This might be a long one, but here goes. I've been looking at this site since the end of November, and I think I've found what's been affecting me.
I'm 22-years old; a college student living in student accommodation away from home during term. I've occasionally experimented with drugs since I was about 15 (in social groups, never alone), but it was only in the last year or so that I ever tried ecstasy or LSD – not something I've done often but I found them quite positive experiences. Both times I took acid were quite low doses, and generally njoyable experiences. The only thing I noticed was that I often get bad anxiety from smoking weed since the first time I tripped; before acid this never happened. The experiences were so positive that I became a little bit obsessed with psychedelia; the music, the art, all the hippy stuff basically. For weeks after my trips I felt more clear-minded, focused, happy and just generally appreciative of life – even when COVID lockdowns became a part of our lives last March.
After lockdown during the summer of last year I partied with friends for a couple of days straight; lots of alcohol, ketamine, and on the last day we all took a some of ecstasy. The afternoon of the day I came home I began experiencing what I think was serotonin syndrome; I got waves of panic, heart palpitations, agitation. It was very unpleasant, and it stuck in my mind long after I felt better.
My current predicament was triggered by a caffeine-induced panic attack at the end of last September; I saw a flash of light in my peripheral vision after drinking black coffee, which led to continuing anxiety, visual disturbances, panic attacks, and negative thought loops – all these symptoms seem to come in waves, there's days or weeks when they're far less apparent and times when they feel overwhelmingly intense. I even got an eye test and was prescribed glasses for slight nearsightedness, but they said there was absolutely nothing wrong with my eyes from what they could tell. I had an ECG and a blood test at the doctors too, and they said there didn't seem to be any health issues that they could see – which is good news.
Visual disturbances include visual snow (VS), prolonged after-images, floaters, blue sky ectopic phenomenon (a swirling or rapid movement effect on skies – especially on a bright blue day), as well as occasional perception of movement or lights in peripheral vision, “cracks” or vein/branch-like after-images in my field of vision just after blinking for a few minutes after I wake up, and flashes of light when the eyes are closed (when trying to sleep).
These visual disturbances often create a sense of anxiety, and distract me from everyday tasks. The anxiety tends to get worse if I'm hungover, at night, and especially when I’m trying to fall asleep. I’ve also been experiencing occasional high-pitched ringing sound in my ears (more the right ear than the left one), heart flutters/palpitations, a slight feeling of nausea (generally worse after eating), and a sudden sense of dizziness or disconnection which may trigger mental panic or turmoil. Episodes like this don’t happen frequently, but are usually accompanied by a hot feeling in my face and an over-sensitivity to noises and sensations around me, with even a relaxed living room feeling chaotic and overwhelming.
Unpleasant episodes like this tend to happen on days when I spend a lot of time ruminating about my condition. My mind often gravitates towards the idea that I may have a serious mental disorder – especially schizophrenia, despite not demonstrating the symptoms of this disorder (delusions, complex hallucinations, hearing voices, etc.). It’s more of a fear that I am experiencing what comes before a psychotic episode (prodromal period), and a feeling of helplessness and panic quickly grows out of this.
I spend a lot of time Googling symptoms of various mental illnesses as way to reassure myself that I’m not psychotic, but sometimes I think I’m subconsciously trying to confirm that I am – however labored the justification may be. I think a lot of this is mainly down to the visual issues, but also the general ‘out of sorts’ feelings I’ve had. When I’m feeling particularly out of sorts or anxious, my mind tends to feel jumbled and chaotic – a fuzzy psychedelic feeling in my mind’s eye where it’s difficult to clearly visualize things properly or think clearly. This feeling can be intense and distracting, and it often makes me feel lethargic or low on energy.
I also have trouble sleeping, or rather trouble going to sleep before 12 am. This isn’t a new thing; it has been a recurring issue for me for the last four or five years, but never as consistently problematic for my mental health (being due to anxiety or visual issues), and I was rarely ever kept awake when I wanted to sleep. These sleep problems often mean I wake up and fall asleep again multiple times every morning and struggle to fully get up before 11 am, and I think this effects my productivity for the rest of the day. I don’t feel well-rested when I wake up, so I think this messes with my mood throughout the day.
Today I had the worst panic attack of my life; in broad daylight on a pleasant day at home surrounded by my family. I haven't taken anything (even alcohol or cigarettes) since before Christmas, so that hasn't added to my problems thankfully. I began to fixate on the sense of movement in my peripheral vision and visual snow, which set off my anxiety in an extremely intense way and it has taken all day to calm myself down.
