Hello everyone --
I have been experiencing symptoms of HPPD for about a month now so I figured it's time to find other people with this condition to tell my story and ask more specific questions -- that being said hello out there, nice to meet you and I'm happy this forum exists. Thanks in advance if you're about to take the time to read this....
I have been using psychedelic drugs on and off for about 10 years now. I've always been very careful and aware of harm reduction practices, and have never really had a "bad" trip before. This summer I spent about a month in Berlin and partied pretty hard, I used mainly MDMA, but also ketamine, speed, alcohol and weed. (from most used to least used) So, I didn't do any "proper" psychedelic drugs (I do think MDMA and especially ketamine are psychedelic). My most recent "proper" psychedelic trip was 7g of mushrooms about 6 months prior. I used to take a lot of MDMA but it has been quite a few years (3-4?) since I've taken so much of it over an extended period of time.
While I was in Berlin I did a lot of MDMA, give or take about 4 days on and 3 days off for the month. Note that this is nothing compared to how some of the hardcore locals party, and I mention that to point out that I don't understand why this is happening to me and not other people? Obviously we don't know, but for real, why meee??Anyways if I take a large enough amount of MDMA (1/2 of a really good pill) I almost always experience psychedelic visuals. When I was in experiencing this in Berlin I would ask whoever I split a pill with if they were seeing the visuals that I was, and they never were. I only asked a handful of people but it's still a bit strange that they weren't seeing what I was when we took the same thing, and this ruled out my thinking that maybe I was given MDA, 2CB, or something more psychedelic instead of MDMA. The visuals are very similar to what I experience on acid/shrooms, but very gentle and more heavy on the geometric patterns. The first night I was there I took 2 pills of really good MDMA and I was super fucked up, sitting on a bench, trying to keep my eyes open so I didn't get kicked out of Berghain, all the while watching light reflections in the air flip from 3D and then to 2D, almost like a hologram glitching out. My depth perception was wonky and trippy and everyone I saw had thin, bright technicolor halos around their bodies with little swirls here and there around their features. When I'm tripping I always really pay attention to the patterns that show up in my skin and in the walls (also in the sky and certain kinds of organic formations). I describe this pattern to people as Aztec lace that kind of flows and pulses through everything. I've tried to draw it before because it looks as if it could be drawn, but it's elusive and moves around so it can't really be captured. I see this exact same "pattern" on acid, mushrooms and now on MDMA. One night in a club I got stuck in the bathroom watching these patterns on the wall of the stall, they were so vivid and I was also seeing animals and creatures showing themselves to me from within the walls which was new to me. I'll stop attempting to tell about all of the fun, trippy (crazy) stuff that I experience/d on MDMA but I am generally curious if this is common for people who use it who dont have hppd, (I do have some friends who don't have hppd who have had psychedelic visuals on MDMA) and also whether people who have hppd have had similar experiences on MDMA.
I noticed my hppd symptoms one day towards the end of my stay in Berlin because this pattern that I see in my skin stopped going away. At this point in time I had started using a lot of speed and was a bit sleep deprived. One night I didn't sleep and still went out the next evening and took MDMA. (a lot of other people I was partying with do this kind of thing often and I don't think they've developed hppd) Ever since those few days I have constantly been able to look at my forearm and undeniably see the aztec lace. I continued to use MDMA for a few more times after noticing that the patterns weren't going away when I sobered up, and they would just fade a little and be less noticeable when I got sober and would get more intense when I was using. One of the mornings after going out I couldn't even tell if my pupils were still huge or if my perception was just fucked up and I wasn't able to tell if I was sober or not because at this point I had full on hppd symptoms. When using MDMA the visuals got a lot more intense, but maybe because I was paying a lot of attention to them. One of the last mornings after taking MDMA I literally saw "the pattern" slowly morph into a fucking portal in the wall next to my bed. It was beautiful and strange and spiritual-ish (?) but at this point I decided to stop giving it so much attention and that I needed to take a break and do a fucking detox. I did some research and I wasn't freaking out because I figured it would fade away and that I just did too much speed or something and it will all get out of my system.
Well here I am today a month later and I can still see the pattern in my skin (and other people's skin, etc.) Note that I always see this pattern when I'm tripping on "proper" psychedelics and would aaalways wonder WHY the hell it can be so undeniably real, right there in my arm, but when I'm sober it's completely gone! I would wish that I could just see this beautiful interesting shit when I'm sober. Well, here I am... be careful what you wish for I guess. I've been reading a lot about this and i definitely think its a real disorder, but maybe manifests in different ways for different people. We do not understand the human brain very well, let alone what psychedelics are doing to them so no wonder a disorder like this is so elusive. What I do know for sure is that I was never able to notice this pattern when I was sober, no matter how fucking hard I tried to, and I really have tried to see it when I'm sober with no luck. Now trying not to see it can be difficult sometimes. This is new.
