MadDoc

Over 4 decades with HPPD

23 posts in this topic

Hi.  I'm 57 years old and I've carried a deep secret most of my life.  I see visual patterns everywhere.  They are most prominent in anything with a fine grain.  Tar, sand, carpets, curtains, textured ceilings ... you get the idea.  I see patterns, shapes, designs, animals, faces, Aztec glyphs, etc. as if intentionally created by an artist.  They're not static either.  The slowly move, shift, and transform.  If I'm looking at a wall I "know" it's a wall.  I don't believe the hallucinations are actually visible to anyone else so I guess I'm sane.
 
How did this happen?  Just before my 14th birthday I entered High School.  An older friend of mine asked me if I would like to try "acid".  I had smoked cannabis with him before and he assured me it was similar.  Well, acid in the early 70s was quite strong and it was a long day.  From that day forward I had this issue with seeing visuals I described earlier.  My earliest memory of this was after smoking some cannabis I saw the outline of a  flower appear on the fabric covering a speaker. I kept taking hallucinogens until I was about 20 years old and then stopped taking drugs all together.
 
However, the visuals never went away.  I can look at a sidewalk and it looks like all the little sand grains were laid out in complex designs.  It's as if "random" doesn't exist in my visual experience.  I've learned to deal with it in my own way.  I look at it as my ability to not just see the mundane.  This disorder hasn't stifled my ability to solve complex problems, get a degree, raise a family, and work in a professional career.  In a funny way it's like an old friend.  I think I might miss it if it "cleared up".
 

I was stunned to find out that there was a term for what I have.  For years I figured I was borderline schizophrenic because I was seeing things.  Hiding this disorder has caused great anxiety in my life because I knew it wasn't "normal" and I never knew if it would get worse.  I'm hoping to find other people with symptoms like mine.  I'd also like to give people hope because I've lived with this for over four decades and life is great.

Edited by MadDoc
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Wow, that's some story. Thanks for sharing. 

Did you ever have any other symptoms like afterimages or streamers? And have you tried any medication? 

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Hi K.B.  Thank you for asking.

I've never taken any doctor prescribed medication to treat my "condition".  In the early 80s I approached my doctor and described what I was going through.  He basically said "you deserve what you get for taking those drugs".  That was a big help.  Since then I have a healthy mistrust of the medical establishment.  I realize I shouldn't be so wary just because one doctor was a Bozo.  I don't get "trails" as we used to call them.  I don't get "afterimages" either.  For me, it's all about designs and shapes forming when I look at any textured surface.  It's like the brain is trying to find patterns where there are none.

I can say what makes it worse. Alcohol (hangovers), nicotine, and caffeine .  I can't touch cannabis.  I've tried it a few times in the last few decades and always have an extreme and unpleasant experience.
 
What has helped strangely enough is concentrated CDB oil.  That's something I've tried very recently.  Meditation is also a big help in general, something I've practiced daily for the last 20 years.
 
I thought about this some and I've realized that my visuals have subsided substantially as I get older but they're still there if I stare at any fine grained surface for any period of time.  I don't get visuals when I drive or do anything that requires focused concentration.
 
I also used to have bizarre images in my mind when my eyes were closed.  Those have also dissipated quite a bit as I age.
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That's pretty amazing idea. I used to be a regular here...I have access to pure CBD regularly and am interested to see what can happen if that is my only intake.  I gave up on hope because I function well but am realizing it only is killing me inside. I've had HPPD 22 years in May...and coming back here to look was mostly same old but this was refreshing! Thank you for sharing mate!

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6 hours ago, MadDoc said:

Hi K.B.  Thank you for asking.

I've never taken any doctor prescribed medication to treat my "condition".  In the early 80s I approached my doctor and described what I was going through.  He basically said "you deserve what you get for taking those drugs".  That was a big help.  Since then I have a healthy mistrust of the medical establishment.  I realize I shouldn't be so wary just because one doctor was a Bozo.  I don't get "trails" as we used to call them.  I don't get "afterimages" either.  For me, it's all about designs and shapes forming when I look at any textured surface.  It's like the brain is trying to find patterns where there are none.

