Emily is a patient receiving Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) treatment for depression. She has struggled with depression for 15 years. While she has tried medication, she explains it didn’t help all of her symptoms. One symptom she still experienced daily was crying spells and a lack of motivation or feeling of enjoyment in things she loved. She still often felt alone.
She shared her experience of depression and treatment through art. Above she shares an image she created of what depression feels like to her. “I felt empty. I felt cold. It feels lonely. The teardrops are representations of the sad thoughts that would run through my mind. This is, to me, what depression feels like,” she explains.
Next she shares how she began to feel after she started TMS treatment. It represents how she has begun to find happiness in little things, things as simple as smells she enjoys, like the smell of a candle or her favorite lotion. She also included the people in her life that make her happy and rejoice with her. The final element of her picture is the disco ball, reflecting color, love, and music. She now knows this second image is a better picture of who she is. After treatment little things would actually bring a smile to her face. She explains,
“That was new for me, I smelled lotion all the time before and it didn’t make me happy, like it did. The crying spells slowed down, and it’s been several weeks since I had a crying spell now. I’m starting to find enjoyment. I don’t have to talk myself into doing things I enjoy anymore, I can just go do them. It’s been a real change for me.”
Emily Is Not Alone
Depression can affect people of all walks of life, of all ages, races, and socioeconomic situations. According to the World Health Organization, 300 million people around the world suffer with depression. To be diagnosed with depression individuals must feel a depressed mood, or loss of interest or pleasure in any activity for over two weeks, along with 5 or more of the following symptoms:
- Daily decreased energy or fatigue
- Either difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping almost daily
- Trouble making decisions, concentrating, and thinking clearly
- An increase or decrease in appetite daily, or change of more than 5% body weight a month
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
The symptoms must cause a significant negative impact on the individual’s daily life at home, work, school, or socially.
Treatment Resistant Depression
While antidepressants can help many people suffering with depression, at least 30% of patients do not find relief from antidepressant medication. TMS is an excellent alternative to individuals who do not respond to first line treatment like medication, or those with “treatment resistant depression.” Of those individuals who try TMS, there is approximately a 60% success rate after TMS treatment. WIth 30 years or research and treatment, and little to no side effects, TMS is becoming a viable alternative therapy to help individuals overcoming long term recovery from depression.