Adventures in ketamine (part 2)

It’s been a bit of time since I wrote part 1 of this so if you missed the first part of me talking about taking psychedelic ketamine treatments to treat my depression you can click here.

So. The first treatment was weird as hell and I basically melted into another dimension. The second treatment they upped my ketamine dosage to 100 mg and I fell into a mini k-hole. This is an actual thing that is not terribly uncommon for ketamine users and some people actually try to have them on purpose but for me it was really uncomfortable. Basically it’s when you disconnect enough that you lose track of yourself and sort of have an out of body experience. I felt like I’d slipped into another dimension and that I’d died in the last. Some people say it’s the equivalent to a near death experience or is the brains way of going offline and a lot of clinics actually say this is a really good thing but I sort of panicked and that’s really the opposite of what you want to be doing when you’re having a psychedelic trip. I ended up discovering that dread is the intersection of depression and anxiety, and dread is my least favorite sweater. After I came back to myself I should have told the nurse and she could helped but I didn’t because I am a people pleaser and didn’t want to be a bother.

WHAT THE FUCK, ME.

Of course afterward I worried like mad that it would happen again and so when I got back for my next session I mentioned that it wasn’t a big deal but I had been stuck in the sunken place last time and the nurse was like, “WE CAN FIX THAT, DUMMY.” Except she said it in a much nicer way and sighed in a way that made think that probably about half of her patients were too polite or depressed to really give proper feedback and this is where I will stare at you and say, “YOU ARE YOUR OWN BEST AGENT, MY FRIEND. You are not a bother. You are a human. And you deserve to talk about things that make you uncomfortable and to ask for help.” Remind me of that next time too though, okay, because I continually make this mistake.

So the nurse told me that I probably wasn’t on a high enough dose to have fallen into a true k-hole and probably had a mini one brought on by a panic attack during the session. Which has an easy fix of getting a small shot of versed (a mild sedative) right before the sessions. After we added that I never fell in another k-hole.

Over three weeks I had a total of 6 sessions. Everyone describes the place ketamine takes you differently but the one thing that seems common is that it’s not really describable. In the same was that being awake and being in a dream are two very different states, being on ketamine is the closest thing to a third state of consciousness. It’s good analogy, I think. You fall asleep. You wake up. Why is one about falling down and one about going up? I don’t know exactly, but ketamine is going sideways, like exploring the threshold between waking and sleep. For me it is like a small death each time, as I dissolve away. I break apart and then come back together, in the same way that a doctor re-breaks old bones and resets them. It is always scary. It is always relaxing. There is always a point where I hope it lasts forever. There is always a point where I’m afraid it won’t end. But each time I go back in, because I’m worth giving my brain the chance to work again. Each time we upped the dosage until it was 130 mg. Each time I’d fall into myself and go numb (in good and bad ways) and feel right on the edge of discovering something profound I could never quite capture as I dance with the universe.

Yesterday I had my first booster session and although I’m still dealing with depression I can tell the difference between where I was when I had my first session. I was too depressed to talk when I had my first one…barely able to even function. Now I laugh with the nurse. She tries to turn on the sound machine and right after the robotic voice says “bluetooth activated” it starts playing Cards B’s Wet Ass P*ssy and she panics and tries to fix it as I explain that I’m 99% sure it’s actually picking up my husbands playlist from the waiting room next to us. I laid my phone next to me because I often want to record what I’m thinking in case it’s brilliant but most of the messages to myself are these:

“I feel my brain recalibrating. I am both more connected to the universe and less so. I wonder if Medusa’s pubic hairs are also snakes?”

“I wish I could explain this but maybe you can’t explain mystic experiences. That’s why they’re mysterious. Why don’t we call water cloud juice? We totally should. Juice is always better than water. I should make a cloud juice store. And I can even water it down and no one would ever know. Oh my god, how does this not already exist?”

“I bet this disconnection is like what happened before our birth. And after our death. I think maybe I’m not afraid of dying anymore and I don’t know if that’s good or bad.”

“Each of these sessions is unique and the same. Beautiful and terrifying. Like childbirth. Or jumping out of a plane holding your own hand. Oh shit, I think I’ve gone invisible.

Also, several of these recording were texted live to my friends because I wanted them to see what I was seeing, in spite of the fact that they were not on drugs at all. I apologize for that but they all assured me they were very happy to listen to my profound sound bites. Ones like this:

Sigh

Anyway, long story short, ketamine helped pull me out of a deep depression but not out of my normal depression, which is still sticking around. I’ll keep doing booster sessions once every one to three months depending on how I’m feeling. And I’ll try not to get depressed about the fact that I’m still a little bit depressed. It will pass.

I’m worth fighting for. So are you.

60 thoughts on “Adventures in ketamine (part 2)

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Just wondering . . . is insurance paying for this? It seems like a good option for those with severe depression.

    (Mine didn’t. It cost about $300 per session for the clinic I used but they can be more or less expensive depending on the clinic. They did let me use my healthcare spending account though. ~ Jenny)

  2. Thank you for sharing your journey. You are a wonderous being. Thank you for taking care of yourself. The world needs us all.

