MDMA Recovery (Stories & Support - 4)

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Amml

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I once found a fMRI of a healthy brain compared with a depressed brain, the differences were shocking. But then there was another scan of a depressed person that received 1 year of psychotherapy, and the fMRI was normal.
Can't find it for now…
Now I really don't wonder when depressed people often have severe memory problems. You can see how the brain function is disturbed.
 

CloudIX

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Out of all the symptoms with my LTC, depression was actually not one of them. It was pure anxiety. I often wondered if I was depressed, but it was more of an anxious thought about depression. I may have felt depressed at times, due to my anxiety, but I never had any numbness of my emotions. If anything all my emotions were heightened as well as my senses. Kinda like a messed up superpower. I felt TOO empathetic and could literally feel what other people feel. As far as my memory? It's literally BETTER. I don't know why, but I'm able to look back on my life like never before and remember nostalgic things as a kid. It's quite odd. Before the LTC, I never had physical signs of anxiety, but I would say I was always an anxious person in my life. But experiencing the panic attack that set everything off kinda made my mind and body realize that I could feel something that I didn't know existed. Hence why I eventually started feeling the PVC's in my heart. PVC's are a typically normal hiccup in the heart that 99% of people do not feel, but I feel all of them. Kinda, like a sense I didn't know I had. But I would say my personally anxiety stemmed from the unknown power of a panic attack and why it happened. I couldn't stop thinking about it. But I do empathize with the people going through depression. Anxiety is just the other blade of the sword.
 

Amml

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@CloudIX: I also experienced PVC's during my LTC, especially when I was nervous about something. They were sometimes so bad that I really thought my heart will stop at any time.
Now they are gone and even when my heart beats fast because of nervousity or fear the heartbeat is regularly.

Is anxiety your only symptom? I have a theory that a more severe damage causes deep depression with all the symptoms (memory loss, numbness, motoric and cognitive deficits, …), while light damage or even no real axonal damage shows itself in anxiety and the other symptoms you described.

I found that study on rats I posted a few days ago that showed, that not neurotoxic doses cause reversible change in 5-HT reuptake levels, which can cause the anxiety, while higher doses do real axonal damage that shows itself in long-term reduced Tryptophan-Hydroxylase levels that sometimes need years to recover to baseline.

I think the HPPD issue has actually no relation to the psychological symptoms, because a lot here experience HPPD without having any emotional issues, while others (like me) have no signs of HPPD but therefore severe emotional problems.
 

socrilus

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I still wanna know the reason as to why I have anxiety in the first place and I feel like until I know why I am anxious im not going to be able to get out of this for good.

Like I simply dont believe its my "thought patterns" causing my anxiety cause I didnt think that way prior to the LTC. And there are a TON of quite intelligent people out there who have thoughts which are neutral/positively oriented and they are quite successful. Im talking people like Albert Einstein, Nobel prize winners, even a PhD student, etc. I dont think these successful people would have gotten as far if they didnt have some degree of "obsession" (not the same as OCD) but more an obsessive personality.

I really do think there are tons of obsessive people out there partying it up living great lives without ever coming into contact with depression or anxiety. Even so called "Type A" personality people.

Extreme examples but I would say the kinds of people I mentioned above probably aren't "neurotypical" in the first place. Cotcha would you say the same biology which drives these kinds of peoples motivation/passion/etc is the same biology which backfires when exposed to a perturbation as an LTC.


I hope I dont come across as egotistical or whatever but if your life was absolutely perfect and you were achieving things etc then got hit with this LTC would it be a tougher fall than somebody who maybe already had issues maybe mental issues and got it? Like when LTC hits you find you cannot do the things you used to do and then that itself becomes a stressor.

And similarly to the intelligence example the people who were basically the stars of the party, popular, etc would they get hit harder due to losing that too?


Im wondering bc I had a friend who has a diagnosed anxiety disorder and did MDMA WITHOUT getting an LTC. He just had heightened anxiety after it but it went away quickly


I know a lot of people say oh ppl with ltc had depression or anxirty before and now it came out but this example is actually the opposite.

Its basically anxiety about anxiety but what causes that 1st layer of anxiety anyways. The 2nd layer seems to be the only thing psychological therapies can address.
 
