Written by Patrick J Turner Jr

Published on November 17th, 2023

I had an out of body experience. It was Halloween of The Worst Year of My Life. I was partying with friends to distract myself from all the horrible aspects of the aforementioned Worst Year of My Life. It was 2021. My friends were all potheads. I use that term with the utmost affection and respect. I loved those potheads. They were my potheads y'know? In the two years I knew them they had offered me free weed every single time they smoked. It was not just an act of courtesy, they genuinely wanted to share with me. I had turned them down each time.

It's not like I was a narc or anything, but I was definitely more of a goody two-shoes early in my college career. I never opposed or judged my friends for drinking or smoking in the dorms, I just didn't particularly want to participate. Amongst other things, I was primarily concerned with getting caught and my parents finding out. On top of this, I had a packed schedule my freshman year. Your boy was too busy grinding out a math minor and courses on the fundamentals of computer science to spend time indulging my vices.

However, fate had other plans for myself and the world. After a successful first semester of college, the world burst into flames due to forces far beyond my control. We were sent home for Spring Break the first week of March. One week of holiday turned into two, then three, then April, then... a neverending Spring Break.

Trapped inside with my family, the house never seemed so small. I stayed up late into the night working on homework and playing video games. I became mildly nocturnal and not so mildly depressed. I spent a lot of time reflecting on my life and my relationships, specifically that with my high school sweetheart.

