K.B.Fante

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K.B.Fante last won the day on April 13

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About K.B.Fante

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  1. I got HPPD three years ago now. I've made many posts here during that span and have tried to make a post every year around my anniversary. I'm a little late on this one but I actually take that as a good sign. It means I'm not as obsessed with my condition and therefore am getting better. I guess I've already said everything I need to in other posts. I can't really summarize everything that's happened to me over the last three years without writing a book. There's just so much that's happened ever since getting HPPD. I've had all kinds of additional health problems since and am currently in the process of dealing with another health issue that's really taken a great toll on my life. It's just crazy looking back now after three years. I'm not even the same person. I've learned so much about myself, my family, my health history, the world, life, everything. It's crazy to say but this whole experience has absolutely made me a more complete person. I really think my brain had faulty wiring from an early age and that, as painful as this experience has been (I wouldn't wish it on anybody in the history of the world), it was necessary for me to finally face my past and overcome demons that had haunted me silently since the day I was born. I still have many visual problems but they're very manageable now and don't really interfere with my daily routine, which is absolutely remarkable to say -- just absolutely astonishing considering how bad my HPPD and DP were even a few years ago. I truly had a terrible case of HPPD. My brain just totally crapped out. The amount of pain I've had to deal with every day for the last three years is nothing short of inhumane and mind blowing, to be quite honest. So the fact I'm able to cope with HPPD after all this is truly astonishing. It just goes to show that this condition is something you can heal from, although it takes more work than you could have ever imagined. If you want to get better you have to eat real food, exercise every day, do as many healthy habits as you can fit into your day, and most importantly you have to never give in or never give up. If I had a dollar for every time I thought of killing myself over the last three years I'd be a very wealthy man. But I never did. And look where I'm at now. I'm so happy to be alive and I feel like I'm seeing the world through a totally different set of eyes and a brain that very few people on this planet would understand. Life is so beautiful, and it's only that way because of what I've been through. Anyway, I imagine I've got another two or three years before I can say I'm totally healed, and I honestly may never be quite 100 percent again, but I'm OK with that. I'm just so grateful to even be alive at this point, I'll take anything I can get. If anybody has questions I can try and answer below. I think I have a pretty good idea of what HPPD is and how to cope and heal, but of course I'm no doctor and neither is anybody here. But I do think it's important to keep this community alive and pass on knowledge so others may benefit. As long as you stay away from drugs, eat healthy, exercise, remain mindful day in and day out, I think you'll give yourself a great shot at recovery.
  2. Curious if anybody's heard some of Michael Pollan's interviews for his new book on psychedelics, and if so what your opinion is. Here's a good interview he did for Fresh Air: https://www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/2018/05/15/611301978/fresh-air-for-may-15-2018-michael-pollan-on-the-new-science-of-psychedelics?showDate=2018-05-15 I've long subscribed to the glutamate toxicity theory as has been mentioned above, however I've always remained open to other ideas if they made sense. The only thing I feel pretty comfortable saying is that HPPD is the result of axon damage or death to some degree across multiple areas of the brain, likely in the limbic system and likely in connection with the parasympathetic or sympathetic nervous system. I think which nervous system is damaged depends on how the damage occurred, however. For example, excitotoxicity would likely affect the sympathetic given fight or flight is stimulatory while a stroke of some kind would be parasympathetic. One thing I find interesting in listening to Pollan's interviews is his repeated mentioning of the Default Mode Network (DMN) and how during psychedelic trips it basically goes offline. Depersonalization symptoms are essentially the result of a malfunctioning or nonexistant DMN and given the connection between DP and HPPD it's not too far of a jump to suggest HPPD is the result of a damaged DMN or simply one that never reboots due to lost connections or damaged axons. Many parts of the brain are connected through lengthy axons and I'm wondering if during the downregulation of the DMN when bloodflow decreases some of these axons are damaged via stroke of some kind. Also, with regards to glutamate, one of the biggest triggers for excess glutamate inside the brain is inflammation. If you eat a diet high in bread (wheat being the most inflammatory food known to man), oils and other inflammatory foods (essentially the standard American and Westernized diets) then your chances of having some sort of autoimmunity sky rocket. I also don't think we should entirely rule out the hypothesis that HPPD could be the result of our brains attacking our own brains after the ingestion of drugs which could very well mimic invaders our brains are already used to attacking.
