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My Introduction!


Oisin
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Hey guys,

My name is Oisín. I'm a software developer from Ireland.

I've been lurking this forum ever since I got HPPD 4 months. Since then I've stopped smoking weed and doing hard drugs. I stopped drinking alcohol and coffee for a few months, but I've recently started back - although not nearly as heavily as before.

I got HPPD 4 months when a few friends and I took an MDMA-like RC, followed by an edible the next day. I didn't notice anything much until 2 months later when I started noticing slight afterimages. Luckily I noticed it in time to improve my lifestyle, because now 4 months later the afterimages are still very weak(and improved I think).

My symptoms are as follows:

  • As mentioned, I have slight afterimages that last maybe 1/3 of a second. Most apparent when I read Reddit for a while and see horizontal lines across my vision when I look away. These have improved slightly since getting HPPD.
  • I had DPDR for a few weeks while I was really anxious over the idea of having HPPD. However, as soon as the anxiety passed, this symptom went away(thank god). Sometimes if I'm really anxious I feel a bit disconnected, but I have good control over it.
  • At night time I see solar flares and star bursts around certain lamps. This hasn't improved much, but It isn't that debilitating.
  • Visual Snow - the usual. Hasn't improved much I think, but it isn't noticeable at all during the day. Only at night time when I am tired.
  • The worst symptom for me just appeared recently, and that is experiencing baffling sensations while I go to sleep. When I try to sleep, I lay in my bed for a while, and as I slip into a relaxed state I start having reasonably strong CEVs. Just last night I was watching Minecraft videos on YouTube, and when I went to sleep I could see Minecraft with my eyes closed! Makes it really difficult to get a good rest. I also get these really annoying shaking sensations as I fall asleep that build up to a climax where I am jolted awake. Does anyone have experience with this? This just appeared recently. At first I was worried that I was having a seizure :P

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I hope to be posting here more!

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Hello, welcome, and thank you for posting.  I found it very difficult to open up to anyone about hppd but doing so helped a lot.

It sounds like you're doing pretty well and your symptoms sound mild (in my amateur opinion).  They might not seem mild to you, but hppd can be a truly debilitating disorder for some and it sounds like you're living your life.   You've already taken the most important step to being well, that is staying away from psychoactive drugs.  I'm not a doctor or a medical professional.  That being said, I suspect your symptoms will moderate over time provided you stay clean.  

Sleep disorders can manifest themselves in very strange ways.  The "jolts" may be due to stress, or even giving up caffeine.  I may have nothing to do with hppd (again, I'm not a doctor).  

Hang in there, keep focused, and keep clean!  If you're susceptible to hppd, it can get MUCH worse if you keep using.

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I haven't made my own introduction yet, but I've been the same looking at this forum for a couple of months without posting anything. I'm a 22-year old college student, and I know it's not relevant but I'm also from Ireland – so it's good to hear I'm not alone here!

I've been experiencing very similar symptoms. I smoked weed with my friends maybe once or twice a month for about a year, and this sometimes caused really unpleasant anxiety (only after doing LSD for the first time – only did it once again, last year). My current predicament began after a caffeine-induced panic attack at the end of last September.

I have a very similar issue with CEVs when I'm about to drift off to sleep, which definitely makes it more difficult to relax.

There's days and weeks when things feel much easier to deal with, and I feel like I can deal with the visual issues (mainly the fuzzy, constant visual snow and after images) and I'm not particularly anxious; but other times (especially recently while being in national lockdown again) when the visual symptoms trigger negative thought patterns, extremely bad anxiety and panic attacks. I've gotten myself into a problem where I convince myself that these symptoms are the start of a much more serious mental disorder, which isn't very likely or helpful but exacerbates my anxiety greatly nonetheless.

I've started speaking with my college counselor, and my anxiety has been bad enough recently that I think it might be good for me to speak with a doctor. I would recommend anybody else experiencing these things to reach out to mental health/medical professionals as much as possible; it's such a difficult thing to deal with by yourself.

Keep going, I'm sure it will get better with time. Be well!

 

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16 hours ago, GammaKnife said:

I haven't made my own introduction yet, but I've been the same looking at this forum for a couple of months without posting anything. I'm a 22-year old college student, and I know it's not relevant but I'm also from Ireland – so it's good to hear I'm not alone here!

