Back to ECT

A week from Monday I will be restarting electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT.

It’ll be unilateral this time, which is supposed to keep memory loss lower. That’s how we started last time but went to bilateral because it just wasn’t working. Unilateral means just on one side of the head, bilateral is both sides, which is more effective. I’m not ruling out the possibility that we’ll go to bilateral again.

I’m still processing the reality of it, but this time around it’s got me thinking about what I’m going into. I’m wondering if these moments or days will be erased. Will I lose this month of my daughter being home from college? How will this affect my existing memory issues? How will COVID affect there whole process?

We’re running out of things to try, and this seemed to work a bit last time, so here we are. I’ve recently stopped caring, so I’m just going along with my care team’s recommendations. Not caring actually makes everything a little easier, but certainly not better. I think I swore I wouldn’t go back to ECT, but those were different days.

I will be making an effort to blog more during this series.

Lost in my happy place, but not in a good way

COVID. Yay. Always something new and horrible happening with the pandemic. This is a short (I think I’m lying about “short”) piece about my experience getting a booster, and how my cognitive, memory, and physical stuff got in the way.

I needed the booster shot, and spent a bit of time looking for a location that could do it soon, not in a month. I found that the state (I think?) had a vaccine and testing site set up at a really big mall near us. Got a same day appointment and headed out.

Now, this is a mall I have spent many years shopping, or rather wandering, and it’s a guilty pleasure to just wanted in the plastic and stone environment. I like to people watch, see what stores are new, see how the mall evolves over time. It’s been around for many decades, and like any other mall it goes through different renovations that change it in interesting ways, but always remains the same underneath.

Because of my experience there I know it like the back of my hand. Where certain shops are, which “moods” the different parts of the mall exhibit, and what’s the best way to get from point A to point B, even during black Friday level crowds. I even know the secret Easter eggs hidden here and there, and how much of the behind the scenes logistics work. I always know how I’m oriented in the mall, and which way it north, etc.

But on that day, it all went a bit sideways. I waited the requisite 15 or 30 minutes after the shot, can’t remember how long it was. Didn’t feel off in any way and thought I’d get a coffee and go through the mall for some winter exercise and maybe even holiday shopping.

Right away the sheer volume of stimulation got to me. My vertigo kicked in as expected, and I felt light headed, dizzy, panicky, etc. Just your standard anxiety attack. Not a panic attack, but a good dose of anxiety and fight or flight. It was bad enough that I was going over scenarios in my head if I fell or passed out. Could I sneak out without drawing attention, or would someone call 911 and complicate things? I get tired quickly, and that wasn’t helping. But the thing that kicked me hard in the stomach was that I was getting lost. I would occasionally have the “wait, where am I and how did I get here?” or the “Ok, I don’t think I’ve ever been here before” feelings, knowing full well that before the latest episode(s) I could have navigated in my sleep. I got “actual lost” and had to use a directory, but even after looking things up I was frustrated by not remembering the things along the journey. This used to be my happy place, somewhere to walk and clear my mind while getting my commercial marketing fix. But all I wanted to do was get my coffee and get out of there.

Less upsetting: One of my secret tricks is that the Big & Nicely furnished corporate bookstore has a Starbucks branded coffee shop. But you can pay for your books there, and it often has a much shorter line than the serpentine lines at the main store cashiers. While waiting for my coffee I saw two seemingly normal ladies chatting, not quietly. But they weren’t talking about boring suburban things, they were going on and on about the illuminati, and some other pretty deep conspiracy theories. I guess you never know by looking.

By the time I got to the car I was pretty shaken up. I didn’t cry, because I apparently can’t, but felt on the verge of a bit of a breakdown. I texted my sister something innocuous but maybe indicating I could use a pep talk. I can’t remember what it was, but she called me right away as I sat in my car in the parking ramp. I talked about the experience and how it bothered me, but mostly we just chatted. That always helps.

