Brain damage and years of regret
Type of Spiritual Experience
Spelling and grammar as original
This phrase must stand as a classic in the history of drug abuse
'The medical tests revealed no immediate health concerns, though the doctor told my mother that there was brain damage'
A description of the experience
The Lost Years - Inhalants – Gasoline by Convoy EROWID
[Erowid Warning: Our understanding of the literature is that there is no such thing as safe use of volatile solvents, aerosols and other street inhalants : their psychoactive effects are inseparable from nerve and organ damage. We have chosen to include these reports to help document the real world use of inhalants, but their inclusion is not intended to imply that they are anything but dangerous.]
Somewhere in maybe 3rd or 4th grade, I noticed that in Winter I liked standing in the exhaust clouds of cars waiting to pick up there children. Trying to duplicate the effect at home, I thought to open the gas tank and sniff. It didn't take me long to realize that plugging one nostril and putting the other to a gas can spout was more effective.
Immediately I would feel enveloped in warmth and completely relax. Auditory hallucinations came first, primarily in the form of an engine sound - like a lawnmower - that varied in volumes and pitch and seemed to rotate around me. I continued huffing (I only learned this term fairly recently as I guess many kids are doing this recreationally now.) and eventually I would experience visual hallucinations as well. Usually, it would be cracks of stains in the garage floor that would morph into dragons or other such creature. I would sit there and watch the creation dance and move and be utterly fascinated. Only once was I ever disturbed or frightened by what I experienced. Every other time I felt only soothed and curious.
One particularly vivid hallucination involved seeing through an oil stain in the floor into a world of primitive cavemen. I watched this world and the cavepeoples activites for what seemed a long time when a group of them suddenly looked at me. I 'realized' that I was their god and felt immense satisfaction.
While huffing, I always felt stripped of energy and overly burdened by gravity. When I felt I was done (usually because I was too tired to continue) I would stumble into the house and lie down on the couch and generally pass out for a short time. Often, I woke to one of my parents coming home, growing worried about the gas smell in the house. They somehow missed the fact that it was coming off of my breath.
This continued - generally weekly during the school year, but happened daily during the summer - until the summer after my freshman year in high school. I had gotten to the point where I would go out whenever I felt like it, even when my parents were home. One time, I hallucinated my dad standing in the doorway. He began yelling at me and I was scared (not in the way fear normally feels, but dulled and slow. Swamp Terror.), then he suddenly began echoing and his form began to flicker in a circle around me. I was immediately relieved that it wasn't real and continued my business.
It wasn't long before my mother ended up catching me. She freaked out, of course, and I went through scores of medical tests and we sought out family counseling (a waste). The medical tests revealed no immediate health concerns, though the doctor told my mother that there was brain damage .
I ended up huffing gasoline for five or six years. I'm grateful to be alive, but not a day goes by that I don't wonder about the kind of person I would be if I hadn't destroyed some part of my brain. I have a terrible memory and often friends and family recount stories involving me that I have no recollection of. At the time, I wanted escape deperately and I was too young to understand the dangers, but I have a son now and I want to hold on to every moment I have with him. Not to mention wanting to offer him everything in the world.
I bought a rotary lawn mower - and when that didn't work, an electric one - simply to avoid having a gas can in my house. I'm 32 years-old now and I still catch myself taking deep breaths when I fill my car up with gas and catch a whiff.
Nothing I have tried has come close to the cloying warmth and dreamy visions of the gasoline huffing. Most of the things I tried were in the hope that something could turn my attention away from the gas.
I wish I had known. Information alone could have saved years of regret.
The source of the experienceEROWID
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps