I'm zoe and ill be 17 years old next month... In early February I smoked weed and had a terrifying experience. I felt like I was going to die, I kept praying and praying and apologizing to God and I kept begging my friends to call 911 but they wouldn't. In my head everything kept happening over and over again in a repeated loop and it kept getting faster each time which caused me to have my first ever panic attack, I didn't notice I was having a panic attack because I was so terrified of what was going on and for hours this was going on but my friends said I'd be completely back to normal in the morning so I finally fell asleep. I woke up and I did not feel normal at all I was freaking out all day and I did not understand what was wrong with me. I was absolutely terrified that something was wrong with my brain and this continued every day for 3 weeks until I finally went to a therapist and she said I had ptsd. She gave me xanax and did EMDR therapy on me and it seemed to have helped for a couple of days but then I had a nightmare of what happened to me from the weed that night and I had a very hard time sleeping since then because I was scared i was going to have another nightmare. During this time I've had several panic attacks that brought me back to the fear I was in when I was high, which caused more anxiety. The panic attacks went away after a month and I was doing a little better for another month but still not normal. I started to research A LOT about whats happening to me and I've learned that my symptoms match the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, derealization/depersonalization, and anxiety. I always feel like I'm in a dream and can't wake up, I feel disconnected from myself, and I often feel trapped inside my own head which terrifies me. Just thinking about that night I got high makes my stromach drop and I always feel like the world isn't real. Whatever I look at looks different than it used to and I randomly get ringing in my ears, which also scares me. This has been happening everyday for almost 3 months (some days are better than others.) I am getting severely depressed and starting to feel hopeless, like I'll never be normal again. I keep thinking I don't want to die but I most certainly don't want to live like this. I'm scared of everything now. I am terrified of the thought of dying, I question why does life exist if we all die anyway, and I have scary intrusive thoughts that are really disturbing. I just want to be ME again. I was so carefree and I had fun with my friends every weekend, had good grades, played sports, and all of it was ruined by one bad high and I'm afraid I'll never be the same as I once was. Please help.


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21 Replies

  • I inboxed u

  • Im suffering from panic attacks and i know the feeling..i need help because i m scared to tell anything to my parents and i m trying to calm myself all alone. Its so hard..

  • I told my parents everything and they understand!! They were young once too and they know that we make mistakes! Tell them! I know if I didn't tell my parents i would feel 1000000x worse than I already feel

  • She's right u will feel better ☺️and always ask for help! Don't ever b scared to ask

  • You dont understand....i cant imagine myself to have a disorder like take medicine avery sucks..i mean i want to relax..and know that i will pass someday. Im going to explain to you my condition..its like a headache but it never stops or calms. I always think that is temporarly and it will pass. Its getting worse from time to time. Its just another bad day. I just struggle on simple things and make myself believe that is normal. It becomes daily struggle. Even my thoughts become complicated and i just choose to ignore them.

  • All I'm saying is that If you're having a hard time you should tell someone so they can help you

  • I'm so very sorry to hear what you're going through Zoe, it must be horrible to be tormented like that. I'm old enough to be your grandma, but I remember smoking weed in my day and it was a very mellow, relaxing experience, nothing like what you've described. This leads me to wonder if your weed was laced with something toxic, maybe pcp or another drug that could cause the reaction you experienced. Or even whether something particularly unpleasant occurred while you didn't have control over yourself and is causing you continued stress and anxiety on a subconscious level. You may need some longer-term counseling to get to the bottom of things and regain your sense of control. Do you have access to longer-term counseling services? Is there anyone in your family that you can confide in? These burdens or lighter if shared.

    I'm trained to coach families who are dealing with a drug-addicted family member, but am not trained in any way to provide individual counseling services. I wanted to reach out to you because your post was so moving and you seem so distressed.

    If you can avoid it, it's probably not a great idea to become dependent on Xanax. Are you open to trying some therapeutic activities such as yoga or tm or tai chi? These all have natural calming effects if done properly. You may just need to allow some more time to pass -- a traumatic experience like that will absolutely fade in its intensity after a period of time, but it may take many months. You may also want to think about your requirements for friendship. If your current friends are into drug-using activities and you don't want to do that any longer, you will need to find some new peeps who like to do other activities.

    As far as the fear of dying, that's something we all must come to terms with. My daddy used to say, "You must respect the life cycle. You can't have birth without death, whether it's people or weeds." If you believe in a higher being, you can take some comfort that death is just a transition to another realm. I've never feared death particularly, I think because a dear friend died from cystic fibrosis at age 20 when we were at university together. From that time forward, I felt very lucky to have each extra day, and to have good health, at least until the past several years. And I still annually place flowers on my friend's grave all these many decades later in remembrance of her.

    Try to think of your life before this life-changing event -- you said you made good grades and were involved in sports, right? Perhaps you can visualize this event as a very small detour, a one-time miscalculation, that took you off of the path you were on. As much as you are able, try to participate in the things you enjoyed before. At first you might not feel very comfortable or have as much fun as you did before, but if you can hang in there and allow the passage of time to work its magic, you likely will find yourself enjoying life more. I sincerely wish this for you.

    Please write again very soon and let us know how you feel, I think most of us can feel great sympathy for what you're going through.

