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Patient Testimonial: The Innerbloom Ketamine Therapy Experience

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing a special patient of ours who underwent a series of six IV ketamine infusions. She did a wonderful job explaining the Innerbloom Ketamine Therapy experience. Our hope is that this powerful patient testimonial will help answer questions about the ketamine therapy process and potentially alleviate any stress or anxiety for those considering ketamine therapy as an option for treatment.

Tranquil seascape scene with girl which looking at the sun which is barely visible behind a lavender sky

Please introduce yourself. What mental health issue did you struggle with and why did you consider ketamine therapy as on option for treatment?

Hello—I’m a woman in my early 40’s, married, have a young child, and I work full time. I am a person who has felt shame about my mental health struggles, and outwardly have always tried to maintain a persona of being a high achiever and felt that I needed the approval of others in order to be accepted and valued. I am very hard on myself, always strive for perfection, and constantly feel as though I am not good enough, even when outwardly it appears that I am successful. I have struggled with severe depression, anxiety and PTSD.

The last few years have been incredibly difficult, I have tried every possible therapy, medication, and treatment regimen without significant improvement in symptoms. It has taken so much of my time and energy and yet I was still seeking something that might work for me. I had researched ketamine and knew a few people who had tried it, but not locally. I considered it because honestly, I was desperate to find a way to experience life without a constant feeling of dread, sadness, and like I was just getting through each day. I hoped that there was some way to bring the spark back to me after many years of living in darkness and worried that I was losing hope and the will to keep going.

A patient model sitting in a leather recliner in IKT's treatment room with Eli, a golden retriever, laying across their lap

Tell us about your very first interaction with Innerbloom which included a phone consultation with Dr. Rivas.

I discovered Innerbloom after seeing something on social media about the new clinic opening, and went online to learn more. I had been interested in ketamine infusions and read many articles about the efficacy and results for people with depression and anxiety. I had not been willing to take the next step, as other clinics required a paid consultation before beginning treatment and I didn’t see an option for a clinic that looked like I would connect with or trust.

When I realized I could book a free consultation with Dr. Rivas online, I figured it would be worth talking with him about my history, learn more about ketamine and if it would be right for me, and my goals for treatment. My phone consultation with Dr. Rivas was very helpful and provided me with the information I needed to make an informed decision. We discussed my current health conditions, medications I was taking, and also talked about some significant traumas that I had experienced that all contributed to feeling as though my depression and anxiety would forever be a heavy weight I would have to carry the rest of my life. Dr. Rivas listened and answered all my questions, and did not push me to sign up for treatments, but gave me the information I needed to feel like I was making an informed and educated choice. He cared about my medical conditions, but was also interested in the happenings of my life that had brought me to my current state. He was compassionate, professional and informative.

When did your symptoms start and what have you tried in the past including medications, therapy, and exercise?

I struggled with depression a few times in my 20’s and tried a couple of medications, but I believed it was related to situations that resolved, and for many years, I was doing very well. My significant symptoms started when I became pregnant, within the first few weeks. I had a very sudden shift in my mood and found myself completely paralyzed, unable to think, crying incessantly, and with extreme anxiety. I had no idea what was happening in my mind and body and my husband and I tried to find support and resources to understand what was going on and what we could do to change my symptoms. Luckily, my obstetrician was incredibly compassionate and explained that I had perinatal depression. At the time, I had never heard of this condition— I was only aware of postpartum depression.

My doctor suggested that I take an anti-depressant to help with these symptoms, but told me it could be 6-8 weeks before I might feel an improvement. I was adamant that I did not want to take medication because I did not want my baby to have any exposure or health risks related to taking medication. My condition continued to be very severe, and I was unable to work for a period of time. I chose to take the safest antidepressant for pregnant mothers, Zoloft. It took many weeks before I felt much of a difference, and even with the medication, I was still depressed and battling symptoms. The depression, anxiety and PTSD continued postpartum and for several years after. I got to the point where I did not want to live, and ended up hospitalized and then in a treatment center.

I have tried many medications: Zoloft, Effexor, Lexapro, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Doxepin, Trazadone, Pristiq, Abilify and Wellbutrin. I have been to numerous therapists—talk therapy, somatic therapy, group therapy, intensive outpatient treatment, various exercise classes, and many, many doctors.

Can you tell us about your experience after your infusions? I recall seeing significant improvements.

The first four infusions were difficult for me. I talked to Dr. Rivas about my challenges (feeling anxious, out of control, nauseous and scared) and he listened and we talked through the issues. He encouraged me to stay the course, but told me I had to do what was right for me. I was convinced I was going to be a non-responder and that this would just be one more thing that didn’t work. After those first infusions I felt out of it, dizzy and tired. And then came the last two sessions.

I did a lot of prep work for the last two sessions in an effort to get the most out of them and hopefully see some results. After number 5, I was coming out of the fog and felt happy, positive, not dizzy, remarkably alert and even happy. I was used to going straight home after sessions, but this time, I went out to dinner and was like a different person. Nothing bothered me, I was patient, kind and not anxious. I felt that this may be IT! I came into the last session very well prepared and calm. I was so different as I walked in and it was noticeable to all.