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Cotcha Yankinov

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Depending on what exact problems you're having I think that the cause could certainly vary from LTC to LTC. For example, in people who are thinking inside their mind a lot and who are disconnected from the external world, that could be due to issues with the subgenual cingulate cortex and precuneus, and the particular functions of these two areas (and anterior cingulate cortex) could be mediating abstract happiness as well as abstract sadness.

The subgenual cingulate could be very important in depression.

Activity of the subgenual cingulate increases with tryptophan (serotonin) depletion and the subgenual cingulate also increases activity when people are viewing sad images. There are studies examining the effect that the short allele of 5-HTTLPR (the gene that predisposes one to adverse effects of MDMA and tryptophan depletion) has on the subgenual cingulate as well, with interesting results.

Observations of the subgenual cingulate can help predict outcomes of depression therapies, with depression patients having smaller subgenual cingulates even though they show increased subgenual metabolism during an episode, with restoration of normal subgenual cingulate volume seen with successful treatment of depression/bipolar. 6 weeks mindfulness was shown to increase the volume of subgenual cingulate in elderly.

There is a socio-affective self-referential network mediated by some of these structures, dysfunction of this network could be playing a role in LTCs in which people are disconnected from the external world and think self-referentially a lot. Certainly all people use this circuit, particularly they use regions involved with mental imagery and the "voice in the head", but it could become pathological and operate differently in some people (ie with more of an affective/mood related self-referential component).

There might be some confusion here between the "voice in the head" that everybody uses when occasionally problem solving or mental imagery that someone uses when visualizing a problem, and a pathological self-referential voice in the head, ie in an anorexic where the voice in the head/self is constantly telling the person they are fat, that they're going to have a future embarrassing situation and then mental imagery ensues/co-occurs (courtesy of the precuneus), and then they get a stress response and then the stress response further affects the circuits.


So take your pick for original causes and perpetuations - I've read that the subgenual cortex is extremely rich in serotonin transporters (which MDMA works by reversing) and that stress hormones also affect the subgenual cortex. But it really all does come back to the self-referential thinking being pathological in some manner. Since the activity of the subgenual cortex increases with tryptophan depletion, maybe there is an increase in subgenual cortex activity on the comedown when there isn't much serotonergic signaling. Once the self-referential thinking gets going, I don't think it would be that hard for it to keep itself going if it runs unopposed.

This area is also associated with the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex could be affected acutely be MDMA and then this effect could be perpetuated via reverberating network communication. A study has shown ex-MDMA users with the short allele of 5-HTTLPR have abnormal performance on an affective go/no-go test (similar performance to healthy people undergoing tryptophan depletion) and this affective go/no-go test is thought to be reflective of the function of the ventromedial pre-frontal cortex.

I should also state for the record that anecdotally I think intelligent people have a high incidence of mental illness in some cases, and many of the smart people that we're talking about are on the autism spectrum disorder, wherein these self referential networks are also abnormal.

Ernest Hemingway might have thrived off of some of these circuits professionally, but they could have also caused him a lot of suffering. Maybe other people's brains moderate the use of these circuits when they are thinking and/or they have different activation patterns that aren't quite so pathological.

I still think that mindfulness, cardio, sleep, and medications are the way to go. I wish we had more information about the use of other interventions like transcranial magnetic stimulation (used in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex to affect the subgenual cortex via reciprocal connections, rather than used in the subgenual cortex directly), deep brain stimulation and so forth. Those aforementioned therapies are used to success in MDD.
 

Cotcha Yankinov

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I still wanna know the reason as to why I have anxiety in the first place and I feel like until I know why I am anxious im not going to be able to get out of this for good.

Like I simply dont believe its my "thought patterns" causing my anxiety cause I didnt think that way prior to the LTC.

Its basically anxiety about anxiety but what causes that 1st layer of anxiety anyways. The 2nd layer seems to be the only thing psychological therapies can address.
You at least seem to realize that this is quite the over-thinking, but you seem to imply something like "Until I know what is causing my over-thinking I won't be able to stop my over-thinking".

