Ketamine: A First Hand Account

My husband first brought Ketamine treatments to my attention over two years ago. There were some amazing statistics. Ketamine had helped 70-80% of the patients that used it claw their way out of depression. And these were people with treatment resistant depression like mine.

Ketamine rebuilds the neural pathways that depression has ground away, forming new pathways for serotonin. The mechanism for ketamine is not completely understood.

I resisted at first, mainly because I couldn’t stand the thought of it not working for me.

Finally I agreed to seek treatment.

My husband and I went in for the initial consultation where it was determined that I was a good candidate for the treatment. Dr. J and his wife were so kind and reassuring. We set up a a schedule; six treatments in two weeks.

The day of my first treatment, I was very nervous. My husband kept reassuring me that it would be allright and that this would be a good experience for me.

We arrived at the clinic and led to a one of two treatment rooms. Dr J’s wife got me situated in the chair and reclined it. She put a blood pressure cuff on my arm, three leads on my chest and a heart monitor on my finger.

Then Dr. J came in and calmly told me what he’d be doing. First, a numbing agent for my hand so it wouldn’t hurt when he put the IV in. Then some saline, Zofran (a blood pressure reducing medication) and benedryl and finally the ketamine.

I sat and waited for the ketamine to take hold, my husband sitting beside me, as always, anxious to see my reaction.

My limbs became very heavy and a feeling of peacefulness flooded me. Tears rolled down my face. It had been years since I felt the kind of calm I was feeling.

I stared at a picture of the ocean while the tears streamed down. I told Dr. J and my husband that I saw hope. Dr. J. said, “Good, go with that light. Don’t look back. Just keep looking forward.”

The feeling of happiness was one I hadn’t felt since I was a child. I had been depressed for the better part of 37 years. Now I felt a lightness…a light piercing the dark.

I found myself unable to stop saying the thoughts I was having. Both my husband and Dr. J cheered me on. I said, “This is beautiful” and smiled like I hadn’t in many years.

My limbs were so heavy. Opening a bottle of water was a Herculean task.

I looked at my husband and there were several of him. But I wasn’t scared, I was totally calm and relaxed.

After about 45 minutes, Dr. J. said he was pushing the last of the Ketamine through my IV. The time had flown and I wished it could have been longer. But I had another treatment coming in just three days.

I started to come back down and Dr. J’s wife came in with pastries. G.lucose helps the brain take in the Ketamine, so they always have you eat something sugary. (And I had been fasting for four hours before the treatment).

Dr. J’s wife removed my IV, blood pressure cuff and heart monitor. My blood pressure had reached 177/91 at one point.

I was unsteady on my feet for a good 20 minutes after the treatment.

I cannot say enough good about Ketamine. It is healing and transformative. I’m very much looking forward to my next treatment.

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