Our lead practitioner Richard was looking on the TMS community forum where Kate Hemler had posted her story, with Kate’s permission, this is what she had to share;
Strap in folks, this post is a long one…
While I have gotten exceptionally good at hiding it, the truth is that over the last 15+ years I have been dealing with major depressive disorder and anxiety. There have been so many ups and downs, good days (and years) and bad days (and years). Severe panic attacks that put me in the ER, and thoughts and ideations that lead me to believe that the world, and those close to me, would be so much better off without me. It has affected every relationship in my life, my job, my education, my self care, and my basic ability to function as a living, breathing human. And despite years and years of therapy and countless medications, it is still something that I have had to work through every single day.
Back in June, my psychiatrist recommended Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy to treat my depression. TMS is a brain stimulation therapy where they use a magnetic pulse to “wake up” the parts of your brain that control mood. Science is pretty wild.
And I told them no. Then they went ahead and got me full approval through my insurance anyway, just in case, and I told them thank you so much, but no.
That no was driven by fear. Embarrassment. Shame. A bit more fear, because wtf zapping your brain sounds actually terrifying, and then guilt. Because yes, mental health is something that as a society we are talking about more and more. We are becoming so much more educated. But to be open and honest and accept help can still be absolutely debilitating.
On July 8th, I started TMS. And for almost 2 months, I have completed treatment 5-7 days a week. To be perfectly honest, it was even more challenging than I could have imagined. For the first few weeks, I had some of the lowest moments I have ever experienced. The fatigue was overwhelming. The time commitment was daunting. The pain during treatment was so much more than I anticipated. It was fucking hard. Twice I came close to giving up. But I kept going. And I leaned into the people close to me and focused on the things that brought me joy. I started baking again. I started reading, and for once it wasn’t some self help or personal development book fueled by my constant anxiety over “fixing” myself, but just whatever I wanted to that day. I began to cook dinner with my husband. Music started to “feel” good again. I found myself with new, random hobbies, strangely interested in US History for the first time in my life. Some days the blue sky on the drive home from treatment brought me to tears because I was so overwhelmed by how beautiful the world could be. I started to feel capable. Creative. Curious. Clear.
At first I thought that I had discovered this new person, and that was a bit scary. Things felt fragile, like this new person was going to disappear one morning and this would all be a dream. Like she would get up and leave as quickly as she came. But today, as I finished my last treatment, I began to realize that this is not a new person. It’s me. It is the most true, authentic, raw version of myself. She seemed so unfamiliar because we haven’t seen each other since we were kids. And I had missed her so, so much.
Please know that there is help out there if you need it, and there are truly so many treatment options available. If you have questions about TMS, need guidance on finding treatment, or just want to say hi, I am here. Asking for and then accepting help is scary, but I promise you are worth it
Kate has started a video journal that she is sharing to help others who are going through the same process. A huge thank you to you Kate for sharing your journey, an important chapter for you, and many, many others. If you have any questions or just feel the need to email, please send it to our lead practitioner firstname.lastname@example.org
This post by Kate Hemler shows how at the beginning it can be so scary, anxiety levels are through the roof, feeling stressed and literally petrified of going to the clinic even just for the brain mapping let alone have any treatment of ‘brain zapping’. Thankfully Kate decided to start the TMS treatment and after 2 months the excitement and feeling optimistic are clearly present with more to come. Exciting times!
~ Kate, we are so very proud of you ~
It’s important to talk to your doctor and those close to you about what you’re experiencing, and find an option that’s right for you. There are seriously so many amazing treatments out there. I hope this brings someone hope