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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been freaking out lately about these visuals. It's like I notice bright and moving things out of the corner of my eye so much it's driving me nuts. It sometimes seems as though something pops up and goes away so fast I just barely catch it. Sometimes it feels as if the room is getting lighter and darker often. This is really really bothering me.... it feels like they're getting worse and I'm becoming worried.. what the hell?

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Plus, like a dumbass I looked at some epilepsy info and now I'm worried to death about it and also stroke and the like. I thought I was doing so well.

I'm gonna try my best not to let this push me down. :(

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Although I have not had this visual thing you are talking about you remind me of me somehow. I think maybe it is where you said you are worried it is a stroke or epilepsy and you thought you were doing so well.
I have days that just seem horrible! m Like for some reason I get stressed and Have a DR day or moment and the anxiety builds and builds and I begin freaking out about something. I call those my meltdown days! The days where I just cant regulate myself no matter what I do and Just freak out.

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The only thing I have like that is when I'm in a lit room and it seems to get darker really quickly, like the lights flicker, then it's back to how it was. I think that it has to do with the way I blink. I guess sometimes I might blink slowly. Sorry if this wasn't too helpful, but I thought I should respond.

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I thought I would show you an email I sent to Janine before I joined the site and her response....

I wrote "Also I have a question, it seems like with my anxiety I just go from one symptom to the next. And my most recent symptoms are very similar to HPPD.
I did do LSD 5 times 8 yrs ago and did have a bad trip the last time, never did it again, than about 2-3 yrs ago which would have been several yrs after that last bad trip I started getting the after images and shimmery vision especially in the dark, I cannot sleep with out a light on. Now just recently since my anxiety has gotten worse and I'v been reading about all this stuff, HPPD etc. The visuals are getting worse blurry vision,movement,etc. It feels like I'm tripping again. I also have bad allergy/sinus problems, feeling dizzy lately (possible an inner ear something or other as my ears are bothering me a little too, ringing,poping, etc)
I'm scared because I've been reading alot of people have dizziness/visuals constantly!! Do you think it's just my anxiety?"

And she replied "See, I had those same kinds of visual distortions and I had NEVER done a single rec drug.
I personally don't think you're experiencing flashbacks. I'm sure such an animal exists, but the same things that are described under HPPD categories are also VERY common to ordinary anxiety's just truly unbelievable to realize what the mind can create within itself when it feels under seige. The results are very physical, and there are literally changes that occur (temporary ones!) within the neurological system, but the ORIGIN is nearly always psychological. I'd hazard a strong guess that you're experiencing horrible anxiety and if you add massive self-monitoring to the picture, you end up THINKING yourself into a corner to the extent that you notice every single experience inside a human body."

Janine I hope it is OK I posted this.

Silly Putty: Absolutely okay with me! You're my archives assistant, lol...

Also, Shadow Cat:

I adore the poem Invictus that your signature quote is taken from. I thought I'd write out the whole poem as it is a powerful one in my opinion.

by William E. Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.
- William E. Henley

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
brainsilence02 said:
This is the one I have. Like the brightness and contrast of the room is chaning from lighter to darker and back to lighter and back to darker and... etc...
It's annoying isn't it?

-Janine I was excited to see that you replied but you didn't actually reply to me. :(

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I'm worried to death about it and also stroke and the like
Yep this was one of my favourite worries when i started with DPD. I even went to the A&E department thinking I was having a stroke, but alas not. I very much doubt you are either unless one side of your body is affected in some way e.g. you cant move your leg.

Hope the visuals sort themselves out, they sounds familiar to me also.


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HPPD is very real, and very serious for some individuals. I am one of those individuals. I will list a few stories of individuals with HPPD to provide an example of the visual symptoms they experience so you can compare them to your symptoms. These stories are used with the permission of each author:


In regards to symptoms i will do my best to give an overview. As i am now looking at the computer key board as i am writing this i can see litteraly thousands if glowing white blue and red flying saucers and commets shimmering, fluctuating and moveing in geometric patterns. I can also see blue clouds on the board as well as hundreds of blue rings, simmilar to a blue ringed Octupus. I can see literally thousands if whirlwinds of flouracesent colours eating into the wall. Macriscopia, micrascopia, expanding , imploding very similar to fire works. I can see shimmers of back and white, same as the effect of a crackly back and white television.

All this is going on everywhere, wherever i look. Shapes being distorted, constantly moveing and swaying. It is like i can see a whole universe here.It is Similar to being underwarter. It is like i can see the atoms, some of them are as birght as lazer, like a point of blue or red laser light.

