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 Górecki’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.