Below is the story of Michael, a NeuroMend patient, whose life was changed drastically after he began ketamine infusions to treat his treatment-resistant depression. Below is his powerful testimonial; a story worth retelling for depression sufferers everywhere−to let you know that there is hope.
“Last week I completed my sixth ketamine infusion at Neuromend Infusion Therapy in Lafayette, La. I have been struggling with depression off and on my entire life. The 7th grade was the first time I remember feeling uncomfortable, on the outside and not a "part of". I also experienced horrible stomach aches almost daily. The doctors never found anything wrong with me physically so they chalked it up as stress. I was athletic, had plenty friends, and lacked nothing as a child. There was no cause that I could see. It would get better for a couple years then I would relapse into another depression. This happened in 7th grade, 10th grade, then again as a freshman in college and would continue for my entire life. In high school I started self-medicating with alcohol and other drugs. Until that in itself became problematic.
I did not realize that I had a depressive disorder until I was officially diagnosed at 18 years old and took prescription medication for the first time. I remember SSRIs were somewhat effective for the first few months, then the Dr. would change to something different or add a medicine. This cycle of being up for a few years then down for a couple kept on and on. My lows were getting lower as time went on. Suicide became an option to me at this point. I led a very careless lifestyle, was arrested several times and I had three serious suicide attempts that would leave me scarred for life. I'm very lucky I survived my early twenties though the guilt would stick around for a while.
Positive life changes like getting married, having kids, changing careers and getting sober would help spawn some good years to follow. I do have a college degree and consider myself somewhat intelligent. I own a business with my wife, have 3 kids, and own a house in the suburb. Everything on the outside seems normal. I go to church every week along with counseling and group therapy but the depression always cycles back. The past 2 years have been the worst. I have probably tried 15-20 different anti-depressants, just in the past 2 years. SSRIs, SNRIs, tricyclics, atypical antipsychotics, and MAOIs. The only medications that were effective were the old MAOIs Nardil and Parnate. But they affected my blood pressure to the point I could not tolerate them. This left me feeling very hopeless. Motivation was gone, work started slacking, and I again started to feel that my wife and kids would be better off without me. I wasn't fit for the job of husband and father. I was wasting away and didn't see a way out nor did I have the energy to climb my way out.
Ketamine started to pop up on the internet as an option for treatment resistant depression. So of course, I was very intrigued and interested. I emailed Allen at Neuromend and he made the application process very easy. I was cleared by the doctor and they scheduled me quickly. First of all, the place is very new, clean and comfortable. They offered a weighted blanket which is very comforting. Music sounds phenomenal while under the ketamine! That is a must in my opinion. My blood pressure was running pretty high before my first infusion. I stressed about this unnecessarily but they have medicines on hand to help control it. They are prepared anesthesia professionals and I had nothing to worry about. It is best to just sit back and trust.
Ketamine is known to repair damaged neurons which is the main reason I gave this a shot. But the experience itself was very surprising! It was extremely pleasurable and though it sedates you physically and mentally, it is a thrill ride. Life instantly becomes interesting again. Suicidal thoughts vanish and I personally get lost in the beauty of someone else's creativity - in this case the music. I realize that life can be an adventure rather than the chore it has been. Finally, some light has broken through and I saw there is indeed a way out of the funk I had been living. There were times during the infusion where I could pick up my phone and rip through a task extremely quickly as if I had a blast of mental energy. Problem solving becomes much easier while on the ketamine. I was able to sort out what actually was problematic in my life and what wasn't. Before the infusion, I knew that I needed to repair some relationships, stop isolating, lose weight and exercise. It just felt impossible.
I was in a constant state of confusion and frustration beforehand. After the ketamine, I feel more "able" to take the steps in accomplishing these goals. Also, during the experience, I felt waves of gratitude which I hadn't felt in years. I did not have any hallucinations during treatment, just strong ideas. I thought before coming in that a dissociative experience would be scary and uncomfortable but it actually was the opposite. I always knew where I was and what I was doing. They are good to fit you with the right dose. One pleasant side effect I noticed, was a reduction in headaches over the first 2 weeks.
The experience is usually strongest about 3/4 of the way in until the end. I can get up and walk around just fine after a very short time. The physical inhibition wears off pretty quickly but the state of mind sticks with me for a while. I live about an hour away and during the ride home I recall feeling like everything will be ok. Like a deep freedom. My wife and I would have productive conversations sometimes or I would keep my headphones on and just bask in the happiness. I see why it is important to have all six infusions on the first series. Each one builds on the last and once you know what to expect, it’s easier to make the best out the experience.
I am left with a strong desire to live a clean, healthy life and to be of service to my fellow man. I am very grateful to know that Neuromend is there for me and depression can be treated. Highly recommend!"
- Michael, Baton Rouge, LA
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