January 29, 2012 ( 8 months with ketamine) 

A new year; A new A..

I am still amazed by how much she is learning. Yesterday A. experienced the death of a horse that she loves. She was there when he died. When I picked her up I was expecting that monster with-in her; rage. Years of experience have programmed me for outburst that did not come. She hugged me, began to cry, and described how awful she felt, how horrible it was, and how sorry she felt for the owner. At one point she exclaimed “I do not know what is wrong with me, all I can do is cry.” So  she cried, and we held hands in the car. A. usually does not want to be touched when she is upset, so I felt holding hands was very new. When we stopped in the driveway, she leaned into me and I hugged her. When she got out of the car, her sister hugged her. After a hot shower and lunch she again asked “Why am I so..crying…I don’t know…?” I told her this feeling is sad. When we are sad, we cry. She smirked and said “Really? Yuck, I’m not used to sad, this sucks.” Then she laughed and hugged me again. Even her sister. K., remarked at how different it was to see A. sad, crying without anger or resentment or blame. Today she woke up feeling better, acknowledged that yesterday was a hard day, but that K. had helped her feel a lot better. Amazing.

Another first in our new life is being a teen. A. is 15 years old now and goes out with friends, and her boyfriend. We talk openly about what is appropriate and what is not. She is wondering about her someday career, college, thinking about the summer, volunteering…this is all new to her. Her life is no longer ruled by her extreme emotions.

 Along with this new outlook came a painful revelation. A. was talking about her past. She was describing herself when she was 10 and 11 at the barn she rode at. She was quite sure she was a great rider, and the “one the owner looked to” to care for the horses. Her recall of her abilities and her impact at the barn were completely skewed. Part of her frustration was that she did not know why she could not have that same confidence again. I had to explain to her that she was manic a large part of those years, and her grandiose image of herself was simply untrue. How she recalled things was not the way things happened.  I expected her to be upset, or angry, but instead she laughed, and thanked me for telling her. She said it made her feel better because she felt like she was trying to live up to something that she could no longer achieve. Now she knew her memories were not accurate and she was relieved.

And so we continue or journey of gratitude having ketamine allow A. to grow and mature, and find out who she really is. The fall into the winter is usually a time of depression and aggression for A.. It turns our home upside down. My husband and I usually take turns staying home from work with her. There were days she could not get out of bed, and others she raged, incapable of school. We schedule time with family for K. so she gets a break from the chaos. But this fall it was different. October, November, December and now January are passing, the monsters are gone. Our family is happy.

C. B.