I can say what makes it worse. Alcohol (hangovers), nicotine, and caffeine .  I can't touch cannabis.  I've tried it a few times in the last few decades and always have an extreme and unpleasant experience.
 
What has helped strangely enough is concentrated CDB oil.  That's something I've tried very recently.  Meditation is also a big help in general, something I've practiced daily for the last 20 years.
 
I thought about this some and I've realized that my visuals have subsided substantially as I get older but they're still there if I stare at any fine grained surface for any period of time.  I don't get visuals when I drive or do anything that requires focused concentration.
 
I also used to have bizarre images in my mind when my eyes were closed.  Those have also dissipated quite a bit as I age.

Yeah, from the sounds of it meds don't really heal HPPD so I don't think you're missing out on much there. I too have the symptom you describe but I only get it when I stare at something for a long time under the right lighting conditions so it hardly bothers me at all, especially compared to my other symptoms. 

That's great you've been able to lead a happy life though. I know a lot of people like hearing stories like yours as it gives people hope who are going through rough times. 

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I don't know if CBD oil is going to help in the long run but it sure helps me get to sleep.  My visuals always increase when I'm tired so getting a good night's sleep is important. 

I realize that properly prescribed medication can really help people.  I guess when I first had these symptoms I just wanted to hide it because there was such a stigma attached to using psychedelics in the 70s. When I was in high school there was a rumor that if a doctor found out they could have you committed.  It probably wasn't true but I was a kid and it seemed plausible at the time.  As the years went by I realized that "this" was going to be part of me for a long time and just decided to make the best of it.  These days there are probably all kinds ways a doctor can help out with medications.  But as I said, I'm 57 so I'm kind of stuck in my ways.

I think the biggest problem I've had is that when I see a doctor I get so tense that my blood pressure shoots up.  But you know what?  I'm seeing a new doctor soon and I'm going to just tell her that I have HPPD and I'm going to print out a description of the disorder.  I think it'll put my mind at ease if I'm not hiding who I am.

As for giving people hope, well, I was a little leery of stating that I've had this "anomaly" for so many years.  I thought that it might have the opposite effect on people.  "You mean, it's NOT going to go away?".  On the other hand, as I said that "life is good" and that's the truth.  I've been very lucky and I worked my ass off probably trying to compensate for my strangeness.  I'm really not trying to say "hey look at me I'm a big shot".  I just wake up in the morning and I'm really glad to be here.  As Richie Havens used to say "I'm glad to be here, I'm glad to be anywhere".  God, I miss him.  

K.B. I haven't read your past posts.  I'll do that as soon as I can.  I'm interested with what you're dealing with.  I'm interested in what everyone in here is dealing with!  It's such a relief to find a group of people who have this issue.  For most of my life I assumed that this was some curse that only fell on me.

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45 minutes ago, MadDoc said:

I don't know if CBD oil is going to help in the long run but it sure helps me get to sleep.  My visuals always increase when I'm tired so getting a good night's sleep is important. 

I realize that properly prescribed medication can really help people.  I guess when I first had these symptoms I just wanted to hide it because there was such a stigma attached to using psychedelics in the 70s. When I was in high school there was a rumor that if a doctor found out they could have you committed.  It probably wasn't true but I was a kid and it seemed plausible at the time.  As the years went by I realized that "this" was going to be part of me for a long time and just decided to make the best of it.  These days there are probably all kinds ways a doctor can help out with medications.  But as I said, I'm 57 so I'm kind of stuck in my ways.

I think the biggest problem I've had is that when I see a doctor I get so tense that my blood pressure shoots up.  But you know what?  I'm seeing a new doctor soon and I'm going to just tell her that I have HPPD and I'm going to print out a description of the disorder.  I think it'll put my mind at ease if I'm not hiding who I am.

