Last week I passed the halfway point in my NeuroStar transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) treatment, so I thought I’d give you an update.
I’ve noticed improvement in how I feel, my energy level, and my ability to focus. For example, before I began treatment, I’d make sure I did all my pet chores (feed, walk Molly, provide fresh water, scoop litter boxes) before I started work, not to be efficient, but because I feared if I didn’t complete them that way they might not get done. Now I can sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee and not worry if I’ll have the energy to scoop the litter boxes.
That’s not to say life is peaches and roses; far from it. It means I feel like myself: opinionated, outspoken, sarcastic and at times condescending toward those who spout nonsense. It means I’m more focused on what I’m doing, be it during work or my personal time. It means that yesterday when I met a man I’d been chatting with on a dating site, I was more concerned with whether or not he met my standards than whether or not he’d like me. It means this morning when I heard an invite on NPR’s Morning Edition to submit poems, I started structuring one in my mind.
I feel good.
I’ve completed 21 of the 38 sessions prescribed to me. The last few sessions will be spread out so treatment won’t stop cold turkey. I am still taking antidepressant medication and that will continue after treatment ends.
Would I recommend NeuroStar TMS? If you are like me and have tried a variety of medication and talk therapy, but haven’t experienced sustained remission, then I say go for it. Most health insurance covers the treatment, though they may require you to first show you’ve tried other treatment options. For me that was easy; I’ve been seeing my current psychiatrist almost three years now and was in talk therapy for 2 1/2 years, and that’s just my most recent attempt to address my depression. You’ll have to commit to daily treatment sessions 5 days a week, though the sessions are not long and are not invasive. I spend the time playing games on my phone, then get on with my life. After one session I felt some dizziness, but it soon passed and hasn’t happened again.
Bottom line: if you have been diagnosed with depression but medication and talk therapy haven’t afforded you relief, find a reputable psychiatrist to help you explore other treatment options that can work for you (this article from the Mayo Clinic website lists other available options for treatment-resistant depression). You deserve to feel good and really are worth it.
NOTE: The posted graphics are from either the NeuroStar website or those who provide the treatment. If you want more information about rTMS, this Mayo Clinic article about the treatment may help.