Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Final Post – Catching Up

A while has passed since my final TMS treatment. If Fate were a person, I would wonder what critical offense I had caused her. A virus has swept across the planet and forced us into isolation. Thankfully, TMS has equipped my brain with a newfound ability to manage complex emotional states or at least start from a better place.

It seems appropriate that during the closing days of my therapy, the entire world was sliding into a traumatic event. Trauma is a petulant ex-lover that I’ve been eschewing for years. We’re all drenched in it now. With isolation and perpetual exile to my apartment, I’ve found it difficult to hide from these feelings anymore. These memories scream into the void between the workdays. It’s been uncomfortable trying to process all of them reasonably and healthily.

All of the emotional and mental work has left me feeling untethered, uncentered, and out of control. Do other people feel so desperate for power over their lives? I suppose we all do. This isolation tends to magnify the loneliness that these emotions can make us feel. It’s easy to get lost in an endless cycle of repetitive negativity with no additional stimuli to free you.

It has been bewildering.

I wrote the lines above around the beginning of April. Life was difficult; isolation had seemingly destroyed a great deal of the progress I had made. I had a feeling when I wrote it, that it wasn’t time to post it. Not yet. Not yet, my brain told me over and over. I’m grateful that I didn’t; I wouldn’t want my last post on TMS to discourage someone from taking steps to free themselves from depression.

I write these words now, it’s May 17th, 2020. COVID-19 is still very much a problem from the world. The United States of America leading the world in the number of cases and deaths. Largely, this world I’m inhabiting is not a place of joy, and yet, I’ve managed to find some peace in this darkness.

There were a couple of moments that I was confident that I would break. I had a breakdown, I lost my shit, I found my shit, and I worked my way back out. I honestly and sincerely believe that TMS made the difference. I had lost my way, and people were noticing. They were calling out how I was behaving in a way that unhealthy. I was able to take that criticism, break it down, and fight the darkness back again. I don’t think I would’ve been able to do that before TMS.

It was more than just TMS, though. I have consistently worked on myself to improve my thought processes, reclaim my mind from fear, and understand different perspectives. For someone who has spent most of their life repressing feelings, thoughts, and looking for something no one is capable of providing. Fixing myself was a herculean task.

There’s a great deal of work that I still need to do. TMS as a tool was crucial for this stage of my development. If you’re suffering from depression, if meds aren’t working, give it a try. It worked for me. TMS helped move the needle from where my baseline mood was. I’m able to approach this personal growth and work with strength and confidence. I’m ready.

Readers: If you wish to discuss my TMS treatment on a more personal level, please feel free to reach out to me at

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Post #24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

Here’s the thing about my TMS treatment. It flatlined. Not in the sense that it died and surreptitiously scurried away into the abyss. I haven’t seen any major improvement or decline in days. Talking with the technician, I related that I was concerned about the treatment and that this was the end, a limited improvement.

According to the technician, she informed me that a majority of the people who receive the treatment identify the most significant improvements 3-4 weeks after treatment is over. There’s potentially more to come! I’m not sure if it’s a good sign that I’ve been feeling better during treatment. Maybe it’s a combination of therapy and self-discovery.

A few weeks ago, my glasses slid off my nose. I noticed that the sky was a different color than it was with my glasses on. It had never occurred to me that my lenses had blue light blocking treatment. I wonder if it’s possible that wearing these glasses outdoors could contribute to a form of seasonal affective disorder. I ordered a couple of new pairs from Zenni. Whether it’s purely psychological or not, it has felt better to see the sky without the filter.

I visited Northampton, Massachusetts, and checked out the Smith College Botanical Garden. It’s a beautiful collection of plants and cactus. They have a jungle room – insert Elvis joke – with a lovely bench for people watching. I visited a few bookstores and had a lovely dinner or three. I’ve eaten my fill, beaten a few bushes, and rattled a couple of feathers.

I’ve had drinks, conversations, reading, and learning. It’s been a wholly satisfying and fulfilling set of experiences. And yet, exhausting. I frequently want to curl up into a ball, pass out from a sugar crash, and sleep in the exhaustion soaked wash of quilted comforter.

I’m thankful for the friends and family in my life. They’ve made this scary TMS journey worth it. I’ve been present and aware and gotten a ton of my memories back. My creative drive is alive and well.

Week’s Anthem: The Guggenheim Grotto – Fee Da Da Dee

Week’s Book: Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton – The Ethical Slut

Pain: How badly did the treatment hurt? Did I have headaches afterward? Other issues?

3/5 – Pain went back to fairly average. It wasn’t painful, but don’t ever think it isn’t irritating to have your head tapped for 20minutes.

Sleep: How’d I sleep? How many hours? Quality?

2/5 – Terrible. I’m thankful that I’m finally tapering down my treatments. Getting up at 5:20 every morning to have time for everything with treatment and breakfast.

Appetite: How’d I feel about eating? What did I eat?

