The Story of a First Time Psychedelic Therapy Client
Have you been considering a psychedelic therapy program yourself? There can be many questions that arise throughout this process, and it’s worthy of real consideration. Fortunately, you’re not alone. Many psychedelic medicine clients are coming into the space for the first time, filled with anticipation, curiosity, and hope.
This article follows a single Mindbloom client, J.B., through their first program, and their responses are shared below as they were written. We are deeply grateful that they were willing to share their truth and their story, and highlight the real experience of what a psychedelic therapy journey is like.
If you’d like learn more about psychedelic therapy, read how Mindbloom is helping to provide transformational client outcomes, see what others are saying about Mindbloom, or dive into the latest psychedelic medicine clinical research being published.
What was life like for you before beginning your Mindbloom program?
It really is difficult to explain my emotions before I started Mindbloom since I am actively trying to move on from those dark times. However, looking at my journal from my initial intention explains it very well. That was simply “to be able to feel good when I wake up and look forward to the day instead of wondering how I am going to get through it.”
I remember I sunk into a deep depression earlier [in 2021] which I believe was a combination of long, cold winter days, COVID lockdowns, and post-menopausal hormone changes. I dreaded getting up to deal with the problems of the day.
How did you make the decision to begin ketamine treatment?
I am very familiar with traditional depression therapy and actually tried an antidepressant once. It made me tired and made me lose even more interest in doing things. I don't get why this would be a treatment for depression? I knew I wanted to try something else.
In a prior role, I worked for a pharmaceutical company that was using ketamine in a clinical trial for depression. I heard from patients that were feeling relief within hours of taking ketamine instead of months on traditional treatments. Unfortunately, that medicine is only available for treatment resistant cases so I'm not eligible.
I was actually googling information on that product when I came across Mindbloom. And when I read that it was available for patients like me, I knew that it was worth trying.
Did you have any hesitations when making the decision to start?
Of course there were hesitations. I had never taken psychedelics, so I was concerned that it would be a bad experience for me. I tend not to do well on medicines, and even common things like cold pills make me loopy. And I didn't know anyone who had taken ketamine therapy so I couldn't just ‘phone a friend.’
I watched as many Youtube videos as I could find, although there were not that many. But, I was at such a low point in my life that I was willing to try something new to feel better. Plus, the people at Mindbloom were very comforting and reassuring.
The only negative for me was the delay from the start of the program until I actually had my first treatment. By the time I did all the research I was ‘ready to go’ and I had to wait about 6 weeks for my first session. Looking back, it was definitely worth the wait.
How was your experience with your first ketamine treatment session?
I felt really prepared for my sessions. The Mindbloom patient interface is really simple to use and walked me through the process step-by-step.
I was nervous at the initial session since I didn't know what to expect, but my husband (a.k.a. Peer Treatment Monitor) was there to comfort me. And of course my guide was available to help as well.
Did you have any significant experiences in your program you’d like to share?
My major insights happened after my treatments when I realized that things do not bother me as much as they had in the past. The only way I can explain it is that it feels like I have a deeper understanding of situations and can see things from different perspectives which results in an overall confidence.Now I feel less anxious and I am always searching for a higher meaning instead of getting bogged down with drama and insignificant details.
But the biggest insight by far is how this treatment totally rewired the way I think about alcohol. I used to be an avid wine drinker. It was customary with my friends and family to have several bottles of wine and beer available. I also used to drink a glass (or two) during the week after a bad day of work, to get ‘numb’ and lessen the impact of an awful day.
I noticed after my first treatment that I really don't enjoy those effects anymore. I realized that drinking wine just brought me down and that adds to my feelings of depression. It seems like I see things through a broader lens and different perspective, and now I don't need to numb the pain of a hard day.
How has life shifted for you throughout your program?
Overall, I feel so much better. I am back to making lists of things to do, planning for the future. I also feel much more hopeful of life in general with a sense of knowing that things are going to be ok. I still have bad days but I have not had a single day where I dreaded getting out of bed.
