Brenda Steele talks about her healing journey with IV Ketamine at CIT Clinics.
Yeah, my journey to CIT is kind of a long journey but I'll give it briefly.
In coming to CIT clinics I was in the middle of one of the longest down cycles of depression I've had in my life it was lasting over three years it started before the pandemic and obviously, the pandemic was a very very stressful time for everyone and it continued through that time and when I came to CIT I was really in a quite hopeless place. My job, my primary job is to keep my health and wellness because my health and wellness has been a very big issue my whole life since I was really a child. I had tried so many different things to try to create wellness in my body and in my mind with very little success and that is very discouraging. Late 20s, I was very responsible you know, no no no drinking no drugs you know healthy lifestyle exercise really trying to support wellness and nothing really was helping me to get where I wanted to be.
When ketamine first started becoming more readily available I was living in Chicago and you know initially I was like you know very wary as many people were in the beginning but I did my research and homework and I'm a big advocate of research and personal responsibility you know when it comes to what you're going to do for your mental health and so I did my research and I you know saw the studies at John Hopkins and you know studies taking place all over and I really started to see that this might possibly be something that would be worth looking into and I did. Unfortunately, some of the places while well-intentioned, I don't think really understood what is needed to provide people environmentally, emotionally, socially when getting this type of treatment. I mean it's really this type of treatment is just not like anything we've done in the past and so I had some well-intentioned treatment that was bad and I had some not well-intentioned treatment that was bad. But I kept trying because I could see the seed of something about it that was definitely helpful.
I could see when I was living in Chicago that there were clinics that were opening up because this was the new cool thing and they were people who were going to make money. I just feel like as a patient when you go into that environment you can feel that and there's a difference between when people are doing what they're doing because they want to help people heal from these conditions whether it be physical pain emotional mental pain there is such a difference night and day when people really understand and believe in this work it makes a big difference. There's a lot of progressive work in this field that has been going on for more than 50 years so I was hoping I could find a place and I was looking and looking and I just when I found CIT and I talked to you Oli, I knew right away that I had found at least a hint that I was working with someone who understood what is needed here and I was so grateful that I did.
I could see when I was living in Chicago that there were clinics that were opening up because this was the new cool thing and they were people were going to make money. Putting together the money to do treatment is pretty is difficult when you have a mental illness, it's really difficult if you don't have the support of family and a partner who can help you through those things they can be very very difficult and if Oli had not been able to get the maps funding for me there's no way I would have been able to get the treatment that I so badly needed and I mean it made the difference all the difference in the world it changed the world I was living in. Trying not to get emotional but just thank you you know, you've made such a significant impact on my life through support and funding like this I mean you can make a huge impact on someone's life I mean I've been able to work and function and enjoy my life in a way I hadn't in over three years I mean that's it's huge I mean it's huge and I have just an enormous amount of gratitude, enormous.
Yeah I mean really it's just night and day. It's the difference between feeling like you're in a cold clinical procedural environment versus feeling like you are being helped and I don't say that to some cliche or over the top. I mean everything feels extremely professional here and yet I never feel rushed or pushed, that was one of the things I always felt I felt the sense that my clinics that I'd gone to in the past that there was this need for me to you know get moving because someone else needed that room and you know just this energy I felt that was a little bit stressful and here I never feel that, I always feel welcomed and calm and heard and seen and cared for and safe. All of these things are so essential when you're doing this type of treatment, it's absolutely essential and yet it is not the way at so many places and I cannot express the number of times I've said how thankful I am to you Oli or thankful to Jen or Joyce or Dr. Tibble or just you know... because we're just not used to getting this type of care in mental health but in a lot of ways I mean most of us are not used to getting that care in general and it's just so badly needed and it's so greatly appreciated.
