I am a musician – a singer and an organist – working in a Lutheran church in northern Indiana. I experienced symptoms of depression beginning in high school, and while I knew something wasn’t right, my family didn’t talk about mental illness so I had no outlet to express what I was going through. By the time I got to graduate school, I found myself in talk therapy and on several antidepressants.
Throughout my illness, I experienced a wide range of depressive symptoms. Not being able to get out of bed in the morning, or feeling like I had to return to bed after coming home from class or work, was almost an everyday occurrence. I was constantly irritable or angry and would often lash out at the friends and family that were closest to me. I couldn’t make decisions, couldn’t stand to be in social situations, and would often soothe my feelings of pain and inadequacy with drugs, alcohol, or food. I developed an eating disorder (binge eating) that I am still dealing with to this day.
The next six years would be a time of trial and error regarding my medications. My doctor was always tweaking my “cocktail” of drugs; trying this drug or that drug to try and curb my symptoms for good. But nothing ever seemed to stick. My body would respond favorably for about 3-6 months, and then I would crash and fall into an episode of deep depression.
Then, this past winter, my psychiatrist told me about a type of non-invasive therapy for Major Depressive Disorder called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). After approval from my insurance company, I was fortunate to be able to begin TMS treatments on February 3, 2016 (yes, I remember the exact date!) While the affects of TMS were not immediate for me, now that I have been finished with treatments for a few months, I can attest that my life has changed for the better. My mood has stabilized. I no longer feel what I would often describe as that low-lying, undulating wave of depression that was always with me no matter how good I felt. I feel lighter, brighter, and more optimistic. I have goals, ambitions, and hopes for my future – all things which alluded me during the throes of my illness. People have even told me, “your eyes have life behind them now!”
TMS did for me what antidepressants could never do, and I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity for healing and recovery from my depression. I want to tell everyone I know about TMS, and I’m so glad for websites such as TMS + YOU that are dedicated to educating people about the benefits of this life-changing treatment!