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It took me a year for this...


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Hello. Wow this feels weird. I never thought it would come to this but I've finally made an account on this site of which I have been browsing for just under a year. Now I am at the point where I am sharing my personal story to the public. yikes. 

I think the main reason I created an account on here was not because of the HPPD symptoms in itself (as the more I ignore I think the less obsessive and anxiety is associated with symptoms) but because of the loneliness of dealing with it. I have talked to doctors who have never heard of this and refuse to believe it and brush it off as anxiety prescribing me cocktails of anti-depressants (you know the usual thing that HPPDers go through at first) and family (one of my parents)  who thinks that the internet is crazy with lots of wild theories to come up with illnesses, evil people, and nothing good from it. I beg to differ on that matter so we do not see eye to eye. So I've reached out on here looking not for a magic piece of advice from someone but just support and people to talk to that are going through the same things as I. 

Anyway let's get started as this is a long story in itself. 

I am 20 years old. When the Hppd started it had been just a month after of turning 19. Before this I was a heavy user of marijuana for about a year and a half. AND Before this I used no drugs nor alcohol. I was bright in school but socializing was never my strong suit. I suffered from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) from a very young age (unfortunately I don't know the exact year of diagnosis), an eating disorder at 11-years-old, anxiety, and depression around the same time. From 10-years-old I have almost always been on medication so this idea that some people have a predisposition to HPPD does not seem that far-fetched for a guy like me.

The first time I noticed something was definitely wrong (the HPPD symptoms) was after doing a mushroom trip for the second time. I started getting strong after images, visual snow, and I received double vision in the background (whenever I focused on something). I wasn't too worried at the time as I recieved these same alterations in my perception the first time doing mushrooms. Just going to note that the amount was very small and I actually did not feel at all silly or get a "high" from it which was actually really disappointing considering what I have now I would consider a whole change in my mental and visual state. Flash forward to the next day, when out of the blue ironically while doing meditation, my heart starts pounding and the after images get worse. They had actually died down the day I did mushrooms (that is after the effect you could say "wore off"). But now they were very bad. I was getting bad anxiety from the heart beating that I decided to get my heart tested as I felt it was beating really fast. 

Flash forward about 5 days later when I'm at the hospital getting my pulse checked. It was 90 bpm which is normal. They said its anxiety you should go back on an anti-depressant that you went off 2 weeks ago. Awesome, I was doing so great, went off an anti-depressant, took mushrooms and now I'm even worse off then when I first wanted to go on the medication. So I was really upset and frustrated with the docs and at myself. 

Before doing the mushroom trip I had researched a lot about what great things it could do for you and helps you face your demons (imo all that BS). Then I came across HPPD before I even got HPPD. boy am I stupid. The person I was doing research from said how rare it was so I made nothing of it thinking this can't happen to me haha. Boy was I was wrong. 

Over the period of three months (even being abstinent from all drugs and stimulants, i.e. caffeine) the HPPD became worse. The first onset was anxiety, depersonalization, and after images. that was it. looking back I look at how lucky I was but back then I was freaking out and complaining about why I suffered this. then things got worse, I started seeing floaters in the sky one day. flash forward 10 months to now where I see them everywhere (bright screens, bright lights, and literally everywhere I look on a bright sunny day outside). I started seeing tracers and light halos one day 2 months after my initial onset watching TV randomly. 

It's been a bumpy ride however I have to say that there have been randomly two brief moments in two days out of the entire year where my symptoms were 90% gone and then they returned the next day after I woke up. Weird. After I went on Zoloft I noticed the symptoms less but the derealization, brain fog, and depersonalization came back full blown when I began taking the SSRI. I have also relapsed a total of five times with marijuana during the whole year which made things terrible (yes I'm an idiot). I think I've finally accepted that I can no longer take (or that I must be extremely cautious) drugs anymore. It is just a really bad idea in the long run. 

I have contemplated suicide a lot as the last time I smoked things were honestly so bad I felt like I was living in hell mentally. I had bad insomnia and suffered gastrointestinal stuff (not going to get into it but it was gross). anyways my neurological system is so messed up from the year of damage I did to my body with drugs. My only hope is to take every day one step at a time going for runs, eating healthy, drinking lots of water, and taking good supplements (lions mane is the only one I've tried but I hope to try magnesium). I am currently off of all drugs including pharmaceutical medications.

Things are actually not that great visually for me at the moment. My anxiety is down but still there, the symptoms that frustrate me the most are the damn after images and the floaters that are everywhere when I'm outside. I can honestly say I was way better 2-3 months ago. I feel still even worse then my initial onset. But on the positive side, just a week ago I had a night where it seemed all my visuals vanished. I remember actually feeling the happiest I've been in my life just in the feeling that "whoa, they've all vanished (90% actually)... I actually can't believe it." Then the next day, it was right where it is normally which was unfortunately sad. 


