Today, the 18th December, marks five years since Smart TMS was founded. Over the next five weeks we will be hearing from five different patients and their experience of TMS. Today, we hear from Andy*.
*Not real name
Andy was treated just before we went into lockdown. He was struggling with depression and had suicidal thoughts. He had previously tried ECT and was sceptical of TMS at first. This is Andy’s story, in his own words (some details have been edited to protect patient identity).
I attended clinic and a wonderful practitioner, welcomed me in and put me at ease. I had had ECT before and it was brutal so was a little nervous. It was explained that 60% was success figure for TMS. I was naturally sceptical and approached desperately wishing a positive but fearing a negative result.
I was 45 treatments in when I realised that it was not denting my low mood and negativity. I feared a failure here and thought to my future with great menace, I had pretty much decided if this didn’t work I would take my own life.
The psychologist Alex, decided that after 45 treatments I was not improving, so time to reconsider. I had pretty much given up in my heart. He prescribed 10 more treatments but on a different protocol. This he said was most successful in Canada he said as I asked in desperation.
I said does TMS make you happier if it works, he replied “no”, it may lift the fog but no, happiness is something you need to seek out. I respected this comment and accepted the likelihood of these ten not to work either. My suicide was looming and feeling desperate. I even thought as Alex was employed by Smart TMS, of course he will promote more treatments that my friend was forking out for.
Over the next week I noticed a quantum shift that was so subtle. I wasn’t sure. It was happening and fog as Alex mentioned was definitely lifting. I started to make bold decisions I never would have dared before. I decided to come off all medication slowly over a month against medical opinion. I loathed taking drugs like Lithium and was convinced it was part of the problem. Kurt Cobain blew his brains out whilst on Lithium.
The next 15 – 20 treatments were delicious. I was fired up and with a totally different mindset. I approached life differently and literally like a drowning man made a grab for life.
The treatment was uncomfortable but you got used to the pulses through the prefrontal cortex and I was now lapping it up. I was having accelerated treatments up to 3 a day, sometimes. I explored the city between treatments and got to really like the place. On one occasion I walked towards (the city centre) and Covid-19 had rendered the city a ghost town. I wasn’t sure I should be walking here but was so animated, and high on life that I just ignored the thoughts. I saw a homeless man, virtually the only other human round this central city location, I walked past him sadly indicating I had no change. I so desperately wanted to help him I decided that if he was there on the way back I’d give him the only tenner in my wallet.
I passed him on way back to clinic and dropped a tenner in his woolly hat. His jaw dropped and I felt so good I’d helped this poor man. I had been him a few weeks prior.
(The practitioner) and I just chatted incessantly and listened to my Spotify collection. I was alive and smiling whilst talking to him, I noticed my psychometric test sheets were taking me into remission. My scores steadily dropped from a steady 15/21 To virtually 0 on last day. 60 treatments in I was a different man entirely.
I was animated, incredibly talkative and busy. Productivity was happening all the time. I explored the city with relish having avoided parks and treelined streets before because on every stout tree branch I saw my gallows. Now I just started to see beautiful trees.
If lockdown had happened after my 45th treatment I would have probably accepted my fate and committed suicide. I was blessed as finished my 60th treatment the week they closed. I thanked my practitioner on 31st March 2020 and headed home as spring was really kicking in.
I received a speeding ticket and 3 points that day but it didn’t register I was so high on life. My birthday the next day and I reported with glee to my guardian angel I called him.
The fog had lifted and I was free to pursue happiness and I did with gusto..
Contact us today to find out if TMS could be right for you.
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