Anatomy of a Fentanyl Overdose

My son’s sweet childhood friend is currently in the hospital – brain dead on life support. While his heart is beating and skin is warm, he’s in a suspended state of “feeling” with no discerning brain. Without that – his e-motions are gone.

No passions can arise; he but receives from outside. You could think of this as a (terminally) “Yin” state.

(Just as I write this, the scan results returned – there is no brain function at all remaining. Tonight they’ll be taking his breathing tube out. He won’t be able to breathe on his own.

He was pronounced dead, 3 days later after he was found. May he rest in peace.)

Most of what I’m writing is from what I observed as a parent knowing him over many years; some is by my son’s report (which is technically gossip).I apologize for any inaccuracies.


How did this once charming and congenial child get this way- one who gravitated towards my son from the get-go?

While those around him wring their hands and emote around him, asking, ”how could we have rescued and saved him”, (not how could he have thrived), I am going to share some observations. 


From the beginning of my acquaintance with this child, whom I met as a 2nd or 3rd grader when my children went to a local private school, he along with many of my son’s friends, was always extremely polite. He particularly addressed me as “Missus Clemons”. He was obviously well bred. and wanted to feel welcome.

He was very afraid of being out of control – as I learned when we almost ran out of gas on a trip to the beach. Towards the end of a six hour drive, we nearly coasted to the gas station. Meanwhile he melted down and started to cry and wail, “Oh no! What’s going to happen to us?”.

While, I’d filled up before we started, but left little error for the last stretch of lonely road – I felt I should say something in case we ran out. We were well into “empty”.

While my sons both consoled him saying we’ll be alright (even if they were a little worried themselves), and I had various “plans”, including we might have to wait for a version of help to come. Either way, it would be an adventure, though not necessarily a fun one. As it turned out, we made it without mishap. He remained anxious.


On that trip – and others to follow, my sons snuck and brought their X-Box along. So while I was trying to get them to go outside to explore a beach with huge boulders and loud crashing waves, they stayed in the gloomy inside playing shooter games. Typical hotel rooms then had ~ 40 watt light bulbs.

Both him, my sons, other friends (later steady cohort) immersed themselves in similar X-box games online. This persists- for their dopamine “high” and feeling of glee.

Using their free moments to immerse themselves in teams of division, they focused on killing “us versus them”.

Focusing on “us against them” the “them” being depicted by phenotypic difference, their waveform focuses on a being’s outer appearance.

And as you know, with shooter games, you get repeatedly “killed” before reaching a next level- usually with splattering blood and sound effects; the screen fills with a giant red halo. Then you’re “dead” and must start over again. Meanwhile you’ve “let” your team down.

If you don’t make it to the next level – to get that injection of dopamine glee, or have to “try” many times, you- and your team, finish the session with sense of lose and failure.

They are still playing these games in their virtual realities. How can the “practice” of being killed repeatedly – by those of different phenotype, support becoming a happy joyous self?


My son is and was a math and science “whiz” kid. You could also say he is a natural leader; by his behavior, he attracts or repels.

Our friend, and the rest of his cohort, was known to be a meeker- after befriending my son, his mom felt he became darker and negative. I can’t disagree my son brought this out in him; he has a dark sense of humor and is never cowed (much like his Dad).

Is it any wonder, he found my son who may have seemed smart and “fearless” to him, an inspiration?


As a rule, water (one’s energetic flow of passion via e-motions) seeks its own level. While I knew our protagonist hadn’t exhibited similar intelligence in math, I knew he had his genius.

When my ‘whiz’ son at times made remarks about him not being as “smart” as he was. I pointed out the tendency of our protagonist to always be genuinely happy to see him and he knew just what to say to ~anybody. He had an excellent memory.


It was interesting to me how both our family and theirs had elder siblings who were (extremely) nonconformist –even embarrassing. And whose moms were called to often actively engage with, and manage what seemed activities of daily living. My child didn’t want to go to school – and diagnosed with “ADHD”; the other had “special needs”. [1]

Both of our younger sons seemed to “coast” without needing mom’s help and were the apples in their father’s eyes.


From what I gather, these young men, including my sons, have perfectionist and critical mothers. I know I was.

Once, our protagonist recorded and shared on SnapChat a clip of his mother berating her husband and family for their shortcomings.

It was shocking and uncomfortable to hear not only her sailor-like curse words and swearing, but also the depth of vitriol. Her outburst reminded me of my mother.