As for giving people hope, well, I was a little leery of stating that I've had this "anomaly" for so many years.  I thought that it might have the opposite effect on people.  "You mean, it's NOT going to go away?".  On the other hand, as I said that "life is good" and that's the truth.  I've been very lucky and I worked my ass off probably trying to compensate for my strangeness.  I'm really not trying to say "hey look at me I'm a big shot".  I just wake up in the morning and I'm really glad to be here.  As Richie Havens used to say "I'm glad to be here, I'm glad to be anywhere".  God, I miss him.  

K.B. I haven't read your past posts.  I'll do that as soon as I can.  I'm interested with what you're dealing with.  I'm interested in what everyone in here is dealing with!  It's such a relief to find a group of people who have this issue.  For most of my life I assumed that this was some curse that only fell on me.

You definitely should print some information out. There's all kinds of pages on the Internet about HPPD including a Wikipedia page and this article from The New Yorker a few years back: http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/a-trip-that-doesnt-end. Seems like every few moths there's another article about HPPD that pops up when you do a quick Google search, so there's definitely not a total lack of awareness and acknowledgment about this condition as in decades past.

The real ugly truth, unfortunately, is that a lot of people who get HPPD end up living with it for years, decades and even an entire lifetime. I've been reading these boards up and down for the last few years and haven't come across too many cases where people recovered in a matter of months. That's why I think it's important to have people like you and Jay come forward because you're a testament to the idea people can live happy and productive lives with this condition even if it's for the rest of your life, which many initial sufferers can't imagine. 

Finding this board and the Depersonalization board were both heaven sent for me. I had no idea what was happening to me when I first got HPPD so it was a huge relief to come across an entire archive of similar stories, especially from those who've recovered. There's lots of useful information here so be sure to do some browsing around!

Edited by K.B.Fante
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I'm definitely going to print out the information and bring it to my next medical appointment.  It will be the first time I've brought this up with a medical professional in at least 35 years.  I think it'll be a real relief to have this out in the open.  It's funny, I don't think my wife  even realizes because I just don't talk about it. 

I haven't gotten very far in the posts I'm afraid.  I spend most of the day in front of a computer and the short time I have available in the evening is usually spent doing something (anything) that isn't at the keyboard.  I did read the posts where someone was talking about suicide.  Man, that was eye opening!
 
Like most days during the work week I go out for a long walk.  I work in a built up area so I'm always walking on sidewalks.  The very sidewalks with the little white, black, grey, etc. stones that bring on the images.  I realized that I'm so used to seeing visuals that I can kind of ignore them.  Today I really paid attention and their movement started giving me a minor motion sickness.  The shifting, moving, reforming, and motion.  At one point when a plane flew by I realized how the sound of the plane tied in with what I was seeing.  Normal people don't experience this.  I wonder what that's like.  I guess I'll never know but hey, what can you do ... right?
 
Thank you HPPDked and K.B. Fante for replying to my posts.  It's like I finally have contact with people from my own planet.
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Welcome to the board MadDoc... It's great to see people finding the forum again after the problems we had with the server in 2016.

I think you now hold the unlucky title of the longest running hppd sufferer on here. Did you hear of many people with this condition back in the 70s? Once I started to chat about this with other people from my 90s rave days, I was surprised how common it was to have at least some minor visual symptoms for months/years after the drugs stopped. Would be interested to hear how it was in the late 60s, early 70s.

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Jay, thank you for your kind welcome.  I tried joining last autumn but couldn't register.  I'm so glad I tried again and here I am.

Yes, I think "unlucky title" is well put.  This isn't something I'd wish on anyone and it has been a long haul.  One thing I'm finding is age doesn't equate to wisdom.  I just have more miles on me.

I've stayed in touch with many of my friends from high school and none of them admit to having symptoms of hppd though some do get a glassy eyed stare from time to time so I wonder.  The older users who were around in the early 70s used to talk about how psychedelics put them on a different "vibe" and I suspect it had something to do with residual effects.  Hard to say.  The term "acid burnout" was quite common but i dont remember people talking about specific symptoms.  There were quite a few of people I knew who committed suicide quite young and now I wonder if they were suffering from hppd.  I guess I'll never know.  To be honest I haven't brought this up with my friends in decades but I plan to.  If I hear anything I'll post it.  

