Monday, 16 March 2015

Seizures and Synthetics

I don't normally talk much about my drug use on here.
Maybe because it's not much of mention. Maybe because I'm not exactly quitting.
I think I manage it, for the most part.

Until it nearly kills me.

As a lot of you know, though some won't, I smoke a lot of weed. I have daily for nearly five years now. This, I do manage, and am working on. I just don't talk about it much, to anyone.

It doesn't feel appropriate to get into here, (plus I wouldn't make you all endure a post twice as long as it already is), but I do kind of owe you all an explanation and I promise I'll write more about it one day, so for now I'll just give a quick overview.

But for the last few years, I've also struggled on-and-off with an addiction to synthetics ('synthetic cannabinoids'). I don't smoke them as much as the real stuff, but still too much. I can stay off them for a few months, at one point I even stayed off them for over a year, but they always drag me back. They haven't done me any major harm for the last few years, but they used to really fuck me up, mentally and physically. I'd hallucinate, scream out for now reason, my heart rate and pulse would either be dangerously high or dangerously low. The list goes on.

Anyway, this week.

It started on Monday. Without going into detail, it was a shitty day, I hadn't smoked anything but tobacco for a couple of days, and I ended up smoking a different brand of synthetics that I'd not tried before. For the last couple of years, the effects (and side effects) have been pretty consistent, so I wasn't too worried about it. But it turned out to be a very different beast, not like anything I've had in years.

I was planning to have one cone (I think you non-Aussies would call them 'bowls') to calm down, cook dinner, eat my veggies, smoke some more and have an early night. I had one little cone, and mum popped out to the car to grab a phone charger. And then it all went black. 

By the time she got back (less than a minute), I was having a goddamn seizure. 

She called for my brother, and my head flopped back, and she yelled for him again. My brother, the one with the uncanny ability to KEEP CALM. He immediately identified it as a seizure. I was slurring, trying to talk, convulsing, knocking things over. They checked my O2 sats and tried to get my blood pressure, but I wouldn't stay still.

I don't remember much of it at all, but I was experiencing full hallucinations. The background was all white, faces were blurred, there were people all around. It felt like my feet were cemented down, like I was screaming but no noise came out.
The older chemicals used to give me partial visual and auditory hallucinations, but nothing like this. I didn't know where I was or that my family were there. In my head, it was like I was dreaming, then the background and my family's faces started to come back.

I saw mum and grabbed her shirt-front, told her I loved her, and collapsed back in my chair.

"Is she breathing...?"

My brother knew it was a seizure. My mum thought I'd done brain damage. They were only waiting two more minutes for me to start improving, or else they'd be calling an ambulance.

Then, in an instant, I was completely lucid, able to get up and walk inside, no longer slurring, sober as a judge. Then I started throwing up violently.

The whole episode only lasted about 15 minutes, but it left me (and obviously my family) quite shaken up. 
I was planning on going to see my GP in a day or two, just to check in. I do actually have a 'history of seizures', but I'm not epileptic. When I had the massive overdose age 12, I had seizures while in a coma. My newest antidepressant, Gabapentin, is only subsidised because of those seizures (technically it's anticonvulsant for treatment of epilepsy - depression and anxiety are off-label uses).

Obviously, I didn't plan on smoking any more of this type. But between addiction and how unbearable everything is right now... it's not that simple. I smoked it again in the the middle of the night on Wednesday, some time around 3am Thursday.

I woke up on Thursday, throwing up all over myself and the couch, around 8am. I moved outside to my armchair, and mum set about hanging the washing on the line. Within 60 seconds and only 10 meters away, I had another seizure.

I bit my tongue really hard (still hurts) and blood was pouring from my mouth, eyes rolling back, shaking uncontrollably. No hallucinations this time - I simply was not there. Then I just went still.

Mum called 000 and got me stable in my chair. Amazingly enough, the first ambulance was here in just 5 minutes, and the second crew got there shortly after to take me to hospital (the first ambo was solo). I'm just glad there was a crew nearby for once - I don't think mum could've wrangled me out to the car and into A&E herself this time.

"I've gotten very good at telling when you're breathing."

The ambos were here for an hour and a half before giving me a shot and taking me to the hospital. They were apparently fantastic - very understanding with my anxiety. I was in A&E all day - 8am until 5pm.

"And of course, you being you," says mum "you didn't want to get on the gurney. They got you up and out of your armchair, nearly had you there, then you just went 'no' and collapsed back in your chair."

