When I was a young child I had a pretty bad allergic reaction to an antibiotic I was once prescribed which had Sulphar in it. I got really, really sick.
At age 17 I had a very scary allergic reaction to Codeine when someone innocently gave me a Tylenol 3 for a headache while I was on a camp overnight. I’d never taken one before. Lucky the campers were all asleep by now.
At age 20 I reconfirmed that I was still allergic to Codeine when I accidentally took a Tylenol 3 again without realizing it. I was away that time too (with Rich and some friends). I will never make that mistake again.
But when I was first diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety just shy of my 43rd birthday I never imagined for one second that my body would reject every single fricken drug I was basically administered.
I’ve talked about it many times throughout my journey. After more than 20 concoctions of Antidepressants and several other treatments I was eventually diagnosed with having Treatment Resistant Depression.
My body can’t seem to tolerate much when it comes to treating my illness, antidepressants included. Over the past 7.5 years they had created so many added health problems for me (until I eventually went off them all together) which had my doctor needing to send me to see Cardiologists, Neurologists, Rheumatologists, Endocrinologists and many more specialists as well. At some point in time and after many brutal tests I knew it was the medications that were always causing these added stressors in my life because as soon as I weaned off any one or more drugs, the issues pretty much disappeared too.
It’s frustrating and as I’ve said over and over again, I feel like such a failure. My body rejects everything and I’ve felt like adding Ketamine to that list now too.
Today I met with a collegue (on Zoom) of my Psychiatrist to discuss my Ketamine treatment thus far. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this but my Psychiatrist has taken a 2 month Paternity leave which began the first week of October, just prior to me starting my first treatment.
I’m now four sessions down and I have felt no change at all which the Doctor is well aware of from my recorded conversations with the Nurses along with all of the assessments I have had to fill out regularly in between treatments and prior to the start of the next one.
I’m frustrated and like I said, as each day passes I feel more and more like a failure which has lead to more and more days filled with despair, hopelessness and thoughts of suicide.
My Therapist continually tries to tell me that I am not a failure in any way, shape or form and that the treatments and medications are the ones that are failing me. Today the Psychiatrist said those exact same words to me. He even went one step further to say that as Researchers and Scientists they too are failing me.
He discussed my final two upcoming treatments which would be a total of 6 all together but like my Psychiatrist and I first talked about weeks ago that is just the number they like to start with.
I told him I’m feeling very alone in this process given the MANY testimonials I’ve read from individuals who feel better after just a couple of treatments. He reassured me that I am not alone and that it is still too early for me to know if it’s working or not.
He also assured me that there are many more people not giving testimonials who may not even feel some relief for a few weeks following their last treatment.
He then told me that it’s a cumulative effect and every experience is customized to the patient’s individual needs and that for someone like me who is having such intense experiences during each treatment and several days of brutal side effects following that I need to take it slowly and gently proceed with caution when increasing my doses in the hope that I will eventually reach a therapeutic level.
He said he does not want to push the envelope, it’s all about trial and error and that as long as it takes for me to get to the highest dose in which MY body can tolerate then that is what they need to do and then promised that this was not the end of the line for me.
Two final things we discussed before our call ended was for me to possibly do some further genetic testing (I did some several years ago while inpatient which never concluded much) and he also mentioned the possibility of trying Ketamine again in its IV form (which I also did once inpatient several years ago) at a future date.
It’s all been a lot for me to digest today and I have even more to think about before my next treatment on Saturday afternoon including if I am ready yet to increase my dose again but being able to finally talk with a Psychiatrist today for the first time since I began this process was definitely a HUGE comfort. He was definitely a HUGE comfort. If it couldn’t be with my own Psychiatrist, he was definitely the next best thing.
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