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Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) Support Forum
Applescause27

This Truly Feels Like The End

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I had no idea there was a support group for this, but I’m really happy there is. I’m 19 years old and suffer from HPPD, as much as I tried denying it to myself by saying it was just anxiety. My case doesn’t involve LSD or Psyslcocybin, but rather a sleeping medication I abused; Diphenhydramine. Diphenhydramine is an active ingredient in Benadryl and some versions of Unisom, those being the two I regularly abused all day and night. This abuse happened within two separate timeframes. The first was about three years ago now when my mom introduced me to these extra-strength 50mg blue pills in order to help me get to sleep. She kept them in a drawer in her room by the bed, and so when she was gone I would sneak in and grab about twenty (it was a huge bottle) to stash in my room with me upstairs. I had quite a drug history before this point, though I was only sixteen. This included crack, meth, heroin, benzodiazepines, you name it. I was however at this point also clean from such things for almost a year, but only because I lost access to them honestly. Anyways, I would start off by taking three in hopes of a euphoric effect, but this dose made me more tired than anything. I doubled it the next night to 300mg and felt very out of it and noticed incredibly blurred vision. This went on for a couple of weeks straight before it took its “toll” which I put in quotations because of how much of an understatement that is. I went far overboard and remember thinking I was really dying. My biggest fear was my heart beat, well, the lack of one anyways. The entire day I kept my hand on my chest trying to feel a heartbeat and would pace back and forth in the living room and even outside in the driveway too in hopes to keep it pumping. It freaked me out more than anything and for some reason I never thought to check the pulse spots on my wrist or neck, not understanding at the time that it was the same thing. Funny because now I’m constantly, while sober, checking my pulse and even falling asleep with my hand positioned to stay on the spot of my wrist where I can feel it. I remember seeing my grandma, who lived next door at the time, pulling out of her driveway and I ran up to the car and got in the passenger seat and told her I just wanted to go for a ride, which was my attempt to relieve myself of the bizarre world I’ve entered, and then a couple of seconds down the road I got out of the car as it was moving and said “never mind, I need to go inside.” I must’ve looked absolutely insane. The following couple of days without me taking the sleeping meds, I had three states of those same intense modes. During one of them I went to my grandmas and drank a bunch of milk (not sure why) and told her something was seriously wrong, as she could obviously tell. The extreme modes stopped but I was still heavily burdened by my vision. It was as if I could see rips in the air if that makes any sense. I was told by my mom that I just had anxiety like she got around my age and my friends told me that I was just thinking I had anxiety because she said so. Regardless, I knew something was horribly wrong that I couldn’t get through to anybody and would only make a fool of myself to try. This all lasts for quite some time but the effects did eventually seem to reduce significantly. Fast forward a couple of years to eighteen. Things are going really great and I’m even in an outpatient program with dual diagnosis group counseling. Probation made me go live with my grandma because they perceived  the environment at my mom's as a risky to my sobriety. I found myself very lonely but refused to accept that for some reason. I will never understand why, but I decided to one day go get the same Unisom as before with the intent to “do it more safely.” This is how my life was ruined and is likely forever to be. This story is already pretty long so I’ll try speeding up. I ended up taking nearly 2000mg of diphenhydramine per night to the point where my experiences were the same as someone’s clearly fabricated story of doing mushrooms for the first time during freshman year. By that I mean I was seeing things that weren’t there, but not patterns and colors, always spiders and sometimes people. Diphenhydramine trips had what I sensed to be dark beauty. I was at a very low point, though playing it off as okay at group and home. I liked this idea of flirting with death in the ways I was, which is weird being how scared I found myself of dying each night. I would be up all night with my hand on my pulse and rocking back and forth as I watch the air-spider transformations come at me. The worst of this all, as corny as it may be, is that I lost my true love due to this. Not from abusing the medication itself, but particularly from what the lingering effects led me to become. What they drove me to become ignorant of. But anyways, to this day now nothing looks the same and I’m doing daily pulse-checks, aside from when I’m going to bed I mean, because that’s every night no matter what. I’m not able to describe it very well. I can’t enjoy what I normally would have visually anymore either. Sunsets scare me actually. When it gets darker, I get these moments where everything almost looks like clay. I can’t make eye contact for longer than a second and it’s like there’s super mini “floaters” or whatever everywhere. I can still see less vivid cuts in the air too. Almost like little dots I guess. It’s like I can see the make up of the air in a way. Passing cars or even stationary things like trees are a no go to look at for too long. If I’m walking, especially at night, it’s a living nightmare. I’ve been prescribed just about every anxiety/depression medication with no results at all. I can’t take things like Xanax due to probation thinking I’ll abuse them because of my history, and I don’t know if I would or not, as crazy as that sounds. Suicidal thoughts have been on the rise. I was hospitalized just recently for self harm, which has happened in the past as well. Those weren’t suicide attempts though, just temporary relief. I think it’s very easy to psychically kill yourself if you’re really trying to do it. If I were to attempt, I would succeed without a doubt. This is what frightens me though, I’ve never before seriously considered the actual attempt. I could go on forever but I just needed somewhere to share this. I wish there was more information and studies done on dph abuse and the brain. It seems HPPD is linked directly to dph though among other things of course. I doubt anyone made it this far since I dragged this on so much haha but thanks for reading if you did.

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I took that same medication for sleep about three years ago and it totally messed me up for a whole day. Many different hard drugs can cause HPPD, as can many different over-the-counter chemicals and even natural drugs like mushrooms and weed. 

This board is full of stories similar to yours. Many of us have struggled with suicidal thoughts and I'm certainly no stranger to them myself. The only thing you can do is to clean up your life, eat healthy, workout a lot and find things worth living for. I consider myself lucky to have improved as much as I have but I'm also living proof that a healthy lifestyle can essentially eradicate HPPD over the course of many years. The most important thing is that you find purpose somehow. Maybe that's through art or a job or a relationship of some kind, but as long as you can find something that brings you joy and meaning you should be able to make it through. 

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Keep on fighting mate... at 19, you have the years on your side to see a full recovery or even a cure.. Even if you are in it for the long run, life can get better. 

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