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 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 would like to address those that are unfamiliar with Ketamine therapy for treating Treatment Resistant Depression. I realize after four years of treatments I am finally seeing more articles being written about the success of Ketamine therapy for treating depression, PTSD and other similar mental illnesses which is exciting news. However, many of them are scientific and doesn’t address the major audience; the sufferers of these diseases and whether Ketamine will give them relief.
It was all I was interested in determining at my lowest time.
I believe that when I was in the depths of my illnesses I wanted to be fascinated to learn about the research that was proving that a drug was restoring and regenerating damaged or dead cells and connections in the brain. I would have welcomed the knowledge that clinical studies were proving that when depressed mice were given Ketamine areas of their brains were lighting up and activity increased, if I had been able to. What is even more captivating is the length of time this area of the brain was illuminating, for said mice, and that their moods matched the brightness seen in the scans. To be completely honest, I am pretty enthralled by what researchers are discovering about why and how Ketamine operates and its effects on depression, but that is because Ketamine is now working to heal the impairments in my brain.
The case studies are answering questions I have been asking myself for years. It is also extremely compelling to read about how, over time, the glow that is being seen by scientists in their mice subjects begins to fade and go out. The explanations have helped me to better understand what is happening and why I must return to my doctor for a maintenance dose of Ketamine every few weeks.
Having said all that, I know that when my depression was all encompassing that I didn’t have the ability to to concentrate long enough to read and I definitely didn’t have the capacity or desire to process the information.
All I wanted to know was, will this medication stop the obsessive thoughts of suicide? Will this drug suppress or eliminate my depressive symptoms? Will this drug, called Ketamine, end or diminish the number of times I have to be admitted into a psych hospital? Will I be able to live a productive life without the desire to kill myself?
Fortunately, I have the answers to those questions and more.
Ketamine has absolutely put the brakes on my depressive episodes, hospitalizations and suicidal thoughts.
I am living.
It wasn’t always that way for me. Luckily for me, I have a wonderfully supportive family. My husband did the searching and reading and would share a summary of what he discovered about Ketamine. I am writing to the friends and families of those suffering years of debilitating depression.
I am also addressing those that are searching, for themselves, to find an answer to pull them back from the edge.
I think back to when I learned about Ketamine: I was in such a bad space, as many of you still are. I know that when I heard about Ketamine, I thought it was too good to truly believe in.
I didn’t have the ability to have faith in anything.
I remember that I shrugged at the thought of others being helped with yet another drug claiming to help Treatment Resistant Depression. “This won’t be my experience. It never has been.” I was exhausted with the constant medication letdowns I barely survived. I was too afraid and completely hopeless to dream of anything outside of the darkness and heaviness I am intimately familiar with. I couldn’t muster the energy involved in trying a new treatment.
I couldn’t afford not to.
The gremlins and their chatter were active in my thought process. Their voices so incredibly loud and damaging. They had a permanent solution for me.
Death by suicide.
So, I reluctantly watched a couple of videos that my husband found about Ketamine. I even read the few articles that were available on the internet at that time. I watched in disbelief. I read with skepticism in my heart. I was highly suspicious. Could these people be for real? Could the words of research and results be trusted? It seemed doubtful. I know now that they spoke with honesty. That the clinical studies were solid and from reliable sources.
I needed to silence the hateful gremlins long enough to absorb the possibilities.
I didn’t want to risk the unknown, but I needed to do something. I refused to continue walking down the road I was on. I knew where that road would take me. I welcomed the end.
My family did not want their stories, or mine, to end with a family member ending their life because of the deadly illness known as clinical depression.
I have written about many aspects of Ketamine in the past that you may want to reject. You may think it might be fabulous that it works for me, but you are totally different. That your depression has a different face or voice. That I really wasn’t as profoundly depressed as I claimed. That I, in fact, wasn’t absolutely depleted in the hope category.
Am I correct?
I know I had these same exact thoughts:
“The people in the videos and articles that are being helped with Ketamine are just lucky and nothing like me. They haven’t been hospitalized on the fifth floor or had to undergo ECT while being on a cocktail of psych medications only to suffer numerous side effects and hatred. “
“I won’t be that fortunate.”
“I will only add another failed treatment to my long mental health resume.”
“I am sure I have suffered too long to be helped.”
“I bet those helped didn’t have ‘my kind of depression’. “
I had all the defenses, lack of convictions, and mistrust I had grown to feel when approaching new treatments.
I had rational and irrational fears plaguing me.
As I have stated before, and want to impress upon anyone reading now, I was at my end. There was no light on inside. I know for a fact, especially after reading my journals from the months leading up to my husband discovering Ketamine, that I didn’t have high hopes for Ketamine. I had no hope.
However, I stayed around and fought, for the sake of my family.
I had to know that I had tried everything.
If there was something that could help, didn’t I owe it to them to try it?
It was not an easy endeavor. I was profoundly depressed and so angry about it. I write now and my feelings about the future are positive. In my sharing, I guess I worry that a depressed individual may blow me off because it seems so far-fetched. I know, I had these thoughts too.