And I did have a “booster hangover” but it mixed in with all of the other crap I have going on, so it wasn’t too terrible the next day.

More Ketamine Experiences

I struggle with knowing how much to share and how much to keep to myself when it comes to the ketamine “trips.” I don’t want to sound like someone babbling about their acid trips or some burned out drug fiend. I understand that it’s very difficult to describe these things, and to the reader it sounds like disjointed, confusing, odd stuff. But I do want to share some of those things, regardless.

I am continuing a weekly ketamine session, and they go pretty much as expected. Blood Pressure, then an injection. Within a very few minutes I am feeling it and disassociate sometimes as expected and sometimes more intensely.

I wrote previously about the first really, *really*, intense session, in which I felt as though I was in an infinite loop. Nothing else, no universe, no me, no space, just that loop. When I am there I am overwhelmed but the simplicity of it brings me comfort, and any anxiety I get is from knowing I’ll come out of it, that it won’t last forever.

In the chair, in reality, apparently I am experiencing different emotions. I have had sessions where I have sworn, sometimes loudly, often with an air of being upset about what is happening “in there.” The other week I manifested a bit more physically, twisting around in the chair and looking extremely uncomfortable. I was given an ice pack to ground myself, and I threw it against the window. They put a weighted blanket on me to ground me, and it just ended up pissing me off. What I remember is that it was complicating things, pulling me out of the simplicity, and that was upsetting me.

From the look of concern on Wife’s face when I came back out of it, I’m guessing it was pretty scary. I trust her completely, but felt like they weren’t totally telling me how bad it was. When talking later with her, she was relieved to hear that the experience I had inside did not match what they were seeing. Next time I want video. 🙂

My therapist had a bit more concerning thought – and that was if I acted up too much, it’s possible I would need to be restrained, and that would be pretty traumatizing. This has been a bit of fun and amusing to hear about my acting up, but realizing it could get me strapped down or worse – checked into inpatient – bothers me a bit.

The intensity could be a from a variety of things. First, I have been fasting before appointments, as that is the recommendation typically for Ketamine therapies. Much like some rTMS providers put you in a soft helmet for rTMS, others simply have a unit placed on the forehead. Yes, the fasting is taking advice from the Internet. I know how wise that is or isn’t.

I am also recently on a higher dose by 30 or 50 percent, can’t remember – but it’s a bit of a jump. So that could have something to do with it. But oddly enough it started ramping up when I *stopped* listening to music. I’ve been doing Gorecki’s 3rd for so long that I knew where I was in the hour based on the musical movement. It also felt like it guided me in the same path every time. One week I forgot my earbuds and went without music at all. The difference was quick and strong. I remember the texture of my jeans standing out and beginning a beautiful journey through tans and yellows before dropping me deep in the disassociation. So I think I prefer without music at this point.


The other interesting thing that’s happened a couple times now are the ketamine tears. Sometimes I know when it’s happening, sometimes I know it happened when I “come back” because I can feel it in my eyes. It’s not crying, it’s just as if my eyes fill with tears. When I’ve known it was happening it didn’t seem like weeping, but more of an intense sadness that almost breaks the surface tension of tears but never quite gets there. And as usual it makes me wonder what’s really happening during my sessions. Interesting more than upsetting.

MAOI you’re talking!*

Rather than 50,000 words, I’m going with a summary before the content:

  • Still feel broken, like crap. Slow and thick in the mind and body
  • Getting the booster vaccine today, so tomorrow might suck
  • IOP is frustrating me with it’s endless clichĂ©s and soothing voices
  • I have that sadness in my chest that makes it hard to take a full breath
  • Anxiety is floating around back there somewhere but depression has a great seat in the bus. SI is still sulking in the back, but she keeps winking at me.

It’s not all bad though.

  • I’m trying quite hard
  • Also putting a lot of time into my freelancing, but with little traction
  • No interesting updates on the VNS insurance coverage. Rejections followed by appeals
  • Ever pressing onward
  • Ketamine is still weekly, still trying to find that place that itches that spot in my brain and makes me existentially frightened and satisfied at the same time

But the real point of this post is the new med I’m beginning. I’m starting my Emsam patches Friday. It’s an MAOI and new acronym to add to the list.

No, not those.
No, not those.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and reversible monoamine oxidase inhibitors (RIMAs) are a type of antidepressant drugs given for the treatment of depression. They are good at treating atypical depression, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety disorders, social phobia and have also shown to help people to stop smoking tobacco.

As MAOIs drugs can be fatal if someone takes too much, they are usually only ever given when other antidepressant drugs have failed. Some newer drugs such as selegiline and moclobemide have proven to be safer than the older MAOIs and are prescribed by physicians in the first instance.

-From Simple English Wikipedia

Because it’s a patch and a low dose, I don’t have to follow the dietary restrictions. Yet. They read like a menu of my favorite foods. I also had to flush the Prozac from my system for five weeks, so it’s been quite a while since anything changed or inspired me for a solution.

There is also a long list of potentially strong side effects. Some, most, or none of them may apply. But that makes me a bit nervous and excited to be trying an old school, powerful hammer of a drug. Maybe this one will make a difference. It makes me feel giddy like I’m on a scary rollercoaster. But this time it’s fun instead of horrifying.

With my booster and it’s potential after effects, plus Ketamine on Friday, and adjusting to the MAOI – it could make for an interesting weekend.

In the meantime I’ll be watching Moulin Rouge, and by the time I get to El Tango De Roxanne, things will be just that little bit better.

* I just found out there is an online encyclopedia for puns. Oh my.

Therapist Homework, again.

Another wonderful prompt from my therapist. I really need to post all of them.

What is the biggest lie that you consistently tell yourself?  Why do you continue to do this?

My depression is the lying.

I tell myself that my depression isn’t real.
It’s laziness.
It’s wanting attention, and it’s drama.
I can just pick myself up at any time and become a real person again.
Do some laundry, work, walk, love my family.
Get over it.
I haven’t been able to do anything successfully in life, I hide behind this fiction that is depression.
I am so good at lying about how I feel.
I know all the right things to say to convince those around me that I have a mental illness.
People who really have depression are weak and boring.
But mine is special somehow, because I’m acting it out.
It’s not real.
It’s the ultimate theater, and sooner or later they’ll find out.
My suicide attempt was simply attention seeking.
If I really meant to do it I would have.
So here I am enjoying the life of Riley pretending to be sick.
I am no different than I was in grade school trying to stay home from school.
I am no different than I was in grade school.
Lazy, dirty, gross, and unmotivated.

I tell myself that my depression is real.
It’s a medical condition.
Nobody understand’s what I don’t want, but need.
I try time and time again to pick myself up, but the depression makes me fail.
Get a todo list, schedule stuff, plan ahead.
Accept it.
The depression has been hindering me all my life, the history is there, it’s real.
I am so good at lying about how I feel.
I know all the right things to say to convince those around me that I’m safe, stable.
People who don’t have depression don’t understand.
Mine is special, because it hasn’t been successfully treated.
It’s not my fault.
It’s everything in me through and through, and they’ll never figure it out.
I took the pills so easily, there was no hesitation.
I was frustrated only because it didn’t work.
So here I am working my ass off to stabilize and have quality of life.
I am no different than all the years behind me, it’s always been there.
I am no different than I was before.
Tired, ashamed, exhausted and weak.

I continue to do this because I believe both lies.

This is one of the hard days

Today’s post is going to be a shit sandwich. Fun, good stuff on the outside, crap in the middle.

I found an ancient Ande’s mint today and it was the first one I thought didn’t taste like nostalgia and happiness. It kept chasing me. I think it was haunted. When I disturbed it in it’s tomb, the back of my snack cupboard, I kicked off the minor but tasty curse.

I have a snack cupboard. I chide the kids for having food in their rooms, or for marking their names on food in big back letters, since it’s pretty much “everyone’s” food, unless they bought it themselves. Which in later years, they have. Battles can be lost if you keep the big picture on the War. So this is my bunker.

When we’re at the grocery store and I’m randomly dropping smokehouse almonds, bags of Andes mints, or a package of traditionally flavored Oreos in the cart, those are my treats. Back in the day, the kids would holler for this or that and we’d throw “we have that at home” at them while cackling internally.

When we get home I grab all of my precious snacks and put them up in a high cupboard. Wife is short, and the kids used to be. So it wasn’t a hiding place, it was an inaccessible place. After years though treats pile up, get pushed to the back, and get hidden under containers of Oats that are I-have-no-idea how many years old now.

On the master “To Do” list one of the tasks is “clean out the snack cupboard” and today I found myself confused, standing in the kitchen waiting for a thought or purpose in life to swing back around into my brain. I thought I might as well hit the snack cupboard. The “Everything Bagel” rice crisps and a bunch of other health intended items went right in the trash. All of them were opened with hope and abandoned with a taste that wasn’t hopeful.

I tidied up the snacks that remained, and found one lone Ande’s mint. They’re a weak spot for me, as they taste just like Fanny Farmer mint chocolate combination bars. Just went to find a helpful illustration to steal, and found out Fanny Farmer got bought out by Fanny Mae, and now the perfect treat is associated with student loans. They had a “bar” that was chocolate with a layer of light green chocolate on top, and tasted like Ande’s mints do now. Only 1000 times better. They came in fancy foil wrappings. The Fanny Farmer shops were always bright and clean and full of chocolate. Buying something that wasn’t chocolate was like going to the salad bar instead of taking the all you can eat steak option at Fogo.

My aunt would take us there when we visited her downtown. She was very hip. Called her apartment a “pad” back when that was actually a thing, and tells great stories of the political unrest in Chicago in the late 60’s. In the 70’s she had a variety of jobs while getting hired for her profession here in town. One of the jobs was to hand out chocolate samples at convenience stores. Also, she lived next to a convenience store, so every time we visited her, it was time to load up on the candy and pop! No matter how old that aunt and uncle get, they’ll always be the cool ones. She would buy us one thing at Fanny Farmer, usually, and it felt a bit like the scenes early on in Willy Wonka, with the candy shop.

So now I get Ande’s mints (please sponsor me, Ande’s Mints!) and it remembers me of those times. And they taste good. I ration them out, for the most part. And I don’t often share them. The package sucks though, as you’re pretty much all in once you open it. Invariably one or two sneak out and you have to deal with them later. Well, this one was old. Like, so old it seemed like it would call it’s first apartment a “pad.”

The mint jumped out of the cupboard, onto the counter, and down to the floor. It didn’t fall, it jumped. Like it knew the jig was up and it wanted to escape or just get it over with. As I’m bending down to capture it, the tea boxes on the other side of the cupboard see their opportunity and decide to go for it while my back was turned. I grabbed one of them, but it back up, and another jumped out. I finally contained them and closed the doors solidly, but couldn’t help but feel like something, or someone, was telling me it was time to finish off the little mint. It was the curse!

I ate the mint, and while it wasn’t as sharp as they usually are, it was still a good thing. And I got to check off “clean the snack cupboard” from the task list today. Little victories.

Today is not one of the good days. It’s one of the bad days prophesized by everyone on my care team. I wouldn’t even say it’s interesting enough to be called a “one step back” day, it’s just a hard day. It’s cold outside, though I did get some porch time. It seemed gray out before the sun set an hour too soon, not that I went out to find out. I haven’t slept properly in a couple days, and that’s always bad for the mental health. So I’ve decided not to write anything or give any of my feelings validity today, because of the exhaustion and where they’ll put me, mentally. Then a 250 word post turns into 1500. Oops.

I’ve had a headache, which doesn’t help. I think the last time I was this tired I was in the hospital. We’re changing up my sleep meds and it’s not going well, but “it’s a process” so I’ll suck it up for another night to see if things settle down. I don’t think they will. So today – and this week – feel like writeoffs. But they aren’t.

I am still broken. I feel like I have a broken leg, got my ambulance ride, a cast, and sent home with a pillow. Now it’s the inconvenient state of healing. Only I’m not sure I got any salve? We’re waiting for meds and regimens to kick in, which is the professional depressive’s worst activity. We just get to sit in whatever we have at the time and “use our tools” to deal with situational issues. These are the days when there is no trauma, no drama, and nothing to be able to complain about. “Same” is how you answer when someone asks how you’re doing. I’m not flat, I’m not deep in the hole, but it’s all there, and reminding me that some of us are just a head cold or broken toe away from falling back into the pit. My perspective is still pretty bright though.

It’s the kind of day that you don’t need support. You want support. But you have nothing you need specifically. And to be honest, you really don’t want support, because that involves putting the human face on and being thankful. It’s the kind of day that’s actually boring. You’re not getting worse, you’re not getting better, and the Anxiety and Depression personalities must be taking a day off, because it’s actually a bit lonely without them making noise in the head. They’re there, somewhere. I don’t miss Suicidal Ideation, though I may think of her from time to time, remembering the good times.

But I cleaned out the snack cupboard. And have started and am dedicated to completing one basket of laundry. And I did some cross stitching during program this morning, and played a bit of Animal Crossing as a mindfulness activity. I ate lunch (2+ meals a day, remember, regardless of how you feel) and made a bologna and cheese sandwich. So it’s good to notice the things I got done, and the time I didn’t spend in bed or on the couch. Also, I remembered the awe inspiring, actually spiritually beautiful moon last night.

I guess it wasn’t so much a shit sandwich post, it was more of a cheese sandwich post.

That’s a term from the old days of “weblogs” when people would write a post about having a cheese sandwich for lunch. Isn’t it great that Internet content has evolved to much since 2004? https://ask.metafilter.com/5587/I-ate-a-cheese-sandwich

What it’s like to be me this weekend

It’s Halloween weekend. I’m writing this Sunday night, the night of the trick or treaters.

Friday

Friday was an off day, meaning no program in the morning and no appointments. Which is actually a rarity. I got up late-ish. Vertigo at a 4/10, sometimes rising to 7/10. Mind blurry in the morning but clearing by afternoon. Attitude was bright, but felt like I was moving through mud. Exhausted by the time I got downstairs. Had a few goals for the day but thought I might tidy up the chair and area I frequent in the living room. I took everything off my table, and the piles of books off the radiator and put it all on the dining room table. Sorting it was easy, but I thought I could go further. So I opened the Drawer Of My Stuff in the sideboard and sorted all of that onto the table. Then I went to the cabinet underneath the drawer. Then the bookcases full of craft and electronics stuff in the front hall.

By the time I had it all sorted I’d done organizing for three major areas of the main floor of the house. Wasn’t even on my to-do list, but huge progress in the de-chaosing of my life. I went through everything once it was sorted and threw out almost half of it all.

I put much of it away in the places it had come from, but in an organized manner. Found places for everything else and ended up with two small piles to go up to my office. And a very full trash bag. Wife was happy to see the piles of sorted stuff, but was shocked to see it all put away within an hour! So that was productive. And exhausting.

Showered again, starting exhausted and making me more so. Wife says she can guess fairly well how my day is going by the length of my showers. Bad days mean zoning out under the warm water, or like that day – when I forgot to wash everything but my arms. Figured out something was wrong before I got out, and had to start all over again because I couldn’t remember what I had missed. And then spent some more time zoned out, staring at the shampoo bottles.

By this point I was toast. So I spent some time at the tv working on the laptop.

