Citation: saucepapi. "Feeling the Cool Liquid Spread: An Experience with Ketamine, Lorazepam & Ondansetron (exp116139)". Erowid.org. Feb 28, 2022. erowid.org/exp/116139
Intravenous Ketamine Therapy
I had never had ketamine before. My drug use started with abusing Adderall at age 8, opiates at 12, DXM at 14, smoking weed at 16, molly and acid at 18, and drinking alcohol heavily at 20. I went to rehab at 23 and got sober as well as major depression and BPD diagnoses. After numerous relapses, experimenting with meth and homelessness, and nothing but failures with antidepressants, mood stabilizers, even TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) therapy, I finally got some money to pay the ridiculous price of the good stuff, the IV stuff. Ketamine therapy.
Being a seasoned psychonaut and having the opportunity to try a drug for the first time, in sobriety, I didn't want anything at all to fuck up. I didn't read about anybody's experiences, I didn't look up the pharmacology, I just dove in with an open mind. My last acid trip (of dozens) was a few years before and it pretty much filled my share of psychedelics but it taught me that there are no "bad" trips; if I see something scary it's because I need to confront it. Going into this therapy with that mindset, along with the therapeutic doctor's-office setting, really helped me enjoy every milligram of that sweet liquid bliss...
I go into the room in the back of the office, sit in an incredibly comfortable recliner (not doctor-y at all, just a luxury recliner), and am handed by the nurse noise-canceling headphones and sleep blinders. She tells me I can listen to my own music, but they have an iPod with a playlist she curated "to take you on a nice journey." I immediately liked the sound of that so I put on my relaxation gear and let her poke my arm. For the first time in my life I didn't hyperventilate over a needle. She tells me there is a little Ativan to help me relax and some Zofran to beat the nausea. I only get 50mg for my first time. Also that they can hear me from outside and if I need to be pulled out just say so. And with that I am alone, listening to some nice Japanese relaxation music. I have a thing for the Asian culture so I let my mind wander, and just by the time I start to wonder when it will kick in, wouldn't you know it... it kicked in.
The first feeling I got was the recliner reclining, more and more, to the point where my body should have been bent past 180 degrees flat. I thought I should have slipped out and fell on my head, but I started just relaxing and relaxing and.... sinking, sinking into the chair itself! Minutes into it and gravity had completely lost its meaning. I noticed I was starting to sway side to side, as if I was liquid and the chair contained me, and the movement was controlled by the sound of the music. The nurse's words, "take you on a journey" were echoing in my mind, not audibly, just as a thought. So I relaxed all the way and told myself to let go. The movement intensified and suddenly I slipped.
My mind slipped out of my body, backwards, spiraling and dancing to the music, further and deeper down into what I can only describe in retrospect as the primordial soup. From there on out time had no meaning. I remember whole lifetimes passed in an instant. I remember my spirit being flung around something like the fourth dimension scene in that movie Interstellar. I remember floating peacefully naked on a lake surrounded by green mountains in a world devoid of all intelligent life but me. I remember seeing myself every other time I was dissociated. Every time the song changed it was a new feeling and a new place I visited. I wasn't fully aware of the music the whole time, but every now and then I flexed my fingers and remembered that I was just laying in a chair in a doctor's office in southern California. This actually caused me to laugh audibly a few times. It reminded me of Rick and Morty's Story Train, coming in and out of different realities.
Then suddenly I woke up. I didn't even know that I had fallen asleep or at what point during the experience. I just woke up feeling mentally sober as hell, but physically glowing, slightly floating, amazing... It was the most relaxed I'd ever been in my life! I took off the blinders and headphones and just sat there for a while, trying to absorb what in the FUCK just happened to me. Immediately after the experience I was very disoriented, not uncomfortably so, but it was definitely something that took time to process and try to remember what actually happened.
Immediately after the experience I was very disoriented, not uncomfortably so, but it was definitely something that took time to process and try to remember what actually happened.
