Here at Mindbloom, we focus on managing and treating anxiety and depression, and the associated challenges that come with them. With guided high-touch therapeutic ketamine programs, many clients are able to 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, as they worked through persistent anxiety and the lived experience that came with that.
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?
I had a pretty good life, and still do. I had a lot to be grateful for, and I had been working for many years, on my own and with professional help, to address ongoing anxiety and depression tendencies. On the anxiety side, I would probably put myself as living in a 7-9 out of 10 on a daily basis. Even with medication, I was always on edge. Medication took the edge off, but it was something that I had just accepted that it was going to be part of my life.”
Those expectations and those fears around whether I would meet expectations, that fear was not helpful to me. It didn’t help me achieve what I wanted to achieve, it didn’t help me at work, it was just a wasteful energy that was just always there.
A Note From Mindbloom: This was a powerful insight, and the client recognized this in hearing themselves say it out loud. Sometimes, you can come to accept anxiety or depression as just “the way things are,” or “how you were built,” —but it doesn’t have to be that way. Part of embarking on this initial program was the client recognizing there has to be another way, and taking the steps to work on it.
How was anxiety impacting you, where did it show up in your life?
Anxiety was living a lot in my chest and my shoulders, physically. That was about 60%. The other 40% was the way I was thinking about my future. An important part of anxiety is you fabricating stories about the future that may or may not be true. It felt like I was either trapped in that tendency, or that it was just my natural proclivity. I felt like my natural tendency was to be worried or concerned about things, which turned into overthinking things, and being on edge a lot at work.
The places it was impacting me the most was work, and my long-term relationship. On the work side, I had a very clear goal with my manager to learn how to work within sales. And now, my ability to manage my own expectations, to manage my workloads, they’re not as stressful for me anymore. Some of it is getting more experience, but I can’t help but notice that it was a very clear line in the sand between before the program, and where I am now.
In my personal life, I created a world that is hyper-structured, in an attempt to prevent unknowns from happening. That’s been the first 10 years of my adulthood. Establishing structure to attempt to manage my anxiety, which looking back now, it’s crazy. I spent so long creating a world around myself that prevents me from being anxious. From saving excessive amounts of money, moving to a safer building, keeping my apartment, organizing my stuff to the Nth degree. It’s not because I like organizing, it’s because I want to be in an environment that makes me feel calmer than I really am. And this impacts my relationship, with what my partner can do, where we can live, how we plan for the future.
Was there any hesitation or concern about getting started?
Yes and no, there was some hesitation. My biggest hesitation was the cost. I had always wanted to do psychedelics, I had been told by many mentors and friends that they had made a big impact in their lives, and I’d read a fair amount that it can be a spiritual experience, it can change your perspectives. What was attractive about Mindbloom was that it’s legal, that it’s very clinical, it’s careful in its approach, it’s dosed carefully. I felt like the whole experience was safe, legitimate, and it’s not like doing something else in the woods with people I don’t know.
Having a Guide who was there to talk me through what the session was going to be like, being very calm, I think that was critical. I did have some jitters going in, but mostly excited to try this new thing. I very carefully followed the prep material, and took the time to sit alone and create a soft space. It was very helpful, because now, having read more about set and setting, it’s very clear that that makes a huge impact.
Were there any important insights or experiences that came up for you?
On the feelings side, after each session, and during each one, I felt a very deep sense of peace. It felt like it cut through all of the bullshit. Cutting through every other feeling, every other concern, that everything is okay, and that everything will always be okay. Which is a pretty great feeling, that’s the one that cut the deepest, and also the one that I still have to remind myself of.
Another one is the separation of self from narrator. I’m using the language I was taught by my therapist [outside of Mindbloom] — but I think people call it many things. That separation from me as the observer, and me as the narrator of the experience. Huge. It was crystal clear in the experience, but still working to integrate it because I think it’s a massive concept. But also really simple at the same time.
Did you notice your symptoms or personal experience shifting throughout the process?
[Some symptoms] were definitely shifting as we were going through the program. As far as the feelings go, from being anxious in the body to being rarely anxious in the body. The ketamine itself is a very relaxing experience, it’s hard to separate what was the drug experience versus the psychedelic experience. But I will say, after the sessions and several days afterwards, I was very relaxed. The ongoing lesson and impacts were the changes and deep peace and calm that I had in my brain. It just integrates into your body if you keep attempting to integrate it.
You had done a fair bit of work with medication and therapy before this, was there anything that made this experience different for you?
There were lessons I had learned in my life, either through therapy or through different books, and maybe I had learned the lesson at one level, and the ketamine brought it down to a level that feels like it’s part of my being. Part of my way of living, way of thinking. In some ways I think ketamine allows you to leapfrog time spent with a therapist. If I hadn’t done that work, I might not have known what needed to be slotted in permanently, but given that I did, it felt like leapfrogging the progress here.
Now that you’ve completed the first program, how do you feel, where are you now?
I’m still the same person, don’t get me wrong, I’m still a teeny bit neurotic. But I feel in general like anxiety doesn’t dictate my life anymore. Which is a very black and white moment, I had the 7-9 [anxiety rating] on a daily basis, and now I have anxious moments, but I can see the anxiety clearly, and I don’t feel like I’m consumed by it. I can see why it’s coming up, how I’m going to address it, and move on. It doesn’t linger in my body.
On other fronts, I feel like I still have a lot to work through. It wasn’t a cure-all, but it does feel like a really important tool that I’m really grateful is now legal. If used correctly, by large parts of the population, this could change the way our world functions. It could change the way people treat each other, and the world in general. And I’m excited to see where that goes.
What would you say to someone is considering psychedelic therapy for themselves?
This is a hard one to answer. I think that everyone should do it. This might sound like a sales piece, but I think everyone should do this, and there’s not a lot of exception. If someone is considering it, they are the one who should do it. I just think there are a lot of people who need a perspective change, if you have the money to do it, you should do it.
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A Parting Thought from Mindbloom
Part of the value clients can receive throughout the program is deeper insight and understanding into their own behaviors and ways of being. Why things are the way they are, why they react the way they do. Armed with this knowledge and insight, you can work alongside your Guide to integrate it back into your life, and make the long-lasting changes that can help address and resolve anxiety and depression in the long run.
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.
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