*NOTE* THIS IS MY PERSONAL STORY REGARDING AMBIEN. EVERYONE REACTS TO DIFFERENT DRUGS IN DIFFERENT WAYS! I in NO way intend to imply this drug will make you do what I did.
I've had a real issue with anxiety since September of 2013. I had a panic attack for the first time in my life, and ever since then I've been struggling with general anxiety. Before September of 2013, I never worried about my health, and now I've been to the emergency room five separate times, had three EKG's, three blood panels, two chest X-rays, an echocardiogram, a mole biopsy and a consult with a surgeon about possibly having a lymph node in my neck removed. I'm still very new to all of this, and I'm getting professional help very soon (something I've put off for far too long)
Anyway, my inability to sleep has always been a part of my life, pre- and post-anxiety days. I've only recently acquired health coverage, so I've only recently visited a doctor to discuss my insomnia (and all of my other hundreds of health concerns). He told me that Ambien is something he'd recommend, and he's never had an issue with it from any of his patients. I asked him about all of the horror stories I had heard regarding the drug - sleepwalking, sleep DRIVING, suicidal ideation, etc. He reassured me and told me if I had any issues whatsoever to discontinue use.
So I went and picked up my prescription for the generic form of Ambien - still set me back $20, and the worst $20 I've ever spent in hindsight. I did what everyone told me to do - take it IN bed, not while you're up waiting for it to kick in. I had no other medications in my system except for the Atenolol I took for my blood pressure 12 hours prior. I laid back with season 7 of Coach flickering in the background on Netflix, satisfied that my sleeping issues were likely over, with just the slightest bit of worry lingering.
The next hour was the darkest, most frightening hour of my life. I was imagining people in my bedroom, and my bed was some kind of moving vehicle. The harder I pressed down on my stomach, the more the vehicle moved. I was talking to these unknown, faceless people, asking them to get on board. Eventually the party stopped and I found myself ambling down the stairs toward the pocket knife I always keep in my coat. I sat on the couch, and unsheathed the serrated saw blade. I got up, went into the kitchen and proceeded to cut the inside of my forearms over and over. This is where my health anxiety kicks in: while I was cutting, I was saying something to the effect of "get out, cancer, I will find you, get out!" The cuts weren't too deep and didn't bleed much, luckily. After this, I took the blade out of a box cutter and started cutting my forehead. I went back upstairs and opened my mom's bedroom door. My sister was sitting next to her, and she became troubled when she saw my forehead. I remember at this point I was somewhat back in my right mind, although before I fully came to, I was told I held a pair of scissors to the enlarged lymph node in my neck that's had me worried for months and months. The most lucid memory have is of me calling the police because I was afraid of what else I could do in this state. I was placed in an ambulance and taken to Hurley, where they kept me a few hours for observation and had me speak to the folks that set up the counseling I've needed for too long.
The thing that gets me the most over all of this is I have no clue what state I was in when I was cutting myself. I felt awake, I can recall virtually every detail with clarity, but I would not have done any of that on a clear mind. Was I sleepwalking? Lucid dreaming? I'll never know. All I know is that I won't ever be taking it again. The officer that came to the house said I came dangerously close to the big S-word after looking at the knife I was using, but what if I had just enough control to know I didn't want to cut too deep? Again, I'll never know...