The anxiety element is the only thing that worries me. I had my first panic attack last summer and haven't really had one since but now I feel it creeping in sometimes like it might take over and fuck me up which is really scary in itself. So I've avoided what felt like the beginnings of a few panic attacks since then. I got the panic attack in the first place because I had taken Kratom and then touched a wet vile of acid and thought I dosed myself -- so rightfully so I freaked out. It lasted an hour and I thought I was going to die but I didn't dose myself and everything was fine. I felt a bit of panic creeping in in the few days after I self-diagnosed with hppd but I'm mostly ok with it now that I've realized that my brain is mostly ok, from what I'm capable of noticing I haven't done any serious damage. The problem is that I feel like in the future it may be far more difficult for me to take psychedelics, and I worry I may give myself a panic attack and think I'll get stuck like this forever or whatever. I do NOT want to stop taking psychedelics, though. I've read that weed is the worst trigger and makes symptoms worse, and I rarely smoke weed so I have no serious problem with giving that up. I haven't smoked yet since getting hppd, though, and I wonder if it's worth it since I'm only a month in to see what happens.
TLDR: MDMA bender gave me HPPD --> SYMPTOMS: "acid pattern" is undeniably noticeable in my skin and other things like walls and certain kinds of surfaces. It does come out more when I pay attention to it but it's distracting on other people's faces and I have to try not to pay attention to it when talking to people (especially people with freckles). I also have visual snow, trailing, and generally a bit of brain fog. It also really affects me on the computer when I'm reading (right this instant) because the letters are swaying. It gets much worse at night and with anxiety or attention, BUT this is NOT all in my head or purely because of anxiety/attention. I noticed one morning that the "acid pattern" didn't go away, and this is undeniable: It is still here and it wasn't here before. I have some other symptoms as well but I'll stop rambling here because Ive told the main points of my story and explained my symptoms.
In conclusion :
I'd like to hear what some of you think of my experience, if it's similar or different to yours, etc. Any suggestions or recommendations. As interesting as it is I would like to go back to normal, but am in the process of accepting that I might not and will have to be extra careful with my drug use in the future, which reeeally saddens me actually, now that I'm typing it out!! I am always so careful with drugs and usually really responsible but I just went a liiitle bit out of bounds and now I have fucking hppd, shit!!
I also am just intellectually interested in all of this stuff... I like to speculate about what exactly happens within this particular kind of psychedelic pattern recognition and what it means in the big picture questions about reality and consciousness. Anyways.. thanks again if you read this and I hope to chat with some of you ~
Hey guys, so recently I have been feeling very bad about where my life is at so I figured I would share my story, maybe I will feel better if I talk about it and in this day and age this is talking. Anyway, I have been a psychedelic user since the 11th grade, started with some gummy bears that had "LSD" dripped on them, they tasted like battery acid but I knew very little about the drug at the time. I ate about 10-12 of those in all on 3 separate occasions before I actually tripped, and to this day I can truthfully say it was the weirdest trip that I have ever experienced in my life, the feeling that I describe as synthetic. I then did LSD about 15 times and mushrooms about 20 different occasions. The last occasion that I tripped I ate mushrooms, i was at my friends house and we decided to eat 2 grams each, and we were gonna hangout there and smoke all night and just trip, and about 15 minutes after we ate them before we started tripping a group of my friends show up maybe 6-7 of them all telling us to come over to the one kids house to trip with them and party. I myself didn't want to go because i didn't like tripping with more than one or two people at a time, so I was already out of my comfort zone, but I ended up going. We got there and I knew every single person there but I was feeling a little social awkwardness due to the fact that maybe five out of the fifteen people there were tripping, at one point I had a friend come up to me and another kid and asked us if we just wanted to go down and smoke in his house, so we went and I started feeling a lot better. We will call the two friends i was with J and G, me and J get along very well and J was the friend i was with at the beginning of the night, G and I on the other hand don't get along as well but are still friends. We started watching Family Guy and G pulled out his dab rig and took a dab then proceeded to offer both me and J a dab, I of course accepted and this is where my night really started to go south, I started tripping really hard, and none of us were talking we were just watching an extremely old family guy episode, one of the ones where only one character moves at a time, and if they speak only their mouths move, and it just kinda weirded me out watching that, in fact it weirded us all out so we decided to go for a walk, G went back up to the party and me and J accompanied by two more friends who were NOT tripping, and started walking, we will call this friends B and A, so me J B and A were all walking down this back road in some Pennsylvania woods at 3 am. We started walking and B and A started asking me about my life overseas, as I started trying to explain what life was like i began to get stuck, I was trying to describe to them the feeling of being overseas and obviously they weren't able to perceive the depiction that I was providing, I got a little anxious and stopped talking about it, we continued to walk when me and J ended up being about 13 feet behind them, I felt some sort of psychological connection with J, we couldn't telepathically read each others minds or anything but we just felt the fact that we were both perceiving on