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“Nothing that happened in hospital helped me,” she says, adding that the treatment failures include a long list of antidepressants and 17 sessions of electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, which passes electric current through the brain in order to trigger a seizure that changes the brain chemistry. “I was, you know, living like a zombie,” Amanda says. “Not even living,” she corrects herself. “Just existing.”

Her illness wrecked her career as a veterinary technician. It robbed her of the ability to effectively parent her daughter who was just six when Amanda went into the hospital. After she was discharged, she moved from Surrey to Sechelt. She was still suicidal, she tells me.

Then two years ago, her life changed. On one of the days Amanda was able to get out of bed, she saw psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Barale at the Sechelt Hospital. Barale had begun prescribing ketamine to help people with treatment-resistant depression…

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