Introduction from R&R
After critical acclaim, we’re back with session 2 of the Ketamine Diaries! We loved hearing our client’s vulnerable and vivid description of her first experience with Ketamine. This week, we bring you her account of her second session, and she gets even more vulnerable. The most important thing to take from this account is that Ketamine is not a magic bullet or a happy pill. It is a tool that must be handled with care. It helps to rewire your brain, but you must prepare for each session, engage each session, and incorporate changes after each session. She talks about sitting with the discomfort of the treatment and the changes she hopes to make afterward. We hope you find it as informative and helpful as we did!
xoxo Rachel and Ryan
Session Two: Headworms
Session two began at the end of a very busy day. One of the keys to this treatment is that the induction phase (the first six treatments) needs to be completed within a certain time period. As such, Ketamine is a time commitment for a brief period. For me, and I’m sure many of you, that means adding it on to an already long day. The benefit, of course, is that you can go home and sleep it off so to speak. The drawback I found, at least during this session, was that I didn’t prepare mentally at all. I mean my first experience was so warm and magical what could go wrong? I thought as I arrogantly approached the second session.
So there I sat in the chair waiting for the infusion, my day still heavily running through my head. All of my “to-dos,” the interactions I had, etc. My ADHD brain racing through the end of the day recap. Again, I was instructed to pick an intention and since I hadn’t taken time to center myself and think about this thoughtfully, I decided on “ I am enough/ I do enough” something I had seen on a social media post moments before as I was mindlessly scrolling instagram waiting for the treatment.
To be fair, this intention is an important one, and definitely one that I need to work on. That ever unattainable feeling of being enough, or having accomplished enough in one day is one thousand percent something I need to work on. However, the problem, I think, with this intention was my lack of focus or attachment to it at the moment. Again, I went into this session with no prep or care and with a full brain and a lack of focus. So as I slipped into my ketamine dream I was bombarded with images. There was this struggle between letting myself sink in and fully experience the ride, and fighting it. My brain still attached to the busyness of the day, and so began the headworms.
What are headworms you ask? Well headworms are what my sister refers to as those thoughts that slither into your brain, wiggling away without permission. You know the ones: Did I eat too much today? Am I gaining weight? Who is my boyfriend texting right now? Should I be worried? What did she really mean when she said that? We’ve all had these headworms–these moments of doubt and insecurity that creep into our brain, despite the rational part of ourselves pleading with us to think better of it. They exist in all of us, slithering around unwanted and intrusive.
My warm, safe dream of last time was replaced by headworms–thoughts and worries and images of people from the past and present that are a source of stress, worry or insecurity in my life. I kept trying to ground myself to reset the experience and take control of my brain, but I found I wasn’t going to win this. My body and brain were too heavy with medication to really fight this experience. Now, let me be clear, I was not scared; I didn’t need to be saved. I was absolutely able to communicate and have the staff pull me out of this experience if I needed. It just wasn’t the dream I had wanted or anticipated.
Rather than fight it, I decided to lean into my intention. I began repeating I am enough, I do enough, and slowly these headworms were met with a conflicting image: ME. Me walking in nature, throughout time it appeared. It was almost as if my brain was saying that time marches on despite the petty stuff you worry about. It was like I was watching two movies simultaneously, one in which a lot of my worst case scenarios played out and the other in which I persevered and kept moving forward.
I took away two big things from this experience. One was that I needed to stop letting headworms take up space in my brain. Allowing myself to worry about things that I can’t control and might not even be true, does not change the fact that time continues to march on and I’ll be ok regardless of the outcome. The second was how much what we consume is stored in our brain. The things we see, hear, watch, tell ourselves are all stored up there regardless of if we are recognizing it. It is insane to me how many images of things I “consume” via social media, on TV, or of things friends or loved ones do or say comes out during a session. It is definitely something I am aiming to be more aware of and intentional about in the future.
Following this session, I was introspective for a day or so–just sort of quietly examining the experience. I certainly didn’t sign up for Ketamine thinking that it would be easy or without some work. I will say that it’s been four days since that treatment, and I am feeling very at-peace. My sleep has been better than it has been in years. I am waking up feeling awake and productive. While the headworms felt heavy during the session and maybe even the next day, it wasn’t something that would make me not want another treatment. Sometimes self reflection is hard, but it’s always important, and I am looking forward to tomorrow’s treatment. I will, however, go into this treatment more thoughtfully than my last.
Conclusion from R&R
Our client has already gained incredible insight and made beautiful changes from just two Ketamine sessions. We hope, through her brave and honest account, Ketamine loses its taboo and more people find relief from depression. Contact us to see if Ketamine could support you in living more fully.
xoxo Rachel and Ryan