I’m starting this blog post two days post-treatment #4. I had such a significant breakthrough yesterday, I wanted to post it separately.
Even though there are 60 years of medical ketamine use, there are only about 10 to 15 years of its use in mental health settings. You might think that would be plenty of time to study and document its effects. Apparently not. Why? After having a daughter die by suicide after multiple concussions and serving on the Utah Advisory Board of the Epilepsy Association of Utah, I’ve witnessed first hand the medical industry’s resistance to study brain-related conditions. Sad, but true.
That doesn’t mean we are entirely void of sound data. There have been studies but not many. Generally, pharmaceutical companies either conduct the studies or fund university studies. It’s more complicated and diverse than that but those are the basics. Obviously, pharmaceutical company’s are for-profit institutions and are driven by their bottom line. When ketamine presents a profit, they will engage. I suspect that is taking place as we speak.
On to my breakthrough.
I was abandoned by my birth dad. My step dad abused me. I have abandonment and abuse issues which include attachment issues, control issues, trust issues, and other various issues. I have issues. Lots and lots of issues.
When I started ketamine, it was more for those long term residual issues than losing Hannah. I’ve grieved Hannah in a very healthy way. I suspected the abandonment and abuse issues might be affecting me in multiple aspects of my life but wasn’t sure. I was right. Boy, was I right! I’ve been through years of therapy. I’ve accumulated a rather large collection of self-help books. I’ve done my 12 Steps over and over. I pray. I do The Work of Byron Katie. Yet, I couldn’t seem to stop distancing myself from other humans. I’ve blamed it on my height, my boldness, even that people are intimidated by me for all sorts of reasons most of which are too embarrassing to admit. The point is I’ve been placing most of the blame on others. I owned just enough to help myself grow but not enough to fix the bottom line issue. I find it all a little humorous at how ‘fine’ I had convinced myself I was.
It’s our nature to attach to our beliefs and defend them especially if we perceive them as life-threatening. Abandonment and abuse are definitely life threatening especially experienced as a baby – the very most vulnerable point in our life. I understand now that I was keeping myself safe, or so I thought.
Bottom line, you can’t abandon or abuse me if I don’t let you get too close. This doesn’t mean I’m not close to people. It doesn’t mean I don’t love people. I do. Yet, I find ways to distance myself. It’s exhausting.
Here are some of my tools. Facebook. Living far away. Loving people who live far away and being so sad that I simply can’t spend more time with them. Fighting. Being busy. Finding fault. Codependent – I’m the fixer. Leading projects and refusing help. Being subservient. Avoiding crowds – too many of you at once is way too scary. Holding on to fat. Being a shock jock in conversation. Impatience. Intolerance. I could go on but you get the point.
How did I finally come to see this? Yesterday, I attended a workshop on death with The Work of Byron Katie. I was thrilled to be there the day after my 4th ketamine treatment. With my neural pathways being repaired, I was hopeful that this setting would be ideal to start new ones. It’s was an ‘A’ student move.
At the end of a very insightful, enjoyable day, the facilitator asked one last question. It was so typical that I was slightly disappointed. She directed us to imagine we knew we had only a week left to live. Then, in silence prioritize a to-do list. Easy enough. Then she asked us to choose the most important one. Okay. Then answer the question what’s keeping you from doing it now? I sat and allowed my answer to arise.
Folks, it’s not like I’ve never done this exercise before. But this was different. I was different. My brain, my receptors clean, healed, ready to see things differently. That’s what ketamine is supposed to accomplish. Ketamine is like a chemical version of The Work and MBSR combined. Really! Combining all three is proving to be a powerful mixture.
The number one task on my end of life list was to sit with each of my family members and tell them how much I love them and why. That would be easy. I know exactly why I love them. Then the facilitator asked the question, “What’s keeping you from doing that now?” That question brought an answer that punched me dead in the face! ‘I withhold.’ What? Oh my word, I withhold! A flood of realizations rushed through my mind. It has nothing to do with anyone out there? I am afraid and have built so many effective tools, stories, belief systems, to protect myself! It all became painfully and joyfully clear. I literally felt a jolt in my heart area and then intense heat. Tears.
Think about PTSD. A person lives a very traumatizing event. That event ends. Yet, it stays alive in the imagination of the person. Then, they continue to relive it in their current lives over and over again. Sound familiar yet? We all do this to some extent. What we learn, experience, as youth molds us. It teaches us how to react to our environment. We believe it’s a forever thing. How we react, the stories we create and attach to depends on whether or not the experience restricts or expands our trust of the world. Rarely, are we aware that our current day reactions are based on historical events. I see now how I’ve been very effective in creating a safety plan based on my earliest experiences in life.
I’m not sure what will happen from here. I’ve been begging God to help me understand why I’m so lonely with so many wonderful people that surround me. He’s answered me. Without ketamine, I doubt I would have gone yesterday. After all, I know that stuff. 😉 Again, not sure how it works but I’m seeing differently.
Bring on the new neural pathways! I’m ready!