Ketamine Treatments And Benzodiazepines: My Journey And Discoveries
Hello and welcome. It is Susan from myketaminestory.com.
As a brief summary, I write about my experiences and journey with Ketamine Therapy on my personal website, The Injection and Infusion Clinic of Albuquerque, and also for The Boise Ketamine Clinic. I have a long history with treatment resistant depression and anxiety disorders. My personal mental health care resume includes numerous failed medication cocktails, ECT, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Talk Therapy and hospitalizations. I admit I understand how all of these treatments could potentially help, but they never did for me. It was a little over two and half years ago that I was introduced to Ketamine for depression. I am alive today because of a drug that is raising many questions and concerns from the professional world.
I have learned such a valuable lesson over the last six weeks on how far I have come in my recovery and just how quickly I can slide back into Hell. I have been eagerly wanting to write but unable. I reflect back over the past couple months and I will genuinely admit I wasn't sure I would live through it. It has been a painful journey back.
I believe in my heart that my downward spiral began on the day I received a flu shot, October 13th, 2017. I have always avoided getting the flu shot because many members of my family get violently ill after receiving one. I have been willing to gamble each year and opt out of getting a flu shot. If I get sick, I will deal with the illness then. I do not knowingly want to inject a virus into my body. I don't trust my chemical makeup. I have a history with medications and their side effects. I have become somewhat of a purist.
Well, this year I was forced to get a flu shot. I planned time off from work, so just in case I did become ill I would not have to work through it. I photograph newborn babies in a hospital setting. It is mandatory to receive the flu shot. I compiled. The shot compromised my system. It made me weak in mind and body. I truly believe that is where this past visit to darkness injected itself into my life.
I did indeed end up getting the flu. I spent my vacation time in bed. I was bitter. I was disappointed. I rearranged my Ketamine therapy. I avoid getting Ketamine when I am under the weather because I don't ever want to associate Ketamine with a negative. If I am ever unsure, I reschedule. I have experienced having a cold and a Ketamine treatment. I have also had a sinus infection and have kept my appointments in the past. I found that when I received my Intramuscular Ketamine shot during times when my body is stressed, the Ketamine doesn't seem to work as efficiently. I can honestly say that I struggled while learning those lessons. I confused being physically sick with being mentally unwell. This made for confusing times for me. I equated being sick in bed with depression. I asked a multitude of questions of myself. It seems so obvious that when you don't feel well physically you are not going to want to go out and socialize and be cheery. I figured the Ketamine always combats the depression, so why do I still feel like shit?
Following the flu shot, I probably went back to work before I was ready. I was still feeling exhausted and low, mentally. I worked ten days in a row and long hours too. This is not typical. I try to work outside the house for around 20 hours a week. I want to do more. I often can't say no if asked. I realize, all too often, that I routinely put myself last to help others. I am loyal and pride myself on being professional and representing myself and the company in the best way I possibly can. I do this without thinking. It is natural. I feel I should be able to have a career and work 40 hours a week. I do. Others do it all the time. Unfortunately, my mental illness loves to reek havoc at the most inconvenient times.
I pushed through the long stretch and on day ten I was so proud of myself. I excelled. I usually do when I am working overtime to deny that I am struggling. I stayed focused and determined. I rocked it.
However, there was a problem. My system was still battling the virus I was injected with. I am not a fan. I see that shot now as my undoing, so be patient during the times I rage about the injustices and how much I lost because of one flu shot. I was exhausted. I was confused. I felt lost. Why was I still sick?
I followed the flu with a cold and then a sinus infection. I was juggling my appointments and switching days trying to get my Ketamine on the days I could bring myself to my doctor's office. At first I would drag myself because I feared not getting Ketamine and having the depressive symptoms return. It was after failing to get the same relief that I typically get following my Ketamine therapy that it occurred to me that maybe it was because I had an infection. It has been a time of discoveries but not without the painful darkness pressing heavily on me.
