No More Dark Clouds.... Rebooting the Brain in Just 3 Days!
I feel normal. And for me, that's amazing.
The darkness that has been a major part of my life has lifted and I just feel brighter and happier. Whatever you want to call it, it's real. For the first time in years, I don't wake up tired, in a fog and spend the day waiting for it to be over so I can go back to bed.
I've struggled with depression and anxiety since childhood but starting in my 20s, while I was in college, it took a dark turn and has, at times, been life-threatening. At 34, I checked myself into a hospital and depression treatment center and finally began the hard work of:
#1 accepting that I'd likely struggle with depression and anxiety for the rest of my life, but
#2 also learning that I could do a lot to build my coping skills.
With help from some great caregivers, I learned how to stop my making my situation worse (stopping the negative thoughts and attitude is 100% do-able and it's huge for depression), as well as how to improve my life where possible. I accomplished a lot with cognitive behavioral therapy ("Feeling Good" is a great book on the subject), group therapy, exercise, and maintenance meds.
But still there was always a cloud over my outlook, almost like a gray raining day that never ended. For whatever reasons, the clouds started to thicken this past summer, and began interfering with my work, family and friends. All this began to happen just as I'd reached a place in my career I'd dreamed about for years. I should be happy, but I wasn’t.
About the same time, I happened across articles about how some people with treatment-resistant depression responded to ketamine infusions. I’m in the healthcare field and the more I read, the more intrigued I became. I mean, there are all sorts of medical studies about ketamine infusions going on right now--for treating depression, anxiety disorders and chronic pain, etc. So, I researched as much as I could about ketamine infusions and decided that I had nothing to lose. Some people may not respond to ketamine infusion treatment, but thankfully I did.
Where I live, there are already several ketamine infusion treatment centers, but a single cycle requires six treatments over two weeks. They did not offer evening or weekend options, and they use a one-size-fits-all treatment plan. Well, I have to work for a living, so that's not realistic. Oh, and the cookie-cutter approach requires continuing infusions almost every month after that! Who on earth can miss that much work?!
Then I found out about the Ketamine Research Institute from my doctor. She had sent several patients to them and they had excellent experiences and outcomes. From what I gather, their approach is unique. Dr. Grass is the founder and had been using special ketamine infusions to treat returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffering from chronic pain, PTSD and depression since 2005. He was also an assistant professor at Yale University where the ketamine infusion for depression was discovered.
He is an accomplished anesthesiologist with extensive clinical study experience who personally designs and monitors each infusion. So, you get a stronger therapeutic dose of ketamine that's custom-tailored for you and your body's response to treatment. They have been able to improve the infusion so it can be completed in just one weekend and the improvement lasts much longer than other ketamine infusions.
It's not perfect, and it's not permanent, but it's been worth every cent. Flying down to Sarasota for a weekend RESTORE treatment ranks among the best decisions I've ever made. If you're in the grips of depression (or chronic pain or anxiety) and haven't been able to find relief, I encourage you to get in touch with them.
Eventually, ketamine infusion therapy will gain wider acceptance I believe. I mean, with results like I'm having, I don't see how it can't. It's a totally safe, FDA-approved drug that's commonly used in ERs to anesthetize children--at much higher doses, for heaven's sake! Yes, it's used to tranquilize animals and sold on the streets as a drug of abuse, but so what! Animals need anesthesia too (read: ketamine's inexpensive and predictable enough to use on really big mammals); and there'll always be people who abuse drugs.
For me the actual experience of getting a ketamine infusion was life changing. It was like zooming through an awesome music video whenever I closed my eyes. With eyes opened, I was right back in the infusion room--in control of my body and able to ask/answer questions--super woozy, yes, but nothing scary. With eyes closed, I'd slide right back into a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes and motion.
Looking back, I can only imagine how much better my life might have been with access to this type of treatment. Not perfect, not without effort on my part--but way better. Fortunately, now I know that I can find a new level of relief (in my case, total relief for many months), any time the dark clouds start to roll back in.
Some people may feel the infusions are too expensive and I'm not wealthy by any means, But I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I've already been in touch with them to set up a maintenance infusion in six months and will gladly travel back to Sarasota on whatever schedule they recommend. (Sarasota, by the way, is a gem: quiet, beautiful, and surprisingly hip--especially the historic district. Oh, and the beaches are perfect. There's that too.)
- Elizabeth C., RN