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StateOfRegret posted a topic in IntroductionsHi all :-) I'd like to give an account of my experience with HPPD and related anxiety. I apologize for the length of my post! I'm under the impression that many HPPD-sufferers (though by no means all) began experiencing noticeable symptoms of HPPD after only a few psychedelic experiences. This was not the case for me. I got very interested in psychedelic substances at the age of 16 and did a lot of reading before actually indulging. At the age of 17 I tried LSD for the first time, and had an enjoyable and interesting experience. After this, I began tripping frequently, and by age 18-19 I had gone through 1000mg of 2C-B (another psychedelic compound) and had somewhere in the vicinity of 50 LSD trips. I had noticed slight symptoms of HPPD after using 2C-B quite frequently for a few months (tripping perhaps once every fortnight, sometimes more frequently), but I didn't think much of it. I figured that the effects were probably transient. I then acquired a large amount of 2C-C and some Psilocybe Cubensis mushrooms, while continuing to do LSD once in a while. During the time I used 2C-C, I noticed that my HPPD symptoms were worsening, but I still attributed it to my frequent use of psychedelics, thinking that it would soon die down when I eventually decided to take a proper, long break from using these substances. During all this, I smoked cannabis intermittently, while never becoming a "heavy" smoker by any means. At age 20, I moved to a big city (or at least as big as they come here in Scandinavia) and began studying physics at university. At this time, I made a decision to use psychedelics and cannabis much less frequently. Over the course of the next year, I only tripped a couple of times, and only at somewhat low dosage levels. It was after this period that I realized that my HPPD symptoms (moving coloured splotches, lingering after-images and so on) had not gone away. They seemed to have lessened somewhat, and I paid less attention to them than before. Nonetheless they were clearly noticeable, and somewhat distracting at times. I felt no anxiety in relation to my HPPD symptoms, and decided that they weren't hindering me in my daily life. At this point I slowly began experimenting with psychedelic drugs once again, picking up pace after a few months. Apparently I had not learnt my lesson. A friend and I purchased a rather large amount of 4-HO-MiPT (a psychedelic tryptamine, somewhat akin to mushrooms in effects) and some 25C-NBOMe (a potent psychedelic). At this point we were tripping on a weekly basis. After a couple of months, it became increasingly clear to me that a long hiatus from all psychedelic substances would be needed at some point. But I postponed it. After our last exams we decided that we'd kick back and enjoy ourselves with a bit of newly-purchased 2C-C. I had slept poorly for a couple of days, and really should have gone home and laid down. Instead, I went ahead and ingested a dose of the 2C-C with my partner in crime. This turned out to be a mistake. After an hour, I began noticing that I was unable to have a simple conversation with our trip-sitter (a sober friend who, thankfully, was also present). I thought to myself "I really didn't imagine I would get this high from this stuff". About 15 minutes later it was becoming quite uncomfortable. I mentioned to my friend that it didn't feel like any 2C-C I'd ever had before, and he agreed that it was qualitatively different. I asked him if he thought it was something to worry about, and he responded that he wasn't sure, but that it would perhaps become a problem if it continued growing in strength. By this time I felt extremely hot and my heart was racing. We decided that, since this drug definitely did not resemble 2C-C, we had no idea what it was. We experienced some visuals, but mostly it was the physical effects which were completely different from what we expected. I said, that if we had ingested an unknown drug, which still seemed to be growing in intensity, we might have to go to an emergency room, since there was no way of knowing how long the effects would continue increasing in strength. First we decided to take a cold shower, to see if it would cool us down, as we were experiencing something akin to hyperthermia. It helped a little, but the relief was short-lived, and it did nothing to attenuate the tachycardia we were experiencing. To cut a long story short, we went to the emergency room, which was an unpleasant experience worthy of its own report. The nurse said that I had a resting pulse somewhere in the high 120's, which is definitely not life-threatening. By this time, the effects had died down a little. The next day, I felt very close to normal, albeit somewhat shocked. I paid a visit to another friend, who was smoking a potent synthetic cannabinoid called UR-144, but I chose not to partake in light of the events of the previous night. A