Danielle is 59 years old and lives in North Carolina. She completed Greenbrook TMS Therapy a year and a half ago. We spoke with her to learn more about how she found her way to Greenbrook TMS and what life has been like since completing treatment.
When did depression first start for you?
I’d had depression for a very long time. It was chronic, and I was always on antidepressant medication. Sometimes I would have bouts where the depression got worse and I’d need to go on more medication. That’s what happened when a friend of mine had passed away unexpectedly and it had really thrown me for a loop that my medication couldn’t pull me out of.
What were you feeing during that time?
When my friend died unexpectedly, it really knocked me for a loop. My psychiatrist told me I should take time off of work, but it wasn’t an option for me. It was a very dark time. I was very argumentative with my husband, I didn’t want to do anything with him. Unfortunately whenever I get depressed, I get irritable and anxious, and I cry a lot. That’s where I was. At that time I had suicidal thoughts, and was just very depressed, and just having to force myself to go to work was tough. My husband would drive me 45 minutes to work and pick me back up, and getting through the shift was very hard. It was very, very dark. I would make jokes—not in a funny manner, but in an irritated manner like “Why don’t you just get a gun and shoot me,” that type of thing. I wasn’t serious but I was serious. I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore.
How did you first learn about Greenbrook TMS Therapy?
My doctor gave me the option of taking more medication or trying TMS, and I didn’t want to take another pill—I wanted to try something different rather than another pharmaceutical treatment. Once I read about it, I wanted to try it.
What was your first treatment session like?
For my first session at Greenbrook TMS, I wasn’t nervous. My husband went with me because he was really interested in the mechanics and the treatment. The only thing I was taken aback by is that I have chronic migraines and the intensity of the pulses was a little too high. The staff immediately noticed I flinched, so the doctor and Techs went down on the intensity and we went more slowly building up, so it wasn’t scary. Within two or three sessions I was relaxed during the whole procedure, no problem at all. I felt like, I’m doing this and it’s going to get better.
When did you first notice you were getting better?
It was my 17th treatment and I had gone to West Virginia where my son and daughter live. I have a granddaugher that was about six months old at the time. I was holding her and there wasn’t a lot of particular joy in holding her and playing with her the first evening I was there.
But then the next morning when I woke up it was like somebody had flipped a switch. It was a new me. That’s exactly what I told my Tech when I went back in for my next treatment on Monday, it was like someone had flipped a switch on that Saturday morning. It was unreal. And when I picked up my granddaughter and started playing with her, I got her laughing and cooing at me and just felt like "Wow, this is what it feels like to be a grandma!" I was just having a blast with her, and the feeling didn’t go away. It was there.
And with depression, when you’re on medication, you’ll have fleeting feelings like that. But this was sustained. It didn’t go away. It was here to stay. It meant so much to me and I had waited so long to be a grandmother. It was great to have that feeling. It was wonderful.
Did people around you notice any changes in you?
My husband definitely noticed. His nickname for me is “Ladybug” and he’d say, “I’m starting to see glimpses of the Bug again! I think the Bug is back!” I wasn’t hiding in bed anymore, I was going outside to sit on the porch.
How are you handling day-to-day stress now?
I am a stressful person. I do have anxiety and I let myself get anxious about things. Nowadays, I tell myself, as Mr. Rogers said, look for the good things. Focus on the future and think about good things that will happen in the future. And now, I think about my granddaughter and her laughter, and the next time I’ll get to see her. It helps. I have so much to look forward to now. In a lot of ways, Greenbrook TMS helped. I’d experienced another loss in March and though it was very hard, I was able to handle it pretty well. Before, I’d get jumbled up in the negativity.
Is there anything you would have changed about your treatment?
I would have had TMS Therapy sooner. I wish I knew about it years ago. I feel so much better. I feel like the old me. I’m thankful for Greenbrook TMS. I am.
I never had a doubt that it would make some change, but I never expected the change that it made. I mean, truthfully. I never expected the extent of how helpful it was and just how that light switch went off for me.
If Covid-19 and social isolation are heightening your symptoms of depression, Greenbrook TMS therapy may be able to help. At Greenbrook, we specialize in TMS therapy — an FDA-cleared, non-invasive treatment for treatment-resistant depression and OCD without harmful side effects. See if TMS therapy is right for you by clicking here to take a brief assessment: