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HPPD and DR/DP since 6 weeks - Looking for help/tips


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Hi all, 

I am new here and I would like to share my experiences with (probably) HPPD and DR. My English is unfortunately not very good, since I come from the Netherlands. Apologies for that.

I am currently 30 years old, and have used drugs since I was about 18. Mainly coke, speed and xtc pills. In February 2021 I took 1 pill of 2cb with friends. This was my first time. A nice experience, but nothing special or heavy. A week later I used speed. This gave me a bad trip. Not extremely intense, but it was a few hard hours. After this bad trip I got floaters and felt 'vague' for a few weeks. This passed quickly, and the floaters never really bothered me.

In the following years I used drugs (mainly speed and coke) and one more ecstasy pill. Sometimes not for months, sometimes every weekend (I talk about coke now). I do want to add that I have never used LSD or smoked weed. The last time I did drugs was two months ago and was a little bit of cocaine.

6 weeks ago I ended up in a burnout and my (unhealthy) relationship ended. Unfortunately I now live with my parents again, and that's where the misery started. I noticed that I was deteriorating mentally and physically. I felt a distance to the world and to my own body. Since 6 weeks I experience the following complaints:

- Extreme panic attacks, where I feel a kind of fear all day long. Sometimes the panic attacks are so intense that I'm really afraid I'm going crazy. This also applies to the derealization.
- Burden of DR/DP. This is my worst complaint. It feels awful to feel "nothing."
- Ringing in the ears and extremely sensitive to sound
- Sensitive to light (I've always had this to a lesser extent)
- Any stimulus is too much, even talking to people gives me a panic attack.
- Increasing visual effects (also when I'm sleeping). I have never suffered from this.
- Numbness and tingling all over the body
- Very bad memory
- No sense of time/days. Although I know very well, however vague everything feels with the derealization, that everything I experience is also real. So I don't hear voices or see things that aren't there.

I know of myself that I am in a very bad period. I Google every symptom, sit at home a lot and have had a 'worry disorder/anxiety disorder' before in the past. Especially the constant panic makes me really desperate. The 'crazy' thing is that I developed these complaints in a period when I used minimal/no drugs. Could my complaints also be from the anxiety disorder? The derealization leaves me feeling very scared and alone. I'm so scared this will last forever, and I'll never find a girlfriend again. Of course I try to do everything I can to 'recover'. I am now in therapy for derealization with a man who specializes in this (as one of the few) in the Netherlands. He indicates that within 6-16 sessions the DR is cured for 80-100%. Tomorrow I also have an intake interview with 'Medical Consultation Hour Partydrugs', an organization in the Netherlands that specializes in HPPD and DR. For now I am mainly looking for tips from fellow sufferers, and I would like to get in touch with people.

Again, apologies for my English. Thanks in advance for your responses.

Regards, Alain 

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Hi Alain, 

     I'm sorry to hear about your struggles (your English is fine by the way, very clear).  I would try and remain calm and know that you're doing everything you can to get better.  Try to minimize the time spent researching on the internet as I have found this to be primarily a creator of anxiety.  If you do have HPPD the best solution in my opinion is to learn the most effective way of managing your anxiety because as you probably have experienced, anxiety and HPPD symptoms are very much connected.  There are very practical ways to manage anxiety on your own and I tell everyone the same remedy that worked for me: 

  • Stop all drugs, even alcohol for a while.
  • Take it one day at a time, try not to think about the past or future just be here now. 
  • Keep yourself busy with healthy, productive things; hobbies, work, etc...
  • Exercise even if it makes your symptoms worse
  • Do the best you can to not focus on HPPD; minimize time spent online looking into it and time thinking about it (this tends to generate anxiety which is not helpful for us) 
  • Try not to feel guilty, you didn't ask for this.
  • Try learning to meditate, even if it's just for a minute or two.  We all have the ability to go inward for strength and healing.  For example, you can spend 30 seconds or a minute sitting and noticing your breath and thinking the following: 
  1. when I breath in I notice I am breathing in
  2.  when I breath out I notice that I am breathing out and I smile because I am alive. 

It's that simple!

  • Try and get as much sleep as you can.  
  • If you're open to it, pray to God in whatever way you think is appropriate.  You don't even have to believe in anything, just ask for help and see what happens.  I personally believe that we all possess a spring of internal strength that we can call upon.  

Your life is not over and recovery is always possible we just have to let it happen.  Over time, things will get better but try not to ask yourself daily "am I better or worse today?".  You'll find that recovery happens over the span of months and is hard to notice day to day; think of physical growth when you were a child.  Hang in there.  If you'd like to chat on WhatsApp send me a DM. 


Take Care,


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Hi Alain, this does indeed sound like HPPD. 

It's good to hear that you have now stopped taking drugs, this is the most important step on the road to recovery. It also sounds like the support network in Netherlands is good. Finding people who know what HPPD is must be reassuring. 

Cosmic's advice is very good, so I don't have much to add.... but I hope your treatment goes well and just know that a lot of people do recover from this!

Please keep us updated. 

Regards, Jay

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  • 3 months later...

Hi Alain,

Don’t be scared. When I first got HPPD it was horrible. I panicked from the derealization-that was almost, if not more, horrible than the visual stuff. Ironically, panic creates more derealization! The symptoms will eventually lessen. I think it’s great that you have the DR therapist and the intake for the group. I also have an anxiety disorder. I think it’s a vicious circle, the anxiety aggravates the HPPD symptoms, and then the symptoms cause great anxiety, ‘round and ‘round she goes. Keep us updated!!! 

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