I pushed the nurse button and she came and removed my IV and asked how it was. I responded by asking if she had ever done the treatment. She said yes. I asked her "what the fuck just happened to me?" She smiled and told me to think about it until I want to go home. I have my own therapist who I trust and did not opt for a program that includes after-treatment talk therapy. I reflected for a while until I needed some nicotine so I went outside to vape and talk to my therapist and eventually called my ride home.
My next treatment was two days later. I was more prepared this time. I have Tidal high quality audio streaming with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon downloaded and my phone on airplane mode. I never actually listened to a Pink Floyd album beginning to end and it seemed like the perfect time for it. Enter the room, sit down, adorn relaxation gear, recline, get poked. This time I get all 75mg. I waited a couple seconds after feeling the cool liquid spread from my arm into my chest and creep up to my brain, and then start the music.
Speak to Me set the stage as the Ativan immediately removed the prior two days of stress and anxiety and longing to be back in paradise. By the time Clare Torry's wails echoed behind the transition into Breath I had started to recline and rotate backwards, and Roger Waters' singing hit my brain like a slow-motion lightning strike, as the instruments intensified and dragged my spirit down and out of my body into the soup once again. It happened much faster this time, and the movements were more forceful, like I had less control to stop it, if for any reason I wanted to. But I would never want to. Pink Floyd were the masters of "take you on a journey" music, and now the synthesizers of On the Run have completely taken control of the trip. Emotions intensify as stress and anxiety are washed away and turn into distant memories and then nothing but vague concepts. My spirit is being dragged into the wilderness to meet itself once again.
Suddenly alarm clocks blare in Time and I am thrown back into the doctor's room. But I'm not sitting in the recliner. I'm sitting on the little doctor stool, looking at myself. I wave at myself. Then I'm myself in the recliner again, and I'm looking at little kid me on a stool. All kinds of crazy forgotten childhood memories race back to me as the low guitar notes start building the intro to Time. I know this song... My dad used to play this song when I was really little. And my mom would scream at him to turn it down, and he would turn it wayyy up, and I would go sit down right next to the speakers so I couldn't hear them fighting any more.
The lyrics start speaking to me. Personally. Suddenly I'm sitting in the studio with Waters himself as the band records the song for the first time. Man they knew what they were doing. My perception of time slows down really really slow at this point, and I'm aware of every single note of every single instrument in the song. It's just my spirit floating in music and nothing else. I forgot I ever had a body, and a life, and problems, and where Earth is.
Transition into The Great Gig in the Sky. The song that really changed my life. I don't remember a whole lot of rational thoughts, just a lot of feelings. Feelings that it's going to be okay. Feelings that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. Feelings that I already got (or will get?) everything I want in the future. Feelings that I'm god of my own universe. Feelings of not just being connected to everyone, but actually BEING everyone alive and who has ever lived or ever will live. Three years later, I still feel it when I hear that song. Listening to Great Gig actually helps my anxiety more than taking medication or smoking weed.
Then the cash register rings and Money starts. I think I laughed a lot during this one. I realized what money actually is, and that I am going to be so rich in the future money won't even be a thought or a part of my daily life. I also realized for the first time (it made me feel dumb) that I am literally the only thing standing in my way. Not just in being rich but in every aspect of my life. School. Relationships. Learning hobbies. I always seem to stop myself. After having these revelations I relaxed a lot trying to make sense of stuff and just enjoyed the rest of the ride. I had a Qi Gong teacher a while back who always told me when I am trying to meditate and thoughts pop up that I don't want, just tell the thoughts "it's ok, not now" so I did that the rest of the trip and I fell asleep again.
Two days later I'm ready for my next treatment. This time I use Wish You Were Here, which I was a little hesitant about because the song reminds me of The One Who Got Away but once again I never listened to the whole album or even any other song on it so I gave it a spin. Immediately upon hearing the bass notes start building up in Shine on You Crazy Diamond I remembered how many times my dad played that intro on his massive Klipsch loudspeakers when we lived in Germany, which would make me less than 6 years old. I don't have many memories of childhood, and few happy ones at that, so I felt this kind of connection to my dad I really hadn't felt since I was that young and we just sat and listened to music together. Basically that whole experience was thinking about my dad and how I always wanted to be closer to him but I was so scared of him my whole life and I didn't know why.
