Hi. Sorry if this is too much of an information dump but I'm trying to figure out my brain and could use some help from others who understand.
I'm 18 and have been struggling with mental illness since my childhood... Panic attacks, severe social and generalized anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc. I have been physically dependent on marijuana for about 2 years now.
When I began college this past fall, I became enthralled in philosophical thought and metaphysics, deconstructing concepts and thought processes down to their core. I entranced myself in these deep thoughts in my free time, but especially when I was high and felt I was most open to these thought paths. At the time I thought I just really enjoyed the subject, and decided to add philosophy as a second major alongside psychology. However, about two months ago, I became aware that this philosophical deconstruction of societal concepts gave way to a suspicious questioning of the world around me, almost a cynical criticism of the society I was born into. I am very into social justice and politics, and the great injustices in this world began to seem so awful that they were almost absurd. I started to lose trust in the world around me and became fixated on the idea that I know no sure information besides what I can gather from my own senses and perception.
This realization and the discomfort that came with it led to some research, after which I concluded that I had been struggling with dissociation and derealization for months without even knowing it. I opened up to my dad about it, and although he had a hard time understanding it, he told me he supported me and would take me to my therapist the next day. I calmed myself and went downstairs to smoke weed, like I do every day, even though I knew it was likely what caused the "Deep thoughts" and processes that led to the start of the dissociation anyway. HOWEVER! to my lack of knowledge, this particular jar of weed had been laced with PCP (a dissociative drug). This was a traumatic experience, so I'm writing it all down to process it although it probably all sounds like gibberish. sorry lol.
I smoked a bowl, luckily it was just one, and about 10 minutes in started to feel odd. I was thinking about how I use being a stoner as a personality trait, and then thought how odd it was that in this world we use a drug from a leaf to get high and there's a group that does and a group that doesn't... The absurdity of that concept alone gave me a spike of anxiety. I then went inside and sat down in my art room, which has words and paintings all over the walls (this is relevant later in the story). I went down my normal thought process and started thinking about my dissociation. I contemplated the concept of how nothing is real, and due to the suggestive power of the PCP which at that point I had NO IDEA was in my system, actually convinced myself that nothing was real. In that moment, I truly believed that nothing was real, the room around me wasn't real, I wasn't real. I didn't recognize my own name or face, and had a quick out of body experience (for the first time). I then went into a full panic attack. I crawled into the corner of the room, screaming, crying, panting, trying to say my own name and calm myself down. I saw tunnel vision and geometry, and thought I had died or had been dead. By then the PCP was already in full effect, but because I didn't know that, I believed my perception of what was happening was accurate and the world around me to be distorted, not the other way around. I had a phone case at the time with Frank Ocean's "Be Yourself" lyrics printed on it, ironically stating "DO NOT SMOKE MARIJUANA". In my dissociative state, I saw these words, and thought that I had been in a coma and people outside were trying to send a message to me to not smoke marijuana. I thought that the marijuana had taken me away from reality for so long that I didn't know what was real, or that it put me in a coma, or I was in a simulation and smoking marijuana was ruining my brain in the real world, or something of that sort. On the wall I had painted "EVERYTHING IS SUBJECTIVE" and in my panicked, sedated state assumed this to be even more validation of my solipsism and the unreality of my reality. After about 5 minutes of this, I forced myself to go upstairs to try and get my dad's help. I saw him on the couch and immediately thought he was God for some reason, then went up to him to try and explain what had happened, STILL oblivious to the fact that I was under the influence of something other than weed and still believing I was dead. When I tried to speak to him, it felt as though the words were coming out of my mouth, but I wasn't thinking them before I spoke, as if I was reading off a script or being puppeteered. I was persistent about the fact that I had to quit smoking because of the phone case. He noticed that I was on something, and told me that someone had laced my weed, and tried to calm me down. When I first grasped the fact that I had gotten my weed laced and was not dead, I felt an immediate wave of calm and understanding that this was a temporary state. However, for the next 30 minutes I kept tripping in time... forgetting that my weed had been laced and dissociating again, and then remembering again... My dad told me that I was repeating things and forgetting answers to questions I just asked. He took me to the hospital about an hour and a half in, but by the time we got there it had mostly worn off and I was able to keep myself in a functioning state. We even went to the pharmacy on the way back and I was able to stay present the entire time by repeating my name and "I'm okay, my weed was laced, the world is real." The entire experience was f*cking traumatic and came at the worst possible time as I had literally just identified that this is what I was going through at all.
This was about three weeks ago, and I'm back to smoking weed everyday because I'm in social isolation even though, yes, I know it's bad for me. The derealization thoughts come about every day, but I am able to quickly push them aside by validating to myself that the world is real (even though I don't feel I'll ever be 100% sure or trusting of my reality again since I've experienced how quickly it can be taken away). However, I still ponder a lot of these concepts in my free time, which I also know is not good for me. I would say the concept I struggle with the most is solipsism. It really bothers me that I have no proof of anything besides the fact that I think, therefore I exist. I can never prove anyone else's existence or any reality's existence because I only have my own thoughts and mind and perception of life, or whatever this is. It scares the shit out of me and fuels a lot of my derealization symptoms. I also sometimes experience aphasia, in which I deconstruct the concept of language in my mind and therefore lose all ability to speak or understand letters and words. Basically, I remark at the triviality and novelty of the world around me until any concept I consider becomes unreal or arguably meaningless. It sucks and I hate it and I don't know how long it will last. Reading this page has helped me feel less alone because it seems like no now know wtf you're talking about when DPDR comes up, but it's some of the scariest and most psychologically unhinging shit a person can go through. Sorry this was so long but if you got this far thanks for reading