TMS Patient Experience: Deb

TMS Patient Experience: Deb

TMS helped me. I am a real person who struggled with depression. It’s not magic; it’s science. It works.

Deb, 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 Deb about her experience with TMS:

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Deb! Can you share a bit about what life felt like prior to beginning TMS treatment?

Before I began TMS treatment I felt sad, hopeless and lonely. I had isolated myself from my friends to the point that I was not answering my phone or responding to my messages. Simply returning a phone call seemed to take more energy than I had. Of course, not returning calls only confirmed my belief that I was a lousy friend and didn’t deserve to have friends anyway.

What had you tried (before TMS) to address these challenges?

I had seen a counselor for several years and found it helpful for coping with depression. It helped me identify negative thoughts and attitudes that were a part of my depression. The support was invaluable. However, the depression remained.

I tried several antidepressant medications, but the side effects were intolerable. I began taking a newer antidepressant medication that helped somewhat. It helped me to get enough clarity and energy to speak with my friends about how I was feeling. I was able to let them know how much I cared for them and how sorry I was about unreturned calls and messages. However, it still took me days to gather the energy and resolve to respond to their calls. Further, the medication had the side effect of making me feel edgy and anxious.

Any hesitations about exploring TMS for yourself? What made you decide to give it a try?

I learned about TMS from my doctor. Since medications seemed to have unacceptable side effects and limited benefit, TMS seemed to be a reasonable option for me.

I had not been aware of TMS before my doctor recommended it for me. I trusted him completely, but the thought of something mechanical/magnetic opening/enhancing neuro-pathways in my brain gave me pause. I realized that the goal of medications was to do the same sort of thing with chemicals, and the dosage measurements made everything seem precise (though not necessarily effective). I wondered how TMS (going from the outside to the inside of my head) could be precise enough to help me and at the same
time keep from harming other areas of my brain.

Several things added together swayed me toward trying TMS. First, there was my doctor. We had worked together trying many meds and combinations of meds to help with my depression. During that process, I realized that he cared not only about my mental health but also about me. I trusted that he would not recommend something for me that could be more harmful than helpful. Second, after voicing my concerns and being reassured about the accuracy of the machine, as well as the careful “mapping” of my own brain
with the machine that’s done in the first session, I felt confident that the risk for the kind of negative side effects I feared was non-existent. Third, FDA approval meant that this was no longer experimental, but tested and helpful for many people. Fourth, I was tired (weary) of living with depression. TMS offered a spark of hope, and I desperately needed that hope.

What was the experience like for you?

The treatment itself was easier than I had imagined. On the days when (for whatever reasons) I felt discomfort, I only had to mention it, and the technician repositioned the machine or I adjusted my position in the chair. Then the treatment felt normal again. The technician was a kind and caring person. Knowing she was there made it easier to get to the appointment every day. The only drawback of the experience was that going every weekday for eight weeks was in itself exhausting.

What were some of the first changes you noticed after beginning treatment?

After starting TMS one of the first changes I noticed was that I was laughing again. When I was depressed I had smiled and laughed at the appropriate times, but I didn’t feel the happiness behind the smile or the joy behind laughter. The first time I laughed and felt the joy of it, I got tears in my eyes. It felt so very good.

How does life feel different now, after TMS treatment?

Every day I find myself saying a little prayer of gratitude because I feel like myself again. I am able to confront challenges without feeling overwhelmed. I am able to find the humor in the little frustrations that used to make me feel defeated. I feel like I will be able to cope with whatever comes ahead. I feel hopeful again.

Any advice or encouragement you’d like to share with someone considering TMS?

TMS helped me. I am a real person who struggled with depression. It’s not magic; it’s science. It works.

Thank you, Deb! 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

Inspired by what Lacey 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