I do believe that when a person gets a cold, virus or the dreaded flu bug, it will compromise our bodies while the body fights the alien bacteria or virus. My doctor concurred. In fact, he tried to reassure me that I was fighting off infection after infection and that even the best of us feel discouraged and depressed when we are sick.
Say what?!? I thought I was unique. Special.
Doesn't my doctor know that I am superhuman? I laugh because I tell him so. It is a goal that I never wrote down. It is automatic. Perfection. I want to be beyond Superhuman.
I must be. I want to be. I need to be.
Man, doesn't Dr. Moseley realize that I strive to be superhuman and damn it I am failing? He is not clueless. He is insightful. If I feel he is missing my constant desire and need to be everything to all people, I wildly state my obsession at random times. He is aware.
He gently reminds me, as we giggle, that I might want to spend more time centering.
I am too tired.
I don't feel good.
I was annoyed with myself.
I am positive that everyone around me was frustrated too.
I welcome November. I was to celebrate 25 years of marriage, and my husband and I put a contract on a home. That, my friends, are both amazing events. November should have been my staircase up and out. Instead it was an elevator down to that all too familiar pit of despair.
I will make a quick timeline. I welcome a new month in hopes of ridding my body of infections and gain back control of my mind.
I was already spent.
November 6th, I lose one of the most important people in my life. My world shifted. I am still reeling. I still cry easily. I don't know. I am grieving. I am feeling.
Oh, how I don't want to be feeling anything. Nothing. Please.
Sedate me. Please.
It was already cloudy and overcast. I can feel the demons. I am weak. I am slipping. I want to care. I don't.
I don't want to deal.
Please sedate me. Now.
I went completely down the rabbit hole and asked my doctor for Ativan. I am so against medication that I am known to ramble passionately about how horrible it is and why. I especially detest Benzodiazepines. I could even classify them with ECT for the worst treatments ever. I could even use the word hate. I am not a fan.
I am in the wrong place at the wrong time. My world is crumbling. I am in a dark place and I am out of matches. I am afraid. The noise is getting louder. I can't focus. I don't feel confident that I can stop the tragedy about to happen to me. I don't think Ketamine can fight this for me either. I can't ask it to. Ketamine has its limits.
Ketamine can't repair loss. It can't fix grief. I understand that. I know not to ask Ketamine to do all the work.
My body is failing to recover from illness. I can't cope. I am feeling suicidal. I am having flashbacks and I fear that I may have to be hospitalized. I had to make a call. Do I let go or fight back? I have worked so hard. How is it that in four weeks things can feel out of control to the point of serious suicidal depression. I was obsessed with death and dying. Surrounded by it.
It was because of my illness, both mentally and physically, that I was forced to resign from a photography position that gave me much joy. I made the decision. It was the right one. I had to save me. Here I am feeling another loss. I am falling. I can't be normal; ever. I am always fighting to keep myself above the surface. Ketamine lifts the symptoms, but I have years of unhealthy coping techniques still trying to demand my attention.
I resigned. I have lost a vital person in my life. I need support. I need a lot of support. I blindly believe in a recent friendship to help ease the pain and confusion. Only to have that person selfishly turn their back on me when I was in need of a friend. That hurt. I am still in shock. I don't get it. I judged poorly. I mistakenly took my caring and efforts to help a fellow sufferer to mean the feelings would be reciprocated. This was not the case and instead of talking through an upsetting conversation, he opted to end the friendship. I suppose it never was a mutual relationship.
I am spinning now.
I am so done.
I cringe and shatter.
I resort to the one type of drug I promised myself to avoid at all cost.
I call and beg my doctor to call in Ativan. Yes, the dreaded Benzodiazepines. I am an absolute failure. It is either Ativan or the hospital. I am so far away from the sun that no one can reach me.
I am afraid.
I fear that suicide will be my last chapter. I wonder if I will always feel that way. It makes me cry. I fear that is my story.