The psychedelic drugs that were available back then we're lsd, dmt (occasionally), dom (stp), mushrooms, and mecaline (the real thing), and pcp (something I avoided).  That being said I really wonder what we were taking sometimes.

I've said that even though I have hppd life is wonderful.  I'm at the age that I'm losing friends to age related illnesses and I'm realizing that each day is precious.  It's given life a new perspective.

It's wonderful to have found this forum.  I can't say that enough.  I'm not alone.

Edited by MadDoc
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I was watching a documentary this weekend about the makers of the orange sunshine LSD, sounds like the doses were very strong back then. (that was the late 60s, of course, but I am sure the strength was similar). One of the guys accidentally dosed himself with 2000 micro grammes... What a trip!

I remember when I first started taking LSD, the urban myth was that you could get a permatrip, which I am sure must be related to people getting hppd, much like the phrase acid burnout was. It is surprising that so few people seem to report the hppd symptoms from the 60s/70s. I wonder, was LSD use spread out more? I also guess that the doctors back then would have very little sympathy for anyone coming in with problems caused by lsd... Probably, like yourself, alot of people had to just dig deep and get on with their life.

I still have an affinity for LSD, I think it was my soul drug. Alot of people here understandably hate it (I have a similar hatred for mdma), but I can only imagine how transcending and groundbreaking it must have felt back in the late 60s, early 70s.

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4 hours ago, Jay1 said:

I was watching a documentary this weekend about the makers of the orange sunshine LSD, sounds like the doses were very strong back then. (that was the late 60s, of course, but I am sure the strength was similar). One of the guys accidentally dosed himself with 2000 micro grammes... What a trip!

I remember when I first started taking LSD, the urban myth was that you could get a permatrip, which I am sure must be related to people getting hppd, much like the phrase acid burnout was. It is surprising that so few people seem to report the hppd symptoms from the 60s/70s. I wonder, was LSD use spread out more? I also guess that the doctors back then would have very little sympathy for anyone coming in with problems caused by lsd... Probably, like yourself, alot of people had to just dig deep and get on with their life.

I still have an affinity for LSD, I think it was my soul drug. Alot of people here understandably hate it (I have a similar hatred for mdma), but I can only imagine how transcending and groundbreaking it must have felt back in the late 60s, early 70s.

I grew up in the late 90s and early part of the millennium and it always seemed like cocaine and mdma were the most common hard drugs around. I sorta hung with the hippie crowd though so hallucinogens were not uncommon either. It's so crazy looking back now because there were a few people I knew who took drugs and ended up dropping out of social circles altogether, but I never could verify this for myself. I had a friend of a friend who supposedly took tons of drugs one night and the next morning didn't know who he was, so my friends had to take him to the hospital. I never really thought much about it, just that he did way too many drugs (at least that's what I was told) and ended up with some sort of mental problems, however I hung out with him a few years later and he seemed fine so I just didn't think anything of it. I also remember a different case where someone mentioned how a friend from high school was dropping too much acid and "fried" himself, but again, I saw this person a few years later and he seemed fine so I just didn't think much of it. 

What's clear now is that these people likely had some sort of HPPD, whether mild or severe is the question. I don't know how many times people have told me I seem normal over the last few years since getting HPPD when in fact I've been in a totally different universe. My assumption, however, was always that the people I heard who got messed up took way too many drugs, but I never asked them myself so this was always only hearsay. As I now know, it only takes one hit of acid to get extreme HPPD. No matter the case, I always remember hearing about people who got "permafried" in high school and I now understand exactly what that terms means, which is HPPD. 

I wasn't around in the 60s but I do know the "recipe" for LSD was known by far, far fewer people than today. In fact, I remember watching a documentary on drugs last year where someone mentioned that after Hoffman synthesized LSD in the 30s the way to produce it was then only known by about 10 people for the next 30 years or so. Now people can just google how to make LSD and there's no telling how well they're doing it or what they're putting inside. This applies to most other drugs these days too. 