2/5 – My appetite and diet has been pretty poor. Save for a few delicious meals.

Physical Activity: What did I feel capable of doing? What did I ultimately do? How did I feel afterward?

2/5 – I felt okay. I need to work out. I’m getting far too sedentary.

Motivation: How much proactive motivation did I have? What motivated me? What were my goals? Did I hit them?

2/5 – I continue to feel exhausted and thus unmotivated. However, it’s not coming from a place of depression.

Baseline Mood: What am I feeling as a baseline.

3/5 – I’m alright. I feel like a lot of things are coming together in a meaningful way.

Happenings: What’s happened this week that may impact my baseline?

I met a few new people. I had some amazing experiences, found a great garden, visited bookstores, read books, learned new things, and tried some interesting dishes.

Reactions: What were my reactions to the happenings?

I’ve felt a range of emotions like a fear that I wasn’t going to get any more value out of the treatment, relief that there is more to come, and excitement for discovering new nooks and crannies in Massachusetts.

Learnings: What did I learn, observe, etc.?

I’ve learned that I still have a long way to go in resolving incorrect thinking. I’ve evolved quite a bit over the years and even now find myself jumping to conclusions that aren’t quite right and failing to understand the basics.

I’ve learned that while possibilities can be unlimited, time is not. This fact has caused me to evaluate myself and my activities. I find a lot of waste in my actions, but I also have to learn to value the mindless time sinks that improve my well-being. Balance is a thing. 

I’ve also learned that I’m capable of a lot of things. I still struggle with feelings of inadequacy and imposter syndrome. I think the hardest part when dealing with emotions (now that I have them again) is having them again. I keep experiencing this wave of emotion that mostly resembles being alone in a crowded room. This feeling is a manifestation of my insecurities and fears. That doesn’t make it any more fun to handle.

I think the best part about what I’ve been learning this past week is that I can absorb and critically analyze a ton of information. I’ve been drilling into relationship dynamics, alternative culture sexuality, philosophy, and so much more at a pace that reminds me of my early middle school days on Ritalin. Feed me, more…

World #193

I’ve always been imaginative. I’ve conjured whole worlds and filled them with little denizens, each with their own thoughts and sense of meaning and purpose. Behind my eyes, a society could rise, crumble, and fall to the whims of I, the creator. Wielding power and happiness as weapons in my creative pathos, I was, at best, grandiose and, at worst, simultaneously spurious.

Happiness as a weapon. That’s how she had used it. She desired obedience and rewarded compliance with her brand of your assumed joy. Your unsolicited satisfaction was never okay, it sparked fights and fueled debate. She brought you down, down like your societies. She, not you, controlled the worlds behind your eyes. You, like a wounded animal, lashed out in childish rage and succumbed quickly to her agile intelligence.

I remember childhood. Roaming like a nomad, I explored every inch of my hometown from the rotted and rusting steel mill to the darkest corners of the ancient cemetery. Fearlessly irresponsible, I waded through the worlds of my mind and devoured ideas, source material, and the occasional inhalation of toxic waste fumes. Childhood wasn’t a safe place. At the end of the day’s journey, there were never going to be feasts of chicken nuggets and desserts of fruit roll-ups. There would, however, be a reckoning. There always was, and so it went.

She waited there — hovering at the end of your exploration. She knew what you desired, what you longed for, what you’d hoped to achieve. She knew that she could train you. Eagerly, you allowed this. It started out so simple. She aggressively and, yet so, subtly edged you towards submission. She made it easier to comply than to disagree. It started as innocuous as a coaster on a wooden surface. A way to protect and honor her wishes. She guided and coaxed you. She formed your opinions for you. Learning quickly, you adapted, you conformed, and you died a little more each day.

Dying. That’s what the denizens of my worlds always do. They have ever suffered the wrath of my whims. My desire to regain some semblance of control. So, I created you, in this world, and I set the tides against you. She would never have allowed me to keep you. I wouldn’t have fought her. This is for your own good as it has been 192 times before.

Once more, I can be happy – if she says so.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Post #21, 22, 23

Day 21, 22, 23:
Last week, I was grateful for my treatment. It afforded me the ability to approach a challenging week with a moderate attitude. Having been hired by an organization, Laura moved to Florida on Friday. Despite our struggles over the past year, she has remained a regular and welcome presence in my life.

The treatment itself hasn’t offered any recent developments beyond my consistently better emotional starting point. I find myself hoping that this isn’t the end of the benefits of this treatment. Is it wrong to be greedy and want more?

I hope this isn’t a pyrrhic victory—a mediocre success at the end of a time-intensive and financially expensive road. I endeavor to be content with the improvement; however, this year has been tough. Tired and exhausted, I need to feel that I have covered some real distance and made some positive changes. It’s difficult not to become discouraged in the face of the struggles.

I do. I appreciate the gifts this treatment has given. In my greed, I want more. I want to be stronger. I want to skip to the end. I want to know myself.

