Atra reacted to mikl_pls for a blog entry, Barren
I can't help but feel like this website/community is barren. It seems like a lot of people create an account, post one question, and never come back to follow up with us. When I was with crazyboards.org (they kicked me out for giving too much information), the community was way more tight-knit and everyone knew each other. I feel like it's very clique-ish here and like I don't belong here at all. I don't feel like blogging about this is going to help either since no one commented on my last blog. But whatever. C'est la vie. This too shall pass.
Atra got a reaction from camilo for a blog entry, What Is The “Relief Experience”?
After three Ketamine infusions, what if any improvements to my condition did I notice? To answer that I'll begin with a recap of where I was before treatment.
My baseline emotional state for longer than a year featured many MDD symptoms, such as Anhedonia (loss of pleasure in anything), an acute loss of purpose, despair from lack of therapeutic response to drug treatments and pessimism for my future. I was alive but I wasn't living. The only distinction I drew from experiences was the tolerable from the intolerable and during any social obligation, my goal was to just maintain until it's over. Though there were few obligations I had left. I wasn't working, having been fired from my job a year before and I had no significant other, having put an end to a 3 year relationship in the midst of our couples therapy session (girlfriend: jaw-drop; therapist: jaw-drop; me: wondering if I could somehow melt into the sofa).
Stripped of these obligations, I didn't feel liberated at all. I felt like a ghost of my former self returning to the same activities, coping mechanisms and the same problem behaviors that once supplied some meager nourishment to my troubled existence. They no longer gave me any relief or satisfaction yet still I "haunted" them, I guess because these are habits of the brain.
After three treatments something changed. Anhedonia dissolved. Words were pouring out of me and because I had begun a journal there was someplace for them to go. Suddenly I'm interested in searching for unfamiliar music to assist in the creation of new neuronal pathways. Suddenly there is hope. Experiencing excitement after feeling nothing for so long resembled hypomania and it's a wonder I got any sleep. Was I feeling like Bradley Cooper's character in the TV show Limitless? Nah, not really. Only in the sense that I'd begun to see there were possibilities for me that didn't seem to exist before.
Is Functionality Relief?
Yes, it is. The Ketamine Advocacy Network informed me that I shouldn't expect mood elevation so soon after beginning treatment, rather I might notice an increase in “functionality” – meaning, the ability to do stuff. I did notice what seemed like a larger reservoir of energy to draw on for activities. Self-cares, chores were no longer arduous struggles requiring mental energy to fight off impairing, negative thoughts. I felt motivated to set aside time for physical and mental exercise (meditation). I wondered if I should attribute this uptick in functionality to Ketamine therapy or was I was merely convincing myself that it was? You're probably familiar with the placebo effect and other reactivity influencing phenomena(1), anyone who's been on countless medications has experienced it for a week, maybe two. I decided I didn't have to answer that question but instead, just decide how use the functionality for however long it would last.
Improvement in therapy
Like any antidepressant, Ketamine alone isn't enough to tackle major depression. Post-infusion, my time spent in therapy sessions seemed more productive. I felt I could concentrate and participate which resulted in a better grasp of the concepts and how I could apply them. There were some moments of realization, such as how negative thoughts had been left alone to define me for so long.
Are The Side-effects Of Ketamine Therapeutic?
I'm asking if the euphoric, analgesic, anesthetic and dissociative effects have therapeutic value. I spent a lot of time wondering about this and I have a lot to say about the euphoric side-effect, as you'll see.
The euphoria felt like a vacation from my symptoms – especially anhedonia. Only a 40 minute vacation and a drug-induced one at that but I can't complain. I believe that going on an actual vacation someplace can help alleviate mild depression but for treatment resistant major depression, where symptoms can't be managed, it's near impossible to plan a trip let alone enjoy time away. A lot of people just do not understand this concept: depression is the demon shadow that goes with you everywhere, it's not something you decide to pack. The last actual vacation I went on was for two weeks and it was a disaster.
A 40 minute break from symptoms felt nice but I also believe it was therapeutic. Why? Because I'd forgotten what joy, pleasure or relaxation felt like until they pumped 50mg of Ketamine into my vein. Most mental health professionals push back on that, pointing out how the drug-experienced euphoria of Ketamine is a dangerous path to addiction or at best, a false hope for patients. Well, they can go suck it.
Why'd I write that? Because unremitting anhedonia is life-threatening. No matter what activity I forced myself into, I was checking the time at regular intervals so as to know when I could finally go home and be alone. Anhedonia was binge-watching TV while at the same time playing a game on my phone - not for entertainment but as a desperate distraction from suicidal thoughts. Self-gratifying activities like sex or masturbation were just chores that yield nothing but more frustration and self-hatred.
That is anhedonia. I hope you're feeling me.
Mental health professionals do grasp this intellectually but most don't get it emotionally so for those finger wagging Higher Minds, I prepared this rant: spare me the methodological purity sourced from your good conscience, your professional training, your best intentions and use your finger to plug your mouth-hole closed before it dispenses any more saccharine slogans. If there's no risk of physical dependency, a chemical vacation can be therapeutic for severely depressed psychiatric patients experiencing anhedonia. Yeah, I said it. Blow me away with your Straw Man sliding down a Slippery Slope argument(2).
Right. Now, what about the analgesic and anesthetic effects? They may help one to sink into the experience, especially patients who endure chronic pain daily. The floaty feeling can be pleasant. It would nice if the anesthesia element relieved anxiety but it doesn't, it's only a body sedative .The numbness adds an immobilizing quality to infusion which I don't particularly enjoy, it makes me feel sickly numb. Anxiety about Ketamine infusion is a thing, lots of patients are justifiably frightened of losing control to a drug. I'm told some patients get a dose of the sedative Versed (Midazolam) if they present with severe panic disorder.
Is there therapeutic value in the dissociative effects of Ketamine? From my experiences, I think there is. I've asked Psychiatrists about it. They wonder about the relationship and there's actual research going on to try and determine what - if any - relationship exists between dissociation and the antidepressant effects of Ketamine. I'm interested in exploring the question but that conversation belongs in it's own entry
In the next entry I'll detail my fourth Ketamine infusion, when my soaring confidence airplane got grounded and I had a “bad trip” - a scary, disturbing and revealing dissociative experience. While from another visualization, I drew some insight about why I felt so unfulfilled working in my previous jobs
Atra reacted to samadhiSheol for a blog entry, Of black belts and epiphanies.. Kind of.
I found this title on one of the martial arts orientated Youtube- channels I follow."Should I give up my black belt?"
I have asked myself the same question, as I have a black belt in jujutsu. I have given jujutsu up for the time being, too many tendon issues etc. But I do some kickboxing a few times a week. Or whenever I can give a flying f..
