Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 18 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

New Treatment

I began a new treatment yesterday. At 2:00 PM, Monday through Friday, for the next 6 weeks, I will be receiving transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). I am hopeful it will bring me some relief.

For those of you unfamiliar, as I was until yesterday, TMS works by placing a magnetic coil against my head. The magnetic coil alternates between active electrical pulses for 4 seconds followed by a 26 second pause for a total of 37 minutes. The pulses feel like being hit by a tiny hammer, quickly and heavily. It's uncomfortable but tolerable.

According to a 2012 study of 300 patients who received 4-6 weeks of TMS treatments, 56% reported at least a 50% improvement in their depression symptoms. Fifty six percent is not as high a percentage as I would like, but it's certainly worth a shot. I can't continue to live the way I'm currently living. This illness, at this rate, will kill me. That's just a fact.

I'm continuing to put one foot in front of the other. After two days of hardly being able to move, I was satisfied to be able to run this afternoon. I've been feeling really agitated, so I ran really hard. It felt good, a different kind of pain for 65 minutes. The physical pain of a hard run makes so much more sense to me than the mental anguish of depression; anguish which wasted no time re-enveloping me within minutes of completing my run this afternoon. That just baffled and demoralized me.

This is a baffling illness. I'm so tired and demoralized and confused. I just want to feel better. I need some relief. Hopefully TMS will be the beginning.


Anonymous said...

"a different kind of pain" - that's a good observation. When I run, I must deal with the agony and the various pains so much that I don't have any space in my thoughts for my depression. Generally I am free of the depression for several hours afterward, though not as much lately.

I hope the TMS works for you. I only knew one person who tried it, and he said it didn't have any effect for him.

I take a lot of courage from your posts.

Wendy Love said...

You keep trying! You keep running, you keep working, you accomplish a lot more than me when I am really depressed. Pat yourself on the back.
Being willing to try a new treatment shows how brave you are and that you haven't given up hope at all.
Continuing to pray for you....

Julie Gathman said...

Fascinating! Yes, I agree with Wendy, it is amazing that you keep trying. There's a very healthy, strong place in your brain that is trying to prevail!

I just wrote "Etta and TMS" as number one on my Oikos card...oikos is Greek for household; it means the people in my circle who I pray for, usually as I walk around outside.

Katheryne Patterson said...

I am praying that the TMS provides some relief. Keep running as much as you can, and hang with Jett as much as you can! Much love from New Orleans, Katy

Jason Perkins said...

I hope the TMS works for you. I am weighing restarting ECT vs trying TMS. Of course, a lot depends on insurance. You keep on keeping on. I enjoy reading your updates and feeling connection. That feels odd to write, but I think you know what I mean.

Katheryne Patterson said...

I'm thinking of you today, and I'm hoping that you have some good moments today! Katy

tina spiteri said...

It's just good to know I'm not alone. Thank you

etta said...

@ tina: You are NOT alone.