Ketamine: A Personal Memoir

“I remember the k hole felt like you were falling forward into a dark hole. A forward kind of motion where I just curled up into a ball basically, and it was just darkness. My eyes were closed, but I couldn’t even open my eyes if I wanted to. It felt like falling forward.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, ketamine is becoming increasingly popular among teens and young adults. Ketamine is an anesthetic and used in veterinary medicine.

“The first time I used ketamine was like 20 years ago or something like that, and I went right into a hole, and that turned me off. I didn’t try it again until 20 years later. It was offered to me, and someone just said, “take a smaller amount.”

Ketamine is a psychoactive agent which can cause hallucinations, perceptual anomalies, and other substantial subjective changes in thoughts, emotions, and consciousness.

“Things are very embellished and filtered almost like an Instagram filter. Everything that was existing looked cooler and richer in color. For example, the drapes were just like beautiful velvet instead of regular drapes. That is how it was in the beginning probably for the first year. I’ve been using for the past four years. After that, the visuals went away and then it was more um kind of felt like a buzz – an alcohol buzz, but not a sloppy one.”

Ketamine has been tested as a rapid-acting antidepressant for treatment-resistant depression in bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. Ketamine’s antidepressant effect has a short duration of action.

“I would feel like I could tap into my creative side a little more. I would draw or sketch for my clothing lines. It would get me creative and out of the depression for sure. If I did feel down, I would use, and it would get me out of that funk. That wore off when I started using heavier amounts, and it stopped working.”

Ketamine has a reputation of being used as a rave drug because of its psychedelic and dissociative properties. The effects of ketamine are similar to the effects of MDMA and PCP.

“Ketamine was kind of similar to what alcohol did for me, which was get me out of my head as far as social anxiety and knowing what to say and just the self-esteem or lack of self-esteem. It gave me the confidence to carry on conversations. When I would go to parties, I would use (ketamine) as a crutch to get me out of my head and be open with people. There were other times when I went to parties, and even though I felt comfortable in my skin, I didn’t talk I just listened a lot. There’s a little bit of both with stages of use. It would give me the courage to talk, and at the same time, I could get into this quiet place where I was comfortable with being quiet.”

Ketamine produces a dissociative state, characterized by a sense of detachment from one’s physical body and the external world.  Depersonalization is a detachment within the self, regarding one’s mind or body or being a detached observer of oneself. People report feeling they have changed and the world has become vague, dreamlike, less real, or lacking in significance. This dissociative state can also result in derealization which is an alteration in the perception or experience of the external world so that it seems unreal. Other symptoms include feeling as though one’s environment is lacking in spontaneity, emotional coloring, and depth.

“Doing basic stuff was confusing. I would use and then put clothes away. Say, for example, I would do laundry. I would get confused about where things go. It’s hard to explain. I remember just like folding my clothes and putting them away and not knowing where I was. I would experience this kind of confusion, which for some reason I liked. I liked the challenge of being confused and then figuring out how to get around it or through it. There was some challenge there that I enjoyed.”

“I think most recently there was the buzz, the confusion, the challenge and then getting away with things too. I liked how much I could get away with, which is bizarre looking back.”

Many people debate about whether or not ketamine is addictive. Ketamine certainly has psychologically addictive properties due to the euphoric effects experienced. People want more.

“I knew I had a problem because I was lying, using when I said I wasn’t going to and still doing it, spending more money than I had. Yeah, I had like no control.”

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