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The actual question is in the final paragraph, so if you aren't to keen on reading what has now become my entire life story, skip to there!

Alright, yous? Long time listener, first time caller. Firstly, I'd like to thank those of you who have been contributing to this forum frequently over the last few years. Whenever I've had a question about HPPD, a quick google search has usually turned up answers from people like Visual, jay, etc. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know that having this sort of easily accessible (albeit often anecdotal) information has been massively useful for me. I also know that for some people, engaging in discussion with a community of similarly afflicted individuals can act as a sort of therapy, but for me it's quite the opposite, my particular brand of HPPD seems most manageable when I ignore it, and otherwise engage myself. 

Just a bit of background, then. My HPPD originates from MDMA, or perhaps "MDMA" (is the Silk Road even still a thing, I wonder?). I only ever used drugs during the period of one year, and it was generally a mix of magic mushrooms and MDMA (once together, extraordinarily stupid in retrospect I know), though infrequently Cannabis, and once LSD. Throughout this year I had perhaps a slight increase in visual snow, but nothing that stood out to me as a warning sign. The last time I took drugs, it was a bad reaction to some fairly strong "MDMA". Nothing crazy, just like a 3 hour panic attack. After this, I came down and felt sort of dopey but fine. The next evening I was drinking some energy drinks (as I'm sure you can tell, regard for my body was at this point was evidently *nonexistent*), and then went to bed. Before going to sleep, maybe 3 AM, I suddenly feel like I'm coming up on MDMA, hard. Long story short, my heart is blasting in my chest, I'm seeing weird stuff, and I'm pretty much completely delirious. Ambulance is called, I get the condescending "this is why we don't do drugs, kids" speech, and then they leave. My heart is pounding for most of the next day, and over the next few weeks the visual snow, CEVs (and infrequent OEVs), and general sense of being "on something" don't really leave. Over the next few months I'm going mad trying to figure out what I've done to myself, Schizophrenia, MS, Parkinsons, etc? Throughout this time, I have this insane pressure in my head, and a weird burning sensation all down the back of my neck. This particular sensation has actually calmed down with time (onset of what I believe to be HPPD was almost 3 yrs ago). The next few years saw the OEVs fade away largely, and instead of fractal patterns, I mostly just see what sort of looks like arc lightning in my periphery at night, and the occasional burned out spot in my vision, as though I'd been staring at the sun. CEVs are infrequent these days, but visual snow, slight dopiness (I feel like I'm maybe 10% less intelligent now, though of course that's not possible to quantify), and some aural weirdness just before sleep, all persist. I also, in the last 2 years, have been having some killer headaches/migraines (I know some people think HPPD is linked to silent migraines, which I know some people also think is linked to a type of seizure activity). 

For the first two years, I had "episodes" that doctors were quick to categorize as panic attacks. They manifested as a sudden change in consciousness, as though I'd taken something at a large dose. Weird vision stuff also accompanied these, and a fairly intense shaking. My heart rate never increased, though, and there was never a definite trigger. Whether these genuinely were panic attacks, flashbacks, or some weird quirk of HPPD, I still don't know. Afterwards, I'd have what felt like a major hangover (though I do actually feel hungover constantly, nausea/hypersensitivity/vertigo/thefear/etc), and it could often last for a month or so. Luckily, I haven't had such a episode in over a year.  

I've also started to have weird chest/abdominal/stomach/intestinal pains. I've been worried about heart stuff, etc, but am assured by my doctor that these are the result of anxiety. I'm probably going to pony up for an echocardiogram at some point, just to be sure. My obsession with all of this health stuff, and my constant barrage of symptoms, have made my family and friends view me as a hypochondriac. I feel as though this might be unfair, as my situation is certainly quite unusual, but I'm also prepared to admit that anxiety and trauma like all of this can put you in a weird headspace, and I might not be objective in assessing my own reaction to these health problems. 

ANYWAY, HERE'S THE QUESTION: Socializing is a bit of a bitch without drinking. I've been more or less teetotal over the last 3 yrs, having maybe one or two beers total over this time. I know there have been many threads about alcohol on these boards, and over the years I have read them all. Some people's experiences vary wildly, and the self-reported nature of lots of them makes the information occasionally hard to parse. Would it be irresponsible for me to try and re-introduce light drinking back into my life? I'm talking like 2 Gin and Tonic's over the course of a night, max. From many reports on these boards, I would estimate that my HPPD is on the lighter end of the spectrum. I know it's possible to make it worse. Having said that, it's becoming frustrating not to be able to partake, even lightly. What do you think? 

Thanks for reading.

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