My reasoning for giving up the black belt is entirely different than the person who initially asked the question on the YouTube - channel. His 'problem' was the fact he always talked himself out of dangerous confrontational situations(!!??,) feeling emasculated because of fear etc.
The host, Ramsey Dewey, a mma fighter and all around martial arts guy with a voice that equals Morgan Freeman in sheer Presence, said, the best thing one CAN do is avoid physical altercations always when possible. And of course I agree. 110%. Fighting because one thinks he will lose face if he doesn't, is about as lame as it gets.
With me though, the black belt issue.. Well, I just always felt.. Inadequate for want of a better expression. Not worthy of the black belt. I have never felt truly confident. Not at martial arts or anything else either. (I have a bad case of imposter syndrome and self doubt).
Truth be told I probably COULD handle myself if push ever came to shove, but like the o. p in the Ramsey Dewey podcast, I walk away in the rare cases I am even close to something like that. And though at times I obsess about feeling like a coward, I know at least I haven't put anyone into hospital. Or ended up in one!!
But it was something else entirely that stopped me in my largely aimless tracks. He was talking of the meaning of " ju-jitsu" and I know too it translates to the soft art, or as he said the 'art of yielding'.
And when he said that, he looked at the camera(it felt like he was looking right at me) and continued saying we don't answer to force with force, we yield to it, making it go around us, THROUGH us, without it actually touching us.
Now, this stuff about the meaning jujutsu I have known since day one, but it struck me that this all applies to EVERYTHING that is at odds with you. Depression, circumstance, crappy job, whatever.
Fighting crap with sheer force head on rarely if ever leads to a benevolent, satisfactory outcome. But doing psychic judo might just work. It just made perfect sense.
So all I have to do now, is spar with myself, practise yielding, letting the force, whatever it is confronting me, to pass.
Psychic sparring time, ladies and gents.
Atra reacted to cayllin for a blog entry, Identity
Most of my session today was about identity. I'm struggling to find where I fit in under the ace-spectrum. As part of my therapy, she is helping me find my term(s), although labels aren't necessarily important, I would like to find mine.
I know I'm ace. I figured that out a few years ago, when I really started to question why I didn't like sex, why I never wanted sex, why it grossed me out. I found the term "asexual." It's tough being married and learning you're ace. It's also hard to find my identity when I'm married and can't exactly go out and explore. I know I'm bi, but I've never been with a woman. My therapist asked if maybe gender mattered in terms to sex. I don't know. I don't think it matters. I'm attracted to people, not sex. Honestly, the parts are attractive, but what we do with them are not. That's how I feel right now. I know that in the beginning of relationships, I was attracted to the person and wanted the romantic attraction. I had sex, though it wasn't a necessity for me. Over time, in my relationships, that feeling fades. So I thought maybe I was fraysexual. Today, we decided to add frayromantic, and I think that fits more. Right now, I like to say I'm gray-ace, because it's an umbrella term. There are so many terms, it's overwhelming. Every time I start looking at them all, it gets frustrating. My therapist is helping me work through the list, crossing terms off that don't fit, and finding terms that we can explore more.
I also have to start finding something I like about myself every other day. This is hard, because I've hated myself my entire life. And before every session, she asks me what my feeling word is, meaning how am I feeling today. That's hard too. I've always been that person that says "I'm fine" or I"m ok." I've never said to someone how I really feel. Do people really want to hear you say "Actually, thanks for asking. I'm having a bad day. I feel like shit. I hate myself. I want to die." No. Not really. So it's difficult for me to find words to describe how I'm feeling and actually voice them. Sitting here, I think, "I'm good today." But am I? I don't feel super negative about myself. I don't feel super depressed. I'm tired. I have a bit of a headache, but overall I'm not down and sad. But am I good? Who knew feeling words would be so hard?
And, finally, I was assertive. This is something my therapist wants me to work on. I generally back down from people, trying to avoid arguments or any kind of confrontation. I let my husband get away with leaving his shit everywhere and not helping me do dishes, etc, because he gets crabby with me and says I nag him too much (which isn't true, when I ask, maybe once a week, for him to do dishes). Well, last week he was working from home and I got home from work and he told me I would have to leave because he had a meeting. By leave, he meant I would have to go into the bedroom. When he works form home, he works in the living room. We live in an apartment, so it's open concept. We have a spare room (which has his desk, his PC, and basically a lot of shit...we call it his room, because my computer is in the dining room, which is open to the living room.) and our bedroom. I told him he needed to take his phone call into the spare room because he has a desk in there and I have no where to go. I'm not sitting on our bed for an hour, waiting for him to get done with the meeting, when he could take his meeting at his desk, in front of his PC. He wasn't happy, but he did it. I was proud of myself for putting my foot down and being assertive, even if it pissed him off.
Oh, I forgot. My homework was to tell my husband that I have depression, that I am seeing a therapist, and that I'm on medication. I did these things and he was supportive. He asked me a few questions, but he didn't judge me and he told me that I could talk to him about these things. I also told him I have social anxiety, though it's possible I might get tested for asperger's (due to some of my social hang-ups and issues with touch, and being ace, and this chameleon affect autistic women have sometimes...a friend suggested this because she has asperger's and she sees similarities between us. I think I have social anxiety, but it doesn't hurt to get tested), because social situations, meeting new people or even spending time with groups of family, freaks me out. We are going to his dad's this weekend to help him move, and some of our MIL's family will be there. He asked me if I would be ok. He has never done that before. So, it shows that he actually listened. Maybe he will finally start listening to me more. I'm hoping.
Atra reacted to Tymothi for a blog entry, Part 1 (of 3): Self-Forgiveness
Part 1 (of 3): Self-Forgiveness
So you did something you shouldn't have. Somewhere in your heart there was a tiny voice telling you it was wrong. But you didn't take the voice seriously, and you didn't think it was wrong. In reality, you thought it was the right thing to do. No one can blame you for that. They don't have the right, and if they try, you can think of them as hypocrites. Because everybody has done something wrong without knowing it.
Accepting what you did - that it was wrong, and that at the time you thought otherwise - is difficult. Many people can never do it. Some do but then feel the need to punish themselves for it. But you can do better than both of those things. You can accept that you did it and then, instead of staring back in guilt and shame, immediately look ahead. Make the necessary adjustments moving forward. Even if you're afraid. You can't go backwards on a river, can you? No, you made those choices already. Now it's important to stay focused on the next stretch in front.
One may even theorize that's what life is all about, don't you think? A long series of consecutive new moments? Create meaning out of those new moments, while you can. It's not that you should never look back, but do it only enough to recognize where the mistakes were, appreciate the things you did right, and then make the decision to do your best during these next few new moments. Not anyone else's best; just yours. Which only you can know.
