Patient perspective of TMS

Hear how TMS helped this patient overcome over 20 years of depression, anxiety and PTSD

Wow! Where do I start?

I was diagnosed with severe depression/anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 27 years ago and having endured years of numerous types and combinations of medications causing debilitating side effects, psychotherapy, EMDR sessions, hospital inpatient stays without success.

No matter how hard I tried following the advice of health professionals it left me without any hope and suicidal.

I came across transcranial magnetic stimulation by accident following an MRI scan which I had to rule out Parkinson’s Disease after developing symptoms this was again attributed to side effects of medication. However, after the scan for a few days I noticed I felt really good mentally. I wasn’t sure if it was a coincidence, but I started to do research on the internet. This is when I found TMS the relative new treatment in England approved by NICE.

 I was sceptical initially and discussed the treatment with my Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN).

Having had this discussion, I decided to give it a go and filled in the online enquiry form on the Smart TMS website. I was contacted by a lovely lady who put me at ease and went through the stages of treatment with me. Still undecided if the treatment was for me, we organised a visit to the clinic to meet the practitioner to ask her further questions. I along with my CPN attended at the clinic.

My CPN was keen to learn about the treatment as this was a new concept to her department and I was the first person in the Trust to enquire about it.

We met Lea the practitioner who answered all our questions which we fired at her. She was clear and informative spending time going through the process with us and she also went through the workings of the TMS machine, nothing was too much for her. My mind was made up I was going to try it! The treatment was going to be expensive as it is not carried out on the NHS, but I believed it was my only hope. Prior to starting the treatment, I submitted an application for funding to my local CCG to cover the cost. Months went by waiting for a decision. I couldn’t wait any longer and decided to fund it myself.

I began the treatment at the beginning of January 2020 and met Lea again, she was kind, understanding and empathetic.

I arrived at the first session eager to start and hopeful of a positive outcome, but I was also thinking ‘what if this doesn’t work’ what would I do? The treatment wasn’t painful or uncomfortable there was just a light pressure of the magnet resting on the side of my head and a pulsing sensation from the magnet when switched on.

Having the treatment, I didn’t really have any side effects. I was a little tired after the session, but this soon wore off. The treatment was as expected as Lea had thoroughly explained everything to me and I needn’t have worried about it working.

After a few sessions of TMS I felt like I had been released from the deep black pit of quick-sand which continually pulled me back into its grasp no matter how hard I tried to escape.

I had been held a prisoner in the darkness of depression and anxiety for 27 years. Amazingly I was free, the heavy black weight of the quicksand all around me dissipated, I was allowed to peer into the sunshine and experience brightness again. It was as though I had been liberated from the darkness and my head felt lighter, clearer free from intrusive thoughts, negative thinking and demons which had plagued me for so long. There was space for positive thoughts to develop. I could articulate what I wanted to say easier and hold a conversation. I felt more comfortable in social situations. I was able to relax more being less jumpy and irritable. My concentration improved. I can carry out every day simple tasks and function better. I no longer experience bouts of spontaneous crying/emotion for no reason, less nightmares and flashbacks. Started to enjoy simple things and life being able to control worrying and anxiety.

After further sessions I had positive shifts in my thinking TMS was amazing for me and the only thing in 27 years which had worked to ease my symptoms. I’d made significant improvement and progress and a new person had evolved from the perpetual darkness.

I completed 30 sessions and started a tapering maintenance course of 6 sessions. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and lockdown started and subsequently the clinic shut without the treatment being completed. But I was in a good place and looking to the future.

The lockdown took its toll and my mental health suffered as a result. I did however get some good news that my funding application had been approved so I would be able to start treatment again when clinics opened.

November 2020 I was able to start treatment again although I had a decline in my mental health it soon improved after a few sessions of TMS.

I am now receiving maintenance sessions to maintain the fantastic progress I have made.

I’m hoping that I will be titrated off medication soon. I can now see a light and the end of the long dark tunnel and no longer have daily thoughts that I would be better off dead. I am aware due to the journey I have experienced that different treatments do not work for everyone, but I would not hesitate to recommend TMS treatment, it has given me a new lease of life.


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