Stealing from a neuroscientist/philosopher Sam Harris - the answer isn't a matter of more knowledge or new information, but rather the answer is a change in attitude.

I understand your brain will fight mindfulness especially if it doesn't think mindfulness will work, but its ironic that the part of your brain that we are trying to quiet with mindfulness is the part of the brain that is doubting mindfulness.
 
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CloudIX

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@Amml, I will agree with you. I've never had HPPD, but I'll have the occasional floaters when looking at the blue sky or whatever, but I've always seen those. I would say that I'm an extrovert type A personality. Before my LTC I was successful, and when it started I was still successful. Like I said before, I have never been clinically depressed for no reason. Any depressed thoughts I had were mainly like "am I going to feel this way forever?" or "I can't live like this forever." However, those are only during the times when my anxiety is at a peak, like this last fall for example. Fall gets me everytime. My health anxiety is a real thing, hence the PVC's and worrying about my heart, even though Im healthy as a horse. It's funny because by THINKING about a PVC, it will usually result in me feeling one. Kinda like im subconsciously trying to feel my heart without realizing it. I have had intrusive thoughts about suicide, but they are thoughts I don't actually want. Kinda like, if I see a gun, I think "hopefully i dont go crazy and off myself with it." If that makes sense. I would never actually harm myself. But the anxiety comes in waves, sometimes long, sometimes short. But it has yet to go away from that small baseline that it resides at. So for once, I've been consistent with my headspace app and doing mindful mediation everynight. My background is in bodybuilding and I know that building muscle takes time. It's gotta be the same thing with the mind. Anyhow, I don't post on here often, just like to check up every now and then. If anyone wants to add me on IG and see that I'm still living a normal life with an LTC, my is name is anthonyyfisherr. It's always nice to put a face to someone going through what you are going through
 

HPPDOFF

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I have a question for all, when looking at my reflection in the windows of my house I noticed that I saw a double image in every in every window, now it's back to normal and I see a single image in most of my windows, could this be a sign of my brain and eyes reversing the changes that occurred after MDMA? Opinions?
It's been 5 months btw
 

HPPDOFF

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Also I couldn't even look at my blinds in my room as they were so trippy, they would constantly breath heavily, while appearing to morph, now it's just Normal. Again is this a sign that my brain is rewriting itself and getting back to normal. If so how is it doing it? Will I get even better and show more improvements?
 

Cotcha Yankinov

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@HPPDOFF

It sounds like things are coming along nicely, HPPD seems to have weird remittance timelines and that could have a lot to do with the brain switching into different network modes. What I've been told is that the brain's networks are multi-modal, and there might be a mode that we consider "normal" while a particular set of modes might correspond to HPPD symptoms, thus your regular functioning circuits are still there (the visual circuits don't really undergo neuroplastic changes) its just that the brain needs some time to switch back over to them and let go of the old circuitry.

With some medications like Lamotrigine there seems to be extremely rapid remittance of HPPD, while in non-medication HPPD people it seems that drug induced HPPD goes away more slowly but surely.
 

socrilus

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I guess I just don't really understand mindfulness and particularly on my own. Maybe a guided psychologist would be better but I have had bad luck with them and they all say "You cannot have 0 anxiety" or versions of that which dont jive with me and create frustration. Cause I do believe pre LTC I had 0 anxiety and I don't believe it is an unreasonable expectation or goal to have. I dont even get why they say that which is technically itself negative thinking.

Anyways what exactly is so significant about noticing your senses. That doesnt seem to improve my symptoms despite doing it. Like I can say to myself "oh well thats just a thought it will pass" but it doesn't actually pass in practice.

And I know you said it takes time etc but how come all these studies out there use the 6-8 week time frame. Are they blowing this out of proportion or are they assessing recovery with lower standards than what I have? Are these people not truly recovered from MDD after 6-8 weeks but just marginally better?

Another thing is don't normal people have thoughts which pass without any mindfulness? Is it a lack of mindfulness which CAUSES anxiety or depression? Because sometimes I do feel like this whole philosophy makes me think im doing this to myself.
 
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BlueBull

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Long overdue I am closing this thread and archiving it. You can find the next thread here
 
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