Update about my son’s mental health ordeal.

This is just a quick update about my son, who started suffering severe panic attacks/dissociation episodes and a week later, from near-suicidal depression.

He is doing much better.   It turned out the medication the Emergency Room gave him to control the panic attacks (lorazepam — commercially known as Ativan) had an adverse effect on him and caused the depression.   Since he stopped taking them, he has not been depressed.

He’s been a lot less anxious too, but that may have been job-related.   He was transferred to a different location which is closer to his home, and is less stressful, and he has not had another attack.

He still plans to find a therapist, since he is an anxious person who has OCD and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which my daughter also has).  Having these disorders together makes a person likely to suffer sudden panic attacks.

Thanks for everyone’s thoughts and prayers!  I do think that helped too.

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Anxiety spiraling into major depression?

Last week I wrote about my son’s dissociation episodes and panic attacks.   He got some anti-anxiety medication there, but they put him to sleep so they haven’t been useful to him, and the panic has not gone away.  He’s been able to manage it a little better, using some mindfulness tricks, but has not been able to see a doctor yet (he will tomorrow).  His two trips to the emergency room just told him what he already knew and gave him a few pills for the panic.

Since last Monday, he says he has had 14 panic attacks.  Today he tweeted this:

the last 2 weeks ive been in a very dark place. im constantly afraid, never happy. ive lost all hope and happiness. i feel broken. I’m only able to focus on my faults. making choices triggers panic attacks. im so fucking scared of life itself. help me.

This rose alarm bells so I called him right away.  He sounded alright but sad/down.   I asked him if he was having suicidal thoughts.  He said no, but he thinks about death a lot (suicidal ideation).   He also said it feels like someone else has taken over his mind and this isn’t him.   He can’t think of a specific trigger that would have set off the panic attacks.  It seems to me the attacks were and are part of a depressive disorder, possibly major depression, which is what it sounds like.

I made him promise not to do anything crazy.  He said he wouldn’t.   He did say he appreciates me calling him so much (it used to annoy him) and staying on top of the situation.   I’m glad he tells me everything, but I’m still really scared.   I can’t be near him right now, and that makes it worse.

At least he’s opening up and being honest instead of keeping everything inside.   I think opening up and talking about it is a good first step.   He also said he’s been thinking about checking himself into the hospital for a week or a few days.  I think that is probably a good idea, even though he will lose pay.

I’m asking everyone to send your prayers his way (or positive thoughts, if you aren’t religious).     I hate seeing him like this.

“George.”

Ogre

Linda Lee, who writes “A Blog About Healing from PTSD”  wrote this article about how she learned to deal with her panic attacks — and the advice is quite simple.

GET ANGRY! 

Yes, get angry.   While anger isn’t an ideal place to be, it’s a much more proactive and stronger emotion than fear.

The other day, I wrote about the panic attacks my son has been suffering from.   As his concerned mom (who used to suffer from panic attacks myself), I’ve been talking to him every day, monitoring his progress.    He’s been getting some good advice from his friends, since he hasn’t been able to see a therapist yet (but is planning to soon).

The best advice I heard of came from someone who told him to name his panic attacks.  By naming them, you effectively separate them from yourself, and they become an outside “person” instead of a part of yourself you can’t separate from.

So he decided to name them “George.”  Whenever he sees George coming, he tells him to get lost and yes, he gets angry at George.   He tells George he’s nothing but a big bully with no real power over him.  My son is much stronger than George and he tells him so.    George hasn’t gone away yet, but he’s having less power over my son than he did, and doesn’t seem quite so dangerous.

Panic attacks, dissociation, and my son’s anxiety issues.

escher

Geometries by M.C. Escher

 

My son, who already suffers from OCD and ADHD (both diagnosed) tweeted this the other night:

I just had one of the strangest things happen… and it was the scariest experience of my life. I just had a Depersonalization/Derealization episode. It was SO FUCKING TERRIFYING. I thought I was gonna wake up in the ER or never sleep again.

Then later:

Other than OCD, ADHD and depression i have no psych disorders i know of. That shit LITERALLY made me feel like i’d lost my grip on reality and self.

The next day:

I’m going to the emergency room.

A few hours later:

Guys, if anything happens i love you all. Absolutely terrified in the waiting room rn feeling like death.

Late last night:

I got released. They gave me an anxiety pill. It was officially diagnosed as an anxiety attack.

Today:

Looking into therapy. my anxiety is getting REALLY bad.

