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My experience with HPPD


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Hi all,

Not exactly going to shock you with any of my experience; I know most of you will be able to relate to it, but thought I'd share things from my perspective. I have some questions as well.

I only really have the visual symptoms as far as I can tell. I have never noticed any anxiety/panicy emotions..which I am so glad about having heard about others' experiences. I really feel for anyone experiencing those kind of things. I wish you all the best. I generally I feel pretty good in myself and don't let the visual distortions get in the way of my life emotionally (I feel this might be to do with my ability to control myself when I was tripping hard, not letting myself freak out). I would say my visual symptoms are probably on the better side.. I just have the visual snow/heat rising/fuzzy effect.. occasional swirls.

I think I had my first 'acid flashback' the other night... basically when I was going to sleep, quite fatigued and had been drinking a bit in the day. Closed my eyes and kept feeling like I was tripping, feeling like there were people around me. Being pulled in and out of these sensations and then remembering where I was etc. You know the kind of stuff I'm talking about... Whilst it was quite freaky, I didn't lose it and had a vague sleep eventually.

Question.. I have read many reports of HPPD causing sensitivity to light. I find myself generally feeling very groggy and lethargic. If I have a nap I find it extremely difficult to get up. Same in the mornings. Takes me at least an hour most of the time. This is with a good night's sleep, regular exercise, a good diet, abstinence from substances (up until now I have been having the occasional drinking sesh, but not regularly) and hell, I'm young. I feel physically/mentally (not emotionally) shit all the time. Do you think this is to do with the light sensitivity-eyes not being able to take all that light flooding in? It might be unrelated to HPPD.. sometimes if I have very little sleep as my 'proper sleep', say four hours, I actually find I can get up easily. Weird.

Another question... I used to get night terrors when I was a child.. I used to wake up in the middle of the night have hallucinations and visual distortions (tripping from day!), screaming and pointing at things whilst my parents tried to console me. Don't have them any more, but do you think there might be some kind of link to this and contracting HPPD? A tendency in my mind that might have been been brought out by psychoactive substances?

The alcohol thread here got me thinking as well. I had an experience a few months ago which I could not explain, but someone's post in that thread made me link it to HPPD. Basically, I drank heavily one night, and completely freaked out.. psychotic, derealisation.. suicidal, all that... really scared a lot of friends and family. Never ever had this problem with drink before. Sure I've been extremely drunk, but never reacted like that... In context, I had been feeling absolutely fine in the weeks upcoming.. took about 10 hours of sleeping before I 'came back down to reality' and felt fine again.. and ever since.. is this little episode perhaps linked to HPPD/psychoactive drug use.. it seems really anomalous to my normal non-sober behaviour. Okay, sure, I was drunk.. but this seems more than just being drunk.. it took me the whole next day before I became 'me' again. People said my face looked completely different until I started acting normal again. Apparently looked like I was on something.. (that is a a theory, that I took something without remembering).. I had had a bit of a Ketamine binge on the upcoming days also. Not good.

I never linked drinking to HPPD before, except for maybe bringing up visuals slightly, but I always just thought that was because typically I would drink at night, and only notice them in a dark room which is when they are always worse.

My plan now is to give up drinking as well as everything else. Keep up a good diet, sleep pattern, exercise; lifestyle... wait for this horrible vision to leave me be!

I do realise, the various points brought up in my post, that I might be trying to blame many things on HPPD. The truth is-I don't know and won't know fully how much it affects my life, but with this condition I think one as to consider all kinds of mental states in relation to it.

Thanks for reading.. hope you are getting on alright.

