Ketamine therapy was very interesting for me. It helped me with some things, didn’t help with others.
fluffy rambles (ketamine)
Rambles that are fluffy, by fluffy
I finished my final ketamine session. I’m still a bit loopy but I’ll try to be a bit more, uh, less-rambling than usual for these blog entries.
just got back from my fifth infusion and so here’s a customary longwinded rambleblogspewthing about what I remember from it
On the plus side, my focus is way higher, and my anxiety is the lowest it’s been in a decade.
On the minus side, my chronic pain still sucks a lot, and this is still making it very hard for me to do my job.
It’s still been a huge net benefit for me though. And supposedly it takes a little while for ketamine treatments to have an effect on chronic pain. I’ll get there eventually.
get it? IV like 4 but also like IV drip?
ha ha funny
It has been over 10 years since the person so many of us knew as Findra passed away. I haven’t spoken much about them or the circumstances of this horrible, tragic event, which has filled me with so many complex emotions for so long, and these feelings have been destroying me. I know that Findra would not want me to be suffering in this way.
Oh yeah, another thing I keep forgetting to mention is that when I feel the ketamine really kick in, it feels like the death part of a death poop from hell. Like, everything is just… ending, and I feel it first in my hands and feet and then it’s a wave that just washes over me.
It also reminds me a lot of a time back in 2005 when I got severely dehydrated and passed out on the sidewalk and got a mild concussion, like I felt like I was dead and that’s okay, everything was calm and peaceful and quiet.
The transition from waking/conscious to ego-death is a bit jarring but once you get there it’s quite lovely. The return to reality can be pretty rough though.
Yesterday’s infusion left me feeling a lot more wobbly than usual today, but it was also a huge increase in dose. I ended up going to Taco Bell for lunch since it’s the
only place within walking distance (EDIT: not actually the only place in walking distance but the quickest and easiest option for food near my home that I don’t have to prepare myself), and I decided to get a lunch combo, and in my haze I decided to make my drink Mountain Dew Baja Blast, which is rather high in caffeine.
So, on the minus side, I now have the strongest caffeine headache I’ve had in about 10 years when I first had to go cold turkey on it.
But on the plus side it’s just a caffeine headache, and not a panic attack!
I think this is evidence that the ketamine treatments are working, and maybe this means I’ll be able to go back on Adderall when this is all over with.
I don’t know if this has done anything for my chronic pain just yet, but those things are so interrelated anyway. So this is pretty promising in any case.
Today was my third ketamine infusion. It was intensely cozy.
Commonalities with previous infusions:
- Felt like I was a tiny speck and that all of spacetime was collapsing down into this liminal space that I was part of
- I do have a physical body but it’s indistinct from everything around it
- Lots of trees
- Surrounded by fractals
- Everything is impermanent and any fears about me dying were quickly dispelled by me feeling like the universe is fine and all grief is transitory
- Everything is so out of order and I wish I could bring a video recorder inside with me so that I can review it later and share it with others
Had my second infusion today. Higher dose, but it was a lot more cozy. Felt like everything is temporary and that I was a tiny speck in an infinite universe, and the universe is okay and I’m glad to be in it.
While things were starting out I realized I’d forgotten to put my phone into do not disturb mode and I was able to direct the meat puppet to ask the nurse to set it, and that worked well. The meat puppet was also able to take the shoes off when they were feeling uncomfortable.
Playlist was Ambienteer - Arrival followed by some Bonobo which started up just as the trip was ending.
This definitely gives me a different relationship with my body.
Anyway the euphoria has worn off and my pain is back. Oh well.
I had my first (of six) ketamine infusions yesterday. It was at a lower dose, mostly to see how I respond to it.
The actual experience was very interesting. Because of the combination of sensory deprivation and the ketamine itself, my sensory experience was limited to what I could directly feel around me, which mostly meant feeling the inside of my mouth with my tongue, and to a much lesser extent feeling the chair I was pressed into. So I sort of felt like my “universe” was the inside of my body, but also a void of nothingness.
I felt like my body was dissolving away and was everything and nothing at the same time, and that my self in the “real world” had ceased to be and that was also okay.
The music I chose had a very strange effect. Many of the sounds were very vocal-adjacent and I felt like they were literally speaking to me, with words I couldn’t understand. For my next session I’m going to use something more abstract and ambient, probably Ambienteer’s work.
During the experience I felt like the universe was infinite and infinitesimal at the same time, like everything is nothing and vice-versa. I kept bringing back my litany to stay grounded and intentional: “I am here to reduce pain, reduce agony, and increase comfort.”
Much of it reminded me of one of my early experiences with cannabis.
At the time I felt like I experienced something extremely profound, and that it would give me plenty to think about. But my cynicism has set in and I’m not feeling like it was life-altering, just that it’s the random nerve firings that happen when a big chunk of the brain is shut off. Ketamine treatments are supposed to work by “helping to create new neural pathways” and I’m still optimistic that repeated treatments and increased dosages will maybe have a beneficial effect.
When I woke up today I had the lowest level of pain I’d had in decades. But as soon as I started working, the flare came right back.
But the lowest level of pain in decades is nothing to sneeze at, and maybe it’s a preview of things to come.
I just hope it’ll all be worth it. This is taking both a lot of time and money, and so far feels like it’s just an excuse to trip balls while calling it “medicine.”
But if this doesn’t work I have no idea what the fuck I’m gonna do.