Ketamine Therapy: It Takes Time To Heal The Brain
Hello again. This is Susan from myketaminestory.com.
As a brief summary for those new to my blog, I write about my experiences and journey with Ketamine Therapy. 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.
I am quickly approaching to the four year mark since I was introduced to Ketamine for treatment resistant depression. I am alive today because of a drug that is raising many questions and concerns from the professional world.
I have often wondered how Ketamine works on the brain, how long would it take a damaged brain to heal and if such a brain was under distress for substantially long periods of time, or years in fact, would it have any relevance on how ketamine therapy is utilized. Would it?
I know for me, it was several decades before I found ketamine for treatment-resistant depression. I had tried numerous treatments in the past. I have written in the past about the many forms of therapy I tried during my search for a successful treatment. These treatments include psychotherapy, art therapy, music therapy, animal therapy, basically I tried every kind of therapy you can think of, really.
Without lasting results.
Throughout my life, I really struggled to locate some kind of treatment that could lift the symptoms of my depression, in order for me to feel like I was a part of life or that it was in fact worth living. I can honestly say that before Ketamine, that in most instances, I haven’t felt that life was worth all the struggles. I constantly had to go through war zones in order to figure out a way to alleviate the pain that depression caused me.
How would my life have been different if I had found Ketamine for Treatment Resistant Depression years ago? I can’t realistically say. Life is unpredictable. I do, however, feel that depression definitely would have had less damaging effects on my brain.
I would have loved to discover Ketamine decades ago, but it wasn’t an option. I had a vast array of life experiences and failed treatments before Ketamine was a common word spoken in my household.
I have had years and years of depression, anxiety and trauma. My brain was bombarded with shock therapy as well as prescription after prescription. I’ve had many doctors attempt to treat me without any lasting success for depression, but lasting consequences and injury to my antamony; especially my brain.
It was also during these lost years that I put in place several unhealthy coping strategies. I found myself often trying to self-medicate with alcohol and later with weed. I have abused food for comfort. I can admit that I have used people for distractions. I have even implemented excessive exercising as an escape. I have tried many methods to alleviate my depression.
Wounding my body and soul.
I have decades of bad habits that I formed in order to cope with my depression. I feel that maybe the longer that you have suffered with Treatment-Resistant Depression without improvements, the more it can jeopardize long term recovery.
It makes sense.
Over the years, I have put in place all the different types of treatment plans, coping strategies, and insights from my psychotherapy trying to understand depression, my depression.
In the past, I have spent much time trying to figure out how I played a part in all the craziness that’s inside my head.
I have always felt like I was behind an 8-ball; like there was nothing I could really do in order to lift my depression.
The depression always won.
I felt like I just couldn’t do enough.
I was being punished.
I also wanted to have all the control, and I didn’t; and I don’t.
On many levels, I don’t understand. I don’t understand why I felt depressed and anxious when nothing warranted the feelings. I didn’t get why I was constantly plagued by this heaviness, this deep desire to end my life. A plethora of failed treatments to get better will cause you to doubt that you ever will get better. I know this was true for me. I imagine it’s true for many others.
I know that when I found Ketamine I didn’t have high hopes.
However, it remarkably surprised me with its ability to lift, consistently, my symptoms of depression. Ketamine switches off what I like to refer to as my depression filters. You know, those filters that make it impossible to process information the same way others do?
Ketamine allows me the luxury of clarity.
I know that processing information continues to be an issue for me. I think that when you spend years and years utilizing different techniques, medications, and trying different methods for lifting the depression and the suicidal thinking without success, you start to second guess that healing and recovery will ever present itself for you. I know I doubted it. I started to question everything.
The biggest problem I kept encountering was whether or not I even had anything wrong with me. I started to believe that I was causing my own suffering. In some circumstances, I was surely not helping. I was at fault. I began to insist that it was because I was a horrible person that I was being punished; daily. I’m sure other people have felt this way as well. I’m sure I’m not unique or special in my outlook on my mental health.
What I assumed was that if you have spent decades trying to find a solution to your problem that you will fail at times, but hopefully you’ll find some successes too. This had not been my experience in the past. I feel like I kept trying new things and getting the same old results: nothing.
Mind and body crushed.
I really felt that I must be the problem. I think this is a disservice to those of us with mental illnesses. I also feel like our society has made it unacceptable, in the past, to talk about just how debilitating depression is for us.