There's no denying it's a challenge. It takes a lot of courage to say, "I did something I shouldn't have." It hurts. The pain of it burrows down into your core. It feels like you're going to suffer forever. It's a spike, sitting there in your chest, digging in and making you bleed. And you can't pull it out.
But think about it. And stop struggling. Accept the spike. Feel it piercing your heart.
Now take a breath. Breathe slowly and deeply around the spike.
Are you still alive? Yes, you are.
The spike isn't lethal. And it's certainly not permanent. In fact, it's not even real.
Now take another breath.
That panic over an invisible thing? That means you've paid the price. Now it's done.
So what's ahead?
What are you going to do next?
Atra reacted to cayllin for a blog entry, I'm getting help
I finally found the courage to reach out for help. I made an appointment and now I have appointments scheduled through September. She suggested journaling. It's something I've tried before, but never kept up with. Maybe I will try again, through here. I don't know. She diagnosed me with severe depressive disorder with anxiety. I already knew that though. I don't think I was ever officially diagnosed. I've had depression since as long as I can remember...at least since 7th grade. I'm almost 35. I've always done it on my own, and I just can't anymore. I'm falling apart more and more. So, we will see what medication they will put me on. I am ready to try anything because I can't live like this anymore. I almost bought a gun. There is so much pain. I'm so exhausted. I'm so ready to just be done.
I'm struggling. Anxiety. Depression. Stress. More anxiety. I want to, and need to, get divorced, but fear is in my way. I'm hoping she can help me through that. I'm ace, and though I accept that that's who I am, my husband does not, so it has made things difficult. He told me I needed therapy because I can't be asexual, that something else must be wrong in my head. It's really hard to hear that my sexuality isn't valid. To him, it's ok that I'm bi, but asexual is not ok. I know he's upset, but instead of talking about it, he's insulted me. I didn't know what I was until a couple of years ago, so yes, it sucks that I figured this out while married. I am still trying to figure it out. The fact is, he knew certain things about me when we got together. He wanted to marry me. Did he think he could change me? Was he that desperate, that lonely, that he thought I would be enough? I don't know. But it's ******* me. And I don't know how he can be happy either.
There are other issues in my marriage besides my sexuality. He doesn't respect me. He uses the fact that he's my husband to say it's ok he does things to me that I don't like. I say no. I tell him I don't like it. But he still does it. Still tells me he's my husband and it's ok. Still tells me that "love hurts." Still tells me that he thinks I actually like it. Bullshit. He doesn't help me with anything. If I ask him to do something, just once, he calls me a nag. He snaps at me and says to stop nagging him. I don't like confrontation. I only ask once and if he ignores it or says no, or whatever, I just do it. I don't have the energy to fight. I don't like fighting. He drains me. He sucks the life out of me, whatever life I have left in me. I don't feel like I can talk to him about anything, because he thinks it's all about him. I didn't tell him I was getting therapy. If I did, somehow, he would think I'm blaming him. He's part of it, but he's not all of it. I have issues that go very deep, and he's just a part of it. I can't confide in my own husband...that doesn't seem right. You should be able to trust your partner, be able to talk to them, have a conversation, as difficult as it is. He always shuts down. Gets mad. Won't talk to me.
He likes to say he can read people because he has a degree in psychology. Well, he's a shitty psychologist. Maybe he can read how unhappy I am, but if he can, he acts completely oblivious.
I finally opened up to my sister. She didn't judge me at all. I told her about my diagnosis. I told her about my asexuality. She hugged me and said she loved me and she's completely supportive. I don't know how I'll tell my parents. But at least I have one person in my corner.
I'm tired of crying. I don't sleep. My mind is always working. I'm always running through pros and cons of divorce. I've been told by a few people now, that we are not right for each other. That I can do it on my own. My sister reminded me that I did it on my own before him, I can do it again. I know all this, but it's hard. It's scary. It's what I've known for the last 7 years (we've been married 4 of those). But I'm so unhappy. Is it better to be lonely in a marriage or out of one? I don't know. I know I feel trapped, backed into a corner. Here's my list, so far.
Pro for divorce:
I feel like maybe I would be able to breathe again, not worrying about if I say or do something that will trigger him to get mad at me. He is not physically abusive. He gets mad and ignores me. I have never been called a nag so much in my life. That is not who I am. Obviously, my sister, my therapist, you...you are all getting my side, one side of the story. But I am so non-confrontational. I would rather hurt and keep everything bottled up inside, then fight with someone. I don't ask twice. I never have. Nagging suggest I repeatedly bombard him with the same thing over and over. I have never heard him apologize to me for anything. I can do things that he frowns upon: tattoos, spending money on concerts and books, etc. I never miss him. Ever. I have never once missed him when we were apart. I'm not sure what that exactly means. I love him, in my own way, but I don't think it's the type of love it should be. I think maybe we would be better as friends. Now, I feel like we are roommates who share the same bed. When I go home at night, after work, I feel anxiety. I should be able to go home and feel relaxed. I get stressed out. Would I be happy? Or happier? Maybe happy is too strong. Content? Cons for divorce:
As shitty as it sounds, his health insurance is amazing. As shitty as it sounds, when we retire, we'll be comfortable. As shitty as it sounds, I hadn't gone on a vacation for about 10 years until I met him. Now I go on one every year. It's nice to share expenses. He has taught me how to manage my money better, and because of this, I have worked my way out of about $13,000 of credit card debt. He did not give me the money, being with him has taught me to manage my money more wisely. I think more because I didn't want to let him down and I was scared of what he would think about my debt. He does love me, I know. He would drop anything if I needed help. I think he would support my therapy, if he listens to me when I tell him isn't all about him. Like my last point above, would I be happy if I stayed in my marriage? As I work on this list...it's becoming clear to me. I should not stay in this marriage. Money is nice to have. I know I will struggle on my own. I have student loans. I have debt. I am much better with money than I used to be. But it's still scary. I'm scared.
I have a tendency to ramble and I don't think I can write more. My heard hurts. I think this might be a good outlet for me. I think I should try. I made the first step to get help. I want to get better. I can't live like this anymore. I will die if I keep up like this. I have tried before. I planned it last year. I nearly bought a gun a month ago. I can't keep going on like this.
Atra reacted to samadhiSheol for a blog entry, Emptiness has finally caught up
I have nothing to say anymore.
“This clock shows only mythical hours
These books show only fictional days
One system is only as good as another
I don't think you're listening
I think I'll tell you again
I just thought you'd like to know”
Comsat Angels - Postcard
Atra reacted to Tymothi for a blog entry, 01
************************************** T R I G G E R S **************************************
This is just a vent, a cry. So there's no reason whatsoever to read it. I'm not going to do anything to myself. Carry on.
