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Why I Won’t Be Shamed for Treating My Mental Illness With Ketamine

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Editor's Note

Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

If you or a loved one is affected by addiction, the following post could be triggering. You can contact SAMHSA’s hotline at 1-800-662-4357.

Hi, my name is Heather and I have a confession: I live with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and depression that I cover up with humor and deflection… and I am also a ketamine user. Not a user as in “I buy it off of the streets,” but a user as in “I go see my psychiatrist for a six to seven-shot cycle once every year and a half or so to help me live.”

I am a person born in Generation X — a child of the Nancy Reagan error. Nancy taught me to, “Just say no to drugs,” but ketamine is a drug. Special K. A street drug. A drug of which I “should” be embarrassed — and I have been, up until now. It’s been a shameful thing to admit because it isn’t like more common antidepressants used by many who struggle with anxiety and/or depression. It’s a “real” drug, like the kind I am supposed to avoid and fear because it will kill my brain cells and will make my brain fry like the commercial of the egg in the frying pan. Google that one if you haven’t seen it.

Living with GAD is hard. I find living with depression is even harder. The two are such partners in crime that it is often hard to separate the two.  I started out this morning with a high dose of benzodiazepine, but it’s currently the only thing right now to thwart off panic attacks. I have serious life changes going on right now, and whether it be circumstantial or chemical, my brain is terribly off. My generation has overall been told by our parents that things like depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and other mental illnesses are not real. Our parents are wrong: they are real. They are very, very real, and I live it daily.

So, this is my ultimate coming-out party, because I know others need to know they are not alone. Let’s make a pact as a community to not fear previously “forbidden” drugs because we have science! Science is now telling us that what we once thought was dangerous can be extremely beneficial for those of us with mental illness, and we should not turn a deaf ear to that information. If a drug we have long feared because it has been stigmatized has been proven by research to help us, let’s give it a shot — no pun intended. Whether it be prescription ketamine or any other scary drug, let us be brave together and fight for our lives side-by-side, and most importantly without shame.

For more on how prescription ketamine can help with mental illness, see what other Mighty community members are saying here.

Photo by Maria Badasian on Unsplash

Originally published: January 17, 2020
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