I've been experiencing very similar symptoms. I smoked weed with my friends maybe once or twice a month for about a year, and this sometimes caused really unpleasant anxiety (only after doing LSD for the first time – only did it once again, last year). My current predicament began after a caffeine-induced panic attack at the end of last September.

I have a very similar issue with CEVs when I'm about to drift off to sleep, which definitely makes it more difficult to relax.

There's days and weeks when things feel much easier to deal with, and I feel like I can deal with the visual issues (mainly the fuzzy, constant visual snow and after images) and I'm not particularly anxious; but other times (especially recently while being in national lockdown again) when the visual symptoms trigger negative thought patterns, extremely bad anxiety and panic attacks. I've gotten myself into a problem where I convince myself that these symptoms are the start of a much more serious mental disorder, which isn't very likely or helpful but exacerbates my anxiety greatly nonetheless.

I've started speaking with my college counselor, and my anxiety has been bad enough recently that I think it might be good for me to speak with a doctor. I would recommend anybody else experiencing these things to reach out to mental health/medical professionals as much as possible; it's such a difficult thing to deal with by yourself.

Keep going, I'm sure it will get better with time. Be well!

 

Oh! Nice to see someone Irish on here.

I first found out I had HPPD when I was asking my mom whether when she looks at and away from the light does the blotch of light stay in her vision. I was extremely surprised when she said no, so I started the Googling.. 

How debilitating are your symptoms? Can you continue on with your college work?

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I was able to work through my initial symptoms back in October/November/December, even when drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes with friends my symptoms rarely became debilitating. It helped my anxiety a lot that things were opening back up after lockdown and we were returning to a sense of normality, and during this time I didn't have much trouble getting work done in college. At Christmas/New Years I came home and the whole family was drinking a lot over the course of a week or two, which I joined in with, and then being back in lockdown things felt a bit surreal.

This drinking (and possibly being hungover) seemed to trigger even worse feelings than I had experienced before; I began getting strong episodes of depersonalisation/derealisation when just sitting down relaxing – noises around me felt extremely loud and intense, and the visual snow/after-images grow increasingly distracting. As well as this I have recently experienced nausea, paranoia/hyper-vigilance, and brain fog. I seem to experience mood swings; where some days I feel pretty calm and stable, on others I feel kind of empty and down, and then the rest of the time I get waves of anxiety. These neurotic feelings seem to effect my ability to get to sleep at a decent time as well.

Because of this I have struggled to get back into my college work, though I'm sure if I just sat down and did it rather than procrastinating I would probably be better off! Do you ever remember having any visual snow before this started?

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1 hour ago, GammaKnife said:

I was able to work through my initial symptoms back in October/November/December, even when drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes with friends my symptoms rarely became debilitating. It helped my anxiety a lot that things were opening back up after lockdown and we were returning to a sense of normality, and during this time I didn't have much trouble getting work done in college. At Christmas/New Years I came home and the whole family was drinking a lot over the course of a week or two, which I joined in with, and then being back in lockdown things felt a bit surreal.

This drinking (and possibly being hungover) seemed to trigger even worse feelings than I had experienced before; I began getting strong episodes of depersonalisation/derealisation when just sitting down relaxing – noises around me felt extremely loud and intense, and the visual snow/after-images grow increasingly distracting. As well as this I have recently experienced nausea, paranoia/hyper-vigilance, and brain fog. I seem to experience mood swings; where some days I feel pretty calm and stable, on others I feel kind of empty and down, and then the rest of the time I get waves of anxiety. These neurotic feelings seem to effect my ability to get to sleep at a decent time as well.

Because of this I have struggled to get back into my college work, though I'm sure if I just sat down and did it rather than procrastinating I would probably be better off! Do you ever remember having any visual snow before this started?

I'm not entirely sure if I had VS before HPPD. I noticed the snow at first maybe a month after I took MD, but I asked my friend about it and he misguided me into thinking it was normal. I continued on smoking weed until eventually in October realized my vision was getting worse.

My DR doesn't seem too extreme, although when it does happen it scares the shit out of me. It makes me think really existentially, which you might think would be pretty cool, but in reality the question of "am I real" is terrifying.

