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Today marks a year, what I have learned


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So today (approx.) marks a year of me having hppd, This forum was a great help to me when I first got HPPD, knowing that I was not alone, so I'd thought I'd share my experience, the good and the bad and what I've learned in the hope of helping others. tl;dr hppd sucks but it can be managed.

 

How it started

I still remember the night that this all started a year ago; it was a night out on the town and we'd all agreed beforehand to drop mdma. The night was nothing special and mostly consisted of smoking cigs outside, gurning and long chats. Afterwards we went back to a friends and proceeded to do a few lines of ketamine. We then pulled out the cracker and started doing NOS balloons (for those who haven't tried these, they are trippy as FUCK on mdma).

 

Anyway I experienced especially trippy times on the NOS balloons this time, and one of them stands out in my memory. I could see two black lines that started off to my left and right and then converged closer to me forming a sort of triangle outline. I then saw blue electricity strands start travelling up these lines, but when they got to the convergence point, the triangle rotated and the tip bent inwards, and then started producing red electricity. For some reason this overlap of the lines was bad and I actually experienced pain, a sort of burning sensation. Then I came out of the trip.

 

Afterwards I did more balloons because I'm an idiot and thought nothing of it. Later I went to sleep with patches of my vision vibrating in different colours and of course I attributed this to the drugs. When I woke up I found the visuals were still with me, which was a first, and from then on the visuals have been with me ever since. 

 

Analysis of why I got HPPD

I think there is a couple of reasons:

 

Firstly I am not a big drug user, everyone around me does more drugs that me, but I believe I may be more susceptible to hppd genetically. When I am hungover after a night of drinking, I experience level 4 closed eye hallucinations, which according to wikipedia "only a small percentage of the population does this without psychedelic drugs, meditation or extensive visualization training". When I close my eyes I see people dancing in the club with full depth perception, it is not in colour but in 'black and white' (basically the colours/shades you usually see when your eyes are closed). Now I have hppd, when I close my eyes to sleep I can follow the dots and they slowly turn into objects/patterns. If I then follow the objects they get more and more real until it is as if my eyes are open.

 

Secondly I pushed the NOS balloons too far, as on mdma it's easy to feel invincible. I've taken drugs since but I'm always carefully now to 1. not mix, and 2. stay away from balloons. 

 

Third my vision has never been great (I wear lenses) so maybe this is related.

 

My description of HPPD

I see it as a grid of white dot overlaid on everything in my vision, that constantly flicker in and out, so during the daytime I don't get too affected by it, but at night it becomes a lot more prominent which can make sleeping difficult. I also get after images If I stare at something then look away.

 

What makes it worse

  1. Thinking about it: sometimes I'll be staring off into space thinking about something, and realise I'm seeing flickering on the wall I am looking at. Then I'll think 'fucking hppd...' and because I've turned my attention to it it gets worse. When I say gets worse, i mean the flickering increases or I become more self aware of it or something. This in turn makes me anxious (think that sinking feeling in your stomach) which can spiral into depression if I don't force myself to do something else.
  2. Wearing contact lenses: I always wear contacts but recently got a backup pair of glasses which I now wear round the house. To my surprise the hppd seems to be reduced. I think this is related distance between eye and lense, and that I can see the rims of the glasses in my periphery. I think this all adds up to the brains vision system being more forgiving about seeing visual abnormalities and so ignores them.
  3. Coffee: I used to work a 9-5 job on the computer all day, and decided one day to have a coffee in the morning to perk myself up. Cue increased visual disturbances in my periphery, and even worse the words on my screen started jittering up and down. When you're sat in an open plan office with people all around you working quietly, it is seriously a horrible situation to be in and have to continue acting like everything is normal. I now realise that caffeine excites the dots in my vision, and that the brains pattern matching abilities were joining the dots to the letters on the screen and coming to the conclusion that they were moving/vibrating.
  4. Weed/coke/mdma/nos: yes I have done all these drugs since and yes it probably wasn't a good idea. But I have learned that they make my visuals worse only for a couple of days after (in line with the come down period). After a week I go back to pre-drug visual noise.

