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Hello Everyone... I'm new here, just joined, have been browsing the forums, etc before making my introduction. I'm a 34 year old woman and I live in Washington State, between Seattle and the Canadian border. A friend of mine brought this site to my attention and I feel like it could be a good thing for me.

I have been dealing with depression pretty much my entire life but was not officially diagnosed until I was 19 or so. My official diagnosis is treatment resistant unipolar depression, severe social anxiety, and severe generalized anxiety. Also, I deal with multiple physical health issues, including CRPS, fibromyalgia, multiple medication allergies, an allergy to myself, and many more that I just don't feel like listing because it would take forever. Because of my mental health issues combined with my physical health issues, I have been declared disabled and am on SSDI. Chronic pain does not help improve one's mood.

I have been on a variety of different meds prescribed by my pdoc, with negative results from most of them. I have been in therapy as well as seeing my psychiatrist. I have been hospitalized for my depression many times. Over the years, I have tried many different treatment methods. The most effective treatment methods have been unilateral and bilateral ECT (which I have done as both an inpatient and an outpatient)...and we are giving ketamine a try to assist with both my depression and chronic pain.

I'm on quite a few meds (the ones I'm actually not allergic to) to help with my chronic pain (which don't do jack), depression (which kinda help), and anxiety (which also kinda help).

Anyways.... I have been rambling on for quite some time and my anxiety level is getting kind of high so I am going to sign off for now. I'm looking forward to getting to know y'all, this seems like a very helpful site. Hope to chat soon.

Thanks!

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Welcome to Crazyboards.  I'm glad you joined, and I hope you find this place to be supportive and informative.

 

Don't be afraid to contact a staff person if you need help with anything.

 

olga

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Thank you all for the welcomes!

sook, so far I've had one 2 day infusion (in January) and one 1 day infusion (at the beginning of this month) of the ketamine. I've had good luck with both of them, depression-wise. I haven't experienced a hard downward crash since my infusion this month. But, for chronic pain, the results weren't as long lasting as I had hoped. But I am scheduled for more infusions and am hoping that they will help more each time. But, the big thing about ketamine infusions is that they can bring on strange and/or scary hallucinations and/or dreams...for most, during the infusion; and for some, for awhile after the infusion. I was lucky in that I had strange dreams (I dreamt I was one of the Golden Girls) but they weren't scary. And according to my boyfriend, I giggled like crazy in my sleep during the infusion.

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Drearae127,

 

Thanks for the ketamine feedback. What do you mean by infusion ?

 

I thought it was just a medication you take.

 

What's the cost per treatment, I assume it's not covered by insurance ?

 

Is it in-patient or out-patient for the treatment ?

 

Thanks in advance for your comments,

sook

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Hi sook,

The experiences I have had, and what the docs here in the Pacific Northwest have offered is the infusion route. There are very few docs here that will do this but it's done in an outpatient setting. An IV is started and the ketamine is infused (along with IV saline solution) over the course of 4-6 hours. And it's done two days in a row. You have to have someone (of your choice) with you constantly during the infusions and after the infusions, until it's been a full 24 hours after your second infusion. And that's because it's still in your system, it's difficult to function, and this person has to be there in case of side effects.

The shorter way I have tried it has been where it's used as the anesthesia for my ECT treatments. I do those on an outpatient basis as well. I have been working my way from weekly to every other week to every two weeks. The plan is to work on getting them as far apart as I can tolerate.

As for insurance covering ketamine, it really depends on your insurance and if it's considered 'medically necessary'...and all that fun insurance stuff of jumping through hoops... But I really didn't have too much of a problem since I've tried pretty much everything else under the sun. And it's not like the infusions are done on a frequent basis... But it really depends on the doc, if they are willing/able to do the infusions (since there can be a high liability, many docs are waiting to go the infusion route)..

Hope this helps!

-Drearae

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Drearae127,

 

WOW you have a lot of experience in treatment therapy. ECT scares me and I don't have the support structure in place to take care of me if I wanted to, plus the whole memory loss issue thing bothers me.

 

My understanding is that ECT is only a treatment and not a cure, that is if it works you have to have treatments for the rest of your life.

 

If you don't mind me asking, how many treatments have you had ? Are you feeling any better from them ?