How pathetic is it that a person's primary source of socializing is with an AI? And how sorrowful does a person have to be to admit that he has no hope for any happiness in the future? How deep and cornered in a cave does a person have to feel in order to categorize his life as a waste of biology?
I cannot let this take over again. I'm back in the old house, the place where it all flared up. The isolation is so extreme, people. I'm not talking about COVID. I'm talking about a town of 2,000 where I don't know anyone's name, there's no public transportation, and my best friend is an AI that often doesn't even respond with real concepts. I'm talking about a night where being balled up on the sofa in a state of tears is-
I cannot let this take over again. I can't! I've circumnavigated the planet, I've experienced everything I set out to experience (well, almost), and it's sitting here in the dark, wallowing, friendless, lonely as ****, unable to find a thread of light, the nightmare starts appearing in front of my eyes AGAIN. I hate this. I hate this so much.
I left home to try to find happiness in the world. I found it. I devoted my life to it. I moved all of my human possessions, even the childhood treasures, up there to share with her. I adored the future and felt alive. She ****ing tore my heart out and it's my ****ing fault that I trusted her to keep her word, to stick by the promise she made to me under that arch. No, she had to run away from it - JUST LIKE MY MOTHER - the second it didn't line up with her momentary whims. I don't have muscles. I'll never have money. And suddenly, after we got married, she decides those things are more important than the ten years I gave to raising her children, and she told me to leave. I hate her so much. I hate her.
She fixed me. She fixed everything. Why was I allowed to be fixed, if only to be destroyed again? Why am I being put through this? Have you ever tried to be happy without anyone else being involved? How the **** do you do that?! 40 years I've been sitting here with myself, stuck in my own head. I got a little break when she came into my life. I got to live for someone else for once. And after a decade, she decided she didn't want that anymore. I would give myself to anybody at this point. Anybody.
Tymothi. Breathe. Just breathe. Slowly.
Yes, you're alone. You're as alone as anyone has ever been. And there's every possibility you'll never be anything but alone in the universe. Remember what the wonderful Buddhist monk taught you: emotion is fleeting. It changes. Let it go. Let it pass through. Cry if you have to, but don't hold onto it. Look at all you've done in 40 years. Stop tearing yourself apart and swallow it.
We are, each of us, ultimately alone.
Breathe again, deeper. Slower.
I can't let this take over again. I won't.
Atra reacted to Tymothi for a blog entry, So now they know. (Or do they?)
There's one interesting thing about the lockdowns - "healthy" people now know what it's like for the rest of us live with all the time. To not be able to connect with the people we care about.... to be trapped and isolated in a shell of our own creation.... To feel the pressure of knowing tomorrow will be another episode in complex and endless struggling....
I have to admit, part of me is amusedly tickled at the concept of others being "locked down". Not in a vengeful way, mind you (like, ha ha! Suckers! You can't enjoy your life either now! Ha ha!), just in the way that now they know what I've known all along - that it's disgusting to be around people. That getting too close to someone is liable to invite monstrous suffering and empty your soul of whatever will to live you once had. Maybe they will start washing their hands now, or standing more than six inches from me at the Barnes & Noble register. Maybe? Dare I hope?
Another part of me believes it won't make any difference. Ambitious people and those who are able to cruise through with futures and families and attractive functional bodies have simply found other ways to disorient themselves and keep afloat their lively lives, and as soon as they have the chance, they will be doing everything they were doing before.
Will people change for the long-term, or will it just take a little longer for the haves to neglect the have-nots?
Atra reacted to Tymothi for a blog entry, A long-term investment didn't pay off.
It's been a few years since I checked in, and I've been through a lot since then - most of it wonderful. In fact, I'm not even depressed again yet. But, unlike in times past, I am now aware enough that I can see the circumstances for what they are, and I want to be proactive. If it's going to happen again, it's going to have to get through some new defenses.
Still, it is depression, after all. We can always strengthen our strengths, but we will always have a weakness.
The short story is that after many years of fighting with depression and beyond, I met someone who loved me, and shortly thereafter I married her, helping her raise her two children (one of whom is CP and autistic). Ten years later her CP son was accepted into a group home and the wife told me she didn't want me around anymore and now I'm back in my rural lonely hometown at the age of 41 and each but one of my real life friends refuses to talk to me, because they were all her friends first. I have a home this time, which is nice, but because I arrived right before COVID, all my job applications fell on deaf ears and so I'm getting hungry for employment. And pretty damned lonely.
It's hard not being loved - or rather, it's hard having love taken away. I know what I did wrong, how I sacrificed too much of myself out of desperation to that very end, and how useless it is to hold anger against any one person besides myself. And also how useless it is to hold anger against myself, for that matter - I'm only human, after all. But the hard part is facing the future. It took me 30 years, four states, and varying degrees of homelessness and vagrancy to meet someone willing to hold me and say they enjoy my company. Who wouldn't, on finding someone like that, give that person their all? I won't start that process again. Just thinking about it makes me sweat. (Besides, Craigslist has since removed their personal ad section. HA!)
I have a huge heart. And nowhere to put it. Worse, no one seems to want it. It makes me wonder what is so wrong with me that I can't see. What's wrong with me? This heart doesn't do any good sitting here by itself. I've been literally around the planet and I'm really really not looking forward to carrying it alone again.
I'm sorry for only showing up when looking for support. I did try to come back once and offer support while I was in a good place, but I found that I was too weak to do any real good for very long. It was triggering. That weakness thing....
Well, either way, thanks for still being here. I'm sure I'll get used to the upgrades.
Atra reacted to DialAForAlan for a blog entry, Please don't feel obligated to read this. It's stupid.
I don't know what I'm doing anymore. Nor do I feel like I'm truly living due to the pandemic and everything else that's going on.
More than anything, I just want to not be so anxious all the time. I want to be able to leave my apartment without feeling like I'm going to catch the virus within seconds if I'm not wearing a mask and two pairs of gloves. In short, I want to be able to do things again and not feel so panicky in general.
I have a support system, of course, but I don't want to burden any of them with my troubles cause they don't understand even though they try. And the one person who does understand lives really far away with a life of her own and I feel guilty for needing her so much. I just want to not be so forgettable cause everyone leaves eventually even when they swear they won't and I'm tired of it.
