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My Ketamine Therapy Breakthrough Moment: A Client's Story

When clients come to Mindbloom, they’re often looking for an anxiety or depression breakthrough they haven't been able to receive through other therapeutic methods or medicines. 

Psychedelic therapy is a science-backed modality that can be effective in managing and treating symptoms related to these conditions, and the associated challenges that come with them. With guided, high-touch therapeutic ketamine therapy programs, clients can achieve the mental health breakthroughs they’re seeking, no matter how great or small.

The story below follows a client’s recent journey through The Basics program here at Mindbloom. They worked through significant anxiety, which had evolved as a result of their lifestyle and a recent traumatic breakup.

As part of the client’s consent to share their story, they asked to remain anonymous. We respect and uphold their desire to protect their privacy. Their story is taken from a follow-up check-in after completing their first course of treatment.

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What was your experience and life like before starting with Mindbloom?

My body was shutting down from stress, and I was overwhelmed with this kind of depression, and I had never experienced anything like this before. I was just trying to get through each day, occupying as much time as I could. When I wasn’t, my mind would just go to this sad place that I had never experienced before.

The thing that got me [to Mindbloom] was interesting… was having a normal year before lockdown came and things got interesting. As things started to normalize, I met someone in the late spring, and I had never experienced anything like it. We were going to be engaged… and then a week later said she couldn’t do it anymore. All the things she said/did she outwardly denied. At the time, it was a very emotionally traumatic experience.

How did you first make the decision to start with Mindbloom?

Mindbloom came to me and it was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. So I signed up and got started with this. Prior to the experience, before I got started with Mindbloom, things were really tough. I embraced a whole picture of what my future would look like, and just like that it was gone. It felt like my life had been taken away, everything was out of my control, and I had never experienced that before.

Were there any hesitations before making the decision to begin?

[Making the decision to begin Mindbloom] couldn’t have been easier. I had never experienced psychedelic medicine before, but a lot of people in my group had, and I was curious, but never acted on it. I saw this ad for Mindbloom, and I was hooked —I knew it was what I needed, when I needed it.

The only hurdle getting started was that my first clinician wasn’t available for about a month after I signed up, and I just couldn’t wait. The physical manifestations of the chronic stress and emotional trauma was overwhelming my body, and I literally just couldn’t wait to start. They got me connected with my Guide, and we arranged a first session with a different clinician sooner.

A Note from Mindbloom: We recognize and embrace our client feedback —it’s part of what helps Mindbloom grow too!  We’ve since upgraded our capacity, and are able to get everyone up and running quickly after their initial consult and approval with the clinician. You’re also paired with a Guide, who helps make every step of the process as seamless as possible, including any hesitations or potential roadblocks you may face.

How did your experience with the initial sessions go?

I had no idea what to expect, I had never experienced something like this before. But I was really excited, I took it seriously. I had my intention, I had no idea what to expect, am I going to see things, feel things? 

The best way I can describe it, is for me: each session is an ultra-meditative experience, you can let go of thoughts and ideas much faster and much more effectively than in traditional meditation. What’s so cool about the medicine is that it unlocks your unconscious and subconscious. It releases these amazing perspectives and ideas that you can’t unlock on your own, this just brings it into your awareness.

That first session was absolutely magical. I was having thoughts of the old relationship, and every time I would get sad and I would get down, it was just human nature. After the first session, I started flipping these switches. Instead, when thoughts would come up, and I would either smile, laugh, or say thank you. It was a big switch.

And a huge shift happened where all of those memories —when thoughts came into my head— instead of getting sad and depressed or frustrated, I’d either smile or laugh, because it’s really funny in hindsight once you’re out of it... I’d smile and say “thank you,” it’s a tremendous gift and it took this experience with Mindbloom to really see that.

Were there any major insights or important takeaways that came up for you?

One of the big insights that stood out was “I am love.” I’m not myself, I’m literally love. I had heard friends saying this before and thought they were crazy, but now I had a feeling of it, and thought “Oh, I get it now.”

There was a feeling that everything, the experience, and my life, were important. That these were all things that were going to level me up. And that’s how I see it now. They are all things that have contributed to me in important ways.

If the version of me 4 months ago was hearing me say this, he’d say ‘"No way, this is not the same person.” From all the new perspectives and insight that I had.

One of the insights I had was that “I am always supported.” I went through all the events and the history of my life and realized that all of these things were for me and they helped me. The self-love stuff has been critical.

A Note from Mindbloom: These are beautiful insights, and we’re glad they surfaced for this client. One of the potential benefits from this treatment is having a lived, direct experience of these simple truths, one that lands deep within the mind and body, that you can work with moving forward into life and your integration process.

How have things shifted for you since wrapping up your introductory program?

Things have really started to shift and surface around true gratitude. Just walking outside and feeling the sun on my face, the softness of my bed, the fact that I can walk, relationships with my family. I was able to turn any adverse event into something that I can be grateful for. Now, when I do my nightly gratitude journal, I know that I’m grateful for myself. Because I’m the one who showed up for this work, and I did this to and for myself.

Another thing that started shifting was that “I get to grow through this,” not “I have to go through with this.” This was a big shift, I became very intentional with my language and how I approached things.

I feel like I’ve grown and done 10 years worth of work in the past few months. I don’t see a situation where I would have grown this fast without Mindbloom, and without the events in my life that brought me here.

What would you say to someone considering a ketamine therapy program?

For people who are on the fence, I think it’s pretty simple. I’m pretty absolutist – if you did this the right way, you follow the process, you do what you should. If you care about your health and your relationships, you’ll do this. Nothing bad will come from this, I know people have those fears and concerns, and I was unclear as well before my first session – I didn’t know what to expect. There’s nothing to fear, I think the only thing to fear is that if you don’t do this work, you’re selling everyone else and yourself short.

It’s a cheat code to living a happier and healthier life.

A Note from Mindbloom: To some, psychedelic therapy can seem like a shortcut, which is powerful. However, the process isn't always easy. There can be a lot that surfaces throughout the course of treatment. But part of the power is in this act of showing up for yourself, showing up for those you care about, and showing up for the world.

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Each client’s therapeutic experience is unique. Some experiences are more visual, some are more meditative. As this client shared, when you show up for yourself in these experiences, the work can be life-changing. 

If you’re interested in exploring psychedelic therapy further, or want to find out if you’re eligible to work with Mindbloom, start here

Disclaimer

Sources

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.

Important FDA Safety Information

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
Blog Post -
My Ketamine Therapy Breakthrough Moment: A Client's Story