  3. Jenny, thank you for reminding yourself and us that we are worth making the effort. It’s so easy to feel discouraged or guilty, even though people are EAGER to help. If you haven’t already, you might want to read Michael Pollan’s “How to Change Your Mind,” which explores the history of using psychedelics for therapeutics and how people are using them today. It might help give you some context for your ketamine trips.

  4. Hugs for every step of your journey. You’re worth the ups and the downs. Thank you for being you 💜

  5. I’m sorry you’re going through this, please look into micro dosing psychedelics – specifically mushrooms. It’s being studied by major hospitals for depression, anxiety, ptsd. Very good success. You’re worth checking it out.

  6. Thank you for sharing your experience with this. I’ll be starting ketamine in a few weeks and it helps to hear about others experience.

  7. Thank you for sharing your experiences, it will give people comfort who are nervous about trying this treatment.
    One of the things I’ve found out about depression is that often our minds tell ourselves we are not worth it, so we don’t express our needs or wants or fears. But if you don’t advocate for yourself, how can you get your needs met? your wants fulfilled? your fears addressed and reassured?
    You are your own best advocate, and very few people can read your mind, so speak your mind because you deserve to be heard.

  8. Even when I’m not in a depression I don’t advocate for myself because I want to please the nurses or doctors. I’ve never gotten over that, and I’m 60. And been trying to get over that since my 20s.

  9. So I was talking to someone today and they brought up Ketamine therapy and I immediately said “oh, I have a friend who’s doing that” …then I had to stop and realize that you are not actually my friend…and then I had to stop and realize that I DO think of you as a friend and that’s a wonderful gift! Thank you for taking us with you on this journey and for always being so open and honest with us.

  10. Ancient Greeks plucked their pubic, underarm, and leg hair. So not only were Medusa’s pubes snakes, but imagine doing any womanscaping…
    Thank you for sharing what K is like. I hope it helps.

  11. Jenny, you made me smile so many times. Miedusa, Cloud Juice, and having the ambition to heal. Keep going, girl! You are an inspiration.

  12. Your comment about being a people pleaser and not wanting to be a bother made me laugh really hard and also made me want to cry because, yep. I will eat food I didn’t order at a restaurant and that I don’t like just to avoid being a bother. I was shivering so hard in the ER once that the gurney was shaking. The nurse kept offering to get me a blanket and I kept saying I was fine. I didn’t want to bother her. She was busy. She finally just brought the blanket. I almost hugged her with gratitude.

  13. I was reading this while on a conference call and had to emergency mute myself when I got to the part about Medusa, so thanks for that 🙂 Keep fighting! You bring joy to so many and we want the same for you.

  14. Jenny have you ever considered ECT? I did 8 treatments and that got me out of my depression and now I’m doing monthly boosters. It does affect my memory but I’ve been reassured that everything will go back to normal.

  15. First now I need to know if medusa‘s pubic hair is snakes. I’m going to wonder about that for life and two how do you water down water? Do you get could juice from rain and then water it down with tap? I have so many questions. Also did you know there’s a fish that can’t swim has huge red lips and grows a unicorn horn from its forehead. Life’s weird I tell ya

  16. Jenny,

    What an amazing journey. It’s hard to realize (over and over) that one has to live with some level depression or other chronic illness. Thank you for taking us with you. I keep trying to figure out what to try next

  17. I always assumed that Medusa‘s pubic hair was the tiny tips of the tail from the snake heads that are on her head. Like the snakes run all the way through her body, and the head is on top and the tail is down below. I now realize that I have no idea where that thought came from. I also now realize that it is deeply weird.

  18. Quite the tale…..an amazing concept to go thru this and come out the other end feeling better!!
    Long may it last 🙂 Love you for doing this post.

  19. This isn’t a snark but a genuine question…how can you tell if you are clinically depressed now…or just depressed like the rest of us because it’s depressing out in the world now?!

  20. I also struggle with depression, but luckily my medication helps most of the time. I really hope the ketamine works for you, because I know you’ve been having a really hard time. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. ❤️❤️❤️

  21. Reading your third book now, and all three have made me LOL for real. I look forward to your next one and dread finishing this one. I have to slow myself down or I’ll read it all at once and have none left for tomorrow….kinda like when I open a bag of chips.

  22. Jenny, you are spot on with “It is always scary. It is always relaxing. There is always a point where I hope it lasts forever. There is always a point where I’m afraid it won’t end.” And same here, I still have my normal depression. My out of body experience was SO out that I thought I may be just a floof of goo in space. I asked my doc “Am I…. contained?” Bah!

  23. I’m glad it’s helping. I’m sorry it’s not helping enough. I hope it works long enough to find a more perfect solution.

  24. I am glad that this is helping even a little bit. It totally sucks that treatments like this are not covered, affordable, and medically available to everyone who needs them.

