Anhedonia and DPDR etc
My current state of mind is a pretty awful one. Up until a certain age, I was a very happy person who enjoyed things. Unfortunately about 3 years ago all of that changed almost overnight. During the H3N2 flu season of 2017, I awoke one morning to basically find my brain had shut down to a relative degree. I felt somewhat detached from myself and incapable of feeling much of anything including the passage of time, conscious thoughts, and any semblance of short-term memory. I of course ascribed this to the flu that I had been experiencing at the time. I had been ill twice during this period with symptoms I hadn't seen in years. Overall the 2017 flu season proved to be a rather deadly one with more than 650 people killed in New South Wales alone
Of course I assumed that these were just temporary symptoms that would disappear as I got better, but unfortunately they didn't. Instead what happened was that over the following 12 or so months, I got worse and worse. I slowly but surely lost all semblance of a sense of self, and lost every lasting bit of intrinsic motivation, along with any sort of rational train of thought. Only two years in did I actually start figuring out what the hell was wrong. The worst part about being in this state is that due to a lack of cognitive function, you generally don't have the motivation to research it further.
Eventually I came across a number of rather useful Reddit posts about it, along with an entire subreddit dedicated to the topic of recovery which is very useful. That subreddit along with this one and this one have been incredibly useful in determining the list of symptoms and being able to figure out what it is and what has helped. With all this in mind, I decided to go through the list of possible treatments I could get my hands on. As a disclaimer, I don't advise you to do anything. Make sure you actually talk to a health professional first rather than just take a gunshot approach to this.
List of things I tried in no particular order that you probably shouldn't
- LSD - Some people recommended that psychedelic experiences are potentially helpful in rectifying this condition. Unfortunately I ended up doing far too much and making the problem worse overall in the long run. If you choose this option, make sure you start with small doses and know the strength in micrograms of what you're ingesting. For a brief time however, I was vastly improved.
- Psilocybin mushrooms - I opted to do these for similar reasons to above. They did work somewhat, but I didn't take note of how much I took, which wasn't very much. I'll update this with further research later on.
- MDMA - Same reasons as above. My first attempt at taking MDMA caused me to experience a complete temporary remission in symptoms. I was effectively back to my "old self" for the duration of the day. Unfortunately subsequent doses haven't yielded the same result, and the afterglow only lasts so long.
Do note with that the "treatments" listed above have actually been implicated (along with cannabis) by many as having caused their symptoms in the first place so obviously don't do any of these unless your main alternative is suicide.
Things I tried from that subreddit
The rather brilliant anhedonia recovery subreddit is a great starting point that i'd highly recommend for anyone suffering from this sort of thing. There's a chance that my symptoms are due to inflammation, persistent infection, or stress-related with the flu being the trigger. The last one is somewhat likely, as I had been suffering melancholic depression and moderate anxiety for years prior. Anyway here's what i've tried so far:
- NAC and Sarcosine - This did absolutely nothing for me. In fact there's a chance that NAC and/or ALCAR actually caused my anhedonia in the first place, as I had been taking them around the time it occurred. This is a flimsy correlation at best, however, and I have read no further reports into such an occurrence.
- Salvia - This has been incredibly promising, and I highly recommend it. I've found tremendous results both from chewing and smoking 5X and 10X extracts semi-regularly. It somewhat alleviates the feeling of someone stomping on my head continually, and provides a slight boost in sex drive (which for me is usually nil). Definitely one worth trying out.
- NSI-189: Very promising. Upon first taking it, I experienced a huge surge in motivation along with a slight resumption of spontaneous thought. Unfortunately the effects didn't last for me even after taking it for a while.
- BPC-157: Similarly promising, but the same thing occurred; a brief temporary improvement followed by a return to baseline (i.e. feeling terrible). Seems to be best implicated for drug-induced anhedonia. Do be warned that some people have mentioned it actually causing their anhedonic symptoms.
Pramipexole: I have not tried this one yet. I am wary of it due to it being a rather serious medication with potentially serious side-effects
Other potential things
Here's a list of other potential techniques and vitamins etc that have been implicated in helping people out that I also managed to try. There are several other subreddits out there that are worth researching the hell out of.
- Diet and exercise: I experience temporary partial remission if I go a long period without eating. During a half-assed attempt at keto I also felt somewhat improved. Occasionally an incredibly intense cardio workout will cause me to feel somewhat alive as well so do get a gym membership and go regularly if you're not already.
- Meditation: I went meditating for ten days in silence at the end of 2018, about a year and a half after first experiencing symptoms. I felt only slightly improved by the end of it, but more work may be needed.
- Black seed oil: This didn't alleviate or change my symptoms at all. It apparently has mechanisms of action that reduce inflammation but nothing happened in my case.
- Minocycline: This is an old antibiotic that seems to have a whole ton of positive side-effects in regards to depression. Do be careful however because it has appalling potential side effects as well. In my case, it seems to be working somewhat.