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 ~
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!
A few nights ago i decided to take mdma idiotically because my symptoms were so much better after 4 months of abstaining from drugs, well during the trip and afterwards i can say i believe i know whats it like to have the full 9 yards of hppd. During the trip it was horrifying, faces everywhere on my floor on my dogs fur on my wall, my feet were itchy i could feel the anxiety and paranoia but i think the mdma helped me manage to stay happy. The next day i learned of all the severity of symptoms that other people have that i dont, my ghosting was not just only above like it usually is, but it was below and side by side, 4x as worse as what it usually was. When people talk about starbursting, i used to think that was normal, but no i saw what it really was like, and i saw afterimages of literally everything. My visual snow was creating flying cars or weird hallucinations that i couldnt completely make out, my anxiety had been almost the same as it was before. Thankfully 4 days later it seems as if im back to the baseline as to where it was before. Guys, mdma used to be my drug, i used to do it every day before work but now i cant stomach it. So my message to you is, if you have hppd, DRUGS ARE NOT WORTH IT.
19 year old male. Have had mild visual snow and other slight visual defects as long as can remember. Since approximately 15 have suffered with short, intense migraines around once every three months (I believe caused by sleep pattern inconsistencies) accompanied with classic visual auras (loss of vision spreading across one eye).
Around three months ago I tried mdma for the first time (I trust the source and purity) and have done it twice since. Noticed no significant change after first try (small dose). However, second time (very large dose, between 400 and half a g) I noticed difficulty reading, more visual snow, light flashes etc which peaked about four days after and, for the most part, subsided after three weeks. Third time, medium dose, hppd symptoms have returned, particularly visual snow and small amounts of light flashing. Three weeks on and I fear this may be more long term; however, it is currently not something that is an impediment to my day to day life. Naturally, I am fascinated by what substances have to offer, particularly mdma, but also psychedelics.
1. have others found that all doses of mdma worsen symptoms; or, can low doses that don't fully overload 5htp receptors be used without damage?
2. I feel that those who have visual auras and migraines are far more likely to develop hppd. Would others say that this is particularly true of mdma? Would I also be more at risk of negative effects from more classic psychedelics such as lsd or shrooms?
Obviously I am aware that taking any psychoactive substance is a risk and should not be advised however, I would value some objective input. Essentially, I am asking whether my experiences with hppd from mdma would mean my likelihood of hppd from other drugs is higher? Or are there ways to control dosages to reduce the risks (for example, trying half a tab of acid in isolation and observing symptoms over a couple of months).
I am prepared to abstain from serotonergic drugs, however, this would not be a comfortable decision. I am grateful to be in a position where I have the option of avoiding serious long-term damage; however, if anyone thinks there is any chance of me being able to manage usage conservatively I am interested to hear.
P.S I have used DMT twice with no observable hppd
More or less, I was wondering what everyone thought about taking MDMA after recovering from
HPPD. If anyone has any of their own experiences as well that would be fantastic.
I'll give some background information to my HPPD to help you decide whether you think I could take MDMA again, and just in case anyone is interested in my HPPD journey.
I'm pretty sure my HPPD is primarily, if not exclusively weed related. My symptoms have been visual (visual snow, moving lines, and by far my biggest symptom was violent shaking of my peripheral vision), anxiety (largely caused by the vision symptoms), and small amounts of DP/DR.
My HPPD began in March 2015 and in the year prior to this I smoked weed a few times a week and took LSD, MDMA and 2CB a few times as well. However from December 2014 - February 2015 whenever I got too high I would experience the violent shaking of my peripheral vision for the duration of my high. In February I stopped taking drugs, and then in March the visual shaking began happening while I was sober. I then experienced all of the symptoms permanently. Hence I believe weed caused my HPPD because my symptoms began while I was high on weed.
Since getting HPPD I stopped all drugs use completely besides alcohol (which has little if any effect on my HPPD). The first few weeks were hell, constant panic attacks about my shaky vision. Over the next 3 months, until June, my symptoms became manageable but still very uncomfortable.
Since July I have no longer experienced the shaking of my peripheral vision whatsoever. I would say that I have been cured since around the beginning of October or mid-October. My DP/DR is completely gone. My peripheral vision no longer shakes. My only lingering symptoms are visual snow (which is dying down, I no longer get this every day and when I do it's very minor) and small amounts of anxiety, which I probably had before HPPD anyway. Straight lines still wiggle a little bit, but my symptoms are now essentially unnoticeable unless I focus on them, so I consider myself cured. I imagine that my symptoms will have gone entirely within a few months from now.
So, bearing all this in mind, does anyone have any thoughts on taking MDMA on a rare basis from now on? I have no intention to smoke weed or take psychedelics in the foreseeable future, but I'm desperate to take 200mg of MDMA this weekend. I have never reacted negatively to MDMA in the last and not have I ever had any open eye hallucinations on MDMA.