My biggest worry is that the effects of ketamine will wear off and my bad habits will return, ending up in a depression again. Even in good years, I always had [seasonal affective disorder (SAD)] when the winter months hit up here in [Pennsylvania], when I never saw the sun. I wouldn't want to stop the progress I am making.
I was so happy to learn that there were continuing [Mindbloom] programs, so I signed up for Going Deeper, which I am looking forward to continuing on the progress I made in my initial session.
What would you say to someone who is considering starting a Mindbloom program?
I highly recommend Mindbloom and would recommend that everyone do their own research on the effects of ketamine and see if it makes sense for them. It is a very personal journey and you need to be ready for a life-changing treatment that is unlike the traditional therapies that are available today.
Worst case is that it doesn't work. The best case is that you can finally be free from your depression and begin to see life very differently.
If you are ready to embark on your own healing journey, complete our client assessment to begin the process.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. If you are in a life-threatening situation, call the National Suicide Prevention Line at +1 (800) 273-8255, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room.
The testimonials appearing on this website reflect the experiences of individuals who used Mindbloom's services. However, individual results may vary. Mindbloom does not claim, nor should you assume, that any individual experience described is typical or representative of what any other person might experience. Some testimonials may have been edited for clarity, relevance, and length. Mindbloom is not responsible for the opinions or comments posted in these testimonials, and does not necessarily share the opinions or commentary contained therein. All opinions expressed are strictly the views of the individual subjects. Testimonials on this website are not intended, nor should they be construed, as claims that the services mentioned will cure or prevent any disease, although they are designed to help people with legitimate healthcare issues. No testimonial has been clinically proven or evaluated, and no medical claims whatsoever were made and no statements on this website have been evaluated by the FDA.
Ketamine is not FDA-approved for the treatment of depression or anxiety. Learn more about off-label uses here.
Side effects of ketamine treatment may include: altered sense of time, anxiety, blurred vision, diminished ability to see/hear/feel, dry mouth, elevated blood pressure or heart rate, elevated intraocular or intracranial pressure, excitability, loss of appetite, mental confusion, nausea/vomiting, nystagmus (rapid eye movements), restlessness, slurred speech, synesthesia (a mingling of the senses).
Do not proceed with ketamine treatment if any of the following apply to you:
- Allergic to ketamine
- Symptoms of psychosis or mania
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- CHF or other serious heart problem
- Severe breathing problem
- History of elevated intraocular or intracranial pressure
- History of hyperthyroidism
- Other serious medical illness
- Pregnant, nursing, or trying to become pregnant
Ketamine has been reported to produce issues including, but not limited to, those listed below. However, lasting adverse side-effects are rare when medical protocols are carefully followed.
While ketamine has not been shown to be physically addictive, it has been shown to cause moderate psychological dependency in some recreational users.
- In rare cases, frequent, heavy users have reported increased frequency of urination, urinary incontinence, pain urinating, passing blood in the urine, or reduced bladder size
- Ketamine may worsen problems in people with schizophrenia, severe personality disorders, or other serious mental disorders.
- Users with a personal or family history of psychosis should be cautious using any psychoactive substance, including ketamine, and discuss potential risks with your MindBloom® clinician before proceeding with treatment.
- The dissociative effects of ketamine may increase patient vulnerability and the risk of accidents.
To promote positive outcomes and ensure safety, follow these ketamine treatment guidelines:
- Do not operate a vehicle (e.g., car, motorcycle, bicycle) or heavy machinery following treatment until you’ve had a full night of sleep
- Refrain from taking benzodiazepines or stimulants for 24 hours prior to treatment
- Continue to take antihypertensive medication as prescribed
- Avoid hangovers or alcohol intake
- Refrain from consuming solid foods within 3 hours prior to treatment and liquids within 1 hour prior to treatment
- Ketamine treatment should never be conducted without a monitor present to ensure your safety