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Quick story about my HPPD


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Hi, back in 93' I was 18. I took half a tab of LSD, Esctasy, then during the chill out after the rave, smoked a joint of strong weed.  Done this for a yr or two at previous raves never had issues. However this night was different. Mind started racing, it was like being sucked into a black hole.. I guess I had a major panic attack.. But more mind racing that heart pounding.. anyway, the next day, after i noticed that everything was different. As if i was still on a mild LSD trip.  Life went from excellent to being a very scared frightened kid who just messed up his head. Did nothing but think about it, had panic attacks, thought my life was basically over, and what an idiot i had been taking drugs. Symptoms included everything visual being off, colours being brighter, major anxiety, DP/DR Basically as if i was still tripping. It was as scary as hell.  Depression obviously set in.. this was no place for a young kid to be in.  Never had any history of mental health issues prior to this day.


Anyway stayed like this for at least one yr, however good news is I completely recovered. To the point that i never thought about it. Became a happier individual because of it. Life was from the rock bottom pits of hell, to being great again.  I think having a couple of new girlfriends back then, and getting dumped, helped bring me out of that DP/DR stage, and thinking about a girl instead.. Normal things right !!!!   After doting over a girl, i kinda forgot about the HPPD, DP/DR or should i say, I started ignoring it. and it went away. can't even tell you how long it took... But by the time I met my now wife in 95 is was a complete non-issue in my life... Perhaps i had symptoms of being a little impatient, more so that i had been prior to 93...  A little more quirks, my concentration levels were never the same but i just ACCEPTED that was the new me and that was that....


Even went on to be pretty successful. Moved to the US, started a business, had two kids, the whole nine yards.  Never ever really thought about what happened back in my earlier days.. But knew that i was never going to smoke weed again or ever take a mind altering drug.. Learnt my lesson..


So 20yrs went by... Life having mostly ups, and occasionally potenially serious downs.  (sick kid, nearly losing lots of money during the business slump)  But the stress levels were no more than say what any normal person would expect to be put thru.. Never associated it with any 'mental' disorder.


Yet last March in 2014... I got into an situation, that put me under a lot of stress, and though this was still much less than previous incidents in my life.. But this incident caused me to lose lots of sleep.. and i kinda just broke down.... I immediately went into a sort of mental breakdown. Immediately associated it with what happened back in 93.  I knew straight away i was back in deep crap. Immediately started analyzing colors depth / perception, and yep everything looked trippy. Again triggered major anxiety, and well this is where i've since been for the entire yr... The first three months were absolutely horrible. Then it sort of got better, then worse again.. I'd say today i think about it for 80% of the day.  Sometimes all day.. If I'm lucky and am otherwise pre-occupied, then i can get it down to 50%


Though I've calmed down my anxiety levels are sorta normal again ish, and i'm able to sleep again.. Though its always broken. as in wake a few times a night. I still feel very trippy / spaced out, analyzing all my colors... It unfortunately triggers anxiety and way way too much thinking about it again..  It's was if all of a sudden i was completely unable to accept my mental state. Well i'm sure if you're on this site, you know where i'm coming from...


I even have a bit of a phobia against colors..   Certain colors trigger uncomfortableness in me.  I'm basically suffering from some bizzare completely irrational fears. 


Complex patterns seem trippy. Like looking at concrete floors.. Seems confusing. However i do not have any of traces or the breathing of objects, that i remember from taking LSD.


Earlier this yr, i said enough was enough, and though i expected to recover on my own, (like i previously did on my own strong will) i've not.. so i went to a mental health clinic, who told me i was suffering from PTSD,   which is probably incorrect.   I don't know if i have mild HPPD, (a version without the traces, or breathing of objects) or just DP/DR or just anxiety, with a splash of HPPD or DP/DR thrown in for good measure... What is certain, is whatever i have is making my perception think things are not looking real, or trippy.  That is for certain. Dunno, if i just didn't take any notice before my recent March14 incident, and now that i am its making it 99% worse than it needs to be ! even looking at this screen it looks a little off.. contrasts and so on.


For the last month i've been taking zololoft, but seriously thinking about coming off it.. It's done nothing with things not looking trippy. All its done is kill my sex life and perhaps made me a little calmer. Hard to tell on the calmer.


The only thing that makes it go away, is socializing, doing something interesting, like working on a car, and keeping myself occupied.. Then it literally goes away !!!   I excercise like crazy and eat good too now. I wish i had better control of my subconcious, however this is controlling me.  I keep telling myself i'll get better, but things look as trippy to me, the day i went off the rails in March last yr.


I want to get back to enjoying life, being a great dad, loving husband, and not someone who's fighting mental illness. All cos i was a stupid kid who played with LSD / Ecstasy and weed.


I'm not even sure if my HPPD ever went away, and its just that i completely accepted it and in doing that it was a complete non-issue in my life. I guess i did struggle when reading certain fonts (new times roman as an example) and what not. Probably didn't like being under flourescant lights... Again, nothing more but a few quirks here and there.  


If anyone has any advice, i'd appreciate it...  I am set to see a phsychiatrist in a few weeks, but is there really anything they can do ?  I am as you can see fully functioning.. Just functioning in a bit of a freaked out mode..  Even been telling myself everyday, all these visual perceptions are all harmless and just accept.. However i am stuck in that cycle.    Just keep telling myself, been thru that, and got better last time, and the same will happen again.  guess i'm scared it won't    :(

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Hi, I think your last sentence is basically the right mindset to get into. Your body/mind clearly can get past this. Try to clear as much stress from your life as possible and just dive into anything that distracts you from this. Basically, use the same tactics as you did before.


I would get off the meds. Maybe have a few Klonopins around for any events that cause undue stress though. If you do want to carry on down the med route, maybe ask about Keppra or Lamicatal.


Good luck, Jay

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The hardest part for me is all the visual analyzing..  It's probably 90% habit now.  Had i not been experiencing visual/perception alteration, i'd of recovered by now... Its as if something inside my head switched on and will not switch back, from that moment i went looking for visual perception change, during my inital panic.  I've not taken any mind alterating drugs since 93' so i do wonder if i'm just making it all up. I'm pretty sure i am making a lot of it up... Like freaking myself out over things that do not even exist. The mind racing kind of freaking out.. Problem is i do not know what now looks real or not. I no longer trust my vision to tell me if something is trippy or not.   Maybe its just DP/DR an offshoot of anxiety.  They do say, your world may not feel or look real ? The whole March14 anxiety thing definitely did trigger major anxiety last yr..  Given the fact I've taken LSD many yrs ago, i unfortunately know what visuals to look out for and was unfortunately able to correlate the two together..  Thus telling myself i'm on a bad trip. 


As from today I'm tapering off the Zololoft.. I only took half a pill this morning.  I think its improved my mood, but done nothing for my perception of colors, or dimensions.


Looking at a computer screen all day long doesn't help... Now i trigger those thoughts every time i look at a TV screen and an iPhone screen.. At least 80% of the time....  


Its at the forefront of my subconcious thoughts.  Maybe the visual changes were always there ever since 93, but just so far back in my subconcious mind, that it didn't raise any awareness.  I really really hope i get back to that place... Life was good !

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