It's, I mean, I feel like my life has changed a lot this year and it's still changing I think that the treatment really opened up a new way of perceiving how I could be in the world. I just don't know if it would have been possible otherwise and I've just learned to kind of walk differently in the world and think differently and create some different practices around my mental health and to learn to be more gentle with myself in ways that I never could before and treatment I've learned to kind of soften the sense of myself and become a little bit more in tune with what deeper parts of me need and in that I've begun to do a lot more meditation and a lot more quiet time writing as well as the things I was doing before therapeutic work and exercise and all these things that I know are extremely valuable good diet but these things are really helping to build new footprints in the ground a new place to walk it's like I'm still in the same forest but I'm walking on a different path now and just walk slowly and subtly it's new and it's different but it's so much better.
It's a huge investment, it's a financial investment but I think more importantly than the money is the investment you know the commitment to self you know you really have to respect and consider that your mental health is the primary job in life when you're dealing with mental health issues this is the priority and we need to you know kind of respect the time and care that needs to be given to the self when you're doing these treatments doing treatment and running back out and you know getting into crazy work or crazy stress can really inhibit the treatment's ability to impact you on that slower level as you get out of treatment you need a little bit of time and space, time in nature writing processing you know just taking care of your body and moving a little slower and that's hard for people to do because you don't feel like you can take that time away but I think in so much as a person is able to make as much space as they can that is extremely extremely important.
You have to be willing to do the deep work this isn't a handout you know this isn't just putting your hand out and taking a pill and okay I'm fixed and that's what people have to be ready for it may feel scary I don't want to go in there because that doesn't feel like a safe place and that I understand but that is the work that needs to happen to get through this experience and get to the other side and find something that looks different than what you've been walking in so far and the willingness to just be open to the experience is really all it requires and a willingness to just be brave and let go to a sort of unknown thing.
Yeah I mean there's a lot of things that are really important I think that it's really important that you be cared for and supervised by people who are professionals and know what they're doing and that includes not just the environment when you're getting treatment but when you're out and you go home and you're processing and maybe something's coming up you need to have people to talk with and to process this experience with it's extremely important people who know what ketamine treatment is and what it does I think that's so important another really important factor is environment my goodness you know my first treatment was in a standard doctor's office with fluorescent lights and the bed and the paper and it was not pleasant it was it was tough those people had really good intentions but I think they were uneducated so it's important again that the people you're working with are educated about what ketamine is is not standard medical treatment is a very different type of treatment and that they create an environment that enhances the experience and makes a person feel safe and comfortable and welcome to what they're doing oh gosh it's hard for me not to get emotional when I think about the people who've generously donated to this maps fund to help make funding available to people to do this treatment I am so so very grateful you're impacting people's lives in a profound way and I don't say it to exaggerate but it is for some people is the difference between life and death I mean I was extremely suicidal when I came into CIT and it was a terrible and a scary place to be and almost instantaneously for my first treatment at the very least my suicidal ideation lifted I know that doesn't happen for everyone but it does happen quite often and that alone is was such a huge profound thing I nothing in my life has ever been able to do that and so you know I just want to say thank you so much for providing me with a sense of safety and a place to go to get help and treatment and care that I was needing so badly thank you.
When I first started doing ketamine treatments what I expected in terms of what I needed to bring to the table was very different than what I know now I'm able to go in and do treatment and receive greater benefit now because I know and I've been doing a lot of internal work and so you know this last time when I came in to receive sort of support booster treatment the fact that I've done the work around letting go and being open and you know learning to sit and be quiet with yourself and be present all of those things really help to enhance the quality of treatment that you experience here if you're in a state where you're not used to sitting with yourself and being quiet treatment can be more difficult but again it can be that way in the beginning and it can help you to open you have to stay with that you have to keep going after the treatments are done you have to keep that opening going and it's a practice you have to treat it as daily self-care I think that's a really important thing that I wasn't aware of in the beginning of that this was going to become lifestyle change not just I'm coming in for treatment.
If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD and even chronic pain, please do not hesitate to set up a free phone consultation to explore whether or not this approach may be appropriate for you. We look forward to supporting you in any way we can.
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