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Atra last won the day on February 1

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About Atra

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    Senior Member

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    San Francisco, California
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    Cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, podcasts, theater, opera, wine, food, crunchy-looking leaves on the sidewalk, walking, meditation, skepticism, travel.

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  1. Pedicure once or twice a month. Listen to a song that gets any emotion out of me; replay it until I wear out the feeling. Write some lyrics/poetry. Go for a 4 mile walk. I have a notebook of memories, thank-yous, certificates, etc. I'll look through it when I forget if I've ever done a damn thing in my life I can be proud of. Nice idea - I'm going to make a list, too. Like a "crisis kit" to have on hand when emotions have flown passed any chance at regulation and we're in distress tolerance territory.
  2. Atra


    Sorry to hear your friend is leaving, I've had a friend move recently and it left a hole. I feel that you want to nice to your friend and also that your friend believes she's doing you a kindness. Trying to please her is perfectly fine - right up until the point where it's starting to hurt you. And I think you're there. Perhaps all you need is to hear it from others, it's okay to stop people pleasing. If you stop, you're still a good friend and you're being good to yourself. I'd buy her a coffee and tell her truthfully how this affecting you. Would ideas of how to word this in such a way that's both respectful of your feelings and appreciative of her be helpful? I find DBTs interpersonal effectiveness skills are useful in these situations.
  3. Money doesn't take the pain away, it just pays the bills. With so many examples of wealthy people suffering from depression or another mental illness (and/or addiction), maybe the question of better or worse doesn't make much sense.
  4. Atra

    Psychoanalysis...still effective...?

    CBT, DBT group therapy and individual talk therapy - all have been very helpful in treating my MDD and GAD. If it helps, I can be as specific as you like. I don't understand what you mean by this. For therapy to be effective, one needs to be able to trust a therapist so that they can be honest about the stuff inside that makes them feel icky, embarrassed and hateful of oneself. So it follows that the patient must have the ability to open up, be ready to receive help and advice and be willing to do the work.
  5. Thanks @JD4010 I appreciate the comment. Recalling these experiences back into mind will encourage the reprogramming of my depression-addled brain, I hope.
  6. Yes, please update us when you have more to report. Whether your symptoms respond to the treatment or not, it's helpful to know. You also might consider creating a blog here as a journal of your TMS experience, it helped me to track changes in my response to Ketamine treatments.
  7. Tactile distortion 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! Take-Aways 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. Post-infusion 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.
  8. Now that you know That something's not right Look at it carefully In pale logic light Don't be sorry If you can't recognize The errors and faults In such a perfect disguise Only illogics can find hidden flaws in a straight logic line Only erratics recognize errors in patterns of a perfect design - Erratic Patterns by Carbon Based Lifeforms Usual pre-infusion protocol. Music playlist a mix of ambient and songs with lyrics in a language I don't understand. Unpleasant Sensations About 10 minutes into infusion, I noticed the anesthetic effects – nausea and numbness – were stronger this time than the previous infusions which I attributed to the increased dosage. Once again I felt anxious and wondered how strong these sensations would get,. What to do with these anxious feelings? I never found that trying to ignore or bury anxiety was effective in dealing with it. Better to find a way in which to acknowledge it, allow it to be present and express itself but not dwell on it. I discovered a bit of mental imagery that helped me. I pictured the nurse standing at a control panel, her hand on a dial that's meant to increase or decrease dosage of the drug. She looks to me and asks, “Are you OK, is it too much?” I reply, “Unpleasant but tolerable. Continue. Give me more.” Unpleasant but tolerable becomes a sort of self-soothing mantra as the effects of the Ketamine envelope me; it acknowledges feelings without overstating them. Sensation of Motion About 15 minutes into the infusion I felt weightless and floating and following that, a sensation of horizontal and vertical movement. I peeked through the seam of the sleep mask to verify that my body wasn't moving but my inner ears and brain reported motion nonetheless. Reclining in the chair as I was with both feet raised, an image of laying on a pedestal or platter came to mind accompanied by a strange feeling of being “presented” to something. I felt a bit vulnerable and exposed but aided by some uplifting music, this became sort of joyful. Dissociative Experience – Celestial Postman For a moment I'm in that strange, in-between state of semi-consciousness where nothing exists. Then I'm outside my body, looking at my face through a small window of a rocket ship. In the same manner in which we give context to what's happening in our dreams, I knew that my destination was the heavens and that I was a sort of celestial postman, delivering messages written to God from people all over the planet – even personal messages from my attending doctor and nurse. I felt pleased, excited and a bit honored to have this mission. Looking back at it now, I wonder if how I felt is similar to how people who experience grandiose delusions must feel, it was very convincing. The rocket launch was convincing as well. I felt the motion in my lower body and saw amazing displays of speed and light before reaching space. In orbit around the planet was a long, carved wooden statue roughly in the shape of a person like you might see in a museum or upon a totem pole. I delivered the “mail” and wondered what it might be like to be a wooden god floating in space. An entity inside the statue replied that I'm welcome to try it for a bit - which I do, but hang on. Where would this entity go if I'm inside? The causal reply was, “I think I'll try being you for a while.” The irony wasn't lost on me. Once inside the god statue, I lost sense of self in the experience of being connected to all lifeforms on the planet below. If you have ever had what you'd call a spiritual experience, this felt very similar. I don't remember much of what I did or felt in this state. One thing I recall vividly is feeling all the fear that exists in every living thing - all the kinds of fear that there is and the yearning to be free of it. I also felt the pressure of a billion people wanting me to be this and to do that for them and the strain of it all was almost unbearable. One consoling bit of knowledge was that I could leave anytime – but I could also stay there. Permanently. Deep within me I searched for what that might mean and came upon a threshold which, in order to cross, would require a very big and permanent transformation. I choose to leave the statue and just enjoy the feeling of a non-corporeal me floating in space.
  9. Atra

