I was 17 years old and I had watched a lot of porn on Xtube when I first discovered poppers. Usually during watching these encounters I had seen both the guys / girls inhaling something from a small bottle in their videos. I would also like hearing them edge each other on to continue sniffing poppers while they were having sex, encouraging others to have longer and harder sniffs.
It was 2012, when reddit was only used by nerds, before there was such a “poppers boom” outside of the gay community. Back then, poppers were still a small niche, mostly used by gay men for anal sex or taking big toys and absolutely unknown in the heteronormative, straight world.
I ordered some poppers online. I didn’t know any gay people doing poppers in the small town I grew up so I didn’t know anybody in real life who knew about it.
I read the risks and side effects online. I read that poppers are one of the safest drugs there are. They would be much safer than alcohol in comparison. Common side effects would include headaches and if you drink them you’d get methemoglobinemia, a serious emergency condition. They wouldn’t be physically addictive and the psychological addiction would just be disinterest in sex without poppers.
So I thought: “Doesn’t sound too dangerous. Let’s try”.
Shortly after I started huffing poppers for the first time back in 2012, I noticed severe health issues. I had chronic headaches, so strong I wasn’t able to study at all. As a high school student who had their last exams a few months later, this was an issue.
I also had a very loud ear ringing, or also called tinnitus, which I didn’t link to poppers usage until 2021 when I read a story from another guy who had this right after they started huffing poppers. On my left ear it is a dark humming, on my right ear a high pitched beeping. I wasn’t able to sleep, I’ve been to many doctors, to a neurologist and even did an MRI in 2013. The MRI didn’t show any tumours or any other diseases.
Not a single doctor was able to help me.
My high school degree was fucked, because I wasn’t able to concentrate.
My tinnitus is unchanged, even after 9 years.
But I didn’t sniff that much, honestly. Maybe one 9ml bottle per month.
My life sucked suddenly, I lacked motivation, I was suicidal due to the ear ringing especially, I had fatigue, however I thought it might be the lack of vitamin B12. This indeed can cause such issues. Poppers destroy your red blood cells and to produce them your body needs iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid. That’s why you should really supplement all of these three if you sniff poppers. Make a blood test with these things if in doubt.
I started university (in my country you can study a few majors with a bad high school degree). I usually slept during class, as I still lacked motivation and had strong fatigue. I was still huffing poppers, because I didn’t link my health issues to them. I didn’t manage to learn enough though;
I postponed some exams to the next semesters which I failed three times in the seventh semester finally and by this I dropped from university. Poppers made me dumb and unable to concentrate. I didn’t pass exams anymore. I dropped from university in 2016.
I stopped poppers in 2016 right after I had an overdose. My leg muscles became so weak I wasn’t able to hold my body anymore. I fell on the floor with my shoulders and it’s a big surprise I’m still alive. Had I fell on the radiator 10cm away from my head, I would have bled to death in my single apartment.
I told myself: This was it. I start a new life as long as I’m still able to. I threw all my poppers away. I was 21 and I changed everything in my life. I moved to my best friends’ flat and they supported me a lot and I still can’t put into words how thankful I am for their support. I was looking for new universities or colleges to start studying again, I also thought about an apprenticeship as universities seemed to be too complicated.
I tried studying again, but wasn’t able to. I didn’t understand simple stuff, wasn’t able to concentrate and my memorising skills sucked ass. At the age of 22, I finally found a partner for the first time in my life and moved in with her. I lost a lot of weight during my addiction, she helped me gaining weight and cooked for me. My depressions / withdrawals / anxiety were so strong, I didn’t do groceries, didn’t cook and couldn’t even make a toast or sandwich. My BMI was 16.
Years later, in 2018 I found a harm-reduction subreddit called ********* that gave you instructions on how to create your own poppers and discouraged buying store brought poppers as they said you can’t trust the manufacturers about which alkyl nitrite actually is in the bottle (you honestly don’t know if it’s pentyl, amyl, isobutyl or propyl).
The poppers you can buy tend to give you nasty side effects like annoying headaches or a weird feeling in your throat. It’s usually because the alkyl nitrite has degraded and broke down to alkyl nitrates, NOx and other stuff that you don’t want to sniff. That’s why you should never inhale just after opening the bottle. Especially not if you heard a hissing sound when opening it.
I started making my own poppers, professionally, with expensive equipment. It was not until 2021 that I realised my neurological issues were caused by poppers by googling for “poppers muscle twitching” and finding out that I was not the only person with these issues. I was also able to link many issues directly to poppers.
The ear-ringing / tinnitus I had in 2013, shortly after sniffing poppers, I didn’t link it to poppers until now. I also looked up my diary and read about my concentration issues back in 2013 and the assumption that poppers caused them. I was also able to link the tremors already that I had all the way back then. We assumed it would’ve been just the lack of vitamin B12 (that poppers caused in the first place). However, meanwhile I understood it’s not about the vitamins.
It’s 2021, I’m 26 and still wrecked, not even able to work half time.
I still suffer from a loud, annoying tinnitus, muscle twitching, I barely have any motivation, I mostly lie around and see days passing, still fatigue, still wasted every day.
I would have never done poppers had I known they can cause such severe neurological problems.
I didn’t do any hard drugs, I smoked pot here and there and drank a bit of alcohol at parties, but I never had any other drug addictions. The problem is that with not a lot of information online linking these issues together – it was only after I discovered this website that I was able to make the link between them and then more and more things fell into place.
Thank you for reading my story.