TheMythos

Constant open eye CEVs, panic, anxiety

47 posts in this topic

Alright so here's my story:

I first noticed the symptoms of HPPD after a mushroom trip in 2009. Nothing too bad, just some black static on stuff, visual snow, lines would move, grass and walls would breathe slightly, etc. This stuff kind of dissipated over time and would come back once in a while when I was really stressed or had too much coffee or lack of sleep. No big deal. I kept doing drugs, even psychedelics, for the next couple of years. Acid in 2010. Some RC in 2012. Weed almost daily.

Everything changed November 7, 2015. I had a panic attack while I was driving with a friend. I've never experienced anything like it, and the sensations of what I was experiencing sent my mind into a state of extreme hypochondria. I thought I was dying. They rushed me to the hospital and checked my heart because I thought I was having a heart attack, everything ended up being fine so they gave me a 10mg Valium and sent me on my way.

The panic didn't go away. It was all day, every day. It was relentless, and all this horrible stuff about dying was going through my mind. I thought death was imminent, that I was going to have a heart attack or stroke any minute. I guess I got into a state of hypervigilance.

About a month later is when everything got way worse and what I've been experiencing every single day non-stop for about a year and a half.

A month after the initial attack, in early December, I started to notice that I was seeing only what I can describe as closed-eye visuals with my eyes open. The perceptions in my head and mental state started to change. Anything I could think of I could see in very vivid detail, and thoughts and images were flooding into my mind on auto-piilot and non-stop. It was like I was tripping on a half-tab of acid 24/7 but it was all mental. Like I said, I've had HPPD since 2009 but have never experienced anything like this before December 2015 - like a mental picture show in my head that just wouldn't stop. I see clouds, birds, lights, and colors - anything that the mind can imagine, anything I can think of I see, with my eyes open, but in my mind. All the time. I feel like I'm between two realities, like there's another world inside my head all the time and I'm switching between them. There's a "space" in my mind's eye where all these images originate from, and it's this "space" that I think is the core of the problem. I haven't done drugs about a week before the panic attack, and don't plan on doing them ever again.

Anyway, I couldn't sleep, became agoraphobic, and driving became impossible. Riding in the car was a nightmare and would send me into panic mode. The extreme anxiety/panic/hypervigilance lasted about 4 months straight and I slowly started driving with my dad in the car, and was able to start driving close to home around town on my own. I can now make it into the outskirts of the city but there's a certain distance I can get to and I can feel the panic start to envelope me. I started failing my classes and failed an entire semester because I just couldn't do it mentally anymore.

The images and weird thought processes have not stopped for almost a year and a half straight. At first I thought I was going insane. I thought I was in the early stages of schizophrenia and I was about to have a massive psychotic breakdown. But I kept telling myself that I'm too logical and coherent for that. I had several tests ran over the course of a couple of months and even got an mRI done, but there was nothing substantial. I don't see things externally and don't hear things, no external hallucinations, I just see shit in my head.

I feel like I fucked up my mind and my brain. I've been to about 5 different therapists and have been on about 12 different medications in this timespan ranging from Abilify to Depakote to SSRIs. Nothing has really abated the symptoms and the withdrawal from all these drugs left me in a worse state.

My life is very stressful right now. I'm on disability and have maybe one friend I can hangout with in real life. No girlfriend. Live at home with my parents. Money's always an issue.

I've contemplated suicide every day for the past year and a half. One thing gives me hope - a friend I met on an HPPD Facebook group who said he went through the same thing and said that what I'm experiencing is all DP/DR and hypervigilance. He said his lasted about a year and a half and then he made himself go out and do things and it started going away. Also, in January of this year, I had a really good month where the images/weird perceptions were down 0.1% (I measure their intensity on a percentage scale). It was a really good month. That gives me hope. But the past couple of months have been non-stop.

There was even a period of about 3 months where I developed some kind of weird synesthesia where whenever I touched or saw metal like a fork or tin foil, I would feel it throughout my whole body and in my consciousness like my body was made of metal. That went away. If that can go away, can the images and the space in my head?

I feel like every day is just a struggle to survive and all I want are my mind and life back. Can the intensity of all this go down, to where it's manageable or not even noticeable? I'm prescribed klonopin and it helps sometimes but I don't want to get addicted to it.

If any of you have advice I'm all ears.

Thank you for listening to my story. Please tell me that there's some ray of hope out there and I haven't completely fucked up my brain.

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Just wanted to add that the worst part about these images/mental hallucinations is that the movement that comes with them. For example, right now I'm seeing an image of myself and it's moving around in my head, like a representation of my body. I see lights and mandalas and all kinds of weird shit like this.

