Marisa receives an IV ketamine infusion in a dark room while wearing an eye mask and listening to music.

Ketamine Can Be Transformative for People with Suicidal Thoughts—If They Can Access It

Every day, Marisa Russello was overwhelmed by suicidal thoughts.

Even one negative thought might cause her to spiral. A writer working on her book manuscript, she’d be unable to change a word without questioning the entire project’s value altogether. Her depression made it hard to fall and stay asleep. She developed insomnia and took to sleeping during the day. She knew not to listen to intrusive feelings, but her brain kept telling her otherwise. A darkness took hold of her consciousness and wouldn’t let go.

Russello, now 37, has struggled with suicidal ideation since age 12 and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder just after graduating college. Following a serious suicide attempt in 2016 and after several hospitalizations, she started looking for more ways to keep herself among the world of the living.

She belonged to a Facebook group for people who, like her, had bipolar disorder. Some people posted about starting IV ketamine, saying that it had helped significantly with suicidal ideation — in some cases eliminating these thoughts altogether. So in 2019, at the age of 33, she decided to try IV ketamine herself.

“I was at the point where I was willing to try anything,” Russello explained.

Her insurance company, however, wasn’t so willing.

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About Marisa Russello

Marisa writes fiction and nonfiction from her home in upstate New York and is working on a memoir entitled Everything You Can’t Control. Find her on Instagram @marisarussellowrites.