November 7th, 2019
I haven’t updated in a long time. I’ve been trying to reflect on why that might be and came up with a few things.
I have been doing ketamine infusion treatments for almost a year and a half now. While there have been some major improvements, it’s also not exactly what I had hoped it would be. I’ll start with the biggest victories: I am off all medication for bipolar/depression (I still take medication for anxiety and sleep). Being off meds was a huge goal of mine from the beginning. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers all come with their own slew of side effects and long term effects. They can be harsh on your liver, cause weight gain, diabetes, and a have long term effects we are not even fully aware of yet. While I think medication is a great thing and something I will likely be back on in my lifetime, it has felt incredibly freeing to be able to be off medication and still be a functional human by treating my illness with just the ketamine.
Now for some of the challenges: I had to stop the at-home ketamine treatments. Ketamine gives me migraines, and taking it at-home 3x/week meant getting migraines essentially three times a week. Those headaches were affecting my way of life more than the depression was at that time. We weighed the options, and decided to see if I could still maintain my mood and current infusion schedule reasonably well without the at-home doses. So that was a bit disheartening. The other frustration has been that I am still getting depressive episodes. Nobody said ketamine was a cure – but I had hopes that maybe my episodes would be fewer and further between. Yet I’m still pretty regularly finding my mood falling quite a bit right before I need another booster (which currently sits right at every 4 weeks).
Back to the good news: I’m managing okay without the at-home treatments. The ketamine infusions DO improve my mood and help tremendously with functionality. Even when I start getting depressed again, I’m still mostly functional – keeping up with my responsibilities, maintaining my self care, sleeping well.
Overall, the ketamine is still the greatest treatment I have found for myself. It allows me to feel hope. It allows me to keep fighting. It shines a light toward the future where if I squint, I can almost make out a better version of myself. So for now I am sticking with it.
I also think it’s important to address that you have to still work *with* the ketamine. You have to use those “ketamine superpowers” I have talked about in the past and put them to the test. Make yourself stronger. Use that boost in order for it to reach its full potential. That is something I will definitely have to work on more. When you are so used to living life with something constantly dragging you down, it’s hard to make that change even when you’re feeling good. The ketamine lifts you up, but you still have to be the one to take those steps forward into the light.
Note: I debated with myself on writing this update right now. Having lost someone close to me to suicide at the end of September, my last few ketamine infusion “results” have been skewed by grief. My depression has been deeply compounded by that grief and I have not been functioning well or taking care of myself as I should be. Taking all that into consideration, I really can’t imagine where I’d be if I didn’t have this treatment plan to keep me from completely going off the deep end. I have my next infusion Wednesday, November 13th. I will try to update after that.