a completely different level than the others. All the sudden I hear A and B talking, saying things like, "I feel like they are retarded, I feel like im talking to a third grader." and then laughing, I didn't take this lightly and said something like "hey how about you keep your mouth shut and quit talking shit", I really made things awkward now, and there was no talking. When we got back from our walk we were sitting on a few big rocks just hanging out, I had already apologized for my first out lash and everything is back to normal, as we are sitting there B says something very slightly provocative (i cannot remember verbatim what was said" and I snapped out, I couldn't control what I was doing or saying, but I was standing up pointing my finger at B and cussing at him telling him to shut the fuck up or fight me, what was really weird was the fact that I had no control over what I was doing, the whole time I was thinking in my head "what am I doing? Why am I doing this? I need to stop yelling at him and let it go. Whats happening to me. I'm never gonna stop tripping. After that night I was kinda weirded out by the whole incident so I stopped taking any type of psychedelic, after a few months I started noticing that I was tripping constantly, especially in situations that made me nervous, like going to a court hearing, i was looking at the floor and i was seeing waves everywhere and books sliding in and out of the shelves. This constant tripping lasted for a while, I became a different person, It was like i developed ADD and anxiety, and my depression had worsened a lot. Me and my girlfriend broke up while i was going through this as well and it was extremely hard for me, I plummeted into a deep depression and didn't think I had ever truly loved myself. I was a big time party freak before I met my girlfriend and kinda mellowed out the year we were together, so after we broke up I kinda jumped right back into it, I started doing a lot of benzos because they made me feel numb, in the HPPD state I feel everything and the feeling is multiplied, so these were a quick addiction for me, although my HPPD subsided. I continued partying and doing drugs until I went to my freshman semester of college at, you guessed it WVU. As soon as I got down there I made some bad friends and was robbing people and doing pills and smoking like never before, I eventually had a close call and dropped out and returned home, when I got home I did the same old thing, robbed people and did pills, and I really needed something to change my life around quick. Then one night I was staying in a motel with a friend when he pulls out an ounce of mushrooms, Ahhhhh my friends at last. He asked me if he cared if he ate some, and i said as long as I can eat some with you. It had been really long since i tripped and this friend was my best friend for the past two years so I decided i was in a good environment with one friend, fuck it. We started tripping, and it was a trip like I had never had before, I ate 4.3 grams of caps and we blasted off into the unknown, after a while of tripping and happy laughs good visuals, we had to go sell a half ounce to someone about 20 minutes away, so we drove there just talking, no music the whole time. We talked about life and about where we were at and if we were happy. On the way back i started to notice that my eyes were going lazy and i was seeing one road for each eye that I had, So I was double visioned basically. I found it extremely hard to fight this so I just focused on one road and drove perfectly all the way back, when we got there we were still conversing and heading to get food, all the sudden, epiphany after epiphany, my vision closed in and formed one extremely clear picture, like I have never seen anything before and It was while I was saying how I needed to quit doing drugs and focus on my body and spiritual health, My friend says we opened our third eye, and I believed it, my whole life changed that day and i started loving psychedelics again, buying and using daily, I would micro-dose, i would take .5 in the morning and .5 around 3-6 pm, even though i wasn't doing it right i thought i was okay because i was only micro-dosing. I started getting into meditation and yoga and all these spiritual things, I had a few epiphanies while meditating that were very radical, like one was I felt a telepathic connection with the universe and was thinking with consciousness, I say consciousness because the image that came along with the thought was telling me that consciousness is one, we are all the same, so the first thing i thought to ask was whats the point of life? The response; Love, the point of life is to love everything and everyone, because no matter if I am human and dog is dog, we are both alive, thriving on this planet together, so If i have the knowledge to care for life on this planet I must. This short lived high point in my life quickly faded weeks after when I noticed that I was tripping all the time again... It has been about 4 months since then and I am in the worst place ever, I cannot get myself to work, I cannot eat, I sleep surprisingly well though still. I have had crazy thoughts that pop into my head along with my visuals, like i saw visual snow, and i thought "well what if it is really something out there that I can see but nobody else can.." or "well if i believe that this room is moving then in my reality.. it really is moving.." And i become scared of these thoughts even though I don't believe them, It scares me to know that my brain is thinking them. I have debated suicide many nights, I consider myself a fuck up and a failure for all these evens that have happened, and now that Im thinking so much i begin to debate whether or not I am going crazy, I used to be such a smart kid, being able to off any teacher because I would find ways to prove them wrong, or being able to win any debate with friends because I knew more about the subject, I went from that to being the awkward kid who doesn't really talk a lot and has been sick twice in two weeks so he missed four days of work. I am beginning to fear that I can no longer do this. Hope this story was put together decently for you, I tend to get off topic sometimes, any thoughts comments would be appreciated dearly.