When i turn the light off the intensity of thies hellucinations are at least 8 times as strong. Then that is all i can see and i am totally engulfed with hellucinations. This also happens throught the day. For example when i am sitting listening to someone speak for a period of time the visuals will often climax to the point where i cannot see the person at all. There are so many variations of hellucinations, constantly moveing and changing. I could speak about them for hours on end.

My main symptoms were/are:

*Halos with lights that are so gloriously distracting(the color of regular lights have changed completely. Red light now look more orange/yellow and green lights have huge star-like halos around them. I had to get used to driving this way.

*Halos around people or just really anything that I look at.

*If I look at an object and look away there is an afterimage. This doesn't take staring at, I literally mean just looking at something.

*My depth perception is different. I feel it may not be as good or it is 'off'.

*The world looks to me as if I view it through a 'fish eye' camera lense or even and 'underwater' appearance to everything.

*Whatever I am looking at will shift back and forth and this also happpens with looking out of the corner of my eye.

*Alternating times where I feel as though I am not connected to my body at all. This was way more intense in the beginning. I just can't explain how it feels to feel this way.

*Objects like trees and bushes have tended to take on a 'fake' look, as if they are not real.

*Certain plants or objects look larger to me than they used to.

*Objects that are round just look more dimensionally round. I know this is a poor terminology and vague way of communicating this, but I don't know how else to describe it.

*I see trails off of lights or really any moving object. For example, if a person is talking to me and using hand gestures at the same time I will see whitish/sometimes blueish colored 'trails' from their motions.

*I feel more confused than before about learning or paying attention to something. My focus is much worse than it used to be.

*Textures or patterns are more prominent. For example just the threads on a regular bath towel can look huge in comparison to how they used to look.

*Alarm clocks are blurry because the lights are so bright. This still gives me such anxiety that I try just not to look at them. The same goes for lights in vending machines, answering machines, phones, and also when someone lights a ciggarette there is a huge yellow blaze that was never there before.


When I was 15 years old I took acid 3 times over the space of about 3 months. I wasn?t a hopeless drug addict; I didn?t really even smoke marijuana at the time. I was just an experimental kid. So I took acid a few times with my friends and it was no big deal. I didn?t have ?a bad trip? - just felt a bit overwhelmed once or twice by the stronger sensations, but that quickly passed. The day after each trip, I was fine ? back to normal.

Then one afternoon, about a month after I took the last trip, something happened to me. I?d taken one tiny drag on a marijuana cigarette and almost immediately felt something in my head ?shift?. I felt really strange ? like I?d dropped acid ? and while the sensation was milder than that, I felt intensely fearful. I remember walking home hours later, still feeling so strange. Everything around me seemed unreal and threatening. I tried to concentrate all my thoughts on feeling normal again, but my thoughts were fragmented - I couldn?t seem to hold them together.

During the months that followed, I was constantly anxious and the anxiety grew. I had visual disturbances and found it very hard to be with other people ? even my closest friends and family. What made me anxious? Constantly seeing after-images of people?s eyes when I looked at them then looked away. People?s faces seeming to become bigger and smaller as I talked to them. I saw images at the side of my vision, especially at dusk. Working in an office with fluorescent lighting made everyone look somehow ?unreal?. But I had to work so struggled through each say trying to maintain a fa?ade of normality. Over the next weeks the feeling didn?t subside, it grew stronger.

I grew increasingly depressed over time because of how I felt and how it isolated me from everyone. I?d get mesmerized by geometric patterns in carpets and tiled floors ? as I stared at them they would become 3 - dimensional or would start to undulate slowly. I remembered how good I thought that was when I was tripping, now I just wanted it to stop. Curtains and walls seemed to move, even when I looked right at them. Swimming in the ocean was terrifying as the shadows in the water became a vivid, fluorescent purple and on the surface sunlight splintered into kaleidoscopic colours. It was so disorientating.

Everyday I saw constant coloured trails from lights and multi-coloured flashes and blobs in my peripheral vision, especially when I watched TV and in lecture halls. When I looked at a white wall or similar surface it would either be a riot of coloured flashes, or, if the light was not too bright, I would start to see patterns of tiny faces or other shapes ? especially if the surface was rough. I also saw faces in trees, water, dog fur (!) ? anywhere with uneven light and shade. I knew these things weren?t real - I knew none of it was real - but it all created almost unbearable anxiety.

My social life deteriorated. It was very difficult to be with my friends when everything seemed so unreal. The visual distortions I described above made it incredibly difficult to concentrate on even the most casual conversation. My friends could see there was something really wrong with me but thought I should just be able to snap out of it. I mean we were 15 and 16 years olds and kids that age don?t have a lot of empathy for a friend who suddenly changes from a funny, friendly, outgoing girl into an anxious and introverted mess.

