Sam’s story – ‘TMS saved my life!’

The third in our series of patient stories, looking back over the last five years, is from Sam. He was treated at our Dublin clinic and recently shared his experience of TMS treatment in the Belfast Telegraph.

Sam Wickens

The first time I can remember there being a problem was when I was in primary seven. I just never wanted to be in school, but it was more than just not wanting to go, I would have become so upset that I would start throwing up. I would panic so much at the thought of going, I didn’t know why, I didn’t understand why I was feeling that way and the longer it went on, it became a huge factor in my life. It was so bad that I was taken to the doctors, but they couldn’t find anything wrong.

When he was 15, Sam was diagnosed with autism. Sam was eventually excluded from school when he was in third year and he was sent to a centre that catered for over-18s with learning disabilities. This further damaged his friendships with children his own age and his own self-esteem. It was here that he was first exposed to drugs when a classmate offered him prescription medication to help him cope with his anxiety. Sam had all but given up when his mum discovered a therapy called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy (TMS) available in Dublin and begged him to give it a try.

I didn’t want to do it because of the cost and I thought my parents were basically spending money on a dead person.

Reluctantly, however, he agreed and embarked on an intensive course of TMS, which involved driving to and from Dublin every day to undergo magnetic stimulation of parts of his brain. Within a matter of weeks, Sam was at a gig and suddenly realised that he had noticed the detail in the ceiling of the venue.

I had always been looking at the floor, I never had a feeling that I wanted to lift my face, it was like I was witnessing a new colour and from there I just started grabbing on to these little emotions. I feel like I am back in the driver’s seat of my life, everything I had been through made me feel like I had no control. It’s amazing, I feel like I’m in a completely different place, like I’m responsible for me and not fighting chance, it feels limitless. Before the therapy I was going to kill myself, I was planning to do it after I launched my album so I would be leaving something behind. It’s been a journey, it’s not something I would ever have wanted to go through, but now I have hope, I can see a future again.

Read the full story here.

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