 

What makes it better

  • Thinking about the brain as hardware: the human brain is the most complex system in the known universe, but at the end of the day it is still just that, a system. and like a computer system parts can become faulty. Whilst my visual system is now at fault, it helps me to think that that is an isolated piece of the system, and that the other parts of my brain are still working fine. There are other people in the world who have it worse and are blind and so on, so perspective helps me get over it and realise it's not debilitating and I can still lead a good life.
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  • Meditation: many may think of this as bullshit religious voodoo, but let me tell you meditation is one thing they got right. I starting meditating about a year before I got hppd as an experiment (I often do these weird things out of curiosity, and I liked the idea of having better 'control of my mind'). I found that after closing my eyes for 20-30min trying to think of nothing, I always came out of the session feeling a lot calmer. 2 years later and I can now isolate thoughts and throw them away if they are garbage, which I'm not gonna lie is a pretty useful tool to have. In the context of hppd when I see the visuals it is very easy to spiral into anxiety/depression, but now I can stop the thought in it's tracks from running it's course and just let it go, returning my attention to my work.
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  • To extend upon this. After a 20-30min session of meditation I feel like I have a sort of barrier between my thoughts and feelings. Meaning any random thoughts that would cause me to feel anxious or shitty about my life just fade away without causing me any bad feelings. It's fucking great and I would highly recommend. 
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  • I will often meditate at night before going to sleep, and find that it makes my visual noise better too. At the start of the session I often see very fast flashes of light all over the place, but as I meditate and 'slow' my brain the visuals also slow down. Sometimes I can even achieve full stoppage for a while which is like I'm pre-hppd again. Through meditation I've learned that the speed of the visual flicker is related to my stress levels; when I meditate after a long day at work I find the flashing visuals on the back of the eyelids are going crazy, but then they slow wayy down when I effectively 'stop thinking' and rest. 

 

Fasting

I tried a 5 day water fast as an experiment to 'heal my brain'. The visuals actually got a bit worse during, although it's possible I was going through a 'healing crisis', a term fasters use to describe how you often feel worse before you get better as the body fights off a problem.

 

I read somewhere that someone found that intermittent fasting cured their hppd. Well I've been IF'ing for nearly a year now (only eat between 12pm and 8pm, then fast for 16hr) for healthier lifestyle reasons but I've personally never found it made a difference in my hppd.

 

10 day water fast: Perhaps if I went on longer my brain would have healed, it's difficult to tell with something as complex as the human body. It's possible that during my fast my body was concentrating on other problems and didn't get round to my brain. The only way to know for sure is to go on a longer fast, but damnit fasting is hard..

 

Eye doctor

I decided to get a full eye check-up done when I realised the visuals weren't going to go away. They put me through a bunch of machines, and gave me a clear bill of health at the end. So go figure I guess, at least I proved it was neurological?

 

Derealisation/depersonalisation

I did have these problems to begin with, but staying away from drugs for a while and meditating calmed me down and these days I just see hppd as an annoyance, but I do feel real so I'll count my blessing there.

 

Paranoia

I'll often feel some stupid paranoia, like if I close my eyes with my room door open, I won't be able to stop thinking 'are you sure no-ones going to sneak in on you? are you sure? are you SURE?' until I have to open my eyes and get up/close the door. These are usually worse in the week after taking stuff at the weekend (mainly coke tbh), and again I use meditation to regain control of that part of the brain that just wants to spend it's day fucking with you.

 

Future worries

I never saw a proper doctor about this problem. I admit the idea scares me having a medical professional thinking of me as a piece of shit druggy. Are there any members from the UK here who have gone to doctors? I would love to hear any experiences you've had, even if at the end of the day the shitty NHS couldn't do anything. Also I'm currently in my 20's, and was wondering if anyone else here is too, and how long they've had their hppd last?

 

Thanks all for reading, hopefully my experiences can help out others.

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Thanks for that account.

So if I'm reading this correctly, you oy get intense CEVs after a night of drinking? Or do you have them every night? Do you take any medications?

I take no meds. To clarify I get intense CEVs when:

  • I am hungover from a night of drinking: I got these before the hppd too. Now though the hppd flicker I get combines with the images, and freakily makes the people I see transform their face every flicker - and usually it goes a bit nightmarish with them turning into demons/monsters.
  • The hppd is a series of dots for me, but if I concentrate on them at any time the brain slowly starts forming patterns out of the dots and I see spiraling shapes or people too. This happens more at night as I'm lying there closed eyes effectively 'forced' to look at the visual snow, whereas in the day time I am doing work/things.
  • An example from last night, I was trying to sleep with the dots flickering, and then a cluster of them turned into the back of 100s of chopped down wooden logs that a logger was somehow carrying on his right shoulder, and then he ran down the road with them tumbling off his shoulder off onto the roadside. Because of the hppd flicker the images I see are always a bit dramatic and fast moving.