I was eventually referred to a psychiatrist. Our sessions were difficult because my distorted vision made him look sinister, unless I kept looking directly at him, and the patterns in his carpet were constantly distracting. He said it was very difficult to diagnose my condition because there were many conflicting elements. To treat my acute anxiety he recommended that I admit myself to Chelmsford Hospital (in NSW, Australia) for treatment. I was to undergo coma therapy. (Yes, I?m talking about the notorious Chelmsford hospital which achieved worldwide fame when several people died undergoing this treatment).

Lucky for me I cancelled the booking at the 11th hour. The only prescribed drug that ever helped me cope was valium. I stopped taking it within a few weeks because I quickly grew tolerant of its effects. My psychiatrist prescribed Stelazine and heart block medication. (I was diagnosed with tachycardia ? I know now that it was just anxiety!!) I didn?t take either of these. A drug made me feel like I was insane, so the last thing I wanted was to take more drugs. For years I wouldn?t even take non - prescription headache tablets.

Basically the overall sensation was that I was tripping on acid constantly. That feeling lasted for years. Every morning I would wake up and think; ?Do I feel okay today? ? am I normal again?? But almost immediately it became painfully obvious that I was not. I remember thinking, on the 4th anniversary of the last time I took acid (Easter), that the feeling of tripping - just enough to disturb the balance of my world, would never end.

It?s now 32 years later and the horror of that time did end. It?s now pretty much just a bad dream that gradually diminished over the decades ? so gradually the change was almost imperceptible. I?m still affected in various ways. I still get vivid coloured flashes, especially when I am tired ? usually in bright light or if I am watching television or a computer screen.

Although I?ve always worked and been ?out in the world,? I?m still very isolated socially. I just feel different to other people. It?s as if they can see that there is something weird about me. That?s something I?ve never managed to overcome. I think it?s because I had this traumatic experience at such a young age - and it lasted for so long, that it somehow became a crucial part of my self image, my psyche ? I just can?t seem to get past it. No-one had ever heard of HPPD back then (and not much has changed!). I only stumbled on the Stormloader discussion board by accident a few years ago, and that was truly a revelation!

I'm 47, have 2 children and work in the Recruitment Industry. I was a successful (if somewhat isolated)university student. I can't change what happened to me, but often wonder how things would have been if I'd never taken acid. It's pointless to regret the past and I'm fairly philosophical about what happened.

Just to add (and ESPECIALLY TO D'BURGH, grin) I know HPPD is quite real. Please don't think I'm saying that every visual complaint is psychological in origin. But I also believe that the vast majority of "visual problems" mentioned here on this board are the product of anxiety states and accute self-monitoring.

The "as if" quality is an indicator of anxiety states. People sometimes (all of us, all humans) can SEE tiny bright lights on the sides of our eyes - as if we're "seeing stars" - from standing up too fast, etc. THAT is a purely physical experience. We are "seeing" something caused by a physical alteration optically.

But the "tuning into" one's vision, so common to anxiety sufferers, can also beget a myriad of fascinating (and often terrifying) observations...things that are always present in the experience of sight but that we tune INTO when in high-self-monitoring mode.

Also, just from my own experience (and from many others in similar situations) I used to literally feel like I couldn't step off a curb without some MOVEment happening inside my eyes/ was more than vertigo, more odd, too. I felt like reality "jumped" almost like in camera frames. I also couldn't be in the dark because everything would jump more - my eyes "saw" lights, or sprinkles of light....the contrast of total darkness against my closed eyes made me too sensitive to bear. I woudl look down a street and it was like the street's perspective had "far away" was closer than it should be, or as if "distance" was being uprooted in its very concept - some things farther away looked CLOSER than things less far away. It again, felt like total insanity. And I had never touched a drug beyond aspirin and maybe a half glass of wine in my life. Not all visual distortions are caused by drugs, SOME are.


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I have said that in a previous post, but I think it's necessary to repeat it here once more.

I was in a conference. The room was lit by lamps (can't tell if they were neon or something relative) on the ceiling. The light seemed strange to me, like the lamps were causing the contrast to go up. I wondered if I could control this. I tried to believe that the exaggerated contrast that I was seeing was an illusion (or a delusion). After a minute or too, viola!! The contrast was gone and I was seeing everything perfectly fine. I can tell you, it was a great spectacle. But then... when I noticed that I was seeing normal, it went away. And I got the contrast thing back. I was feeling tired and was unwilling to start the procedure. In fact, I started to believe that I never actually managed to get rid the contrast thing, not even for a few seconds. Ridiculous isn't it?
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