    I am so out of the loop since I got put into IG jail. Last Thursday I was online and all of a sudden I was kicked out of IG. When I tried to get back in, I got a message saying that I have violated their policy and my account has been deactivated. Doing what, you might ask? No idea. Every time that I jump through their hoops to get an answer, I just get the same message saying that I violated their policy. I post pictures I take of birds and animals. Are they against bird pictures? Augh!

  25. Something else to look into…… You can get Ketamine “trochies” (under the tongue tabs) or rapid dissolve tablets to use daily along with “oxytocin” dissolvable pills to help with the daily depression……we get them from Austin Compounding and are prescribed by the nurse who is in charge of the Ketamine clinic we use in Austin.
    I describe my daughter’s ketamine as “keeping her out of a deep depression” …..not curing her depression. Good Luck- it sounds like you are on the right track.

  26. I LOVE reading your blogs! Although my depression is well under control, I still get down about once a month. I know depression is a serious issue, but you seem to make it so interesting – LOL! Your Medusa thought had me laughing hysterically. Please keep us posted on your appointments – I do hope they help you. Charge on, Jenny!

  27. I did intravenous ketamine. 6 times over 6 weeks. It was the only thing that pulled me out of the really dark place I’d been for at least 2 years–and once I was out I realized I was a lot worse than even I knew. I hated every minute of it (swore I was going to die each time) but it was so worth it. My cost (here in the heartland) was SO much more than yours.

  28. We need a ‘cloud juice’ store. That needs to be a thing. And, uh, I never thought about it but now I can’t stop thinking about Medusa’s possible pubic-snakes….. Thanks for all the weirdness you bring to my life, lol. I’m glad it was able to get you out of the deep depression! For me the depression never fully goes away but once out of that deep place it’s easier to live life and feel alright. I hope you can do the same!

  29. I’m about to start my first round of ketamine treatments in a few weeks and your posts have helped me prepare! Thank you!

  30. I sure hope this works for you. I’m going to ask my doctor about it tomorrow when I see him. My depression is still hanging on, even though I’m functional. I am just not my nutty self and I miss me. Hang in there! Prayers and white light and all that stuff.

  31. You’re funny even when depressed. What a gift. I won’t let anyone give me Versed after I figured out it gives me big memory problems for weeks. I am 70 years old. I think I first had Versed around age 60. They often give it before surgery. Other people are fine with it.

  32. Sending you a hug across the miles and the web!

    Check out Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind. It’s a fragmented history on psychedelics and use for treating a myriad of disease including depression. I’ve also found it’s helpful with my insomnia. During the pandemic I’ve tried to read it. I end up falling asleep within 2 to 3 pages, which is a bonus. It’s not that it’s boring; it’s dense and a bit repetitive wrt various studies and figures in the history of research and approach. It’s made me curious and thankful for the opportunity to experience thru his experiences. Definitely the magic of books. 🦝 – Katie… Trying to not be a k-hole.

  33. One more thing: I found a tie between you and my other favorite source of light online:

    @duchessgoldblat
    ·
    Aug 22
    Wherever you find yourself today, I hope you’re celebrating Dorothy Parker’s birthday by acknowledging your gifts and talents.

    Always good for a chuckle… and Dorothy Barker namesake shout out

  34. A thought for the depression sticking around – I was in a near death car accident where a guy fleeing from the police hit me at 80+mph. Major concussion that put me into a chronic sleepless rage. I found a gifted lady who does neurofeedback, and it healed not only the concussion but much of the other patterned struggles in my brain. I am better off than before the accident. A friend of a friend used it also for her son’s suicidal ideation and he recovered as well. Might be worth trying as a next experiment.

    LOVE your sense of humor!! I had to stop reading Furiously Happy on the plane because I was cackling out loud too often, and was disturbing others!

  35. I seriously pondered how to get ketamine without going to the center because of cost.

  36. Once again, Miss Jenny, I want to thank you for giving me ideas to try if my asshole depression and his buddy anxiety stop responding to the meds I’m currently on.

  37. Jenny; I’m your twin in Indiana, except I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, instead of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I’m currently reading your “Broken’l and want to thank you for so eloquently helping me to see I’m not alone. Anyway, I’m just on the part where you are trying the magnetic treatments. I wanted to tell you about Ketamine, as it has been helpful to me. I get boosters monthly, and when Seasonal Affective Disorder sets in, every other week. I’m only on 85 mg. I wonder now if it should be higher. I’ll talk to them next week. As you said, the “never ending work of recovery.” Love, Judy

  38. Keep on fighting, Jenny. I had a 30 year nervous breakdown raising 4 kids with mental illness and clinical depression while I was also that depressed- plus bulimia and a gay child whom I love beyond measure. Now I’m 60, having PTSD on and off, and then Covid. But they are all healthy adults now and despite all the shit it was weirdly worth it then, and now to be on the other side able to speak with knowledge and empathy to others who struggle. And thanks always for making me laugh, even when you’re out of yourself. I don’t know if this makes any sense but I’m posting before I chicken out.
    With love.

  39. I hate getting depressed because I’m depressed. Endless cycle. Until it’s not.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: