This is what it’s like to experience never-ending trips

All of this can leave sufferers feeling alone in their daily struggle with the condition, forcing them to figure out their own ways of coping and healing. For many, this comes via online communities like the burgeoning HPPD one on TikTok, of which Smith is a part. While some people use popular sounds to make more irreverent videos about the condition – some of which even have millions of views – others, like Smith, use the platform to share tips and tricks about regaining control over it. In one video, which he calls the definitive guide” to overcoming HPPD, Smith urges sufferers to stop obsessing over finding a cure for the condition, and instead learn to accept that they see life like this now.” This is how Smith says he fully overcame HPPD” and learned to live a normal life” – in fact, he tells THE FACE, the condition actually affects [him] positively these days.”

For viewers like 17-year-old Kyra from New England, who also suffers with HPPD, these kinds of videos remind her that she’s not alone”, and agrees with Smith that positive self talk and distractions” are her savior”. Kyra has never had an official diagnosis, but believes she developed HPPD after struggling with drug addiction in her mid-teens. And, despite a year of being sober, she says she still experiences symptoms of it today – notably visual hallucinations and acid flashbacks. I can be driving and I’ll flash back to a really awful trip I’ve had,” she recalls. Being around weed can also really trigger my acid flashbacks.”

Like with any social media platform, Kyra has found relief and reassurance in the TikTok community, but has also been subjected to hateful comments, or people accusing her of fabricating her symptoms. It’s likely this speaks to the lack of knowledge surrounding the condition, and reflects the stigma that still surrounds drug use. Despite this, Kyra says that the community – in the absence of medical support – has taught her that she’s not crazy” and that this stuff is normal after [using or] abusing psychedelics”. She continues: For a long time, I just thought I fried my brain, but talking to people who also struggled has been extremely therapeutic for me.”

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