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i know exactly what you mean, i also get weird mental images that pop into my head randomly but for me it only happens when my eyes are closed. You didnt fuck up your brain, its simply hppd fucking with you and i know its hard to believe your sane with all this shit going on, but since you did get yourself checked out and they said your fine, and since i also can relate to everything your saying (mental images although i have it to a lesser extent,things moving, changed perception on the world , feeling like your going crazy, etc.) i honestly think it boils down to hppd, dr/dp and anxiety. Keep in mind hppd comes in all shapes and sizes, some people may have stronger visuals, while some people may have very little visuals and a lot more mental aspects of it. I obviously dont know what is best for you (i.e if you should take medication or not). I found that medication didnt help me at all but it changes between person to person, but remember counseling may help.  If you do decide to take medication you will probably be prescribed either an SSRI or an antipsychotic, SSRI's have been shown to help about 50% of people with hppd but the other 50% of people who took it, it made there hppd worse. Antipsycotics however had mostly negative effects on hppd. I tried Antipsycotics (Seroquel) and SSRI's (Prozac)for both my hppd and my severe anxiety and found that seroquel made my hppd and anxiety quite worse and prozac had no real changes on either, these are just my personal  experiences, talk to your doctor and do your research before taking any medication. Remember your not crazy its all your hppd, anxiety  and dp/dr. 

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For many years I had totally indescribable moving  images in my head when my eyes were closed.  Like tripping but far more wierd.  They were so bizarre I really can't describe it fully.  That's the one part of my hppd that went away.  I'm not saying my head has totally cleared but it's much better though it took quite a while to heal.  Just as a point of reference, I dosed heavily for about 6 years.  You are not as you said "fucked in the brain".  The fact that you wrote such a coherent post proves you're all there and clearly intelligent .  The brain is very elastic and can adapt.  I think the best thing to is to stop dosing and refrain from weed to see if things improve.  Also, even with this condition you can live a wonderful and productive life.  I mean that!  Hang in there!  

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Thanks guys. I haven't touched any drug since November 1st, 2015. I have no desire to do drugs ever again.

I have been on Abilify for this for a little over a year. 10 mg then 5 mg and then I cut it to 2.5, and now I'm going off of it cold turkey. I'm thinking of cutting the Depakote in half to 250mg too.

I feel logical, coherent, and feel like I have incredible insight but it's like this visual/imagination/spatial part of my brain went haywire. I hope it all dies down soon because I don't know how much more I can take.

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I was in a similar place as you for a long time. I remember when I first got HPPD it was like being transported into another world because my DP-DR symptoms were so severe. I literally thought I was dreaming this all at one point. Everything looked like a cartoon, people looked like they were sculpted from clay and my visual-spacial recognition system was so completely destroyed I couldn't move my eyes anywhere or track anything across my field of vision without a gigantic and long-lasting smear that persisted for sometimes minutes after I took my eyes away from it. 

I've made tremendous progress since that time and I attribute most all of it to abstaining from drugs and living a healthy lifestyle, especially with regards to eating habits. I don't know what to tell you other than you're not alone, many people here have suffered from intense HPPD and DP-DR and that 1.5 years is nothing in terms of recovering from HPPD. Also, I've been to so many dark places and thought I'd never make it out alive. I don't know how many times I've contemplated suicide, but I've always pulled through, always somehow found a way out and kept on pushing. After two years I'm so happy I did. Though I still have HPPD it's gotten so much better, especially after transforming my diet, and I'm finally in a place where I'm OK from day to day, which I never could say until now. 

HPPD is a very long road and a very strenuous fight, but as others have already pointed out life is worth living even if difficult. You just need to give yourself time. 

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Life is hard and it's tough being human.  That's reality.  However, life is such a miracle (note, I'm an atheist if that's relevant).  We're the matter that woke up to bear witness to whatever "this" is.  I've learned that perhaps my hppd gives me some insight that others may lack.  I understand that day to day life can be difficult with this disorder.  I'll be in a meeting at work, holding it together, while  all the little dots are grouping into shapes on the table in front of me.  It's hard to be normal and I often feel like an alien trying to fit in. But I feel so lucky to be here.  The best thing for me was to get focused.  When I'm really focused my hppd seems to vanish and I accomplish something that gives me an endorphin bump.  It might be something to try.  I don't know if what I've written sounds like nonsense but it's what gets me through the grind.  I am very grateful for each day I get to wake up and do it again even with the constant hallucinations I experience.  We're not lesser human beings because of hppd and we're not bad people for taking drugs to experience non-ordinary reality.  We're simply injured.  Like someone who has lost a leg or gets cancer we need to adapt and move forward.

