TMS is for fighters

My depression is not improving so I’m starting another round of TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation).

Picture from treatment today

Certain parts of your brain sort of stop working properly when you’re depressed. […] TMS sends electromagnetic pulses through your skull into specific parts of your brain and stimulates the part that isn’t working, like physical therapy for your brain tissue.

Jenny Lawson
Journal entry today

Let me explain to you why TMS is for fighters–

1. There are at minimum 38 treatments (30 minutes driving there, 10 minute appointment, 30 minute drive back) 5 days a week.

Side note: This is different from my last round, when the appointments were 30 minutes. I’m doing Theta Bursts which are 3 minutes long.

2. It’s painful, it feels like a woodpecker pounding on my head. The headaches suck.

3. A large percentage of people do not experience relief until the last week. Imagine being very depressed and exhausted, then add 5 appointments per week (on top of an already full schedule), and white knuckling it knowing you won’t feel better for another few weeks.

4. The guilt. This is a large chunk of time and I know it will get worse before it gets better.

If you’re wondering why I would put myself through this again, the answer is because my depression has moved back into the severe category and I am completely terrified of my suicidal ideation returning.

I also have a new doctor who seems very knowledgeable (the last doctor was horrible in every way). About half of the people who have treatment resistant depression experience relief.

Ketamine is still happening once a week, it keeps me going for about 4 days max. Medication helps a little. Therapy helps a lot. It’s still not enough though.

Please send me (and Woody) nice and encouraging words. Be patient with me if my communication is lousy. Send dog memes.

Be kind, be well, keep fighting

2 thoughts on “TMS is for fighters

  1. Girl, idk how you’re doing it. 30+ years of meds not working here. Did ect in 1994. No help. In 2019, complete mental collapse. At my age (50s) I just wouldn’t put myself thru it. I’d rather just make my exit at this point. I applaud you and hope you find some relief and peace.


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