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About gcac

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  • Birthday 11/22/1981

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  1. There's a lot of positive buzz. Hopefully it proves to be true over time, and not just a flash in the pan.
  2. I should add that the standard ketamine treatment is 6 infusions over the first month, and single "booster" infusions that will hopefully become further and further spread out over time (ex: 1 month, then 2 months, etc.) So, I am still in the absolute infancy of that treatment and do not yet have a realistic appraisal on how well it is, or is not, working for me.
  3. Month #9 I mentioned in my last post that I had been looking into an alternative treatment. Well the day finally came that I went in for my first two ketamine infusions last week. The trips themselves were remarkable and quite a lot of fun, if I'm being honest. It also felt useful in terms of the "profound realizations" they provided, that stuck with me. As far as "results", it's still pretty early. I would say the main thing I've noticed is that I have been sleeping fantastically well. I was already sleeping pretty well, once I started the Wellbutrin, but these last 5 nights have been some of the most profound rest I've gotten in the last decade. I'm also breathing slower, deeper. I noted my breathing during one of the infusions, and it was pretty clear to me that's the way I should be breathing all the time. This may be crazy-talk, but it definitely "feels like" my brain is repairing itself even more. I'm also hoping that ketamine means I may be able to quit Wellbutrin without taking a step backwards. I'm very thankful to Wellbutrin, and I will take it forever if I need to, but obviously if I can stop depending on any medicine, that's a great thing. So far, I've taken 150 mg (half my usual dose) for 3 days in a row, and I've felt exceedingly well. Though, that may change yet. It is still very early days, and I have no idea whether the ketamine treatments will prove to be good, bad or anywhere in between. Will continue to provide updates, either way.
  4. I mostly take one 300 mg pill, though I have taken two 150 mg pills the same day, for small spells of time. I don't really see any reason there should be much of a difference between the two modes, and in my experience it didn't appear to be any different really. Hope you are feeling better.
  5. You've also made me very curious about which additional treatment you are finding success with -- do tell. The treatment I'm looking at is ketamine infusions. It's not really a secret, was just avoiding mentioning it because the mods on this forum appear to be sorting out whether they want to allow discussions pertaining to ketamine treatments. I think it's pretty obvious they should allow it, but it's their decision I suppose.
  6. Be very careful with HOW you quit the Xanax. From what I understand, Benzo and Alcohol withdrawals are the only two that can actually be lethal. Tapering over an extended period of time is highly recommended. It's true that response has been overwhelmingly positive, but there are people that it does not work for. Still seems like a worthwhile gamble. A valid frustration. I have come across a few posts elsewhere indicating that some clinics may have "slush funds" given by other patients that are hoping to sponsor someone who may have economic difficulty in getting this treatment. Of course, I have no idea how easy or difficult it is to find those funds, I have only heard of them. Lots of people find the cost prohibitive. Sad, because it does appear to hold a lot of promise. Warm wishes.
  7. Month #8 I guess I sort of skipped a month by posting a few days later on multiple occasions. At any rate, this is the eighth month, and it is mostly similar to the preceding months. The main item I should add to the previous posts is that there is kind of a weird "cumulative" effect that I feel, but is hard to describe. It's like, nothing has really improved, per se, but just the fact that I've felt this way for so many months makes me start to feel more like I own the improvements, instead of having them on loan from the medication. On separate news, I've been thoroughly researching an alternative treatment that I think might be helpful, and is unlikely to make things worse, so I consider it kind of a zero downside proposition (economics aside). I will continue taking Wellbutrin during and after this treatment, so no change there. Will also keep updating the thread. Also, many thanks to @Laura123 , @JD4010 and @MtnDreams for your kind words of support. Best to all of you.
  8. I also never suspected my symptoms might be "depression". I thought it could be early Alzheimer's, or something hormonal. My whole concept of "depression" was wrong. I agree there is something wrong with the depressed brain, I'm beginning to understand it as a kind of "reversible brain damage", where treatments are generally aiming to allow restoration of those neural networks. Totally agree with this. I can see how stress and GAD wore my brain down. This is probably my biggest fear as well, though they are young still. Do the best you can moving forward, and share with them anything you've learned about self-management and understanding "depression". And above all just love them and show them genuine appreciation. I recall my depression getting worse before it got better, I think it was somewhere around weeks 2 - 6 that I was feeling more depressed than before I started. In fact, that may not have corrected itself until I upped the dosage to 300 mg. The details are a bit fuzzy now. I would definitely increase to 300 mg and give it a chance to work for a good 6 weeks or so. If you still don't have any gains, then maybe talk to your pdoc about switching strategies. That's exactly how I described my feelings to the psychiatrist who first diagnosed me earlier this year. "Off the rails". He made note of it. I'm thankful to the Wellbutrin the help it has provided. But it's certainly not a complete resolve. I have been doing a ton of research on a different treatment the last 3-4 months, and I think I am going to give that treatment a try. I will continue my Wellbutrin whilst I try out the other treatment. Will continue to post either way.
