2nd Treatment Weirdness… HELP!

Well my first treatment was odd and my second treatment was terrifying!

Yesterday evening I went in for a 7pm intramuscular session. The NP injected my first dose at 7pm… All was going well and I was still coherent. She came back promptly at 7:15 for my second dose and I put on my eye mask, and my headphones. I had a ketamine specific playlist off of Spotify.

At 7:31pm I practically jolted myself out of the chair. I cannot recall much in that 15 minute window but I vividly remember being overwhelmed with anxiety and was calling out for my kids. I kept saying their names over and over in my mind and I kept hearing myself saying if I don’t pull myself out of this session I will be stuck here forever… So I literally pulled myself out of ketamine. I ripped my mask off, threw my headphones on the table, grabbed my phone and frantically tried to find a song that I knew would calm me down. I had put my phone in airplane mode so I kept trying to search but obviously in airplane mode it didn’t work. At one point I grabbed my glasses because the tv in the room had words on it and something in my mind told me it was a message for me and it was very difficult to read on ketamine but it ended up being the copyright info… I was so angry in that moment because I thought it was the answer to what was happening (obviously that was still the ketamine coursing through me).

It’s like I panicked and brought myself back to the real world. A nurse poked her head in about ten minutes later to ask if I was ok. I told her yes I just needed a few more minutes.

The NP came in at 8pm and said I’m fighting my treatment. That I’m resisting going to whatever place I need to be… It was truly an awful feeling. I was so disoriented and afraid. I have no clue why I thought I would never see my kids again. I can see in hindsight that there was nothing to worry about but my God when you think you won’t have your children you kind of freak out.

I then had an insane throbbing headache and felt like I was going to vomit for several hours after. I believe that was from trying to fight the ketamine.

Please help!! I really want this to work. I have desperately tried other therapies for years without success. It’s like I am getting in the way of myself:(

The NP suggested I take .5mg of a drug (sorry I was so spun up I cannot remember the name) to calm me prior to the treatment. It was not Valium but a drug she said they use prior to anesthesia in surgical settings. I am just so unsure what to do. Is it possible that I just couldn’t go wherever my mind was taking me? How do you quell irrational thinking during treatment? Or kill this ego that has built such a protection around it that ketamine cannot get past it?!

My next treatment is Monday morning. I don’t want to quit though I’m ruminating about yesterday… HELP!

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@Jackiehilltx I am so sorry the session was so terrifying for you. With that said, I will tell you many of us have gone through similar experiences. As you said and the NP said, you were fighting the Ketamine. I can say that as I did the same thing. On my 2nd session I was sure I had died and was so upset as I did not make any arrangements for my dogs and I didn’t say goodbye to my family. And again similar to you I fought my way back (or in my case tried to fight my way back). I participate in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) so my therapist was in the room with me. I kept attempting to get up (literally) to walk away. My therapist had to keep gently getting me to lay back down. I also experienced the splitting headache! It was incredibly scary and like you I wanted this treatment to work so badly.
Hang in there, because the good news is it is definitely helping. You have to be very explicit about your experience with your medical team. For me the dosage was actually not high enough. What was comforting to me is the fact the height of the Ketamine only last for 30-40 minutes. I was very concerned about my breathing however, Ketamine is not a respiratory suppressant which was very comforting to me. It is a very safe drug with few side-effects. There can be some bladder issues, nausea and as you know headaches. I now get candied ginger or Zofran for the nausea and I take two Tylenol before hand which has really helped with the headache. I have the option of Toradol if the headache is to bad.
Before my next session the dosage was adjusted but honestly I also spent distinct time before the session listening to calm music without words. I am not a good at meditation but I tried to just quiet my mind and remind myself I am safe and I deserve to heal. My therapist reminded me to let go and let the medicine work. I have CPTSD from many years of extreme childhood trauma. I have definitely made progress and I am very encouraged. My therapist also reminds me it is a process and will take some time to heal. She reminds me healing will happen.
Every Ketamine session for me is different and frankly Ketamine also effects people differently.
Please continue, Ketamine is a life saver for many of us. This is a supportive site with lots of kind and thoughtful folks. We have your back and are here for you. You can do this and this group will definitely support you. I will be thinking of you on Monday. Take care❤️

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Couldn’t have said it better! 🫀

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The NP said she would be upping the dose of ketamine and giving an anxiolytic to chill me a bit before the session.

