After recovering from 10 years of depression, Smart TMS patient Freddie Webster is keen to share his testimonial for the benefit of other sufferers.
Here he describes in his own words how life was with depression and his attempts to treat it before hearing about TMS therapy. Freddie describes how his life changed after having repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatment (rTMS).
Living with Depression
I believe that depression or more specifically Clinical Depression, is a diversion of energy, an illness, that takes most of one’s focus away from the external world and the opportunities it holds, and instead diverts this energy into self-analysis, self-criticism and self-hatred.
In my experience, living with depression is many things, incredibly difficult to describe but comparable to wearing a weighted vest, a life dampener, distorting my view of myself, of other people and what I could achieve. Along with this was a great deal of mental pain, pain that would often leave me very confused as to the cause and indecisive at the smallest decisions; such as what shirt to wear before work in the morning. Furthermore, my illness brought a strong, aggressive inner dialogue that would ask “what is the point of carrying on if everything I do seems to be so difficult, sad and devoid of any pleasure?”.
I suffered from a depression known as major depressive disorder; this is the label given if the duration is long term, like mine, and to varying degrees of severity. Despite this, I still strived to live a normal, happy and healthy life; I went to University, travelled and worked in various sectors and businesses. Nethertheless, underlying these 10 years of experiences was a persistent and destructive undercurrent of depression that seemed there to stay indefinitely. An inexplicable illness that would become very disruptive, when more severe, and would occur for seemingly no rhyme or reason.
I tried countless ways to cure myself, on my own and with medical help, including: exercise, counselling, antidepressants, a change of work, pursuing activities and hobbies that I enjoy and trying to be as sociable as possible. However, the problematic symptoms would always come back, sometimes more severe after a temporary period of relief that these treatments gave me.
At a particularly difficult and recent time, my illness took a turn for the worse and I was having a relentless barrage of intrusive and unwanted suicidal thoughts despite never having previously self-harmed or put plans into motion to commit suicide. For 10 years the only thing I ever wanted was an effective treatment for this illness that was consuming my life in its wake. Little did I know, at the most challenging times, that it would come in the form of a treatment I stumbled across whilst listening to a podcast discussion on YouTube.
The podcast was called ‘Joe Rogan Experience’, the guest was Neal Brennan, a successful US comedian, who discussed the alternative treatments he’d tried for his clinical depression, including TMS. From listening to his description of the relief from his illness, in that the ‘metal plate’ he’d carried on his forehead for as long as he could remember, had lifted, I knew instantly that I had to try it.
TMS Information and First Steps
Googling ‘TMS London’ was easy, as was visiting the Smart TMS website.
Actually going ahead and booking the treatment wasn’t easy; there was the financial commitment, 4-6 weeks off work and possibly more for recovery that had to be planned. I also wrestled with doubt that the treatment would work for me, the legitimacy of the clinic, the authenticity of the testimonials and interviews that I had read and listened to. I thought, “how can it be that effective after everything I’ve tried so far hasn’t worked?”.
My doubts were laid to rest immediately, after I’d had a Skype consultation with Dr Neal. He was very informative, empathetic and answered all the questions I had thought of during my research into the treatment. The sentence that most resonated with me during the initial consultation, and still does to this day, was:
“You never need to suffer from depression ever again”.
Those words filled me with a sense of overwhelming hope and excitement to start the treatment.
TMS Treatment Experience
From 3 weeks into the treatment and ever since, the relief from my illness that TMS has provided, has come in many different ways, including a complete reversal of the symptoms of depression, a rational clarity, no distressing suicidal thoughts, and in its place, a lightness and joy. As Neal Brennan had said, I felt a heavy metal plate lift from my forehead.
The concrete that I felt had been poured into my brain, solidifying my thoughts and making simple decisions difficult, has gone. I now find decision-making easy, as have tasks that were so difficult before.
Meaning in my life has come back, along with energy and a zest for it. I’ve felt more like myself than ever before. Writing and talking to people has become fluid and connected, like a damn being taken out of a river.
What I’ve experienced is a 180-degree change in how my mind works, comparable to coming out of the dark and into the light. Instead of the inner focus I now see opportunity and a willingness to get on and do things I’ve always wanted to achieve. My thoughts, post-treatment, are predominantly: “Oh I’d love to do that, go there, or meet that person”.
I firmly believe that in possibly the next 10+ years, had I not had TMS, I would be going back to doctors and psychiatrists, getting prescribed higher doses or different combinations of medication without the problem really being addressed. Meanwhile, wasting more NHS time/money, my time and my life.
In the Press
Freddie’s inspiring story has been featured in the press, including Surrey Mirror, The Leatherhead Advertiser and Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser and is likely to appear elsewhere too as the story has provoked such interest.
at Smart TMS, London
Freddie described the experience for the press:
“You lie down in like a dentist chair and the machine is attached to an arm [which has the magnet on the end].”
“The magnet is the size of two hands and it rests on your head on the target. It happens in short bursts, maybe one minute apart.”
“You can feel it tapping, it’s quite unpleasant like an electric woodpecker zapping the front of your head.”
SMART TMS CLINICS
Smart TMS is a specialist provider of TMS treatment in London. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy (rTMS) is a technological breakthrough in the treatment of depression with a variety of further potential treatment applications. It is a non-invasive treatment for depression which uses magnetic impulses to work on areas of the brain affected by depression and has the approval of NICE.
Smart TMS is located within The Smart Clinics in South Kensington/Brompton Cross.
For any queries or to book an appointment, please contact us:
Tel: 0345 222 5678