On a more positive note, I befriended an octopus and it performed tricks for me by billowing out across the window of the tank I was viewing. What amazingly weird and beautiful creatures.

Today’s Anthem: Dead Sara – Heaven’s Got a Back Door

Today’s Book: Ursula K. Le Guin – No Time to Spare

Pain: How badly did the treatment hurt? Did I have headaches afterward? Other issues?

4/5 – Not sure why but today hurt more than usual.

Sleep: How’d I sleep? How many hours? Quality?

3/5 – Mediocre. I do admit to having read deep into the night.

Appetite: How’d I feel about eating? What did I eat?

3/5 – Okay. Mellow. Stuffed Peppers. Irish. Moe’s.

Physical Activity: What did I feel capable of doing? What did I ultimately do? How did I feel afterward?

2/5 – I felt okay. I wasn’t going to run a marathon but I wasn’t winded either.

Motivation: How much proactive motivation did I have? What motivated me? What were my goals? Did I hit them?

2/5 – It was difficult to be motivated. I did far too much spinning in my head.

Baseline Mood: What am I feeling as a baseline.

3/5 – I’m alright, not bad, not great.

Happenings: What’s happened today that may impact my baseline?

Laura moved to Florida on Friday. I went to Boston on Saturday. I hid from the world on Sunday.

Reactions: What were my reactions to the happenings?

It was bittersweet on Friday. Saturday was amazing but exhausting. Sunday wasn’t enough.

Learnings: What did I learn, observe, etc.?

I learned that Stingrays feel awesome! Octopuses are amazing. I’m a little more lost than I care to admit.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Post #19, 20

Day 19, 20:
Difficult. This week has been stressful, but not for the reasons you might think. It wasn’t depression, rather my lack of depression that has helped me survive the onslaught of the beginning of this week.

Unfortunately, I can’t talk about the incident at work that was the source of my troubles this week. Suffice it to say; it’s never good when technology doesn’t work.

I digress, this post isn’t about my work week. This post is about TMS and depression, which is why I shall continue to prattle on about work. If you’re reading this post, you’re at the very least interested in learning about TMS and depression. You may even suffer from depression yourself. I’d be preaching to the choir if I continued to wax enthusiastic about how much of a struggle work and daily life can be complicated with depression.

It wasn’t a problem this week. I’ve never felt less depressed. Now, please don’t take that to say I’m all sunshine and rainbows over here. I’m not.
What am I then? I’m free to make decisions about how things affect me. I’ve been present, aware, focused, and able to engage with feelings without being dragged into the abyss.

An important distinction to make is that a lack of depression is not necessarily a positive emotion. What it represents is the place you start from. It’s hard to successfully navigate the needs of work, family, friends, and, most importantly, yourself when you’re starting from a place of darkness. This realization feels powerful.

Today’s Anthem: A Perfect Circle – The Hollow

Today’s Book: Preston & Child – Crooked River (continues)

Pain: How badly did the treatment hurt? Did I have headaches afterward? Other issues?

3/5 – Pain was intense. Some residual pain after treatment.

Sleep: How’d I sleep? How many hours? Quality?

4/5 – Dead, like a victim of a vampire, drained of all fluids and consumed.

Appetite: How’d I feel about eating? What did I eat?

4/5 – Ravenous. Sushi. Teriyaki beef. Because I am never satisfied, tacos before bed.

Physical Activity: What did I feel capable of doing? What did I ultimately do? How did I feel afterward?

3/5 – I felt okay. I wasn’t going to run a marathon but I wasn’t winded either.

Motivation: How much proactive motivation did I have? What motivated me? What were my goals? Did I hit them?

4/5 – Motivated. Accomplished much and learned a few things.

Baseline Mood: What am I feeling as a baseline.

3/5 – Frustrated while working. Alive and happy in the evenings.

Happenings: What’s happened today that may impact my baseline?

Monday, I was impacted by work despite it being a holiday. I enjoyed a little bit of time hanging out with people but also had to listen in on a phone call for a major issue. My evening was filled with roasted vegetables, crime procedurals, and just the right amount of animals. Tuesday, I went in search of fun and exploration in Northampton culminating in a night of eating sushi, teriyaki, shumai, among other delicacies. Northampton, MA is a beautiful town full of interesting characters and shops.

Reactions: What were my reactions to the happenings?

These activities. My outings, food, experiences, and adventures serve to feed a need I have to constantly learn. It helps power and fulfills my basic needs. Realizing that I need this in my life has been one of the most important revelations of the past few years.

Learnings: What did I learn, observe, etc.?

I learned that there is an amazing tattoo and piercing shop in Northampton; Haven in case you need a recommendation. The owner is a funky and amusing person (overheard interactions). Beef teriyaki is everything I wanted and didn’t know I needed. There’s no substitute for a good taco on a Tuesday. A lack of depression isn’t happiness.