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ExitTheVoid
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New to posting so I figured I would share my experience (hopefully to provide a positive outlook to anyone who may be struggling). 

 

In March 2013 I went to Miami for a music festival with a group of friends, and purchased several caps of what we thought to be MDMA. After taking 20 mg of the powder (which following testing turned out to be methylone), I experienced a pretty severe panic attack that was well beyond any anxiety I had experienced during taking any drug before. To add context, I had run the gamut with drugs for the most part at this point, having tripped well over 60 times on pretty much all standard psychedelics (as well as a few research chemicals), as well as regularly smoking weed.

 

Following the weekend, I felt a very noticeable shift in my emotional state, as well as a new slew of strange visual symptoms and the overwhelming sensation that I was no longer in reality. I initially believed it must be some sort of neurochemical imbalance caused by taking the "molly" that would subside after a few days. Unfortunately this was not the case. I was unaware of HPPD at the time, and was not sure what to make of all the symptoms I was experiencing. Due to my ignorance of complicating factors, I continued my lifestyle (regularly smoking weed/taking various pscyhotropic substances) and my symptoms progressed. I was attending a competitive university at the time, and by the time finals rolled around I had largely stopped attending class, and my academic performance hit an all time low. Although I heavily considered leaving school, I managed to scrape through and make it to summer (albeit with a substantially lower GPA than I was used to). 

 

Throughout the summer I spent hours on hours crawling around the internet trying to self diagnose what was going on, convinced that any clinician would write me off as a permafried junkie, or the like. I fell into a deep depression, and often experienced severe anxiety that compromised my ability to work, interface with friends/family, etc. I essentially cut myself off from the outside world, riddled with guilt/self-pity that my psychonaut escapades had irreversibly damaged my brain, rendering me unable to live a normal life. However in August of that summer, I finally read about HPPD and given the stark number of similarities, instantly was sure that this was what I was experiencing. 

 

And so began a long trek to "recovery". I began seeing a therapist, and immediately quit smoking/taking other drugs (although admittedly I have had intermittent bouts of smoking pot since then). It took probably a 1.5 years to grow accustomed to the visual symptoms, but the depersonalization/derealization subsided after about 6 months of abstaining from drugs. Currently I still experience the visual symptoms, but they really don't bother me at this point (they have also decreased in intensity). My emotional state is much better, and although I still experience depression/anxiety on occasion, it is very manageable, and on the whole i consider myself to be happy. I was able to graduate school with a degree in Microbiology, and have started a career I am pretty happy with. 

 

My hope in sharing my experience is that although there doesn't seem to be a silver bullet as far as "curing" HPPD, you can still live a very meaningful/rewarding life. My advice probably falls in line with many others on the board, with my greatest strides coming from changing my lifestyle for the better (chilling on the drogas, exercising, finding new hobbies), as well as being able to talk about your experience with others. I really wish the best for anyone experiencing HPPD, and would be happy to chat with anyone going through a rough patch. 

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Encouraging stuff. So what symptoms do you still have? And how noticeable are they on a daily basis? 

 

I feel if I can just get to a point where I can enjoy life again that I'll be happy. But I need my symptoms to decrease enough to allow that to happen. I feel after seven months that I'm getting there, but it's still a long road to recovery. Once I can read and have long conversations without getting brain fog, I think I'll be pretty content. 

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As far as visual symptoms: the worst for me personally are floaters, but I also still have problems with snow, afterimages, and tracers. I initially had trouble reading, but that subsided after about a year. I would say its no so much of a matter of noticing it, as it is being troubled by it. They have pretty much been incorporated into what I consider to "normal", so it never really bothers me like it used to. 

 

Yeah its definitely a road to accepting it, but I'm sure you're on track. I would be willing to believe that there is a tremendous amount of diversity as to what actually causes HPPD, as well as how it manifests in each person, but I can say without a doubt that the human mind has an uncanny ability to adapt to any given situation, and as long as you're not taking any drugs you will be able to adjust. 

 

To me the the most troubling aspects were always the brain fog and DP/DR, and those luckily subsided after about a year, so stay on track and I'm sure things will get better!

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Thanks, really appreciate the advice. 

 

I totally agree about acceptance. I think part of the problem is I've never had any idea how long it would take to recover, so I just assumed it'd be a matter of months, perhaps a year at the very most. So over and over I kept telling myself I'd be recovered by a certain date and over and over I'd be devastated when that date came and passed and I wasn't where I wanted to be. Just recently I think I came to accept that I'm gonna have this for AT LEAST a year, and most likely much longer. I don't have a timetable for recovery. I've finally accepted who I am now and it's been a huge relief. I know I'll be better one day -- I just don't have any idea when that will be. But like I said, as long as I can get my brain fog under control I think I'll be alright. That's the thing that kills me most. 

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I have nothing special to do then try to improve more with running and walking and other sports taking some suppl and healty food i wanna first reach so much posible buth like all know it goes slow buth i am staying positive and i saw its realy working i am on a status where my visuals are olmost gone buth the psygocical aspect is the hardest that not so easy part of it even without hppd its still hard for everyone

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