few beers later, my judgement somewhat impaired, I chose to try some of the synthetic cannabinoid after all. This was perhaps my biggest mistake. A couple of minutes after smoking the cannabinoid I felt a surge through my body, a tingling sensation which spread to every part of my body. I started shaking somewhat, but I managed to ride it out, and within a few minutes I felt alright, albeit somewhat shaken and quite intoxicated. Soon after, I decided to call it a night and went to bed. I awoke the next morning, and this is where things got uncomfortable. As soon as I opened my eyes, I noticed that my surroundins appeared out of the ordinary. I felt quite high - almost as high as I had done the night before - and my HPPD was very noticeable. I hoped that this intoxication would subside quickly, as I had promised to visit my parents for a family get-together later that day. Upon arriving at my parents' in the evening, I still felt just as out of it. I had difficulty following the conversation, and I was beginning to become very anxious about the whole thing. I decided to tell my parents what had happened, as I felt unable to continue pretending. Soon after I went to lay down. Around midnight I went downstairs and watched some TV with my mom, still feeling very high and physically uncomfortable. I had been feeling a constant tingling sensation throughout my body the whole day. This is when I had my first panic attack, something I've never experienced before. It hit me very quickly, beginning with an sudden surge of intense "tingling" in my body. I jumped up from the couch, shaking and feeling as though I was about to lose all connection with reality. This state of sheer terror lasted for perhaps 2 minutes, after which I slowly returned to a less debilitating level of anxiety. The next day I was still in this highly uncomfortable state, and I had another panic attack. This one was different. It kept building for perhaps ten minutes, before climaxing in a severe panic attack. I was shaking uncontrollably, couldn't even stand up, and my mom even ended up calling the medical services, who had nothing useful to say. The next day I visited my doctor, who prescribed a benzodiazepine (Oxazepam) for the anxiety. This helped somewhat. I didn't have a full-blown panic attack after this. But I still spent more than a week in bed, completely unable to do the simplest things. Even watching TV proved too much. I felt over-stimulated by any sort of stimulus, and was plagued by strange bodily sensations (mostly the tingling feeling) and strong HPPD-like visuals. After being bedridden for well over a week, I managed to go for a few short walks, while still feeling very strange and anxious. I have been getting better very slowly since then, and it has now been five weeks since the night I smoked the cannabinoid (and since I ingested the unknown substance which landed me in the ER). I now only take benzodiazepines on some days, but I am still far from functioning normally. Most of the unpleasant physical sensations have lessened greatly (thank God for that). The most persistent one has been a strong sense of dizziness, but that is getting better as well. The only symptom which is still in full force is my visual HPPD, which has a tendency to bring out anxiety as well, since it reminds me of the state I'm in.
It's just something I can't explain, in the way that it doesn't even make sense to myself. I can't emphasize my hatred for inanimate objects without sounding like a fool or insane. Like the way I hate trees rustling in the breeze, how tires grinding against the pavement sends me to hell. People rubbing their faces puts me in a bad mindset as well. It's not something anyone can understand unless they've experienced it themselves. These are the after effects of a bad trip, the things nobody tells you about. They'll tell you how great psychedelics are, the mind altering freedom persuading you to try it. And sure, it was an incredible experience. For awhile. I find myself with various triggers in the oddest things. I hate it. I'm aware of the intensity behind the word "hate," that's exactly why I use it. It's hard not do be disgusted with the world when you constantly feel out of your own body, floating, like your feet continue on while your head is held back; like the floor is 5 feet closer while you're 50 feet taller. I don't know how to sufficiently express myself. No combination of words could do justice to the hell I've experienced in correlation to my hppd. Previous therapists/psychiatrists of mine call it "panic," and I really can't stand using that term. That's not what this is. It's so much more than a word. Panic. Hppd. Flashbacks. They don't suffice. I fucking hate words. You know when you know your elbow and your funny bone goes limp? That's how it initially feels when an episode strikes, except my whole body goes numb, even my head. I melt. It's the remaining headspace around my brain is just one massive clusterfuck