Monday, June 2, 2008

The Heroin Addict

I had a vision last night of how I died in my last life. I don't say "dream," since there was a tremendous coherence to what I experienced; there was nothing 'dreamlike' about it; it was an answer to a question, a narration of past events from a source that had agreed to allow me to see it.

I entered a clinic where a nurse shot me up. The context is difficult to understand; it was somewhere in the late fifties, early sixties. I don't know why I went to this clinic, why the nurse was injecting me with hallucinogenic drugs, or why I wanted her to. The fact was, it was voluntary on my part. I then experienced something I have never in "real" life ever felt: the expansion of all objects around me, the altering of my consciousness, the knowledge that I was out of control of this bizarre and amazing new reality that the drug created for me, or allowed me to experience. I liked it; so much so, that I returned a second time for a similar trip.

I returned a third time to the clinic, for what was now something I needed, perhaps even more than wanted. The nurse injected me and left. I didn't feel the immediate pleasurable sensations; instead, I started to feel very cold, and my vision started fading to black. I struggled to remain conscious, but I was losing the battle. I felt colder and colder, stumbling as I reached for a blue button to call the nurse. She entered the room, and the last thing I remember was her look of worry and concern. I died.

After that, I was wandering around in a drug-induced state in something that looked like a Greek temple with columns everywhere. I was absorbed in trying to read the inscription in black on one of those columns, but I was still high from my previous life and unable to understand what I was reading. I saw Ty and Imanya in the distance, but I couldn't reach them, and I was only vaguely aware that they were important people in my future.

When I woke up and had some time to think about it, I realized some interesting things about my childhood. I have always been irrationally afraid of needles, of any creature that stings, and of drugs. At nine or ten, I discovered marijuana in my parents' drawer, and not only did I know exactly what it was, I yelled at them for possessing it; I made them swear never to smoke it (I don't think they followed my injunction). When I was even younger than that, I was furious at them for the marijuana plant they kept on the terrace. They never, ever told me about drugs at that age, but I KNEW what drugs were, and I was terrified of them. As I grew up, I would lose my mind if a friend experimented with drugs or tried to coerce me to 'try' them. I never did. I was the only kid in my high school who refused all drug use, experimental, recreational or otherwise. My reaction to drugs--illegal or prescription--was always one of sheer terror.

I drive my doctors and my family crazy with my fear of prescription medication. I hate taking it, and will only do so if it is absolutely necessary--and even then I 'chip' away at it, refusing to take the full dose. My terror of mind-altering substances has dogged me my entire life. When I panic about something it always concerns the fear that I will lose consciousness, that my sensations will be altered and I will feel my throat constrict; yes, I know that those are classic anxiety attack symptoms, and I've been to therapy, tried various methods, even medication (reluctantly). Even after all that, it seems that my panic attacks are almost like flashbacks to a very, very old trauma. In fact, it seems more and more like I am reliving the moment of my previous death instead of having some illogical and overblown reaction to a current circumstance in my life. Often, there is nothing in my life that warrants the strange reactions.

Let's suppose that this story of mine is true: I did die from a drug overdose in the early sixties, and I returned in May of sixty-five to my present parents and current life. What am I supposed to do with that? I would hope that if I really and truly had the courage to re-live what happened to me on a gut, emotional level, then I would move past that past life and fully embrace this one. I think I'm ready to take that trip, but I don't know how to proceed. It's a frightening prospect, since I didn't exactly choose a glamorous or desirable past life. How much of what I am now is a result of what/who I was then? It's impossible to tell; but I do suspect one thing: we've all been here before, and many of us will be back again.

I would like to say goodbye to the poor girl who lost her life in her twenties. It's time to honor her presence in me now, without reliving her terror.

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