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Update- Life's Good.


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Hey all-

 

Thought I'd come back on for a hot sec to let you all know how things have been.

 

Brief synopsis of my tale (which of course, is quite similar to many of yours.)  I took LSD Aug 2011 and was hit full on with HPPD a couple months later.  Before and after I was smoking, drinking, with MDMA thrown in once every couple of months.  I'm 24 and female (one of the few, it seems!)

 

My visual symptoms are apparently minimal- I've got static snow, and things move and breath a bit (I like to sing "I'm on a boat, motherfucker!" to myself whenever I notice this, because it honest to God feels like I'm on a boat sometimes.)  My HPPD is more of the DR/DP/brain fog variety, or at least that's the half of it that hit me hardest/got me on this site in the first place.

 

As an update: I tried sobriety for a while (as in no drinking alcohol or caffeine), and definitely felt an improvement.  Better mood, less visuals, unless I was tired or stressed.  As I started feeling better, I started sneaking in a beer or two or even (gasp!) a cup of coffee, although the latter would get me feeling pretty darn weird.  

 

And then a couple weeks ago I 'went out'- I'm talking maybe three beers and a shot-- and it put me back a bit.  Stronger brain fog, and some oh so lovely experiences with sleep paralysis (talk about weird shit, but this site helped me deal: http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/sleep-paralysis.html  Last time it happened, I simply relaxed into it, wiggled my fingers, and it went away without anything scary happening).  So I fell off the sober band wagon, and am trying to get back on, but damn do I love my stouts and teas.

 

But anyway, despite the ups and downs with HPPD, I am doing a whole lot better.  For a couple of reasons, which I will list below.

 

1.) Hope and forgiveness.  This was really hard for me.  Whenever I would notice the HPPD, I would immediately start beating myself up.  "How could you take such risks?"  "You were so bright, and had such a promising future, and now you've ruined it." (Not to toot my own horn.)  I would get stuck in these beliefs for days, weeks, and months.  And then one day I said, fuck it.  And I decided that it just was.  In the same  way I have brown hair, or like to run, or am a certain age.  When I used, I was acting in accordance to who I was at the time- adventuresome, young, social, trusting- and my actions aligned and reflected that reality.  Accepting this as my current reality really helped, and other thoughts/beliefs started filtering in, such as, "If anyone can deal with this weird shit, it's me."  "A lot of people have had 100% improvement, and lived full awesome lives--why can't I?"

 

Also, I've taken the heaviness out of it.  This isn't a death sentence. I have no reason to give myself a worst case scenario diagnosis.  I saw something Rene wrote about just getting on with your life, and that is such sweet advice.  No one's telling you you'll suffer forever, just that you have to deal with it for now.  I do have hope for a full recovery- either naturally, or with some medical intervention--and in the meantime, I mean to live fully, which leads me to...

 

2.) Living fully.  When I first got HPPD, I kept going for a while.  But I was living a sort of a half life--foot half in, half out.  And living half-assedly reflected in how I felt about myself, and fed into the "You suck" type thinking.  

 

Now, while I'm far from where I'd 'like to be,' (pretty common phrase), I'm taking concrete steps towards the life I'd like to have.  That means pushing HPPD aside to just get on living.  I'm starting my own photography business, pursuing my hobbies (rock climbing and frisbee, to name two), investing in friends and really loving and feeding into them (and allowing them to do the same for me, even those who don't know these silly things my brain is currently doing.)  I'm ignoring it, and my quality of life is thus much higher.  I also take less crap- I've cut out people and activities that make me feel shitty.

 

3.)  Therapy.  Alright, you can all stop rolling your eyes.  I'm not talking about somebody holding your hand and asking you how you're feeling.  I'm talking about finding someone who really understands behavior & emotional intelligence.  The brilliant women I meet with has simply made life easier by helping with some basic stuff that wasn't a go even before HPPD.  

