This winter the dark and cold brought with it the worst depression I have ever known. It was a palpable. Enough force that I could hear and taste it. And a pervasive enough force that I named her The Darkness. Every morning for months I would wake into her gapping maw an endless void of despair and every nigh I would fall asleep crying clutched in her frigid hands. Each day, the Darkness took a piece of me. She razed all my interests and stole from me all the things I cared about leaving only fantasies of death. Finally, at March’s end I followed one of those fantasies and The Darkness into a freezing lake with the intent of never having to suffer or surface again. I survived my suicide attempt. I had my first Ketamine treatment shortly after, because I realized that having a will to survive is starkly different than having a desire to be alive.
The first treatment felt completely pointless and only accomplished making me sadder. I was, however, determined to defeat The Darkness and continued receiving treatments. Each treatment did get slowly & progressively better. I began to enjoy spending time with the patients and friendly anesthesiologists and the effervescent receptionist. Each treatment also brought with it subtle improvements, such as no longer day dreaming about Duct taping over my mouth and nose and then leaping from all the tall buildings I passed on the way to and from Dr. Henderson’s’ office. Then, I started to do more things with my day – like cook and socialize. I even returned to a place I had abandoned for two bleak months. A place that with a few more treatments I would come to realize, without the veil of darkness over my being, brings me immense euphoria. Then, one afternoon a week or so before my last treatment it struck me that I was….happy, an emotion I was slow to recognize because it had been so long since I had felt it. I went ahead and received my final Ketamine treatment though it felt wholly frivolous. I am currently doing well and am staggered by how distant the feeling has become that I was a shadow sewn into a corpse cursed to shuffle through the mausoleum of my former life. There are even days that I cannot wait to get out of bed and live.
P.S. Thank you Dr. Henderson, Dan and Ralph (the anesthesiologists), and Stefa (the receptionist)!