I did LSD a few times before I got HPPD and I always felt great. The time before I got HPPD was one of the best nights of my life. I had never felt so good on anything before. But the acid that gave me HPPD was terrible. I don't even know if it was acid. It just felt dirty inside my head from the very start. And so I really think the quality of drug has at least something to do with HPPD. So many times people come to this board and talk about all these crazy new drugs that I've never heard of and I don't think it's a coincidence people end up with HPPD after taking them. There's too many losers out there desperate for money who are making totally crap drugs for teenagers with no regard to quality ingredients or manufacturing practices and I think this is at least partially why people end up here. 

That's my two cents on the matter. 

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It takes a hell of alot for someone to notice if another person has a mental disorder... When it is something like psychosis, it can be easy enough to spot, but depression, anxiety, even tripping out with hppd... unless you are speaking crazy nonsense, people just don;t notice.. They might think you are shy maybe... but probably not even that. People have their own shit going on and just don;t notice. It's a bit of a relief once it clicks... I really thought that people must be able to see it in my eyes, which would then make my social anxiety even worse. Now I get that people are not gonna be looking for problems when I am chatting to them, it chills me out. I even have people commenting how relaxed I always am, easy to talk to... Makes me laugh, as inside i am a wreck!

 

and yea, I am sure alot of shit is being sold as LSD these days... I tried LSA once and it was much dirtier and felt toxic. These research chems must be a fucking minefield.

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RE: Documentary

Jay, I don't think LSD use was spread out more.  It was rampant!  In my high school it was everywhere and seeing someone "lose it" wasn't uncommon.  The teachers were actually trained in how to deal with someone who was dosed.  I also went to a high school that had an "open campus" so if things got bad you could just leave.  Foolish idea to give a 14 year old kid that kind of freedom IMHO.  From a totally unscientific standpoint I'm guessing that the doses in 73-74 were in the 200 mics range.  At one point there was window pane where the hits were around the 500 range (at least).  It wasn't until I first got to college that I was introduced to the "real" thing.  It was manufactured at a local prestigious university and it was so clean that taking big doses wasn't too tough to take. I used to take does up to 1000 mics (not bragging, I wish I hadn't!!!!).  I used to *love* dosing and I don't think I ever had a bad trip.  However, I started to  realize how badly it had rattled my head.  That's when I stopped.

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1000 mics, damn! I think 350 was about my highest dose and that was insane (though I was at Glastonbury festival, so the insanity was intensified quite a bit!)

I did have 900 of our UK magic mushrooms once though, which I can only imagine the comparable LSD dose must be in the 1000s... That was the only time I really had a complete ego loss (salvia aside) and not something I would equate to fun or in anyway insightful... Just way, way too strange!

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What I forgot to say is if people in the 60s had a very very pure substance then 2000 mics would be conceivable.  1000 of the stuff I had in the early 70s would have been unthinkable.  1000 of the "university" batch that came later was very  "doable".  I'm wondering if the doses I had in high school were really impure or adulterated with something nasty.  A lot of them had some sort of speed "included".  That was the stuff that started my hppd.  The clean "material" I got later didn't seem to make hppd any worse.  It was different.

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Jay, one thing you mentioned is how you appear to be very laid back to others.  I'm the same way but there's something I struggle with constantly that's part of my hppd (I think).

It's a little difficult to describe.  Each of us has a persona.  We act in a certain way around others and we may act one way around our friends and another way around someone else.  I think Ken Kesey referred to this as "social armor".  Psychedelics strip away your social armor and you can (or you think you can) *see* into other people and I used to think I could see this social armor.  What happens to me now is the little nuances of each person's persona is exaggerated.  People often seem like stereotypical used car salesman.  Little behaviors that are normally common social behaviors seem so over the top that I have difficulty communicating sometimes.  Instead I just act calm and I don't say much.  I smile a lot. 

