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Having HPPD is fine with me!


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I happened to come across this forum only after encountering a DP/DR forum when I Googled "I always see visual tracers" and there was a topic there that was at the top of the page. I never knew there was a term or acronym for what I've mostly always had even long before I ever did any drugs. I'm sure the tracers and ghosting (or whatever else I have yet to find the terms for) didn't start until after taking LSD but floaters, visual snow, and after images are things I've known about since before I was around 10 years old. Hell, I'm the one who diagnosed myself at that time that I needed glasses while performing the experiment where I'd separate my vision by holding my hand flat vertically right between them over my nose and closing each eye at some point and comparing the two images. I also did things like while bathing try to keep my eyes still without blinking for as long as possible which would turn the walls of the white bathroom red and almost make everything seem to vanish. I wonder if the nitrous-oxide that I was given when I was 5 before a surgery had something to do with it because that was the most trippy experience (auditory and visually) I've ever had until I finally dropped acid at the age of 19.


Now back to the main topic: I'm now 34 years old and I didn't notice anything really weird until about a few years ago. Either I was sitting in traffic right before an intersection or I happened to test my windshield wipers. Either way I noticed a number of shadows that would seem to follow either the cars or the wiper blades if I were to try to keep my eyes forward and still without following any one thing. My initial conclusion (and probably the correct one) was that the LSD I had in the past had finally caught up with me. I have yet to have a re-trip despite how often I crack my back but these visuals are almost just as nice.


How can I be okay with all of this? It's probably because of my perspective on life and the world and how I've always known that it's not always best to trust your eyes. Even IQ tests usually include the diagram of 2 lines and then the question of which one is longer.  A smart person won't exactly see which line is longer but through experience they should know that the answer is typically whichever one looks shorter to the naked eye. There are many many ways to fool the human eye and one of my favorites is to use a strobe light in a dark room to make a ceiling fan appear to stop or move in the opposite direction. I also still wear glasses and they have a habit of reflecting light or images in odd ways so I never jump to conclusions when I see something weird in the corner of my vision.


I actually appreciate the tracers, ghosting, or trailing for it seems to help me distinguish moving from non-moving objects and if they happen to be coming towards my direction. It's saved me a few times from entering intersections where I would have been t-boned on the driver's side because people don't care about red lights. I'm actually interested in getting back into sports to see if that plus my awesome hand-eye coordination will make it obvious that I have an almost unfair advantage. I've already realized how easy it is to turn off the visuals when needed which is easier than it is for me to stop staring at my numerous floaters.


What I cannot seem to do yet is improve the vision in my right eye despite the fact it's technically clearer in that eye. My visual field has always been more more like 60% from the left eye and 40% from the right even though my left eye is very near sighted while the right is almost perfect (it used to be farsighted and kind of near sighted at the same time when I was first wearing glasses which were bifocals). I can almost see fine without my current normal frame-less pair of glasses but I lack depth perception especially at night if I try. I cannot wait to see what the eye doctor says when I tell him I only need lasik done on the left eye! Now that I know the term for visual snow I can hopefully easily explain that is the reason for the vision in my right eye to actually be weaker than my "bad" eye. 


I'm sure I've always seen visual snow because I remember how hard it used to be for me to fall asleep because when I close my eyes the visual snow is what would create images based on either what I was thinking about or from my subconscious and would sometimes lead into my dreams. Even at a young age I could lie there and be able to either see images from earlier in the day all jumbled together layer upon layer within the snow or envision what I should be able to see if my eyes were open like my hands. I've also always had a problem with deep thoughts if you haven't already noticed by now and not being able to fall asleep was my biggest fear back then after figuring out how to wake from nightmares which caused them to cease altogether. Nowadays I just try to wear myself out in some fashion and usually smoking pot earlier and eating a good meal works just fine if nothing else is available.