I guess I am just confused about the experience in general.

Do you actually tackle hard issues during your treatment and are consciously aware of them? Both my first and second treatment I couldn’t remotely focus on any issues. Or are you supposed to just allow the ketamine to take you wherever you go and hope there’s healing happening in the background?

I hope my question makes sense… I guess I’m asking if you are aware of the “issues” being addressed during the treatment or is this just a journey that has the benefit of healing behind the scenes?

Thank you for the responses!! They are extremely helpful.

I’ve never experienced an IM treatment - only infusions, so please take my comments with a grain of salt. I suspect that the IM treatment is less intense, which is why you became so emotional. During an infusion, I’m pretty well removed from all that.

But you said that you pulled a ketamine playlist from Spotify. That rings major alarm bells, and given your experience, I think the playlist is immediately suspect, especially since you went looking for a tune to calm you down. You are very individual, not to mention vulnerable. Just because someone else put together a playlist that they thought was good for an infusion doesn’t at all mean that it would be good for YOU during a treatment. Did you listen to it beforehand to make sure you were comfortable with it? People do strange things on the internet. I’m very careful in what music I select to play during my infusions.

“ Do you actually tackle hard issues during your treatment and are consciously aware of them? ”

I’ve only done this once, when my 40-year old daughter died of an overdose. I had an infusion 2 weeks later, and was able to deal with it pretty effectively. Most of the time, however, I set an intention that I will let my own “Higher Self” do the driving during the experience, and it has worked well for me. After all, if my “little self” was all that great a driver, I wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with. But I think there’s a difference between letting the ketamine take you wherever and letting your own Higher Self do the driving. Either way you’re letting go of any appearance of control, but you’re putting something far more qualified in charge.

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@Jackiehilltx It is my understanding that as you said, it is important to let go and allow the Ketamine to take you on a journey. With that said, it is also important to have an intention going into the session. An intention could be as simple as I am safe, I am healing or something more specific like allowing emotions are okay (for me demonstrating true emotions as a kid had severe consequences so being able to allow tears or feelings of sadness without the hypervigilance is a big step).
The research suggest the Ketamine actually reconnects dendrites destroyed by the trauma hence changing neuro-pathways in the brain.
For me the integration period when I have come back from the Ketamine trip is critical. I do have visions suggesting images of past trauma however, not everyone does… The journey is very individualized. Once I was at the appropriate dosage I did experience a sense of calm. I am working on pulling up those feelings of calm when the Ketamine has worn off and I am experiencing the intensity of flashbacks or wake up from night terrors. My therapist is helping me learn to experience that sense of calm, safety and healing during our integration sessions. I often feel very alone (even though I am with many people on a daily basis). The Ketamine is helping me with some of these overwhelming feelings. Hope this makes sense. A lot of folks on this site to support you. Take care!

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Thank you for responding. I think my “little self” had this expectation that I would be in the drivers seat for healing. When I would reach for the intention I set it would just vanish. I think I truly was not prepared for the lack of control I have over a session.

I go again in the morning and want to just be there. I don’t want to set some invisible bar I cannot reach. I think some of my resistance comes from the experience not being what I assumed it would be.

The playlist was put together by a psychiatrist specifically for ketamine treatment. Completely synthesized and no vocals. It was WAY too intense for me! I believe the tempo of the music was faster than I could handle. I did listen to it prior and didn’t care for the style but I assumed it would be beneficial during the session… Clearly I won’t use it again!

I plan on downloading some songs that speak to my heart and calm me. When I panicked I was desperate for something familiar to hear or touch. Almost like I need a rope keeping me attached to this world. I may take a family photo to have if I panic again… I just was desperate to know I didn’t lose my husband and kids.

