Third year speaks out about his crippling Valium addiction
‘You don’t realise what’s happening until it’s too late’
I stumbled into my lecture 20 minutes late, but for all I knew I was bang on time: I had no clue because of the hazy zombie I’d become. This was the moment I realised I was hooked on Valium.
I’d woken up half an hour late after knocking back three 10mg tablets before bed, and I was already getting jittery and anxious. I swallowed another two tablets on my way to the lecture to calm my symptoms, and then I didn’t care.
What you have to understand about Valium is that it’s a creeper. It’s a snake, a chameleon, that geezer down the pub who reckons he’ll be able to get you a half ounce of weed if you give him the £100 up front. You don’t realise what’s happening to you until it’s too late.
When I first ordered 50 I just had the intention of taking them when I couldn’t sleep after a night out. I soon realised if you stayed awake on them, you were lifted away from the clutches of anxiety, depression and pain. Your problems seem to melt away before your eyes, accompanied by a sense of weightlessness.
Before you know it, you’re doing it while you tackle chapters from your seminar reading, before you go to the library, before you brush your teeth and before you dare to test the wrath of the ever-melancholic bus driver. Every moment of the day seems like the right time to take a Valium.
For over six months I went around like this, in a relaxed, gooey, warm haze. My housemates started to get worried, said maybe I should cut down on the stuff. But it’s so psychologically and physically addictive, it’s even been called as addictive as heroin.
The only way to describe it is like Aldous Huxley’s infamous fictitious “soma” substance. In his famous dystopia in Brave New World, “soma” had no side effects, no comedown… no problems, right? All of the users’ problems and worries evaporated in a light mist, “soma” took everyone on a idyllic holiday. Anxiety, sleeping problems, depression and even good old fashioned student boredom vanished. The difference between “soma” and Valium though, is Valium is real.
It’s hard to be at university and have a regular sleeping pattern – everybody knows that. But it makes it even harder when you work a bar job, and when you enjoy dancing until 4am, and then coming home and nailing a load of balloons in your living room, listening to Stairway to Heaven.
But Valium knocks you out like Oisin Tymon got knocked out by the ostentatious bigot Jeremy Clarkson. Take one after work at 2am and you will fall straight asleep for eight hours. Take one after a night of partying, writhing round in bed with a comedown, wishing you could just get to sleep, 10 hours.
My use spiralled out of control. Aside from being incredibly addictive, the tolerance you build creeps up on you really quick. By the end, I used to take two or three 10mg tablets a day.
Soon, the vicious cycle I had gotten myself into was not lost on me. I understood by taking them to decrease my anxiety, I soon became dependent on them, and the times when I was most anxious were when I didn’t have any Valium to detract from the agonising banality of sobriety. Panic and stress set in, and I used to have mood swings.
When an online dealer screwed me over and no pills came, my body went into shock. Coming off of it cold turkey was not easy, but it helped me fully realise the extent of my addiction. I had to wade through a month of my brain and body doing and thinking crazy, crazy things.
I eventually cleaned myself up and now only take Valium recreationally, very occasionally. After a long, hard withdrawal period, my brain began to feel sharper and more alert again. I stopped jittering and began to confront my “first-world problems” head-on, instead of hiding behind a drug.
Doctors don’t usually prescribe Valium for anything longer than three days, mostly because of its addictive properties. My advice is if you want to enjoy Valium, know the risks, know the consequences. Do not over-use.