All my life I've also had to deal with ptosis which in most cases is when one eyelid seems to hang lower than the other (I only know that term through my own research no thanks to ignorant doctors). In my case it doesn't cause too much trouble, (other than for the bullying I received), because it didn't keep the retina covered and was open enough for me to see just fine. In other cases if surgery is needed because it does cover the eye too much there is usually an improvement but it's never a perfect job. It also has to be connected to my Marcus Gunn Jaw Winking Syndrome, (another term I found myself), which is where my right eyelid will move up or down if I extend my jaw wide open or clench my teeth. Having to eat in front of strangers makes me anxious otherwise it's hard to make me feel nervous and most people probably don't notice the ptosis unless I point it out or let my eyes do something funny when I'm drinking from a glass or milk carton. (Getting high can at times finally lower my left eyelid and finally make me look "normal" which is easy because my eyes rarely turn red).


Honestly the doctors never knew what to think of me and I know this only because they had placed me in with the special needs children for preschool but that's probably because of a stuttering problem that I have only myself to blame. I vividly remember seeing the 80's Motormouth guy, John Moschitta, Jr., on Sesame Street speeding off the alphabet and other stuff and I wanted to talk like him. This was months before preschool and I couldn't quite talk as fast and I stuttered when I tried but I think it is also because everyone always had made me feel so anxious. It wasn't until I was in high school, long after I stopped talking to speech therapists and counselors, when I finally realized how to stop myself from trying to speak so fast and just let the words come out but it still happens to me on the phone especially at the end of a conversation and "you're welcome" is just so damn hard for me to say unless I'm relaxed enough. I only stayed in that class for half a year because they eventually realized that my weird eye and stuttering didn't mean I was retarded even though that's what they were afraid of being the case.


I suppose back then I got the idea that normal is boring because I so wanted to be back in the class and I had no idea why they had moved me at first. Of course that didn't stop kids from insinuating that I was retarded with the manner in which they made fun of me but that didn't start until 2nd or 3rd grade. Which is weird because this was at first in a different country while my dad was in the Air Force but had kids I had grown up with known about my preschool experience I'm sure they would've teased me to death in high school. I guess that's a good thing about moving every few years but being the new guy always stacks the deck against you no matter how optimistic you are.


Of course none of this has anything to do with HPPD but this was around the time when I did have a little issue with keeping tubes in my eardrums to allow them to drain. When I got the first set that is when they used the mask on me which seemed fun at first until I breathed it in and I didn't feel so good. Tripping at 4 or 5 years old wasn't so great with how the room moved back and forth along with the mirroring tracers and the hospital staff's voices becomingechoed with a repetitive sound that appeared electronic in nature. I was adamant that I got an IV the next time after the first set of tubes fell out a few months later during a trip to the pool. That was such a more lovely experience despite the prick in the arm but to this day if I smell anything like laughing gas I will feel weak and almost want to throw up. I didn't realize that "the mask" was laughing gas until I was 12 when they had to go back in and finally remove the 2nd set that had stayed in waaaaay too long. Just like the first time I woke up halfway during the procedure and the doctors denied it.


Thanks to my eidetic memory I just made that connection with the NO2 while typing this all out. That's how I know so many details from as far back as when I was at least 2 or 3 years old. My brain is like a sponge and it takes me more effort to forget things so I try to ignore as much as I can when necessary. I'm possibly autistic in some regard but functional enough to appear mostly social and empathetic unlike Sheldon Cooper. I am terrible with names but I'm great with faces, voices, random facts, and sometimes smells.


Anyhow, visually my only problem that I can recall being first would be the floaters that were very minor back then. I didn't smoke weed until after I graduated from high school and the only thing that weed did to me visually was give me more floaters and make my eyes dry. While I had a great little trip on LSD a couple months before my 19th birthday I didn't really trip hard until I was 21 after I was out of the Air Force. That was helluva summer when my friend and I had purchased from a friend who had just returned from Oregon with whole vials of LSD. We bought a mint dropper from her that was filled full because there had to have been more than 100 drops unlike the 100 we paid $1 each for. We only did it on the weekend but when you do it 2 or 3 days in a row you have to take twice as much each day and we got up to 16 at one point. During some other time we had done Ecstasy and another time 'shrooms but I had always been able to come down even with the help of weed and I never had a bad trip.


