My Journey with Depression: Mental Health Professional, Ketamine Patient, and Survivor
I’m not sure when it began. Sometime in my early years, I sensed it: a lurking, a foreboding, a deep sadness. Then adolescence hit and “it” became a constant, dark presence. I slowly lost the ability to feel joy, happiness, gratitude, or being connected to others. I looked around and saw others engaged, laughing, succeeding. I thought, “Do people really feel those ‘good’ feelings? They must. Something is wrong with me.” Thus began my life long battle with depression. It became my constant companion, my worst enemy, my life taker.
The depressive thoughts and feelings developed rapidly. I was powerless against the ongoing barrage and intensity of them. “I’m worthless, unworthy, stupid, hopeless,” etc., etc., was on endless repeat. Obsessions began; debilitating ones. Anorexia and later, bulimia. Food was something I found I could control. The only thing. It helped me cope with a monster I had no conscious awareness I was fighting.
My first trip to a psychiatrist was at age 19. He was a kind, warm, and intelligent man. I was introduced to therapy and an “anti-depressant” medication. The medication helped for a long while. I began feeling less despair, but I also began to feel…nothing. Numbness. At that point, I was okay with numb. The thoughts and feelings were less. I reasoned this was just the trade-off.
Then out of nowhere came the suicidal thoughts. Strong, fast, unrelenting. With the help of my family and psychiatrist, I made it through. However, I didn’t see this as a triumph. My “truth” became “I am a horrible, selfish, ‘drama queen.’” I believed I had created all of this, and it was all my fault.
Life went on, I graduated from college, completed a teacher’s certification program, got married, and had two beautiful kids. I was able to handle life but I never felt connected to life and always experiencing the underlying feeling that I was flawed, and that I had chosen to be this way. “I could change,” I thought. I just needed more willpower, more self-discipline, more exercise, to eat better, to sleep better, to be more grateful, I needed God, I needed supplements, I needed to get off all medication. On and on went my thoughts and advice of well-meaning friends.
I slowly began to slip. I sought help from different psychiatrists, therapists: changing medications, changing diagnoses. Some medications helped for a while but nothing long term. The older I got, the darker and foggier life became. Not only was I battling depression, I was introduced to guilt, shame, obsessive worries, and uncontrollable ruminating thoughts.
There are no words to describe the pain. It was a toxic combination of the mental anguish, emotional despair, debilitating anxiety, physical pain, the inability to think straight, but above all else, the loss of hope. That was the worst. The never-ending hopelessness was my personal version of hell. And yet, I still went through life. I was on yet another antidepressant. I made it through graduate school with all but one ‘A’, I was now a single parent, I found faith in someone greater then myself. Even with all these wonderful accomplishments, I still felt empty, alone, and in constant despair.
I began researching new treatments for depression and I came upon ketamine. I called Ketamine Wellness Centers and my life has been forever changed. The morning after my fourth ketamine infusion, I woke up feeling as if a blanket had been lifted. I felt scared. My ever-present “friend” was gone. The suicidal thoughts. Gone. The ruminating and obsessive thoughts. Gone. I could think clearly. Colors were more vibrant. I felt grounded. And for the first time in my life, I felt peace.
I am so grateful for KWC. And I’m grateful for something else: wisdom. As a sufferer and as a mental health professional, I now fully grasp the truth that my brain is sick, not my soul. The person the universe intended me to be has always been within, just buried deep, deep down due to my illness. Depression is not something I ever chose. It is not something I could think, pray, exercise away. It was truly beyond my control. This is not to say I haven’t had to change bad habits I created when I was sick. I have my share of unhealthy habits and I am slowly working on changing them. The exciting thing is I can do it. It’s not overwhelming or causing anxiety like it use to. I’m no longer stuck.
My only regret is not finding ketamine when I first diagnosed 28 years ago. How different my life would have been! But I’m thankful for this moment and that I have found relief. And most of all, I’m thankful the entire staff of Ketamine Wellness Centers. They are truly the best of the best.
Terri was born and raised in Colorado Springs, CO. In the mid 90’s, she earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and a Certification in Elementary Education from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
Since 2004, Terri has called Arizona her home. She received her Masters of Arts in Counseling from Ottawa University in 2017. She has experience working with children, teenagers, and adults struggling with a variety of mental health concerns including addiction.
Terri believes in the power of hope and is passionate about supporting others as they navigate the ups and downs of life. Helping support your journey and goals in relation to where you desire to be now and in the future.