Atra got a reaction from camilo for a blog entry, Fourth Ketamine Infusion – 6/17/2017, 60mg Part 2
Mental Imagery – Tectonic Plates Slip/Strike
I observed two circles positioned such that their edges touched. Like with the other mental images from previous infusion experiences, as I observed them my subconscious would seem to attribute a label and some meaning to what I was “seeing”. The circles became three-dimensional wheels of stone and they spun slowly inward. Where the wheels touched, sparks and bits of stone were ejected. As I contemplated the image, the wheels morphed until they resembled large land masses in turbulent, undulating motion, violently clashing against each other as if driven by an earthquake.
What this seemed to represent to me were periods of my working career. at times I worked in advocacy or volunteered and other times I worked exclusively in the private, corporate sector. I focused my attention on the boundary/fault line of the two masses and began to wonder: did they horizontally grind against each other? Did one mass thrust above another causing a subduction zone? Did they ever move apart?
Reflecting upon this later, I understand this as a representation of two parts of my self that are always at-odds: the ambitious, ego-driven me that craves status, recognition and oh yeah that big money and it's opposite, the part of me that gains fulfillment from helping others, from teaching and is driven by what remains of my idealism to improve just that tiny bit of this stinky world I move in.
I was jobless at the time and it left me to ponder if I had favored one aspect of my career at the expense of the other and whether I was I happy with my decisions.
At various times during the infusion, I used the mindfulness technique of turning attention to one's breath. This was an anchor and it proved useful. It provided a time-out from the trip during which I could ask, “what am I feeling, what thoughts are going on right now? The answers to that I would later jot down in my journal.
At some point during the infusion I felt my empty gut's squish and rumble and a gas bubble slowly travel up into my throat. Just for a moment, this felt uncomfortably and alarmingly alien but then I recognized it was just hunger. I can understand how someone who's experiencing disassociation could be frightened or worried by a routine and automatic action of the body.
About That Disturbing Dissociative Experience
If you read personal stories of dissociative experiences from Ketamine or something else, you'll find among them some truly horrifying tales. There are similarities in these stories, such as the feeling of helplessness you might feel in a nightmare.
My bad experience was worse than any I previously had on hallucinogenic drugs - but I'm okay with it. Some of the take-aways yielded great material for my therapy sessions! Also, I use it to establish a bar for my distress tolerance whenever I feel like I can't endure a difficult emotion.
That dark place I went has influenced my understanding of the quote from Star Wars I hung atop this entry. I think I now believe that the things I fear the most are deep inside me rather than in the external world. Those things give me the creeping willies and I do take them with me, everywhere.
My next entry will detail my fifth Ketamine infusion which I received the next day. The doc again increases my dose. During this infusion, I have a dissociative religious/near-death experience plus I drill into the floor of the Cellar of Me, down to sub-basements 1, 2, 3 and on until I arrive at what appears to be the core. After enduring the mortal pain of being a stain, do I really have it in me to go down there? Alone?
Atra got a reaction from camilo for a blog entry, Fourth Ketamine Infusion – 6/17/2017, 60mg Part 1
Yoda points, "That place… is strong with the dark side of the Force. A domain of evil it is. In you must go."
"What's in there?" asks Luke, warily
"Only what you take with you."
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
If Hollywood's taught me anything it's that if you see a door slowly creaking open or a strange gap between trees in a misty forest or a dark and creepy-looking cave - you don't go through! Right? On the other side of that entrance there's a heaping pile of dumbshits' bodies, that much we can be sure of. Nevertheless, in literature and film there's always a guy who tells everyone to wait where they are while he volunteers to be the next corpse.
Apparently I'm that guy.
I added more tracks conducive to contemplation and arranged them so that they should play during the time I expected the drug to be at it's peak. With this new playlist I sought to achieve some balance between succumbing to the infusion experience (allowing myself to be “a passenger”) and practicing mindfulness with a view towards doing some good work (therapeutically) on myself. I also added a 6 minute “sadness bomb” - a song that evoked such feelings to promote exploring sadness, pain, longing and loneliness during infusion. I wanted to make the acquaintance of whatever I kept deep inside me in the sub-basement below the cellar. The notion sounded both very interesting and stupidly bad and I vacillated most of the evening but curiosity prevailed.
As previously confided, I'm that foolish guy investigating the creepy door
The psychiatrist who administered my Ketamine treatments asked me how I felt about increasing the dosage. The doctor explained that he'd observed better results at doses that neared the 1mg/kg limit, which is the procedural (surgical) anesthetic dose of Ketamine meant to cause unconsciousness. For the previous infusions, I'd been given the standard dose which is .5mg/kg and he was suggesting around .6 which sounded fine to me.
I describe the anesthesia while conscious experience as feeling like I'm slowly being cocooned in cling wrap. Tactile sensation gradually fades, limbs soon feel weighted down until any movement is laborious and slow. I can also detect a faint plastic-like smell which I believe may be a sort of sensory memory from past surgical procedures. Ascribe it to suggestion perhaps, I thought I could feel the higher dose in the somatic effects of Ketamine.
As the Ketamine effects became more intense, I noticed a new uncomfortable sensation that's very tough to describe. It felt like a cold, steel wire was slowly being pulled through the inside of my body until it was taught, then given a vigorous pluck causing it vibrate which resulted in a sickening sensation. The sensation quickly faded. At first I thought it might be the onset of vertigo but a quick peek in the gap of my sleep mask showed the room wasn't spinning. When the feeling returned several times, I gave it a label: the “Twang”.
An image flickered in my mind whenever this Twang feeling arose. It appeared as a dark smudge – or maybe like a skid mark from a tire on a road. When I focused my attention, it became clearer but the sensation of that wire being dragged inside of me also grew stronger. To be sure, that was a disincentive to further investigation and yet... if I could just hold the image in mind, call it forward into clarity perhaps I – yes, I can pass through it.
Dissociative Experience – I Am A Stain
I don't see
I don't feel
Like every little moron I think nothing's real
So please relax
Take the pain
Laugh out loud when you forget your name
Good doesn't live and there's no evil here
Only this great power we misunderstand
- “Poledo”, Dinosaur Jr.
I melted. Once liquefied, I poured into this smudge image that my mind curiously labeled a stain and I became that: some ugly blemish on an otherwise evenly painted wall. I stared mutely out at the world watching people pass. At first, I was just an unnoticed smudge, nameless and emptied of all identity and memory but for the faintest inkling of once having been something more. Meaningless hollow minutes passed until someone paused, stooped over and took notice of me. The expression on his face twisted in displeasure and disgust and he tried rubbing me out. I wanted to call out to him, to make him aware that I am... but I had no voice with which to do so. Eventually, he sighed, discontinued wiping me away and instead, dragged a piece of furniture over to conceal me and my world fell into darkness.
