December 29, 2017 at 7:48 pm #29255
I am just finishing my third week of TMS. I have no side effects whatsoever from the treatments. At first I found the treatment mildly uncomfortable to my head where I felt the tapping, but it no longer bothers me at all. I have found a decrease in anxiety from the treatments. At this point I would say the changes in depression are subtle but noticeable. I am cautiously optimistic.December 29, 2017 at 8:26 pm #29256
Thanks for posting. Yes the changes can be subtle as your brain adjusts to the treatments. Sometimes there are delayed responses and other times roller coaster type responses in addition to what you are reporting – slow and steady. Many patients also adjust to the physical sensation of the tapping quickly with minimal discomfort at the beginning. Hope you continue on this path. Would love to hear the journey you traveled to lead to TMS treatments, if sometime you would like to share. More importantly, sending lots of positives for continued improvement as you undergo the treatments. Please let us know how you are doing.
ColleenDecember 29, 2017 at 9:51 pm #29257
It is nice to hear from you, thank you for responding. I have struggled with depression since I was a child and also with increasing anxiety as I have gotten older. Both of my parents struggled with depression, anxiety, and OCD. My sister also has struggled with depression and anxiety. There are suicides within my extended family as well… so it seems it is at least partially genetic… I started taking antidepressant medications over twenty years ago… Prozac, Zoloft, Cymbalta… one after another has been prescribed to me. Currently I take 10 mg per day of lexapro. I have never gotten a lot of help from medications. Maybe I would be even worse without them. I was also prescribed benzodiazepines to help w insomnia and anxiety and have been trying for over a year to get off the benzodiazepines. I have managed to reduce dramatically the dose but the last bit has been tremendously challenging and I currently take 3/4 of a 2 mg diazepam every evening- just reducing from the whole pill to 3/4 of the pill was a nightmare for me and my depression got frighteningly bad. For many years I had a successful career but for the past six years I have found it impossible to hold a job. My life feels at a standstill, I am on disability, my social circle is small, I find it difficult to enjoy even simple things, and I read about TMS online and asked the psychiatrist who follows my medications about it. He gave me a referral. It felt to me like making this commitment to do the TMS was a communication to myself and to life itself that I needed intervention, needed help, just did not have the power to face life and face the challenges in my life without something major changing.January 28, 2018 at 1:40 am #31223
Sorry its taken this long to respond.
How are you doing now? How are you feeling? I would love to hear from you and catch up on your treatments and your response to them.
Sending good thoughts,
ColleenJanuary 28, 2018 at 4:40 pm #31230
Hi Colleen, Next week is my last full week of treatment, then taper to 3 a week, then 2, then 1, then off. The Dr at the clinic said they do maintenance treatments once per month or once per three weeks for some clients, I do not know yet about that. I wondered what your experience has been or what you do for maintenance treatments if you care to share about it.
The psychiatrist at the clinic I go to says with the long term serious depression I have that it is best to take a multi-pronged approach, medication, therapy, TMS. I think next week is week eight for me but Christmas week I had four sessions and New Years week just three sessions. I think my total will be 40 sessions with the taper sessions included.
I have experienced some good days and good moments and new experiences, like one day I felt competent and motivated and a desire to contribute and interact with people that was really new and different for me, like this huge weight of hopelessness and negativity was gone. It felt pretty dramatic. My anxiety overall has diminished throughout the course of the treatment. I have noticed that a lot of what I thought was objective facts about my life turns out to be projection of my inner depression thoughts and feelings. Some days I feel a sense of possibility and openness. I have not been waking up with the huge not of fear in my heart and gut and the dread of having to face another day. All that being said it seems like I get to a new layer of the depression, like last week I felt strong experience of lack of motivation or ability to feel pleasure or anticipation of positive experience, I felt kind of really flat most of the week, although also I had some really pleasant and fun conversations. It is a mixed bag I guess… it feel like a worthwhile journey for sure. I do feel some disappointment that I have not experienced anything like consistent lifting of the depression. My Dr says she is still hopeful, I have another week of full treatment, and she said some people get benefits after treatment has ended.