  • Thank you sooooo much! I really appreciate that you and others care enough to help me!!!! I'll try to get back to what I liked to do it's going to be tough but I'll try

  • Hi Zoe, hope today is a little better for you. Things may be tough for a while -- keep as busy as you can. See if you can train your mind to push away any bad memory the first few seconds it comes into your mind. Immediately replace it with a good memory. You could make a list of your top 5 good memories & just grab one that's on your list when you need it. If you do it over & over, the bad thing will become less significant.

  • That's a good idea! I'll really try, I'm just Really scared that I did some permanent damage to my brain 😕

  • You sound like you have a lot going for you Zoe, and a lot of intelligence. But your brain is definitely traumatized and needs time to recover. What happened to you has happened to many people of all ages, and you're lucky because you're alive and you can recover. There have been deaths from people smoking fentanyl-laced weed, and it amazes me that people smoke or eat or drink ANYTHING that they are unaware of where it came from and what it actually is. Please be careful in the future and don't hesitate to call your friends out if they're taking dangerous chances -- they will respect you for having courage, and you just might keep someone from dying or going thru what you're dealing with now.

    It worries me that you said you begged your friends for help when this happened and they told you to go to sleep. I would love to take your friends to meet some of my friends who now visit their sons & daughters in cemetaries because drugs extinguished their lives. Always get help for someone in crisis -- better a little trouble than a dead friend!

    Also, if you try some of the things that people have suggested but continue to experience these problems, please reach out again for help. You were very brave to talk to your parents and to come here, and you should know that there is always help available if you continue to experience problems. I wish you all the best.

    P.S. Please read this and see that adulterated weed is now a huge problem:

  • Thanks so much again I really appreciate it

  • Reading this gave me chills because I'm 22 now but 5 years ago when I was 17 I smoked weed too and I got this exact EXACT thing happen to me and it made me quit forever and it affected me for a LONG time I know EXACTLY what you are dealing with, you're the first person who I've seen who has had this too, if you want to talk I'm more than happy to :)

  • That's crazy!!! How long did it take you to recover from? How did you recover? I'm struggling I don't know what to do

  • Hi this is Alexjohn94 I have 2 accounts for some reason, anyway after time of never smoking it again the memory stopped haunting me and I slowly got over it and could speak about it, before I got over it I couldn't even speak about it otherwise it would send me into major panic attacks, however the one thing that always helped me and kept my panicking and those feelings at bay was the fact it scared me so so much and made me realise how much I didn't want to die and wanted to be alive that I stopped drinking and smoking, never touched weed again etc lol, back then I wasn't even Christian and I remember closing my eyes while it was happening and I was literally pleading and begging with god for forgiveness

  • It didn't take a long time as back then I was I college and had a lot of routine in my life

  • Okay! Thank you

  • I'm so sorry for what you are going through. You are not alone. This is one of the side effects some people get from pot and often its even worse with other drugs.

    Whilst the cause of my ptsd is not the same as yours it is awful. However, I have been seeing a Christian counselor who uses Cognitive Behavioural therapy (cbt) and altjough it has taken time and I'm not 100% back to normal yet, it has really helped talking to her and working through things and lesrning self-help tools to deal with my anxiety.

    I really encourage you to see a counselor who doesn't just diagnose your condition and prescribe medications but who you could see on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

    I also encourage you to talk to your parents and if you haven't told them what happened, please do.

    Drugs are horrible, life stealing things and I hate them with a passion but you are not alone and there are people who can help you.

    Don't let 1 mistake control your life. Don't give up. You will get through this.

    And as for your friends who wouldn't get you any help on that awful night... they are not real friends because real friends don't let their friends suffer like that and they get help for their friends no matter how much trouble they are afraid they'll get into.

  • Thank you!!!!!! I'll try to see a different therapist or a psychologist! It does really suck and I hope I can be who I used to be again! And the same goes for you!

  • Hi Zoe, I am another person who has had a very bad experience with pot. My experience was very similar to yours! It happened 40 years ago, so I am old enough to be your grandma, but I still remember how terrifying the feelings were. I just want to encourage you that your life can be better in spite of this one incident you had that was terrible for you. Hang in there, get all the help you can, and go back to doing all the things that you loved to do before this unfortunate event took place. Keep talking with your parents about how you feel. I'm so thankful that you are comfortable being open with them! I never told my mom or dad what happened to me, and I think that made my experience more difficult to endure. I only tried pot twice in my life. The first time, I felt very calm and relaxed after I smoked a little bit of it, so the second time I tried it, I smoked a bit more. I probably took four hits off the joint. That's when my nightmare began! I had all of the feelings that you have described and I also had hallucinations. I've never been so scared in my life! That's when I had my first panic attack. My belief in the God of the Bible has helped me a lot over the years. Knowing that God is there and that He cares about every little detail of my life comforts me. I pray every day and read my Bible most days. I have to admit that some days I skip my Bible reading, but it is really important for me to stay close to God. He's real and He loves us and He will help us through the difficult times in our lives. Please keep reaching out to God and asking for his help. He is definitely there for you. God bless you!

  • Thank you so much I really appreciate it!!! I've been praying and talking to God a lot lately... did it take you long to recover from the experience?

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