I wrote this message on the Notes app right after my reaction started. At that point, I had shut off all the lights and the music, and I knew that something had gone wrong. But I didn't know just how bad the trip was going to be. My head was spinning very rapidly, and I'm pretty sure my entire body was spinning as well, though I can't be sure, as I was entirely incapacitated. Writing that message was physically challenging, which is why it's full of typos. I wrote the note to give my parents context when they found me, and as a personal reminder of what had happened. Right after I shut my phone off, the trip got worse; that's when I was pushed into the corner of my room. I found the message when I woke up.

I accidentally took K2 and had the worst night of my life. This is my story.

June 3, 2019

Imagine the worst nightmare of your life.

Imagine the worst nightmare of your life, but this time, it doesn’t end. No matter what you do, you can’t snap out of it. You lose all sense of reality and descend into what seems to be an infinite loop of suffering: your own personal hell. You beg for death because anything is better than this, but you don’t get relief. You resign yourself to the thought that you will be experiencing this horror forever.

But somehow, it ends. You wake up in a hospital bed with cuts all over your body and your parents by your side. It takes hours, days, to calm yourself down and realize that this is reality, and that you’re alive.

I accidentally took K2—a deadly, synthetic form of marijuana—and had the worst night of my life. This is my story.

 

Like most kids in my social group, I had smoked weed. No more than six times, but it was enough to know that it wasn’t my thing. I like being in control of myself and my situation, so dissociatives like marijuana only stress me out. But I was at a low point in my life for a while, and I thought weed could provide some much-needed entertainment.

Over the course of a week, I set up a deal with one of my friends. On a Friday, for $60, I got a dab pen and a cartridge of what I assumed was weed.

Around 11:00 that evening, I pulled out the pen, and with The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” playing, I took one hit. As soon as I blew the vapor out the window, I knew I was in for something unlike anything I’d ever experienced.

As I lay in bed, everything moved in slow motion. It wasn’t unpleasant at first, just strong. But then the music turned ominous, and the nightmare began.

I was suddenly squeezed into the smallest, loneliest corner of my bedroom. I distinctly remember thinking, ‘today is the day I die, and all the suffering and hard work in my life will have been wasted.’

That’s the last time I thought in terms of self, because from that point on, it was an endless loop of my worst nightmares—nightmares from my earliest childhood. I forgot the faces of my parents, of my brother, of myself; I lost all sense of reality. I was essentially trapped inside my mind. Patterns came and went, but I clung to some of them, hoping they would save my life or at least let me die. The color red, the time 11:03, my father—they helped me stay sane.

It’s hard to explain, but it seemed like I was stuck in a mathematical program, a simulation that repeated experiences on loop. Outside of it all, it felt as though scientists had created a mathematical equation to test the concept of personhood, of infinity. They were subjecting me, their guinea pig, to various forms of experience, of suffering. I realized that the reality we live in, the reality that I have since managed to return to, was nothing but a scene in this hellish infinity.

There were brief flashes of reality. At a certain point, I found myself lying on a minimalistic, dirty-white version of my floor, begging my dad to hug me. Then back to the abyss. More nightmares, and then pinned down on the carpet by two, three, seven police officers. Then back to the abyss.

And then reality. My parents. I’m naked, lying in a hospital bed. There’s a catheter in my penis. Not pleasant. Then back to the abyss.

I must have floated in and out of reality for hours, but when I became myself again and realized I was going to survive, it was around 11:00 the next morning. My high had lasted 12 hours. Doctors confirmed that I had K2 in my system.

To this day, I don’t really know what happened. I know my parents found me huddled in a corner, screaming and bashing myself against the wall, my eyes open. I know I bit my mother. I know six or seven cops had to restrain me. I know I spit in one cop’s eyes and had to be handcuffed and sedated. I know I’m lucky to be alive. I don’t know much else.

Writing this is painful because it forces me to relive the worst night of my life. Weeks after the fact, I still get debilitating flashbacks. But I’m writing it nonetheless, because I don’t want other people to go through what I went through.

At Whitman, we subscribe to a work hard, play hard mentality. I’m an AP student, I’m going to apply to great colleges and I have a clear idea for my future. I’m a child under adult levels of stress.

Like many Whitman students, I’ve used drugs and alcohol to relax and have a good time with friends. I’m not an addict by any measure, but I am familiar with illicit substances.

But the scary truth is we don’t know what we’re putting into our bodies. What happened to me could easily have happened to anyone who smokes at Whitman. When we pick up weed from random kids, we are always taking a gamble. What we see is sometimes not what we get.

It’s not my job to preach. I’m a child who made a wrong decision and more than paid the price for it. But I hope my story is a lesson. For your sake, for the sake of your parents, for the sake of your younger siblings who have to see you writhing around the floor screaming in terror, be careful. We like to think that nothing can touch us—that we’re invincible. But I learned the hard way that I’m not as safe as I’d like to think.

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