I know, it was often difficult to get the required help that I needed when I was living in a world of chaos.
That’s how mental illness feels for me; chaos in the midst of silence.
It saddens me to look back across my past and see all of the therapies that I’ve tried. The investments that I’ve made in my health. All for the sake of being able to function in the world as though I didn’t have these filters in place.
I only wanted to live as though my world wasn’t obscured and tainted by darkness and evil.
So, knowing that, I would have to think that for someone that has spent decades trying to get better, trying to gain control of their life, that during these times they would also implement unhealthy and damaging effects on their brain.
I truly believe that this is truth for me.
I am hoping that this destruction will dissipate as the Ketamine repeatedly repairs the construction sites known as my hippocampus, habenula, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex.
I am beginning to gain a deeper understanding for the way in which I processed information in the past and how I can change the way in which I perceive my world now that I have Ketamine lifting my depression and restoring various cells in areas of my brain that affects my propensity to depression.
I tend to want to think that in many ways the Ketamine is healing what was broken or severed. It is allowing connections to be made where once was only dead cells or malformed.
Ketamine repairs the mind.
The more people that I converse with about their experience with Ketamine therapy and their recovery process, the more I’m convinced that time plays a crucial element in how Ketamine works and restores.
What I mean by this is, I’m beginning to see a correlation between age, length of time suffering with refractory depression and how long Ketamine takes to restore functioning to all parts of the mind affected by depression.
Why is that?
I mean, wouldn’t you would think that Ketamine would work the same for everyone that has treatment-resistant depression?
I propose that one element, I feel, is the depth of injury to various parts of the brain or lack of delevopement to those areas affected by depression. Secondly, the side effects of medications used inappropriately when trying to find a successful treatment for depression. I also have to begin up another element and that being inflammation on the brain. I feel the more I learn about depression, my depression, and other people’s depression is that there is definitely an inflammation component to almost every case that I’ve heard about.
Granted, I’m not a doctor, I haven’t seen hundreds of cases, but the more I read about Ketamine and have my own experiences with Ketamine to reference, the more I am convinced that inflammation is a factor. I also think it is more about the amount of time a person has had to deal with the inflammation and impairments as to how long it may take Ketamine to repair and heal the sufferer.
Ketamine is phenomenal.
I am a living example of the success of Ketamine on combatting treatment resistant depression.
As recently as 2016, it was written that studies suggested that Ketamine was believed to have the ability to regenerate the brain cells. In 2018, an article was written that Ketamine was shown to have a muzzling effect on bursting brain cells. Ketamine has been known for years to restore brain connections. In fact, there have been several articles reporting the neuroregenerative properties of Ketamine.
What does neuroregeneration actaully mean? According to a quick google search it refers to the regrowth or repair of nervous tissues, cells or cell products. Such mechanisms may include generation of new neurons, glia, axons, myelin, or synapses.
In elementary terms that I can understand, Ketamine heals the brain and aids in repairing the damaged cells.
Healing takes time.
How much time it takes Ketamine to heal the brain could be linked to the extent to which a person has been afflicted.
It’s perplexing to me that Ketamine can, for some people, reduce depressive symptoms for a couple of months but for others, like me, a couple of weeks. It also appears that those that can get relief for more than a couple weeks are in their twenties or early thirties. So, I ask myself, why is that? Are their brains not as incapacitated by the depression, and is this due to lack of breakdown in the brain? How does the amount of time under intense distress change the recovery outcome?
Which leads me to more questions. There is still so much unknown about Ketamine and how it works and why.
Why is it that Ketamine works so efficiently for some and only mildly for others? Why can some individuals be symptom free for a month or more while others, like me, need Ketamine maintenance or boosters every couple of weeks?
I’m always intrigued by the unknown.
I know that there is more research and papers being written about the science behind Ketamine. There are also many speculations about why Ketamine works for those that haven’t had any success in the past with other forms of treatments.
I enjoy speculating upon the reasons.
I have tried many treatments such as ECT, psychotherapy, numerous different medication cocktails, and have been hospitalized more than I care to admit. All with the hopes of getting better.
Yet, nothing ever offered me relief, until Ketamine.
I’m not seeing the world so bleakly now. I am seeing hope. I am seeing light and colors. I have a deep desire to want to wake up each morning and start a new day. There have been many mornings in my past that I woke up only to start crying because I had to face another day.
