Hello all. This 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 am a huge advocate of Ketamine therapy for Treatment Resistant Depression. I write about my experiences with Ketamine treatments on my website, MyKetamineStory.com. I have also written for several Ketamine clinics in the past. I am excited about writing for The Ketamine Academy; a website that is focused on training practitioners and provides the best opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to provide safe and highly effective Ketamine Infusion Therapy in a comprehensive online program.
It is my desire that with my writings I can help those interested in knowing more about how Ketamine can help Treatment Resistant Depression, and other disorders, either for themselves, a loved one, or even for their patients.
I will be discussing my experiences with Ketamine and how it has aided me in healing from decades of suffering with profound and chronic depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.
I have a long history with treatment resistant depression and anxiety disorders. My mental health has been my primary focus; often without my permission.
In this blog, I have been thinking a lot about my recovery lately. I feel like I am always fighting to keep centered. However, I can also recognize that at least now I able to do the necessary work needed to obtain my goals. My desire in life has always been 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 also realize that it takes decades for that to occur, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting that rock solid foundation, yesterday.
Now, I find I 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.
I have felt like I was a free-floating balloon that escaped a child’s hand. It has often felt so unbearably uncomfortable; incredibly difficult. I had numerous situations arise over the past several years that made me struggle to find my footing.
In the past year, I have been able to acknowledge and recognize my growth and progress. I have tiny roots taking shape and digging their way into rich soil. I can feel the sunshine and life around me. I am growing and flourishing. My tree is budding and leaves are taking shape. Is it possible that I had been looking at my life and journey from the outside? What does my tree look like? Why is it still so incredibly small and fragile? Why is it taking so long to see and feel the changes? Seasons have come and gone and yet my tree of life appears to be unchanging. I am constantly reminded that I have a massive amount of work to still do in my recovery and that has shaken me over the years. Could it be that maybe, just maybe, the roots below the surface where I can’t see are taking form, creating a life of their own. That maybe, possibly, they are increasing in size, building up, expanding, extending, fattening, filling out and maturing?
I think of my past in many ways. I ponder and analyze. I use many analogies, such as, 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 know I would have to remove one stone at a time and there may be incidents where a bat or two would become entangled in my hair and I would have to address that and begin excavating again. I am thoroughly convinced that even the society I feel, whether it is reality or not, rejected 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 an understandable 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, pain and trauma. 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. My precious sapling, stunted.
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 experts are called in.
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 used, 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 with 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 aid 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 was making the calls. He was doing the research. He was my voice. I had given up and the bats were feeding on me. My partner of close to 27 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 had not responded well or at all 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 four 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 think everyone could agree that being surrounded by darkness for decades and then thrown into the light is going to take some adjustment. 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 four years of my Intramuscular 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 has often felt 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 exists, 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 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. The Ketamine Academy is an online training course that can help more providers have the opportunity to help administer Ketamine to their patients and actively participate in burrowing through the boulders and shining light on our diminutive sprouting roots.
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 symptoms for a solid 12-14 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, in the beginning my anxiety increased. Everything felt overwhelming. I wanted to protect my little tree from the harsh light and heat in this new environment. I had so much fear. I was a child with new emotions and insecurities. How would I function and grow? I found that outside help was needed; cognitive and behavioral modification therapies gave assistance in my rebuilding and adding nourishment to my soil and protection to my young tree in order for the roots to strengthen and undergo development and change.
I have been plagued with some of the same concerns in regards to Ketamine that I have had people ask me about. Where can I get Ketamine? How will I be able to afford this treatment? Will Ketamine help me? Why isn’t there more providers of Ketamine? How does Ketamine work? How many treatments will I need? What is Ketamine? What will I experience while undergoing Ketamine? I thought I would only need six treatments of Ketamine so what is a maintenance dose? How often will I have to get booster infusion of Ketamine or IM Ketamine shot? Why am I still struggling with depression symptoms after completing the six initial Ketamine treatments?
In the past four years, I have discovered many answers and various aspects of these questions. I have had similar questions and still do, which is why I advocate for Ketamine therapy. It is why I continue to write and educate on the topic of Ketamine. I pray that change will occur. I am driven. I would love to see more interest and professionals reaching out to investigate. I truly believe in the benefits of Ketamine. It is desperately needed to help people suffering with chronic clinical depression; those like me that have not been helped by traditional treatment plans.
Ketamine is the only medication I have responded positively to, and it has allowed me to heal and be a better version of myself. It has allowed my dying roots to take shape and mature. It is because of my success with Ketamine that it has 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 of a nightclub?
The dark side of me finds that I even ask, what if something happens to my Ketamine doctor?
What if those suffering with treatment resistant depression and those that are suicidal can’t locate a provider or afford Ketamine?
I want more answers.
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 discovered much about myself and my past. I have accepted facets of my recovery and how the instruments I used kept my seedling alive in that cave away from the sun.
I write to share my experience, strength and hope with others in order to help offer a little bit of hope and reality.
In the beginning of my journey with Ketamine therapy, I was afraid of all these new feelings and concerns. I mean, I spent 30 plus 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 any more searching. I was finding myself so incredibly hostile. The depression was lifted. Yet here I am still struggling to make sense of the world. I needed to understand why I still had so much work to do even though the depression was taking a back seat. 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 find myself so angry. Why do I have to keep moving those damn rocks, stones and pebbles? I felt entitled. Didn’t I deserve a perfect life because I had been through horrific living conditions?
I was furious.
I was spinning.
I was longing only 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, Ketamine is a phenomenal treatment.
I am slowly beginning to realize nothing is easy to repair. I was misled 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 have to nourish my sprout in order to create that oak tree I envision.
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. I am reasonably happy. 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 and our body in order to reach 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 at the same time thinking we can still keep the trim athletic body we strived daily to obtain? We all know this is not the reality. Yes? I have realized in the past several years, as I was free floating and slightly miserable, I was approaching Ketamine therapy the same way. I figured I spent decades digging myself out and now with the use of Ketamine therapy I had it all. I wasn’t going to have to put forth any more 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 can hear myself asking, what do you mean I still have to tend to my garden and pull weeds to ensure that my tree is given the best opportunities to become a massive oak?
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 session 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 saying 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 am caring for my baby oak. The roots are taking shape. I am not always aware of what I am accomplishing by following directions and implementing healthy coping skills and listening to the suggestions of others, but I have faith that beneath the sod, dirt and clay my roots are undergoing transformations that I will eventually see. One day I’ll be able to walk beneath that strikingly beautiful, mammoth, oak tree and know that I actively participated in nurturing that broken sprig.
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 fit, healthy in mind and allow my roots to multiply 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 to 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 also found early on that I was totally annoyed by how often I needed 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 to test it and adjust and retest it again. I will need to create a healthy soil to keep my tree growing and developing its roots. 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.
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 four years.
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.
I have been generating a Ketamine Providers and Locations list and I update it regularly. 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.
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.