Unfortunately for me, I couldn't go to the Private A&E, and I cannot bear to be in the Public Hospital, with the Horrible Psychiatrist lurking around the corner. There are certain situations where you have to go to public, and any sort of seizure means private is out of the question. I was panicked all day, a lot of it simply because I was in this place I swore I'd die before I landed in again. It's been three and a half years since I've been there - my COPD admissions were both private, and any emergencies have been dealt with outside hospital.

Spoiler Alert: I didn't see The Horrible Psychiatrist (although I probably would've if I was actually admitted).

I felt so sick all day, filling up bag after bag with vomit. For the first little while, they wouldn't even give me anything to drink. Then I was allowed ice cubes on sticks, then they finally let me drink. I drank 11 glasses, one after the after, down the hatch in one slug. It felt so good to be drinking pure clean water. Each glass came straight back up in full, but it still felt so damn good, like I was cleaning the poison and crap out.

The doctors and nurses were all fab, very kind and caring. I actually really like most of the staff at the public hospital, but The Horrible Psychiatrist and his Minions ruin it for me.

I panicked when they clicked on the hospital bracelet, then tried to place two IVs. I was so dehydrated, they couldn't find a vein. Usually, my veins pop up at the drop of a hat. I asked if they could place it in my hand or wrist, because elbows freak me out (anyone else refuse to bend their arm with an elbow IV?), but they couldn't get it in. I didn't need it though thankfully - it was to get me meds quicker in case I had another seizure.

I didn't stay as long as they wanted me to. The clock was ticking and I was panicking more with each hour that passed. After crying that I just wanted to go home, and the doctor trying to convince me I should stay for observations, I got defensive and pulled out the "I'm not involuntary, I should be able to sign myself out, I just can't stay here". I do not have a good track record with discharging AMA. If I was in the private hospital and I knew the Horrible Psychiatrist was no where to be found, I probably would've stayed.

I got an emergency appointment with my GP the next day. In fact, it was the only reason they were even somewhat okay with letting me discharge myself - because I have a 'support network' and three appointments this week alone.

She'd already gotten some notes from the hospital, so thankfully I didn't have to explain from scratch. She was really cool about it. I don't talk about smoking much, whether with you guys or my team. The Lung Doctor Man knows I smoke synthetics, but my GP only knew about the weed. She checked my OBs and sent me for an EEG, which was done later that day, so I'll get the results later this week.

Part of me doesn't appreciate the seriousness, or maybe it's just part of the whole self-destruction thing. I know it was stupid to smoke it again, and more so to do it when everyone else is asleep. I didn't think "but what if I have another seizure?". I just thought "I need a goddamn smoke".
(I think I might've actually had a seizure in the middle of the night after I got back inside, but I have no way of knowing for sure. Obviously I didn't choke on my tongue or anything, so all good.)

"I'm just amazed you made it back inside at all." says mum

This week's just been a blur. Everything's happened so quickly, so suddenly... The seizures, the hospital, the bits between... I've been trying to put everything together from bits and pieces from my notes and what mum's told me. Honestly, all I remember from Thursday is waking up puking all over myself, I vaguely remember being in the ambulance, then there's a big blank patch until the last few hours before I left the hospital.

You know how, after a crisis, you spend a while in a bit of a daze before you settle back to normal? That's been my week. 

I honestly have no idea how this post will be received. It's something I've been putting off talking about for quite a while, and there's still a lot more to say another day, but I think it's time to start being honest. I just hope you don't think less of me. This post is long enough as it is, but I might will write more at another time. You've got the climax, but the build-up and explanation will have to wait for another day (lest I write another thousand words). 



  1. hey there, beautiful girl.

    just before i read this post - i hope you're feeling better nowadays. i hope you smile a little more sometimes.

    "Until it nearly kills me." that's not a promising start to this post. oh dear. i hope you're alright. i'm going to continue reading before i have a myocardial infarction.

    oh my God. Bella, Bella, Bella...