  3. Bit more of an update: So after my gluten binge I've tried to cut back but I haven't entirely eliminated it from my diet. I've gone a handful of days here or there without it, then maybe a couple with it, and I've noticed I still get symptoms even after eliminating gluten for a good five days from my diet. So basically there's some form of a buildup inside my body that can only be diminished or completely destroyed by eliminating gluten for vast periods of time, likely weeks or months on end. The worst offenders are without question gooey, sticky breads in large doses (think donuts, processed sandwich breads, etc.), as I've noticed immediate and lasting negative effects when I eat these as opposed to a small cookie or some broccoli (which has high glutamate for a vegetable) for example. What I find so interesting about this is how all these internal symptoms that I saw completely disappear after eliminating gluten for a couple years have suddenly re-appeared. I mentioned them above but one of the others that I've noticed is my tinnitus has returned as well, which I haven't had in over a year. The other mental symptoms, which I can only describe as feeling almost schizophrenic (racing and overactive thoughts, loudness inside my head, etc.), have also returned and I haven't had these for over two years at least. The most important aspect of all this is that when I have eaten tons of gluten and really overdosed I sorta get the same feeling I did as when my trip went south and I felt my brain go to a really dark place which I'm convinced is what gave my HPPD. One of the things about the acid I took that day was that I felt my brain heating up to a point where I almost couldn't handle it. Other hallucinogens I'd taken always made me feel good and relatively calm, but this drug -- whatever it was -- sorta did the opposite and made me feel anxious and caused my mind to race like crazy and given the hyperactive relationship to how I feel when eating too much gluten to the day I got HPPD I'm kinda convinced that excitotoxicity is the culprit here. I mean, here I am three years removed from the trip that gave me HPPD and yet when I consume too many hyperactive glutamate-containing substances I feel exactly the same as I did that day, only at a much, much lower level obviously. I also remember how these similar symptoms were really prevalent in the first few days and weeks right after I got HPPD -- I honestly felt like I'd contracted schizophrenia -- but how they completely went away in time and especially after changing my diet. Point is there is absolutely a connection with the same feelings I had when I initially got HPPD and the feelings I have now, three years later, when introducing large amounts of glutamate into my diet. I also have lots of inflammation inside my body due to additional health problems I'm having which contributes to glutamate excitotoxicity. Here is a great summary of that connection in case anybody is interested: http://www.rlcure.com/glutamate.html I know not as many people here are interested in finding out the source of HPPD but after digging into this for years and reading all kinds of studies and reports and of course all the valuable information on this site and doing constant trial and error in my own life with foods, drugs, supplements, etc., I'm at this point convinced that HPPD has some sort of connection to excitotoxicity and cell death. We of course don't have solid scientific evidence but the number of correlations that exist are just absolutely overwhelming at this point.
  4. I've posted about autoimmunity before but didn't get too much in terms of responses. There's a good number of people here who have them, including myself, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if there was a connection, especially considering how many people have anxiety which is essentially the emotional version of autoimmunity. If your brain and body are constantly looking for invaders and then actually find them it makes sense they're so prepared to fight that they actually cause damage to themselves in the process.
