Doctors describe what it's like giving ketamine to patients: apparently Enya helps

Originally published at:


Sail Away or Orinoco Flow?


How Bout Both GIF by Joey Bada$$

Or maybe…


I find that Enya music works fine on its own but ketamine feels like this:


I hope that none of the subjects ever saw TGWTDT. Some demented association might make one of them identify with the Martin Vanger character right then and there.

(Keep a golf club handy.)

1 Like

So not this?


I had ketamine as the anesthetic for an objectively excruciating surgery late last year that didn’t go especially well. Apparently all the medical team were wearing Very Serious Expressions™, while I was giggling, making jokes, and generally having a great time.

Recommended. Would imbibe again. :+1: :+1: :+1: :+1: :+1:


Wait, isn’t that the album about what it’s like to fall into a vegetative state, or something like that?
Not sure I want to try it out

1 Like

I tried ketamine therapy for my decades-long treatment-resistant depression a couple years ago. It was an absolute revelation. Within an hour I was far happier, I was more talkative and laughing more freely, my energy levels were higher, chronic pain levels were lower, my ability to cope with adversity was dramatically higher, and on and on. It was like the first time I found an effective antidepressant, but with a far greater effect, acting far more quickly. (And if you’re wondering, no, this wasn’t mania; I’ve experienced that, it was very different.)

Unfortunately it didn’t last. Within a couple weeks I was mostly back to my depressed self, and the treatments only moderately improved my mood and only for a day or two. It wasn’t worth spending hundreds of dollars (not covered by insurance) and hours of my time on each treatment, and of course I have far too much respect for the law to find my own source of the same medication and occasionally dose myself with $5 worth of it at home.

The half-hour or so of being under the acute effects of ketamine were interesting. I experienced some detachment from reality and time dilation which were initially scary, but I found that keeping my eyes open, with a clock in my field of view, helped keep me tethered to reality. By the third or fourth treatment I was starting to find the “untethered from reality” sense meditative and therapeutic, and decided to lean into it, and from then on I kept my eyes closed and listened to techno on noise-cancelling headphones for the duration.

I experienced some of what I initially called hallucinations. Since then I’ve talked to people more about the sorts of mental imagery they experience, and it sounds more like my non-ketamine experience of not seeing any images at all when I close my eyes is the outlier, and what I saw in my head on ketamine is what many people would consider normal daydreaming. It’s difficult to say.


Yep. Wiki: Everywhere at the End of Time is a series of six albums released from 2016 to 2019 by James Leyland Kirby under the pseudonym of the Caretaker which explores and depicts memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

I think the big question is, are they going into the k-hole, or not? I am thinking the hole is probably not a terribly useful therapeutic state, other than for surgery perhaps, heheh…

I started ketamine in December 2020 at the University of Utah. I have had chronic depression and anxiety since I was a child, and after years of trying medication after medication I had come to the end of my rope. I was literally explaining to my mother that I didn’t think I could last another year. I had heard of ketamine treatments for depression, but I’ve never had the money to try it. It’s $300-$350 per infusion and treatment starts with infusions twice a week for a few weeks. My mother (the best mom ever, I will fight you) told me she would sell her house if she needed to. Fortunately, it didn’t come to that.

After two treatments, I woke up feeling like I never had in my life. i was interested in things, getting myself to complete chores was no big deal, the negative voice in my head was JUST GONE. I could see or read sad things and not be sucked into a negative spiral for hours. ‘Miracle’ is not a strong enough word. I’ve only had one evening of relapse (so far), and that was early on. I immediately started looking into nursing school, which was something I never could have gotten through before. I won’t waste a single day of this feeling.

During the infusions, I have sort of a kaleidoscope experience which is very difficult to put into words. It is often teal. After much deliberation, I decided to listen to Weird Al albums. They are the music I have listened to most in my life, and even in a delirious state I’m able to follow the silver thread of his voice through the really strange (mostly teal) experience.

Before this, I never believed that I could want to be alive. If you have treatment resistant depression and you are able to beg, borrow or steal the funds, I highly recommend ketamine. The last time I was at the clinic, the helpful nurse was telling me that there are even a few insurance companies that are covering it now.


unrelated, but reminded me I haven’t checked here in a while


Enya with Death Metal?:


Unfortunately I can’t think of Enya now without thinking of this scene.

(trigger warning)


Seems odd to ask the person administering a drug what it’s like. Seems likely it would be just like injecting someone with a drug and then watching them wondering how they felt while on the drug.

Personally, I’ve found the more intense dissociation experiences to be very therapeutically useful. They let me examine my feelings, emotions, and experiences from a detached viewpoint; they’re all just abstract sensations and events, the only meaning or value, positive or negative, is what I choose to assign to them.

A friend of mine said she found her ketamine experience distressing because “it made me feel like everything is meaningless”, and I was like… uh, me too, but in a good way?

But I think the general consensus is that the subjective acute experience is only a small part of whatever makes ketamine useful for depression; some patients trip, some just get a little dreamy, some go full k-hole, but it doesn’t make a big difference in overall treatment outcomes.


Fascinating, and I appreciate the info.

As someone who’s done some meditating over the course of my life, that very dissociative aspect of K (something I haven’t experienced in decades btw, ha) is in some ways reminiscent, to me, of the state of removal I sometimes get to while meditating. I think of it as “the empty place.”

My sense is that there are studies that at least correlate meditation with positive mental health outcomes. I wonder if K sort of provides a similar thing “in a bottle” (literally and figuratively), and it can be profoundly positive for a little while, but might be more prolonged by supplementing with something like a meditation practice, between K doses?

Just thinking out loud, really.

1 Like

I’ve had thoughts along similar lines. I have no personal experience with meditation, but my experiences with K, and their similarities to non-drug experiences I’ve heard others describe, have inspired me to start reading about Buddhism and at least give a little thought to taking up meditation.


I find it to be a great joy and pleasure, so if you give it a shot, enjoy! :slight_smile:

1 Like