Hello and welcome. It is Susan from myketaminestory.com.
I am a blogger that suffers with Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD), Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I was introduced to Ketamine for TRD in January 2015. I am forever grateful that I was. I spent the first two years focused on my recovery. I now have an excellent treatment plan in place, but that does not clear me from obstacles or pitfalls. I journal regularly. I educate and advocate for Ketamine Therapy to help treat depression.
I write for The Injection & Infusion Clinic of ABQ, entirely based on my experience with Ketamine therapy over the past 3 years.
I have a long history with treatment resistant depression and anxiety disorders. My mental health has been my primary focus; oftentimes without my permission. I wanted normalcy. I craved it. I believe I always will.
I sometimes feel heavy hearted when I reflect on the numerous failed medication cocktails I tried. The months wasted. The horrendous side effects I then had to recover and heal from, not to be outweighed by the withdrawal symptoms these mixtures often produced. To remember the desperation I felt when I went against family and agreed to ECT treatments. The months spent inside frozen walls. I was locked up for safety in multiple psych wards. I would lose years fighting my way to the surface. I would glimpse the light and warmth of the sun only to be torn and unwillingly dragged back to the underworld.
I have painfully expressed myself over the years. I have dissected my life with my toolbox of tricks. I utilized skills I learned through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Talk Therapy, Art Therapy and journaling, just to name a few, and yet I would repeatedly find myself being a prime candidate for hospitalization.
I admit I understand how all of these treatments could potentially help, but they just never did for me.
I was laying in limbo back in January of 2015. My body was fighting to keep me alive while my mind dove straight for freedom. I had given up completely.
I have stated many times before that my husband and son never gave up their search for a way to lift me up and breathe life back into my corpse-like existence.
I am alive today because of a drug that is raising many questions and concerns from the professional world.
It has now been three years, as of March 2, 2018, since I was introduced to Ketamine for depression and received my first Ketamine Infusion, and I am driven to explore and educate myself and others on just how remarkable Ketamine is for me, with the hopes of reaching down into the dungeons to pull others into the light and offer them hope.
When I first began Ketamine therapy to treat my depression I was also introduced to centering. A valuable tool that has assisted me through many difficult times over the past several years.
I remember the day, as if I were sitting in my doctors office right this second. It was my very first appointment with my current Ketamine provider. My anxiety was parylizing. I couldn't speak. It was then that he stared straight into my soul, or that is how it felt at the time, to me, and he asked me to locate my center. I had some prior knowledge on meditation and the benefits. I have attempted, very poorly, to sit with myself. I understood what he was asking of me. However, I still felt like such a preschooler.
You can usually find your center by placing two fingers below your belly button. Focus inward.
I was guided to this location because my anxiety blocked my ability to relax and focus. When I was at my center I found it locked. Sealed tight. A massive tight rubberband of a ball sitting in front of my access point. It felt impossible to take a full breath. I can reflect back to the beginning of my practice and smile.
I know. The only way out is through. I did the tough work multiple times daily. When I am in, and I know what I want, I set goals. I am 100% determined to make every effort to get to the other side.
I often feel I am not making progress in my recovery. When I allow myself the luxury of a slight pat on the back I can see growth. I am in the process. I am gaining ground. I can see.
Once you have your eyes wide open you can no longer fool yourself. The old messages and toxic behaviors slowly change. It is practically impossible, from my experience, to stop knowing truth even before you are capable of making the changes necessary to grow and heal. I can not undo knowing.
Awareness leads to change and I can not lie, it is painful. I have been told by numerous people in my life over the years that the first step is being aware.
The truth is before me.
I must now select a story in which I know the ending or the one I can write for myself, if I choose, to push through the anger and hurts and accept my condition.
I have decided to learn how to sit with the feelings, the unbearable anxiety. I am pretty sure it will be awful in the beginning, middle, and end, but I will survive.
In the early stages of my centering practice I had to stand in front of a mirror. It was like I couldn't connect with my body unless I could physically witness my reflection. I think over the years suffering with treatment resistant depression, I became so enmeshed with the belief that I was my depression; every fiber of my being was tainted with fear and the neverending echo of death. Just one gaint ball of elastic. I needed to see where the sensations were originating while also practicing the art of centering.
The mirror helped me reconnect mind and body. I would stand before my image staring at a scared little girl. I would wash her away with tears. Hands above my belly button.
Just breathe, Susan!
Slow and deep.
I would do this exercise multiple times a day.