Wife was going biking with the neighbor but the neighbor’s tire was flat. So they decided to go check out some Halloween decorations at a few houses in town that had been mentioned on social media. We would drive to one, then walk a mile and a half to see more, then walk back. By the time we had finished the first half I was pretty tired. Could feel my tremor in my legs, felt them buckle once. Was actually sweating on the way back, and had to call upon my Marine Corps stubbornness to make it back to the car. But I made it. Guess how I felt afterwards. Exhausted.

By the time we got home my body was buzzing, like after a hard workout. My vertigo and balance get worse when I’m tired or stressed, and it was getting rough by this point. After a quick dinner we needed to go to the grocery store. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do that after all of the activity of the day, but it was a short list and I rallied. I use the cart as a walker and seldom go far from it if I can help it.

Saturday

We were having a casual, low impact gathering of friends Saturday night. I woke as I had Friday. Thick, wobbly, the usual exhaustion, and body sore from the previous day. But we had to decorate and clean before the party, so it was a full day of going up and down stairs, in and out of the house, etc. By the time we went out on errands to get some stuff for my costume, we were both running on fumes.

The party was good. A fair number of people showed up, and I drank almost a whole six pack of beer. (Just kidding, it was 0.0% alcohol beer, but really tastes good. A proper IPA.)

I put on my human face for the party, but began quite tired and shaky. Stood around a lot because if I sat down I might have fallen asleep. After a particularly anxiety producing chat with a party guest (no, it wasn’t you) I retreated to my office in the attic. Just time to sit, recompose, and enjoy a piece of pumpkin bar.

By the time I rejoined the party I was wondering how I was going to keep going for hours more. But I did have some great conversations with friends and that helped keep my mind off things. I took a PRN to help with the anxiety.

When I do socialize I feel very self conscious about my memory, missing words, and I absolutely know that there are little glitches in the conversations when I say something that doesn’t make sense because I’m muddled or didn’t hear something right. I can see it on their faces. And that’s a lot of work that adds to the ever present exhaustion.

By the time the night was over, I was too. But I was glad I wasn’t drunk, as that would have thrown me directly into the “pit.” My knees ached and my spine felt like it was about to disintegrate.

Sunday

Slept ridiculously late, woke feeling the way I had for the last two days, and then some. Most off my day was sitting on my laptop trying to figure out how to make a table of contents in WordPress. Again, felt bright but just totally broken physically. And there was a new wrinkle. I felt like I was going to burst out crying all day. Needless to say that was odd and a little disturbing.

The accumulation of the weekend was showing. Walking was hard with my shaking legs, standing up the the vertigo into overdrive and I couldn’t remember a thought for more than a minute. Much time was spent working out what I was doing. I won’t say I was hiding it all from Wife, but she had enough going on that I didn’t want to complain. I felt fundamentally broken. Physically and mentally. But most of my frustration is from wanting to do things but not feeling able to. Which is good, I guess. Wanting to do things, that is. We talk about my getting a job for the holidays and I have no idea how I could do that at this point. Too much wears me thin, and I always feel like I’m a moment from The Bad Anxiety.

The trick or treaters came as expected and Wife was a saint in handling it all. This is one of the nights I hate the most, as it is often a succession of strangers coming to our door. But she knows that and let me veg out. We watched a good scary movie to round out the night, and now I’m breaking one of my own rules by being on my phone and thinking past 11. Now midnight.

I think I figured out why Mondays are tough for me. An enjoyable but hard weekend. Unfortunately most days are like this and it’s frustrating to always feel like I’m using my last energy to do something. Something so far from normal.

Ketamine Experience – The Eternal

I’m going to write up something more complete about how the Ketamine has been going. In short – well. I am going once a week now, but when I was going three times a week I saw a noticeable improvement in mood. As I said, more on that later. The tl;dr of this post is that sometimes Ketamine can be quite intense, for better or worse. And while I was worried the experiences were becoming weaker, I was wrong.