My family did so much research and were so hopeful that Ketamine treatment would work for me. I think they had to believe that, because they knew I had basically checked out and was just playing the waiting game.
I didn’t believe it would help me.
I felt nothing would because the fact is, nothing else ever did.
I couldn’t get my hopes up like my therapist and husband were.
It is important to me to have you realize how far from the sun I was. I had been for many, many years.
I know now looking back that my depression was always present. It just manifested itself in a variety of different ways. I have used numerous crutches over the years to combat my illness; without success.
I think back and reflect on what I now know in hindsight would be my last round of medications and trips to the psychiatric wards. I was absolutely and completely done with the stories of mental breakdowns and hospitalizations.
Leading up to my last hospitalizations, I even found myself trying to fight off depression with running. Prior to my last war with severe depression, suicidal ideations and last attempts to actually silence the noise in my head permanently, I was training for a marathon, and I thought my body betrayed me.
My mind and body, I felt, were always battling against living and cheering for death.
I would ignore advice from other runners to take rest days. I needed to run. After all, I was being chased by the demon. I couldn’t seem to run fast enough or long enough to escape that feeling of doom. I would run when I was broken, because I knew what was in store for me if Satan outran me. The evils of depression go beyond the willpower I thought should have killed “it”.
I have lost so many, many things, opportunities, and even more so people that claimed they cared for me, all because I was ashamed of my mental illness.
I would go into hiding when the symptoms were at their worst.
Distance myself from life and was swallowed whole by the painful and rawness that is Treatment Resistant Depression.
Many of my observations have been years in the making and others I found with the help of Ketamine.
Depression is an insidious disease.
It will steal everything from you.
It will make life unbearable.
It makes suicide seem rational.
It embeds itself deep within and suffocates you in a world others can’t see. It painfully kidnaps you and leaves behind only a shell of who you once were or could be. I was on my last breath. Ketamine turned out to be my oxygen. It forced air in, so to speak, and loosened the grip that bastard depression had on me.
I was reviewing my journals once again, and they saddened me. I want to speak to those that are still struggling to locate relief. I want to shout that Ketamine has allowed me to put the brakes on all the hospitalizations and suicide attempts. It has made it possible for me to rebuild a life I thought was over. It has been a long and oftentimes tedious adventure. I wanted, no needed, to go back and not forget the intensity of my depression and where I was before Ketamine, in order to possibly help others suffering out there alone and hopeless.
I have experienced much personal growth since my journey began.
Ketamine has offered me…..
I don’t want to sound fanatical, but the fact is, I am living. I am establishing and rebuilding my foundation from the crumbled debris. I am the architect and I get to decide what my future will look like without the depression ninja dictating my actions and reactions.
I recognize the girl that wrote the words spread across the pages of my journals, but I am not her. Thankfully. I still find myself angry that I didn’t discover Ketamine sooner. However, I am trying to accept that I found Ketamine when I did and that is okay.
Never easy, but helpful.
I think, for me, I will be ahead of the game when I accept and embrace my diagnoses. I have spent a great deal of my life denying my illness to others. I didn’t want to appear weak. I didn’t want to be labeled and judged. I still don’t. I am convinced that if we don’t start discussing it more freely without the fear of repercussions, more will suffer in silence. It is a raw subject and just slightly intimate, which frightens the general population. People don’t want to discuss illnesses they can’t see. I want people to understand the true severity of mental illnesses. It is just so cruelly debilitating. We need to realize we have a voice. We need to be heard.
We deserve to be heard.
In closing today, I would like to share once again on how involved my family became in order to pull me from my despair. I am revisiting this time in my life as a way to demonstrate what Ketamine and four years has done to enriched my life, as well as, those in my inner circle.
My son, Matthew, was a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University, back in 2015, when Ketamine was first spoken of in our home. He would later transfer to George Mason University in his second year, change his major and is now set to graduate in a few weeks. I am a proud mother. But I digress. When Matthew was taking a research class during his freshman year at VCU, he decided to write his semester paper on Ketamine. He was then given the privilege and invitation to present his finding at the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programs yearly presentations. This was, for The Gayhart family, all so exciting and fascinating to be a part of, especially early in my journey with Ketamine Treatments.
I have included Matthew’s research paper on my website if you are interested in reading it.
His professor was very impressed with Matthew’s topic and enthusiasm. Please note: Matthew wrote his paper during the same period of time as my first set of Ketamine Infusions. I returned to Virginia after traveling to New Jersey for my first 3 treatments for the weekend, and Matthew interviewed me for his paper. If anyone is interested, I have linked his rough draft of the interview. Matthew would end up incorporating some of the interview into his research. It is a frozen piece in time for me.
This project was beneficial for the whole family.
We were, and still are, doing our part to try and change a flawed medical system. We know how Ketamine changed our lives and we want to scream it from the rooftops in order to bring attention to the drug and its potential life saving abilities.
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.