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Six Years Strong


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Hey guys,

I was posting over on the HPPD subreddit every now and again, trying to help people out. Someone linked this forum, so I figured I'd pop over here and introduce myself. As many of you know, HPPD can be the cause of much loneliness and feelings of alienation. I've met two people total in my life that also have HPPD, but it's not a topic they were looking to discuss in depth. Just a note, I'm also an alcoholic and addict in recovery with about two and a half years clean.

My case started when I was about 22-years-old. My first "real" drug experience (not weed or booze) was what kicked it off. It was my first time taking MDMA. I also took about a .5g of mushrooms as well, which was also my first time. It was fantastic, really. I've dealt with depression and anxiety my whole life, and I thought I had figured out how to fix that problem. On the comedown, I had an episode of intense hallucinations, seeing people who weren't there, skulls flying around the room, blood dripping down the walls, the whole nine yards. After a few hours, my vision returned back to normal, but the event wasn't enough to deter me from overcoming my nature as an addict. After a few weeks, I was back at it, but those early times, I had no consequences, so I wrote it off as me mixing MDMA and mushrooms that first time. Eventually, I started taking molly more and more often, as well as mixing hallucinogens into my repertoire, and the hallucinatory episodes started recurring, taking a little bit longer each time for my vision to return to normal. After a three day binge, my vision never went back. CEVs, recurring night terrors, patterns, colors, things breathing, floaters, trailers, depersonalization, I had the whole gambit in that first year, only having the depersonalization go away after that period. It was rough for sure. Thoughts of suicide were constantly there, just below the surface. I gave half-hearted attempts to seek out help, but there was a part of me that loved the insanity. I loved being crazy. I loved being unique.

I backed down off the hallucinogens, cycling through different phases of drugs and drinking, and the HPPD was always there, continually getting worse, always ready to torment me. I believed it was my curse for being such a shitty person. I deserved it. It was my punishment. As my using progressed and my life fell apart around me, my actual insanity intensified. I couldn't drive over a bridge without thinking about driving myself off. I couldn't hold a knife without wanting to jam it in my throat. I couldn't show up for work anymore, so I quit and moved back in with my parents. I thought I would finally have peace, but there was none to be found for me. I drank daily, used cocaine as often as I could buy it, trying to get away from the reality that was always right in front of my eyes. I wasn't even safe from my torment with my eyes closed. I hit my bottom 06/08/15 at 25. I went to treatment for substance abuse, and that was the last time I took an illicit drug. I wish I could say that after staying sober was a fix for me, that it got better right away, but it didn't. I was without my coping mechanisms, so that first year sober was worse mentally for me than my first year with HPPD. I had to relearn how to deal with life, to learn how to approach situations as an adult. Luckily, I learned a lot in that treatment center, and I continually learn more in my chosen 12-step program.

I sit here enjoying my new life that has come from deciding to actually do something about my problems instead of wallowing in my misery. I just moved to a new town to be with my girlfriend, started a new job that has more opportunities for me than I ever thought possible, and know a peace that has been a mystery to me, except through chemical manipulation. My visuals are just as intense as ever, CEV, floaters, trailers, etc, but they're just there. They don't define me as a person. I'm waiting patiently for the day, if it ever comes, that I can see like I used to. If not and I have to be secretly trippy all my life, so be it. The one thing that does bother me about my situation is the difficulty I have explaining it to someone else, and that's why you see me here today. You guys know, and there's so much comfort in being around understanding company.

- Brendon

Edited by BrendonInWonderland
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Welcome.  First off, congratulations on two and a half years sober.  That's excellent!  I've found a sober life to be a good life ... no a wonderful life.  It sounds like you're doing very well for yourself (job, girlfriend, sobriety).  Congratulate yourself for that!  

I also have visuals and have for decades.  The CEVS thankfully cleared up and I've  dealt with the anxiety.  

The thing that helped me navigate my life accompanied by hppd was getting focused, setting goals, and moving forward.  Like you, I didn't let my hppd define me.  Hppd can be a disability and a struggle.  All we can do is do the best we can.

I'm getting preachy (again) so I'll stop there.

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Congrats on the sobriety. I've been sober for 2.5 years and have found it very rewarding. As some have pointed out, we already have a pharmacy inside our own minds that we can access whenever we want without drugs -- it just takes a little effort. I've found exercise, learning new things, eating right and getting outdoors have saved my life. I can't imagine dealing with this forever but I'm at a point where I can live a pretty fulfilling life even with HPPD thanks to the progress I've made over the last few years. I'd encourage anyone who's still doing drugs to challenge themselves with sobriety and achieving the same bliss they obtain via substances instead through meditation, rigorous exercise, socialization and so on. The highs are much clearer and of course the side effects are only positive!

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Thanks for the replies, guys!

I appreciate the words on my sobriety. It really is a point of esteem for me.

That being said, I don't want to focus too heavily on the recovery aspect of my life. I was at a point where it was get sober or die, and that's exactly what I was trying to avoid, dying. I know there is a large portion of this community that developed HPPD from only dabbling in drugs, and I don't want to impart too heavily on getting and staying sober. My whole point is that no matter how hard the struggle seems, a little grit, determination, and trying things a different way made a huge impact on how I handle every single issue that I'm faced with. I went from a sniveling mess to a well put together member of society with a bright future, HPPD or no. 

I still have a ways to go on treating my body better, but I'm already doing things for myself that I never thought possible. Meditation? Self-respect? Talking about my problems with people who care and love for me? Not treating my body like a garbage can? Never in a million years did I think I could do any of that. It's all possible thanks to me getting desperate enough to trying to do what other people were doing.

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