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  • Susan Gayhart

Ketamine: Trying To Understand New Emotions When Depression Lifts


Hello again. This is Susan from myketaminestory.com. I have been thinking a lot about my recovery lately. I feel like I am always fighting to keep centered. My desire in life is to feel rooted like an oak tree that has been around for more than a century. I need to feel grounded. I want a solid if not a concrete floor beneath me. I am a very visual person so images help me make sense of the world around me. I know I want to be that tree with roots so deep into the universe that even the perfect storm can't destroy it. I find I now want and strive to experience all that life has in store for me without feeling like I might snap or break. I am driven to be that strong, flexible tree. I need to be that solid oak that has the ability to bend and sway but remain grounded in its own foundation.

The last several weeks I have been free floating like a balloon that escaped a child's hand. It has been so unbearably uncomfortable; incredibly difficult. I had numerous situations arise over the past month and a half that I struggled to find my footing. I am constantly reminded that I have a massive amount of work to still do in my recovery.

I think if I had been trapped behind boulders, in a cave filled with a colony of bats, I would expect and allow myself the time to work through the nightmares and pain. I am absolutely positive that even the society I feel rejects me because I have an illness they can't see would understand and accept that I was involved in a frightening and life altering situation; and to return to life as they know it would be a challenge. There might be an obstacle or two that I have to practice over and over to conquer. I had been trapped in a cave with demons scarier than an orchestra of boogeymen. I am not sure why I thought having Ketamine Infusions or Intramuscular Ketamine shots would also miraculously erase the last 30 plus years of memories. Ketamine administered by a qualified professional definitely allows me the ability to utilize all the coping strategies I learned while enclosed in such a dark world.

I think for me, Treatment Resistant Depression can be described as being trapped in that horrifying cave alone and starving for a way to escape. No one can reach you. Helpers arrive dressed not in firefighter or search and rescue uniforms but lab coats. They are brought in to dig around and remove the monstrous obstruction blocking you from living life in the sunlight, but to no avail. More expert are called in.

Silence. Alone. Fighting.

I have known that cave intimately. I was devastated and trapped. I could often hear people discussing new methods for tearing through the rocks and pulling me to safety. I have been aware of the attempts these search teams have use hoping to release me. They have used dynamite disguised in the form of medication cocktails, ECT and hospitalizations. I still could not crawl out to meet them. I could not welcome the sun.

It was over time and disappointments that I retreated farther into my cave. I accepted my fate. I figured after 30 years of my battling to find people willing to continue to aide me in escaping this life long captivity it just wasn't going to happen for me. I was finally ready to let go. I shut down completely. I accepted my fate.

My husband on the other hand refused to give up. He did not leave me. In my darkest moments he has been making the calls. He has been doing the research. He has been my voice. I had given up and the bats were feeding on me. My partner of close to 25 years, through his tears and pain, found a single article about a drug called Ketamine that gave him hope. He started shouting through my darkness about this "old" drug being used in new ways. Clinical studies were showing evidence that Ketamine given slowly by IV over a period of time significantly improved depressive symptoms in those that have not responded well to traditional methods. It was being introduced as an option for individuals just like me; trapped and lost. My biggest advocate was calling to me from the outside but his words would not penetrate my dark world. It is an amazing endeavor my husband took on to save me. I am happy to admit that he finally located that one tool that was powerful enough to demolish that hateful blockage before me that was keeping me from living my life. That successful and life changing product was Ketamine. Incredible Ketamine.

It has been over two and half years of treatments and I am still dumbfounded that one drug could accomplish what every other known method of treatment for my depression could not. It has given me sunshine. I get excited to hear about new clinics like The Injection & Infusion Clinic of ABQ. The need for facilities to treat patients safely is going to grow once Ketamine has a stronger voice as a valid treatment for depression.

I think everyone could agree that being surrounded by darkness for decades and then thrown into the light is going to take some adjustments. My eyes burned. My heart ached. Fear and excitement. I was even more aware of all the time wasted trapped in pure and utter misery. I was exhausted from my grueling attempts to stay alive. I was tired from doing the work it takes to push back all the debris. I figured my journey would be easier now that I had my Ketamine light showing me the way out. I was naive.

