We’re sharing the real success story of one of our Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) patients with her permission. Her full name and real photos were not used to protect her privacy.
How TMS Therapy at Sage gave me hope in what felt like a hopeless situation.
I am a 56-year-old woman married for 34 years to a wonderful man. I love animals, reading, gardening, going on day trips, and I hope to get back to hiking after I get my weight down and get my knee fixed surgically. I am a homemaker at present.
I have been mentally ill since childhood, suffering from depression and anxiety. I experienced what I now know was an anxiety attack, for the first time at 10 years of age, and experienced the lengthiest childhood bout of continuous depression during my sophomore year in high school. My illness went untreated due to paternal beliefs that I should be able to “get over it-mind over matter”-and the belief that psychiatrists were swindlers who would take your money while labeling you as crazy whether you were or not. I finally began professional treatment in my early twenties when I was financially stable, no longer relying on my parents for support.
I have had too many episodes of depression/anxiety to count over the last 30 + years and they have been fairly continuous in nature. Some episodes would not be as disabling, so I would use my energy to “conceal” the depression as much as possible for as long as possible then, unable to maintain the level of energy required, I would withdraw and isolate to fight another day. During longer periods of lesser depressive depths, I would work and live and take full advantage of the time I had “in the sun.”
Since I isolate more and more as my depression and anxiety escalate, I’ve never let people really know fully the depressed/anxious side of myself. Once I felt I couldn’t hide it (it was shameful to me and I hated myself for being so weak), I would give 2 week notice if I was working outside the home…I didn’t have close friends as I only let people in so far. I would rarely leave my home. My husband would have to pick up the slack. My psychiatrist would continue to try new meds and more therapy to help….so many different meds……either bad side effects, no effects or they would work a little while then the depression/anxiety would overtake any progress I had made.
This was almost 2 years ago. I felt at that time, that I could not continue much longer in the state I was in and felt suicide or institutionalization was in my immediate future. Now, with psychiatric treatment and TMS, I feel that the road ahead is still long, but I have a road! Prior to the TMS treatments, there was no more “pavement” left for me.
If I sound dramatic, it is only because my TMS experience has been dramatic.
How can a person who is facing a very real, seemingly incurable, painful disease, in 23 days be a functioning, peaceful, mostly happy individual after experiencing 30 plus years of treatment that failed again and again? I still have rough times, but have not once considered suicide or prayed for death since my initial TMS treatments…This fact still amazes me.
NeuroStar TMS Therapy was different for me because I didn’t have to worry about weird side effects from oral medications…I also felt like the area of the brain that was causing the problem was being targeted without going on a long travel through my body and various organs as meds do. I had already grown to feel that “chemical” treatment was not enough for my illness. TMS worked more quickly and the results were astounding in my opinion, especially after the 2nd week.
I fully believe my life was saved by this miraculous system that is virtually non-invasive and requires no hospitalization, IV’s, or special aftercare nor the higher risks of ECT. It was not only my lifesaving antidepressant, it was my way back from a tortuous mental state that, after 30 plus years of treatment, once again was not responding to medicine or treatment.
Note from the editor: This story was originally published Feb 28, 2013 and has been updated and republished with some minor changes.
Founder and Clinical Director
Dr. Reuben Sutter is the founder and Medical Director for Sage Neuroscience Center. He is board-certified in general adult psychiatry and addiction medicine. He is also the past president of the psychiatric Medical Association of New Mexico. His practice focus includes severe mental illness, substance use disorders, and treatment-resistant depression. He supervises the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation service and assists in the ketamine clinic. These both focus on treatment-resistant depression.