 

4.)  Work.  For a while I told myself, "You can't work like this!"  I used that as an excuse to avoid finding a job, apply ingfor graduate schools, for putting my life on hold.  But life doesn't wait, and it feels so much better to stay in it's current.  Have something you want to do/would do without HPPD- go to a certain school, live in a certain city, work a certain job--but are afraid you can't because of HPPD?  Do it anyway.  Live life while you work things out.  Of course, still pursue treatment options--and yes, give yourself whatever window you need to do that, to readjust lifestyle, whatever--but after you've caught your breath, get on with it!  I just backpacked for a full week, and enjoyed a few theme parties, and finished a couple of beautiful books, and have dated and taken classes and applied for stuff--and it feels much better than lying in a ball and practicing avoidance behaviors--sleep, tv, video games (even though I'm really bad gamer).  These things are really good breaks in moderation--IN MODERATION--but are not a way to live.  I keep thinking--if the DR/brain fog completely lifts, I want to wake up into a life I actually want to live.  Which feeds into itself, and makes the DR better (brain fog still sucks dick, but so it goes.  I got a job serving, and it's fine-it requires a hell of a lot of short term memory, but I can do a lot more than I thought.  From what I read on here--I think we/you're all a lot smarter than you think.)  

 

I think I got unlucky--that we all got a bit unlucky with the chemical russian roulette.  Doesn't mean life is over, and enough time has passed that I'm not the same person I was, I can't go back there.  Obviously, this advice isn't ground breaking.  But if you could have seen me a few months ago compared to now--I'm like a new person. 

 

Anyway, overall, I would say I'm on an upward trend.  Good days far outweigh bad, and especially when I'm well rested and fed, I can feel pretty dang normal.  Things creep back up when I'm stressed, or not sleeping well, or drink too much.  But I'm forcing myself to do things that scare me--like read and write, even though the short term memory trips me up.  Oh well!  Better to push it, and practice it, than ignore it.       

 

And as for relationships- for the people I'm around a lot, and who notice the spacey stuff past just joking about it--I've been able to simply share what's going on, and that takes some pressure off.  I still own it ("I'm sorry that me being spacey has affected you,")--but I don't own it as some integral part of my personality-- ("It's a symptom of this weird thing I have going on, and I find it annoying too.")

 

Anyway, keep up the good fight, everybody.  Thanks for the support, and start living!  Life is still a whole hell of a lot of fun, and surprising, when you're able to keep going, to keep going after it.  And yes, I do think we'll get better.  Think of all the good stories on here, or maybe even more importantly, all the people not on here.  I'm still weighing trying a couple of meds for a while, but haven't, simply because I do feel good, because my life is slowly starting to feel like my own again.

 

PS:  And I must add!  For all of my fellow HPPD ladies out there--I was able to realize that my DR/brain fog gets much, much worse right before my period (eh deal with it, men).  Noticing this pattern took a lot of the fear out of it.  It helped to acknowledge the link, and not take it as something more serious (it would suck to feel so much better, only to have things get super bad for seemingly no reason.)  Not sure if this is the case for others, but there it is.  Alright, that's all I got.    

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This is great to hear, albeit i have never known you before it still fills me with joy to see you are progressing towards the better side of life; the one free of HPPD.  I must say that when I read of your mind set change to knowing that your HPPD is not a death sentence and that you stopped beating yourself up I was ecstatic because mine never really started to dissipate until i entered the same mind set.  It can be a might heart ache when you begin to believe you can not live your life they way you imagined when young because of this plague of the mind we had.  When i got it, i felt the same way you did, i was intelligent enough to go to any university I wanted to go to, and i felt that was all gone because of hppd until i changed my mindset, then i began my career now and flew fucking faaar with it, even with HPPD (which i am now free of).  Just keep fighting that shit at every turn, when it gets you down, say fuck it and go harder, if it gives you anxiety, fight the anxiety and go do something out of your comfort zone, i found fighting this beast, honestly helps.

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  • 6 months later...

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