While directed towards her silent spouse, who I thought was hardworking (and soldierly), everyone in the room (including me witnessing the video), were affected. I gathered it wasn’t the first time, but common– which is why he recorded her.

After hearing her, I felt very small.

(I was in my 50s and had just stopped being angry enough at my spouse to swear – having learned about the power of thoughts, let alone words, from my “modern mystery school”.) Would shifting to saying or thinking “I love you” a bunch of times, like I had, helped her – as it did me?

But then, why would she feel so frustrated? Did she feel like me – always giving, ~never receiving? Did her husband, like mine at the time, come home late for dinner, but then not show up until much later? Was work his place of freedom?

To my face and others, she is and was, as pleasant as pie- always look well and put together.

Yet she also chastised my parenting (I wonder who did this to her?) She criticized when I’d been trying to teach him to drive on one of our manual transmission automobiles which my ex- and I both drive.

Lessons weren’t going well- I tended to clench whenever the engine stalled- which it did mostly. That made him nervous. He vented to our protagonist and mom.

Instead of demurring or reassuring, she called me a “bitch” among other things (he told me later), and told him to tell me, I “should buy him one with an automatic”.


When my sons left home – one to the army (including an overseas stationing), the other to college in California, I was proud they felt “safe” enough in their own skins to take the risk of going on their adventures.

Even if I wasn’t thrilled with the choice of enlisting (and being a minion with a gun) and I knew the other one could have been Ivy league material, it was their decision to make. They weren’t forced or cajoled.

With their explorations, their courage, and confidence, unfolded- as well as learning the power and responsibility for their decisions.

Meanwhile our protagonist, along with this cohort of young men from their ritzy private school, where college acceptance is the thing that rules, stayed near. Did he have opportunity to make and learn from mistakes?

Like most of the young men in this cohort, his father got him his first job. After getting a degree, he got jobs with six figures. Barely in his 20s, he was living in the lap of luxury.


When my son was in college and on a holiday or spring break, they often reunited at our house for a party. Our protagonist was the party’s star when in the company of his “bros”.

During these visits, I observed all in the cohort are heavy drinkers. Our protagonist in particular would grow loud and boisterous. He’d verbally shower the others around them with “I love you man”- (as if his inner child self could finally be expressed.)

While our protagonist was boisterous and unhinged, the rest sat soaking in his words.

His proclamations reached us easily from the basement through the heating vents to our bedroom on the third floor-usually on the night before my then-husband’s had to operate. (He is a surgeon).

That is – until he got his apartment on Ruston Way- a upscale modern condominium complex overlooking a portion of the Puget Sound waterway, then they met there instead. It’s much cooler (and no dad to say “tone it down”)!


As our protagonist was the “life of the party”, I’d guess he’s got Pisces or Neptune in 5th house. (I do wish I had his birth, not death chart, but I don’t, so this is conjecture.)

Typically this one who performs ‘magic’ by bringing out the best in others; or might love being a chameleon, actor, or poet. He might not be known for it.

Until he was engaged, his outlet was ~nightly debauchery.

Towards their women, who also like to “party”, they are rude and dismissive -even if by mostly micro-aggressions- little phrases containing subtle put-downs. 

Granted these women also don’t seem to take themselves seriously –but look pretty and are quiet. [2]

Why should our protagonist choose a woman like his verbally chastising mother in their face at the end of a stressful day?! No, they ‘chose’ opposite. But wait,

Our protagonist was getting married this November, was he having second thoughts; did he have a way out?

I heard just now, (which is technically gossip and hearsay) he was “only allowed” out for poker once a week. His fiancee “wanted him with her” on weekends. She drug tested him when she thought or heard he’d been using.

Our reality shape our perceptions. Do you think he felt trusted? (Did he learn to trust himself?) Apparently, she even drug-tested him the day of his demise- since he’d been witnessed the day before – it came back negative.

She’d been planning an intervention but first wanted proof.


Like my sons, our protagonist took piano lessons. Otherwise, he had no “hobbies”- no activities he could do to get, by himself, into his flow and groove.

In about the third grade, his teacher arranged for him and others to have their recital at Benaroya hall – a professional venue in Seattle, a city 40 miles north of Tacoma. My kids had a different teacher; she arranged for them to play in a church.