I want to share my experience today. Again, mostly for my own recollection. May just sound like a weird trip to you.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping, so we increased my sleep med. I slept deep last night, full of dreams. Nothing worth interpreting, just dreams. But that meant going into today’s treatment I was a little wobbly. I expected it to be a good trip, and prepared some of my favorite music for it: Beth Gibbons performing Henryk GĂłrecki’s Symphony No. 3 (Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs), with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.

As soon as I was injected I felt like this was going to be intense. It came on much more suddenly than ever. I was seeing some of the usual imagery. The muted colors of tan, off white, marbled faded yellow. This was familiar and comfortable territory. But rather than settling in, I sped past it. Past the glaciers the cliffs, the tunnels, corduroy waterfalls and the massive vaults I’ve spent so much time learning about.

I lost complete contact with my surroundings and personal space. Body was gone. And everything started folding in on itself, in a dark triangular shape. A phrase kept going through my head. Just one. It was simply a thought. But then everything became that thought. Everything around me became that thought. And then I was gone. Stuck in a loop of a single thought that was this triangle folding in on itself in a black void. And I thought about when I would come down, when this would stop. But then I realized it wasn’t going to stop. And I didn’t really exist. It was just the thought and noise going into itself eternally. I knew there was nothing else in the universe – in reality. That I was going to feel and hear this forever, no end of time, no beginning. Alone because there had never been anyone else. And that disturbed me.

I fought it, but it kept going. I tried to give in and fall into it, but that just made it darker. And I knew that trying to move was pointless, as I was only the thought and had no body to move. And I became afraid. I didn’t want to be eternal like this, and I was slowly becoming the thought myself. Just over and over. A feeling of something that made you think of a feeling of something, the same.

I kept fighting it, but it went on so long I couldn’t keep track of time. I’d been able to feel the blood pressure cuff constrict every fifteen minutes on previous trips, and no matter how far gone I was, I could at least understand where I was in the hour I’d be there. Often at the thirty minute mark I would start coming back slowly. By quarter to, I was still seeing things unusually, but was on the home stretch.

This time I didn’t have any of those milestones, and knew that because I wasn’t feeling them, I was out of time. Eventually the thought was a feeling, one of resignation, other times shame. It was like it was taking all of the feelings of the human experience and explaining that they were all the same thing. And it didn’t get brighter, but I understood that I was in my context, the clinic. But all of it was one thought.

I could look around, see Wife, sometimes see Nurse. But they too were the thought. At one point I felt like I was having a conversation with Wife, but everything I saw, that she said, and obviously everything I said was that same universal thought. So I was still trapped. I was trying to move, but when I put my arms down on the chair’s arms, they would become the thought.

Eventually I felt like I was having an actual conversation with Wife, but the content was all the thought. After what felt like forever we were using other phrases and words, but I was still interpreting them as the thought. Finally, things were making a bit more sense, and I was able to ask (outside the one thought) if this was real, or if it wasn’t happening anymore. I don’t remember. Wife had tried recording me when she saw things start to get weird, but the recording didn’t take. I don’t know that I would have wanted to hear that audio.

By the time I regained enough of my senses and context to talk to Wife about it, I was coming down very quickly. I may have asked how long I had been, Wife reported that I was at the halfway half hour mark. And I was clearing up very well and very fast. We talked about what I experienced, but she also said that some ketamine therapies involve actual therapy after the high. So she asked if I wanted to talk about anything. It was a really good opportunity to explain in more detail how I’d been feeling in the last few weeks, and share how good or bad it had been going. I talked about two steps backward, one step forward. But she guided me through my memory and pointed out all of the progresses, and that the setbacks were expected.

It was raining by then, and a gray day had becoming a cold, dingy, gray day. But I valued the discussion, and valued the experience of being the only thing in existence. Not in a vain “I am everything” way but a humbling realization of how big our world and the human experience actually is.

Hours later it’s still clear in my mind and makes me feel cold and alone. But something draws me back to it and hopes I see it again. I enjoy the disassociation from the therapy, and would not consider today as a “bad trip” but it wasn’t as lovely as any before. Happy to be home, though.