half long) the movements are more pronounced. I am seeing what appear to be clear, straight lines – straw-like things, if you will, floating across my vision. I remember this from previous trips.
During the movie I have to get up several times to pee, probably because of the amount of water I was drinking to counteract the severe cotton mouth this drug gives me. My tongue feels enlarged and slow. I have absolutely no desire to speak. I try reading a page of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but no matter how hard I strain my eyes the words are just blurred, squiggly symbols.
The movie finishes a second time. I glance down and notice the floor appears to be bubbling slowly, like water when it first begins to boil. I shake my head and concentrate on the carpet, and this bubbling stops. The ceiling and walls appear to be ‘breathing’ slowly as well. I keep seeing a flash of light, like a camera flash, out of the corner of my eye. This startles me a little each time. My heart rate has increased. I also feel slightly nauseous but it is not unbearable. I begin to experience audio hallucinations. The first was a beeping sound. I thought it came from the microwave, but it could not have because that was unplugged. A moment later, I hear a loud dog bark come from the direction of my kitchen. The straw things continue to multiply.
I still now what the movie is about, but it seems unimportant. I think I have actually lost the ability to speak. What if my mother comes down? I can pretend to be asleep. What if she wakes me up? I won’t be able to explain anything if I can’t talk. I attempt to speak to my dog. After several tries I am to progress from slurred whispers to something resembling normal speech. However I fear that if my mother comes down she will see right through this. The bugs flying around are defined now. They are moths. I can feel ants crawling on me too, but I remember that I am not supposed to scratch at this feeling. Rubbing water on it seems to help. My legs are very heavy, making walking difficult.
My thoughts are abstract and seem to be flowing very smoothly, although at the same time I cannot really follow them. Short-term memory has been reduced to a time span of a few minutes. I hear footsteps upstairs – no, wait, that is just my heartbeat. That happens several times. Each time it takes me a moment to realize that it is only my heart. I worry I am slipping out of reality. The plotline of the movie has become extremely hard to follow. I have to strain to hear the dialogue because some is singing, “Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalaaalaaaaa!” in a loud, rapid voice. I snap back to reality with a jolt and laugh as I realize I just hallucinated someone singing. I feel very warm and wonder why I’m not sweating.
The actors start speaking gibberish. Not all of them, but about every third person that speaks is impossible to understand. I know that this is not right, but I can’t follow the plot anymore so I don’t really care. I can barely remember what a person had said at the beginning of a sentence by the time they’d finished it. Scenes of the movie are taking place out of order. They appear to me like this: Scene B, Scene A, Scene B, Scene C”, or some other random repetitive order, rather than A, B, C. The straw-things have merged together to form giant clear amoeba blobs. “Oh good,” I think. “It’s the amoebas.” I’m not sure why I was happy to see them. I hear voices. The voices don’t scare me. I am able to tell that they are not real, usually, after listening to them for a few minutes. I have to remind myself to inhale occasionally. My breathing seems strange – ragged and shallow and tense.
I attempt to get up and find that I cannot. Gravity pulls me back down. I am stuck to the floor. “Why am I on the floor?” I think. I don’t remember getting off the couch. I lie there for a few more minutes before attempting to rise again. It’s like fighting the force of a massive, super-powered vacuum. After what seemed like a long struggle but really was only a few minutes, I manage to get to my feet. I turn off the television but forget to turn off the lights and the fan. I trudge off to the bathroom, feeling as if I am dragging ten pound weights by my ankles and wrists. When I catch sight of my reflection I am startled. My eyes are huge and dilated, my skin is flushed. The girl in the mirror grins at me. I sense that this is not right and hurry to bed.
5:00 - ? am
I shut the door to my bedroom and feel the darkness squeezing me. I feel for my bed, afraid to open my eyes. I reach it quickly but it takes me a long time to crawl up to my pillow. The bed seems to stretch for a mile. It feels fuzzy and comforting once I settle in. I open my eyes and look around. Everything seems basically normal, save for the amoebas. They followed me in here I guess. And then... a movement. No. A man. No. Shadows? One is very tall and thin, wearing something that resembled a KKK hood. He moves fluidly and smoothly, raising his legs high with each step. He approaches my sister’s bed and stands there to study her. The other is child-sized and scurries up the wall like Spider-man when it notices me looking at it. It tilts its’ head back to look at me and I see it has dull yellow eyes and a Cheshire Cat grin like a black hole. The man has no eyes that I can see. I am not really frightened. I am mildly curious but mainly exhausted. But every time I close my eyes, I feel a pinch in the crook of my arm – just like the pinch when they insert an IV needle into that vein.
I am annoyed with the creatures now. They won’t let me sleep. Somehow I just /know/ it is them that is pinching me. How they did this from across the room, I don’t know. Why are they here again? Oh, that’s right. I vaguely remember taking some kind of drug. DPH. “Why did I take it?” I wonder. “This is no fun. I’m sweating and I feel sick every time I roll over and I am tired.” The sickness came mainly from the speed of my heart, I remember this from my caffeine overdose. I feel compelled suddenly to get up and flush the rest of the pills down the toilet. I do so and then return. The Shadow People are now gone and I can have some much-needed rest.
I finally awaken, feeling groggy and still exhausted. I feel as if I were recovering from a bad bout of flu. I do not want to eat at all today. Remembering what I had done with my stash of pills, I become furious with myself. Or the Shadows. I think they made me want to do it. My tongue still feels large and speech is still faint. This disappears after a few hours and I can resume normal life.
Note: After researching the subject, it has become apparent that Shadow People are not something new. Sightings have been reported for hundreds of years, among all types of people – sober as well as drug-induced. Children seem to be especially sensitive to them. Many people report feelings of dread along with their presence, they are said to feed off of this negative energy. Mine, however, did not seem menacing at all. Perhaps I did not venture far enough into their realm. Perhaps I just met some friendly ones. Looking back, I believe I could have communicated with them by thinking. I also think I could have put my hands right through them. There are several different theories for what these beings truly are. I have my own theories, but I’ll leave it up to you to fantasize about your own. Is it possible that they are figments of the imagination? Possibly. Usually I myself am a skeptic of these matters. However, thousands of people sharing the same ‘hallucination’? Sober people, children? Not likely.
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