And I started Ketamine Infusion Therapy this morning.
Forget whatever brought me here. Fast forward to the last 12 months. I've had a troubling experience with conventional mental health treatments - where my experience is unfortunately not-so-unique. This isn't the fault of the providers or procedures. It was was just the path necessary to understand my unique brain chemistry.
So I want to share my rare little nugget of positive progress (something hard to find whenever the typical diet and exercise tricks don't quite do the trick).
And while I have had trouble, thankfully, I have had the support of a network of professionals (my wife included) that were able to help ways specific and responsive to my unique brain chemistry -- and more importantly, help me in a space where I understand and no longer feel insecure about my brain chemistry.
One of the hallmarks of depression is an "all or nothing" thinking strategy. I mean, we all have these strategies. Some of them are more harmful than others. Some may be even good. But with grief and sadness, there are dozens of them. Often you get used to it. Or think your depression isn't severe enough to get treatment. The truth is at this point; the depression has already won. Like yesterday.
As a starting spot, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been instrumental in getting me to a place where I could start to help myself with all my itinerant thinking
But not enough to help me ease the painful ones.
It took a pretty scary couple of experiences to realize that I needed help - and a few more to realize that I needed to adjust my course with medications they had given me. But thankfully, for those of you reading either because of curiosity or because you've had experiences with the same strategies/drugs/cycles - I am talking to you just hours after an initial treatment that has already changed my life.
Before my appointment and up to the moment the medicine hit me, I felt my usual discomfort with anything new. But like any anesthesia takes hold of you, I was forced to let it go. And I settled to allow my whole body to relax. And then… comfort…
I sat still as a helpful assistant explained how the medicine was already repairing damaged neural pathways. I closed my eyes and tried to focus on the music coming from my headphones. It had been 45 minutes she explained. I felt an urge to talk. I don't remember if I made any sense, but she made sure I was staying positive. I left after another hour. Out into a vague yet familiar light.
Look at that. Mountain's out.
I can still feel the effects hours after treatment. I'm eager to return to therapy. I have hope for my cure. Or least some relief. To say, I was worse. And now I am better.
I can’t say any of these things for any anti-depressant* treatment I've been on so far.
My first experience today was, of course, a little hard to describe. I am a little baffled how I was able to get dressed, leave on a bus, **< fill in the blank>, and be back for lunch with my family -- just like any other day.
Despite how normal today feels, I know that today is not like any other day. Today I felt contentment I’ve never felt before. Instead of fighting comfort, I welcomed it. And now that I know how it felt, I am eager to embrace contentment for its full purpose next time.
I’m stepping into a positive light I’ve never noticed before.
* I'm still on an antidepressant that has done wonders for me in some areas of my life. This post is not anti-anti-depressant. It is pro-responsive-treatment
**< fill in the blank> I don’t feel like I have the energy to put into words what a Ketamine treatment feels like, and I only had half the dose today. I’ll be back to discuss the effects after the next procedure. And now that I know what to expect -- I’m eager for the full treatment to let it carry those uncomfortable feelings away. Maybe then I'll be able to describe the medicine to do this post justice.
Read Part I - The transfer I've been needing to take
Read Part III - One week following treatment