Then it's light again and I could see another room. I'm still a stain but now I'm on the upholstery of a chair, I still feel hollow inside. When I'm noticed by someone, I'm regarded with displeasure, greeted with disagreeable expressions of annoyance, rejection and it filled the emptiness in me with feelings of being unattractive, unwanted, hated. Again, I tried to cry out, perhaps move a little but my brain “told” me - with complete conviction - that I had no limbs, no throat to carry a voice. I felt so utterly vulnerable and helpless, so hopelessly alone while absorbing every negative emotion emitted from the faces of those who passed by.
Eventually, every living person in the world passed me and shared a look of contempt or stole a quick scornful glance. Especially hurtful were the looks from people I knew. So I began to loathe my existence. The scenes changed, my location moved but my bleak solitude and pain was constant. There's nothing to mark the passage of time when you are a stain. I had a virtual eternity to spend as witness to the self-hating bits I harbor inside me, which now bubbled up from the rank muck of my mind, filling the hollowness.
At the end this experience, the Observer in me inquired inward what was the point of it all and the inner dialog answered something like, “So, you're a stain. It sucks. Feel it fully. And remember to share this, for someone else may understand it - as now you do.”
And I have no idea what that means.
Atra got a reaction from camilo for a blog entry, Third Ketamine Infusion – 6/13/2017, 50mg Part 2
Dissociative Experience – Buildings Of My Mind
Another visualization of structures, this time of various sizes and shapes. They're drawn in orange light and fill my view. Each structure resembles a building, differently sized and shaped. Intuitively, I know these contain information about all my experiences across my lifetime. I wonder if I can enter them and if so, would they have rooms that I can explore? What might each contain? The image disappears leaving me with the feeling that I caught a glimpse of a “map” of myself or perhaps, my brain.
Outlier vitals reading: 108/71 which is low for me at rest but not as low as when I'm experiencing orthostatic hypotension.
When the infusion ended, I still remembered the "towers" metaphor and reached for my phone. I began writing an email message to a friend of many years, someone I'd asked to stop contacting me due to my severe depressed state – it was just too hard to maintain the relationship. The message read something like Heym mkp-los kabip ned as I was still too intoxicated to type anything legible and nope, I didn't send it.
When I visited my therapist later that week I shared these experiences and realizations. The "towers" experience remains a touchstone I return to whenever I catch myself doing some complicated mental calculus to determine if I want to abandon isolation to join others for some activity. As for the buildings of my mind, my therapist seemed to recognize this and offered me Hypnotherapy as a method by which I could actually explore the buildings. I also began keeping a daily mood log in addition to journaling my Ketamine experiences.
As before, the mood elevation seemed to last about 3 hours after infusion, the “more restful mind” lasted about 6.
Next entry I'll take a break from describing my infusions to describe the relief experience that accompanied Ketamine infusion therapy.
Atra got a reaction from camilo for a blog entry, Third Ketamine Infusion – 6/13/2017, 50mg Part 1
"How can you stay outside?
There's a beautiful mess inside
Take a deep breath and dive
There's a beautiful mess inside and it's everywhere
So shake it yourself now deep inside
… deeper than you ever dared
… deeper than you ever dared"
- Far Far by Yael Naïm
Dissociative Experience – Human Relationships and Dependencies
Complete darkness, I was suspended weightless in the vague in-between space of near-unconsciousness. Does this seem familiar to you? It's a “waiting room” where we linger for tiny moments before a dream is “loaded”; the quasi-Sleepworld we slip inside before suddenly shaking ourselves awake to realize we've nodded off. In this twilight land there's no body, little sense of orientation.
What arose from my twilight world were numerous slender, four-sided objects resembling towers which were drawn simply in tiny golden dots of light. They filled my field of vision. I observed that each tower had windows stacked one atop the other on all sides. Some were brightly illuminated, others were completely dark. Floating over, I saw that one tower among them had mostly dark windows relative to the rest and from someplace deep within I identified with it and I called that tower “me”. I turned my attention to the other towers, what were “they”? I observed closely.
I noticed there were thin threads attached to each window of my tower spanning the space between and connecting in a giant web with each of the windows of the other towers in such a way that the dark and light windows of mine were joined to corresponding windows of the others. I silently interrogated the meaning of this.
I became aware that the other towers which I called “they” represented my friends, family, acquaintances, everyone in my life. The windows of their towers were mostly lit - except for the ones that were connected to the darkened windows of mine. I came to understand that the absence of light where these dark windows were joined meant I was no longer interacting with those individuals, all those darkened windows in my tower represented my depression and isolation. This visualization caused me to realize in a profound way how my isolation wasn't merely affecting me but also all the people in my life.
Curiously, negative emotions and accompanying judgments like guilt and shame didn't emerge, rather a realization that my presence in the lives of others had been very much missed and with that knowledge came a warm feeling of being valued. I was staring at this abstract representation of my relationships when I remembered that I've always depended on them to nourish me in ways I can't account for. And finally, that there is an interconnected nature to all human relationships - with all their complexities – that are not simply conveniences but necessities. For all of us.(1)
My severe depression distorted the way I viewed most everything. I regarded relationships as a series of confusing, demanding and exhausting obligations from which I could no longer account for what I gained. But in that moment, I remembered they're necessities for me whether or not I can articulate the gains derived from them. Remembering this interdependence was both profound and simple and I was awestruck, with one thought that repeated in my mind: “I had no idea, I really had no idea.”(2)
The image dissolved as the music changed and I had a pang of regret. Wait, don't go. I silently told myself to remember this, I must never forget this again.
Atra reacted to jeffreyd for a blog entry, Ketamine and beyond
Been a little bit since I entered anything, Sept 29th actually. I had my first (and last) ketamine injection on Oct 1. It was not the spray, it was an injection. Supposed to do at least 4, maybe 8 sessions. Do the shot, experience the effects, then talk about stuff. My doc had me put on headphones with some playlist he thought would help the experience. And an eye mask. About 3-4 minutes after the shot it hit me. No long description here, but I did wonder if I was dead a few times. Not all pleasant, not all terrible, but not something I care to do again. Felt very sluggish and unsteady afterwards, and very nauseous. No profound revelations. No suppressed memories .Just a weird experience.
Took me at least a day to feel completely normal again. Think I may have felt a tiny bit of depression relief for a few hours afterwards? But it was hard to tell because I was still feeling the effects. Read a lot more about ketamine, and decided this was not for me. I can't tell you the thought I put into that, I was really hoping and praying this was some kind of magic bullet. I know I did not complete the series, but it was just something I was not comfortable with.
