Read Sober Psychonaut disclaimer for people in sobriety exploring psychedelic medicine
One thing I've noticed is no desire to use/do ketamine in between therapy sessions. Mindbloom asks along the way if you have such yearnings, and at the beginning they surveyed me about my experience with alcohol and opioid dependency. I've had both, obviously. Alcohol in my younger years, but reliant on opioids for several sober years to deal with pain from car accidents.
For some people, ketamine may be seductive, I'm guessing, whether physically or psychologically. As for functionality, however, there's no way in hell you can take the dosage of ketamine that was prescribed to me and then walk around your life. It's a one-and-done thing⏤lying down, preferably. And really, the whole darn trip is over in about 15 to 30 minutes. The rest is just deep reflection and what-the-fuck-just-happened-ness.
Oh, and neuroplasticity⏤what happens to your brain in the ensuing moments, hours, days, weeks as neurons start firing in new directions.
I've read there are other ketamine clinicians or programs approaching it differently; for example, lower doses given more frequently. If I had to compare without having tried it that way, I think I prefer having deep experiences as I have done. These experiences have been sufficiently "disruptive"⏤to my experience of what is, to my belief in how things are or who I am or what I am like. Even disruptive, albeit temporarily, to my notion of pain. Experiencing my Self as pure vibratory hum indistinct from the bed and the world, even pain became⏤as I've heard it termed elsewhere⏤"irrelevant."
Let's talk about our feelings
Then there's all the stuff I've been feeling in between sessions. More emotion, whether from the profundity of the experience of/after ketamine or from no longer have three different types of antidepresssants in my body on a daily basis, all trying to keep my proverbial shit together while simultaneously wreaking unknown havoc.
I am moved to tears more easily (if this were possible, given I'm sometimes known to be a weepy mess anyway). Going through Christmas cards this past holiday season, I held each one in my hand and every photo and message provoked some thought or memory or happy feeling and I found myself crying tears of sheer joy at sharing in other people's lives. (That's the ketamine talking, people, no kidding, and without antidepressants to stifle or neutralize the effects of life coming at me.)
Oh God, and then when I was packing for Costa Rica, "Samba Pa Ti" (Santana) came on. That song just about sends me over the edge any old time, but this time it had me reflecting on leaving for CR, leaving my family behind for two weeks while also reuniting with old friends once I got there, then remembering another old friend who loved this song who’s now gone. My Big Big Bursting Heart!
A final nod to antidepressants
I believe strongly in the power of antidepressants. I don't doubt they saved my life and my sanity and alleviated my experience of pain during a very difficult time (Jesus, a very difficult five years, frankly.)
"What if to love and be loved's not enough?
What if I fall and can't bear to get up?" - "Stay Gold," First Aid Kit
So I'm not here to bash drugs prescribed by doctors and developed by pharma. Nothing is black and white. And what's for one is not always for all. Sometimes you need to get fixed, and fast. There may be a million and one holistic ways to sort yourself out but if you've gone batshit crazy and you're about to kill somebody or kill yourself or just disappear into a dark hole and not come out, you might wanna take whatever the hell pills they're gonna give you.
But if I hadn't decided to explore psychedelic medicine, I might not have had the gumption to venture off of antidepressants (although in my case, I kind of wandered aimlessly away from them, unintentionally). The promise of psychedelic medicine made me confident enough to let go of the daily pharmaceutical regimen and apparently, it's working.
The beach beckons. I will walk until I am satisfied in the walking.
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Navigating the psychedelic medicine universe as a sober person