After talking with my parents we agreed it might be time to see a doctor; this isn't going to go away easily and I just want to rule out any other possibilities.
Apologies for the length of this post, I just had to get it all out. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I would appreciate any advice. I will post an update if my symptoms change, and I'll try to keep up to date on any future developments.
My name is Alex, I'm a third-year psychology student at University Greenwich (London, UK).
Although I don't have HPPD, I'm very interested in understanding more about it. As such, my final-year research project is a survey investigating individual differences and HPPD.
My research project is under the supervision of Dr. David Luke, a long-standing psychedelic researcher in the UK and author of many books on the subject. Dr. Luke is a senior lecturer at University of Greenwich and honorary senior lecturer at Imperial College London - the home of the bulk of psychedelic research in the UK. I'm really only trying to use his credentials to verify that this research is a serious undertaking, not just to name drop him. I would love to hear from members of this community and hope you can find the time to have a look at my survey linked below
The survey should take between 15-30 minutes to complete depending on your individual history and experiences. Your response will help deepen the understanding of potential differences amongst sufferers of Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder. All submissions are anonymous (identifiable only through your unique personal code) and data will be stored on a password protected device. The research has been ethically approved by the Departmental Research Ethics Committee for Psychology, University of Greenwich, UK.
Many thanks if you have the time to spend helping me out.
If this is better posted somewhere else please feel free to let me know,
Given this is my first ever post I'll apologise for getting it wrong in advance!
Any questions feel free to drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi there. I've had HPPD since I was about 19... so going on 16 years now. I won't get into all the details but what I'm wondering is if anyone has resolved, or read about someone who resolved their Blue Field Entoptic Phenomenon (BFEP)? This is probably one of my most annoying symptoms and is prevalent on any large bright surface. Central vision and peripheral.
Any feedback would be much appreciated.
Hello my friends,
I'm writing an article for The Independent about HPPD. I'd like to talk first-hand with sufferers of the disorder and document their stories. This article will spread awareness about the risks of psychedelic drug-taking and show what can go wrong.
If you're interested in having a short chat or sending a summary of your experience with HPPD, then please email me at email@example.com. You can be anonymous on request, don't worry.
Hello. I'm kind of new here, first time posting.
I'm struggling with visual snow (i think it is, because I see little floating dots when looking up the sky that looks kind of like, i don't know, sperm?and I note everything is a bit of pink, especially in the dark. Sometimes i can't tell if something is totally white or white with a little bit of pink). This is happening for about 6-7 months now, after a bad trip with LSD, which I used before like 20/25 times in the period of 1,5/2 years (but with little dosage, like 1/4 ou 1/2). In that period I also used MDMA and a hell lot of weed. The last time I used LSD was 6-7 months ago, MDMA I used once like 2 months ago and about a week ago I stoped to smoke weed, because I finally accepted what it was going on, and things have improve a little because before when I was under the effect of marijuana I would see everything very colorful or slight moving when looking at walls or other big surfaces.
I could not notice all of this to be so strong at first, or maybe I just could not accepted, but I always knew something was going on. I don't know if it got strongger or simply I started to really pay attencion and note it.
I also feel disconnect to my body, and i saw that this two are the most common symptoms for people with hppd.
I can't stop crying and having suicidal thoughts, and I'm very afraid of starting a medicine that will make my visuals worse, because I king have a feeling that when I see once, i can't un-see it somethings? i don't know. But also, I can not think about doing nothing because it gives me like a panic attack or something.
Any ways, I don't speak english very well (you probably noticed), and in my country nobody really seems to care about this kind of stuff (treatment for hppd). So I'm consulting with a psychiatrist this week and I would like some help with information about some medicine that have low risk of worsed visuals (that is my worse fear), but has a chance to improve the visuals and the DP.
I'm kind afraid of taking Lamotrigine or Keppra because a lot of people have seem to have more visuals with time? I also saw that Naltrexone seems to help some people, but this one guy said the visuals got worse as the medicine "goes away" within a few hours. Clonazepam is very commom, but I don't know if can help with the visual or only with the despersonalization. Someone post about imitrex being good with this. What can you guys tell me?
I think, based on what I have read here, that my symptoms are milder, but they still are torturing me, and I don't know what to do. I'm very afraid of never get better and I'm done with all kinds of illegal drugs. I don't have anyone I can really trust with all of this, so I seeking for information and help from you guys... Thanks a lot for anyone that can help.