Best,

S

[some background on me and my experience with substances if you wish: I am currently 19 Until the last couple of months, I had a year of frequent experimentation with psychoactive substances (where I was largely depressed and found a lot of happiness in psychedelics).. LSD (which is the one that started giving me noticeable effects), Shrooms, MDMA, 2C's, Methoxetamine, Ketamine etc.. all those things you'd expect. Though, interestingly, I do not smoke Cannabis and have not since a spell when I was 14 where I only smoked for 7-8 months maybe once a week or so (I used to enjoy it, but my parents found out, got mad, and ever since I've never had an enjoyable experience whilst I've been high. Paranoia straight away, and just generally not nice sensations. I had one horrendous trip where I stupidly smoked a whole joint to myself when I hadn't smoked for a year or so. That's been my hardest trip ever and my only negative one other than the alcohol induced madness. My world literally caved in as everything turned to darkness and I lost my sight].

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Yeah man, fatigue has been one of my most annoying symptoms, brought on when i got DPDR. If i sleep 10 hours, the fatigue is pretty bad and i feel very spaced out and i could stay in bed all day if i really wanted to. If i sleep say, 5 or 6, i feel less fatigued and more tired, know what i mean? That normal kind of tired, but i do find it easier to get out of bed, and i do function better, less detached etc. Optimum amount for me is 7 hours, though i rarely get em. I dont really have light sensitivity.

How long have you had this? And id never expect methoxetamine! Sounds sketch haha, isnt that the synthetic MDMA? BUt yeah man, you got the right idea, ive never had the sensation you describe while drinkin, but maybe it triggered a ket flashback like some people get from DXM? Like it just put you in that state. All in all, how many trips would you say youve had and how often did you trip?

Glad that you knew to stop man using man, i didnt when my symptoms were mild and now this is really intruding on my daily life.

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I'm glad you are trying to stay clean! I hate to sound like a broken record, but it is cornerstone to recovering and healing, not only from HPPD, but for many different psychological disorders. It is good to see someone realizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. I wish I would have stopped when I got my warning signs... I didn't and now I have a quite severe case. I hope you keep this mentality, you sound like you are on the right track. Just try not to forget the humility and whatnot. As far as light sensitivity, this is a major symptom for me.

Do things appear bright under artificial lighting? Like colors? How long have you been clean? It sounds like a hopeful case to me, so be thankful your visuals aren't to the point where they interfere with everyday life... I am happy for you, it is a blessing not to have gotten the mental issues that a lot of us have, me included. Back to the light sensitivity subject, do you get headaches? For me, apart from fatigue and visual strain, headaches are a major issue in respect to light sensitivity. Do you wear glasses? I talked to my optometrist and got prescribed my same lenses with photosensitive tint as well as polarization... Polarized glasses (not sunglasses) are fairly uncommon, so before you drop the money for a pair, I would try sunglasses with polarized lenses. I have a vertical astigmatism, and my visuals are much worse when I'm not wearing glasses.

Like I said, your symptoms sound pretty minor... Which is a good sign. I've known some people with minor visual stuff, and over months and years, it has improved dramatically... But to get a better idea it would be good to know how long it has been. Maybe you wrote it so pardon me if I didn't catch it.

MDMA itself is synthetic... So methoxetamine wouldn't be "synthetic MDMA". I think you are thinking of methylone... A pseudo-analogue of MDMA. In fact, methoxetamine is an arylcyclohexylamine... Similar to K. I believe it's structure is quite similar, if I remember right, it is lacking the chlorine substitute on the phenyl ring. I don't know how it is different in terms of effects, so it would be cool if you explained the differences and similarities... Or maybe your reactions to it as well as ket... I haven't done it, and I don't plan to, but I am curious as to what it does. Thanks, and I hope I could help

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Oh true, haha yea thats a bit redundant aint it...i meant those knock off mdma analogues that they sell at head shops and shit. But yeah, i actually do remember reading about methoxetamine. Idk, i didnt see myself goin past shrooms, dmt, and acid, and maybe a line or two of molly a few times just to see what it felt like. Sucks that i was responsible about it, and aware of the harms and still got this, shit sucks.

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Thank you for your encouraging replies.

