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    I had pretty much given up on my research into my depression and TMS years ago, however the depression has heightened to a level so bad, I’m afraid of the consequence if I don’t make at least some effort to update my education on the matter….which led me here.

    I completed 25 TMS treatments around August of last year. I was thrilled my insurance actually approved it (I waited 5 years for this to happen), and was cautiously optimistic. After the very first treatment there was an amazing transformation that took place in me. I tried not to get too hopeful, but as that week progressed it was hard to ignore the many positive changes. Depression was gone. Anxiety was gone. I could actually get up in the morning. Problems at work or in my home life were completely manageable, instead of causing complete chaos. Known commonly for my lack of smiling, I remember leaving my Friday treatment feeling so “good” (I quote “good” because this was wayyyyy more than good. This was a feeling I never recall having since as far back into my childhood as I could remember), I had a tingly sensation that would periodically blast down my arms and legs (the good kind) and a smile on my face.

    But, that was it. 1 week to know what normal feels like, and then it was taken away from me. The following Monday after that first week, my anxiety was back in full force. Nothing seemed to change for the remainder of my TMS treatment. I will clarify that when asked in weeks 2 through 5, I stated a lack of depression, mostly lack of. My memory is horrible, so I don’t honestly remember if I was being accurate or not. I do remember it was nothing like week 1, and pretty sure I told them that. I just know that these last few months have been horrific with battling my depression. There was 5 treatments left over that the insurance approved, and I was given the option as to how I wanted to use them. I was told how others use them, mostly for monthly re-ups, which is what I figured I would do. I really didn’t know how I should handle them. It took me a little while to schedule a re-up, and I’ve had 2 with absolutely no effect.

    Now we’re here today, and my depression seems worse than it ever has, and taking it’s toll on important areas of my life. I was allowed a phone session today with my therapist, then my prescribing doc, and echoed to both of them the dire situation I’m in. I’m a bit intimidated by my prescribing doc, but really echoed the fact that I had a great week 1 but nothing after, and asked if anything could be done differently with the TMS re-ups that might improve my situation. He mentioned we should try the other side of my head, and an increase in voltage.

    I’m so deflated, I don’t even know what really to ask here, but I’ll try and blurt some questions:
    – Does a voltage change and switching sides of head seem like a reasonable and common approach for people with my experience?
    – About week 2 or 3 into my treatment, they did both sides of my head to try and battle the anxiety that came back. Does that nullify the recommendation from my doc to move to right side? (I tried telling him that, but he seemed to indicate this would somehow be different.)
    – Are there other changes I may be missing out on due to an experience issue? They’ve had the machine for 5+ years, and prescribing doc was involved in initial calibration with me, but after that it was by a woman who Neurostar came in and certified at some point.
    – The placement of the “zapper thingy” at times seemed like it was in different spots, but they assured me it was just the angle of it, and the machine supposedly said it was making a connection to my head in the right spot. Does this sound right?
    – I hear a lot of people experiencing a dip, but getting a positive result in the end…..but not really hearing any stories like mine, where I got 1 good week then it quickly died off. Is my situation common or known?

    I don’t know if I should try someone different (current doc is conveniently 15 mins away), and if so, if I could maybe expect different result. I don’t know what my insurance will even cover at this point, and I still have 3 treatments left. I don’t know what to ask. I don’t know what to do.

    Help…..please….any advice is GREATLY appreciated.



    Dee Pressed

    Hi Steve
    I am so sorry to hear you are going through all this.
    As a TMS recipient myself honestly I don’t know what you should do.
    I had about a month with no depression after finishing my TMS sessions, actually I cut the last few sessions out as the TMS was effecting my vision. I am back to being depressed, and sometimes suicidal again.
    I too have considered going back for TMS somewhere else. I felt the place I was going to had some incompetent people placing the thing on my had. I feel I was calibrated correctly in the beginning, but the psychiatrist dismissed all that. My first few sessions the magnet was placed on the left side of my head. I told them if they could not do something I was quitting. I honestly felt like I wanted to kill someone. After that they changed it to the right side of my head that was a bit easier to tolerate. TMS caused me pain, every session.
    If you feel you want to have your last 3 sessions done somewhere, have the place you decide to go call your insurance company to see if the sessions are free since you aren’t feeling like it worked anyway.
    What I was told that when placed on the left side, that worked more for depression. When placed on the right side that was more for anxiety. For a week when i was started on the right side my anxiety increased! I take klonopin and valium and the TMS was undoing the effects of my meds……crazy.
    If I went for TMS again I would try somewhere different.
    Also a place that has been doing it longer than the place where I went.
    Insurance would have to pay for it cause I sure am not going too.
    If you are brave enough to try again, that’s what I would do. Go somewhere else. Explain how you are feeling before getting TMS again. If a doctor does not seem to want to listen then leave and end it.
    We all have had different experiences with TMS. To me it was to be the cure all for those who can’t take medication.
    It was not. My insurance did not pay my entire bill. I am being billed for 2500.00 from the place I got TMS. It didn’t work. Why pay?
    Oh well that’s my 2 cents.
    I hope for your sake you find a place and give it a try. Maybe it will work this time. Hopefully it won’t make it any worse for you.
    Take care.

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