I’m kneeling down in a dried up creek bed. I’m at Ironwood National Forest. The area above the creek bed slopes upward and is dense with trees. Bare tree limbs with no leaves hang down everywhere making it very difficult to traverse up the slope.
It’s a comfortable, quiet night, about 2-3 o’clock in the morning. Except where I’m shining my light, it’s pitch black all around me. I’m on my knees searching through stones lying in the creek bed.
I’m weak and starving. My body aches all over. I’m beyond exhausted. My energy levels, even with the stimulants, are depleted. I don’t think I can make it back to my tent. I lie in the dirt right there with my AR-15 beside me. It’s very comfortable. I’m so tired, I don’t even care if I get eaten by some wild beast. I turn my headlamp off. Everything goes entirely dark. I close my eyes.
After about a minute, my eyes burst open. I hear something above and to the left of me. It sounds like someone walking. Startled, my heart starts pumping hard and fast. I lie there still without a movement. The sound gets closer. Now, adrenaline starts rushing through my veins. I carefully and slowly reach up and turn my headlamp back on. With lightning speed, I snatch my AR-15, stand straight up, shine my light exactly toward the sound, and point my AR-15 ready to fire.
I’m scared and on the verge of panic.
I rub my eyes, look away and look back again. I’m stunned at what’s there.
In the midst of all the bare tree limbs is a person. He’s just standing there staring at me.
His legs are obstructed from my view so all I can see is from his waist up.
He’s dressed like an ancient Indian. He’s young, probably in his late 20’s. His hair is black, short, and neatly combed to the side. He’s very skinny. He has big dark brown eyes, I can see the whites around his eyes and his big brown pupils. His right arm is hanging down to his side. In his hand, is an old bow made out of wood. In his left hand, it looks like he’s holding some primitive weapon, like a hollowed out foot-long rounded piece of wood. My first thought is a blow dart gun. His face is smooth as if he’s freshly shaven. He has a harmless, innocent, and confused look on his face, like he’s lost.
My 5000 lumens is shining directly in his eyes so I know he can’t see me, but the light doesn’t phase him. He never squints. He cocks his head a bit to the right as if he’s curious about me like he’s wondering if I can really see him.
Then, I snap!
I raise my AR-15, point it right at his face, and scream in a commanding voice,
WHO ARE YOU?
TELL ME WHO YOU ARE RIGHT NOW!
WHY ARE YOU HERE, AND
WHY ARE YOU STARING AT ME?
His facial expression changes slightly. He looks a bit perplexed as if he’s confused as to why I’m acting so erratic and bizarre. He says nothing.
I hurl every conceivable threat at him you can imagine. I command him to step toward me. He doesn’t move.
I wonder if what I’m seeing is real so I move to my left and right to see if he disappears. He doesn’t. His eyes just follow me.
I notice the background behind him. I’ve been up in that area before, but it’s all different now. It looks like some kind of large ranch or farm area. I’m now confused as to where I am and what’s happening.
I notice a metal casing in front of him that has the number 53 clearly imprinted on it. I make a mental note. If I come back and that metal casing with the number 53 is there, I’ll know I’m not seeing things.
For the next 10-15 minutes, I verbally assault him. I’m terribly annoyed because he disturbed me, and I don’t have the energy or wherewithal to deal with him. No matter what I threaten to do to him, his expression of innocence and harmlessness doesn’t change. He shows no fear whatsoever.
I’m convinced at the time I’m seeing and yelling at a dead person, a spirit. Yet, that doesn’t deter me from acting like a madman. I’m just plain mean and cruel. Finally, I’m so fed up that I’m getting nowhere with him, I grab my gear and yell,
“I’M THROUGH WITH YOU!”
I turn around and start walking toward my tent leaving him standing there. I barely make it back to my tent before I collapse.
I awake when my tent is heating up from the intense morning Arizona sun beating down on it. I remember everything in detail and am shocked and frankly quite amused at how I acted under the circumstances.
I return to the precise location. There is no metal casing and no number 53. Everything is back to normal.
This is no doubt in my mind regarding what I saw and what I experienced. Besides the fact this person was a little transparent looking, I watched him closely and observed all his features. I know exactly what he looks like.
I’m convinced for the first time in my life, I’ve just had an encounter with a dead person, a spirit. What I can’t figure out is my irrational and bizarre reaction toward him. I think it’s quite comical!
ADHD is caused, in part, from having naturally low levels of dopamine in your brain.
Stimulants work to increase your dopamine levels.
If dopamine levels are increased too much…well,
I’ll let Joseph M. Carver, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, take it from here…
“As dopamine levels in the brain begin to raise, we become excited…Our mind speed increases and races in an attempt to add all we see into our lives.
Dopamine also increases our perception of our senses, as though turning up the volume in all our senses – hearing, vision, taste, smell, and touch.
The ability to distinguish the inner world from the real world is impaired.”
You can read his entire article “The Chemical Imbalance in Mental Health Problems,” by clicking here.
Not knowing any of this at the time, my thoughts naturally gravitate toward the purpose or meaning of the experience. Was this young man trying to give me a message or tell me something?
No one at the time could have convinced me that some entity, person, wasn’t there that night. It was as real to me as real can get.
In between my time in jail and going to the treatment center, I’m in a hotel room all by myself. For the first time, I start studying the effects high doses of stimulants can have on the brain.
I come across Dr. Carver’s article.
I’m a normal (well arguably normal), rational, sensible and successful professional. I have sound reasoning and problem-solving skills. I have talents and gifts that have served me well in life. I have a strong will and determination. Besides ADHD, I have no history of mental health problems. I have stayed away from drugs and alcohol my entire life. I don’t know what it’s like for my mind to be impaired. As a result, I don’t seriously consider the effects 420+mg of amphetamines per day could have on my sanity. I’m sure my chronic lack of sleep over consecutive months doesn’t help matters.
After everything in my life blows to pieces and I start to study the effects high levels of amphetamines and dopamine have on the brain, I’m aghast!
Can a drug really be that powerful?
Can it really take a perfectly sane person and cause them, unknowingly, to lose their sanity, their grip on reality?
Can it cause you to start seeing things that don’t exist?
Could it actually happen to me?
I can’t process the possibility of it all. It’s all too surreal.
In talking with many addicts who have experienced real hallucinations, my experience doesn’t seem to line up with theirs. In the midst of my fear-induced rant, I feel a calm, peaceful feeling underneath it all. I am conscience, alert and aware of my surroundings, aware of how over-the-top my reaction is. Everything I do to test the reality of what I’m seeing confirms that it is real. Since then, the number 53 has had serious significance in my life.
For many reasons, I simply can’t dismiss this experience as an hallucination.
Even so, drugs don’t discriminate. If misused, even innocently, they can down a perfectly normal, sane individual. Left unchecked, they can destroy every aspect of a once beautiful life.