For him, a beginner, going to this large professional venue, perhaps the stakes for mistakes felt higher.

While my ‘shocker’ son played “Happy Frog” like Liberace- upside down and from behind, (accurately, I might)- a really lively and funny tune, and my ‘whiz’ kid played one with lilting powerful Spanish chords and rhythms, our protagonist played a piece I can only describe as insipid. It was simple, slow, perfectly evenly- without intonation and had no cool ~dissonant to resolving intervals.

Trust me, one can play beginner Faber and Faber- a teacher’s lesson series, with panache.

So what you say?

To my mind, and maybe his, mediocrity was elevated. Furthermore he had such pressure to show off (being in the ~vast space of Benaroya hall), did he have fun, meaning light-heartedness, with his engagement?


None of these folks, to my knowledge had, or have, any sort of hobby (until now, my sons included). None of the cohort (the kids anyway) have ongoing outlets where they get kudos for tangible effort (other than their paychecks).

They don’t create lasting beauty with their hands, just a stack of receipts. They have little they can look at or compare as progress is made. Nor that might one day be passed down to their descendants as heirloom forms of material immortality that aren’t not celluloid. (Remember the Kinks song- “Celluloid Heroes” never die?)

Without that, there is little opportunity to “get into the flow”- a state of self-generated bliss with serotonin and (according to BrainBiz on it’s “Neuroscience of Flow” page) dopamine, anandamide (an endogenous cannabinoid), norepinephrine, and endorphins. Basically “flow” is a state of highly energized bliss.

The state of “flow” correlates with calming and focus on EEG and fMRI, and externally a state of “optimal performance” whilst feeling naturally “high”. These sensations are generated from concentration – such as creating durable objects they, in addition to the sense of bliss reported by professional athletes. You can get into it from reading if you’re wired like me.

Without periodic seclusion, how does a parent then teach (by modeling and emulation) healthy boundaries to one’s offspring?

To do that, first you must train a child not to disturb- unless it’s really important. (The parent must learn to trust them too- to be OK without them for 30 minutes.) So yes, you’ve got to set them up with something to do, while you “take your break”.

Normally if a kid is bugging a parent while they tinker away at an ongoing project, they might give them one simplified – which they might then help with. So too, an initial hobby can serve bonding.

While my dad had a version of wood shop and a full garage, as a kid – and girl, I wasn’t allowed to use or touch anything. As a result, I didn’t learn how to use basic tools.

I think wood shop “should”, as in, “She would, if She could”, be available for everyone; as well boys “should” learn to sew more than button, but a seam on a machine, ( or even some embroidery) and also to cook a meal besides instant macaroni.

You just never now what you like until you try it! Now that we are aware of so many versions of gender – why wouldn’t we?

When I was in middle school, sewing, cooking, and home economy (including the art of ironing), were gone from the curriculum.

It is considered gauche to promote anything to students except getting into college.

Would having a hobby he liked have helped him? I wonder.

Nor are hobbies encouraged –just the opposite.

In their upper middle class echelon, to work with your hands is considered demeaning and beneath oneself.


In this cohort of individuals, most of their moms don’t work (or didn’t). For and with their spouses, they act as nurses and hostesses as they manage for their homes. Until now, they have little outside world exposure beyond their cliques. It is easy to feel a sense of isolation.


To my knowledge, our protagonist’s cohort (his friends with the exception of my son) also didn’t regularly exercise-and hadn’t since PE in grade school.

Moving a body creates endorphins, releases growth hormone, and other ‘good feeling’ chemicals. This is true of even gentle exercise which doesn’t produce soreness later.

In this particular case, his private school with its emphasis on college placement, body movements are respected if they are to obtain varsity letters. Dance and (gentle) yoga are not offered.

Practice makes perfect. Being in the flow is a state of bliss. Not the same as joy, but helps one feel strong in oneself and centered.

When a body learns to feel good, it also learns when it doesn’t.


I have since learned several in his cohort of friends have overdosed; my son was even involved with saving one of them. All the others made it- until now. Our protagonist was resistant to help and shooed others off.

Unlike my nephew who overdosed on heroin when he was 19, resulting in my brother traveling thousands of miles to take him home, our protagonist when he first overdosed, (this last one being his ~third time), continued to live in his apartment with his girlfriend – now fiancée.

(She was the one present and had early gone to bed when our friend put the powder in his nose. It was she who found him at 4AM- blue, comatose, and covered in bloody vomitus.