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Why were you prescribed the Abilify and what effet does it have on you? I'm asking this because I've been on Abilify for 3 months and it has been awful,

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Well I got with a psychiatrist who was really understanding and believed me about HPPD and read the literature on it. We tried everything from SSRIs to Abilify to Lamictal to Depakote. Abilify made me be able to function somewhat but it didn't stop the space in the head or the images completely. I've been off of it for 5 days and I'm not having a particularly good day today.

The worst part besides the images is the weird sensations I get in my head. Sometimes it can feel fuzzy or like static. I literally feel different parts of my head and scalp. Does anyone else get this? Is this all just DP related?

I just feel off...like not myself. Today I got out and was walking around a store and was just seeing all sorts of different colors and lights. I felt detached in my head. I swear it feels like I'm halfway tripping inside my head.

I'm just hoping my mental perception goes back to normal soon because I can't live like this. It ruins everything.

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Forgot to mention that I have pure o ocd, anxiety, depression, and was recently diagnosed as borderline.

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I felt that constant "tripping" when I was younger but it has diminished over time.  I have moments when I'm seeing a visual and I hear a sound and they seem related in my mind and I feel that spaced sensation.  I guess what I'm saying is I can relate.  I've never had the sensation of feeling different parts of my head or scalp.  Not that I can remember anyway.  Give yourself some time to heal.  While my hppd never went away, my condition has significantly improved over the years.  I've also learned to adapt and now they're easy to ignore. Hang in and don't give up.  The mind has an amazing capacity to rewire itself.  

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The strange thing is I've had HPPD since 2009 and was alright for years. Then boom start having non stop panic attacks and it ends up like this. I've actually had a really good day today which is weird because this thing seems to fluctuate randomly for no reason. Tomorrow could be a completely different story.

According to the half life of Abilify I'm on day 6 and 50% of it should be out of my system. I'll know for sure what's up in about a week with it.

 

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2 hours ago, TheMythos said:

The strange thing is I've had HPPD since 2009 and was alright for years. Then boom start having non stop panic attacks and it ends up like this. I've actually had a really good day today which is weird because this thing seems to fluctuate randomly for no reason. Tomorrow could be a completely different story.

According to the half life of Abilify I'm on day 6 and 50% of it should be out of my system. I'll know for sure what's up in about a week with it.

 

I've tried over a hundred supplements, pharmaceuticals, herbal remedies, you name it -- not to mention a complete and ongoing transformation of my diet and health habits -- and if there's one thing I've become an expert at over the last few years it's monitoring my emotions, my thoughts, my anxiety and asking myself what I took or ate that could be contributing to the way I feel. I've had other health issues that have required this constant inventory too and so I'm essentially at the point where I just watch myself all day long, constantly taking stock of my body chemistry, and if there's one thing I've learned throughout this process it's that everything happens for a reason -- at least in terms of your body chemistry. 

I'd really encourage you to try and examine what time of day you feel best, worst, when you have anxiety, when you don't, and so on, even writing this all down in a journal if you have to, and then evaluating what you ate, what pills you took, how much you exercised and seeing if there's any correlation with how you feel. I'd be willing to bet you could figure out at least one common bond that's contributing to the way you feel.

A perfect example from my life: About a week ago I started buying potatoes because they're high in iodine and I need to be on a high iodine diet for my health. I haven't really bought potatoes in over a year, however, since I started eating a more paleo-centric diet. So one night I cook up a potato for dinner, then about three in the morning I wake up completely wide awake, heart beating, with absolutely no explanation as to why I'm feeling this way. I haven't had bad anxiety in over a year, there's nothing on my mind that could be keeping my awake, I just suddenly popped up and couldn't go back to sleep. 

In the morning I did what I usually do when something like this happens and analyzed my diet the day before. I knew I didn't have lots of sugar before bed, and I ate mostly everything I usually do -- except for the potatoes. I then do a little research online and come across several articles that talk about how potatoes are high in carbs and one of the worst foods for people with anxiety and adrenal issues. And there I had it! I was so not used to consuming lots of carbs that when I did it took a huge toll on my sleep and gave me anxiety for the first time in over a year! And all just because of the food I ate. 

All I'm saying is there's reasons behind the way we feel and it's worth it to try and ask why. Maybe HPPD brains are a bit more haywire than others, but I do think in general you can get to the bottom of your emotions and anxiety by really taking a good hard look at everything you're doing, eating and thinking throughout the day. 

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I eat a lot of things with sugar, salt, and potatoes 3 nights out of the week. My diet is really, really bad.

Day 8 off Abilify and my anxiety is down but had an increase in dp and images/space this morning.

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This whole year and a half episode started with panic attacks and anxiety so maybe that's the root of the problem. If I can take care of the anxiety maybe the images can go away or die down in intensity so much that they're no longer an issue.

