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My hppd-hyperacusis story. After-effects of anxiety? Hypochondria? Hope few people read it.


Beefol
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Hello everyone, in the following I would like to tell you about my experiences of the last two months. Even if probably no one can help me directly, I would be happy if some of you read my (probably quite long) post. Maybe there is someone with similar experiences. Besides, it's good to get everything off my chest and to exchange ideas. 
 

English is not my motherlanguage, i used deepl for translation, so maybe some mistakes. 

First of all: I am aware that many people here in the forum have much worse symptoms than I do. And that for a much longer time. My thoughts are with you, and I wish recovery for everyone here. With all my heart. 

For a few weeks now I have been dealing with various symptoms that raise some question marks for me. I suspect that they have something to do with HPPD. Here is the whole story: 

My exposure to drugs is very limited compared to other people on this forum. It all started in late 2020. I was 26 years old at the time. I had never used drugs up to that point, not even the smallest amount of marijuana. Sure, now and then alcohol, but also rather rarely, on special occasions.

One day a friend told me about MDMA. I found it exciting, informed myself about the safe use and one day we decided to consume once together. It was about 120mg spread over a whole night. It worked exactly as expected. My first and directly wonderful trip. 

In the weeks that followed, I kept noticing a kind of light dizziness over my eyes, plus some pressure on my head, mostly in the forehead area. I felt slightly dizzy, especially in stressful moments or when there was an argument with my girlfriend. However, these complaints disappeared completely after a few weeks. In the following 15 months I didn't take any drugs, except occasionally a few puffs of a joint. However, only in very small quantities, always with many weeks distance in between.

New Year's Eve 2021 (over a year after the first time) then the second MDMA trip. Actually I didn't want to take anything, but after a few beers I decided to do so and took about 200mg that night. This time without any consequences or symptoms in the weeks after. 

In May 2022 then my third and also last time MDMA. Again without after-effects. 

In September 2022 I finally discovered psychedelics, psilocybin to be exact for me. Between the beginning of September and the end of November 2022 I experienced 4 wonderful trips (2 rather low doses, 2 medium to high doses). All were "perfect" and completely free of anxiety or bad feelings. Even in the days after, I felt incredibly well, like I was born again. 
I must mention at this point that I am prone to hypochondria, and often get carried away with possible symptoms of illness. 

During the time of the psilocybin trips, I also kept reading about HPPD, so I checked my field of vision for possible symptoms, but never found anything after the first three trips. 

During the last trip (end of November 2022) I pulled a few times on a joint in addition to the consumption of the mushrooms. The trip was again wonderful, probably the most beautiful of all. 
 

In the days after the last trip, I suddenly began to wonder: does everything look a little different here? Slightly visual snow? Slightly enhanced afterimages? Is my screen glittering? Has it all always looked like this? 
So I thought I was perceiving mild HPPD symptoms, but at no time was I sure if I was imagining it all, or if everything really did look a little different. Even in the bright blue sky, I felt I saw more floaters than usual, and perceived an enhanced blue-field-entoptic-phenomenon. No DP/DR. 

This apparent change in perception plunged me into incredible fear, anxiety,  panic, and despair. For about three weeks I thought "my life is over, I gambled it away." I didn't know until that point that such fear could even be perceived. After these three weeks, when I slowly started to come to terms with it and to simply tell myself that I had only imagined the visual symptoms, suddenly a very strong pressure started inside my skull/head. This occurred in conjunction with exactly the same dizziness that I experienced for a few weeks after my first MDMA use. In addition, I began to perceive quiet noises that one does not really perceive at all suddenly incredibly loud and disturbing. 

Around Christmas, these symptoms subsided, and for three days I thought I was over it and actually felt cured. 

Then just before New Year's Eve I experienced another two days of pure anxiety due to a private event. The anxiety had nothing to do with HPPD, but it triggered the same symptoms I had experienced before: head pressure and extreme sensitivity to noise. This sensitivity to noise (hyperacusis) has been getting worse for two weeks now since then. The pressure on the head has almost disappeared, but small, quiet noises sometimes make me go crazy. The jingle of a key, the sound of coins in the wallet or the click of a light switch. Everything sometimes sounds as if it were amplified tenfold right in front of my ears. These sounds literally cause pain in my ears and can trigger dizziness quite directly. It's like they hit my head like a fist to the ear. However, I continue to perceive normally loud sounds pretty normal. I can converse with people, walk past noisy streets, and listen to music relatively normally. In addition, with many sounds I hear a kind of echo in my ears that feels like an impulse right after the sound itself. For example, I snap my finger in front of my ear, hear the sound, and a split second later it throbs once briefly in the region of my eardrum. I don't have tinnitus yet, except sometimes a very soft, stream-like noise in absolute silence. However, not always, and I believe that I have been experiencing this since childhood. 

Sumarized: the visual symptoms are now negligible. Maybe I am imagining them, maybe they are really there. I don't know, and probably will never find out. After all, almost everyone has a certain amount of afterimages, visual snow, floaters and starbursts. 
The anxiety has also subsided for most of the time. If anything, the hyperacusis is getting worse day by day. Im also feeling pressure on my ears and in the region behind the ears.

Thanks to all who have read my text up to this point. I would love to hear from people who have or have had similar symptoms, and would love to hear if these symptoms have subsided over time. A little hope would do me a lot of good right now, because at the moment the hyperacusis is just killing me. 

Im wishing all of you the best. 

One last question: how do you perceive your Visual Snow? Always and over the whole field of vision? Or can it also occur exclusively in dark corners or on very smooth surfaces? Because you often read that Visual Snow occurs in the entire field of vision. However, if I hold my hand in front of my face in daylight, I see absolutely no visual snow. Only in low light conditions or in dark areas of a room. But rather mild.

 

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