Please bless her heart that it become fully mended, lightened and whole again.)

You might imagine though, returning to the family home, for him, might be more hell than haven.

Additionally since his father is now suffering from a wasting disease and has been for the last three years (it’s acronym spells alas, without the extra “a” in it.). I’m not sure being home would have helped much. Our protagonist too was his caretaker.


I ‘loved’, as in felt affection, for that little guy – really all my child’s friends, for their individual ‘beauty’-not only for their outer vision of self (did I mention they are all very attractive), but for their inner sweetness, which shines when they’re least expecting it. 

May it be so they can more fully in tune with themselves – happy and jovial -without drinking or drugs, and good comes in spite of their friend’s demise.

Please pray for all our families’ healing.

If there were one thing I could say, will say to all of them it is this: What this young men meant to you is a reflection of your inner child.

As, waveform beings made of atoms and molecules and subject to each and every law of quantum physics, we are both ourselves individually and each’s reflection. We are energies of varying density.

We perceive with our lineage’s genetic receptor tools – then honed by our personal experiences.

If you love this man because of a quality you couldn’t/can’t be yourself (at home), please notice this. Take his gift of friendship to you as a glimpse or shard of your own inner gold. We are each here to grow.

Families will always have their dynamics, none is better, worse, right or wrong. They just know our weakness and buttons and love us in spite of them. No one else does though.

Healing from our family’s hu(e)-man imperfections. is what our life is about!

And may it be so our schools shift to more support inner health and well-being; they aren’t doing such a great job right now.

May G-d hold each and every one of us in the palm of His hand and may his soul rest in peace.



[“Coincidentally”, the day before we learned of this child’s situation, I had asked for a “new” story, but added, “Please one with a happy ending.” (I got the ‘story’ alright, but so far without the happiness).It is ironic but I’d almost finished writing “Care and feeding of one’s wave form of self” early that morning.

Additionally I’d posted on Facebook how we as a culture, have our hearts “locked in” after someone from stated ‘brains could not change’.

That afternoon my son told me he friend was found.



My “shocker” – older son last week, asked the universe to “open his heart” so he could feel more compassionate with his electrician’s school classmates (he has Uranus in his fifth house of fun and creativity- his sense of fun is triggered when he’s a bit shocking, and lol, Uranus “rules” electricity).

On the morning of notification of our friend’s overdose, “felt something big was going to happen”. With Pisces, sign of compassion on his 7th house of relationships, he seeks compassion with others. We’ve been on FaceTime conversing many hours since this all happened.


The “whiz”, once his very best friend who until recently loved sleeping in the same bed together (not for sexual but creature intimacy), was planning to work less this summer so he could “enjoy fresh air and sunshine”. He’s what could be described as an intensely ardent worker- not surprising with intense Scorpio and Pluto in and on his sixth house cusp- he loves to work.

As he recently returned from our protagonist’s bedside (and when the scan came back), bereft, I sent him this text:

“I’m so sorry. Very, very sorry to hear there’s no hope of recovery. 

Take care of yourself. Go extra slowly. If you can take leave- please do so. Let the feelings come to you. Talk or write them down. They will be easier to process- when defined. Go outside and sit with your eyes closed. Listen to the songs around you. 

I’m here with my phone- and so is Sam – both of us available to be a listening ear and shoulder to cry on. 

You are so loved.

This too shall pass.”

That, and the message our protagonist left him on his cell phone Monday night which sounded almost like a goodbye, ending with “I love you” three times, could be considered premonitions and synchronicities.

Perhaps this is advice we should be taking all the time.]

[1] They put her in an institution whenever they went on vacation; I can’t imagine those “shifts” would have been easy for any of them just before they went off to ‘enjoy’ themselves; vacations then are associated with “guilt”.

[2] If you’re reading this and I make you mad, well good – “WAKE UP” to your inner beautiful selves- instead of being chattel.

By Dr. Jen Wyman-Clemons, MD

Dr. Wyman-Clemons treats the body, mind, emotions as well as spiritual wellness using tools described by established teachers and authors and her own experiences as she experiences an ongoing sense of (loving) energetic intrusion (possession) since 2019. She has ~thirty years of clinical experience as an allergy and internal medicine physician (ABAI, ABIM) has completed requirements to practice as a yoga teacher, USUI Reiki Master, and astrologer.

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