I have been given a torch. The name of my vessel of light is Ketamine. We all know that a torch burns out and must be lit again to offer you the brightness needed to see your way around. Ketamine therapy is no different. We also know that a torch will flicker and tease. In the past two plus years of my IM Ketamine shots I have responded in such a positive and successful way. I continue to make amazing strides towards being the best version of myself. My anxiety is often uncontrollable out of fear that I may not have access to the spark that keeps my stick in flames. It is an unsettling feeling to have only one tool to do the job. I am grateful that this tool exist, but I must also be honest and say I have worried.

It is immensely important to me to educate others about a treatment that could potentially release them from depressive symptoms that have refused to vacate the mind previously. I finally found that one element to ignite my world with bright vivid colors. I think it was normal to be apprehensive. What if it stops working? What if I can't continue to afford it? It is not an inexpensive treatment. I know this. It has not been easy to add a costly treatment to the budget. So the questions begin. What if? What if I can't find a doctor to administer my Ketamine in the future if something tragic happens to my current doctor? My mind went tumbling. Education is absolutely needed so that more providers can learn about the benefits and start offering Ketamine at a more reasonable price. I know that Ketamine is hope for treatment resistant depression. I am proof. My life is worth living fully because I am given Ketamine shots every two weeks and it shuts down the depression for a solid 8-10 days. When I was introduced to Ketamine therapy it was amazing that I actually responded to its effects and was symptom free for the first time ever. I will admit my anxiety increased. I have been plagued with some of the same concerns I have had people ask me about. I have and still do which is why I advocate for Ketamine treatments. I pray change will occur. I am driven and I would love to see more interested professionals reach out to investigate. I truly believe in the benefits of Ketamine and it is desperately needed to help people suffering with chronic clinical depression and have not been helped by traditional treatment plans. Ketamine is the only medication I have responded positively to and that caused me to constantly play the what if game. What if I want to relocate to an area where no one has heard of Ketamine outside a night club? What if it stops working? What if? What if? I have invested time and money into this treatment. I have felt the warmth wrap around my mind and body. I have experienced life without the clouds and rain. I appreciate the clarity and focus Ketamine allows me. I am thankful for the time I am not engulfed in my illnesses. In the back of my tortured mind I continue to analyze. I have been afraid of all these new feelings and concerns. I mean, I spent 30 years struggling to survive. I have become an "amateurish" expert by default. I have acquired many tools for fighting depression. I understand that even with Ketamine that not all of them can be tossed away. They did keep me alive during trying times in my life. They may not have been the sun, like Ketamine, but all the same they were needed. These tools of mine are useful. It has taken time to realize this information.

I want to add that I saw the sunlight with the help of my Ketamine infusions and I danced. I started burning all the baggage I found in my cave. I figured I found my cure. I would no longer have to fight. My work was finished. I thought all I needed was Ketamine therapy and I would be on my merry way. I was so arrogant. I mean, I would think, listen world- I fought for 30 years isn't it time for a break or long vacation from depression? Why do I need to revisit that cave and make sense out of all the ways I survived. I lived it. I don't want to swim around in the memories. I didn't want to do anymore searching. I was finding myself so incredibly hostile. The depression was lifted. Yet here I am still struggling to make sense the world. I needed to understand why I still had so much work to do even though the depression was taking a backseat. I was exhausted. I wanted to leave that part of my life in the background. Be "normal". My desire was to be like everyone else. Only the problem, and I have painfully discovered this, is everyone is fighting. We all struggle. We all want and need similarly. My depression is just an added filter I see the world through.

I believed the depression kept me from being. I wanted to know why if the depression is no longer present I am so angry. Why do I have to keep moving those damn rocks, stones and pebbles? I felt entitled. Didn't I desired a perfect life because I have been through horrific living conditions? I was furious. I have been spinning. I have been wanting to run, run and keep running away from all the painful reminders of my time sequestered in pitch black with monsters using words and feelings against me. Have I not been through enough? Am I not amazing just for living through it? I demanded to know if the Ketamine could lift my depression why, oh why, was I still struggling. I was pissed. I wanted Ketamine to be a miracle drug; a complete and uncomplicated solution. Please don't get me wrong, it is a phenomenal treatment. I am slowly beginning to realize nothing is easy to repair. I was mislead in my belief system. Seriously. I had unrealistic expectations. I was not at all pleased to learn this lesson. In fact, I was livid.

