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Jeruba's avatar

Have you ever hallucinated? Have you ever had to deal with someone who was hallucinating?

Asked by Jeruba (55595points) January 6th, 2019

What was your experience? And how could you tell it was a hallucination and not a dream, not just confusion or disorientation, and not some kind of mental illness?

Were drugs involved?

What did you do when it was someone else?

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21 Answers

Kardamom's avatar

I have had hallucinations from Percodan, when I was 18 and got my wisdom teeth out, and more recently, with Melatonin.

Thankfully, I was given information at the time, about the possibility of hallucinations with the Percodan. The medication did absolutely nothing for the pain, and I did not care one bit for the hallucinations, but at least I knew that they were hallucinations, rather than me going crazy or something like that.

I didn’t expect them to occur with Melatonin, and it has not happened every time I have taken it. However, since it only makes me drowsy and sleep for a few hours, I’ve decided not to bother taking it any more. It also gives me extremely vivid dreams, which actually exhausts me even more.

The hallucinations appear to me as things that I know, but the image, instead of appearing like a 3 dimensional object, or person, is outlined in colored lines kind of like neon lights. I have only experienced them at night, so I have seen the images on the ceiling, kind of floating around, almost in a watery way. I have seen everything from my Grandma, to the Starship Enterprise (at the same time) but nothing scary or unknown. Just regular stuff.

It’s interesting that you brought up this topic, because one of my friends had severe macular degeneration, and is “legally blind” although she can see shapes and colors, and can read if she has on her special glasses and this crazy powerful magnifying glass. She can’t drive, so I took her to her eye doctor a few days ago, because she was having some issues. While we were driving, she asked me about my hallucinations with the Melatonin, because I have talked to her about it. She asked me to describe them. When I mentioned the neon lights, she told me that is exactly what she has seen and experienced for the last 20 years, ever since she started to develop macular degeneration. Only hers, instead of being seen floating around on the ceiling in the dark, are seen at random times, but in her peripheral vision. She has described what she is seeing many times, while it was happening. She and I both think that it may be something to do with the optic nerve. In her case, the nerve is deteriorating. In my case the medication is interfering with the normal activity.

I would make a very bad drug addict, because I did not like the experience of the hallucinations one bit. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, plenty of my friends were smoking pot, and doing cocaine, and experimenting with “mushrooms” but I steered completely clear of all of that. I think sobriety is highly underrated. I don’t like the idea of being out of control, or in another dimension or whatever one wants to call it.

notnotnotnot's avatar

@Jeruba: “Have you ever had to deal with someone who was hallucinating?”

I used to work with adults suffering from schizophrenia. Hallucinations were fairly common, and in many cases they were technically aware that their hallucinations were part of their illness. Yet, fully understanding this in the moment was nearly impossible.

For example, there was a guy who believed that the FBI was working with Robert Redford (yes, the actor) to send messages into his brain via FBI electronics. They would also steam open his mail and occasionally violate him in the middle of the night. When I would be with him, and attempting to calm his fears, he would acknowledge that it was part of his illness. But 10 seconds later, during intense audio hallucinations, he would say that he would doubt that all of the hallucinations were part of the illness because, “why else would they have inserted the metal transmission device into [my] head”.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I was given morphine once.
OMG it was awful.
I knew, I KNEW, but I still had to say out loud to myself that there were no worms under my skin, chanted it over and over, to keep me from ripping my own flesh away.
I could physically feel what I knew was not happening.
I was sleep deprived during my teens due to worsening tinnitus. I watched in amusement as little people crawled up and down my bedroom walls, and waved to me and smiled. The frightening one was when I was on a drive withy mom. We were getting along great, and it was a beautiful day. Then someone yelled at me. I was at home in my room and my brother was calling me to dinner.
What finally brought the condition to a manageable level was when my boyfriend insisted I try smoking weed with him.
Blew my friends’ minds I was using dope to don’t see things.

canidmajor's avatar

During the late 60s and early 70s there was a lot of drug experimentation going on. Because I didn’t want to do LSD, I was the caretaker for a lot of people who were tripping.
I hated it. I fought with people to keep them out of the ocean, or climbing the water tower, or hoisting themselves to the tops of the masts of the large sailboats in the boat basin. I prevented at least one suicide and countless accidents.

