Ketamine Therapy Helped My Depression. I Wish It Were More Accessible.

Source: Alaina Demopoulos, Allure 

Was I on this soapbox as I drifted off into my ketamine trip? I have to admit I was not. I felt peaceful as Jenna began with a meditation, reminding me that if things ever got to be too overwhelming, I could always return to my breath. “Blessings on your journey, Alaina,” she cooed as a chorus of female voices chanting in unison rose from the playlist blasting in my headphones.

I first felt a melting sensation in my back — soon my limbs, too, felt like puddles, and I lost all feeling of having a physical body. Very slowly, I had no sense of who I was or what I was doing. This, of course, was fucking terrifying, but I found ways to soothe myself — taking deep breaths, moving along to the music, remembering that I had a mouth I could turn up into a grin. I gave up caring.

There were two cracks of light in my eye mask, streaming in from both sides of my nose. This is common whenever I wear any type of glasses or covering – due to my prominent, aquiline nose, things never quite sit right up there. I cannot remember a time when I did not feel majorly insecure about my big nose. I hated it so much growing up that I began to blame everything on its size. If it were only smaller I’d have gotten all the jobs I’ve ever been rejected from, or I’d feel less alone, or I’d be happier.

Then I saw the faint outline of a flesh-toned L shape cut through my vision. It zoomed past my peripherals, so I followed it with my eyes. It was like watching one long shot of a cartoon — the L did cartwheels and kickflips and I followed, hypnotized. Then it got clear: I was being guided deeper into the darkness by my nose. But this time, I wasn’t disgusted by the way I looked. I was impressed by how it led me, I was amazed by its courage, I was grateful that no matter how much I cursed or criticized it, it existed alongside me.

“Ketamine can give you insight on your body image issues, and allow you to potentially come to a conclusion about them,” Dr. Mahjoubi later told me. “Furthermore if your body image issues are rooted in depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, for example being ridiculed by someone in the past about your body, then ketamine can certainly help with that.”

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