I believe that the work I’m doing will change the lives of my children or others in my care. TMS was a pivotal moment in this journey for me…
Elizabeth, TMS patient
We’re proud of the technology, team, and process we offer our patients seeking Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) treatment.
(New to TMS? Learn more about it here.)
And as we witness each patient experience the benefits for themselves, we’re right there celebrating alongside them!
This week, we’re talking with Elizabeth about her experience with TMS:
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Elizabeth! Can you share a bit about what life felt like prior to beginning TMS treatment?
I have struggled, since I was a child, with depression. At age 11, I wrote my first suicide note to my best friend. As time went on, I began to struggle with self-harm and disordered eating. When life felt out of control, that is what I would turn to. I remember again when I was 18, calling the suicide hotline because I didn’t know how I could continue living with the way I felt.
Some aspects of life got easier as I grew into adulthood, but that was mostly because I was very good at filling my life up so much with school, relationships, and multiple jobs that I didn’t have time to think about the way I felt.
This went on until I moved to Minneapolis last year. I had SO MUCH time on my hands, especially when I lost my job in April. If it wasn’t for the responsibility of having my dog, I don’t know if I’d have made it out alive. I felt like I was doing so much work and not getting anything out of it.
When I saw the ad for TMS back in August, I was at the end of my rope once again. I was skeptical. I never believed in a quick treatment with REAL results. But I didn’t know what else to do. I was desperate, so I filled out the form.
What had you tried (before TMS) to address these challenges?
I was never able to face or treat my depression, anxiety, and trauma as a child and young adult, due to my caregivers not believing in psychology/psychiatry. I feel that this put me at a disadvantage in my adult life.
Once I had to care for myself, I didn’t know how to do it. My early 20’s were filled with anxiety-induced panic attacks, instability, multiple unhealthy romantic relationships, and never being satisfied with the dead-end jobs I was working. I felt very unworthy of anything good and continued to struggle with self-harm and the development of an eating disorder.
I tried medication for the first time when I was 21. After 6 months, I had never been more suicidal; I abruptly stopped taking it.
A few months later, I went to therapy for the first time. I loved my therapist but was not ready to do the work I needed to in order to get the results I wanted. I was also very impatient with the process. I stopped going after a couple months.
I began another round of trial and error meds. I continued the trial and error until I was 26. I was never consistent. I started therapy again after a very extreme trauma reaction to a very minimal stressor.
This is also when I met a psychiatrist that took note of all the meds I’d tried and we were able to work out another route. This time, something actually clicked and I noticed things changing. These meds held me over for about a year before we had to start changing things.
By the time I found TMS, I was on the two most activating depression meds and an antipsychotic but felt little improvement.
Any hesitations about exploring TMS for yourself? What made you decide to give it a try?
I didn’t know what else to do or where to go. I saw an ad on Facebook multiple times and finally followed the link, read the intro information, and filled out the form to see if I was a good candidate. I think one of the most important things to me, with the type of anxiety I experience, was that texting was an option for contact.
I was really ready to try anything, but that didn’t come without worries. One of the biggest fears for me was expense. I had also fixated on the percentage of people who don’t experience much or any difference. I felt like I was going to be one of those people. I hadn’t felt validated by a doctor in so long and was expecting a similar experience.
I figured that nothing could be worse than what I had been going through my entire life, and that it was worth it to give it a shot. I think the real deciding factor was my intake.
What was the experience like for you?
From the first visit, I’d never felt so validated and heard by a doctor until I met Dr. Luehr.
The visit did not feel like a typical visit. We just had a conversation. I was nervous about seeing a male doctor, but the way he treated me made me feel like I deserved to feel better.
The 6 weeks of treatment with Sarah were amazing. We always had so much to talk about. The treatments gave me a routine, got me out of bed in the morning. Sarah was always so diligent with making sure I was comfortable. She was so kind and understanding. She was genuinely interested in how I was doing and what I was going through. It was hard to have a “last day.”
What were some of the first changes you noticed after beginning treatment?
The first change I noticed was tolerance. It wasn’t anything huge to me, but I was much more able to think things through. My interactions were less reactionary.
I think what REALLY made me see that things were changing were the comments I received from the coworkers and managers at my job. They’d make comments on my drive, my focus, my attitude. When I heard it from other people, it was like the changes I’d started seeing became an actuality.
How does life feel different now, after TMS treatment?
Recently, life has been tumultuous and full of transition. I am continuing to work on my mental and emotional health.
The hope I have for my future since completing TMS has increased exponentially. I have made leaps forward in my personal life and in my career. I have been working with a psychologist who is amazing. I begin DBT classes this month.
TMS was the first real step I’d ever taken in healing and putting myself first.
Any advice or encouragement you’d like to share with someone considering TMS?
Like the Nike slogan: Just Do It.
It’s worth a try, worth the faith. Everyone deserves to feel like they are worthy of hope and healing. Especially those who’ve struggled in the ways I have and those who have struggled even more.
I’m still working on ending a cycle of generational abuse, but I believe that the work I am doing will change the lives of my children or others in my care. TMS was a pivotal moment in this journey for me and I encourage anyone who’s been struggling to take this step.
Thanks, Elizabeth! We’re honored to have worked with you.
Want to take part in our TMS pilot study?
Call (952) 999-6097 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Inspired by what Elizabeth shared? Interested in learning more about TMS?
Enjoy this post? Check out these other posts about TMS:
TMS Patient Experience: Whytnee
TMS Patient Experience: Amy
TMS: The Promising Depression Treatment You’ve Never Heard Of
Preparing for Your TMS Evaluation
5 Reasons to Choose Sonder Psychiatry
Meet the Providers: Erin Fritz
Meet the Providers: Lisa Lemke
Meet the Providers: Daniele (Dani) Hagberg