A Patient's Story: How Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Changed My Life
"To say TMS helped with my depression would be like saying the Pacific Ocean is damp, a severe understatement. I was struck with depression in the junior year of my college without warning or reason. I attempted to just push through it at first despite that it started taking a noticeable toll on my grades. Over the summer my depression became harder to deal with when I started to cry uncontrollably for no reason and feel ashamed and embarrassed despite having done nothing wrong. I still attempted to 'suck it up' until the next semester began.
When that semester started, I began getting horrible anxiety attacks at the start of every class. I would uncontrollably cry whenever I got back to my apartment for hours on end. Every time I attempted to study, I would not only be unable to focus, but unable to keep myself from crying in frustration. My wake-up call to get help was when I broke down at my job (for no reason what-so-ever) and my boss had to talk me through the episode and excuse me from work. I saw a psychiatrist who got me on antidepressants. They helped enough to end my crying spells and I tried focusing on getting my school work done but it was far too little too late. I had to drop out for the semester because I was unable to catch up and unable to focus when I tried to study.
Having the semester to focus on getting better, my psychiatrist and I worked on different mixtures of prescription medication to make me feel little tiny increments better. In a way it felt like playing pharmaceutical Russian roulette in that for every few medicines I tried that did nothing (other than cause me to suffer unwanted side effects), I would find one that would mildly help. It was finally discovered that Effexor with Lozorapam 'worked' the best and this helped for a month or two, but slowly stopped being effective. Eventually the depression came back even worse than before (and worse than I could have imagined), and I was unable to start the following next semester because I had gotten to a point where I was unable to leave my apartment.
Depression had crippled me. It had destroyed my friendships, my relationship with my girlfriend, my social life, my job, and most of all my ability to finish school. Believing there was absolutely no hope for me to ever function in society again, I made an attempt to end my life. My father stopped me moments before I could finish the job, and at that moment we knew that my depression was no longer an illness of inconvenience. My depression had become a life or death situation.
Looking for treatment options online, my father came across information on Neurostar. We found a doctor and began treatment as soon as we could. Within the first week of treatment I had stopped crying uncontrollably. By the second week of treatment there was a noticeable change in my mood. By the third week of treatment I was not only able to stop taking my antidepressants, I was restored back to the person I was before my depression had started.
Being off antidepressants was a huge leap in progress for me. I didn't imagine that it could get better than no longer being depressed and being back to my old self. I was wrong. When continuing the rest of my treatment, I began to notice an increase in my cognitive process. I was thinking and understanding at a faster rate than I ever had before. I had become better with social situations (reading people's body language, making witty commentaries in less than a second, etc.). I had lost 35 pounds. I found motivation to do things I always wanted to do. I stopped becoming easily sidetracked by simple distractions. I lost interest in many of the things that were bad habits (drinking all of the time, playing videogames all day, etc.). By the end of my treatment I wasn't just 'my old self,' I was something better. My only regret about this treatment is that I didn't find it before depression destroyed so much of life. If Neurostar is as effective on others as it was on me, I believe depression will become an extinct illness that children read about in history books."