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Second Ketamine Infusion – 6/12/2017, 50mg Part 2

Atra

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Dissociative Experience

[If you listen to Maxence Cyrin's piano version of "Where Is My Mind", notice that the piano's pedal noise is picked up and amplified. It didn't occur to me this could have an effect on the context].
My analytic mind dissolved into the song and the image of a grand piano in an empty room appeared in my head. The keys were being played without anyone sitting in front of them, no hands touched them. All sense of my physical form gradually dissolved until my body was actually inside the piano, below the lid, watching the felted hammers strike the metal strings directly above me. This mental construct lasted only for a brief time before the last remnants of my physical body were gone and I and the grand piano became as one. I remember feeling the bass notes in my chest, the treble in my extremities and the pedals were my lungs.
The song was coming from me and being played in me. The entirety of this depersonalization experience lasted perhaps two minutes. Lacking possession of my executive brain functions, I remember feeling rather than thinking how it was okay to become one of the instruments in a song.

Mindfulness Practice

Throughout the infusion the blood pressure cuff constricted to measure my vitals and I understood what it was and why it was doing that. The sensation brought my mind back into my body. It also brought anxiety back into mind. As the pressure of the cuff intensified, an anxious thought bubbled up and whispered how this thing on my arm might keep constricting until it popped me like a crushed grape! But then the cuff would finish inflating and I could feel and hear my pulse, steady and vital. If ever I became anxious, this sensation was a reminder of where I was and regardless of where my mind went, professionals were caring for my body. This felt reassuring so I resolved that I would use the cuff constriction as a touchstone if I ever felt the dissociative effects got too intense. Feelings in my body like hunger also helped ground me.

After-effects

I noticed the uplifting feeling of joy hadn't completely disappeared, lingering for about 3 hours afterwards. I spoke with both the nurse and doctor about my mood change and while I felt lucid, my mind was oddly muted. The usual onslaught of thoughts, attached emotions and the “stories of the mind” that accompanied them - weren't there. Or perhaps they were there, they just didn't seem to matter so much. This “quieting of the mind” lasted for about 6 hours after infusion. 

When I arrived home I did my laundry, cooked dinner and washed all the dishes. I noticed how I had more energy to do all this. Perhaps the earlier suggestion that Ketamine treatment improves functionality explains how I felt able to do more, or perhaps it actually was an effect of the treatment. Either way, it didn't matter.

I ended my evening with 10 minutes of guided mindfulness meditation, hoping to cultivate some of these positive effects. I think the meditation helped. At bedtime, I wasn't churning through all that happened that day which is unusual for me. I was able to get to sleep just after 2am, not bad for an insomniac.

The next entry will describe my third infusion, which took place the day after. More dissociation and a moment of realization of the value of human relationships that becomes a sort of therapeutic anchor.



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Link to the song.  'Where Is My Mind' on YouTube User Maxence Cyrin's channel

So, lesson learned. Smaller blog entries are ok not huge Atra-sized dissertations. No idea why I was allowed the first two mega-entries, it took a while for me to realize, hence the delay in updates. I'd like to get this finished as it's *only* been a year since I promised myself I'd share it. 

 

Edited by 20YearsandCounting

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16 hours ago, JD4010 said:

Wow. Excellent stuff. Are you noticing any "memory issues"?

Thanks, I really appreciate the encouragement. Really good question JD - no memory issues that correlate with Ketamine. I read the concerns about possible effects on cognitive functions before I started infusions. I'm grateful the program director had me sit down with a cognitive psychologist for two hours before I began infusions (specifically, a bunch of WAIS tests) and again when I finished the 6 infusion protocol, so there's at least some data from clinical testing in addition to whatever I report. Unfortunately they decided not to continue cognitive testing, my understanding is it was part of an internal study that ended as soon as the former director of the program gave management the big See-Ya-Later. Or maybe she was forced out?

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