We had been dating for

So, it was Hallows' Eve. I went over to my friend's house with the resolve to finally cut loose a bit. We went outside to smoke and I inhaled like they told me and it felt as if a fire had been lit above my heart and in my lungs. Each breath seemed to fan the flame a little more. I ran upstairs to get water and when I sat down it started. The fire in my body was all I could feel. I could feel my body spinning even though I was sitting still on the couch. I started to panic. I told them it was happening, that I could feel it. I told them I didn't feel comfortable holding the water in my hand anymore. It was like I had lost control of my body as a whole and was floating away. I could feel everything in the house at once. I could feel Cooper downstairs playing his PC, I could feel Chunn watching videos in his room, and I could feel Garret, Max, and Noah having their usual high energy conversations. It was so much to take in, I thought I might float away. I could feel time moving slowly and began to wonder if it would ever stop. Images of myself in a permanent slow moving world flashed through my mind and tormented me. I could feel the vibrations of my friend's voices and pleaded with them to stop talking. Their voices moved so fast, it hurt. They never laughed or recorded me though. They were respectful and kind, just as you'd expect good friends to be. Max brought out a sound bowl and started to use it. The structured dings from the bowl brought me back to Earth and grounded me. I could move again. With each movement of my arms or legs it felt like I was leaving behind an old shell, only for a new one to form the moment I stopped moving. I felt a need to keep moving, to keep doing things that would keep me grounded to the reality I felt I was losing my grip on. I moved downstairs and they let me sleep in Nick's room. I stayed there for a little while, laying in the dark and listening to them talk to each other in the next room. They seemed so casual and normal while I felt as though I were spinning out of control. At this point I started to check my phone semi-frequently, terrified I had said something to someone, scared I was missing important messages from someone. I expected messages from Abby telling me I had broken my promise, I expected messages from Kristina telling me she hated me, I expected messages from my family telling me they were disappointed in me. In that room it was as if every personal flaw and error I saw in myself was laid bare to me, and I was absolutely terrified someone would find out. I was transported back in time to middle school, flashes from my childhood kept coming to me, I felt as though I were reliving portions of my life in mere seconds. It all felt so bittersweet, like it was nice to return to old times, but painful to see myself as I was now. I went back into Cooper's room and tried to talk with my friends, but to no avail. I was still going between states of coherent consciousness and a complete incoherent mess. I felt every part of my body twitching and moving, as though I couldn't fully control myself at times. I felt waves of little needles flowing down from my head, not in a painful way but not exactly pleasant either. I saw Noah playing Face Raiders on Cooper's 3DS and thinking how funny it was that everything seemed so normal. It was like I wasn't even really in the room at times. They didn't seem to pay much attention to me, and I remember thinking that it was all part of their plan. Their plan to either help me go back to normal, or the world's plan to further decieve me into thinking that nothing was real. I felt like time was fake, and us having an extra hour from daylight saving's time didn't help that idea at all. I went back and forth between checking my phone in the next room and going back to the room with my friend's in it, just hoping to feel a little more normal. I recieved several messages that night. One from Kristina. She needed someone to drive her, but the way it was sent made me feel like I had done something wrong, like she knew something about me that disgusted her and made her change her mind. I got messages through the discord of people in the Captain Bible sever playing games, and new people joining. I felt empty and a little upset that Abby didn't reach out to me and no one really tried to speak to me. The words of Abby, telling me that her uncle had schizophrenia from smoking weed rang in my head and made me feel like I would never get better, like I had ruined my life and that everyone I knew and loved and cared about would know and would hate me for it. I felt my deepest anxieties open up and play out in my head. Everything in my mind sort of felt like a computer. I felt like my eyes had shut off earlier in the night, I kept seeing things as accessing memory, it felt as though my whole body was experiencing a glitch or critical system failure, and I had flashbacks to terminology from my computer science classes. Part of me felt that it was typical of me to think of everything through the lense of a computer, that I was pathetic for letting my perception be shaped like that. I felt a deep part of my anxiety around people not understanding me spring up then, and felt that because I thought like a computer no one could ever really like me or understand what I was saying. Eventually Garret and Noah went home, and Max went upstairs. I asked them for a blanket because I could feel the cold from outside throughout my whole body. Once I had a blanket and pillow I took them back downstairs and laid down for bed. Going to sleep after that point was surprisingly easy. I curled up in the blanket and laid my head on the pillow, letting the darkness of the room envelop me. I head Cooper taking a shower in the next room, and occasionally getting up to go outside and smoke. It felt a lot like when I would lay in my parent's bed early in the morning as a young boy; a vision I often return to when looking for comfort. I remember waking up several times and going to the bathroom, and having strange dreams like I had been having earlier in the week, but nothing too crazy had occured from that point on. When I woke up the next morning I saw the dim light of the morning shining through the window. I checked my phone and saw that Garret had already texted me to check in and that he would drive me home. I got up and felt much more coherent than the night before. I got dressed and walked through the silent house. I grabbed a donut and ate it, then made my way out the door to get to Garret's house. As I walked through the empty roads of the Cottages I realized how beautiful everything was when it was silent. A thick fog covered the area like a blanket and crows flew overhead. It would have looked a little spooky under a different context, but to me in that moment it all felt so peaceful. I slight drizzle was starting, but I continued to walk the empty streets to Garret's house. We got in his car and talked a little bit, stopped by Bojangles and said our goodbyes as he left to go to work. When I was alone in my dorm room I felt strange. My perception was still being altered. Every movement, touch, and ingestion of water or hot chocolate into my body felt off. Like I was feeling it, but a weaker, or delayed version of the expected sensation. I could still do everything I needed to, like making hot chocolate or getting dressed in more comfortable clothes, but it all felt just slightly off. I went to my bed to try and lay down but remembered the words of myself and of Adam. "If you sleep, they win." I knew if I slept then I would ruin my sleep schedule, so I got back up and tried to use my computer. I couldn't really efficiently do much with the computer, not like I was used to, and that sort of frustrated me. It felt like I laid there afterwards for a long time, until I decided to get up and continue to ground myself further to reality. I felt a need to do more normal things in an effort to return to my normal state of being. I got up, got dressed, and decided to take a long walk outside while listening to music. I was listening to the Yandhi album I had downloaded on my phone and was enjoying it as I walked up the hill towards Mountaineer hall and along Rivers street. I walked up to the overlook and remember feeling as though my feet were being guided in some sense. The phrase, "leave this place better than when you came to it" kept repeating in my mind. Partially because I felt the need to clean up Nick's room better than I found it when I woke up. I remember looking out over the entire campus and feeling pretty good about myself. I then decided to return to my room for the time being, and try to get a little work done, or at the very least complete some of my responsibilites. I remember taking a while to write out an email to my residents because I was scared I was misspelling things or wasn't coming out with coherent speech. I did my laundry and got groceries later in the day, going between states of feeling more in touch with my body, and feeling more out of touch with my body throughout the day. I set up the computer on my desk in the dorm so that I could better use it and transfered some files around while downloading some new software and games. I finished watching Aggretsko season 3 and remember really enjoying it and finding it far more interesting and relatable than the prior seasons. I started watching Rental Girlfriend and did not enjoy it as much, because it felt like there were way too many plot convienences and that the characters were kind of annoying, but I continued watching it anyway up until I decided to go to bed later in the day. I started writing this shortly after my 10 AM class the next day when I had texted Garret asking if I should still feel out of it. He told me I should feel normal by now, that the altered perception was all my brain telling me that I should feel strange. He recommended yoga and writing about my experience. I chose to do the latter as I had already been planning to write about the strangeness of my experience anyways. Looking back over all I have written over the past hour I feel as though I've done a decent job in compiling the intracacies of my experience into written word. Each paragraph down the page has acted as a sort of anchor drawing me closer to earth and illustrating to me that my mind is still capable of coherent writing and thought even in this strange state I feel. I believe this is over. I feel as though I've come down more fully now. It's calming. It feels nice to be back here. But I know this experience will change me, will shape the way I view the world and myself. I saw far more of myself and of the world than I ever could have expected during this experience. I don't believe I want to do it again. Not just yet at least. A part of me is still scared, still facing those anxieties that plagued me during my experience, but I feel motivated to overcome them and face them head on. To change my world and the way I interact with it dramatically. To leave this world better than I entered it.