  9. Definitely worsens with stress. Though, I haven't felt "myself" in 10+ years. Since I started Wellbutrin sleep is one of the main things that has improved quite a lot. Exactly. That's the best I can gather from all I have read and heard. That feels like it's probably true for most people -- part environment, part genetics, with one being more prevalent than the other. I feel like both are present for me as well. The part that feels strange is: why didn't I always feel badly? Why did it happen from a certain point forward? My best guess is that I wasn't able to cope properly with stress a dozen years ago, and that had a whole "breakdown" effect that has me where I am. Could you explain this more?
  10. Thanks for reconsidering, hope you are able to oblige. In the meantime, and for those interested, Reddit has a therapeutic ketamine group that is very useful.
  11. Month #6 Pretty much the same as the last few months. I should just add to the list of stagnant symptoms a couple of omissions I noticed from my last recap -- these things are maybe 35% improved, which means they are still 65% present -- brain fog, everything related to memory, and spatial coordination. Additionally, I continue to feel pretty disconnected from the world. All things considered and looking at the entire timeline (before/after), I think the medicine has been very useful to date. Though, I must confess, I'm very much on the lookout for something that would help with all the symptoms that have yet to improve. I'm doing my part as well -- exercise, therapy, leaving work earlier, learning about self-care.
  12. Thanks guys!! It just chapped my hide a little that I wanted to do research about ketamine because it appears to be (maybe) the only thing that's effectively helping treat/cure anhedonia -- and I find that the conversations are being blockaded for a bunk reason! I'm also using the opportunity to bump this thread and see if it catches the mod's eye this time... @20YearsandCounting
  13. Month #5 My post from Month #4 pretty much nailed it. Pretty well describes how I'm feeling at Month #5 too, so I won't repeat myself. I will mention that for a couple weeks I lowered my dose to 150 mg -- because I'm a stubborn b**tard. This resulted in a marked downward trend towards feeling like I did prior to starting medication. I went back to 300 mg and rather quickly regained the positive effects. In separate news, I wasn't really comfortable because I hadn't found a good enough talk therapist yet, and was not making good progress there. Luckily, I'm really enthusiastic that I may have found a very good one, and I expect that could yield positive results over time, as I learn how to work on myself. It's true, medications can be helpful, but the way I see it -- our brains wired themselves the wrong way -- either through our own destructive patterns of thoughts and behavior, or from some other misfortune. If we want to fix it, I suppose we have to rewire our brains -- strengthen desirable neural pathways and let the old destructive pathways atrophy. I don't think there's really a medicine that will do that for us entirely, only medicines that can somehow facilitate that process. We still have to do some work, we can't just sit back and let Merck fix us. Also, I've gotten pretty reliable about exercising 5+ times per week. Everyone says it, but the importance of exercise can't be overstated, once you are doing it regularly you feel the difference! Consistently exercising promotes the release of BDNF (the stuff that grows and repairs the neurons and synapses in your brain). I don't think it's any coincidence that it's the same stuff that's released during ketamine therapy (the big "new" promising discovery in mental health treatment). Makes too much sense that extra BDNF (through ketamine or exercise) will facilitate the rewiring of our brains. @Laura123 I attribute the improvements partially to a shift in neurotransmitters, where an increased presence of norepinephrine facilitated either the improvements directly, or engaging in other activities that may have lead to the improvements. I've also made lifestyle changes that are impossible to isolate from the medicine, because they happened at the same time. I started going home earlier, exercising, changed some of my priorities and perspective, and started engaging in more self-care than I ever had before (nonexistent prior). I still feel some brain fog, and I feel it still manifests with impaired short-term and long-term memory. My thoughts feel less "crisp". I never feel my whole brain engaging in a thought process like I used to, just the narrow part that appears most relevant, if that makes any sense? Understanding information, abstract or complex thought, problem-solving are also reduced from what I always considered "normal" for myself. Even my spatial orientation feels "off". Hope that answers your question. Thanks for the positive feedback. Glad you're "still here". Best to you as well.