Thank you for all the help!! This forum is truly amazing!!

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Just try to trust that your own higher self will guide you, then let go. It’s a little like getting on an airliner. By the time it’s airborne, you’ve made the decision to trust the pilot. In this case, the pilot is part of your own being…the best part. :smiley:

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One last thing…two, really. I personally believe that music with lyrics is only suitable for the very beginning of the treatment. It seems to work okay as an introduction to set the tone, but I find lyrics to be a distraction once it really gets going. And watch the volume level. On my iPad, I never have it much over half volume.

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Oh thank you for that advice! I was worried about lyrics because there is a lot of conflicting info online.
I do believe the volume was far too intense once the ketamine hit me. I will put it lower to start because it definitely heightened my senses.
I also think I’m going to request the tv be off in the room. They put on nature scenes and the glow of the television felt overwhelming on Friday.

Such great advice! I’m looking forward to a more relaxing journey tomorrow.

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I completely agree. My first session at home had lyrics and I ended up very focused on the words.

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I haven’t done IM treatment, just the infusions. I finished my 3rd on Friday and I have, according to my wonderful doctor, a little “control” problem too. My first 2, I was fighting the ketamine fiercely, waking up, looking around, etc. I would see images, not even frightening ones, and would get out of there as fast as my brain could go. Everything seems weird the 1st time, it really does. Your brain has no idea what is going on because it has been damaged for a long time. The healing from the Ketamine is re-activating parts of your brain that have been shut off for, possibly, years. My wife likes to say jokingly that a LOT of my brain has been shut off for years, especially in the “unloading the dishwasher” area. :sweat_smile:
Friday, however, was nothing short of a miracle. I prayed that I would release MY control and let the Ketamine do its job. Let me tell you , it was the most beautiful and enlightening hour I’ve had in years.
I had given up control, the one thing I had not done well my life and which got me to this depressed and anxious state of mind. It was a game-changer and all I had to do was let my mind go.
You can do this! The ketamine works, I can feel it and my wife sees it. The man she married over 20 years ago is coming back to life. Don’t give up, sister, just give in. Let your mind free, give in to the Ketamine medicine, and heal.
You are absolutely correct: This forum is priceless. I couldn’t have made the strides I did without these awesome people here. We may be broken, but we are not finished.

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Wow that is so encouraging! Nearly made me tear up.

I’m going to pray tonight that I’m able to release this ego that I cannot let go of. I am desperate to feel like “myself” again. It’s been close to 20 years of fight or flight and I’m ready to live again.

Tomorrow will be a success! Your words resonated and I am going to see this treatment through.

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I’ll be praying with you and have my 4th tomorrow. Let’s do this!!

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Praying for you, Deb!

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@Jackiehilltx Best wishes for a positive, peaceful experience tomorrow. Listen to music you find soothing and yes - let go! Sometimes that is my main intention/mantra for myself during infusion- let go. It is scary at first but ultimately a huge relief to allow yourself to release the illlusion of control and just…be. :heart: You can do this - you are safe, loved, and not alone.

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@William
Thank you, William! I will be praying your session goes well tomorrow.

I wrote recently that I found the treatments grueling. I had 6 two hour infusions with 3 days on and weekend off and then 3 days on. There is nothing about my time on ketamine that I found relaxing, uplifting, problem solving, enlightening, etc. Two hours of terror upon terror based on life experiences. HOWEVER, I knew this was my last shot at any help. So I went back each time and was out of sorts when I got back home. It was worth it. I feel so much better. I would not want to ever do it again but will if I have to. I am worth taking charge of my life again and not necessarily being who I was but being who I am with contentment. We were hoping for a minimum of help with depression, PTSD. But got so much more. Help with cognitive function from TBI, debilitating pain from a surgical failure in my back and I am happy there is a world, with people, family and all that goes with it. Everything is improved — not gone but so much better. Stay the course.

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