***For Dr Kaushik Only Please***
Hi Dr Kaushik,
I’m back again, I have been getting better, but had a recent relapse…I need some advice, it’s about visual problems and potential HPPD (Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder)
When my Anxiety
/Derealisation, is pretty bad, I sometimes have visual problems, such as everything is a bit blurry, I sometimes get slight trailers of my vision (Like when you move a light in the dark) and have prominent ‘eye floaters’, I also think I might have slight ‘Visual Snow’ when looking at say a white/black object, it looks like there is a tiny thin static layer over it (Like on a tv chanel with no signal) but barely noticeable.
I’ll just give you an example of what I mean by the Visual Snow, and how I explained it to a friend:
Say focus on say a square of pure white on an email/computer screen, say a stamp size…now hold the focus for like 5-10 secs, Is it totally still, or do you see kind of a light static of dots within the area your looking at, like the tv channel static I mentioned, but obviously not as bad, just like very very mild lighter and darker spots within the white, like they’re moving/pulsating ever so slightly? - but there not!...Is this Visual Snow or maybe just normal? Is proper visual snow much worse?
These are to be honest very barely noticeable at all, but become more prominent when my Anxiety/DR is bad.
Anyway so I stumbled across the condition HPPD on the internet when researching these above symptoms, and read that is can cause Derealisation also (So this got me worrying) Apparently HPPD is normally linked to using Hallucinogenic drugs, I thought back to having a couple of bad episodes on cannabis and freaking out and having severe Derealisation and visual tracers just after taking quite a bit of cannabis in one go (I never used it much in total and these symptoms totally resolved after the drug wore off) and started worrying that maybe it wasn’t just cannabis, but maybe laced with a hallucinogenic drug…anyway after ringing various friends for reassurance - we confirmed it was just standard cannabis, and standard ‘speed’ that resulted in my having the huge panic
attack and subsequent symptoms I suffer from now, so I have NEVER to my knowledge used a Hallucinogenic drug.
I then stopped worrying as I knew I had never had a Hallucinogenic drug so couldn’t have HPPD – as it states you must have had one, but then I read on a HPPD forum that some people experienced this HPPD (Of think they are/have) with just using cannabis alone, and then even from just standard panic attacks with no drugs involved, and it didn’t have to be from say LSD or another Hallucinogenic etc. SO…then I thought maybe I have this…
Now I’m worried that maybe alongside my Anxiety/Derealisation I have this lifelong HPPD condition? From either doing cannabis and freaking out, or the panic attack from taking ‘Speed’ (That was then the Derealisation/Anxiety started altogether – the cannabis experiences were before all this started, and I never had any long lasting issues after the cannabis but thought maybe this could cause it months later)
notice the visual issues…Tracers/Blurry Vision/Floaters when the Derealisation came on strong at first (After the speed panic attack) but I’m sure it has gone now since, but now I’m doubting myself and not sure?! And if I wave my hand in front of me I can see slight tracers still, and if I concentrate on a white page/the sky etc I can see some sort of very very faint visual snow as described above, and now again, feel like I am doomed and will never feel better again? And I’m going to be ‘HPPD tripping’ forever and won’t be able to cope. I think if you can guarantee me that Visual problems as mentioned can occur in Anxiety/DR that is ok and I can cope with that, but if it’s HPPD on top of what I have it just feels like it might make everything worse?
So I guess what I’m asking is…
Can Derealisation/Anxiety, cause visual issues such as ‘Slight Tracers’ ‘After images’ ‘Floaters’ Very mild Visual Snow…when it is playing up/bad – like I have mentioned? Or is it more likely HPPD? Like I said I don’t notice these symptoms really, and think they may of gone (Until I check and then I’m not so sure) they don’t/didn’t bother me…until now I think it might be part of HPPD and could get worse etc…
Would you class my symptoms as maybe having this HPPD, or is HPPD far worse, and I’m simply suffering from Anxiety/Derealisation, and worrying. Do you think I have it?
Even if I was perhaps suffering from HPPD, can it get better/go away, or would it be a life sentence of misery?
And does everyone to some extent get these ‘Tracers/Visual Snow/Floaters/After Images etc – and is this somewhat normal (unless of course it’s extremely prominent and ruins your life)
Please help me doctor, I promise to stay away from internet searches after this…I also have a counselling appointment within the next 8 weeks, but need your help now.