In recent years, psychologists have noticed a surprising trend in people recovering from hardship: they call it fear of happiness. As the conversation surrounding mental health continues to progress, more and more people are discovering that sometimes, we become so used to suffering that anything else simply feels wrong.
For patients suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health conditions, ketamine therapy tends to work fast. Compared to traditional antidepressants—which can take weeks or even months to become effective—recipients of ketamine treatment can find relief as soon as an hour after the first treatment.1 While these breakthroughs in recovery can be life-changing, adjusting to this new normal presents its own challenges. As you support your loved one through this process, it’s important that you take steps to set expectations and maintain your own well-being.
What to expect: Understanding the recovery journey
The struggle to cope with wellness is not just a challenge for the person receiving treatment—it is often a major hurdle for loved ones in their support system. It’s important to remember that even though seeking help is always the right choice, it is rarely easy. When our version of “normal” is chaos, instability, and conflict with loved ones, transitioning to a life of stability can feel jarring.
For the patient receiving treatment, suddenly stability can be disorienting. Psychologist Paul Gilbert explains, “It is not uncommon for people to fear that if they are happy about something, it will be taken away.”2 Your loved one may feel afraid to accept normalcy after years of surviving in pain and expecting the worst. They might also feel like they are losing a part of themselves or worry if they can truly adjust to living a “normal” life.
For family members, the recovery of your loved one can change your own life in unexpected ways. If you are used to serving as a caretaker or helping your family member through difficulties, their recovery can leave you feeling unsure about your purpose or where you fit into their new life. You may even find yourself longing for a time before treatment, when your life was structured around caring for or spending time with them. It’s important to know that these are normal, manageable feelings. Recovery is complex, and we are especially aware of fear of happiness when dealing with life changes that seem too good to be true.
Though you may not be the one undergoing treatment, family support and stability is a key pillar of the recovery process. Providing support can require making changes to your relationship, understanding your own struggles, and finding a community of others going through the same process. Because the best way to work through these challenges is with support, KWC offers free resources to help you and your family move forward.
Showing up with the KWC Family Support Program
While adjusting to wellness isn’t always easy, it’s a battle that our team knows well. To support you through this transition, Ketamine Wellness Centers is proud to host a free family support program just for loved ones of ketamine patients. In these hour-long sessions you can expect:
- Insight into what to expect throughout treatment
- Professional guidance for understanding your role in the recovery process
- Community support and connections with others going through similar experiences
As your loved one goes through treatment, sustaining a healthy, supportive bond will be a crucial part of the healing process. By working with a team of professionals through the highs and lows of recovery, both you and your loved one can learn to foster joy and stability in life after treatment.
For the person undergoing treatment, recovery requires encouragement and care from a trusted, dependable support system. When someone we love is suffering, it can be easy to worry so much that we forget about ourselves. But before anyone can move forward, we must confront our own struggles—we must truly show up for our loved one throughout the recovery process.
- Mandal S, Sinha VK, Goyal N. Efficacy of ketamine therapy in the treatment of depression. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2019;61(5):480-485. doi:10.4103/psychiatry.indianjpsychiatry_484_18
- Rodriguez, T. (2014, January 1). Fear of happiness underlies some mental illnesses. Scientific American. Retrieved May 11, 2022, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fear-of-happiness-underlies-some-mental-illnesses/