Hi friends —
My experience with HPPD started about 4 1/2 years ago, with a single dose of MDMA.
For me, my symptoms are: anxiety/panic, DP/DR, visual snow, flashing solid colors, some tinnitus, and seeing movement in geometric patterns.
Also: I used to always be a “crier” and someone who feels their emotions very deeply. During the first few weeks of HPPD, I cried so much, some times out of misery, some times out of gratitude to still be alive, some times because I heard some beautiful music and felt connected to it. But then after a few weeks my emotionality faded, which I assume must have been a psychological coping mechanism. I was so overwhelmed with anxiety that I had to shut down emotionally to stay sane. So no more tears or feelings of meaningful connection. I still want to feel those cry-feels so bad!.
Over the next two years I got better at managing my symptoms, but saw little to no improvement in them. I was still smoking weed often (my bad) & still couldn’t really FEEL, and my anxiety was off the charts 24/7. It was absolute hell every waking day.
A little over two years ago I started on 10mg Celexa, and the improvement I saw in my anxiety levels was life changing. Not gone completely, but I started feeling significantly better and my anxiety attacks became fewer and farther between. Worked my way up to 20mg, which is my current dose.
A few months ago I finally found a neuro who is actually familiar with HPPD, who added Lamictal, ramping up VERY slowly (I only got up to 37.5mg/day). In the first month (2 weeks on 12.5, 2 weeks on 25) I started to notice my visual symptoms clearing up slightly and my brain feeling a bit clearer. It was actually the best I had felt since before HPPD and I was excited to continue ramping up on the lamictal, hoping it might help get me to a place where I can really feel emotions aside from anxiety again.
After that first month though, things started to get unpleasant again. Bouts of anxiety attacks, some good days, some very bad. It felt like I had been consistently alright for a while, but now my worst symptoms are pushing their way back in. I also developed minor muscle twitches every few minutes, which was completely new. I was prescribed Klonopin after a particularly bad anxiety attack and now I take 0.25mg when I feel myself getting panicky. I don’t like it, but it does keep me from panic. I quit smoking weed then (a few months ago), but that hasn’t helped.
My hopeful suspicion is that perhaps I’m experiencing SSRI “poop out” with my Celexa, and could therefore ideally switch SSRIs and continue with lamictal. My neuro says the only way to know that for sure is to come back off the lamictal and see how it feels to just be on the Celexa again. Back down to 25 from 37.5 lamictal and feeling a bit worse actually, but my neuro says I need to get down to zero and wait two months to see what the deal really is. I’d much rather keep my lamictal dosage as is, and try switching to a different SSRI, as that just feels more “right” to me - but she’s the professional so ...
If it turns out that I’m actually not tolerating lamictal well, I am interested in looking into sinemet... it seems to have been a wonder drug for some people here, but I would be very worried about developing dyskinesia, as I work in a field where that could ruin my career.
No targeted questions here really, just looking to share relevant experiences/advice with other HPPD’ers. ❤️
PS: for anyone doing the ol’ downward mental spiral in these forums and feeling hopeless (like I used to), things WILL get better. I’m still having struggles but I’m not in hell like I used to be, and life is very worth living for me right now! I have my bachelors and masters degrees, a solid career at 25, wonderful friendships, and going by objective criteria, am a fully functional human being. You will be okay! Keep advocating for yourself!
Ive been accidently dosed like 8 tabs of liquid acid, and stupidly continued "tripping," even after that. So I started noticing a static over my vision, and I thought nothing of it at first. It has gotten much worse, and I haven't taken L.S.D in over a month. It especially gets worse if I'm smoking weed, it literally makes me have acid like visuals. Even without weed I get, tracers, halos around light, I get the pattern formation that forms when you take L, everything looks like it's shifting and melting, my anxiety has gotten progressively worse, I get visual snow, and I have pain behind my eyes sometimes, like a pressure almost, I have really bad after images, pretty much on anything bright, or lit up. Today for example I was driving, and looked at a stop sign when I looked down I saw the stop sign in my vision with my eyes open or closed. Does it ever get better, and is does it mean your brain is ruined?