Recently, a friend told me that she read my blog on EMDR and said that she too would be undergoing a new type of treatment for depression and anxiety called TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation). Because of her profession, ‘Alice’ can’t speak about her treatments publicly, but asked if I would blog about it for her. Alice believes her experience can help others, and I agree. I feel blessed that she would entrust me to help tell her story and journey along with her. This blog series will explore the feelings, sensations, and realizations that arise for Alice during each session.
But before getting into her experience with TMS, let’s talk about what it is…
While depression is a treatable illness, TMS is generally used after other types of treatment have failed, and after an almost lifelong battle with depression and anxiety, my friend Alice hopes to find some relief in the treatment.
Last year was especially challenging for Alice. While working a job that was “sucking all the life out of her”, she was blindsided by divorce and the shock of this unexpected event sent her into a downward spiral.
Despite the utter heartache, Alice always acknowledged a “glimmer of hope.” Even in 2012, when her son took his life at the age of 26, Alice clung on. Alice knew she could not put her family through the same anguish she felt for the loss of her son.
Through the entirety of 2021, Alice worked diligently with a counselor on a weekly basis. She took her medications and never missed a day. She ate, slept and exercised per the guidelines of healthcare professionals. She journaled and really “dug into things that were painful to dig into.” Still, she felt that she was not functioning at her regular 98%. She felt like 85% was not enough, and at this point, she would do almost anything to feel like she did before. And then her psychiatrist mentioned another option. TMS… Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. The treatment would be 5 days per week for 7 weeks.
Despite fear of the unknown, Alice decided to pursue the treatment.
The night before her first session, Alice was frightened. Frightened of the unknown, frightened that it may change her personality, and frightened that it would not have the outcome she hoped for. Though she confided these feelings to a few friends, she did not reveal every detail because of the stigma tied to mental health. What could easily be an isolating experience, Alice has turned into an opportunity to serve others by sharing her story.
Regardless of whether she finds relief through this particular treatment, I admire her willingness to try and I admire her willingness to share. I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes us! Stay tuned to read about how her first week of treatment went!