As his mom, of course I was alarmed by these tweets.  But, as someone who used to suffer from panic attacks just as debilitating during my 20s and 30s, I KNOW HOW HE FEELS!  Panic attacks suck, and the type that involve dissociation are absolutely the worst.   For me, the dissociation usually involved derealization (feeling like your environment was unreal) but sometimes depersonalization (feeling like you’re disconnected from the world or like you’re not in your own body) too.

The panic might be hereditary.  His father suffers from anxiety attacks too.   I used to have exactly the kind of panic attacks he describes — always some kind of dissociative hell where I felt like everything was a dream and the people around me suddenly looked very frightening — either robotic or demonic.  Sometimes they looked like wax figures or seemed like they were being run by machines, and the environment itself became very surreal and dreamlike.  Sometimes it looked like a cartoon or two-dimensional.

disorienting

Museum installation by artist Peter Koler

During the worst attacks, I used to feel like I was literally outside of my body, and that really freaked me out.   I actually would have trouble controlling my body.  I remember once this happened to me on the subway in New York (which is scary enough as it is!) and I literally had to run off the train as soon as it stopped and ran into a corner and started whimpering.    Sometimes I used to have to bite my hands to feel “real.”   There were a few times I actually drew blood from doing that.    These dissociative episodes felt just like a bad drug trip, and I’ve had a few of those too.

I suffered from my first dissociative panic attack at about age 10.  I was playing outside in the early evening in the driveway and suddenly I felt like I wasn’t in my body.   But I wasn’t able to find the words to describe the feeling, and when I tried to tell my mother about how “weird” I felt, she had no idea what I was talking about and said I was being overdramatic and imagining things.   Eventually it passed, but from then on, every so often I’d get that weird feeling again.   As I entered my teens and twenties, the attacks became worse and more frequent.   They eventually tapered off when I reached my thirties and I haven’t had a full blown panic attack in years.

In my case, the episodes may have been due to my generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or possibly from C-PTSD and/or BPD.    I don’t think my son has BPD, but he likely has PTSD or C-PTSD (his father is a narcissist and we had a very toxic marriage when the kids were young, which I have described elsewhere in this blog).   OCD can definitely cause a person to have anxiety or panic attacks, and I’m sure having ADHD just exacerbates the tendency.

I talked to him tonight for a while about this, and suggested some mindfulness tools that have helped me.   I think CBT could help him with this.  Thankfully, he has health insurance with his job, and has set up an appointment to see a therapist.  The emergency room gave him a short term prescription for some anti-anxiety meds (not benzodiazepines though).   But there are many things he can do to help himself too.

He has never sought therapy for his anxiety or OCD because he’s been able to deal with it  on his own until now, but he does need help with the panic and dissociation.   He also admitted his new job is much more stressful than he expected, and he is already looking around for something else.

If you pray, please send your prayers his way.  No one ever died or went crazy from a panic attack, but as someone who’s suffered from them, I know they can certainly feel that way when you’re in the midst of one!

*****

Further reading:

Derealization and Depersonalization in BPD and NPD

Guest post #13: Panic and Narcissism

roller-coaster-2

Don Shelby, who writes the blog Living With Narcissism, and suffers from depression and panic disorder, had a surprise for me today.  I opened up my email and there was his guest post!    He’s been busy and had some personal issues so was unable to send it earlier, and I’d completely forgotten about it, but after I read it I was very glad he remembered to send it because I could relate to it and I think a lot of you will be able to also. Most of us who had narcissistic parents learn to be afraid of everything. It’s why we take so few risks.

From Don’s About page:

I’ve lived with narcissists for most of my life and only recently understood the phenomenon of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Co Dependency in relationships.  From my humble beginnings being raised by a single Narc mother to several long term relationships with Narc women I have been fully and completely indoctrinated to be a good little obedient co dependent with very low self esteem.  I personally suffer from depression and anxiety/panic disorder.  I currently still live with my narcissistic partner of nearly 20 years and for now intend to continue in this relationship.  This blog is my safe space to openly discuss what goes on in my world around this dynamic and to explore coping mechanisms and ways to heal the co dependency in me.  I am not a mental health professional.  I’m just a victim of narcissistic childhood abuse who’s on a mission to heal my soul and gain back my life once and for all.

Panic and Narcissism 
By Don Shelby, Living With Narcissism

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I had my first full blown panic attack in my mid 20s. Since then, my life has become a quest to understand why I felt so anxious and panicky over situations that I used to not have any fear about whatsoever in my younger years. For a long time, I thought that the panic attacks started then, but now I believe they started at a much younger age and only manifested fully in my 20s when life got too overwhelming.