 

I swear the majority of the people on the forum gained HPPD when they went to sleep while the visuals still happened.... It happened to me too

 

In fairness I always have visuals from drug use when I go to sleep. I've stayed awake a couple of times before experiencing the comedown hour by hour, and I'd say that I start off with 4 patches of colour in my vision (like a graph with 4 quadrants) and then as time goes off those quads sub-divide and get smaller, until eventually the squares are so small they dissappear from vision. Only now I have hppd it's like the stopped getting smaller right at the end and I'm just left with lots of tiny flickering squares.

 

As an offside, I also decided to buy lions mane mushroom capsules today off amazon, as I've been reading it can re-generate nerves and some hppd sufferers have found it to be a cure. So here's hoping.

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I am hungover from a night of drinking: I got these before the hppd too. Now though the hppd flicker I get combines with the images, and freakily makes the people I see transform their face every flicker - and usually it goes a bit nightmarish with them turning into demons/monsters.

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nice post! i agree with pretty much everything.

 

meditation, I have the same results! im gonna link this on my post. I also reccomend yoga. increased brain blood flow. excersize. flexibility. physical health.

 

I like "thinking of my brain as a hardware" and the perspective stuff. so true. that helped me alot. Like my dad is colorblind and I realized how lucky I am to see in color. 

Also, people have AIDS and cancer. so this pales in comparison. 

 

quality sleep is soo important. 

 

 

 

Havent tried fasting yet. Gotta give that one a go. seems hard :P. test willpower.

 

Im also gonna go vegan and see how awesome that makes me feel :P

 

 

anyways. probly the best post ive ever seen on this website(opinion). ! 

 

thanks dude. 

 

i pasted ur post on my post http://hppdonline.com/index.php?/topic/4592-mental-illness-no-more-hppd-yes/#entry28444

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@mycall81

So you get them every night?? Yes, if I am tired or concentrate on them they get more intense.

No mater if you are sober? Yes, but when I am hungover they are always definitely there when I close my eyes.

What caused your HPPD? Read the main post I go over this.

Do you still smoke pot or anything else? I have done and as I said in the main post, it makes the visual snow a bit worse for a couple of days (relative to amount smoked).

 

@LethargicAcid

Thanks for the comment. I do find exercise helps too and actually recently read somewhere they've discovered the body's lymphatic system extends to the brain, which can be made more efficient (get rid of headaches and so on) by doing yoga/stretching.

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UK doctors are shit, I wouldn't even bother mate.

 

Will have to try meditation. Think my hardware is fully fried though..... I'd far rather have cancer/aids/be blind

 

Definitely give meditation a go jay,its literally the one thing that keeps me stable and moving forward in life.Stick with it for a while and it should help greatly,it can take a while for your brain to adapt to a meditative state.

 

One thing to be aware of though is that meditation can increase pineal gland activity and Im aware that your condition is relatively severe so I would encourage you to look into "grounding" techniques to accompany your meditation practice if you decide to start(in reality everyone should but especially those who are already sensitive in that regard).I'm not sure of your beliefs or perspective on the matter but a big factor with HPPD is what is eseentially an overtly expanded conciousness.Lots of people who have tried psychedelics or meditated have experienced this state of "oneness" with the universe but the issue with people like us is that we never fully came back,we are perpetually swimming in a sea of universal expanivesness with a lack of tether to reality or our bodies,thus the feelings of depersonalization,disconnection,anxiety,etc.Grounding is the practice of bringing that consciousness back into the physical plane of reality,just like how a electrical circuit needs a grounding channel otherwise it overloads and dosent have a proper conducting pathway,does that make sense?

,

This stuff may seem really esoteric and conceptually it just sounds like a bunch of new age jargon but I am confident that if people investigate these avenues of healing they can have some pretty profound breakthroughs.Even fifteen years later I think you may just surprise yourself,take care man.

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