There’s a big difference between wanting to start a new day and having to start a new day!
I have had many mornings of unstoppable tears because I was still alive and once again I had to go through yet another day of this grueling and unforgiving disease with no relief.
When I tried Ketamine infusions I was pretty excited to discover that it actually worked for me. I didn’t expect it to. I have written about this many times. Without the risk of sounding repetitive, it’s important to understand the depth of my depression and how it affected every aspect of my life. This is very true for many people. I understand that. I realized that I am not alone in this fight, in this war, in this battle to gain back control of my life, of our lives. It’s not an easy task. It’s frustrating, and for me that leads to anger-provoking thoughts and feelings. There have been countless times when I want to give up; even when I have felt good. It’s just a lot of work fighting depression and I’m not shy about doing the work. I have been for decades!
I can say that I’m immensely thrilled by the prospect of getting better. I am getting better. It is an agonizing process. A painfully slow progression.
It is hard for me to understand how Ketamine is influencing my life sometimes, but I’ve had a lot of deep Insights and growth over the last three and a half plus years because of Ketamine. I know in my heart I would not be alive today If Ketamine wasn’t being used to treat depression.
I have written and shared many tips about my discoveries with Ketamine and how it affects my life, but I always come back to the familiar question spinning around in my mind and that is, why is it that I need a Ketamine shot every two weeks and will that change as my brain heals and repairs itself? Why are other Ketamine users having longer lasting results or have found they no longer need Ketamine?
It was because of these type of questions regarding Ketamine maintenance and recovery that I started to take notice of whom I was talking to, what age they were, and what their personal histories were. I am also very interested in what kinds of therapies had they tried in the past and what their general feelings are in terms of their success with Ketamine therapy. It was during these discussions where I received similar answers that I began to see a common theme. It appeared that those in their early to late twenties using Ketamine infusions were having a higher success rate – in terms of how long they could go between Ketamine treatments and in some cases were even able to discontinue Ketamine treatments all together. Why is that?
It has been close to four years now, and I have determined that the reason that those in their twenties might be more capable of making the period of time between treatments longer or even finding permanent relief might possibly be due to a shorter time frame for which the progression of the illness has injuried the brain cells. Once we hit our late twenties, the brain's aging process begins and we begin losing neurons—the cells that make up the brain and nervous system, or so some believe. It is thought that the way that the neurons communicate, both electrically and chemically, changes. You may see a decreased number of synapses, or connections, between cells. This could explain why it takes time to heal the brain in older Ketamine patients.
It makes sense to me.
It take time for the Ketamine to do its job, so to speak.
I would love to open this topic up for comments, because I am very curious as to whether I might be on the right path of thought here.
It could also be that the time between appointments for Ketamine therapy is lengthened because not as many bad coping habits were put in place.
It could be that they don’t have as many misunderstandings of their emotions due to the fact that they are younger. They haven’t had as many life experiences. They haven’t had to spend decades trying to cope with the depression. It could be because of these added years dealing with coping with the depression that you end up having, or you end up putting in place, thoughts and beliefs about your depression; your life.
It could also mean the brain has continued to fail to make connections or growth in pertinent areas as we age.
I do believe that Ketamine therapy is working the same for people, of all age groups. I do. I believe that Ketamine reduces the symptoms of depression. I think the Ketamine works the same at reducing the inflammation of the brain, allowing connections to be made, growth to occur, perceptions to be clarified, thoughts slow down and clarity to occur; making change possible. These are all positives elements that Ketamine provides for me and many others.
Ketamine aids in the battle of treatment resistant depression. A drug unlike any past treatments for clinical depression. It works on healing and restoring the brain.
As I have stated multiple times in my writings, Ketamine has been the only medication that has offered me relief from the suicidal depression I felt non-stop. I went years trying to utilize those same skills for every aspect of my life without success.
I would tweak the lesson to fit the situation. I might approach the problem from a different direction. I would get off one road and hop on to another hoping to find the answers for why I couldn’t experience life the same way many people do in our society that don’t have depression blocking them.
And for me, I continued to go through life with the same disruptive and self-defeating skills with the hopes of one day figuring out where I went wrong.
It wasn’t until I started Ketamine therapy that I discovered that I wasn’t the problem. There was actually something wrong with my brain. It seems obvious that a person that is suicidal pretty much their entire lives may have something wrong with their brain, their chemical makeup. Yes?
