Zapped by zolpidem: part 1 of 2
Back in my teens and twenties, back in my days of work in food service and the Army, my coworkers and classmates would to talk about how wasted they got on alcohol.
These drinking stories would inevitably involve a tale of someone drinking a lot, passing out, and saying something stupid. There’d be slurred speech, vomiting somewhere, incontinence, and other tropes too.
You could call them “intoxication stories.”
Just like these tales of intoxication, Zolpidem stories (Ambien is its brand name) could be another genre, too. Similar in some ways, very different in others.
Conventions of the zolpidem story
There are some commonalities with the intoxication stories and some important differences.
One big area of difference is the pretext for the story.
In the drug and alcohol stories, the individual is usually looking to party to blow off some steam from the pressures of school and work. The individual usually has a free-wheeling attitude, and they completely know what they’re getting into.
On the other hand, the zolpidem story features a protagonist who’s just trying to get some sleep. They’re having problems with it for one reason or another. There are many reasons for these problems, and they often boil down to trouble coping with a change. These protagonists are usually under pressure.
There’s usually a sort of barrier between our dream state and our waking state. Zolpidem stories feature the barrier washing away. The effects are amusing and weird at best, dangerous at worst.
So the person tells about waking up behind the wheel of their car partially dressed with no memory of how they got there.
Or waking up in their kitchen, with no idea of how they got there.
Or waking up in bed with someone they don’t know.
Or finding themselves at work, acting weird, raising concerns of their boss and coworkers.
Or whatever, depending on their life stage, environment, and others in their life.
Reddit is full of these stories.
Or ask almost anyone who takes Ambien. There’s a number of these people. It’s one of the more popular medications.
I ordered two expensive sets of luggage online from two different vendors. Then I ordered two pairs of boots from another vendor. Then I went shopping in my PJs at a CVS and bought a bunch of food and toiletries. Finally, I drove home with a car full of stuff. That was five years ago, and I’ve had no problems since.
Zolpidem is supposed to be a short-term medication. So much for that; five years on medicine like this isn’t short-term. Oh well, as long as everyone is making money and you don’t have to deal with the inconvenient withdrawal effects (I hope my sarcasm is obvious).
As long as you can pay for your purchases or the merchant takes them back, there’s not much of a problem. Right?
I suppose I can manage sarcasm for that part of the story, but I can’t when it comes to inebriated driving. I’ve seen too much in the emergency department. Driving when you’re not fully aware of what you’re doing should give anyone a pause.
Another reader had recently broken up with her boyfriend and started drinking a bottle of wine and watching Brave.
At some point, I took Ambien. I somehow decided I wanted to learn to play the bagpipes and went online. Several days later, the order came. I only got a chanter, but that, plus the books, were still a couple of hundred dollars.”
One other person ordered a bunch of exercise equipment, including a Bowflex. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the Bowflex was the only one he had trouble returning.
Most people would agree that it’s better to start a new hobby within you’re fully awake.
My dad took zolpidem for a long international flight. He woke up with a piece of chicken in his mouth and a pile of wrappers on his lap. He had ordered several chicken dinner trays, wine, and snacks. He was sleep-eating. He’d been shoveling anything and everything into his mouth for three hours, blacked out.
Sleeping well is a way of controlling and managing your weight. That’s because of the hormones produced when you sleep. Unfortunately, zolpidem really changes the nature of your sleep, so it didn’t work out that way for that man.
Fights and a few other recurring elements
My uncle woke my aunt, who was on Ambien, over a minor matter. She picked up a letter opener and waved it and said, “If you wake me up again, I’ll cut your throat.”
Then she had another incident when she sat in her truck in the driver’s seat, not doing anything. When my uncle asked her what she was doing, she replied, “The turtles are back!”
She attempted to drive the truck through the garage into her living room but couldn’t get the transmission out of park.
After that, she went into the house and ordered five pizzas.
She didn’t remember any of this and now refuses to take Ambien.
She could try to analyze the dream about the turtles, but that’s sort of moot, isn’t it?
My friend took Ambien, woke up, and found she had tried to give herself a haircut in the middle of the night. But, unfortunately, she didn’t do a good job.
The worst part was that she had an important meeting to go to in the morning and had to call in sick.
She also did nighttime eating. As a result, she’d wake up almost every morning surrounded by empty containers and covered in crumbs.
Heard that one before. It’s hard enough to take off the weight once it gets on.