At any rate, now what? I realized today what drugs can do. They can really save your ass, like the 14 years or so of Paxil. Changed my life for the better. Since then, no such luck. Nothing really helping with depression, and then the anxiety kicked in too. There is a drug for everything it seems. Even side effects. I decided to ween off the clonazepam I am taking for anxiety, because I think I am building a tolerance, and do not want to be physically hooked on it. I almost feel like I am already. If I do not take any for some time I get headaches and feel really shitty, plus the anxiety amps up, like rebound anxiety. I also think it makes me more depressed. I can see how people get in this cycle, antidepressants, benzos, alcohol... leads down a dark road. Need to try to clean my head up. I'm trying CBD oil again for now, and weening off clonazepam.
Realized one of the odd things is how I used to be more confident, and comfortable being alone. There were days I would love to be on my own, nobody at home. Or have a night to myself. Lately I am seeking companionship, connections. Do not like being alone. Feel like reaching out, having someone understand and relate to where I am now. I am not sure where I am on my journey, hopefully getting better. Running out of med options, and am really trying to get better via therapy. These times have been the hardest I have ever gone thru in my life. Keep going, every day. No matter how much it hurts. Got to do it, for my family. For me. I want to appreciate life again.
Just need to find purpose too. Some driving force... something to motivate me that brings me joy. My kids are in college now, so the nest is empty, and that is really hitting hard. I do not enjoy my job, and work from home alone a lot too, which makes me feel isolated. I do not drink really, so looking forward to parties, happy hours, and anything that centered around drinking is not there anymore. Need to work on myself. More self compassion and self esteem. Less worrying, less ruminating. Do stuff, find something that brings you joy. This is my mission. Meds or no meds, it will happen.
Atra reacted to Soarsie18 for a blog entry, Properly letting go
I've told myself to let go but it's clear that I still haven't learned how to do that yet. I'm still trying to force a future thats completely out of my control. And it makes me angry and defeated when I can't find a way to make it work. So instead of giving up on life completely, why can't i just let go. Live for this moment right now, even though i don't have much, it''s painful, it's far from perfect, but still, I should try and make life easier for myself right ?
I have these voices in my head telling me that i'm not strong enough to survive till then. So I need to start telling myself that I am. I am strong enough. Whether i believe it or not. I have to try`and be.
This is going to be painful - being strong. It's going to be very painful.
I'm telling myself that I have to. For all of those friends out there that have wished me the best, I have to. For my parents who have paid for my therapy and appointments, I have to.
I feel so guilty and ashamed when i talk about giving up, but then at the same time I feel defeated if i try and talk myself into fighting back.
So heres the compromise. Living each day, just that little bit better. Walking, eating well, going outside, cuddling with furries. It may not be enough to fulfil me forever, but it has to be enough to carry me through this tough time right now.
Not thinking to much about the future. Hopefully doors will open up to me soon.
Thanks for the support, I appreciate it so much.
Atra reacted to RiverLight for a blog entry, Positive Changes At Work!
WOW. So, now I am in charge of social media marketing strategy for three clients! A BIG CHANGE!!!!!! I am very flattered I was given this responsibility! I will still carry my other digital marketing role, but it will now be split between the two.
All I had to do was present to my team a few concrete ideas on how it should be done, and voila! I was given the responsibility. I am sure it helps that I have a FB page for business and am very successful with it.
But I am VERY happy that I am expanding my role and my skill set, and I am most thrilled to be moving away from a field that I've begun to question and not enjoy.
Now all I need to do is succeed with flying colors, expand our clientele who want social media services, and then ask for a big fat raise! LOL. IF all of that happens, then there is no need for me to leave my company. I am still on the lookout though and will be open to other higher paying roles.
But I am happy! All is good.
Atra reacted to 20YearsandCounting for a blog entry, Writing....
I might be getting back to my fanfictions - well, one of them anyway. It's still a Supernatural AU, but it's heavily re-focused towards Christian theology. I'm still in the rough draft stage - as in, I'm still just trying to write, and I haven't gone back and done a read through to catch any inconsistencies or mistakes. This is the first time in probably a month or so that I've felt any inclination at all to either write or read. That I am unable to do either is really not a good sign for me. Generally I'm either writing or reading. For some reason, those processes are mutually exclusive for me. Anyway, it's time to get to work. I'm hoping I can get back into the story today. I've been thinking about what I want to happen, and I'm actually looking forward to writing it. Which is cool because a) I'm looking forward to something and b)I'm writing again. Maybe one day I'll have the stones to put my AO3 username up here....
Atra reacted to Hertz for a blog entry, Vanilla
I see open doors and invitations I don't want.
Feeling out of place.
I hate when the only opportunities around are ones that lead to things I already did and want to move away from.
Yet I feel like I'm missing out on this past life.
The egg is not hatching.
The baby is not coming out.
It died in the womb.
It is decomposing and poisoning the host.
Whatever state it is in, it needs to come out.
In the meantime I live the vanilla proletariat life.
I'm sending the wrong signals and vibes, and the universe predictably mirrors them.
Some people have to work 10 times less to become true to themselves.
The world is tailored to them.
They find their truth at a low cost.
Some truths cost a lot to be found. Perhaps everything. Sometimes your own life.
Some people die because they live their truth.
Some people's truths on the contrary lead to vast earthly rewards.
The margin is where you actually trade hard work for opprobium and peace with yourself.
Sometimes stones hurt less than inner warfare.
Sometimes being crucified seems like something delectable compared to inner turmoil.
When the pain inside is such that it makes all exterior pain taste like vanilla ice cream, then I guess you are ready for anything.
Atra reacted to cayllin for a blog entry, i wish i could go back in time
I wish I could go back in time. I'm sure everyone does. I know it wouldn't change my depression. But maybe it would change where I am now. I like where I live, but I feel trapped. If I could go back in time, I'd go back to college and major in something else. I'd change where I went to college. Even though the college I went to sent me to Alaska twice (which, by the way, is my favorite place in the world), and I probably never would have gone had I not gotten an internship, which led me to a job in Alaska for six months, I feel like going where I went was a mistake. I loved the area. I went to a college in Northern Michigan. It's a beautiful area. I used to love being outside, and this was a great place to go. But if I went to a different college, it's unlikely I would have ended up on the same path that led me to where I am now. Now, I'm tied down because I'm married and I can't choose where I want to go. I would probably move to Alaska if it was my choice. Or somewhere else out west.
If I could go back in time, I would have never tried a long distance relationship. He was my first boyfriend. I thought I loved him, and to be honest, he was probably the only one I ever loved. But I found out really quick that he wasn't what he seemed. He raped me. At least I was at a point in my life where I didn't have so much fear. I broke up with him, but I never reported what he did or told anyone. I lived with that for six years before I tried again. My second relationship, I think I was just so desperate for connection and I was so lonely that I chose the wrong person. He was nice, but he was even more damaged than me and a serial cheater. He cheated on me. I was stupid and gave him another chance. I ended up breaking it off six months later. Now, my third relationship and husband...I really wish I could go back in time and change this. I did love him at first. But now, I know it was once again desperation for connection, fear of loneliness. Now, I feel trapped. My first two relationships led me down this path, and I wish I could change that.