The noise is getting unbearable. The desire to say a permanent goodbye is strong.
I fill the prescription. And I mentally lock the doors. Ativan help me. Please.
I opened a hateful door with the little pill.
I barely make it to my appointment to get Ketamine. I need it. I desperately need it.
I am drowning in grief. I can't breathe. My doctor increases my Ativan. I die a little more inside. I remind myself it is either a Benzodiazepine or the hospital. Just try to stay sedated, I tell myself.
It is now day four of being on 3 mgs of Ativan daily. I am gone. Only my shell remains. I am fighting to make sense out of the insanity screaming in my mind. Not again. What happened with the Ketamine? Why did it only give me relief for one day. Is it because of the Ativan? I am acting out. I am hurting myself. My husband holds me tight. I scream, rage, cry, and beg once again to be sedated.
Please let me sleep. I don't want to wake. I knew it. My ending will be by my own hand. As I feared. This craziness will never end. Ever. I can end it. I can. I want to.
My husband asked me to fight. He begs me to stay with him. I cry. This is too familiar. It is too painful to go through again. I can't. I won't. Why isn't the Ketamine squashing the suicidal ideation?
I put my hand out again for sleeping and avoiding.
It dawns on me at that moment as I am looking down at the pills in my hand why my world feels empty. I think I have all the answers and they vanish with my hope. I feel pathetically alone and my husband gently whispers that I am not. He is in this with me. I cry. I cry. I cry. I drift off knowing that in the morning I am putting an end to this madness.
I look in the mirror in the morning and I don't recognize myself. What the hell? Why? I want to give up. I look deeper and ask Susan are you in there? I cry again. I find all I am doing is crying.
Medication can't fix loss.
I am hurting. It is grief. I feel it and I don't want any part of it. I want to be......
I look up and see a vacant little girl. I have seen her before. I want to mother her. She needs a mom. She just lost the only woman that felt like one. She needs me to be stronger than I ever have been in the past. We are better than this illness.
How did it get so dark? Why didn't the Ketamine target the suicidal thinking? What is different?
I take inventory. I have flashbacks. I feel as though I am drowning again. I know the answer is right there in front of me. Think, think, think.
Benzodiazepines! The antiChrist for sure. A demon. How could I forget my hellacious past and my promise to myself to avoid Benzodiazepines at all cost?
The cost was my life. I weighed my decision. I accepted my choices. I figured temporarily the anti-anxiety medicine was the best option for me. I didn't want to be admitted to the hospital to keep safe. I would sleep until I was ready. The problem is we are never really ready to grieve and let go. I know I want more memories and hugs. I know it makes tears stream down my face and my chest feel utterly tight and uncomfortable. I am grieving.
I am grieving. I AM GRIEVING!
Once again I confused my emotional language. In the past I felt pretty much numb, and suicidally depressed. It is odd how you can be both feeling pain and feeling nothing at all.
I think about the knife, pills, the necktie and that plastic bag, death. I was surrounding myself in a demented fantasy I was ready to carry out when I drifted off to sleep. My husband woke me in panic asking me random questions about the number of pills and when did I take them. Puzzled. Confused. I look down as he pulls the knife from my hands. He questions everything. What is the plastic bag for? What have you done? Susan, no. Please. I am shocked. What?
And through the fog I hear a voice I long to hear again say to me it is probably the side effects from the Ativan.
I started to really examine the recent week. How did I get here holding a knife and screaming for death? How could this be happening to my family again?
I was exhausted. I couldn't sleep long enough or deep enough to deny the reality. I suffered a lot of losses in November and I tried old behaviors and solutions and once again they failed me. I am convinced that the benzodiazepine Ativan numbed my ability to function and wage war on the madness that is my mental illness and thus lowering my resistance to fight the common theme when I become overwhelmed and overextended, which is to take my life. It seems so drastic to me now. I stopped taking the Ativan and dealt with the horrific side effects and made it to my Ketamine appointment yesterday.