I needed that mirror to show me I was attached. I was complete.
It eventually became easier for me to find my center without a mirror and it progressed to where I no longer needed to place my hands on my core. I could easily mentally swim to that solid blockage.
Just an ugly tumor.
I stayed with it.
It has taken literally years to reach a vacant space where my horrors once lived huddled together resisting. I no longer need a mirror. I no longer see that thick ball of rainbow colored rubberbands I saw on my first visit with my Ketamine doctor. It is an empty endless tunnel that I routinely find myself diving into during my Ketamine treatment.
Straight to the center of the universe.
The reason I find this method, centering, so helpful is because of its ability to ground me. It helps bring me back to the present moment. It pulls me away from the thoughts, the panic, the past, and the future. It drives me to that safe empty parking lot. Concrete beneath my feet. Solid. In the now. In touch with me. Breathing in calm.
I have a grounding game I found on the Internet long ago. I look around with my five senses. It is another anxiety reducer I keep in my coping toolbox. It is really all about bringing me back to my surrounding and what is happening now.
I get overwhelmed very easily. The grounding game and the centering technique aid me regularly. The most important element to these tools, for me, is breathing. I have told doctor after doctor that I couldn't breathe. It wasn't anything physical. I was just a ball of nerves. I know I have a bad habit of holding my breath. Waiting.... Just waiting for that shoe.... to drop.
The depression would be so heavy my body curled in on itself. I tell those that will listen that I feel like the letter C. My head is dead weight. I can't possibly hold it up. I am intimate with the ground, yet I failed to feel it under my feet.
The mirror served to help me get in touch with my body language. It helped train me to stand tall with shoulders back, just like Superman. It is amazing how much more freely I can breathe. Another gift Ketamine has given to me. I began to connect thoughts to body expression. Depression is powerful. It claims all of you!
Being mindful, even for brief periods of time, slowly it allowed me to evolve. Mindfulness based Cognitive Therapy techniques have given me the ability to help otpimize the Ketamine.
I have discovered that not only was the depression lying to me, I learned I am an expert at lying to myself as well. I am aware now. Ketamine gives me terrific vision. I literally feel as though the world is on autofocus and super sharp. I no longer have to keep adjusting. It's Automatic.
Dr. Levine, my original Ketamine Infusion provider, once warned me to be careful what I wished for when I stated through tears that I want to feel like others do; the "normals". I wanted that. Badly. Basically, I had no idea what Dr. Levine was talking about. I am fully in the know now with positives and negatives to report.
I was unprepared for all the new emotions. I was taken off balance with unexplainable, yet real emotions. My world had been one expression. One theme. One desire. Death. Ketamine switches on emotions, and I have frequently found myself overwhelmed or confused.
I have spent my life talking about my feelings. The realization Ketamine offers me is blantly obvious. Treatment Resistant Depression robs you of all other emotions. Your conversations are not about the vast difference between having a rough day filled with disappointments and a series of months or years where the only topic on your mind is ending the suffering. One emotion. One and only one. That dark place steals your light. What is worse, it rips away your ability to discover and experience everything and anything besides that constant sensation that you are drowning, with sandbags attached to every limb. Holding you down. It is not unrealistic to understand how you might dream of death. It never occured to me that once I was rescued from the murky waters I might be blinded by the contrast. You might think I would be aware that I might need sunglasses and suntan lotion with an outrageously high SPF spectrum to protect my fragile state. I did not. I had no expectations of feeling remotely different after my six infusions. I would learn the painful way. It seems to be my MO. I am not unique.
I am, however, only a first grader in this new language of emotions.
I appreciate them all.
I fight against them without meaning to.
Ketamine helps me experience life instead of watching it happen to others like a Hollywood movie. I have been casted. The movie is LIFE. I think the trailer glorifies a fantasy few can obtain. It highlights the brillant array of colors. It mentions nothing about your ability to cope with the success.
I am still learning.
I do find myself eating foods that are high in sugar or engaging in old unhealthy behaviors to manage the shocking shift into the sunshine, positive outlooks, and the desire to improve and the dreams for death linger in the background waiting for weakness. It is a familar feeling. The devil calling my name. I also know how that world operates. This new depression-free universe is massive and frightening even for someone like me who is excited to be here. I am thrilled. I am terrified. Changes are happening.
What the hell does that mean for me? I can't imagine. I am afraid. I am willing. I resist. I crawl forward.
A world where I no longer avoid or mindlessly react.
