How 90’s Club Drug ‘Special K’ Ended Years of Suffering for One Woman (Video)

"I came in...wanting to kill myself, and all of a sudden it’s just like gone… When I say the relief happens that fast it really does."

By Stephanie Fairyington
January 8, 2020

Chloe Evans visited her first psychiatrist’s office when she was only six years old. At age 15, she was diagnosed with clinical depression and over several years of trial and error took a dizzying series of antidepressants (Zoloft, Exfexor, Lamictal, Lexapro), but none provided enduring relief. Some, in fact, resulted in fits of rage and suicidal ideations.

“Depression can feel like you’ve just been dropped out into the middle of the ocean and are just expected to try to swim,” she told Outlier, pointing to the stigma and doubt people still hold about depression.

“If I was a diabetic I’d take insulin, right?  It’s the same thing when people are like, ‘Mental illness isn’t real,” it’s like, why all of a sudden is the brain not part of the body? Everything else…can get sick, but not the brain?”

Chloe sought what she called her “Hail Mary,” in 2015 by entering dialectical behavioral therapy,  a cognitive behavioral treatment particularly effective in helping people regulate their emotions, but that too failed to staunch the pain. 

But two years later, a serendipitous scroll through Twitter lead her to a discovery and treatment that would ultimately change her life: A comedian-friend tweeted a link to a Go Fund Me account seeking financial support for ketamine infusions to combat depression. “I was blown away by her testimony,” she said. 

The drug, historically used as an anesthetic that has doubled as street drug Special K, has been up to 85 percent effective in patients who have not found relief from traditional drug therapies. 

The day Chloe walked in for her first infusion, which is administered intravenously, she said, “I came in…wanting to kill myself, and all of a sudden it’s just like gone… When I say the relief happens that fast it really does.” 

Underscoring how radically the drug changed her state of mind, she recites an entry from a journal she kept at the time: “‘I wish love and happiness for everyone in the world and everyone feels love and has somebody to love,’” she reads, chuckling at her dramatic transformation.  “You feel that when you’re on it,” she said. 

Watch Outlier’s video of our interview with Chloe Evans.

About the Writer:
Stephanie Fairyington is a writer based in New York City. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, CNN, TheAtlantic.com, Time.com, NewRepublic.com, and other publications. 

Outlier Disclaimer

This site is for educational purposes and not a substitute for professional medical care by a doctor or otherwise qualified medical professional. The information provided by Outlier Magazine is on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services.

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