At some point at the beginning of the dissociative experience I became distracted by a sensation on my cheek which my brain translated as an itch. My mind returned to my body so that I could lift my right hand to my face and scratch it. My arm seemed to move very slowly and it felt like I didn't have full articulation in either my elbow or wrist. To make this strange state even weirder, my mind told me that my arm from shoulder to hand was made of inflexible blocks of wood. When I touch my cheek to scratch, my fingers and cheek had the texture and firmness of wood. As with previous distortions and hallucinations, I accepted this by thinking, as a matter of interest, that becoming a piece of wood might be a unique perspective.
Using my breaths to guide mind back into my body, I noticed the music playing through my earbuds. My breathing was gentle and my pulse a steady pounding that I both heard and felt.
I spent some time trying to evoke that uncomfortable “twang” feeling in an attempt to explore it but was unable to.
Mental Imagery – My Inner Self
With mind and body back together, I felt like I ought to try and get some therapeutic work done through self-exploration by traveling deep within myself. A simple representation of a door appeared before me and I moved towards it. As I reached the door, it opened revealing a hatch and then another portal after that, hundreds of layers represented by different types of portals flung open until finally I reached what might have been a representation of my innermost self. It's closed and was covered by an object. I felt a sort of warning, a sense of caution that arrests my forward movement. I tried to peer around the perimeter but the object covering it sprouted wings that shielded all four edges of the portal. I felt I could transgress this barrier but then a very clear voice inside me said, “Don't”.
That warning sounded firm and final and I will confide, it caused me to completely chicken out! Bok bok B'gok!
The wooden god dissociative experience makes me wonder if the Ketamine stimulated the part of the brain which under imaging, shows activity during a religious experience. In retrospect it doesn't seem as much of a religious experience as a near-death one. I didn't receive any great news for us all or a message from dead loved ones or some insights about the infinite known to cultures around the world as That Which Is. No prophecies, either. So if it was a religious experience, I would rate as a pretty poor one in comparison to other experiences of my own and those told to me.
That threshold I came upon where I had a choice to remain or quit being connected to everyone definitely felt like a very real choice to live or die. I choose to regard my decision as an affirmation of my desire to live in spite of the struggles and difficulties of living with mental illness. Similar to suicidal ideation, it's a sort of comfort to have the choice. I wonder what it'd be like if I opted to remain.
The memory of feeling every type of fear in everyone remains but it has faded. I wish I had named all the fears I felt, it might've been useful to bring up in analysis. As a concept, everyone can understand that there's fear in every animal and person but it's quite another thing to have been in a state where one fancies one can feel it all. Sometimes, I'll call upon this memory when I'm in some group of people feeling anxious, self-conscious and insecure to remind myself that everyone in attendance is feeling at least a little fearful about something and this understanding assures and soothes me.
Regarding the deep introspection I sought through the portals, I have so many questions. Why was I afraid to continue, what was that voice telling me not to? Would there have been yet another door beyond what I thought was the final portal? (Years of therapy has shown me that every time I think I've come upon the final level of all my basement floors, there's yet another right below it. Always another issue beneath the one I thought was the most telling. Ha.) Is there always a “something” covering something else and is that the very definition of personal safety? Is what I perceive as covering my innermost core shielding me from harm or from scrutiny? Discussing this in therapy, I realized that in addition to wariness and fear I also felt vulnerable confronting that last layer. I'm unsure if that feeling was a genuine reaction to my introspection or due to a general feeling of vulnerability one has while conscious under anesthetic.
Outlier vitals reading: 103/68
I spoke with the doctor and his colleague about what I remembered of the experience, noting that the bump in dosage seemed to make a difference. I also met with a clinical psychologist whose practice includes Ketamine assisted psychotherapy. She was keen to know about the music I chose and it's effects on the Ketamine experience. I felt lucid and cognizant during our conversation.
In the next entry, I'll detail the sixth and final infusion of the initial protocol I received back in 2017.