I think it would be beneficial for me if I exercised more consistently, I have thought about it but haven’t gotten myself to the gym and it’s been rainy. Sometimes I will want to do something but still have a negative fear/expectation stop me from following through. I still feel like there are scales on my eyes metaphorically speaking that if they were gone I would see possibilities and options that I don’t currently see….January 28, 2018 at 9:28 pm #31231
Nice to hear from you. Wow you bring up so many great issues! I am going to address them one at a time. First I do want to say though that I can relate to the process of experiencing feeling small brighter moments and then small dark ones, then, feeling brighter again after treatment ended. It was a progressive process gaining a little bit each week over a 9-month period so that by the end of 9 months I was in complete remission from depression. My psychiatrist, who also underwent TMS, reported the same type of response. When our brains undergo TMS, the changes are on a continuum after treatment ends. When TMS is successful most often the neurological changes don’t end with treatment. So hope is abundant! My plan of after care was slowly removing medication, continued therapy sessions, and, if needed, booster treatments. (Not everyone needs boosters according to my doctor, (he has not needed them and many of his patients are the same. Not everyone becomes med free but many times there is a reduction of meds). I had treatments at 60 and had never experienced life not depressed so after treatments ended I didn’t know what normal sadness was as opposed to sadness from depression. At first when I was sad, I panicked and thought it was depression. It took a while for me to become comfortable with the normal ups and downs of life. 1 ½ years after initial treatment I did start to become depressed but I didn’t realize it immediately it was so gradual. Once I did my doctor said to come in for three booster treatments to see if that would restore remission. And it did. He said that the quicker one can recognize the symptoms and receive boosters the few treatments are needed in some patients. I know some patients who receive boosters once a week to once a month and others who will have a second full course of treatments. I will post this and then will continue as I almost lost this writing!)
January 28, 2018 at 10:27 pm #31233
- This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by colleencasey.
Wow Thank you for all the information on your journey Colleen, I cannot wait to hear what else you have to say. I think it is very fortunate that you had a Dr. that also underwent TMS and knew first hand what depression is like. It also sounds like your TMS team was/is willing to be creative and try things to meet patients individual needs. I don’t know if that is quite the case where I go. But maybe if I knew what exactly to ask for some time in the future, they would be willing to provide it.
I am on a different machine, not the neurostar. I forget the name of this machine but my sessions are twenty minutes each, instead of the longer sessions w the neurostar. I was assured this machine has been well tested for positive results. The one thing I get anxious about is whether it is placed right during each session, because this machine doesn’t give feedback about that. Sometimes I worry that they don’t have it in exactly the right spot and that is impacting the results I am getting. Hopefully this is just me worrying and not true. I hope I will continue to see changes after the treatments are over! Like today, I could not think of anything at all I wanted to do and I have just been reading most of the day. Not exactly my hoped for state of being, it would be nice to feel more desire and motivation I guess.
Thanks again Colleen!January 28, 2018 at 10:42 pm #31234
Hi I think the machine is a Brainsway machine maybe.January 29, 2018 at 1:21 am #31235
So to continue: How insightful your statement is! “I have noticed that a lot of what I thought was objective facts about my life turns out to be projection of my inner depression thoughts and feelings.” Yes, clarity in thinking is one of the most reported effects of TMS. Interesting isn’t it. So watch for more indications of advanced clarity in thinking. It is a good sign.
Your doctor being hopeful is positive. My TMS coordinator, who is an angel from above, was telling me that they treated a patient, a young man whom she did not identify, (they are a very professional treatment team) and after six weeks and then 3 weeks of tapers, it did not appear TMS worked for him. He moved to a thriving city and they had not seen or heard from him for 6 months. He returned for a surprise visit, 100 lbs lighter, laughing, working at a dream job and he had a girlfriend – none of which he was engaged in before TMS. It had worked – it just took longer for the neurological changes to become effective.
Again your last paragraph is a window into your realization about taking care of yourself. If you are having these thoughts and haven’t before this, be patient because at one moment you just may act on those thoughts. It takes time. Be gentle with yourself. An eclectic approach to depression is probably the most effective – lots of self-care with exercise, eating right, connecting, quiet time, etc., etc. Step by step, one moment at a time, one day at a time. You are strong and courageous; remember those are your gifts too. It sounds like you have a fire burning within you to manage this depression. It tough, it’s a rocky road but one that is achievable.
Just for FYI – Neurostar has just adjusted their machines to accommodate shorter treatment times – I think its about 17 minutes. I was told that they shortened the rest time in between pulses, so it may not be an issue with Brainsway treatment time. I asked a lot of questions when I was confused or concerned even when I felt insecure about my questions. Hope you have a great treatment team.
You are more than welcome for the info. I am just paying it forward as I have been helped so much. Sending lots of support and encouragement.
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