My mother was a narcissist and she terrorized me and my brother throughout our lives until her death in 1997 in order to manipulate us and get us to do what she wanted. My brother and I flip flopped between being the golden child and the scapegoat depending on which of us was on her good side at the moment. I grew up with uncertainty, no boundaries, and rules that changed with my mother’s moods. I was taught to distrust my own feelings, thoughts and desires and especially of anyone outside of our family unit. I was taught to only trust my mother and to believe everything she told me as if it was written in stone. Whenever I would want to do something that she didn’t want me to do she would try to scare me into not doing it by telling me that I’d end up dead or worse if I did the thing I wanted to do. She’d paint a pretty scary picture for me and then I had to choose whether to take the “risk” and go for it or to take her word for it and not do the thing. I’m not talking about risky behaviors like skydiving or rock climbing here. I’m talking about going to college out of state or going on an amusement ride she didn’t want me to ride or swimming in the ocean. Normal stuff a lot of kids do. Every day stuff. Her justification was always that we’re not like other people and it’s okay for them but not us. Why were we so different? Because my mother said so.

overprotective.parent

So I was raised to be fearful and to only trust my mother. Still, today, when I’m about to embark on something that I perceive as scary or challenging I can hear her voice telling me how crazy I am to try something that foolish and that I’m going to end up dead because of it. I was a fearful kid and I grew into a fearful adult. The real crazy part is that, despite my fear, I still went ahead and did most of the things that my mother warned would kill me. I rode that roller coaster. I swam in that ocean. I went to college out of state. There was a big part of me that didn’t believe her lies. I pushed my luck often and did what I wanted to despite her warnings. But it cost me too. This pushed me into the Scapegoat role constantly with her while she admonished me for disobeying and looked for any sign of failure as a chance to show me how right she was after all. It forced me into a corner where I could never fail because failure would usher in an unwelcome torrent of “I told you so’s”. I could not let her win. And I didn’t. For years I put a ton of pressure on myself to show my mother that she couldn’t keep me from living my life. Zero failure was my mantra. Never show weakness. Always tell her only the positive things going on and hide my vulnerabilities from her.

So all those years of being strong actually broke me down until my nervous system couldn’t handle it anymore and I started experiencing panic attacks over the slightest little thing. I guess there were triggers but I wasn’t aware of them. My own mind became my new battle ground and I didn’t feel safe anywhere. I changed career paths because of it. I stayed in lousy relationships because of it. I lived in places I hated because of it. I didn’t have the confidence in myself to take care of my own needs like I once had. Still, I struggle to lead a happy, normal life. There are a lot of things I simply don’t feel strong enough to do anymore. My nervous system is so sensitive to fear triggers that I can’t handle much stress at all in my life. I’m a shell of the person I used to be and I feel like an old warrior, battered but not broken from my experiences in life. My mother waged mental warfare in my youth and other women have continued her battles as I’ve been attracted to a lot of narcissistic type people over the years.

The silver lining is that with understanding narcissism and the effects of C-PTSD I now know what caused my panic attacks to start and why my life has been challenging in ways that most of my friends were not. I can’t go back and change the past but I can take what I’ve learned into my future and make it better. Sure, I still struggle with anxiety and panic, but with understanding has come some tools to help me persevere through my triggers and symptoms. I know the value of setting boundaries and having self respect and listening to my inner voice above others. I remind myself daily what I knew when I was five. My mother was wrong. I’m not crazy and I’m not going to die on that roller coaster.

Mental Illness, Depression, Hating Waking Up in the Morning

I can relate to this so much. I wake up feeling this way at least once or twice a week, if not more. Life seems so much more overwhelming and undo-able upon waking up. I really have no idea why. Sometimes the anxiety can get so intense my heart starts to race and my brain feels like it’s screaming.

This sort of free-floating morning anxiety is common in depression and might be the reason why depressed people often wake early and can’t get back to sleep.   But having these attacks isn’t just limited to depressed people.  It could also happen to people who suffer from anxiety disorders or are just under a lot of stress.

I’ve found the best thing to do when this happens is to get up. Trying to fall back to sleep when you’re feeling this sort of mental anguish will NOT work. You will lay there in your bed feeling panicky and wide awake. Once you get up and start going about your daily activities, no matter how daunting they seem, your anxiety level will decrease significantly.

GentleKindness

If you wake up every morning feeling anxiety, depression and completely overwhelmed at the thought of scraping through another day, you are not alone.