  5. Just an update on this: Due to some health issues I've had recently I've been somewhat required to eat gluten again in large amounts for the first time in about two years. I'm talking three times or more daily, with the vast majority of my calories coming from gluten products, mostly breads. It's interesting because at first I actually felt better than before (likely due to the fact my body can't handle a lot of the other healthier foods I normally eat and the fact breads are infused with B-vitamins which always seem to help), but after about two weeks I noticed I my health started to deteriorate like crazy. My body just started to feel clogged and lethargic, especially my eyes, but the biggest issue I've had has been mentally. My depersonalization symptoms have shot through the roof (visual symptoms not so much, however). I just feel completely mentally unstable, like the volume has been turned up to 10 inside my head, I feel anxious and on edge, almost schizophrenic, highly sensitive, and just like I'm stuck inside my brain rather than my body. It's crazy because I've eaten TONS of gluten in the last few weeks and as I said, at first I didn't noticed a difference, but as time went on it seems the accumulation of glutamate began to take it's toll. This same sort of pattern has occurred with other foods in my diet including nutmeg, nightshades and caffeine. I've posted about them here, but I find it interesting I can now add glutamate to the mix. All of these substances share a common bond in that they're essentially hyperactive drugs when taken in large amounts. I know there's a study (at least one that I know of) where gluten was removed from the diet of schizophrenics and many showed tremendous improvements to their condition. I also know there's a lot of cases where people from third-world countries without much access to gluten are suddenly introduced to the Western diet in the U.S. and elsewhere and immediately develop mental instability and in some cases have to be hospitalized. Anyway, this is just another in the growing list of foods that I would recommend people limit for the benefit of HPPD. It's not that you can't enjoy some pizza or bread or baked goods every now and then, but clearly if you make these foods a foundational pillar of your diet you're probably not giving yourself any chance at healing or even coping with HPPD.
  6. I've experimented with fasting quite a bit as well as keto which has the same effects. Fasting too long and eating keto can be dangerous for some people with additional health conditions so you really have to study up and make sure you're doing it properly. (For example, don't eat tons of protein just because your going keto and don't crash your blood sugar by eating candy and ice cream once you break your fast.) That said, I've noticed a definite improvement in my symptoms when doing these. You just feel lighter, like your brain is finally running on the type of fuel it needs. The problem is you have to do these for long periods of time to really feel the benefits and it's tough, especially going keto. As long as you eat healthy whole foods, limit your carb intake and do intermittent fasts for 12-18 hours per day I think you'll see mostly the same benefits as going all out with keto or multi-day fasts. Again, the key is doing a little every day rather than a lot a few days a week. To heal HPPD takes a completely lifestyle change, not a magic bullet.
  7. I know this has been discussed before but I just wanted to post this again for any newcomers or for those interested in trying something new to help alleviate their HPPD. I've been on keto for about a week now and even while going through sugar withdrawals I've felt much better than before. I don't know how to describe it but there's a clarity to my well being, a heaviness that seems to be gone. I'm going to stick on it for a while and see how it works out, but in the meantime here's a great rundown of various studies (including excitotoxicity) where keto is shown to have beneficial results: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2367001/
  8. I posted an article a while back about Robert Sapolsky and there might be some relevant information in there pertaining to this subject. You can find that whole post here: http://hppdonline.com/topic/5604-article-on-robert-sapolsky-stress-the-brain-etc/#comment-35473 The biggest thing with all this seems to be how much stress you were under prior to, during and after your inciting incident that gave you HPPD. It seems anxiety is the real killer in all this as it completely compromises your brain's ability to fight off disease and heal properly after injury. Here's a good quote from the article above on this topic: "The hippocampus is the most glutamate using part of the brain. This is so because learning and memory are so vital to survival that this excitoneurotransmitter is used liberally in this area. The energy crisis to the neurons created by excess glucocorticoids means the neuron doesn’t have adequate energy for reuptake of calcium and glutamate. It is through this lack of cleanup that these chemicals hang around longer; thus increasing calcium release into the cytoplasm, which produces enzymes that increase free radical damage to the cytoskeletal membrane of the cell, thereby bringing about cell death or apoptosis. To protect themselves from excitotoxin damage the neurons produce adenosine, GABA, taurine, heat shock proteins, antioxidants, feedback inhibition of Ca++ flow and increase glucose and lactate uptake to improve energy levels of the neurons. However glucocorticoids interfere with these defense mechanisms also." As Dasitmane says, if HPPD is cell death of some sort whether you recover depends largely on how much damage occurred in the first place. If it was merely the dendrites then you can surely rebuild, but if the cell body itself suffers then you're less likely to experience regrowth. But again, much of this depends on the type of drug, how much, anxiety, proper recovery, where in the brain or body the damage occurs, etc. I think it's safe to say