HOW NIKITA GOT HER SMILE BACK: TMS WORKED FOR ME!
I am excited to share my story with you because I believe that Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a miracle therapy. Simply put, it saves lives. TMS helped save my life along with my therapist, Erica Bruce, LCSW, I want to help spread the word that people with depression don’t have to suffer anymore.
So, about four months before I knew anything about TMS, I relapsed into a very deep depression after going through a grueling process for a job I wanted badly and a grueling medical review by Social Security determining if I was still eligible to receive disability benefits. I was really suffering. I was not just suffering with depression, I was struggling with a suffocating darkness that had weakened me to the point where I lost hope and even considered suicide. I was so tired, overwhelmed, and stressed out until it seemed like my smile had been permanently etched into a frown.
Normally, I’m able to go through depression episodes and bounce back but this time was different. I started spiraling downward and did not stop. My medications did not work. My therapy helped things for as long as I was sitting in front of my therapist. But, things started spiraling again as soon as I was alone. So, when I made it home after my appointment in October/2016, I got in the bed and did not get out of bed until three months later in February/2017. Well, not literally because I had to get up for doctor’s appointments and other occasional things that would come up. At which time, I hid the darkness weighing me down.
I saw my therapist, Erica Bruce, first where we talked about HOPE. It was a tough sale at first because I had already stopped believing things were going to get better. But, I should have known Erica was not going to give up on me without a fight because that is how she is. She gets into the ring with you and roles up her sleeves to help you fight or fight for you until you have enough strength to fight for yourself. She said five words that resonated with me, “You Got to Have HOPE.” I processed those words for a minute with a few tears in my eyes and said, “HOPE, huh? Okay.” I decided to give HOPE a chance. I decided to believe in HOPE again.
By this time, it was time for my next appointment. We began to talk. I told him that I was not doing well, that my medications were not working, and that I needed to try something different. He listened then he asked me if I had heard of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). I said, “no, I never heard of that before.” He explained to me about TMS and its benefits/side effects-TMS is a non-invasive FDA approved medical procedure for the treatment of depression in adults. He went on to explain that TMS Therapy is an in-office treatment that takes about 37 minutes, is performed while the patient sits in a chair, and is administered five days a week, for up to six weeks. To make a long story short, I was given additional information on TMS to read. I did some online research from trusted sites until I felt like I knew enough about TMS then I decided to go for it! My insurance (Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield) covered the procedure 100%.
My therapist is considered a national leader in the treatment of mood disorders personally checked on me every week. This reassured me that I was in excellent hands. There was a social component to my treatment also. Remember, I had been isolating for four months so it was nice to have somewhere to go and something to do every day.
I noticed in my first week of treatment that I had a slight headache but it went away by my second week of treatment. I gradually started feeling a difference in my mood during my second week of treatment and it continued to improve as the weeks went by. I noticed in my third week of treatment that I had increased energy when I got up in the morning to face the day. It was not a burst of energy but more of a subtle natural energy. I am not sure which week I got my smile back. I just noticed one day that I was smiling. I stopped keeping up with the weeks and just started enjoying my new awakening to a better quality of life. This treatment without a doubt helps those who stay committed to the six-week program. I did it, completed TMS and I am so grateful to my team for their wonderful care and treatment. After all, TMS is How Nikita Got Her Smile Back!