Once the day gets going after a few hours, you can get into autopilot mode, or somehow tolerate the things you have to do in order to survive. But upon waking up, you feel like one more day of painful suffering existance might be too much.

You feel alone and like there is something horribly wrong with your life. It is so severe upon opening your eyes in the morning that you cannot imagine anyone else would understand.

You are not alone. This is an important situation that gets worse being left in the darkness. Feel free to express your feelings in the comments here….if you are experiencing…or have ever experienced this.

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Derealization and depersonalization in NPD and BPD.

Worlds_Collide___Phaeton___by_Meckie
Worlds Collide-Phaeton: by Meckie at Deviantart.com

A common symptom of both NPD and BPD is dissociation: a splitting or fragmenting of the personality not very different from what occurs in the Dissociative disorders such as DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) and Psychogenic Fugue. It usually happens in response to a severe loss of supply or major narcissistic injury, or a sudden awareness of oneself as not oneself (realizing your false self is not who you really are–which happens when a narcissist becomes self aware). These disorders themselves, especially NPD, are dissociative in nature because a split in the personality has occurred. In the narcissist, it’s a substitution of the original personality for a false one.

Borderlines, rather than having a false self per se, are more like chameleons, adapting their personalities to fit the people and situation around them. That’s why Borderlines can seem so changeable.

I first started to experience dissociation as a young child. I remember at age 4, waking up for breakfast and walking down to the kitchen where my parents were already eating, and seeing colored specks like glitter falling all around me. When I asked my parents if they saw the “glitter,” they just looked at me like I was crazy. I also had dreams that would continue after I awoke and often felt I was living in a dream. Maybe that’s the case with most young children though. I also remember hearing music from TV shows late at night after everyone was asleep that couldn’t possibly be coming from anywhere, as this was in the 1960s and no one had the capability to record a show on VCR yet, nor was there TV after midnight or so–all we’d get in those days was a test pattern until morning.

I remember at around the same age, banging my head against the wall in the family room to relieve some kind of congestion in my head. I think it may have been to relieve those odd feelings of unreality–not much different than the way a Borderline will sometimes cut herself to “feel alive.” In fact, this may well have been an early symptom of my BPD (and I always thought it was autism).

Most people have probably experienced dissociation, perhaps under the influence of a drug. Sometimes people experience it on hearing shocking news that could be either tragic or fortuitous–like hearing one’s child just died, or winning the lottery.

But for people who have certain personality disorders (as well as people with various dissociative disorders and psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, and also those with PTSD and C-PTSD), dissociation is both common and chronic. It’s also severe enough to sometimes interfere with functioning.

Q: So what does dissociation FEEL like?
A. Because something so ungrounded in the tangible and everyday reality is so hard to explain in words, I’m not sure if these descriptions of what it feels like will make a lot of sense, but I’ll try.

Derealization.
I’ve actually experienced this the most. The world seems odd and dreamlike. Reality seems somehow “off” the way things are in a dream. In a dream, a familiar scene can look the same as it does in reality, but at the same time there’s this feeling of offness and otherworldiness about it. When I was younger and used to ride the subway, sometimes I couldn’t look up at the people because they all seemed like masks…sinister, somehow. It’s a very weird feeling but not always unpleasant. Sometimes that dreamlike oddness about everything is sort of compelling and interesting.

Depersonalization.
This definitely causes me serious panic attacks. I first had episodes of this at about age 9 or 10 and thought I was going crazy. I felt oddly disconnected from my body, like I was floating. People talking to you sound like they’re coming from either a great distance or out of a tube. You can’t focus on what they’re saying because you’re freaking out and panicking but trying to hide it to keep from appearing as crazy as you feel.

I think people with NPD and BPD (as well as the Schizoid, Schizotypal and Paranoid PD’s) who do not improve or try to change, are probably at high risk for developing psychotic disorders and even schizophrenic like conditions when things are going badly for them, there’s been a massive loss of narcissistic supply, or when the person becomes gravely ill or very late in life.

Viral video of man having panic attack.

Casey Throwaway (yes, that is his real name) decided to make a video of himself undergoing a panic attack to educate people that anxiety is real. I think it took a lot of courage for Casey to make this video and he is to be commended for his willingness to “run naked in public.”

Here is the article from The Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/16/panic-attack-video-casey-throwaway_n_7600032.html

My son didn’t escape unscathed.

leavinghome
This is not a photo of my son, but it looks a little like him.