    What did you dream about?

    I was stressed, taking a standardized exam I was unprepared for and midway through I stopped to go watch Star Trek. When I returned, the exam was over so I handed it in unfinished ( I decided I'd tell them I have mental illness) and then proceeded to go looking for a hamburger.
  10. Atra

    What Are You Listening To? #3

    Therapist Uncensored podcast.
  11. Atra

    Valentines Day

    It's VD, which never means anything good to me so instead I'll think about all the chocolate that will be discounted tomorrow! Because that's a better problem.
  12. Atra

    So confused

    Hello and welcome, we're pleased to have you join us. Once you've had a chance to look around, I believe you'll find some useful information and make a connection with others who are struggling a with depression and anxiety. Yep. We get it. So, imagine you're holding a beach ball under water. It wants to surface but you're strong enough to keep it under you. Still, it requires energy and focus to force it down which could instead be directed outward. Then along comes a wave or some other disturbance, it upsets your balance and that beach ball pops up sending you into water. This is how I picture my struggles with depression and anxiety. If hanging in there worked just fine there wouldn't be a reason for this place or a need for mental health. As you've taken a brave step by joining us, you've already spent the requisite time hoping things would go back to being fine and telling yourself it's gonna be ok - and that's no longer working. There are different ways to manage depression and anxiety. Getting an appointment with a doctor and visiting with a therapist is a great way to begin. I sense you're a little concerned about medication (we can talk about that because demystifying it reduces worry), it's not something you must deal with immediately. Unburdening your mind, figuring out what that beach ball is how to deal with it effectively will produce results.
  13. Atra

    What Do I Have?

    Purging is a common sign of a disorder, so is severe controls over when and what you eat. I suspect that getting enough nutrients rather than weight will be a problem first, if left untreated.
  14. Atra

    Esketamine...any news?

    Febuary 12 2019: The FDA panel overseeing Jannsen's work has endorsed Esketamine intranasal spray as a treatment for depression. According to news sources the FDA is expected to make a decision on approval by March 4.
  15. Atra

    What’s a good reason to live?

    Like I said sometimes symptoms make it near impossible to enjoy anything and until we can manage them, it doesn't matter what we believe is causing the great emptiness felt. My mind is given to images of grandiosity when I think of what would be a good life. What is grand isn't the measure of what is good in a life and that's what I'm talking about I read over and over again the same stories of people who get what they most hoped for only to find that mental illness has followed them all the way to the top.