"Is this how everyone else usually lives?!?": How a Mindbloom Client's Outlook on Life Changed Completely
The decision to embark on a healing journey with ketamine treatment is not a small one. It takes consideration, confidence, and self-love. It is easy to have a number of questions or concerns arise as you make this decision.
This article follows a single Mindbloom client —H.R.— 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 experience is like.
As always, every individual's journey is unique, the events and experiences that unfolded here may not apply to everyone else. But this provides a glimpse of the thought process that goes into these decisions, and some of the experiences that may happen throughout the entire experience.
Mindbloom note: This post discusses suicidal thoughts. If you are in crisis, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-273-8255, text “HEAL” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741, or contact Lifeline Crisis Chat.
What was life like for you before beginning your Mindbloom program?
I've always struggled with depression on and off my whole life. Some seasons were harder than others but usually exercise could get me through, until it didn't. I have tried several different antidepressants which didn't make any difference, so some days, the goal was just to stay alive.
My health took a significant turn for the worse the months prior to starting ketamine. I was so tired and depressed I sometimes could not get out of bed for days at a time. Part of that was caused by trying to work towards EMDR in therapy for PTSD, and pushing myself too hard, which would make the next several days after therapy extremely difficult to function due to fatigue, joint pain, and depression.
How did you make the decision to begin ketamine treatment?
After a few weeks of being so low, and struggling to the point I was working from bed, I decided I needed a break from therapy, because I needed to find my will to live again. My therapist disagreed about the break, but recommended I look into ketamine as she had heard it could be really helpful.
I decided to use the break to look into ketamine and ways to help my body heal from the responses I was experiencing from PTSD. Ketamine looked like it could hit several of the boxes I was needing help with including chronic pain, depression, PTSD, and anxiety.
Did you have any hesitations when making the decision to start?
I was definitely apprehensive. It seemed too good to be true. It was also a financial investment. But as my friends encouraged me, it would be worth it, if I could stay alive and lessen the depression.
One of my friends actually offered to pay for the first month, which gave me the courage to take the plunge and sign up. I was also hesitant because I had to have a peer monitor, which required asking for help, and not just help, but help in a vulnerable area for me.
But after laying in bed for several days, I became desperate enough that it was worth asking my friend to help, and to give ketamine a try.
How was your experience with your first ketamine treatment session?
I was surprised at the amount of things that came up in my first session as well as the ability to have a memory come up, and look at it like a movie, without all the usual physical sensations and feelings that come up for me with trauma (like headaches, nausea etc). The next day was a little rough, as all the feelings I did not feel during the session surfaced. This also happened in the second session.
The third session was the first time I woke up the next day and felt surprisingly well. My mood was happy and I experienced joy.
Did you have any significant experiences in your program you’d like to share?
To be honest, I'm sort of amazed at the level of clarity that seemed to surface for me. I was able to find the root to why suicide has always been an option, to see why it is hard for me to ask for help, and to see that there are safe people in the world. To learn that I do know in my gut when someone is safe and I can trust that.
It was also really helpful to be able to go into a ketamine session with a question, and know that my brain or subconscious or a higher power can help bring those answers to the surface.
Lastly, I think one benefit for me personally, was having memories come up for me without the feelings, and creating a certain level of desensitization from some of my trauma. I am hoping that helps me in therapy so I can start working through some of my past.
How has life shifted for you throughout your program?
The biggest shifts I have seen were from my first to third week of ketamine sessions. The first two weeks I continued to struggle with depression, suicidal thoughts, and overall low energy, although it seemed less than the months prior to starting ketamine.
After the third session I realized one day that I could get through a whole day without taking a nap! My energy levels continued to improve, and I could even do things at night. Things that used to be overwhelming, like washing my car, now became something I looked forward to doing, because I could just go do it, without having to use every ounce of willpower I had to get out of bed.
One day after experiencing a really beautiful, full, fun day, I asked my friend "is this how everyone else usually lives?!?" And she was, "Yeah, it is." No wonder people like living. It's so much better this way!
What would you say to someone who is considering starting a Mindbloom program?
I have definitely already recommended [Mindbloom] to a few friends of mine. I think being open is crucial. I also think there is a certain level of desperation or desire needed to commit to doing something like this which is more outside of the box, and to make the financial investment in yourself.
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