“What depression is like,” says Michelle. “The best thing I can think of now to describe it is that you’re carrying a 50-pound weight, but you can’t ever put it down. As soon as you get out of bed, you put this weight on and you carry it all day.
“It takes so much energy for me to get out of bed in the morning, a monumental effort to do that. And I think people probably think you’re exaggerating, and like, ‘How could it possibly be like that?’ But it is.”
Depression can indeed feel like a heavy weight has been placed on you. Many of those who deal with this disorder describe wanting to go about their day and progress in different areas of life but feeling unable to, as if under an enormous object that has immobilized them. Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, a lack of energy, frustration, and self-criticism over being depressed in the first place are all common themes of depression. These adverse symptoms make it exceedingly hard to care for yourself and others, and to reach a manageable level of functioning.
Since Michelle had initially tried several types of antidepressant medication, her case could be considered an example of treatment-resistant depression. This is when at least two forms of medication have failed to deliver satisfactory results.
There are two circumstances under which a case of depression could be considered treatment-resistant. Either it has shown to be roughly as severe in treating with at least two types of medications, or the side effects the medication brings about are so severe, as to make continuing with this treatment an adverse and even unbearable option.
Unfortunately for Michelle, in her case it was both: the antidepressants prescribed to her did not sufficiently alleviate her symptoms of depression, while causing her to experience significant adverse severe side effects.
“It was difficult,” recounts Michelle. “We would try medication for a little, (and) it would help for a little. (But) then I would have side effects that would be as bad and would require medication to counter those.”
This went on for several cycles of medication until Michelle’s doctor suggested she try Deep TMS.
Michelle’s treating physician at Milford Clinic was Dr. Li. After not achieving depression symptom relief through psychopharmacology, he decided Michelle might benefit from Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or Deep TMS. This non-invasive treatment is a more recent development in the world of mental health that has already been FDA-cleared to treat depression, due to its proven safety and efficacy.
“BrainsWay’s Deep TMS works fast,” states Dr. Li, adding that he has seen “very, very good effects on almost 80% of all my patients.”
Dr. Li’s observations within his own clinic reflect the conclusions of accumulated, clinical data on Deep TMS for depression: recorded data from over 1000 participants of MDD Deep TMS treatment found that roughly 75% achieved a clinical response from the treatment, with one out of two patients achieving symptom remission.
An additional, multicenter study from 2015 published in World Psychiatry found that one out of three patients with treatment-resistant depression achieved remission following four weeks of Deep TMS treatment. Additionally, close to 80% of those who did not immediately respond to the treatment later experienced an improvement in their symptoms, during the following continuation phase.
Deep TMS utilizes electromagnetic pulses to safely regulate the neural activity of brain structures found to be associated with the symptoms of depression. With repeated treatment sessions, the targeted structures adapt a more stable cadence, resulting in a significant decrease in depressive symptoms.
Deep TMS is an advancement on traditional TMS, both of which have been recognized by the FDA for their ability to offer relief from symptoms of depression.
Deep TMS does not usually cause any long-lasting or adverse side effects, nor does it require the use of anesthesia, and can be incorporated into the patient’s daily schedule. This as opposed to medication, which can cause weight gain and sexual dysfunction, or electroconvulsive therapy, which requires anesthesia and can cause short-term memory loss.
Michelle stated that “after a couple of weeks, I had to fill out a piece of paper to say how I was doing. And I noticed that instead of having things that were not well being all the time, or almost all the time (…) it started to move. That told me that I have really experienced something dramatic. It changed my whole life.”
Michelle’s experience helped her understand the benefits of choosing a treatment facility that offers different options. This allowed her to consider new alternatives that she was previously unaware of while consulting a mental health professional with experience in administering and caring for patients undergoing a variety of treatments. Additionally, with non-invasive options treatments such as Deep TMS, it is possible to combine treatments for an increased overall positive effect.
Having finally experienced symptom alleviation, Michelle is looking to promote the advantages of trying new forms of therapy until you find the one that is right for you.
“I’m hoping that people will see me and know there’s an answer, there’s a solution. What medication and therapy couldn’t do for me alone, Deep TMS did.”