I haven’t always thought that I was the problem, but after many failed attempts at combating the depression with traditional methods, I started to have conflicting beliefs. And unfortunately the illness feeds hungrily on those doubts. I would beat myself up for once again messing up or failing.
As though I was responsible.
I was not.
I was just a student of life with a brain lacking in connections and chemistry.
I went through elementary school, high school, college and many years of freelance education trying to improve myself and adjust the way I see the world and how I take my life exams without realizing my impairment. I had obstacle after obstacle to jump over, climb, or walk under because of how I perceived my world through my depressive state. I would switch up my approach, but still the depression filters continued to confuse the lessons and my views. I would think that I was making corrections, and I probably was, but the problem was the chronic suicidal depression was still clouding up my results.
I continued to search for ways to understand the information presented to me. How I understood the world and my place in it. Why I wanted to end my life or how I had a heaviness and cried far too much. I taught myself ways of coping, but failure followed me for decades. I was not fortunate to find a guide or professor that spoke my language. I failed to find the correct medication or treatment to assist me.
Ketamine is my teacher now. I am hearing. I am seeing. I am reprogramming the failed systems from my past. It takes time. Painful time. I have to go back and unlearn those lessons I was sure would benefit me. They did not. I have much chaos to sort through. I now have an excellent treatment, Ketamine.
I have walls built many feet deep that I must bulldoze. I have had to rebuild my foundation. Decades of buildings to destroy. I am now building a city from all I am digesting from my master, Ketamine. Ketamine is rebuilding from the roots on up....
I feel that if the person is introduced to Ketamine at a younger age, say at the young age of twenty, they have far less history with life. They don’t have as many hang ups or misconceptions. They have less experience living. They have fewer disappointments to sort through and accept. They have fewer buildings to tear down.
I feel those that don’t find Ketamine until they are in their forties, fifties or later may be at a disadvantage.
Mainly, I feel that age plays a significant role in how often Ketamine maintenance is needed , how much time it may take to regenerate brain cells and because of past coping mechanisms and failed treatments.
There is history with experiences.
I suppose that it is not how Ketamine works better for one person over another but more so how Ketamine is perceived. What I mean is, the older you get the more cynical you become about finding relief and success. You have many more years of faulty therapies and medications to taint your recovery. Far too many techniques put in place in order to survive the constant noise and desire for death.
Ketamine offers relief from the symptoms of depression. It does. Understanding life without depression is both rewarding and frustrating. That is probably true for everyone. Ketamine is an aid not a cure. You still have to heal. You still have to do the work. Ketamine has a job to do, too. It works in the background. The brain takes time to heal.
You will need time to heal. I have to tell myself that often. My doctor and family remind me of this fact when I get frustrated and can't see the progress I am making or how my brain is working overtime to build new connections and growth.
The bonus is that the work you engage in, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, begins to help. I have spent hundreds of hours in various types of therapy over the past three decades and just never felt I was making progress. Ketamine suppresses the depression long enough to benefit and allow recovery to begin. It even gives you a glimpse of your progress, if you pay attention.
It is not always easy to see, but it is there. Growth and healing will transform your life.
I truly believe that if I had been told about Ketamine when I was first diagnosed at the young age of 18 my life may not have been so tragic. Please understand that I am not stating that younger people have it easy. This is not an easy illness to be diagnosed with. I am just making an observation. If you find Ketamine at twenty you may have less baggage to sort through. It is a matter of time and experience. Ketamine may have less repairs to make as well.
Ketamine is an interesting treatment. I am constantly writing and investigating. I have grown. I am making progress. It is just slow, slow, slow. And confusing. I am continuously trying to make sense out of this very untraditional form of antidepressant.
I ask you.
Why is it that some people can go a month or more without a Ketamine booster?
Doesn’t the brain age, and damage occur? Does growth and connections continue every time I am treated with Ketamine? Does age affect the Ketamine, and how effective it is, and for how long? Can the brain heal? Can the brain cells regenerate?
I would be interested to hear what you think and what your experience has been with Ketamine therapy.
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.
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.
You can also visit my Ketamine Provider & Location List to find a provider in your area.
I have been generating a Ketamine Providers and Locations list and I update it regularly. The provider list can be found on my personal website. This list may help you find a clinic in your city or state.
Feel free to visit The Ketamine Academy if you want to become a Ketamine Provider. Think about enrolling 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!