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How Ketamine Feels

September 15, 2022

Many folks come in with an expectation as to what a “psychedelic experience” is. Most of us think about seeing images, colours, or even some “trippy” patterns. While this experience can certainly be the case for some, by no means is this the only way in which we can experience ketamine. The most common ways it shows up outside of the more “traditional” experiences are somatically, emotionally, or subtly. 

Somatic Sensations

“Somatic” means relating to the body. Our clients describe feeling the tension in their bodies loosen, feeling tingling sensations along their skin, or feeling more connected to the movement or “stuckness” of energy in the body.

“As soon as I got the first dose, I started feeling my brain expanding and my body leaving the room into the most magical galaxy. Suddenly, I was so much happier. I was crying and smiling at the same time. (I was) lucid dreaming the most beautiful sensations. – Pepita

“At first I was confused about why I could see shapes in the darkness, and then I was completely in my own head—but in a safe, not scary kind of way. I was deconstructing reality and thoughts, and felt my consciousness existing free and clear of my body. It wasn’t an out-of-body experience per se, but my thoughts were no longer contained or confined.” – Kristine

Supercharged with Emotion

An emotional experience is also common. This can include deeply enjoyable feelings of connectedness or gratitude, but we can also encounter more challenging feelings as well. There are no “good” or “bad” feelings, whatever shows up is there for a reason and it’s important for us to lean into whatever arises. 

“At first, I could feel the dose, but it wasn’t overwhelming, and we increased the amount as things progressed. By the third session, something important happened: I started freaking out and wondering what I should be doing next. That’s when my therapist encouraged me to be present. It was such an aha moment: the medicine would lead me where I needed to go.” – Katy

“During my first session it was like a floodgate of emotions that had been building for quite some time. I was transported back to Afghanistan where we got blown up, riffle in-hand. I was walking through the old stomping grounds and ran into my fire team partner who died from the blast. He told me he’d been with me the whole time. During my treatment, I also saw several other comrades who had committed suicide post-tour. I engaged in conversations with them, which provided me a sense of tranquility.” – Grant

A Wave of Calm

Subtle experiences can also be part of your journey. An example of this is feeling your mind go quieter, entering into what feels like a deep meditation, or feeling relaxed. 

“During my sessions, I was able to come to some pretty big realizations about my life…I was finally able to tap into my own mental health and well-being. Yes, there were tears and big emotions, but I was finally facing my true self for the first time…Following my therapy, I could finally tell the difference between how I felt and how I should feel.” – Ali

“The experience I had at the clinic was profound. The treatment is medically supervised. You go into a room, relax in a recliner, and you are led through a guided meditation while you wait for the ketamine to take effect. The whole process is designed to put you in a good headspace before your exploration. Even though I was apprehensive and nervous going into the treatments, I felt incredibly relaxed, calm, and at peace when I came out of the treatments an hour or so later. You’re lucid during the trip, but it feels like you’re kind of mellowing and you can start letting go. You start lifting away the layers and you start coming at things from a different perspective. You’re now implementing what you learned with the work that you’ve done with your psychotherapist.” – Bruno

Ultimately, the experience you have is that one that may be needed, and we encourage you to let go of expectations and be open to whatever happens.

Remember that you are supported, you are secure, and you are safe.