Unpaid work while sleeping
My dad had trouble sleeping and decided to try Ambien. He heard it could make you loopy, so he followed the directions exactly. He fell asleep easily.
A few hours later, Mom heard him thumping around in their office.
She called his name, and he didn’t respond, so she got up to see what he was doing.
He was taking random objects from around the room and putting them on the rocking chair.
“What are you doing?” she said.
Annoyed, as if it should be obvious, “I’m helping TryCoserious load up his truck!”
“I promised TryCoserious I’d help him move. So we’re packing up his truck.”
An hour later, she heard him scuffling in the kitchen.
“I’m trying to stop the bleeding.”
“What are you doing?” she said.
She turned on the light. He was covered with blood over his face and hands. It was on the kitchen floor, the counter, and the wall. He’d walked into a corner of the wall when asleep and cut his forehead. It looked like a crime scene, and he had no memory of what happened.
And I bet TryCoserious didn’t even pay for beer and pizza to help him move!
I kept my Ambien by my bed because I like to watch TV for a while before I’m ready to sleep. I’ll never make that mistake again.
I kept waking up every two hours, which is weird for me after taking Ambien.
I get up the next morning, and I’m violently vomiting out of both ends. I’m so sick. I can’t keep anything down for a week. So I didn’t bother taking any of my other meds. I’m also sleeping a lot, which isn’t normal.
Once my system settles back down, I went to bed and took an Ambien. I notice that I had a lot more pills missing than I should. Like six. I put the events together and realize I must have been taking a pill each time I woke up that night. I don’t know how I didn’t die from that overdose.
The writer says he now keeps his sleeping pills with his other medicines.
Not sure that would help from all of the stories of people getting up and going to the kitchen in the middle of the night and getting food, but it’s better than ignoring what happened completely, I suppose.
Loss of friendship
I got molested by my roommate, who was also skimming my Ambien. But, of course, I didn’t know he was taking my prescription.
It happened a few hours after we turned out the lights. I wanted him to go away and let me sleep. When I woke up, it never seemed like it had really happened, so I never said or did anything. He kept doing it.
Then he started to rape me one night. That woke me up completely. I kicked him off my bed, screamed at him, and ended up sobbing on the kitchen floor while I tried to figure out what was going on.
We both stopped taking sleep medication. As a result, our friendship was irreparably damaged.
We found out later that he had sexsomnia triggered by substances like Ambien or lots of alcohol.
He did it to another girl we were friends with, after two parties where he’d been drinking.
He then broke a lease because he had a female roommate.
Then he went broke by leasing a place by himself.
He no longer touches any alcohol or drugs.
So I have a lot of tattoos. Most of them I did myself. I had a kit.
I was living in an old farmhouse with my kids. I had problems with my hip, and I had constant pain. I was anti-pain medication. My doctor and I thought that if I could sleep through the night, handling the pain during the day would be easier for me.
In that old farmhouse, we had bats occasionally. A bat woke me up. My kids found me trying to catch the bat, crying about how cute he was and how the bat would be my friend and eat all the mosquitos and bugs in my room for me.
They got the bat away from me. I somehow managed to avoid getting bit. Finally, they sent me back to bed.
Later that night, my son got up to pee and heard a buzzing noise in the bathroom.
He found me crouched on the sink like a gremlin, naked, tattooing earrings on my ears, just little black dots up each ear, like multiple piercings.
Ask yourself if that’s for you
I’ve written blog posts about how being able to remember your dreams is a free, natural hallucinogen. It is. In dreams, we all do all kinds of funny things. Dreams give me so many good experiences that I feel that the chemicals my body makes naturally are the only chemicals I need to have a good time.
I’ve come to consider that it was designed by the creator to be like this purposefully.
It’s more than that. I love feeling clear-headed. I love being able to remember things. I like to think of my body as a well-maintained tool. My aim is to get all of the use I can get out of it.
It’s bad enough trying to fix all of your problems with pills and not really understanding what you’re doing when you try to do that. As bad as that is, taking drugs recreationally is kind of like banging on a piece of equipment (your body) and then laughing about how it messes up.
Is that all that funny? So you’ve put something in you that’s going to interrupt or alter the biochemical processes. HAHAHAHAHAHA!
Yeah, no. Drugs have all kinds of effects.
It makes more sense to have as much liberty for myself and others as we all can stand. That includes drugs.
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