    "I ended up smoking a different brand of synthetics that I'd not tried before." oh my God, Bella, you might kill me today.

    funnily enough - i don't know what 'cones' or 'bowls' mean in this context. for me, bowel is what you eat off of and cones are what you eat ice-cream of off. so i'll just stick to that.


    i am so glad you're okay. oh my God. oh my God. i genuinely have my heart pounding over here. that sounds like such a terrifying experience - i really hope that you're feeling better now and have recovered slightly. this is...

    wait, you smoked it again? Bella, Bella, Bella. sounds like... something i'd do so i won't criticise you here.

    i'm glad you didn't get to see that asshole. honestly, i'm getting anxiety-like symptoms just reading this. i hope i haven't said anything to offend you. this is so worrying and i wish i had words for you today.

    i love you. i cannot judge what you do and what you don't - i am just sad this happened to you. it sounds so terrifying. i honestly want to cry because i don't like the thought of you being in this kind of situation.

    i hope that each day is a bit clearer and that you're doing okay. i hope you don't smoke that type anymore and i surely hope that your body's recovering okay too.

    the thought of the vomiting and the hospital admissions and the things you went through - that's so painful to hear. i am so glad you're okay right now. though i'm so so sorry that this had happened to you. :(

    i love you, Bella. please try to take care of yourself.

    -Sam Lupin

  2. wow, I just really hope you are feeling better Bella xx

  3. Oh dear, Bella. It must've felt horrible. I'm so sorry you suffered a seizure.
    Please please please, don't smoke that type again. Smoke whatever you want, but not that, dear...
    I hope you're feeling better sweetie, and I'm glad you didn't see the horrible psychiatrist. I think you've mentioned him before.
    It's also probably a little offensive and I'm just curious but aren't drugs against the law? I would say don't do drugs but I don't think it's appropriate for this case...
    Take care of yourself sweetheart x please do. We love you.
    Wishing you the best!


  4. Oh Bella, what a frightening experience! We get comfortable with our daily life... the drugs and chemicals we use just to make it through another day... then suddenly it all comes crashing down. I don't think any less of you for a second. Actually, I think very highly of you for having the courage to come out and tell us that. My substance of choice is alcohol. It's weird talking about it on my blog because I've never had the balls to talk about it to someone face-to-face.

    I'm so glad you're ok. I'm amazed at what your tiny body has been able to withstand. You're incredibly strong and I don't think you get reminded of that often enough.


  5. Oh my gosh Bella. That is one hell of a week. I hope you're resting lots and getting some extra nutrients in you so that you can heal. I've had seizure-y stuff before too.

    Once I had to call the ambulance myself and speech was SO hard, it was seriously the hardest I've had to concentrate just to tell them where I was. And seizure hallucinations were really different from regular ones.

    Anyways I loves you. Give yourself a hug for me. Actually give yourself 100. And flush that weird seizure-shit-synthetic down the toilet, okay?

  6. This is why I simply don't dare do drugs. With my prescribed ones and my history of psychoses I'm afraid I would turn into something I couldn't snap out of. Please stay safe!

  7. That sounds so scary! I've never had a seizure but I've witnessed people having them (one girl in college used to convulse every time they tested the fire alarm in my English class. We always ended up having to move the furniture to give her enough space until she stopped fitting).
    I'm not sure if this classes as a synthetic but the only non-weed substitute I've had was salvia. That stuff was fucking awful. Hallucinations galore and it messed me up unlike weed. I've only touched the stuff once.

    I've been reading this with my heart in my throat for the entire post, hoping that it gets better. I'm just glad you didn't have the Horrible Psychiatrist or Minions on top of this. I'm glad that you're relatively okay though; and I commend you for starting to write about the difficult times. I certainly don't think any less of you! I think MORE of you <3

    I posted your parcel on Friday. Hopefully you shall get it in a few weeks :)

    Love to you <3 xxx

  8. Oh Bella Bella
    This worries me so much
    I have used synthetics in the past
    The last time I used them they scared the shit out of me
    And I haven't used them

    The thing is that we have no clue what is in this stuff
    There are no regulations at all
    So they could put any old thing in there
    There used to be shops here called Head shops
    Where you could buy all this stuff
    But they have since been shut down
    Can you still buy them over there?
    Or do you get in over the internet?

    Please Bella
    I beg you
    Stay away from that shit
    It will give you brain damage if it doesn't kill you
    That stuff is pure muck

    I don't judge you Bella
    Not at all
    But it is worrying that you used it again after the first seizure
    I can't imagine how scary that must have been for you and your mum

    Stay safe Bells
    Please stay safe x

  9. I'm more scared of gabapentin than anything....

  10. Well, I'm happy you made it through. I've heard the worst horror stores from this shit!. It's shit! I'm just happy to hear you're alive.