Yeah man, fatigue has been one of my most annoying symptoms, brought on when i got DPDR. If i sleep 10 hours, the fatigue is pretty bad and i feel very spaced out and i could stay in bed all day if i really wanted to. If i sleep say, 5 or 6, i feel less fatigued and more tired, know what i mean? That normal kind of tired, but i do find it easier to get out of bed, and i do function better, less detached etc. Optimum amount for me is 7 hours, though i rarely get em. I dont really have light sensitivity.

How long have you had this? And id never expect methoxetamine! Sounds sketch haha, isnt that the synthetic MDMA? BUt yeah man, you got the right idea, ive never had the sensation you describe while drinkin, but maybe it triggered a ket flashback like some people get from DXM? Like it just put you in that state. All in all, how many trips would you say youve had and how often did you trip?

Glad that you knew to stop man using man, i didnt when my symptoms were mild and now this is really intruding on my daily life.

It's good in a sense to hear someone else has been suffering from fatigue.. I've been worried there might be something else going on. At least this might suggest it is the HPPD which I'm already trying to sort out. Yeah I know exactly what you mean, that's exactly how I feel, exact same hours as well...

I've had this for around a year. Methoxetamine is a bit like K, but more preferable I'd say.. bloody amazing trip.. a really unique euphoria. Yeah you're thinking of Methylone, which I did have a few spells with. A more subtle, less speedy, euphoric MD. I've never heard of a ket flashback.. it could be indeed as I like I said, I did have a binge upcoming to it.. basically, I guess all the shit I fucked my mind up with came back to haunt me. I would estimate I've had 10-15 acid trips, 5/6 shroom trips, 10/12 MD trips, 2/3 methylone trips, 4/5 methoxetamine trips, 10 2c trips, 20 K trips, 1/2 salvia trips, 1/2 drone in the space of a year.. approximately + a few other substances I would figure. I was doing drugs several times weekly at the peak, I would say in the year I pretty much touched a substance most weeks, certainly if you include booze.. I kept all my tripping in a diary so I could find out. Also, I was always into tripping hard. I always wanted the intensity.. I used to sleep very little as well as you can imagine, so my mind didn't get a lot of chance to rest :(

Well, there's a time when you have to call it a day, especially when you hear what it can do.. it's a shame, because it was something in my life I really enjoyed and did help me in many ways.

I'm glad you are trying to stay clean! I hate to sound like a broken record, but it is cornerstone to recovering and healing, not only from HPPD, but for many different psychological disorders. It is good to see someone realizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. I wish I would have stopped when I got my warning signs... I didn't and now I have a quite severe case. I hope you keep this mentality, you sound like you are on the right track. Just try not to forget the humility and whatnot. As far as light sensitivity, this is a major symptom for me.

Do things appear bright under artificial lighting? Like colors? How long have you been clean? It sounds like a hopeful case to me, so be thankful your visuals aren't to the point where they interfere with everyday life... I am happy for you, it is a blessing not to have gotten the mental issues that a lot of us have, me included. Back to the light sensitivity subject, do you get headaches? For me, apart from fatigue and visual strain, headaches are a major issue in respect to light sensitivity. Do you wear glasses? I talked to my optometrist and got prescribed my same lenses with photosensitive tint as well as polarization... Polarized glasses (not sunglasses) are fairly uncommon, so before you drop the money for a pair, I would try sunglasses with polarized lenses. I have a vertical astigmatism, and my visuals are much worse when I'm not wearing glasses.

Like I said, your symptoms sound pretty minor... Which is a good sign. I've known some people with minor visual stuff, and over months and years, it has improved dramatically... But to get a better idea it would be good to know how long it has been. Maybe you wrote it so pardon me if I didn't catch it.