Ketamine has freed me time and time again. It has successfully accomplished its primary goal which is relief from suicidal thinking and depression. It repeatedly pulls me away from that miserable cave I was locked in. I have discovered that unfortunately I now have to learn to live in this new world I found myself in. I thought surviving and escaping was the tough work and once the depression wasn't filtering my thoughts I would be happy and content. Wrong. I do have moments when I am at peace. I found a place where joyful is exactly what I am. I have more and more opportunities to feel completely. In the midst of feeling centered and able to manage my life I falter and fall. We all do.

My question is why do I, or better yet we, continuously believe in results without the work? We might spend a year or more getting in shape by eating well, exercising, and being mindful of ourselves in order to reached all our personal fitness goals. When the results are present we are immensely pleased with ourselves. Yes? Why do we then begin to snack on junk food and skip the gym yet think we can still keep the trim athletic body we strive daily to obtain? We all know this is not reality. I have realized in the past several weeks, as I was free floating and miserable, I was approaching Ketamine therapy the same way. I figured I spent decades working out and now with the use of Ketamine shots I had it all. I wasn't going to have to put forth anymore of my time and mental energy dissecting and establishing new goals for myself. I thought it would be easy, breezy. After all, the bloody depression was manageable now. Right? I think many have fallen or will fall victim to this train of thought. I know I did. I believe we all may react differently to this knowledge. Personally, I became full of spite and the rage was causing havoc in my life. I investigated all of these thoughts with my doctor and my best friend. I discovered recently during my Ketamine treatment that my anger has lifted a little. I am beginning to learn acceptance. I am no longer completely angry about doing the work. Maybe I should restate that by say most of the time I am no longer angry about the work involved to get healthy and staying that way. I was often aware of how mad I was but not the whys. I reflected. I paid attention. I listened to me. I heard. I am adjusting.

I will say after my last Ketamine treatment it dawned on me I was starting to make progress. I am growing. I am getting healthier. I find myself proud of all my hard work. In the past few days, I haven't been as hostile to be around. I accepted that if I want to keep a fit, healthy mind I was going to have to continue to workout so to speak to accomplish my goals. I discovered I was hiding at a metaphoric candy shop pretending to not be diabetic. I was able to fool myself and others for a short time but I wasn't able sustain it for very long before the effects made themselves blatantly obvious with all sorts of new struggles, old messages and illnesses.

I practice centering with mindful meditation and breathing exercises multiple times a day. I have found myself totally annoyed by how often I need to practice. I used to get so outraged at having to constantly redirect my thoughts. It was difficult for me to understand I had habitually processed information in a frightening cave and they left their own scars. I was inadvertently negatively programming myself. I had some pretty messed up bugs in my system. I know with my programming I will have to find the root of the problem and add new data. I will need to hit run and wait for the next hiccup to occur and address the issue at that time. It is a very intricate system. I will need test it and adjust and retest it again. I am starting to accept that my work is not over and just as a body gains weight and you lose muscles if you feed yourself trash and skip the workouts; the same is true for Ketamine and mental health. I am no longer angry about the work I have to do; most of the time.

A few side notes and announcements:

If you or someone you love suffers with Treatment Resistant Depression, Ketamine could offer help. Ketamine has lifted my depression and allows me to experience new emotions and live the life I was meant to.

My Ketamine Provider & Location List is growing. I am updating it regularly. If you know of a provider not present feel free to notify me. Personally, I know how difficult it was to find a provider in my area. My directory may help others find assistance. That is my ultimate goal.

Lastly, I am excited to announce that I will be working on a new blog series. I am happy to say many people have reached out to me with questions and concerns. I will be addressing many of these inquiries over the next several blog posts. If you find yourself wanting to know more about Ketamine for Depression I am open to answering questions. Please feel free to use the comment section below. I will do my best to answer them during my new Q & A series. All responses will be based on my personal experience with Ketamine over the past two plus years of treatments. It is my hope to educate and advocate on an unconventional method for Treatment Resistant Depression.

This article was originally posted on myketaminestory.com

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Albuquerque, NM 87111

505-445-4300

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This information is designed for educational purposes only and is not provided as a professional service or medical advice for specific patients. It is not a substitute for professional medical care, and if you have, or suspect you may have, a health problem you should consult your helathcare provider.