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Hi,  I myself have taken this tab called Lsa, and this was the only hallucination stuff I've ever taken.. I tried it n liked it even though the visuals were still there.. about a month later I tried it again and then smoked weed soon after. That  turned out to be the scariest trip of my life. My mind was going crazy as I looked at how colours were moving,  and patterns were everywhere,  and then when people would talk around me,  I would struggle to keep up with understanding whatever there saying. It was one of the worst things ever to Occour to me.  After the trip was done.  I could still see patterns and my mind still felt the drug.. it's calmed down a little after these 4 years, but I could still feel it's effects.. every time I look at the grass, it has these swirly pattern connections, or if I look at the tile or concrete on the ground, or patterns on the walls(just examples out of Many). My mind notices connections that forum patterns. My thoughts aren't natural anymore and it's difficult to process what people are saying to me,  or giving them a reply(I've improved on this thought over these years)... the trippy visuals that i see are best described as like. When tee lights are off and you see figures in the dark that aren't what they actually seem to be, and your mind sees it as like a monster or something,  until you turn on the light and realize what it really is, but you also realize why you seen it that way(because it's shape is similar). Well anyways,  that's how my trippy visuals are like. I see something as completely different until I concentrate or get a closer look.. another thing is that my minds thoughts don't stay still and on topic. Especially when I'm excited,  it's like my mind races around instead of being calm and thinking on topic.. if anyone can help me by giving advice, prescribing certain medications, or ANYTHING. Please let me know... p.s I don't smoke weed or anything anymore because it enhances these effects again

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On 3/6/2017 at 11:31 AM, MadDoc said:

Jay, one thing you mentioned is how you appear to be very laid back to others.  I'm the same way but there's something I struggle with constantly that's part of my hppd (I think).

It's a little difficult to describe.  Each of us has a persona.  We act in a certain way around others and we may act one way around our friends and another way around someone else.  I think Ken Kesey referred to this as "social armor".  Psychedelics strip away your social armor and you can (or you think you can) *see* into other people and I used to think I could see this social armor.  What happens to me now is the little nuances of each person's persona is exaggerated.  People often seem like stereotypical used car salesman.  Little behaviors that are normally common social behaviors seem so over the top that I have difficulty communicating sometimes.  Instead I just act calm and I don't say much.  I smile a lot. 

I feel that way too.. like everyone tries too much to pick up unrealistic personas to connect and fit and seem normal.  But muy brain can't stop seeing past it.. also,  whenever I watch movies,  it's hard for my brain to accept the fake story as thought it were real(I mean,  that's how we SHOULD enjoy movies). Instead my mind is on the reality that these people are just acting and it's fake... sometimes, in a way.  I do accept the movie for what it is tho

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The advice I give everyone is stop taking drugs ... at least for a while.  See if the symptoms moderate.  For me, weed really makes my visuals intolerable so I don't touch it.  Every once in a great while I give it a try and it's never pleasant.  You did one dose of LSA or did you do other hallucinogenic substances as well?  If you've only dosed once you may have a good chance of having your symptoms clear up but it might take a while.  If you're having issues with anxiety, I can't recommend mindful meditation enough.  Good medicine.  I don't take any prescription medication so I can't comment on that.  Hang in there!

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I smoked Like 5 joints of weed in my life do i have a Big chance to recover?

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The organized hallucinations (geometric and so forth) seem better.  

I was getting amoeba-like, unstructured hallucinations (along with jagged walnut tree leaves/yellow jacket visual disturbances) that were horrendous.  

Nevertheless, 4 decades is a huge time to endure this.  Keep up a positive attitude!!

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Thanks mgrade.  In reality, I don't endure it anymore.  It's just part of me.  I think I would miss the visuals if they vanished.  I'm not sure.  They've never held me back in life so, I just let them be.  Then again, I DIDN'T miss the CEVs when they went away.  It's so nice to close my eyes and see nothing ... well, there still a little background radiation in there.

Edited by MadDoc
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