My 23 year old son was scapegoated and bullied by his father when he was a child and teen (which I’ve written about before). As the most sensitive and nervous child in the family who was able to see through his father’s malignant narcissism, his father began to target him for abuse when it became clear to him my son had a good built-in bullshit detector.

When he was 17 he moved out of our home to stay with a female police officer who worked at his school. She was very supportive but after awhile he decided to move back in with us briefly. When he turned 18, he moved to another state and has not been back, although he does talk to me on a regular basis. Due to lack of funds, I’ve only seen him 3 times since he moved out in 2010. He is doing well though–working two jobs, one as a management trainee for a chain of convenience stores in the Tampa, Florida area, the other as a Carraba’s server where he sometimes pulls in as much as $700 in a single weekend.

He has many interests and talents, including dancing, animation, and filmmaking (which is what he really would love to do). He came out as gay when he was 17. After that happened, he transformed from being a nerdy, nervous teenager with few friends to a very popular young man with a geeky, eccentric sort of cool and many friends. He doesn’t do drugs or smoke. He drinks, but doesn’t appear to have an alcohol problem.

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Photo of my kids in Texas in 2001.

I thought he somehow emerged unscathed from the family dysfunction. He shows no signs of having any personality disorder, although he has reported having panic attacks and he tends to be obsessive in his thinking. He’s also prone to depressions.

Tonight we talked to each other on the phone for awhile and he described his obsessive thinking. He worries about locking the door, for example, and has to keep going back to check to make sure he locked it. He hates having anything dripped on him, and that can set off a rage attack. They are like panic attacks, but instead of panic, he feels rage. He doesn’t act on the rage, but he feels it. Then he feels guilty for feeling that way. He doesn’t like people approaching him from behind and is jumpy and wants to attack when that happens. He worries incessantly about the impression he makes on others and suffers from occasional paranoia, and thinks others are out to hurt him, even when there is no rational reason for him to think this.

kelphead
Sporting kelp “hair extensions.”

It sounds to me like he suffers from a severe anxiety disorder, and probably has OCD. He can afford health insurance now, so I told him to please see a therapist who can find out if what he has is OCD or something else, and possibly give him some medication and therapy. He’s willing to do this. I still think he’s the most mentally healthy person in the immediate family, and the only one who is doing well financially and doesn’t appear to have a personality disorder, but he’s far from unscathed from the abuse inflicted on him, and his hypervigilance and anxiety is no doubt due to that (though there could be a biological component too).

The day I went to Hell.

singularity-mind

A old friend from another website I used to frequent and I were having an interesting conversation earlier today on Facebook about my conversion to Catholicism on Easter. My friend converted two years ago (from Episcopalian) so of course he knows much more than I do.

Both of us love philosophical musing and talking about weird, metaphysical subjects so as conversations sometimes will, soon I was asking him if he believed in Hell (he does but doesn’t think it’s a hellfire and brimstone sort of place) and if he believes all narcissists will go there (he thinks they will and there’s no hope for any of them; I don’t think that’s necessarily the case unless they’re psychopathic or malignant).

I asked him what he thought hell was like and he replied that it was worse than a fire and brimstone hell because it would involve the lost soul forever drifting alone in between the galaxies, where there are no stars and no light…utterly alone, and lost for all eternity with no hope of finding their way back to…anything at all.

This suddenly brought back memories of a bad LSD trip I took many years ago, when I was in my 20s. I was never adventurous about taking recreational drugs and pretty much stuck with alcohol and pot, which seemed safe. I must have known on some level I didn’t have the right sort of temperament to react well to a strong psychedelic drug, so I never messed with them except for this one time.

Psychedelic drugs make you extremely suggestible, and heighten whatever mood you’re already in or exaggerate what you’re already worried about. This is why it’s recommended that if you decide to experiment with this class of recreationals, to only do it in a setting you’re comfortable in and have a trusted “trip sitter” who is not under the influence there just in case a freak-out occurs. As a person who was constantly on edge and a nervous wreck anyway (and I also took it with someone I didn’t know well), the outcome wasn’t going to be good (but it sure was interesting).

My trip memories came flooding back (not as a flashback, just a memory) so I described these memories to my Facebook friend today. Personally I think these drugs can be extremely dangerous because I think that, much like messing with the occult, they can open doors better left bolted shut, and reveal truths about the universe we may not be ready to know or ever should know. You can be shown things you can’t begin to understand and that lack of understanding will terrify you. Basically, they constitute a way to eat from a Tree of Knowledge that can really fuck your head up for a long time, even causing a psychotic break, or at the least just cause extreme discomfort for awhile.

