Derealization and Existential Crisis – Getting better

I’ve promised to write a followup to my last article.  Since then couple of people have contacted me over email. Due to my disorganized nature, this won’t be exactly a standard text. Instead I’ll post my reply to a person who contacted me for advice. There will be something like a conclusion at the very bottom, after the copy/pasted email exchange.  I hope the ones that were waiting for a second part find something useful in this. Also, if you want to get in touch, leave a comment or use the contact form. As always, apologies for the messy writing.

(My response is on top, the person’s original message is on the bottom)

Hi ***,

Thanks for the message, you can link the article wherever you want, that’s fine (if anything, it will bring me more readers).

I don’t know when or if I’m writing a second part, as writing takes a lot of effort due to my lack of discipline, inexperience and obsessive perfectionism, so I’ll share a few words on recovery with you here. You’ve probably read those in other places but in case you haven’t I’ll try my best.

First of all, the visuals that I described were gone after I woke up, but I am suffering from mild HPPD brought by my 1P-LSD binge that took place in February and March (dropping once a week on average). It’s more noticable when I wake up – things are slightly melting, and during night I get a lot of afterimages, but all in all nothing too crazy.

I think what helped me most was just being forced by a daily routine. In my case I wasn’t mentally disturbed enough to stop going to work, so I kept doing that. At first it was scary and difficult but as I kept doing it, it just became normal again. Work is good because a) you have to focus on a task, b) you have to interact with other people. If I just kept staying at my house, I probably would have gotten far worse.

Now, I won’t lie to you. I still occasionally get these feelings but not near the same magnitude, and it happens if I’m very sleepy/tired or drunk. Also they don’t bother me as much either, and I’m no longer obsessing over them when I get them. With that said, getting off all psychoactive substances for a while, even legal everyday ones, and getting enough sleep is a good idea. If your goal is to unsee what you have seen, it won’t work, and you will keep obsessing over the impossible. The crucial part is to just take this new knowledge and move on. What’s the worse thing that can happen? Yes, life is meaningless, but you have probably thought about these things before, with the only difference you didn’t start obsessing after that. In a way, integrating this knowledge can even be liberating, but objectively it’s neither good nor bad. It just is.

I also think that the problem we are having is not with the ultimate meaningless of it all, but with our general everyday unhappiness and anxieties. At least I think it was in my case (it can supposedly happen to happy and mentally healthy people after drug (ab)use). Check Marcus Geduld’s answer to this question:

I know it sounds very trivial and petty and simplistic compared to all the abstract philosophical issues and anxieties we are dealing with, and at first glance I was ‘meh’, but I think the guy has a good point.

Another important thing is to just stop reading about dp/dr, researching symptoms, stressing over horror stories about people having it for 20 years, etc. I’m particularly anxiety-prone and if I can get better, anyone can. Also know that there are many other people going through the same thing, they are just not really visible, and it’s a hard, confusing and antisocial topic to talk about.

I still have a healthy respect for psychs and haven’t done acid since. I probably won’t do it again for a long time if ever, although sometimes I wish I could take it. The irony is that LSD never messed me up like that, but now that I’ve been shattered by weed, taking heavier psychs can bring doubts, anxieties and general mind fuck and make things ugly real fast. For the record, I’ve smoked weed once after this experience with no ill effects, but it wasn’t nearly as much and was in the company of other people so distraction was readily available and spiraling into paranoia was easier to avoid.

I’ve also tried multivitamin (rainbow light men’s one to be specific) and although I think it helped, it could have been a placebo effect.

Another helpful thing to ground me and bring back some sense of self was remembering things from my childhood, getting in touch with old friends, etc.

I hope you find something helpful in all this, I just wrote it off the top of my head.


On 23/06/2016 00:41, *** wrote:

From: *** <***>
Subject: Hi and DP/DR

Message Body:

I just wanted to say thank you very much for posting your article about your DP/DR experience and I look forward to your followup about how you overcame it.

I had my first ever panic attack after smoking some weed out of a bong on 31st March 2016 and I’ve been suffering from DP/DR ever since. I suffered many of the typical symptoms with DP/DR such as feeling like an automatron, observing your action and thoughts, feeling completely detached from my emotions and having visual distortion.

