Content/Trigger Warning: Suicide, Drugs, Mental Health.
This past year has been an interesting journey–particularly concerning finding the right approach to my ADHD.
I have what works after trying the different dosages, release types, and the eventual combination I’m on now. Being cognizant of my ADHD helps with my approach to tasks and planning. I hope that once I’m done with school and in a different job role that doesn’t tax my executive function, I won’t have to rely on my meds as much. I’ve been told it’s not an entirely healthy approach… to rid myself so easily, as this mindset has led me not to take my meds at times; on weekends, and in late afternoons.
My rationale for weekends is that I’m not relying on my executive function as much. Plus, it ‘resets’ me a bit, stalling the need to keep going up in doses as I did at the onset. I hated that. I kept going up on dosage during Adderall to the point I was almost at max in just six months.
A downside of not taking it on weekends is if I don’t plan my day right the day before, I end up doing almost nothing. Or starting my day off late to the point I’m running late to every appointment I have.
During the week, my Vyvanse wears off around 2pm/3pm in the afternoon. I’ve been advised to take a low dose of Adderall to help. The thing is, I don’t always do. If I take my Adderall that late in the day, I have trouble sleeping. The goal, then, is to take my dose about an hour before the slump. Unfortunately, I find myself in this situation of not taking my Adderall because an hour before the slump I feel fine. I end up not taking it, and if I intended to do homework that evening, it won’t happen, and I’ll lose that day in getting school done. I’m so far behind in school.
Work has been terribly stressful and demanding. The piling school work doesn’t help with the stress. Trying to balance work/life/school/dog is getting harder to do. I found myself overbooking my calendar in attempts to force “self-care” days in the form of yoga, massages, a spa day, etc. This started to add to my busy routine and stress. Blocking out hours in my calendar to avoid booking ANYTHING didn’t help either. After all, I knew in my mind that I was actually free and could take someone up on an invite or decide to do something.
Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy. (“Special K” to you party/raver folks 🙂 )
It was recommended by my Psychiatrist as a way to “reset” my mind–while admitting that most current applications for KAP are for severe anxiety, PTSD, depression, and suicidal ideology. He stated it might help with the underlying anxiety of the “go-go-go” routine I’ve trapped myself in.
I read up on the materials he provided for KAP. I also googled the heck out of it to learn it’s a relatively new approach to various mental illnesses. A new tool for psychotherapy. Because of its relatively ‘new’ status to mental health therapy, it’s often an out-of-pocket expense.
The most intriguing aspect for me was the potential for neurogenesis; healing or developing nervous tissue. I was hopeful that KAP would indeed bring about a mental reset, though not entirely clear what that outcome would look like.
KAP is unique to everyone. I’ve read it’s good to have intent but no clear expectations. I opted to have a blank mind to it.
The thing is, for me, I’ve avoided any recreational drugs. I know how my mind works well enough to know that it’s not something I want or need. My few experiences with THC a few years ago proved my suspicions that psychedelics bring out the worst of my mental state; overthinking with an explosion of scenarios/realities. That is, my mind decides to explore every single possibility from an action to the point that they branch/fork like the roots of a tree. Then those actions branch, then those branches branch, and so on. It’s an unstoppable force to the point of nausea. To some degree, this explains my muse and my writer’s mind.
In a lowly lit room lay a floor mattress, blanket, and a bag with earplugs and a sleep mask. Nature sounds played from a speaker in the corner of the room. We went over some highlights of the material shared about KAP, and after the consent, it was injected into my shoulder. A bit painful, more than any vaccine I’ve received so far. I attribute this to the rapid injection of the liquid.
I didn’t experience anything like the accounts I had read; euphoria, transpersonal, mystic, or even religious. Not exactly at least.
Reality dissolved, falling into a deep sleep rather quickly. I experienced what I can only describe as a “folding of reality.” That is, every branching thought I’m typically entertaining throughout my waking day began to fold in on itself, combining or cutting itself out of my present. Forcing myself into one single reality to entertain. Only before a branch could be folded, I had to experience it first. I can best compare this to the final scene in the film Interstellar, where the main protagonist is inside a black hole and witnesses various points in time at once.
Toward the end of my KAP session, I was waking up in a combined state of awareness and sleep several times–or so I think. I could’ve dreamt that part, too. Each time I sat up, the room was slightly different;
- Wooden office desk and chair, carpet floor, closed blinds, therapist in the corner chair.
- Sandstone office desk and chair, concrete floors, open blinds to ocean view, therapist in the corner chair.
- Glass office desk and chair, marble white floors, open blinds… mars landscape (?), therapist in the corner chair.
As I came to, I had this strange sense of feeling out of place and in a foreign place. All while having to get used to the thought I had a body again and trying to remember how it worked; did humans always have five fingers? Why is it squishing on the outside but hard on the inside? Are these bones?
It was almost like coming from a place of being near absolute death to being alive again. I was being sent back. It’s an incredible simplification to the multitude of things I had to “re-learn” and understand.
At times it also felt like a really bad hangover, along with nausea.
I can understand there may be potential for KAP. Certainly, this is all still relatively new. Do I have less anxiety? Eh, hard to say. I’m not sure I was the ideal candidate to notice the benefits of it. Granted, some of the literature out there says this is a long-term impact. In that respect, there is less anxiety. Is it a placebo effect? Maybe.
In the end, it’s a new treatment method. It’s worth exploring, and perhaps we’re at a point where we can take serious, deliberate, and rational approaches to mental health treatment options.
Will I do it again?
Not sure. Hard to say at this point. It may not be for me.
This blog is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Nothing in this blog entry or website is medical advice. I am not a doctor. Do not use this information to treat or diagnose any illness. Seek medical advice from a licensed professional.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 988. Dial 911 in case of emergency. For more information you can visit https://988lifeline.org/