As some of you know, I have acute PTSD which is attributable to gun violence. I was ambushed and shot on a busy New York subway platform to put a stop to an internal audit that I had initiated over six locations.
Most of what we know about PTSD is learned from the experiences of young armed forces personnel. For many (if not most) of them, the severity of the condition decreases over time. My experience is the exact opposite. My levels of anxiety and depression have increased over time. Before moving from New York to South Florida I made a serious attempt at suicide.
Yes. I do see the comparison between my symptoms and those of the gender-diverse kids that I care so much about. There really is no comparison. Trans kids have a far greater challenge than anything that I will ever have to deal with.
I have tried just about everything. I have enough meds to normalize ISIS’s leadership. My medications come in a fascinating assortment of shapes, colors and sizes. Enough to keep Julio Torres busy.
The other day I tweeted something about ketamine to Dr. Jack Turban who specializes in the care of transgender children and adolescents. (Jack is also one of the smartest people I know.)
“The more open that we are about mental health in our society, the more people will seek treatment.”
It is true. I am on ketamine therapy which is supposed to be a wonder cure for PTSD. My psychiatrist owns a compounding pharmacy and they provided me with an at-home nasal spray of ketamine.
I haven’t gotten high since college. Moreover, I absolutely hate weed. It makes me fat, stupid and paranoid.
I am just beginning the ketamine therapy. I am due for another dose late this afternoon. It is much too early to tell but I think that I am experiencing mild improvement on the depression side. No improvement in anxiety.
Meanwhile I must say that these are some of the most pleasant couple of hours I have ever experienced. As the saying goes, “better than sex.” And that is coming from someone who hates giving up control.
While I am thoroughly blasted, I reside on my terrace in a zero-gravity recliner watching the boats on the bay. My ears are plugged with my favorites from Bruckner, Mozart, Corelli and Vivaldi. It is an amazing experience with no apparent side effects or consequences.
Having said that, ketamine is very serious business. Your mileage may vary. My experience might not apply to anyone else or even most people. This is a decision that requires expert clinical advice.
It will be more than a month before I really appreciate the effectiveness of this treatment. Most of the research involves intravenous infusions. Moreover, no one really knows how long the treatment lasts.
So, yes, the tweet was true. I am off on a new adventure. In the past I have made a habit of writing about my behavioral health. It is nothing to be ashamed of. I have nothing to hide. Unfortunately, due to stigma, many people do not get the treatment that they require. They suffer needlessly.
The more open that we are about mental health, the more people will seek treatment. That is something that should be encouraged. The stigma dates back to the middle ages when mental illness was associated with witchcraft. The persistence of the stigma is baffling and contrary to our best interests as a civil society.