that I can't make any sense of. My temples start pulsing, like something demonic and superior is squeezing the living shit out of my insides, altering all ability to think rationally. I can't even form complete thoughts. Everything just becomes one, faded, irrational mesh of doom. The melting sensations are almost unbearable, especially when I stroke my hair or legs while thinking about my last LSD trip. Everything slows down, almost as if my brain is incapable of processing sense of touch until after I've already touched myself. It freaks me out. Sometimes I even hallucinate, although I don't think that's the word I'd use to correctly describe it. Things just start moving, spiraling into nonsense as if I'm still tripping. It's only happened twice, but each time I was driving and the road adapted into one concrete image. Most people I've explained this to thinks it sounds "cool," that I'm able to "trip balls" without drugging myself. It's not cool and those people are idiots. It takes me back to those devilish thoughts, the muffled/hollow/bass heavy sounds. The clouded headspace. Friends of mine who still persistently trip always tell me to "just go with it and let it run it's course." Easier said than done. I don't think they understand the inconvenience of it all. I'd like to go about my day without feeling like Im going to flop into a noodle at any given moment. I read up on hppd when I first became interested in trying LSD, but it never really occurred to me that it could actually happen to someone, especially not myself. It's not that I wasn't careful of my surroundings of my surroundings or unaware of my current mood, I just didn't understanding the intensity of having a bad trip. I guess I should've paid more attention to my state of mind. I mean, I'm not bashing how the mind works or the places it's taken me. My perspective is entirely altered and I finally feel up to par with my intellectual level. It just sucks. I wish it could be done with. At the same time, though, I don't know if I'd be okay with that. I like being vulnerable, sad. It's sick and twisted but it's all I've ever known. It's comfortable because it's so uncomfortable. I hate it, but I love it. The worst part is that I hardly remember anything from that night. My old therapist told me to record everything that happened, word for word, but I never did. I told her otherwise, promised I was doing all my exercises. I lied. I was too chicken then, for it wasn't just a state of mind, but me in all my essence. It's repulsive how something so destructive can have such a wrath over someone. It was a year ago yesterday since I my first episode, since I first realized that I may have hppd. I've been thinking about it a lot lately, all things considered, especially the date. I thought my dangerous thoughts, the constant body high, the flashbacks, and the intense visuals would have subsided by now. I thought wrong. Nothing's changed, they've just become more bearable. I'm stronger now because of this, but that doesn't make it any easier. The subconscious mind is a powerful thing and if not addressed correctly, things will only get worse. My mind has become a fucking wrecking ball. Better late than never, I've decided to practice what has been preached in hopes that it'll lead me into a healthier state of mind. I used to claim that I wanted to go back to my initial mindset, pre-LSD, but that was just the naivety in me talking, the panic. You can't undo what has already been done and that's something I've had to push myself into coming to terms with, regardless of how fucking common sense the statement is. I've seen 3 therapists in the past year. They all assumed this was panic and none of them would come to terms with the idea that I have hppd. I'm now taking clonozapam. It makes me dizzy and forget things when I take it. It makes me lose my head when I don't. I don't like being dependent on drugs anymore and I've actually managed up to 5 days without the pill, but after breaking into cold sweats and explaining to yourself in the mirror how greatly you want to die, you crack. I'd like to make it known that I'm in a much brighter place now in comparison to last september, along with all the months that have followed. I get better everyday because every morning when I wake up, my eyes are a little deeper. Acid did that to me, and although I may not remember every detail from that night, or the vast majority of it for that matter, I'm a changed person and I am grateful for that. I'm able to accept the world for what it is as opposed to how I'd like to portray it. I don't lie to myself anymore. I don't see the point in it, all self loathing brings is sadness. I've already admitted to liking sadness, but I'm on a personal journey to stop wallowing in it. I have hppd, and it sucks. Anyone who has it understands this and there is no need for explanation. It's just nice to know that someone else is feeling what you're feeling. I'm not alone and neither are you.