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My horrifying HPPD roller coaster ride


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Salutations everyone!

I want to start my story by clarifying some details about myself. I am a 27 yo male. Prior to my experience, I had a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder w/ co-morbid anxiety. I had issues with alcohol abuse for a couple of years. I found my life insufferably boring and empty. I craved a drink at the end of the day to spice up my evening and help with the negative emotions and thoughts. 

Okay, so about around 2014, a family member passed me a bong. I was anxious, but very curious and excited to pop my weed cherry. I took a massive rip and became very high. I just laughed and felt very euphoric, but quickly excused myself so I could sleep. The experience was very intense and made me slightly anxious. I became a regular smoker for the next six months. I also took mushrooms on several occasions during this time period. The trips were usually bad and the comedown was a great relief. Nothing I draw horrible memories from today. I also used about a gram of MDMA (it was in max 300 mg doses spaced about a month apart). I became very spacey and had trouble concentrating close to the end of my drug use. I was having trouble finding my way around town and in cities I thought I should have known my way around better. I had panic attacks a couple of times while driving. 

One night, I was feeling horribly depressed and anxious. I cried and crashed at my parents house. From this point, I stopped all psychedelic drug use. I began to notice my vision was off in a big way. 

-Visual snow 24/7, most noticeable in the dark

-After images (computer screens, car brake lights, ect) and tracers.

-Sensitivity to sunlight (not unbearable, but irritating)

-Blue pixels that flash in and out of existence when I push on my eyes or look as far down as my eye will in their sockets

-I will often notice something moving in my peripherals, and when I snap my glance at it, I will make get the strong impression that it's something it's not. (I see a plastic bag roll in the breeze and instantly think its a cat, but I know it's not a half second later. I will see a twig on the concrete in the evening and think it's moving slightly like a worm, but when I look hard enough, it's not.)

-Pressure in the front of my head (nothing too unbearable, mildly irritating at times)

-At night, I will lay in bed and see faint shapes of random stuff in the static-y darkness of my closed eyes. As I get closer to falling asleep, almost on the verge of falling asleep, I will hear my inner voice yapping and yapping incoherently or semi coherently.

-Numb feeling hands. Felt weird and uncomfortable when I would touch my face. THIS SYMPTOM HAS CLEARED UP RECENTLY. 

-Anxiety. It affects me in some amount, but seem to be getting better.

-My short term memory seems to be a little less effective. I sometimes walk somewhere in the house and forget what I was doing.

-I often read a sentence out of order. Certain words pop out and I read the wrong thing. 

-Feeling like my balance is weird. I felt like my foot steps were unsure. Like that feeling you get when standing on a high ledge. 

-Feeling very tired and unfocused at random times.

-Pure O OCD. Usually religious themed, then it morphed into existential themes. The thoughts hurt me greatly.

-Mild DP/DR? I sort of felt visually derealized, but my thoughts were strongly existential and hopeless.  

I jog everyday and eat very healthy and I think I am adapting to my condition fairly well. I'm always looking for new information to help me understand, and feel more sure of, myself. I think my symptoms are exacerbated by anxiety, but I am extremely worried that I have a cognitive condition, or that I might develop schizophrenia later on. I often feel that If I could just get an IQ test performed or a properly diagnosis of my condition, I would feel better and less anxious, but I digress.

So basically for half a year I used weed daily, sprinkled with shroom trips, MDMA rolls, then got really depressed and anxious. I want to say I'm glad this community exists and want to hear what everyone has to say. What are your thoughts on my condition? The most troubling aspect is the short term memory issue, but I recall that I might have had this issue before the drug use, but not so much. I seem hyper aware of my balance and hate the feeling of swaying and walking on hard floors. Is this HPPD? 

Thanks for reading!

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Sure sounds like HPPD to me. Also, you have lots of Depersonalization-Derealization symptoms, even some additional overlapping dissociative symptoms like fugue and amnesia. From what I gather all this crap falls under the same umbrella of brain damage proceeding psychedelic drug use. Your vision gets messed up, your memory gets messed up, your emotions get messed up (if they weren't already before) and yet there's nobody to tell you exactly what happened or whether you'll recover and so on. Sounds like you're doing all the right things though. You might want to see a therapist too. Also be sure and read the recovery stories of this forum to see what people did to get better, and perhaps google dissociative conditions to better familiarize yourself with how they work since it definitely sounds like you're in the DP-DR spectrum, just like a lot of people here. All you can do is try and live a healthy lifestyle and hope for the best. If you do, you give yourself a great chance at recovery, though it might take a while...

Edited by K.B.Fante
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Hi Lizord, and welcome.  I'm new here too.

Two of the symptoms you described are something I've experienced.  When I was younger I would see little bright purple dots appear and then vanish.  Second, I had real reading issues.  Shapes would form between the words that were very distracting.  The visual dots went away entirely and the reading issue is still an issue to some extent but I've learned to compensate.  Other than having hppd for a long time I'm no expert on the subject but I'd say those symptoms are indicative of hppd.  I agree with K.B., sobriety and a healthy lifestyle is good medicine.  I continued to use psychedelics for years after I had my first symptoms and now I'm stuck with it.

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I should add that I too see things that are other things.  About a month ago I was looking at the arm of a chair and there was a wasp sitting there flitting it's wings.  After a couple of seconds I realized that it was only a thread that the cat had pulled out of the arm of the chair.  It had twisted around into the rough shape of a wasp but I *saw* a living wasp.  If you're seeing twigs that look like worms ... then that's what I'm experiencing.  I've gotten used to it and even find it kind of amusing.

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  • 6 months later...

I know I'm a little late, but I have/had the exact same symptoms as you have. After about a year it has gotten a lot better concerning the anxiety/DP-DR aspects, so there definitely is

hope in an "almost" recovery. The only thing that hasn't gone away at all is the visual snow, which can be really annoying at times, but you'll get used to it. Anyway, I can say that my anxiety almost and my depression definitely went away. That may also be, because I'm studying at a uni now instead of going to school, but I can definitely say it has improved.

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i have a lot of the same symptoms you do, it sucks. i get the blue dots that vanish, i get the static that forms into shapes at night, i get the words in my head when i try to sleep, i get bad starbursts, i get the numb feeling in my hands all the time. light sensitivity and after images. i have everything, just not too bad, so it's manageable. i've been managing in my junior year pretty fine so far, i don't notice it too much in school, at night and at home is when i notice it the most


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