Now whether or not I've had these visuals the whole time and I just never noticed them or this symptom is more new I may never be too certain of but with how HPPD seems to work anything is possible. Thinking of how HPPD and even DP/DR works reminds me of the movie Inception and how something as simple as an idea can lead to bigger problems. It's almost like the debate over what came first; the chicken or the egg, but all that matters is now that you've noticed it what do you do or think about it. Here I was thinking I was going to be single again forever and that was the main reason for my depression along with my job but what I didn't realize is that to get out of my funk I just needed to finally make a drastic change.


My road to recovery involves me finally going to college and hopefully figuring out a better career path but I'll stay in for as long as I need to if getting a master's or doctorate makes sense. I may be really good at catching fish with a fish net in a pet store and helping people figure out why they killed their pets but Abilene and the store I work for sucks. I'll rather get back into music or theater or even try writing but if I can get off my butt I could even pull off being on almost any sports team. There's no way I could do all of that at once so I'm not sure what's going to happen but that's the best thing about giving away my privacy and leaving the rat race. It should be fun for the time being until either the job market improves or I finally go viral somehow and infect others with my ideas that may change the world for the better. I still cannot help but feel that what I can see visually can be used as a blessing and enhance my life in some way.


I apologize for the long read but I at least group the points with paragraphs unlike some people and I cannot help but to think like a novelist.






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Unfortunately for most of us here, the visuals are just the tip of the iceberg.


I had what I would refer to as pre-hppd, something I think you have, where I had visuals and a bit of anxiety because of it, but I could easily enough ignore it. I then got full blown hppd, it is just not something that can be combated with a positive outlook and cognitive therapy techniques (though I agree that anxiety loops can make the condition worse).


It is very hard to describe how mentally and physically ill this can make you feel if you progress with drugs after the initial visual problems. I still have a good, positive outlook on life... I can switch off anxiety loops fairly easily and can generally act like a normal member of society.... but inside, I have an illness that feels like like I have ingested lsd and poison at the same time. There is no switching that off.

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Although this really really bugs me. It's a good thing I have a good head on my shoulders for if I was having a hard time figuring if I was crazy I'm sure this could have been the nail in the coffin. If it's really this hard for me to get my point across then maybe I'm more autistic than I thought! I proof read the best I can but I suppose I could have left out some words.  :(


I'm sure I really did not describe each and every one of my symptoms for I knew that what I write gets very long usually and I pretty much just stopped where I did. I did have to stop to finally watch The Daily Show after all!


I could only wish I just had a little anxiety but I'm good at avoiding certain situations!  :P


I pepper each of my responses to other people's topics with more tidbits about myself so maybe you'll understand me someday.

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You're welcome here and you will find some good people on the board.


I think the title of your article could be worded a little better though. That, coupled with a long article that people will naturally skim read, will lead them to summarise that hppd is almost a trick of the mind that can be ignored.


It's a bit like telling someone with depression to snap out of it.... It is too simplistic and doesn't take into account the varying levels of the illness.


That said, I am in agreement that certain parts of our illness can be diminshed with positive thinking, putting the self blame/loathing behind us and saying a big f*** you to those anxiety loops that will try and amplify the condition.


all the best, Jay

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Sorry, I never got to the more physical problems that aren't so easy to ignore. I got this notion from the people at the DP selfhelp site that DP/DR was more physical while HPPD is solely visual. I got the feeling that they were trying to talk me out of thinking that I belong. Somehow though I can identify with every story about HPPD and even DP/DR so it's safe to assume while I'm new to describing what I've been going through I am not new to any of the symptoms.

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