My Pain Journey, Part 4

The four hour ketamine infusions continue. The dosage went up each day but leveled off today. Several different themes kept going through my mind, but the two main ones at first were paradoxes and illusions.

With paradoxes a concept or principle would cross my mind and if I decided something about it was true, an example of the opposite also being true would soon emerge. How can opposites both be true? Maybe they aren’t truly opposites or there was something else about them that I didn’t know or understand, as with illusions. The word illusions is interesting because the root of the word seems to imply something visual, but if there are visual illusions, there can certainly be auditory illusions and otherwise. So that’s how paradoxes and illusions were related. Or maybe the opposite truths really did defy logic – a true paradox. And they kept coming up. 

I don’t know that this is necessarily a paradox, but it occurred to me repeatedly how quickly things can go from one extreme to the other. For example, I started laughing again about the exploding bladders thing. Then I kind of started crying. I think that some of the disappointments and struggles in my life were coming to mind. In fact, the nurse came over and asked me if the dosage was too high. Maybe she heard me crying so she reduced the dosage a bit. She didn’t say why so I’m not sure.

Why does one extreme lead to the opposite extreme so quickly? Sometimes when my wife gets hurt like when she smashed her thumb, she starts smiling through her tears. It’s weird. You would think that given how far apart the extremes are, there would be more of a progression. There’s the paradox. 

I kept thinking about my wife and kids and that I love them. Which was a big thing, because in mental health therapy I’ve been diagnosed with a condition called anhedonia, the inability to feel pleasure. Love is generally a positive emotion and I don’t feel a lot of it, but I did today. I’ll explore my anhedonia and the possible causes in future blog posts, in the “My Emotion Journey” thread.

There are multiple alternate realities. I’ve heard guys joking about this kind of thing before, presumably referring to drug induced trips they took. I got to experience it today. As I said in the first post about my ketamine infusions, this aspect of a ketamine trip is really hard to describe (“I’m speechless”), so I’m not really going to try. I’ll just say that it is really abstract and can literally be anything you can or can’t imagine. I googled “alternate realities” and looked at images and saw nothing that resembled anything like what I experienced today. But if I had to pick something from what came up in my search it would be this:

It’s still not close but it’s the closest.

Aren’t drugs great? My adult daughter who had several major adolescent surgeries keeps saying this each night as I relate my ketamine infusion trips.

I mentioned it to the nurse as I was being wheeled out for some bladder relief and she mentioned that ketamine is a street drug referred to as Special K after the cereal.

I had no idea. Apparently it’s not as popular as it used to be. I’m not surprised it’s not as popular as other options as it seems to generate a kind of mentally active experience. 

Be nice to yourself. Yesterday I intentionally held off on peeing just to see how it would go. I found that my limits are certainly way past what I normally respond to, but it wasn’t very pleasant pushing myself that far. Today I decided to go with the flow (Dad joke there) and  be nice to myself. I’m glad I did.

The last things I thought about today were how pain and religion are related. How? A major theme in religion is the avoidance of pain, such as staying out of hell. Another is getting relief from pain in this life (physical, emotional and otherwise). Religion professes that pain in this life can be relieved through prayer or priesthood blessings. Fear is a form of pain because it is distressing and religion seeks to relieve its followers of fear of death and what might or might not follow. 

What does emotion have to do with pain? Everything. They too are integrally connected because our dislike of pain is the thing that gives the pain power. The dislike is the emotion which also serves as the motivator to try to get past the pain. So religion, pain and emotion are all integrally connected, and is one of the reasons why I am posting about My Pain Journey along with My Faith and My Emotion Journeys on this blog.

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