I gave up drinking for about 2 months, but then started back at it. I had my first hangover since HPPD a few weeks ago, and I found myself staring at a towel blowing in the wind, only the realize that there was no wind source. I was just imagining it moving I guess? Luckily my symptoms went back down to baseline the next day.

I'm in the middle of exams at the moment and am fairly stressed over it, studying like 10 hours a day. Yesterday - presumably because of this stress - I had a panic attack. I was watching movement on the ground, wondering if it was BFEP or a new symptom. Soon enough, the little black dots that were moving on the ground went crazy and were more pronounced than I had ever noticed them. I went panic mode and my heart started pounding.

Hey, at least the government are dispersing vaccines! Things will be back to normality soon enough. Do you have after images?

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Yeah I think it'll hopefully be easier to manage these symptoms once lockdown and COVID are a distant memory!

I do get after images quite strongly, though this is something I have had for as long as I can remember – it's probably the symptom that bothers me the least. That being said, now I sometimes get after images when I close my eyes which look like shifting forms or faces; when I'm in an anxious or panicky mood this can really set me off.

The most frustrating thing for me at the moment is the ruminating and low mood. I often get into a state of mind where I obsess over my symptoms (especially when the VS is strong) and work myself into a panic attack thinking I'm losing my mind, before falling into despondency. Interestingly, the other day my brother told me "there's no point going crazy over thinking you're going crazy", which helped me a lot and put things into perspective a little.

I have spoken to my doctor and he'd be more than happy to prescribe anti-anxiety medication or something like that (especially if this is affecting my quality of life), but I really don't know if any possible side effects would be worse than what I'm already experiencing. I may investigate more herbal or naturalistic sources of relief, and adjust my diet to see if that helps at all.

Right now I'm taking Pukka Herbal ashwagandha and valerian root capsules to help with relaxing and sleep – you can buy these at any decent Tesco or pharmacy probably. Not sure if they're actually working, but it's only been a few days so I'll give it some time. From what I've read these herbs can be quite good for fighting feelings of depression and certain types of anxiety, though I'm also aware that these kinds of herbal remedies often lean into pseudo-scientific explanations and that kind of thing. One effective thing I can attest to is chamomile tea though; I've found it very helpful for sleep or relaxation.

On one hand I'm disappointed that I can't do things like enjoy a pot of black coffee in the morning or a few glasses of wine or beer at night without experiencing crippling anxiety (plus nausea, dizziness and disassociation), though if avoiding these things helps then I'll just have to live without them.

There's been some talk on other forums and discussions about relatively untested treatments, pharmaceutical drugs and regimens that can improve our condition so I'm going to stay tuned and explore the possibilities.

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On 1/25/2021 at 10:12 AM, GammaKnife said:

I have spoken to my doctor and he'd be more than happy to prescribe anti-anxiety medication or something like that (especially if this is affecting my quality of life), but I really don't know if any possible side effects would be worse than what I'm already experiencing. I may investigate more herbal or naturalistic sources of relief, and adjust my diet to see if that helps at all.

It isn't worth it. Take it from me. I'm in the trenches. If you begin taking anti anxiety medication, there will come a day when you need to withdraw from it, and the hell it will rain down upon your existence will eclipse anything HPPD could ever be capable of. Benzodiazepines are the worst offenders. Avoid them like you would avoid mustard gas. They are nothing short of poison.

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On 1/29/2021 at 1:55 AM, bpl4269 said:

It isn't worth it. Take it from me. I'm in the trenches. If you begin taking anti anxiety medication, there will come a day when you need to withdraw from it, and the hell it will rain down upon your existence will eclipse anything HPPD could ever be capable of. Benzodiazepines are the worst offenders. Avoid them like you would avoid mustard gas. They are nothing short of poison.

I hear you man. Benzos definitely don't seem like the way to go, but a lot of people here seem to talk about Clonazepam being effective? I really don't know what the deal is though. I've been taking ashwaganda root capsules for the last week and it's really helped to get me back into a normal headspace in terms of counteracting anxiety, help sleeping, and not being distracted by visual disturbances. Honestly it's a godsend, because I was really struggling. I do worry if the effects are placebo-based, or if it will lose its potency at some point down the road. There seems to be a lot of other herbal medicines for reducing anxiety and difficult states of mind, which has been my biggest problem for the last month – I'll do more research and see what's effective.

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