-I was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder,
depression and grief.
I was going downhill fast.
– Ketamine’s used as a transformer of moods,
only discovered in the late 90’s.
People were very incredulous, it’s an anesthetic,
how could it have anything to do with mood?
– What is actually happening in the brain
when a person takes this drug?
– I’m always a little nervous before the injection
’cause I know I have no control over
what my mind is going to think about.
The trauma that I’m dealing with, basically unthinkable
but I’ve lost both of my children to suicide.
My youngest son, Dylan, knew that his life mattered,
that he mattered, that he had a voice
and unfortunately, his impulsive nature,
caused him to go in and shoot himself and end his life.
When I found him, I screamed uncontrollably.
What I saw, nobody should see.
I ran out of the house and then ran back in
to make sure he wasn’t still alive
even though that’s physically impossible based
on what I looked at.
I hired a grief counselor immediately,
I hired the best post traumatic stress disorder counselor
I could find and I did pull myself out of it,
I did reengage and I had an older son
who still lived with his mum and I worried about him
’cause he didn’t go to counseling and he held things in,
he didn’t share but he kept saying he was fine.
We were about to go to the Edmonton Oilers playoff game
with my dad and my sister because I really believed
in trying to united the family, start having us
live our lives again, that was my obligation to others,
friends and family and my son.
My son was clearly depressed but he denied it.
And the day before he was supposed to go back
to see his mother, he called me on a bike ride to tell me
that he loved me and I knew something was wrong.
When he asked me how long I was
gonna be, it reminded me of my other
son when he asked me the same question.
When I got home a year ago about today,
I found my other son dead of a gunshot wound.
Needless to say, I fell apart.
Brought in spiritual leaders,
I brought in other counselors.
Any ideas that people had that could help me
get a grip on my life
bcause for the first four months,
I didn’t care if I was alive,
I didn’t care if I died.
I didn’t think it mattered, I had no hope.
I had no purpose.
It was empty without my kids.
I first went to some grief recovery centers,
I went to a brain scanning clinic.
I signed up with an EMDR specialist.
I was severely depressed trying to get out of it
and I wanted to try to make some progress
on my own before I came to do the
ketamine and I wanted to get through Christmas.
Having had lost one son and knowing
the worst date is Christmas, not the birthday,
not the anniversary date of death,
Christmas is the worst date if you’ve lost a child.
I knew I had that coming
and I didn’t wanna be doing this
or have just done it and then get whacked again
so I knew to get through Christmas.
If I could get through Christmas, early January,
I’m flying back into L.A., and I’m gonna come
and spend two weeks and do this treatment.
And I got through Christmas and I made it here.
– It’s known as special K, a psychedelic drug
popular in dance clubs butdoctors say the same drug, ketamine,
approved as animal tranquilizer and anesthetic
can also be a lifesaver when used to treat severe depression
when nothing else works.
One small study found ketamine decreased suicidal
thoughts almost immediately in 50% of patients.
Most anti-depressants take weeks.
– Tom was pretty troubled when he came to us.
He was not dealing at all well.
Tom really was blaming himself a lot for that
and was suffering a great deal of guilt and remorse,
pretty unsure about whether he wanted to continue living.
He had a very rough and contentious first infusion.
By the day after his second infusion,
he was really just singing the praises of the treatment.
Ketamine was found to be a profoundly
effective anesthetic given as a lump or bolus.
It was only when people began to give it
in a very gradual way and in sub-anesthetic doses
that we realized what an amazing mood elevator
and reverser of suicidality it is.
It starts a chain reaction, it actually
caused new growth in connections in the brain and
in receptor density among those connections.
That patient, who has an infusion, experiences
a dissociative state, does not have true hallucinations.
He may see things that aren’t there but he knows
that they’re not there.
Dissociation can be very mild, like when you’re waiting
to pay at the grocery store and you’re thinking
about what you’re gonna do tonight,
your mind and body are sort of separate.
A lot of patients tell us
that they’re able to do really important internal work
while they’re having an infusion.
It can be really therapeutic for them to
have a really objective perspective on their life
and this dissociation that Dr. Mandel was talking about,
of course, it’s very important, we’re big advocates
of talk therapy and for them to work
through some of these things with a professional.
– It’s a treatment, it’s not a cure.
It will not stand alone.
– For me, I’m always a little nervous
before the injection’cause I know I have no control
over what my mind is going to think about.
It can go from very pleasant to very scary.
I know at the end, I’m going to feel better.
I’m gonna say it’s an out of body experience.
I’m present watching myself but it’s not
in a dimension that I can explain.
They actually let me know that I matter,
that I am good enough.
They gave me tools to discuss with my conventional psychologist.
I had moments of emotional pain from my loss
that I understood why somebody would wanna take their life.
For whatever reason, something changed in me
that made me go from I don’t care if I live
to I don’t wanna die and now, because of these treatments,
I can now go and share
my story and let people know
that life is worth living.
That as bad as it gets, as painful it gets,
we do have a choice and we have freedom
to make that choice.
But I can go out and helpother people possibly
and whether I’m successful or not doesn’t matter,
I’m at least gonna try to do that.
I’m gonna try to give back what this clinic’s given me.