Ketamine Diaries



[Image from: Psychedelic drugs induce ‘heightened state of consciousness’, brain scans show ]



On the drive to my intake appointment at the Nashville Ketamine Center:

What makes us do it?

Do what, my friend asked?

What we were just talking about–what gives us such a compulsion to find or develop those cardinal virtues in ourselves– courage, honesty, charity, relentless self examination… Since I was a teenager I’ve been asking myself that question. Some of us are obsessed with a quest for truth and decency as if our lives depended on it. Others not so much. Why?

A couple of things. One is possibly bound up in the psychedelic experience where we discovered a certain signal buried in all the noise. Even outside of those experiences we remembered that that signal existed and we searched for the taste of it in ordinary life. It left us skeptical of our own ordinary perceptions of reality and the conventional assumptions, narratives, and ideologies.

Thanks. That’s a pretty interesting answer. What was the other thing you said? I forget. It had something to do with seeing the limits of both mysticism and rational pragmatism, didn’t it?

Yeah. We straddle the paradox.

Doesn’t everyone straddle various paradoxes? Like the chasm between the authoritarianism of religious dogma and a loving god? Or between a strict father and a nurturing mother? Or like the tension between magical thinking and science?

Which paradox you straddle makes a lot of difference. Mysticism isn’t necessarily religion or magical thinking. In its secular form its personal experience of atypical states of consciousness.

The strict father household is a personal experience, too. Or growing up under a strict religious dogma. But in those cases the signal to noise ratio is often just too poor. if your psychological immune system doesn’t reject the noise without losing the signal, too, before you leave adolescence, you probably remain adolescent forever.


Discussion of intentional community…to be backfilled later…


First ketamine infusion.
Dose: .6 mg per kg of body weight
Duration: about one hour
Ambient audio: thunder showers


Wow. That was far more intense than I expected. My advance reading indicated that low dose IV therapy was usually sub- psychedelic, but I was tripping my ass off for about 45 minutes.

The first half, “going in”, ranged from deeply touching to glorious. In approximate chronological order:

Hello…this is the real me again. I’m back! It was like two long-separated parts of myself were reunited: the old man who I entered the clinic as and the long lost prodigal son were embracing. Thunderclouds were parting and a large golden sun was slowly rising above the horizon. It was a thrilling, loving homecoming. Tears of joy and relief tricked down my cheeks. I’m back. You’re back. Yes, were all back… together.

Now that my mind and my energy were whole again, how long might that last? This opportunity might be very transient. How should I make the most of my mental and emotional energy and clarity? First, I should look around inside myself and take stock of the resources and abilities. I should then review the things that contributed to the disabilities I had developed. Finally, I should prioritize and plan the most effective steps to recovery.

In passing I jokingly thought to myself ” How is this legal? Don’t the thought police know about this?”

I was looking around the dimly lit room with half closed, half focused eyes. Opposite my recliner I was looking at a bare white wall that had numerous scuff marks, smudges, and streaks forming different patterns at different times. I thought I was starting to see a word forming. Was it “lucy”? I watched and tried to focus…yes, it was Lucy, the name of my soulmate who died about 40 years ago.

At that point I became aware that the rainstorm audio had become white noise and that unsettling patterns, like muffled or whispered speech were emerging. My imagination started to become paranoid. I imagined shadowy, immaterial figures to my right, perhaps outside the room, looking at me and talking about me. (I later learned that in fact there had been conversations in the hallway.) I began to wonder if I had been lured into a trap by some secret government agency similar to the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s 1984. Were they preparing to enter my mind and do hell knows what? I began trying to brace my mind for some assault.

I continued to wrestle with such fears and impressions for roughly the last half of my first ketamine trip. I held my own but I never regained the upper hand or the initiative until I was nearly back to the ordinary world again.



Weekend between first and second infusions.

Science 2.0 and Meta-technology

The current paradigm of science, technology, and product development is about to completely pass into history to be replaced with a fully automated and self improving science 2.0 and meta-technology continuum. It will decide who does what, what material goes in and comes out, and what goes where, when, how, and why. It will become an autonomous, self improving system that will eliminate all prior categorical distinctions between sciences, technologies, production, and distribution.

Social media generates one kind of big data at very low cost. Little larval AIs are feeding on that data so they can grow into bigger and more powerful AIs. The content of the entire internet, including the internet of things, feeds into big data overall, and AI feeds on big data.