Three days later it's Monday again and I had an extra day of "tolerance break." The nurse asked me about my weed use before starting the program last week and I was honest, I smoke every day, and she told me weed can interfere with the efficacy of ketamine. Up until this day I would wake up in the morning, take exactly one small hit of mid shelf weed (just to ease that "I need to smoke" anxiety), and an hour later I would go to treatment. Something in my brain wasn't working that morning, and I smoked two whole bowls of weed and then took a fat ass dab immediately before going to treatment. I planned to listen to Flatbush Zombies' 3001 and was pretty excited for it. Maybe that is why I wanted to get stoned?
Don't smoke before IV ketamine folks. I started to relax with the drip like always. I started to recline a bit as Meechy Darko brings us into the album. But it just never happened. I never went anywhere. At best I would describe it as assisted meditation. I was just laying in a chair listening to music with blinders on for 45 minutes. I felt the ketamine in my brain trying to do stuff to me. But I felt the weed in my brain anchoring me to reality. I could NOT slip out of reality for anything. There was enough ketamine that it felt like a literal hemp rope binding me to the recliner. It was incredibly frustrating. Immediately after the experience I went to see my therapist and could barely contain an anxiety attack until the Uber dropped me off. I went home and got really stoned until I fell asleep.
Two days later I woke up ready and excited for my next dose. I smoked no weed that morning. I get to the office and lay back and load up 3001 again and get my needle poke. That was definitely the most fun experience I had. I went into it with the intention of having fun and relaxing and not worrying about anything, and I can barely remember anything from the trip. Having not smoked for almost 12 hours before the treatment I was fully dissociated the entire time, the music was in control of everything, and it was a blast. It was a musical amusement park of synesthesia. I got nothing done therapy-wise but it was a much needed mental vacation. If I could just do that every weekend I would probably never be depressed. I would quit smoking weed if I could do that every weekend.
I had one more treatment and listened to Dark Side one more time because I wanted to really meditate on certain themes that spoke to me. In retrospect ketamine has become my drug of choice by far, and by that I mean if I was going to a desert island and could take any drug, it would be the ket. Thinking about it now I realized that is why I was so heavy into DXM going into high school. I could steal it from the pharmacy next to the school and sip it through first period and be somewhere else for the rest of the day. When I lived in homeless shelters it was much easier to forget where I was falling asleep on a church floor dissociated under DXM every night. I even realized that I dissociated long before I ever did drugs, as a defense mechanism for trauma in my childhood.
With the high cost of ketamine infusions I have turned to DXM a few times recently for a mental vacation but it's just not the same.
With the high cost of ketamine infusions I have turned to DXM a few times recently for a mental vacation but it's just not the same.
I burned out on it quick. The long term effects of DXM are pretty bad, but ketamine has only helped me. After completing the round of six treatments I had a completely new outlook on life. I know that sounds like a cheesy testimonial you'll find on their website but I'm not endorsing that company in any way which is why I will not name them. It literally changed my whole outlook on life. It was like zooming a camera lens out and suddenly seeing a whole bunch more to the picture, and how the things I used to see connect to the things I didn't used to see. I was able to rewatch movies and TV shows and experience them for the first time, but with deeper meaning and the ability to draw connections and recognize similarities to my life. Music has taken on new life and I am discovering artists in a new light. Stuff I thought I didn't like I actually like. I listen to Lil Peep now because I can take away the message and not just hear mumble rap. I dated a woman and felt like I was in high school falling in love for the first time, but at the same time I was able to be calm and rational and break up with her crazy cheating ass instead of being codependent and staying with her because I don't want to be alone. I can actually be alone now.
Sometimes I think I wasn't even self-aware before I had ketamine therapy, or that I never made any of my own decisions. I have a plan in place to make good money long term and I'm just going to get the IV treatments as I can afford them, and when money no longer is an issue I'm sure I will find balance like I did with weed.
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