So I guess my story wasn't too long and I apologize if my writing became gradually worse and worse. I have something to attend to very soon so I'm trying to finish this as fast as I can. Before I go I am curious and just wanted to ask the community what kind of hobbies you guys like to do that helps take your mind off of the HPPD? Mine are video games, writing and exercise. Unfortunately, I don't have many social activities as I am quite socially inept (both naturally and worsened by HPPD) so I am quite recluse when it comes to hobbies. There was a time during my drug and alcohol binge and where I would attend parties and socialize in big group settings but that's no longer an option unfortunately as I can't be in those types of environments with drugs being passed around left right and center. 


Well, that was it. Hope you all are having a wonderful day. :)

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Imo, ssri, snri and anti psychotic are just as bad as recreational drugs when it comes to hppd. There's very few known drugs that have helped people in regards to hppd but I'm sure you already know them. Stay off the pills tho for sure. If you can manage life without the dependency of benzos and other drugs(including recreational) then I believe you have a chance of completely recovering one day. Just try to accept it that this is your life and try to live with it. That may not seem like the greatest advice but it's realistic and doesn't mean you shouldn't be hopeful because it can very well go away. If you do feel lonely sometimes if you have a Facebook page join the hppd page, there's like 1700 people in it. Pretty nice people. But some say the less you think about hppd the better it is for you. I kinda agree. Take a magnesium supplement like magnesium oxide or citrate, stuff does wonders for your anxiety and vs

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Thank you for the response HDDer, I appreciate it. This was some solid advice. You are very right about the acceptance part. I think when I accept having to live with these visual disturbances and bouts of anxiety is when I really CAN find peace and enjoy life. It is those bad days however where I am so mad with myself for entering into this nightmare I can't wake up from that I refuse to accept I have to live with this disease or whatever HPPD is. *sigh* But I will definitely have to check that facebook page out. Thanks.   

I can definitely agree with you regarding the negative correlation with the class of drugs known as SSRIs and HPPD, especially in my experience. I believe when I was taking zoloft it masked the visuals by reducing my obsessive compulsive behaviour of checking them but in the long run was worsening my anxiety, dp, and dr. When I came off of the drug is when the visuals were aggravated and worse then it had been during my initial onset. On top of this the withdrawals were terrible. Every single withdrawal symptom of zoloft I was experiencing was painstakingly difficult to deal with. suffice to say, it was a stomach flu with severe stomach pain, nausea, migraines and visuals through the roof that lasted just under three weeks (unfortunately, I do still suffer the abdominal pain from time to time but this is what happened after coming off the drug over a 3 month period). Since this experience, I have made a decision to never be put on SSRIs again because the pain of getting off the drug is just not worth the artificial happiness it gave me. 

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After having this for two months I notice when I feel unhappy, or depersonlized. Today I didn't think about hppd at all, I notice it here and there but I try to ignore. When I'm in a dark room, if I look at the tv and look away I get an after image for like a second. Not that bad for me but it feels like it's getting progressively worse. Might just because I'm awake at 2:36 but whatever. Have you picked up cardio at all? I love hitting heavy bags, it's fun cardio. Running is nice but gets boring to me. Pm me if you wanna talk, much love. 


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Who knows @Cjb007, what's your current living situation? Are you chilling or are you stressed? Have you continued any drug use? If not are you smoking cigs or consuming caffeine?

 Consider what might be making things worse, also since you only smoked weed you might have weed induced psychosis. It's possible since you feel like you're in a dream. Just consider getting help if it continues getting worse. Much love 

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  • 3 months later...
  • 11 months later...

@Bursting Aura Apologies for the extreme delay in responding. Just under a year *yikes*. I have tried to stay off this page as reading into symptoms can definitely provoke my visual symptoms as well as the OCD I suffer which can make me obsess over them. I guess you could say this was the reasoning into what took me so long to answer you. In regards to how I am doing nowadays... In the beginning of 2018, I actually spent several months as an in-patient in a hospital to combat OCD that was so severe I could care less about the HPPD I suffered at the time. I was administered the tricyclic anti-depressant Clomipramine (Anafranil) which helped the OCD but did nothing for the HPPD (in fact, I think it aggravated symptoms as it works similarly as SSRIs). I also convinced a doctor (through bringing in medical reports) to prescribe me clonazepam as a PRN. It worked very well in diminishing after-images or at least relieving the anxiety I experienced with the after-image visual distortions. I read a post by @Jay1 where he described how he administered benzos three days a week or something like that at a low dose as to not acquire a tolerance to them. I went with that method which I found to be very helpful. I even went a month without clonazepam and did not experience withdrawal.  I abstained from alcohol and weed for about a year but nothing seemed to drastically change with my HPPD. Things were quite good this year after spending time in a hospital treating my OCD... HPPD was there but it didn't bother me that much. I do not want to sound negative but unfortunately this month has been quite horrible in regards to HPPD. I have acquired new symptoms which have caused me to have anxiety, panick attacks, insomnia and suicidal thoughts. Hence, why I am back on this site. I remain hopeful however. I'm seeing quite a good doctor who I am doing CBT with and its really helping me learn that I can still persue what I want in life despite being tortured by this visual field nightmare of a disease. Still taking clomipramine every day and clonazepam as need be for meds. 

Anyways, enough about me -- what brought you across my post Bursting Aura? If you're still around; how are you doing with your symptoms?

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