After the 6th session I felt similar results, but even better than 5. These positive changes continued (and I had to keep doing the self-care work on my own) and really modified my entire demeanor and outlook.

Believe me, I was skeptical that any change would happen, let alone be sustained. But it has continued on, I have improved in ways that are recognizable by my family and friends, and I am finally giving myself credit for the positive changes that have occurred. I am less anxious, do not feel like I go to the “dark” thoughts, I am less irritable, and overall feel a renewed sense of appreciating life. This is the most significant improvement I have seen in any treatment I have ever done and it’s changing my life.

How did ketamine change your behavior, lifestyle, or give you insights in a positive way?

I started prioritizing my health, mental health and time alone in order to keep my mindset in a positive place. I became more introspective and sought out additional support to help me continue on this journey and improve my ability to cope with difficult things. I have tried to change my schedule to incorporate meditation, journaling, some movement and music. I am trying to find self compassion and acknowledge the ketamine journey as a mountain that I climbed, reached the top and came down the other side. I appreciate my life, what I have, and generally have a different perspective overall. I used to have the mentality of “what bad thing is coming next?” Now I am trying to plan for good things, fill my calendar with adventures that would have normally scared me, and give myself grace when I have a hard day. Nothing is a magic cure, but ketamine certainly has made a difference in my life in ways that I continue to discover. I strongly believe that I had major blocks that kept me stuck and Ketamine has opened up new pathways and possibilities.

Have you noticed other improvements in your life?

So many! Improved relationships, patience, anxiety, depressive thoughts, less fear, and more hope. I see life in a larger scope, rather than the very narrow view I had been accustomed to due to my experiences and mental health challenges. I believe I am better at my job, more creative, and my bias toward negativity has shifted. I want to explore new modalities for health and wellness and support this newfound mindset.

Tell us about your experience during the infusions.

The chair is comfortable as you talk with Dr. Rivas and discuss the process while getting hooked up to the IV. The IV process was virtually painless and never bothered me. I had different experiences each time, but once the ketamine would start to take effect, I would see all sorts of 3D images of places, as though I was being transported to different lands. The images would change with the music, sometimes they were light and airy, and sometimes they were dark. Because I was dealing with a lot of traumatic recurring thoughts, I tried to “test” the ketamine and think of those terrible things. I couldn’t. It was not possible. I could not go to that place in my brain and could really only be present for the visual images that were in front of me. It was so interesting to know that my own mind created these images (which I had never seen or thought of) and I would often open my eyes under the mask to see if things changed (they really didn’t). I got scared a few times and said I was worried my heart was beating too fast, and Dr. Rivas was there to reassure me and let me know my vitals were fine. It is so hard to adequately describe the journey, as it’s an out of body/mind experience. You are transported to a place where imagery is constantly changing, morphing and leading you from place to place. When you are in it, you really have no sense of space or time, and I found that it seemed that they were over relatively quickly. I’ve never done a hallucinogenic drug so I have nothing to compare it to, but it like nothing I have ever seen, thought of, or experienced.

Can you tell us what your experience has been working with me the physician and the rest of the staff?

Dr. Rivas is a relatable, compassionate physician. He is incredibly patient, understanding and seeks to help others. He has a heart for his patients, and is in this business to bring healing to others. He is very real—sharing his own experience with ketamine and the struggles he was able to overcome.

Emerald and Nina are incredible as well— both so kind, reassuring, and helpful.

This is not just a job for these wonderful providers, it is a passion. When I was scared, they helped calm me, when I wanted to quit and sent an email stating so, Dr. Rivas called me within minutes on a weekend to ease my fears and encourage me to continue. They have also been available and active with me since finishing my 6 sessions, and I have a booster scheduled soon. I would (and did) trust them with my life.

What are your thoughts about the environment where you underwent these treatments?

The environment is serene, comfortable and private. The chair and blanket make you feel relaxed and cozy and the headphones and eye mask allow you to block out the external world. I felt very safe and secure with Dr. Rivas there during my treatments.

For anyone seeking help, do you have any advice, and would you recommend Innerbloom Ketamine Therapy?

As someone who had been through years of treatments, medications, and therapy without relief, I thought the rest of my life was doomed to feeling dark and dreary. I believed I somehow must deserve the suffering, and expected it to just be a part of my life as nothing could change it. If you are skeptical—so was I. If you are scared—I was terrified. And if you feel it is a really big investment without a guarantee of success—so did I. And I would experience all of the anxiety, fear, discomfort and skepticism over again knowing what the end result has been.

It is an investment in yourself—in the rest of your life, and in the quality of it.

There is nothing more worthy than finding relief from mental health challenges, a new lease on life, and the ability to create new pathways in your mind that may not have otherwise been possible. Take the leap— Dr. Rivas and the team will guide you along every step of the journey and support you as someone who deserves happiness and relief from suffering.

Tags: anxiety, best ketamine clinic, chronic pain, depression, fibromyalgia, generalized anxiety disorder, glutamate, integration, iv ketamine, ketamine infusion, ketamine therapy, mental health, pain, psychedelics, san luis obispo

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