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:
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.