that as long as you refrain from doing drugs again, live a healthy lifestyle, eliminate stress and do all the things necessary to promote growth inside your body that you give yourself an excellent chance at a near or complete recovery. I know in my case I've had all kinds of health issues after getting HPPD (everything from benzo withdrawals to anxiety to sugar addiction to thyroid issues to digestive complications to depression, heartbreak, you name it) and yet I've never had any major setbacks that I haven't been able to recover from. It's the exact same theory as trimming a plant or a flower: If you just clip the buds or part of the stalk it will grow back again and again, but if you start damaging the root then you risk killing it for good. In this same vein, nature knows which direction to move for a reason. Flora grow towards the sun due to photosynthesis and dendrites grow towards other dendrites for neurochemical benefits. I think the idea they would grow back and have no idea where to grow or connect to doesn't make a lot of sense, but this is just my opinion on the matter and I could be dead wrong. A few more paragraphs on this topic: "For our growth, development, health and fulfillment we need stimulation rich environments...what this stimulation amounts to would differ between us monkeys...some would like more toys, others more playmates, others would want a bigger playground etc... Big Fun is an attempt to generate more stimulating conditions in which growth is possible. Our brains form a million new connections for every second of our lives, revealing the huge importance of our everyday experiences in making our brains what they are. Boredom makes us stupid--the richness of our environment affects our brain structure. With a more stimulating environment our brains develop denser neuron growth and increase the amount of certain synaptic proteins that the brain uses to relay messages between neurons... When it comes to brainpower they say you either use it or lose it. Fred Gage of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies studied the hippocampus, a brain region involved in learning and memory and skills and found that activation of NMDA receptors affects the survival of brain cells. This study in mice suggests that the survival of newly formed adult brain cells depends on the amount of input they receive, via NMDA receptors - proteins that sit on the surface of brain cells and help them communicate with each other, suggesting that communication is essential for neuron survival. http://www.newscient...-job-to-do.html... This suggests that our interpersonal world, (how well we bond and communicate with others, whether we are repressed and if we easily forgive or hold grudges,) might also have a parallel in how well our own neurons communicate with each other and thereby impact the lifespan of those neurons. This resilience of neurons that communicate well with each other might also be key in how we each respond differently to stress and PTSD. Brains that are repressed or weak in self-communication might be more vulnerable to the effects of glucocorticoids and to neuron damage in general."
  9. Glutamate, GABA and acetylcholine are the three neurotransmitters that have come up time and time again in my Google searches based on my symptoms either improving or worsening. I made a post about glutamate a while back here: http://hppdonline.com/topic/5453-glutamate/#comment-34490 And one about the category of vegetables called nightshades, which are anticholinergic, which you can find here: http://hppdonline.com/topic/5431-nightshades/#comment-34336 I also made one about caffeine and its inhibitory affect on GABA: http://hppdonline.com/topic/5371-negative-reaction-to-caffeine/#comment-33944 All these categories of foods make my symptoms worse. If these transmitters are the fuel for the interneurons of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems then it only makes sense that the foods they're found in have an enormous effect on HPPD symptoms. One area of interest I'm increasingly warming to is the vagus nerve, which controls parasympathetic nervous system function. The vagus nerve runs to many different parts of the body and specifically controls stomach function, which I've had terrible problems with recently. A diet high in sugar can damage the vagus nerve and cause damage to the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the nerves. Well, I've had a very high sugar diet over the course of the last year as well as prediabetes due to an under-active thyroid (also connected to the vagus nerve) and all of a sudden my visual symptoms have gotten increasingly worse. In the past I've had symptom flare ups due to diet (mostly caffeine and nightshades), however once my stomach problems began my visual symptoms have gotten significantly worse and stayed that way 24-7. The vagus nerve controls exhalation, which I find interesting considering I had a very difficult time laughing when I first got HPPD. It was as if I couldn't breathe or exhale properly. This has improved over time but I thought it was really strange at first. It would make sense if my vagus nerve was damaged that I couldn't exhale properly, as laughing is a strictly exhaling activity. I know tinnitus is a commonly shared symptom for many of us. There is a connection between the vagus nerve here as well, as shown in this study where stimulation of the vagus nerve resulted in decreased tinnitus: http://www.utdallas.edu/news/2011/1/13-8021_Findings-Show-Promise-in-Battle-Against-Tinnitus_article.html I can't remember where I posted it but my first introduction to the vagus nerve was through this article, which links it to depersonalization -- another shared HPPD symptom -- and provides ways to stimulate it: https://www.selfhacked.com/blog/28-ways-to-stimulate-your-vagus-nerve-and-all-you-need-to-know-about-it/
  10. This is interesting to me. In my amateur Google research I've come back to the occipital lobe time and time again. It'd be interesting if more people posted results as we could possibly find a connection here...
  11. I don't get how you arrived at your conclusion from reading this article. A), we don't know what part of the brain is affected in HPPD. If it's the hippocampus then this articles doesn't really apply because it's well documented to be one of the few areas of the brain where neurogenesis is proven to occur. But again, we don't know this either way. And B), this article doesn't say anything about humans in particular or mention anything about how certain brain regions cannot recover from damage, only that it's not known how many regions are capable of neurogenesis. Traditional brain science is almost getting turned over on a daily basis. Things that were considered set in stone even a few years ago are frequently up for debate with every passing study. It's well established that different parts of the brain connect and overlap when compromised, so even if HPPD results in cell death in brain areas that aren't well studied there's no need to believe they can't be fully healed. The problem with seeing this article as proof that we're out of luck is the simple fact that people who get HPPD do fully recover -- many, in fact. This has been well documented on this site and across the Internet. Though it takes many years for neurogenesis to run its course the countless recovery stories on this site alone are all the proof you need that whatever part of the brain is affected by HPPD clearly has the ability to regrow or reconnect and execute the functions it performed prior to damage.
  12. I don't think you need to worry about stuff like this. I've been scrolling this forum for years and have read plenty of posts from years past yet I've never come across anyone who's had symptoms worsen from vaccines or any other standard medical practices really. Just as long as you stay away from drugs I think you're OK.
  13. It will eventually, it's just gonna take many more years of suffering before it becomes more widely studied and actually becomes understood and acknowledged in the medical lexicon. More and more kids are doing drugs and getting HPPD every day which means more and more will start showing up at doctor's offices. As this continues doctors will eventually have to acknowledge something is up rather than just dismissing it. Again, it's just gonna take a long time. People have to speak up though. How many people come here in the far corners of the Internet instead of writing to doctors or medical professionals? I've said it many times, but unless we decide to band together and actually get noticed this condition is going to continue to be overlooked for many years than is necessary.
  14. I have stomach problems similar to GERD. I basically have to follow all the same protocol. Best thing that's helped me is cutting back drastically on fat, citrus, spicy foods -- anything that will irritate your insides. However the best thing I've found is balancing my stomach PH by eating alkaline foods which are basically just green veggies. I make a smoothie in the morning that's mostly spinach, chard, dandelion greens, parsley, cucumber and then a little non-alkaline fruit like banana and blueberry and man it makes me feel great. All that said, I've had the roughest stretch of my life outside of two years ago when my entire life collapsed about six months after getting HPPD. I have a thyroid issue, gastrointestinal problems, HPPD, broken bones in my foot, a pulled muscle in my abdomen, I've run through all my savings and can honestly barely make it through the day sometimes. One thing HPPD has taught me is to just keep going no matter how painful everything is on a daily basis. I feel I've damn near perfected the craft of living is absolute misery 24-7. I'm just happy I've made enough progress on the HPPD front to see the light at the end of the tunnel -- even though it's still far away.
  15. Pretty much puts the nail in the coffin for me at this point. We know have numerous studies showing proof of cell death from multiple hallucinogens. Now how we get this information to the general public is the real question... I don't get why the 5htp2a receptor needs to be activated in order for the cell death to occur though. That's serotonin, correct?