I’ve been coping with depression and suicidal depression since before my college days. Over the years I’ve done the depression medication. I’ve done the anxiety medication. I’ve done all these things. But it wasn’t until my 21-year-old son began battling suicidal depression that I realized I was mirroring him with my own feelings, and I was returning to a familiar mindset of not wanting to leave my bed in the mornings.
Interestingly, it was because of my son that I became aware of ketamine-assisted therapy. After researching clinics online, Field Trip Health stuck out to me for several reasons. The New York clinic didn’t feel clinical, and it had a retreat-like vibe to it that really resonated with me. And after reading about how others who have taken the Field Trip journey felt creatively “unlocked,” I knew it was something I wanted to try. The idea of unlocking creative juices and being able to create—whether through writing, art or music—was appealing. I thought, ‘maybe I’ll actually want to play violin again or eventually write and finish a book.’
By the time I went to my first session I was dealing with intense feelings, especially since I was uncertain what to expect from the actual treatment, having never done any kind of psychedelics before. But I went in there thinking I was going to feel better, and acknowledging that I was done with feeling so scared and sad and depressed all the time.
The fact that the staff was so warm and professional definitely helped. They explained everything step-by-step, with full disclosure from the beginning. The process itself was inviting as well, thanks to items like weighted blankets, headphones, eye shades and a “state of the art” reclining chair. By the time they were telling me, “Have a nice trip” it was like I had just been strapped into a scary roller coaster ride I’d never been on before. I thought, “That’s it… here we go…”
At first I was confused about why I could see shapes in the darkness, and then I was completely in my own head—but in a safe, not scary kind of way. I was deconstructing reality and thoughts, and felt my consciousness existing free and clear of my body. It wasn’t an out-of-body experience per se, but my thoughts were no longer contained or confined.
During that initial session there were things that happened in my mind that I would forget during the course of the trip. But then afterwards they would come back, sometimes a day or two later when I was reminded of them by triggers in my daily life experiences.
During my second trip, it got even more interesting for me because I love Enya’s music, but hadn’t listened to it in years. Yet during that trip, imagery from Egypt and Africa appeared, and afterwards I had a strong desire to put on Enya’s Watermark album and listen to “Storms in Africa.” Now, that very song is a ringtone for one of my four kids, who battles clinical anxiety.
Those are just a sampling of some elements I got out of my experience over three modules with Field Trip Heath. Each time was different and there was always something else that was waiting, helping me to unlock various parts of myself and my ability to be present.
Now, I’m more aware of my reactiveness to situations and I’m keen to explore those reactions—especially when I’m getting stressed out with my family, relatives or friends. Now, I try to slow down and take a step back to understand why I am getting upset, what I’m gaining from that feeling, and what impact that reaction might have. If that impact isn’t worthwhile, how can it be different? Maybe a situation doesn’t have to be stressful; maybe it can be more fun or, at least, viewed in a more positive way. It’s like I’m finally compelled to reject the negative rather than running away from it.
I’m also finally in a place where I feel like I can say no without having to make excuses for myself or going along with something I really don’t want to do and being the party pooper. I recognize that everyone, including myself, is entitled to their emotions and they don’t necessarily have to feel apologetic for that. There is less self-imposed guilt.
I’ve also learned how to communicate more effectively with my husband, and to not make assumptions as to how he’s feeling or his intentions, which is something new that I’ve never known in my life or learned as a kid in college or as a parent. As a result, I feel like I’m able to listen to my family interact around me rather than getting involved or inserting myself when not necessary or warranted. It’s definitely a new feeling to not be compelled to do everything for everyone, and the kids, in particular, have noticed a difference.
Today I’m feeling good. I use sunlight to keep my energy up and I practice meditation when I can, which is something I used to find boring. Now I take 15 minutes whenever I need to re-center, and I also have a meditation pod, which my husband loves too.
Of course there’s always an undercurrent of worry when my eldest son isn’t doing so well. I still find my shades mirroring his, and I feel darker when he feels darker. But I’m also now able to enjoy other parts of my life without feeling guilty, which is also new for me. I haven’t been able to share as much of my journey with him as I would like to, simply because he’s not in the headspace to hear it from his mom or because he just doesn’t want to hear it yet. But I love him and support him, and maybe most importantly, I am able to accept that he has his own reality to navigate and that’s how it’s supposed to be. I can just be here for him and the rest of my family—in a happier and healthier headspace, should any of them want or need me.
As told to Amber Dowling for Field Trip Health
The testimonials are the individual experiences of those who have attended Field Trip and taken part in our treatment, however they are individual results and results will vary. The testimonials are not necessarily representative of all of those who have used our treatment.
Field Trip may have edited the testimonials to account for correction of grammar or typing errors where necessary. In other cases, the testimonials may have been shortened for brevity. Field Trip has not edited the testimonial in a way that would create a misleading impression of the individual's views.
Ketamine is also not for everyone and may result in serious side effects. Certain medical conditions and other factors may reduce the effectiveness of ketamine as a treatment or disqualify you from receiving ketamine. Please consult a physician or other medical professional before commencing treatment.
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