I don’t remember ever hallucinating, myself, but I have had lots of medical things done and may have, I just don’t remember.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Worked in a psychiatric hospital over 50 years ago; LSD, psychotic disorders, heavy use of Cannabis and PTSD (than called shell shock) with flashbacks !

We had to protect them and those around them (twenty patients on the locked floor). We had one, I’ll call “Tommy”, that hallucinated and then would try suicide. Sadly he succeeded at another hospital half way a across the country.

Adagio's avatar

I’ve hallucinated lots of times, many years ago, while tripping on acid (LSD). I knew I was hallucinating, it is what happens, everything is totally unreal, and colourful. The veins on one’s hand can be fascinating! I’ve never experienced other people hallucinating except for the times I was hallucinating myself.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I can’t stand being lied to, but especially by my own mind.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Over the summer I had a pretty significant surgery. I was pretty drugged up for a few days after the surgery and had near constant, extremely vivid hallucinations. I spent days in an absolute nightmarish hellscape surrounded death and rot and all manner of perversion all around me. Every so often a half-decayed, disembodied skull would float towards me, filling up my field-of-view, at which I would, somehow, force myself to come to for a moment, as I felt that if the skull completely filled my vision that would be the end of me.

This was all made worse by the fact that with a breathing tube down my throat and my wrists bound to the rails of my bed, I could not communicate.

Adagio's avatar

@Darth_Algar What a horrific experience, I hope you have recovered from your experience, physically anyway, it doesn’t sound like your mind has left it behind. I wish you well for the new year.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. After my hospitalization I kept thinking I was seeing things out of the corner of my eyes, but maybe it had to do with the drugs or whatever. But never full on visual hallucination.
I was too cautious to try acid, though.

Dutchess_III's avatar

OMG @Darth_Algar. How terrifying….

raum's avatar

My sister is schizophrenic. Whenever I ask her if she hears voices, she denies it. Yet I’ve overheard her talking to them.

I suspect she denies hearing them to me because she understands it’s part of her illness and she doesn’t want to admit it. But it’s one thing to conceptually understand it’s a part of your illness. And another thing to be constantly emmersed in that reality.

tinyfaery's avatar

Man, I’ve done so many hallucinogens in my life, and have never really hallucinated. Sure I’ve seen trippy stuff, but I’ve never seen something that wasn’t actually there. I’ve a’ways kind of wanted to though.

I’ve been around people who were hallucinating, but only in a clinical setting. There are protocols to deal with this.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The first time I smoked hashish the light turned purple. Was that a hallucination?

tinyfaery's avatar

To me that is just a trick of the mind. Like when you do LSD you see trails.To me a hallucination is seeing a dinosaur in the road or hear people talking to you that are not there.

Brian1946's avatar

Yes, I have.

Back when I was 20, we were riding some motorcycles along the California coast.

Sometime during the night, we stopped at the top of a cliff. I got off of the bike and looked down along the ground, until I saw the cliff’s edge.

When I looked up, I saw a fog bank. Standing in the fog, there appeared to be a gigantic, shadowy figure that was waist-high to the cliff. As I moved toward the cliff, the figure moved toward me.

I thought something like, “OMFG, that thing must be 400 feet tall!” For a second, I had a vague fear of being swatted.

As I looked back for a place to run to, I noticed that I was standing in front of the motorcycle’s brightly shining headlight. I then realized with major relief, that I was seeing a silhouette of my upper body being cast into the fog.

I’ve been with people who were also hallucinating, but I’ve never been in a situation where we had deal with the other person because of the hallucinations. That’s because we were merely indulging in psychedelic visual recreation.

raum's avatar

I wouldn’t consider that a hallucination. More of an illusion and a robust imagination!

Dutchess_III's avatar

If you were high it would be freaky as hell! Sounded pretty freaky anyway.

Brian1946's avatar


Per Merriam-Webster: “an unfounded or mistaken impression or notion : delusion”.

While what I saw wasn’t totally unreal (e.g., seeing the Statue of Liberty instead of just a shadow), my impression sure was mistaken! ;-o

Patty_Melt's avatar

Wow! I was into that story hook, line, and sinker.
That one is excellent for a camping story.

Brian1946's avatar

I think I can accurately say, that’s the only time I’ve been afraid of my own shadow.

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