You also say in your article, ‘In the darkness of my room I started seeing little circles of green light all across my field of vision, very similar to how light from distant sources appears through unfocused lens.’ This is a near perfect description of another symptom I’m suffering from called visual snow. My ‘visual snow’ is thousands of tiny black and white dots that appear and disappear, very similar to tv static.

I’m looking forward to hearing how you overcame your DP/DR symptoms, especially if you had visual symptoms like visual snow. I found this article on the dpdr reddit page and I’m thinking about posting this over at the dpselfhelp forum if that’s ok.

I’m also interested in philosophy and I was into drugs so I can tell I’m going to enjoy your other articles. Thanks again!


This e-mail was sent from a contact form on The Barren Mind (


I won’t say I’m magically cured, I just managed to go back into the matrix, albeit not fully, for that would be impossible. I’m now into a more mainstream version of existential crisis e.g. what do I want to do with my life in terms of work, education, relationships, etc.

Is it just a distraction, am I fooling myself about the absurd and arbitrary nature of existence? Probably yes, in a way to enable me to lead a ‘normal’ life, which at the end of the day has higher utility to me than killing myself or staying in an perpetual state of anguish in which I simultaneously know everything and nothing and am ultimately unsuitable for life in terms of both how society works and how we were built by evolution.

Objectively though either of those options is equally valid and equally meaningless, so I would totally understand the person who decides to abandon the ways of ordinary society and maybe go into isolation or mysticism, or the person who decides to end their live.

Featured image: Light At The End Of The Tunnel by Christopher Baldry

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Marty Martin says:

    You shouldn’t assume that life has no objective meaning. No one really knows. We don’t have the capacity…

    1. (A)Void says:

      Meaning is a human concept. Objectively, nothing really means anything, it just functions and exists, governed by some mindless and apathetic laws.

      Unless of course we buy into some creationist theory.

  2. Matus says:

    Ate some psychs and saw your pathetic existence. Nothing new. Get your head out of the philosophy books. Your desire for a greater intellect is driving you to regurgitate someone else’s thoughts. Use what you have and think originally. You have been given a gift and you squander it with morose attempts at being deep only to realize it’s an endless path that leads to nowhere. Hike up your damn shorts and “do”. Experience is reason enough. Everything is nothing to you. Nothing is everything to me. I like my existence of endless possibilities. You speak as if you have any facts at all. You have beliefs. Fact: you are here.
    Hope these words don’t drive you back into the corner of your room cowering from the absurdity of life. Once you realize there is more than objectivity, your life will cease to be meaningless. Until you work this out, you should cease to lead others down your pointless endeavor. Quite frankly, you are feeding your ego and that is giving you false purpose. Admit your ignorance and possibilities will present themselves to you.

  3. Matus says:

    In the end, you are self centered and weak. Luckily you have the strength to push through and continue to live. Your routine distractions do nothing more than take your mind off of yourself. I don’t hear a detachment from self in any of these words. I do however see a detachment from reality.
    You got too stoned and had a panic attack. Drugs are not the crux of the matter. They are the only reason that you have stepped outside of your egotistical self. Unfortunately, you have chosen existentialism and atheist philosophy as your guiding stones. All of your science of cosmology and ideas of awareness come from a book that someone else wrote. The experiments are not yours. The ideas are not yours. You don’t have any proof of anything. Only your beliefs. You call them facts and pass them on as such. I could tell you that the sun and the moon take an almost identical path in the sky every day because I observe it every day. You would tell me it doesn’t and give me a link to an animated video. Admit your ignorance and humble yourself before the miracle of awareness!!

    1. (A)Void says:

      I agree. I’m weak, self-centered and have quite a few narcissistic traits. However, I never claimed to have had unique thoughts or experiences and fail to see how I’m dragging anyone else down. My beliefs are not gospel and I try to make the point that much of the problem is that I’m taking things too seriously. I don’t claim to have found the absolute answer to everything or anything as many psychedelic users tend to do, without realizing that it’s mostly some bullshit that’s already been within them but is just brought out and amplified by the substance. Rather I’m recording the experiences of a broken mind that’s trying to piece things back together.

      I would still put my money on science and not religion when it comes to explaining the natural world, which I would justify with the rigorous methods used in science even if at the end it all relies on unproven fundamental statements.

      Thanks for the input 🙂

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