I have experienced my time here on earth through a devastatingly judgemental, self-critical, unforgiving eye.
I am absolutely confident that the moment I surrender and let change occur I will heal in record speed.
I am there. It took me three years to get here. I stumbled. I trip over my own feet. I have had a few relapses. I kick myself and speak in a critical tone.
I told my husband recently that the Ketamine has kept the Circus from playing and pulling my attention away from this present moment. Ketamine has also fondly introduced a throng of Cheerleaders inside my head. They are my voices of reason. They are rooting for me to win. The only tragedy is now I am the Circus. I am forming arguments against good.
Am I afraid to find joy? Am I self sabotaging?
The unknown, is not yet known.
I am no stranger to the horrors of a world with treatment resistant depression dicating my moves. I know what to expect.
I continue to numb myself. Avoidance.
Afraid of change, but desparetely screaming out for growth and healing.
This past week has been a source of insights. The biggest coming directly from my son, with love. Thank you Matthew!
I am heading in the right direction. I just needed a loving finger to point me where I have been dying to go, but have been too petrified to make my feet move more than an inch or two towards a brighter future.
I just took a leap.
I reached out. I asked for more support. It broke my heart. I should probably investigate why I see this as a failure and not the splendid success that it really is. I wanted so badly to conquer this illness my way. I have come to realize that my way may not always get to my destination.
It is okay to ask for help.
I can't make these drastic changes alone.
I will go through this. I will survive. There will be numerous occasions, I am sure, when I will question my decision to seek more assistance from professionals trained to help.
I want back my life. I want all of it. I will have to fight for it. This time I have Ketamine in my corner. It helps me process with clarity. A gift. It keeps me wanting more.
I am days away from taking a new road. I am about to vomit with nerves.
I am now about to begin the process of eliminating "coping strategies" that I once convinced myself were helping and had "proof" to argue my logic too. I was the fool. I was only kidding myself to avoid feeling.
Yes, that is correct. You did not misread that sentence.
These new feelings are mega intense. Truly. I feel uncomfortable. I want to dodge the pain. I want to numb the pain. I want to escape. I want a break. I want down time. I want time to stop so I can catch up. I want to heal, but only if.....
That is not how it works unfortunately.
I am going on a month long hiatus in order to seek treatment from those indivduals trained to help in recovery. I will be writing old school; paper and pen. I am both looking forward to the wellness retreat and longing for it to be the final day. That will be a sight. Susan discarding old baggage. Susan with new luggage packing up and taking the tools she will obtain back home with joy and direction in her heart.
I am hopeful.
I will have Ketamine.
It will be extremely exciting and the most challeging thing I have ever willingly signed myself up for. This time it is for ME.
In the past I have been known to receive help for the sake of my family. I stayed for Geoff and Matthew. I fought for them. I wanted death. I fought for my life, but not because I saw anything worth living for.
This decision to seek added professional support is all me; for me.
It is because of the Ketamine, the breathing, and the mindfulness therapies that have allowed me to get here. I am ready to open the lock. There is nothing blocking my way to the absolute center.
Just think of me as though I am going bowling. I will play with the kiddy bumpers up, but I will be playing. One day soon you will probably discover I have joined a league. I hope so. A girl can dream.
This girl is imagining a life with open arms welcoming joy.
Ketamine continues to work its magic.
It is now time for me to be a more willing participant.
I can no longer pretend.
The Ketamine is doing its job. It is time for me to seriously move towards healing and stop expecting the Ketamine to do it all for me.
I am ready.
Thank you Ketamine. I am hopeful that if we work together, I will find the peace I crave.
Ketamine is hope for Treatment Resistant Depression.
If you are interested in educating yourself further 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 3 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 or someone you love.
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 would be an excellent decision and could be extremely helpful for others like me. 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 would also like to suggest that you, or a trusted person in your life, approach a local professional and start educating them on the benefits of Ketamine. Again, it doesn't hurt to ask for what you need.
There is definitely more education available for you to make a case for yourself and your mental health.
I have been generating a Ketamine Providers and Locations list and I update it regularly. The provider list can be found here. Please visit my personal website for the full provider list. This list may help you find a clinic in your city or state. I update the provider list regularly. I highly recommend individuals contact me if you administer Ketamine or if you are aware of a Ketamine provider not in my directory; I will happily add new Ketamine clinics.
Feel free to visit The Ketamine Academy to enroll in your dream today. If you are fascinated, but not yet ready to commit, I suggest 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!