A stretch of straight open road with a body of water to the left and blue sky above

The Day 2 Mystery of Depression Treatment: The Ketamine Chronicles (Part 17)

It’s been two days since my most recent ketamine infusion, which I have administered by my doctor to treat my depression. Usually, I write these posts in The Ketamine Chronicles as soon as I’m able so as to not forget too much of the bizarre experience. This time, I found that I didn’t have much to say immediately following my ketamine infusion.

Ketamine for Depression Has Not Been a Straight Line

For transparency’s sake in my attempt to document my experience with ketamine treatment for depression, I’ll just say it. My mental health has been in decline over the last few weeks, to the point of struggling once again with self-harm, something I thought I had kicked over a year ago. The previous ketamine infusion seemed not to do much for me in terms of mood, but gave me more energy and motivation, a mismatch that left me restless and confused. I felt the drive to do something but had no desire to follow through. Perhaps this is what led me back to self-harm. Multiple stressors, not exercising as frequently, and a strange mix of motivation and hopelessness led me back to an old, unhealthy coping mechanism.

A dense forest with thick fog and a path extending down the middle.
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

No Memory of Higher Ketamine Doses

I had my most recent ketamine infusion on Friday. Like last time, it was relatively empty of bizarre images, at least that I can remember. At this point, my dose is pretty much at the upper limit of ketamine for my body, so Dr. G has been giving me propofol to make the experience less trippy. In my last ketamine infusion, I stubbornly kept my eyes open for a lot of the infusion and seemed not to care about breathing. This time, I don’t think I could have opened my eyes if I’d tried. I remember chatting with Erin, the PA, while she got the I.V. set up. I know we talked about haircuts, but I’m not sure what else. The propofol hit me way before the ketamine did, and the last thing I remember is Dr. G taking an exaggerated deep breath and wagging his finger at me sternly before leaving me in Erin’s capable hands.

Breaking the Speed Limit

When I closed my eyes, the world disappeared above me as I sank down into peaceful nothingness. At some point, I remember feeling as though I were a passenger in a car on a highway, open road stretching ahead of me. We began to go a little too fast for my liking, but I was stuck– carried along by the seat beneath me. This is the only image I remember with clarity from this infusion. I also remember that, because I couldn’t feel my face, I was occasionally concerned that I may have taken my mask off. Laughable in hindsight that I thought I could have moved with enough coordination to do that.

Ketamine on the Second Day

Yesterday, the day after my ketamine infusion, I felt no different than I have for the past few weeks. Actually, I think I may have felt worse. But today, I awoke with a wonderful sense of relief from my symptoms. Whether this lasts remains to be seen, but it follows an interesting pattern. The day immediately following an infusion is often disappointing for me. I’ve learned to not put too much stock into whether or not a ketamine infusion has helped based on the day after. The second day, however, is usually when I notice the changes that ketamine creates. I don’t know how common this is, but I think it’s interesting.

I have already put on my exercise clothes, anticipating a long run later in the day. I’m looking forward to today’s project of re-painting the grape arbors. I have mental plans to clean the kitchen and change my sheets, and maybe even vacuum. It’s great to feel better, but the previous few weeks have me apprehensive about this infusion; will it last? Will I need to adjust my medication or have more ketamine infusions to stabilize my depression?

We shall see. But for now, it’s nice to feel a bit better.

If you’d like to read more about my experience with ketamine for depression, start from the beginning of The Ketamine Chronicles or visit the archives. Click here for mobile-optimized archives of The Ketamine Chronicles.

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