I sat heavily down on my doctor's sofa and announce that under no circumstance is he to ever give me another benzodiazepine. I reviewed the last two weeks and how incredibly close I came to attempting to end my story forever. I didn't want to get Ketamine until I was clean of the Ativan in my system because I really feel strongly that benzos are why the Ketamine wasn't benefiting me as it usually does. I also feel it was inhibiting me from utilizing my healthy coping strategies. It made me numb and sleepy, and more profoundly, it made it impossible to rationalize or have perspective.
I am resurfacing. I continue to be grateful to have Ketamine to help pull me through my difficult times. Last night's treatment was like a welcome home. A maternal hug from a loving, hopeful, universal mom. I enjoyed it all. I feel like I am on my way. A new journey ahead. I appreciate my logical outlook on the world. I have missed my favored, analytical self. I missed me. I longed to have my ability to differentiate between the mental illness and insanity. It is a very fine line for me. I feel okay with that right now.
It is always interesting for me to write about a depressive episode after getting Ketamine. It all seems surreal and sad. I was out of control. I felt completely lost. I feared how far I tripped and how broken I felt. My emotions are often intense and I am still working on understanding them all.
I plan to discuss the new emotional language I am discovering with the help of Ketamine in a future blog. I have spent many hours thinking about the numerous new emotions I am experiencing now that the depression is being lifted regularly with Ketamine treatments. It has been enlightening and has brought uncertainty at times, but in most situations I am thankful for the education.
If you are interested in educating yourself on Ketamine therapy for Treatment Resistant Depression, check out the four-part series I wrote answering questions about Ketamine use, based on my experience with Ketamine therapy over the past 2.5 years, for The Injection & Infusion Clinic of ABQ.
My first blog, Ketamine: Addressing Questions & Concerns focused on my early experience with Ketamine Infusions.
In part two of the series, Addressing Questions & Concerns About Ketamine Therapy for Treatment Resistant Depression I addressed questions and concerns about Intramuscular Ketamine verses Ketamine Infusion therapy.
In my third blog, Frequently Asked Questions: Redefining Depression With The Assistance Of Ketamine Therapy, I was a bit more random. I had emails with several questions and themes, and I addressed as many inquiries as I could.
In my final question and answer dialogue, Pondering Concerns & Questions: The Benefits Of Ketamine For Treatment Resistant Depression, I discussed research, clinical studies, and the need for changes to occur within our insurance companies and federal government so that maybe one day Ketamine will not be so difficult to afford or obtain, from any qualified professional.
I hope these personal blogs from a patient that suffered for over four decades with treatment resistant depression will be helpful in convincing you why Ketamine could help you. Also, if you would like to become a provider of Ketamine Therapy try enrolling in The Ketamine Academy's online Ketamine Infusion Therapy training course; it is an excellent decision. The Ketamine Academy online program will surely benefit you and the mental health community.
In conclusion, If you know of anyone suffering with treatment resistant depression, like I do, let them know that Ketamine therapy may be an option worth looking into. It has been and continues to offer me relief from my symptoms. If you, or someone you know, are considering Ketamine infusion therapy, please visit Jason Duprat's Ketamine clinic at www.infusionclinicabq.com for low cost ketamine infusion and injection options. If you are not in the Albuquerque, New Mexico area I also suggest approaching a local professional and start educating them on the benefits of Ketamine. Again, it doesn't hurt to ask for what you need.
I have been generating a Ketamine Providers and Locations list and I update it regularly. The provider list can be found here and on my personal website. This list may help you find a clinic in your city or state.
Feel free to visit The Ketamine Academy to enroll in your dream today. If you are fascinated, but not yet ready to commit, I recommend the free trial to help you determine whether you want to invest in yourself and in this is new online ketamine infusion training course. Just think, if you enrolled in The Ketamine Academy your new clinic could easily be added to my directory for the grand opening!
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