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I've just never heard anyone with hppd having CEVs/mental images with their eyes open, like psychedelic thoughts and images are continuously going on in the background. For the first few months I said to myself this can't just be hppd and was on Google every day checking out my symptoms and thinking I was dying. I think what happened at the end of 2015 and last year was traumatizing and I've been trying to recover ever since.

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Like where does it all being psychosomatic (from the anxiety) begin and where does hppd and DP/DR end.

The feelings on the scalp and in and around the head could be entirely psychosomatic. I've gone months where it wasn't there but it always comes back.

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Have you done a specific drug before this symptom started? Or just cannabis? Has there been any significant life event prior to the symptom outbreak?

A big part of your problems can be led to your anxiety and depression. It is the same for me, I don't really have friends, I am unemployed and have money issues. I will start a job or an internship soon because I can't stand being at home alone all day, it makes my mind play evil tricks. Maybe you can find something to keep you busy? Like voluntary work?

I am not sure myself if I am already able to work 40 hours per week, maybe I will only do part-time work for starters. But when I am outside and busy, I often don't really feel my symptoms at all.

However I am positive that you will improve over time. You already mention that there are days on which you feel fine which means that you can't be completely fucked. Like K.B.Fante said, look out for things that make you feel better or worse. This does not only apply to food but to environmental circumstances in general.

And don't worry about being alone with this, you aren't. Many people are getting symptoms like this, including me.

Stuff like weird feelings in the head or illogical thoughts rushing through the head even happens to regular anxiety sufferers who never did drugs.

edit: Oh and one thing.... you can work an developing a more positive attitude to your symptoms. Sure it can be discomforting, frightening and you might feel intense dread and terror, I know these feelings myself. But when you try to meditate and calmly reflect about it, you might see that there is basically not much to fear and it is just your anxiety telling you that this is bothersome and dangerous. A good therapist can help you developing good techniques for approaching your fears. And if you start to fear your symptoms less, they will subside over time.

I would also recommend yoga.... if you can't afford a course, it is very easy to do at home. 

 

Edited by fruitgun
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Thanks man. Ever since this happened I've been stuck in a rut because the attack happened while I was driving and I've had to do exposure therapy with driving to even start driving on my own again without freaking out. I still have my mom take me to appointments and stuff.

Day 9 off abilify and my anxiety has gone down. Where before I would be at a constant 5 or 6 out of 10 I'm now at a 3 to 4 out of 10, and I can feel this in my body. I think the abilify was doing more harm than good. Been on that shit since March 2016.

My biggest problem is my social anxiety and lack of a social life. Actually there were so many stress factors that contributed to all of this it's hard to pin down any one thing that may have caused it. I moved to Florida right before all this happened to help my friend with his eBay business and he fucked me over and I came home with nothing. No apartment and I had to move in with my parents. Then I smoked weed all day every day for a month. Then I took a pain pill the night of the panic attack and the rest is history.

I've been sitting on Facebook and watching YouTube videos for about a year and a half and I'm sick of it. I want a life. I want friends and a girlfriend.

As far as other drugs go name it and I've probably done it. 

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Update: last night was really good, one of the best days I've had in months. Mental images were down 95% or more, anxiety was at a 2-3/10, just felt some relief finally and WITHOUT kpin. Days like that give me hope but then when the symptoms come back full force and last for weeks or months I get back into the spiral.

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It's very encouraging that you had a good day where the images backed off and your anxiety gave you a break.  I'd take that as a good sign!  When you have times when your mind is clear you can start making plans to move forward.  That's what I found anyway.  There was a time when I thought I was damaged beyond repair but, as I said in an earlier post, the brain can rewire itself.  Hang in there!  

 

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Having a shitty day now. I hate how this thing fluctuates so much. Increase in images, intrusive thoughts, and for the past 2 hours the metal shit has come back. But I don't feel as bad pre-abilify.

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This is what I've discovered so far. The fear and panic and anxiety are down. Id say I'm at a 4/10 on most days. Still dealing with images but they're less intense overall.

On the worst days I'll experience a feeling in my head. Like this morning. I experienced a fullness/odd feeling in the head and I keep seeing insects. Or rather insects want to pop into my mind. Totally random image. But there's a weird feeling in my head that goes along with them. Sometimes I think I might be experiencing silent migraines or some kind of cortical disinhibition. But i have for a long time not thought about causes since that sends you down the road to hypochondria. 

Short of it: I'm tripping in my head (a little bit) but it no longer scares me. It's just annoying and I want it to go away. 

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For the past couple of hours it's been really intense. I see no patterns in what makes it better or worse. Seems totally random to me.

I'm not sure what to do anymore.

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I drove really far today and made it to a park with no panic or anxiety. Feels like a major victory. But then I came home and started seeing shit in my head.

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