I felt as if I were the mist, I was pure essence and the world as a vapid expanse that sought only to hinder. I saw the air as not a symbol of life or renewal but as a vessel to carry me onward. I’ve never been a metaphysical person by any means, but I truly saw the laws of interconnectedness that the world, the universe, follows. I saw that the atoms in my desk directly fluctuated with the dust falling from my ceiling fan, and the dust affected the air that eventually reached my closed esophagus. My closed esophagus? I opened my eyes wide in alarm before realizing that they were already open, my heart began to race faster than it’s already elevated beat. I slowly reached for my chest to feel the bottom of my throat; was I getting air? An intense heat radiated from my sternum, I sat up three times before finally managing my physical body to follow my mind’s will and I began to focus. “Breathe Katie, breathe… inhale… exhale… that’s it girl, you’re fine, it’s just a lack of focus.” My heart maintained it’s insane rhythm and the computer standby lights on my desk began to beat with it, slowly the streaks of light stretched from the computers to the ceiling, the light catching the fans and exploding across the walls of my room. I stared in awe as my wall became an intermingled dance of sound and light, my body throbbing along to the musical genius that began to transpire, I smiled and felt a tightening again. “FUCK. Katie focus! If you don’t continue breathing you’ll die or something. Breathe Katie.” After several attempts to get a working system I settled on basic counting. One… Two… Three… Four… Five… Inhale. One… Two… Three… Four… Five… Exhale. It wasn’t perfect but at least I was breathing. Am I writing a book in my mind? How strange is that, It’s like I’m truly tripping into another world. I wonder if I’m typing and fixing all of the words I stutter. Why am I talking out loud? I can probably just think things and it would become word. I’m like a God. I’m going to stop talking now.
“BREATHE KATIE.” Damnit I knew thinking was a bad idea. Walking, I’ll walk instead. Walking relaxes me.” I found myself in a labyrinth composed of a straight hallway,venturing endlessly past doors, eventually finding my hand resting on my door knob. “What door is this?” I thought idly as I began to think again. Wondrous hatred of a fervent passion filled my lungs as I exhaled the last of my breath into the void. Cold shivers ran down the spine of earth itself as my body fell from the melting snow into the depths far beneath even what the human mind can conceive. An inky expanse surrounds the now newly deceased being of my previously embodied soul, and I am introduced to senses not known to me prior. For one can always rely on the basis of science in order to justify the intrinsic need of speculation, however once such values are ripped away from your sense of self, you are left a naked shell of inference and inquisition. Never have the pressing needs of my own self, constricted the present thoughts of my ancestral individual. I am, or perhaps was, no longer who I used to be, and due to that fact I feel a certain uncertainty even calling myself, me. If everything you were, was no longer, would you be who you were once, or in tragic irony an entirely new person who never was? These thoughts continued to flood my mind when the blackness spread open, the distant light slowly growing ever closer with each passing second. Within moments I found myself lying in the grass, face up and staring at a hole in the sky. Wondering where I have ended up and whether the place I was once before still exists, I gather myself and take in the surroundings. I finally managed to lift myself onto my bed, as comfortable as being sprawled across hardwood was, the true feeling of it’s stiffness got to me. Have you ever felt every individual bone and muscle and how they “settle in” on your body? Have you felt the uncomfortable collision of shin bone to tendon to muscle to fatty tissue to dermis all happen just because you slightly adjusted your lower leg on the floor? Or how your entire neck will move just because you NEED to breathe? “Breathing… that’s right I haven’t been doing that, is that why I’m light headed?. Inhale… Exhale… “ I wonder if this is even what LSD feels like to other people, maybe I got a bad dose, maybe I’m slowly dying from some strange weird new research chemical that someone thought would be funny to sell to me. Maybe I never even took it and I’m just going insane, or I’m dreaming. Do you think my mom would notice? I should probably go and ask her if I look different.