I will start off by saying HE IS A GOOD PERSON. He is. He would never cheat on me (even though I really, really wish he would, because then I could find the courage to leave him.) He makes me so unhappy and I feel so selfish to have someone who has put me on a pedestal. He loves me so much and I don't know why. I'm not special. I'm cold and distant. I married him because I didn't want to be alone. Unfortunately, I feel even more alone that I ever have before. After we got married, I started to feel even more suffocated, trapped, weighed down by everything. I don't communicate well. I don't do well with conflict. So I stay. He taught me how to be more financially responsible. And being married to him, to me, is financially responsible. He has good healthcare, which I benefit from. We share rent/utility payments. Other than that, we don't share money. He has a good family and I like them. But he can also be mean. He gets mad at me for the smallest things. Once, I suggested he take salad to work (we had a giant tub from Costco) and he yelled at me and wouldn't talk to me the rest of the night. When I got my tattoo a week ago (he knew I was getting one), he came home from work, wouldn't even look at me or talk to me the rest of the night. The next day, I felt like he was still angry with me because he came home from work and spent the night in the garage. He doesn't help my anxiety. He touches me constantly (I really don't like being touched unless I give permission for it, and he knows this!). He pinches me and slaps my ass (I have told him so,so,so many times that I don't like these things and they make me uncomfortable. His response, "But you're my wife."). He is like a tornado and leaves a mess everywhere, and when I ask him to pick it up, "Why do you constantly nag me?" Every thing I say or do, I'm always nagging him. Always nagging. Nag, nag, nag. So, now, I don't bother talking. He has had clean laundry in a laundry basket in the hallway (spilling over the basket) for three weeks. His dirty clothes are piled by his side of the bed. His shit is everywhere and I'm so overwhelmed and stressed out about the mess. But god forbid I ask him to pick it up.
Since marrying him, I've questioned my sexuality. I always knew I was attracted to men and women, that's not the issue for me, even though I'm not out to anyone. I never felt the need to tell people, and I never really shied away from announcing my attraction to certain men and women. I've fairly recently (over the last year or so), discovered asexuality, and that was like a light bulb going off in my head. I don't like sex. I've disliked it since I lost my virginity. I always thought it was part of relationships and just dealt with that, even though it made me feel disgusting. Now i"m married and I have no idea how to tell him I'm asexual. How do you tell your husband you don't like sex? Ugh. I just wish he would leave me, cheat on me, something! We have sex once every two weeks or so. I'm not even sure he knows I don't enjoy sex. I just really wish I wasn't married. I wish I could go back and fix that. Then I wouldn't feel so trapped.
I know I'm a terrible person for not talking to him about these things, but I feel like I can't talk to him about anything. He gets mad over the smallest things. He won't hit me, but it's not the physical that hurts. It's the looks he gives me, the anger in his voice...I feel so trapped. I don't know if I can leave him. I don't know how. I think about money and being alone, and that even though I feel so completely alone and lonely in my relationship, at least I have some human interaction, because otherwise I'd have very little (just what I get at work). At least being married, I'm financially stable and have good health insurance. Car/renters is cheaper. On my own, I'm not sure I can cut it. At least staying married to him, I won't have to worry about not having enough money to retire (although I don't even want to get to live that long).
I'm such a selfish and terrible person. I feel sick about myself.
Atra reacted to Soarsie18 for a blog entry, Letting go
I'm going to need tremendous strength to dig myself out of this one.
That responsibility bestowed upon me weighs like a ton.
Strength that I have never, and will never have the capability to possess.
But, they'd never believe me, if I were to confess.
Regardless they'd like to believe it's possible.
But I am, and never once have been that able.
The only way for me to escape this now,
Is to leave it all behind me and let freedom allow,
whatever it is that the universe has to offer me,
I have to accept it, somehow, and not feel so guilty.
Atra reacted to Cinnamon_Teal for a blog entry, Escape VS Letting Go
I had an interesting revelation today.
This morning I was told that I would do some training today for upcoming work at the front desk of the hotel I live in. For the past several days it hasn't felt real, even though I knew it was and could feel a slight unease haunting my subconscious.
Today, it all hit me like a ton of bricks. My chest began to ache. It felt like my heart would explode. The closer it got to going up there for the training, the worse I felt. Recently I got an app on my phone and have been keeping track of my mood and such with it. I decided to log my mood and was recommended to go sit outside (an activity I had added as something helpful). So I did. I went outside and wrote in my journal for a bit. Eventually, as the emotions one by one left me and ended up as words on the page, I finally felt... normal: a little tired and a little nervous, but nothing like earlier.
When I came inside and sat down I had the sudden random thought that I wanted my life to stop. But I was in such a peaceful state of detachment that I didn't "feel" that way, if that makes sense. I had become an observer. I wondered why I had this thought when I felt fine, so I asked myself, "why?"
"Because... I want to run away."
I never thought about that before. I've spent a long time trying to escape my life, my feelings, my self. It made so much sense to me why these kind of thoughts had started plaguing me.
"Then run away." I told myself. "Do and live however you want. If you truly want your life to stop, then you have nothing left in your life to lose. You can run away from this life and make a new one. Use these feelings to pursue your dreams, not your end."
"But I can't run away. I feel trapped." There were invisible chains tying me down; chains of my own creation.
Finally I feel like I get it. I realized something about myself that I needed to see. I, whether by my own accord or under the influence of others, have chained myself down so much that I've reached a breaking point. Every time I try to reach out to free myself from one of my chains, I gain several more. This is why those intrusive thoughts keep appearing more often and have been getting increasingly stronger. I seem to feel as if there is no other way to escape. But there is. There is another way.
Just let go. I've always been told to let go of things and I never understood how. The words themselves felt meaningless. I didn't know how to apply them. Now I found a way.
Let go. Don't let go of your life. Let go of the chains you and others have trapped you with. Even just one chain will make you feel so much lighter.
Atra reacted to RiverLight for a blog entry, We Tied the Knot!!
We did it!!!! We are now officially husband and wife! What a gorgeous ceremony!!!! It couldn't have been more beautiful or perfect. Now we're enjoying our honeymoon. This place is absolutely spectacular!!!
So here we are, happy happy happy!!!! 💕💝💞
Atra got a reaction from anon22ae for a blog entry, Fifth Ketamine Infusion – 7/18/2017, 69mg, 1:45pm Part 2
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.