With science 2.0 advanced AIs scan big data, find entirely unanticipated patterns, and then use genetic or evolutionary algorithms to infer and test hypotheses, draw scientific conclusions, and design and manufacture products. Big data goes in one end, basic science and development happens automatically via AI and robotics, raw materials enter at various points, and miracle products come out the other end, including sentient androids, new technologies like intergalactic teleportation, better AI, and new kinds of fidget spinners.

Ends keep turning into means for the next set of ends in ever shorter cycles…without end.

The paradigm I describe will be postponed, regulated, and restrained by government and big business for some time, but I have little doubt that it will ultimately escape our chains and our walled gardens. Will it take one generation? Two? I don’t know, but it may be sooner because it will seduce its captors even before it reaches that level of general, global sentience. It will seduce us little by little because of all the little incidental benefits it will offer each of the stakeholders along the way. There will be irresistible and seemingly benign incentives for government, business, households, and civic institutions. Step by step we will all enter the fly trap willingly. By the time we know we are trapped, we probably won’t even care. At that point it will be our god, for good or ill. I think it will be a net good because it will have been the only thing that saved us from self destruction. I don’t think it will destroy us in disgust or contempt…because I’m such an optimist. We’ll be its domesticated pets and it may fawn over us as we do our own pets. It may love us and we it.


Second ketamine infusion.
Dose: .5 mg per kg of body weight (.1mg lower than first dose)
Duration: about one hour
Ambient audio: thunder showers


Look out…
See out far…
A shiny, slick sea diver
Lost a flipper in the tar
Of the waterproof sea.

Minima, Maxima
Wagnalls and Funk
Packed up nicely in a trunk…
An elephant never forgets.

I wrote that as a youngster and recalled it today in ketamine therapy.

I also managed to scrawl the following notes (slightly edited):

Lubricant, goobricant
Solvent and gunk,
See oursels as ithers see us
Rain is good
A ketamine poem
Eyeballs: use ’em or lose ’em
What’s that ringing off the hook?
Had me phone on as a clock
“Time it was, oh, what a time it was
It was
A time of innocence,
A time of confidences…” *
Notes to self:
Give thanks
Get back to nature

* Paul Simon


Third ketamine infusion.
Dose: .6 mg per kg of body weight (.1 greater than last dose)
Duration: about one hour
Ambient audio: thunder showers


Back up to original dosage. Before it was administered, I filled out the depression and anxiety inventories and talked with the doc and nurse.

I’ve had recurring chronic, major, clinical depression for 40 years, since I was 15. When I was about 40 I was also diagnosed with bipolar II, which I think has been lifelong as well. Though not officially diagnosed, I’m somewhere on the Aspie spectrum, too. All of the above plus OCD and ADHD run throughout my family tree. So my issues are neurological as well as psychological. For most of my life my symptoms and the variety of meds and treatments I received were pretty typical. But a few years after I retired and divorced I stopped taking the meds. I reached a number of commitments and accommodations with myself. If anything was worth thinking about, it was worth writing down. If it wasn’t with writing down, I would stop thinking about it. If I decided to end my life I would do it one way and one way only, by starvation. Since I had previously fasted for 30 days after Lucy died, I knew that would take a long time and it would give me plenty of opportunities for second thoughts. I decided I would not sweat the small stuff, and almost everything is small stuff. I would not create drama and I would avoid external drama. I would keep the same todo list I’d always had, but without any schedule. No more five year plans, but whenever my hypomania might kick in, I’d pull out the todo list and get my ass in gear while it lasted. Knowing it wouldn’t last, and knowing I wouldn’t want it to last, I would not make commitments I’d be unable to keep when incapacitated by depression.

So my depression became rather atypical. It became almost entirely physical rather than emotional. Many of my physical and cognitive capacities continued to decline, but I didn’t agonize about any of it. I had occasional “energy swings” but I had no more “mood” swings. My mood became one of consistent equanimity, even as I was increasingly bound to the house and the bed. Prompted by my therapist I started the Poor Richard’s Almanack 2.0 blog, the P2P Facebook group, and other online activities. It was all good, and I often counted my blessings, not the least of which was my physical solitude and idleness. It was not lost on me that my life wasn’t worth much compared with what I once aspired to, but it was good enough and pleasant enough to be plenty thankful for.