I slowly stood up and gathered my surroundings, first with balance and then with trying to look normal. Where does a normal person place their left hand? Your right hand is always like at your side or hip or something but is the left too? Whatever I’m going for it. I started through my door and across the hallway to my mother’s room,laughing because I’m sure the wall didn’t like that it was wiggling so much. Will my mom be scared that I’m floating? Or will she be okay? “Mom.” I say into the black room. She’s so weird, she’s somehow turned into a liquid and merged with the blanket. I see the bulbous mass shift before her eyes emerge and she looks at me. “Katie? Keep it down, what time is it?”, Mom I’m floating, isn’t it? I mean aren’t I? She looks at me closer before quickly jolting awake and shifting back into a solid. I laughed. How could I not? “Katie are you on something? OH MY GOD KATIE WHAT DID YOU DO?” I backed up quickly, scared and confused that her words were so long and obviously negative. “M… Mom… Fuck..” My last words to my mother that night were “Mom fuck.” My last thoughts were “Oh Katie… you need to breathe.” This was it, these were the moments leading up to the first time I was ever admitted to a hospital for as I told the doctors, “Forgetting to breathe.” They threw out words like “Drug induced”, “Hypoxia”, “Syncope”, and “Overdose.” I however just laid smiling at the bright lights and laughing as the EMT’s ripped my clothes off and played songs on my chest with electricity and compressions.
I woke up eight hours later. Eight hours of my life went unaccounted for, drifting in and out of consciousness despite being awake the entire time. The doctors were not able to use anesthetics as they pumped my stomach, they weren’t sure what I was on, and how it would affect the drugs they had. I remember all of it, the feeling of incisions, tubes, IV’s, and specifically the feeling of my inner contents being forced from me. All of it pointless too, LSD isn’t taken orally, it’s taken buccally and unable to be removed by the system regardless of however much coal is shoved into my body. Time is the only resolution, and time is all that I had. I spent two days in the hospital, staring at the ceiling and soaking in a deep and penetrating pain that permeated from my brain and manifested in the form of muscle spasms and burning skin. At one point in a moment of clarity I held a conversation with my attending, Dr. Beyer, the bits that I do seem to remember went something like this: “Katie Cleary?”, “Yes” I mumbled back, “Do you know where you are?” I nodded faintly. He made his way around to my bedside and did some medical process on my IV machine, taking notes of my various vitals and the condition of my saline. “Katie, can you tell me what you took?” I sighed as tears began to pour from my eyes, unable to stop them when I gasp out the word “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide - LSD.” Dr. Beyer pursed his lips and wrote something on the clipboard that he hadn’t set down the entire time. “Katie, you didn’t take LSD… LSD doesn’t result in cardiac arrest and the full system shutdown that you experienced. We were able to restart your heart four times, however we didn’t think you’d make it. You entered renal failure last night and dialysis seemed to help, but we’ll need to keep you here longer.” He paused to let the information sink in, but it just went straight through me. “Katie, we can only continue treating this as they arise… but we can’t stop the progression unless we know what you took, we believe that it’s still in your system.”
I started to formulate a response when a violent outburst of coughing took hold of me, I coughed until I could barely breathe and the outsides of my vision inked to black. I ended my coughing fit in a grand finale of blood, spilling from my mouth onto the white blankets atop of me. Hazily I laughed and tried to look at the doctor again, but he was no longer there. Nobody was, I was once again alone, in a pitch black maze of winding patterns as my bed floated beneath me, my mind racing as quickly as my heart. A faint beeping screamed from the outskirts of reality, the world sank from my fingers when I felt a jolt. Another jolt soon followed, I screamed and screamed when my eyes finally made sense of the world. As my vision adjusted I made out a doctor - not the same one I had almost puked blood on, but a younger attendee. He was removing defibrillators from my now bare chest, and three others like him rushed into the room. I was forced to sit up as they shined lights in my eyes to test my vision. Apparently alarmed by my pupil size, they took several notes. Someone took a hold of my shoulders and shook me quite vigorously several times before I was finally, able to make eye contact. I could no longer feel my heartbeat, the only thing I could see was the face of my mother. She was red, her entire face twisted in a grimace of agony, stained with tears and mascara. Her blonde hair fraying in a hectic ball of loose ends, as if she had been ripping it out. I tried to say I loved her, I tried to call out, but the noises I made seemed to scare her even more. My hands wouldn't move to hold hers, and my eyes were blinking too fast to maintain her gaze.
Everything went black, I could feel a hot sensation cover the expanse of my body. I felt as though I was covered head to toe in a sunburn, breathing became increasingly difficult. I felt some type of liquid fill my body, and I was drowning. "Breathe Katie..." I thought to myself. "I knew this was a bad idea."