MDMA itself is synthetic... So methoxetamine wouldn't be "synthetic MDMA". I think you are thinking of methylone... A pseudo-analogue of MDMA. In fact, methoxetamine is an arylcyclohexylamine... Similar to K. I believe it's structure is quite similar, if I remember right, it is lacking the chlorine substitute on the phenyl ring. I don't know how it is different in terms of effects, so it would be cool if you explained the differences and similarities... Or maybe your reactions to it as well as ket... I haven't done it, and I don't plan to, but I am curious as to what it does. Thanks, and I hope I could help

Aye, hear you. As mentioned above, it is a hard one to swallow for me, because I really enjoyed it, like we all did.. quite profoundly really.. it's also tough because I'm a musician and everyone I hang out with is prone to intoxication.. esp. on the booze front. Well, I suppose I did have my fun.. got a hell of a lot of tripping done! But, luckily I am a very passionate musician and I have loads of practice + playing to do, and having just started officially studying performance at university, this goes well with my new need for focus.. I get an immense buzz out of playing, so that's my high... just what to do when I'm not playing.. (listening I guess!)

I can't really tell if things seem bright under artificial lighting.. my eyes are a bit sensitive to things though so I guess that's kind of the same thing. Well, I stopped drinking on Monday, I last took MD about a month ago (I stupidly didn't realise that this could worsen things because I didn't class it as a proper psychedelic). Other than that, I haven't done a psy since the beginning of the year.. except for one stupid drunken encounter a couple of months ago, when someone got out an old LSD sugar cube, which hadn't been stored properly so I knew I wouldn't get an effect.. sure enough, I didn't trip, but my visuals were much worse the next day and have been since (they were just getting better as well! :( - silly me!)

I always have a mild headache I would say, but nothing sharp ever really. I don't wear glasses nope. I might give that a try though, might help the visuals (although, like I said the visuals are not too interfering at the moment).

On methoxetamine.. as above.. really profound euphoria and 'trippy feeling'. Time becomes incredibly interesting and weird- you feel like you are traveling through it in a really weird way.. it's really hard to explain as with all things of this nature.. very abstract. These weird ineffable sensations, like K.

Thank you for your support-how are you guys getting on? My blessings to you...

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Musician, huh? What instruments do you play? I know what you mean, I have had to change all my friends and I am planning to move out of state and away from my hometown sometime in the next few months. It is good to hear that you are getting some support and feedback from this forum. I know I am... I was pretty much in panic attack mode when I joined up and made my first post. Just in the last week or so of being a member I have really gotten a lot of comfort. Maybe not as much hope as I would like, but I am trying to be realistic so I'm cool with it for now.

Oh yeah, there is no way to explain the K-hole... Just like there is no way to describe the taste of ketamine. It is some truly bizarre stuff. Good luck with the symptoms man! I hope things work out. It seems like you should have a good chance of things getting better. I can only speak for myself, so IDK... If your visuals are not too disruptive that is a good thing, a very good thing. Personally, some days I think the visuals are worse than the mental, and other days I feel otherwise.

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Musician, huh? What instruments do you play? I know what you mean, I have had to change all my friends and I am planning to move out of state and away from my hometown sometime in the next few months. It is good to hear that you are getting some support and feedback from this forum. I know I am... I was pretty much in panic attack mode when I joined up and made my first post. Just in the last week or so of being a member I have really gotten a lot of comfort. Maybe not as much hope as I would like, but I am trying to be realistic so I'm cool with it for now.

Oh yeah, there is no way to explain the K-hole... Just like there is no way to describe the taste of ketamine. It is some truly bizarre stuff. Good luck with the symptoms man! I hope things work out. It seems like you should have a good chance of things getting better. I can only speak for myself, so IDK... If your visuals are not too disruptive that is a good thing, a very good thing. Personally, some days I think the visuals are worse than the mental, and other days I feel otherwise.

