Imagine waking up one beautiful spring morning and feeling a grey fog invade your heart, mind and energy. Your zest for living ebbs, your relationships with loved ones wither, your ability to perform every day tasks dissipates. And somehow, it seems to be your fault, you feel guilty and ashamed for not being able to accomplish much beyond getting dressed each day…and sometimes not even that. This is how depression feels, how it affects your life and the lives of those around you.
When I was diagnosed about 15 years ago, I remember wishing I had a broken arm so others would understand my pain. Luckily, I began taking anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications. Initially these meds gave me the energy to do the challenging and difficult work of therapy and I began to see light in my life again. I found joy and fulfillment in my work and relationships. My husband even sent flowers to my therapist.
Fast forward to late winter 2016. I have always had issues with some side effects of the medications, so I added another medication. No change. The fog was creeping back in, but so slowly I didn’t realize how murky my life had become. My doctor and I kept working with my dosages and by the end of March, I was back at the beginnings of my depression, except maybe now on a good day, I also made the bed.
I was in a state of drug resistant depression and I was at the bottom of a deep, dark hole. My doctor suggested TMS therapy as a possibility. My skeptical husband and I attended an informational meeting and before we left were discussing insurance options with The office manager. I began my TMS treatments at the beginning of May with a great deal of hope and not an insignificant amount of doubt. Two weeks later, I spent a wonderful weekend with my daughter, sister and a friend enjoying a girls’ time of eating, shopping, and talking. My doubt was disappearing and my hopes were rising. Yesterday I went for my last regular treatment and will begin maintenance treatments next week. (Once a week for six weeks. Regular treatments were 5 days a week, each treatment taking about 30 minutes.)
Today I woke up to a beautiful summer day, the sun shone through the windshield as I drove to my daily yoga class, attending five days in a row for the first time since February. My house is dusted and vacuumed, the dishwasher Is empty and I have cooked three new recipes in the last week. To many people, that may not sound like much, to me it means the world.
For the first time in too many years to remember, I feel and know I am becoming the person I am meant to be. TMS may stand for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, for me it is the miracle that saves.