The truth is that I’m afraid of dying. Some days it’s all that I can think about and the fear, it’s paralyzing. It all starts with an out of body experience that I had a few months ago. My fiancé smokes a blend of mugwort, kava kava and skullcap. On a very stressful day, I decided to try it. Thus began my entry into escaping reality. I should mention that I have never smoked so much as a cigarette, I barely drink and I’ve never ever done drugs.
I enjoyed the first inhale. It calmed me. Like the constant analyst that I am, I decide to dissect the feeling. I allowed a few minutes to pass before taking the next hit. More calm. A warm fuzzy feeling came over me. It was the third time that got me. I remember inhaling but I do not remember exhaling. Everything began to spin within moments. The world was syncopated. I heard him tell me “Okay, no more for you.” I remember desperately trying to call out for him but my voice didn’t seem to work. When I finally was able to speak, all I could muster was a “Baby….”
”You’re okay, Lauren.”
”No…I’m not…” I said and I began to cry.
i had no sense of touch. When I fell to ground, I didn’t even feel the imact. So I shook my head, slapped my own face, grabbed for his arm, anything to regain my sense of reality. It was in that moment that I was convinced that I was dying. I saw no white lights. Nothing flashed before my eyes. All I could think was, “if I go now, he will never forgive himself.” I thought of my dog being sad that I never came home, my kittens looking for me, and that big empty side of the bed where I used to lie.
I came to, of course. I had to force myself to find my center. To vocalize the things in front of me., I came back to reality and was able to walk again. That right there was when it began. You see, until that moment, I had yet to truly feel mortal. Or I suppose more to the point, the weight of mortality suddenly hit me in the moment. I began to understand what it means for your body to fail you. I realized that while that moment might not have been my time, some day not too far in the future it will be my time. That was and still is terrifying.
It was months later when I decided to try marijuana for the first time. I figured that smoking was not for me, I have weak lungs anyway, so I decided on edibles. I convinced myself that losing control of my body is something I’m going to need to be okay with. So I tried it. The first time I tried it, I felt nothing. The second time, it was great. I was calm, cool and collected. I didn’t like how physically slow it made me, but I was okay. So months later, I tried it again.
It took 6 hours to hit me this time. I was laying in bed and suddenly I felt like I was floating and that same feeling from before returned. I had no sense of touch. Reality didn’t exist. The only thing that brought me back to any semblace of reality was my dog Ayas tongue on my face. Poor baby, I kept calling her to me to kiss me. I kept petting her over and over again and calling her a good girl. She figured it out pretty quickly and didn’t stop until I calmed down. But four hours later, I was finally calm enough to sleep. Four hours later. Sheesh. Not good.
I had convinced myself that the issue was an isolated incident. So I tried again. It seemed as though allowing myself to let go was a personal goal of mine. Like any fear I’ve had in my life, I decided to face it head on to desensitize myself. I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich with cannibutter. A friend that I trust very much had given it to me when I told her the first time scared me. She said this was a different strain and it shouldn’t affect me the same way. This one took only an hour to hit me. When it finally did, I told myself I was going to prove to myself that I was okay.
I went to the internet. I googled like crazy and everything I found that would help me bring myself to consciousness, I tried it. Again, I felt like I had no control of my body. My heart was palpitating. I was nauseous. I tried to throw up. When it didn’t work, I forced myself. After I threw up, I decided to take a cold bath. I could only barely feel the chill of the water as I was shivering. So I switched to hot. I didn’t feel that either. “Okay, fine. That’s not going to work” I said to myself. I heard my voice. So I spoke to myself. I called my dog to me and she licked my face as I cried. I called my fiancée who was at work. He told me to calm down an enjoy it. “Yeah right,” I laughed.
I decided that tracking time would help, so I set a stop watch so I knew how much time had passed. Forget one day at a time, I was focusing on seconds. I was mostly okay. I could walk now. I decided that fluids would help so I drank some water. I ate some nuts so the protein could be absorbed. What’s interesting is that everything seemed to come in waves. The first wave was horrifying. Nearly seconds later, I found myself thinking that it was over and was in my head. This cycle repeated for hours until I finally found myself calm enough to sleep.
Its been months now since any of those instances and I find myself plagued with these thoughts. I can’t escape them. It’s crazy that a woman in her 30s would find herself so terrified by her own mortality. And for the life of me, I can’t shake it. I thought that maybe writing it down would somehow bring it to the surface so I can work through the fear. Thoughts anyon?