I play sax :-) fundamentally into what you might call improvisation (not really tied to a genre (well, I hate labels anyway) but I suppose I mainly play jazz and I'm also in a 'post-punk' band). Let me know if you want to PM me my SoundCloud (don't want to post it here as it would tie me to my name!). I don't know about changing friends man, I think it takes more strength to go out with them and say no. Tonight, I went to the pub, my mates were drinking; I just didn't drink, as much as I would have liked to. I think it's important to completely cut it out too. I know that if I'd said to myself, 'one drink' it definitely would have been more than one. If your friends are good friends, they should respect you and not try and peer pressure you into anything. Mine have been fully supportive so far. I am sure you have friends that would support you as well. You might need them more than you think man. Esp. if you can't talk to your family (lucky for me, when mine realised the severity of my mental state a while back and I told them everything, despite lacking understanding in some areas (my dad thinks I was a 'drug addict' [wow] ), they have been supportive.

Sorry to hear about your case.. doesn't sound too good, but I am sure you will get through it man. Keep strong.

I think you've got to really be firm in your mind about these things. I learnt a lot about recognising my emotions when I used to do CBT. It's easy for me to say because I don't seen as prone to negative emotions as some of you have described, but it's really important to realise these emotions as soon as they come about and try and reason through your thoughts ASAP and just remember that you are only feeling this way because of the residual effects of substances you have taken.. in other words, that there is no reason to actually feel anxious.. from there try and bring yourself into a place of calm.. breathing exercises.. I find meditation helps a lot.. get along to a class if you can. I'm sure you've heard about all these things, but they work really well for me-so do give them a good chance. Also- music. That's the way to heal yourself man. Put on something your really dig and get lost in the sound. That's an experience no drug can take you to! Also, I have found that Valerian Root helps me get to sleep at night with no issues like my little 'acid flashback' the other week. Exercising as well.. takes your mind off things and gets your mind in better gear for repairing. Anything we can do to overcome this. What do you find works for you?

Wishing you all the best from London..

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Yeah, if I had the strength to say no I wouldn't have had to change my friends... But I just don't. In my case, I had to leave that lifestyle all together. And you are right, if I really had good friends they would be supportive of my recovery. But for me, my "friends" weren't good friends at all. I have some new people I surround myself with, but not as many as I would like. In my case, all my "friends" were junkies. I have tried putting myself into that atmosphere and it was close to a disaster. I just can't be around that shit... Maybe in the future I will have more willpower, but I don't see it happening any time soon. I understand that it works for you, and I'm happy you weren't forced into abandoning your life and your friends. For me it has been different... I am in early recovery, I haven't even been clean for a year, and I just can't be around heroin. It is lonely sometimes but everyone is lonely so at least I know I'm not alone.

And as far as coping with stress and life, I am with you 100%... I have been lucky enough to get hundreds of hours of therapy... CBT is amazing! I am still prone to negative emotions, but not as bad as I was. I am bipolar and borderline personality (CBT has been shown to treat BPD as it is an axis II disorder, i.e. personality disorder) so it is hard for me to control emotion... It is hard to even comprehend the emotion I am feeling and put a name to it! But I'm working on it. I am not manic-depressive (Bipolar I), so I don't get manic fortunately... But I get depression spells. Other than ADHD meds I have gotten off all medications... Mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, SSRI's, etc. And it has it's ups and downs for sure. But through therapy I have been learning to manage my moods and emotions. I use a lot of the tools you mentioned. I don't get suicidal all that often anymore... Which is HUGE for me. I used to try and intentionally OD almost every month. I still get pretty blue sometimes, but I don't usually want to end my life. And the upside to not being on meds is that, when I'm really down, I don't have enough energy to get out of bed let alone go through with a suicide attempt... And now that I'm clean I don't have the almost effortless option of OD. If there is hope for me to get better, I think there is hope for anyone.

Oh and about the music: That is way cool man. If you are into improv' I'm sure you are a jazz guy. Yeah hit me up with your sound cloud info! I love jazz... Always wanted to learn to play the clarinet or the sax! That is pretty unique. Not a lot of people are into jazz anymore. I'm all about the improv! I've been playing mandolin for a while... Most of my life actually. Love the guitar, I'm OK at the banjo, but the mandolin is my jam! A major tool I use to cope is playing music and at least attempting to write my own stuff (not so great but working on it!) PM me, I'm down to talk music!

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