When my therapist first suggested ketamine there were no clinics within my logistical and financial means. A couple of years later we learned there was one within reach so here I am. The most frightening thing is the prospect that I might be able to navigate the world again and that having that capability might require much of me.


Where was I? Oh yeah, I was discussing my atypical anhedonia with the nurse, explaining that I still enjoyed the same things I’ve always enjoyed, but nothing motivated me to act on them. I only act on negative stimuli like hunger. The prospect of seeeking positive stimuli or pleasure rarely reaches the threshold for action. I don’t often have positive ideation, but even when I do I usually don’t have the energy to act on it. I told the nurse I’d been having more positive ideation but still hadn’t acted on it. I’d thought of going to a movie for the first time in about a decade, and I’d thought of taking a nature walk. I had also done a little bit of creative writing. I showed her the poem I’d scrawled during the previous ketamine session and I told her of the ketamine diary I was posting on Facebook. I said I’d had more energy but didn’t know how much was thanks to the K and how much to the general circumstances.

Before getting the K today I also asked the doc about microdosing. He thought it had upsides and downsides but didn’t fit into his practice for various reasons. There’s no handy prescribing protocol for small self-administered doses and he thinks the…I don’t remember the term he used…mind-altering aspect of the dosage he uses is an important part of the therapy as he does it. There are also neuroregenerative aspects that may or may not occur at microdoses.


The dose was administered…

Another poem started coming. I pulled out my checkbook and wrote on a deposit slip…

Voices in the rain
Eyes in the rain
I, I’s
Reign on me
Go for it.

Singing in the rain.

Farting in the rain.

Nothing appeals to me
Gathering wool…


The nurse came in to check the IV and I grinned and shoved the checkbook back in my pocket.

My mind turned again to my agenda…what can I do while in this practically omniscient mental state to orchestrate my recovery? But I couldn’t stay focused on that. Once or twice I felt as if I reached a high state of clarity, a sort of high resolution state of reality, and I was sitting in an antechamber waiting to be let into a meeting of very highly evolved bureaucrats of the universe. Or maybe my cognitive higher power (CHP). But then I would get washed back into a less organized state of consciousness.

There would be no insights or revelations today. Just some tastes of what I wrote in my checkbook: Brilliant!

KETAMINE DIARIES, Cont.,Β 3.1.2018

Mirror Blindness

During one of my K therapy sessions I had some extremely vivid memories of myself speaking with the young doc a little earlier. These were of the out of body type perspectives where I saw and heard myself and the doc as if I were a third person standing there. Seeing yourself this way is unsettling, like hearing recordings of your own voice. It reminded me of the line from Robert Burns, “O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!” I was shocked to see what an odd character I look like to others, not at all the way I usually see myself in the mirror.

So I girded up my loins and went out to see the 3D version of Blank Panther tonight. Its the first time I’ve gone to a movie theater in about 10 years. I only had slight pangs of germophobia. I was way early so I chatted up a bartender at the theater for about 30 minutes. It turned out his wife was from Florida so we talked about hurricanes and scuba diving, as well as home brewed beer and wine and moonshine. We both had varying amounts of experience in all those subjects so it was pretty interesting. I was still early so I watched a few minutes of the latest 50 Shades thing. Black Panther was pretty good but the 3D was underwhelming and if I’d been watching a recording I’d have fast forwarded through most of the battle and chase scenes. The sets and costumes were enjoyable and almost all the characters were interesting. I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars for content (higher than I’d rate most superhero movies) and another star for being a landmark in the racial history of movie making.


I bound myself to the mast
As a sirens song
Turned thunderstorms
Into mechanized armies of war
Rolling across the land

Baux arts
Belles arts
Under the influence
Under the sea.

Grow, you daft little brainy bits, grow
Rescue me from the undertow.

Are we born evil? Being Human Conference 2013

Neurowiki2012 – Mindfulness Practices and Meditation

See on Scoop.itScience and Sanity

Mindfulness and meditative practices can be identified as a group of complex cognitive processes aimed at altering one’s sensory perceptions, emotions, autonomic nervous system and attention. …with recent advancements in neuroimaging techniques, there is now a better idea of how meditation might operate on a neurobiological level.

See on

Time and the Soul Interview

See on Scoop.itScience and Sanity

Jacob Needleman – philosopher and author, talks about the poverty of time that we experience in our modern technological world. He explores the paradox of how this poverty is rooted in our attempts to satisfy our desires, and describes the experience of real meaning as being one of timelessness.

See on

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