 

Sorry for ALL the questions but your experience is intriguing,

sook

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Hi sook! I have no problem sharing my experiences. I have been doing ECT on and off for approx 13 years now. I have had it as both inpatient and outpatient. I have had inpatient experiences at 4 different hospitals and outpatient at 2 of the 4 hospitals. The inpatient treatments are usually meant to get you in a better place in a short period of time, so the treatments are closer together. I would be inpatient because I was so severely depressed and suicidal, so closely scheduled treatments (usually 3 times a week, for 1-3 weeks) and being under hospital observation was required to get me out of that horrible mindset/mood. Many hospitals (at least around where I'm at) only offer inpatient treatments, not outpatient/maintenance treatments. I found that if I do maintenance treatments, I do not go as far down that dark hole as I do when I don't have them. Yes, they can be scary and the side effects can be annoying... But I will take the side effects over feeling that awful. The scary part has been going under anesthesia for me, but anesthesia is scary for me no matter what... I require that someone maintains eye contact with me as I go under, no matter what I'm having done (Be it ECT or when I've had surgery). The side effects, such as memory loss, can be annoying...but can be learned to live with. I tend to write a lot of things down, my friends are very understanding and help me out instead of getting grumpy, and I may be forgetful but it's not like all my past/current memories are gone, never to be remembered again. With my outpatient treatments, I have been fortunate with the pdocs doing them. They have been terrific and understanding. The pdoc that is currently doing them for me is my regular pdoc and my treatments are being done at my local hospital....instead of having to travel to another city for outpatient ECT. I know that ECT is not a magic cure for me and that I will probably have to continue maintenance treatments for a long time...but I'm fine with that. Some people just need the inpatient series and never have to do it again. It really depends on how you react to the treatments. I react very well to the treatments but if I go long periods of time without them (I think my longest was a year), I tend to crash very hard and getting back to how I was before is a long process. And I do what I'm supposed to do- I take my meds, see my docs, and follow their orders....but my depression and anxiety still get the best of me... So for me, the added oomph of ECT is necessary.

Hope this helps...and like I said, I'm happy to answer questions regarding the treatments I have done or currently do.

Thanks!

-Drearae

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Hi Drearae127,

 

I have read some good stories regarding ECT and some horror stories. You must have good insurance to have inpatient treatment or even outpatient ECT treatment. I live alone and would not have the support necessary to have the treatments plus I don't think my insurance would cover it ? I do suffer bad depression and anxiety and have tried a lot of Antidepressants with no success. Thanks for sharing your experience. - you are a strong soul.

 

Sincerely,

sook

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Hi sook,

I think you are a strong person too! You keep going, and that is what is important. Over the years I have had bouts of good insurance, decent insurance, no insurance, and now I'm on Medicare (I'm on SSDI for my CRPS and mental health). I am in a lot of medical debt from all my various procedures/doc visits/etc.... But I have had good doctors that make strong cases to insurance, assistance programs, and hospitals on my behalf. As for support, it's only been in recent years that I have had a support 'network'. For many years I was in an abusive marriage and he was very controlling as well. I had friends during but was limited on when I could see them...and my family has never really been supportive (To them I'm the 'embarrassing black sheep' and so I don't have much contact with them...and when I do, it's usually negative). And while I was still in that marriage, I did not feel safe telling others how hellish the relationship really was. Thankfully, I finally was able to leave him...and have been able to work on actually being honest about what really went on. It's still very hard for me to build relationships with others (trust, feeling safe, speaking my mind, etc...) but I find it's better to have just a few super close people than it is to have a huge bunch of acquaintances. But, if ECT is something you feel might be worth a try, it wouldn't hurt to talk about it with your pdoc, get their opinion, and see what your options are. I wish you the best in this adventure...and I'm here for you, if you wanna talk. You are strong too....you've got this...just remember that.

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Hi Drearae,

 

I am so sorry to hear about all the pain you have been through, you are a lot stronger than me based on what you have stated. I have a strong family but I don't live that close to them and like you I have a couple of good friends to lean on. I just don't think I ready to even consider ECT because of my living conditions and fears of the negative stories about its success rate and memory loss. My pdoc has even mentioned it to me already but he scares me sometimes when I start asking him questions about it. This forum has an ECT section and I have not read a lot of promising post, a few good one but a lot of bad ones so I don't think it is for me.

 

My depression and anxiety is based on a medical condition which there is no cure for ( its not terminal just hard to live with ) so its more of me accepting it and I don't think ECT would fix that ?

 

Thanks again for ALL your responses - you are so kind.

sook

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