  14. I know the Mods of this forum are well-meaning and doing a great job. I can't help but notice that most of the ketamine treatment threads get shut down, citing that it's a Schedule 3 drug, and referencing a link about potential ketamine abuse from the Department of Justice. Maybe someone sent you guys a scary looking cease and desist with some official looking letterhead, insisting that you should shut down these conversations, or maybe it was just a well-meaning but misguided decision. Whatever the case may be, I would like to point out a few things in the hope that you will allow this necessary and productive discourse to take place: The first is that being listed on a controlled substance classification system most certainly does not preclude you from talking about or even using these substances in a medical setting, which is exactly what's happening with ketamine clinics. Other Schedule 3 drugs include Xyrem (used for narcolepsy), AndroGel, Testosterone Cypionate, Testosterone Enanthate -- certainly treatments based upon those medications are described ad-nauseum in a host of related forums (narcolepsy, male hypogonadism, etc.) How silly would it be to stop talking about those medicines because of their scheduling class? There is nothing illegal or immoral about conversing about these treatments. The schedule classification is only to highlight what they consider a sort of warning for the abuse potential that those medicines may have. Key words -- warn of abuse potential. Here are some Schedule 2 drugs for you to consider -- remember Schedule 2 drugs are considered to have a much higher potential for abuse than Schedule 3 drugs. Schedule 2 drugs includes Adderall, Vyvanse, Ritalin, Concerta, Focalin. Can you imagine a lot of depression and/or ADHD forum conversations where you were not allowed to discuss any of the medicines I mentioned above? They would be worthless! Another thing I'd like to draw your attention to is the importance of ketamine as an apparent treatment for depression - it's considered possibly the most significant advancement in psychiatry of the last 50 years. The Cleveland Clinic (one of the best/largest research hospitals in the world) declared ketamine treatment for depression the 7th most important Medical Innovation for the year 2017. There are some very sinister forces at work here. Pharma had pretty much given up on developing new/useful medicines for mental health decades ago. In the late 90's you had Yale School of Medicine researchers discovering ketamine's antidepressant properties. Ketamine is impossibly cheap and useful around the world. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. Don't you find it curious that as soon as it becomes clear that Ketamine (this cheap and abundant medicine) has the potential to become a widespread treatment for one of the most important and pervasive illnesses of our time, a couple of things happen? First, Janssen Pharmaceuticals sets out to "develop" something called Esketamine (just a mirror image of the regular ketamine molecule -- the fancy word for this is an enantiomer). They didn't develop anything new at all, enantiomers are really easy to do and provide no value over their mirrored counterparts, but they get awarded a (bulls**t) patent for it anyway. Now, something that costs just a couple of bucks can be sold with government protection at $800 per dose! The second thing that happens is that there is a significant lobby to get ketamine reclassified as a Schedule 1 drug along with heroin, LSD, MDMA, and mescaline (this has yet to occur). The mods here should not fall prey to these disgusting and cynical games that are being played at the multi-billion dollar level. The people responsible will have a lot of blood on their hands for scheming a ripoff of this magnitude with so many innocent lives in the balance. This forum is a very important forum in the depression community -- you have a responsibility to all of us forum participants to allow productive conversations to take place regarding the illnesses we are sharing and treatment options that are available. You should at the very least make the necessary legal consultations to verify that the forum has every right to allow open discussions about this medical therapy that is being provided across dozens or maybe hundreds of clinics across the USA under authorized physician's supervision.
  15. Month #4 Four months in. It doesn't feel like much has changed from the previous month. Holding steady, I would say. I feel like the separation is becoming clearer regarding which grouping of things have improved under medication and which grouping of things appear not to be making any real progress. My uneducated guess is that progressed / stagnant symptoms are organizing either along a norepinephrine / dopamine divisory line or a depression / anhedonia divisory line -- probably both; there might be significant overlap between those two ways of clustering symptoms. Essentially, my anxiety is resolved for the first time in 12+ years, and I have had more energy (less desire to stay in bed). I'm sleeping better. Digestion and brain fog are partially improved. My anhedonia is still pretty well intact -- emotions, interests, desires, appetite, motivation, reward, pleasure -- all these things appear to be at a standstill. I will have the odd moment of enhanced emotionality or desire, but it might be a couple of hours in a given week, if I'm lucky. 😃
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