At first I thought nothing was going to happen, because the weirdness didn’t kick in for almost half an hour. Then I started to shiver as if I was cold but I wasn’t cold. The shivering was coming from inside me. Everything became metallic. My surroundings developed sharp edges that gleamed like the edges of knives and the sounds around me sounded like metal and glass.

metallic_tree

We were outside. I watched a car zoom by and thought it looked and sounded funny–sort of like a cartoon–so I started laughing. I thought it was alive. I started rambling (probably incoherently) about why cars weren’t considered to be living things because they sure acted like living things and even had “systems”–the body covered with a metal skin, the engine (the heart), the transmission and electrical system (the nervous system), the various fluids that lubricated and made it run (blood and other bodily fluids), even a waste elimination system (the exhaust). And they had four “legs” that kept them moving. They could get sick and be “diagnosed.” Their inner workings seemed as complex to me as the inside of the human body. They even had quirks and “personalities.”

This early part of the trip was kind of fun but I was still disturbed by the metallic sound and cartoonish look of everything. The world seemed like it was screaming and shards of metal were slicing into my brain like razor blades. A fly landed on my arm and I screamed because I thought it was some kind of tiny machine that could see inside my soul. The fact that such “engineered insects” and even smaller nanomachines actually exist freaks me out more than a little.

artificial_insect
Creepy artificially engineered insect.

Then I had a bizarre thought that came out of nowhere. I “realized” that nothing was real–that everything and everyone I had ever known, everything I ever learned about or experienced, in fact every person and every experience I had ever had since the time I was born–none of it was real. Everything and everyone I knew was merely a creation of my own mind. (I understand some Eastern religious practices actually do believe this).

But if everything I saw and knew and experienced was nothing but a mental construct I created from my own mind, and nothing really existed, then where were my own thoughts coming from?

nothing_is_real

I was a singularity, a tiny speck of bright white consciousness, floating alone in the black void of deep space, light years away or an eternity away from any known universe. I felt utterly alone and lonely, and wondered why only my consciousness existed. I was overcome with profound sadness.

And then realized this meant I must be God. I was pure consciousness floating bodiless within an eternity of nothingness. I could create my reality out of nothing. If that was the case, I could create a whole new universe. As God, I was the consciousness that brought on the Big Bang. I thought about creating a new universe, one that would make me happy instead of so miserable, afraid and sad. But I was too afraid to create anything at all. What sort of “God” would be so scared and so powerless?

god_creating

I started to freak out. I remembered my past life, my job, my school, my friends, my family. I wanted to get back but didn’t know how. I had a massive panic attack so intense I thought I would die. Maybe I was already dead. Maybe I had never existed at all…who the hell was I? Where was I?

I was trapped in some weird time loop. Although I (think) I only had these realizations, thoughts and visions once, I had the unsettling feeling I had been through this exact experience many times before, and in fact this experience had been my only reality throughout all eternity. Everything else had been a dream. This was the only reality.

Gradually I began to come back to the world. My friend told me he was worried about me because all I had done was sit on the floor, backed into a corner of his kitchen, moaning and mumbling incoherently. He said my eyes looked like black pools of terror. He tried to give me some coffee but I had pushed him away. I didn’t remember doing that.

It was definitely an interesting experience but one I would never try again.

My Facebook friend and I started talking about the devil and whether he existed. Anyone who would think of themselves as God, even in a deluded drug induced state, was being influenced by Satan, who thought of himself as God or at least that he should have been God. I’m still not sure I believe in Satan, but this argument made a kind of sense. The overall feeling of my LSD experience was one of profound despair, terror, evil and separation from God.

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Could this be Hell?

Being “God”–a singularity of consciousness amid an eternity of nothingness–was terrifying. I told my friend I thought perhaps I went to Hell and it was exactly as he had described: a place of nothingness between the galaxies or even outside any known universe, perhaps within a massive black hole, an eternal separation from all that was real, whether bad, good or in between.

I was never so glad to return to the mundane and too often very boring and painful reality of the earthly world I lived in, just one insignificant human among billions of others just like me. I actually appreciated all the little things that angered, upset or annoyed me, at least for a little while.

Looking back on that experience now, I think I actually was in hell. I think that, if Satan does exist, utter aloneness, terror and despair is what he feels (but don’t worry, I’m not Mick Jagger and have no sympathy for the devil). Satan is the Ultimate Narcissist, and still believes he is greater than God, the source of all that is–and he hates God for casting him out of heaven into that eternal black void of nothingness.