This is a dangerous post to write.

Updated 4-24-17:  Holy crap, y’all.  I love you.  Not only did you listen but you gave me honest advice and reminded me how incredibly difficult but also how worthwhile it is to keep looking for the unique treatment that works for each person.  You also reminded me that I’m not alone in continuing to search for tools that will make my mental illness more manageable, and sometimes it’s enough to know that so many of us are fighting this battle together, even if it seems we’re doing it alone.  Here is my plan as of today:  I saw my doctor and this afternoon I had many vials of blood taken to rule out hormonal issues, deficiencies, etc.  If nothing physical turns up then I’ll try to get my insurance to cover TMS and see if it works.  From what I can see the overall verdict is that it depends on the person and that it’s either incredibly helpful when it works, or it doesn’t work at all, or sometimes it works for a while but not forever, which is sort of the exact same verdict I’ve had with every other medication and therapy I’ve ever tried, so I suppose I should be used to it at this point.  Nevertheless, thank you.  I will always feel broken but you continue to remind me that I am so not alone.  I’ll keep you posted.

Original post:

This is a dangerous post to write, mostly because I’m opening myself up to something that every person who deals with mental illness dreads…well-meaning advice from others.  But this is specific and I’d really like to hear from you.  Not about how I should “just cheer up” or “stop eating anything but air” or similar.  What I want to know is this…have you ever had Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and if so, did it work for you?  My doctor has been recommending that I do it for years but I’ve always been worried about the side-effects.  It’s supposed to be a good option for people like me with major depressive disorder who have tried multiple antidepressants but still have long periods of depression.

I’m lucky because, as a writer, I can often work around the schedule my depression sets for me…sometimes working long days and nights full of inspiration and sometimes just surviving weeks where my mind is a fog and I can’t get out of bed.  I have a support system of family and of strangers-who-are-like-family around the world.  I could probably continue to live like this for the rest of my life, and I’m prepared to.  Although depression can be hell and I know that it lies and I could continue to live through the bad weeks waiting for the good to inevitably come back.

But what if TMS works?  It’s not as invasive as electroconvulsive therapy.  Some people my shrink has treated with it have been able to get completely off their meds, which is something I can’t even imagine. I’ve been on so many different medications, regimens, vitamins, compounds, injections, therapies, etc. and some were helpful and some weren’t and some were until they weren’t.  Some saved my life and others made it miserable.  That’s the thing about treating chronic illness…different things work for different people and the exhausting process of finding a cure for your symptoms usually never completely goes away.  So after this latest bout of depression I’ve been thinking more about trying TMS.  Victor is not a fan but he respects that it’s my decision ultimately.  I still need to research more and to make sure my insurance will cover at least some of it but I thought maybe one of my first steps should be to ask here.  Have you had it?  Did it work?  Was it worth it?

And if you haven’t and you just want to share something that actually did work in treating your mental illness feel free to.  I know that just medication and therapy aren’t enough.  Music, meditation, exercise, sun, vitamins, sleep…they all can make a difference.  If something in particular makes a difference for you, share.  (But if you tell me to stop taking meds and take up jogging I will find you and punch you in the junk with a cactus.  Just saying.)

PS. Turnabout is fair play, so here’s a small tool that I use when I’m feeling anxious.  It’s just a gif.  But whatever works, right?


558 replies. read them below or add one

  1. 1
    Kathryn Thrush

    I use an Alpha-Stim which helps me A LOT!!!!

  2. You mentioned that Victor is essentially a “no” vote for TMS. I’m curious about why that is.

  3. I have a cousin who does this on some sort of schedule. We don’t really talk about it as a family but it has been a treatment she uses for the past many many years and seems to help from her dark times.

  4. My two cents, worth half that. My wife got severe depression at 40. Had it for 4 years, then doctor put her on welbutrin and serzone. Cured her. Her mom also had depression. They electrocuted her brain, helped her. –Best wishes

  5. My favorite “punch you in the junk with a cactus” advice came from my mother who was fond of saying “snap out of it.”

    This is not helpful.

  6. I’m so glad you’re writing about this because I want to know too!!

  7. Hi Jenny! I haven’t tried it, but I do have a word of well meaning advice. If you do it and it doesn’t cure you, you didn’t fail it. I started running and eating well and I still have to be on my meds and I felt like I’d somehow failed because people always talk about how they took on a healthy lifestyle and could stop taking meds. Not me. Dammit.

    jenndesi recently posted Finish in sight.

  8. 8

    I don’t have personal experience with TMS, but I wanted to offer a Netflix suggestion — a comedian who has had this procedure (and if I recall, it helped), and whose special is funny and poignant. Perhaps you have already seen it, but if not, it’s Neal Brennan “3 Mics.” At the very least, maybe you’ll watch it on a day when you sorely need some commiseration and a laugh. Hugs!

    (Putting it on my list. ~ Jenny)

  9. I’ve never had it, but I did have it suggested also. Carrie Fischer had it done while she was alive and swore by it. She said it was worth those side effects. I’m curious to see too what people say. If it is something I might actually consider.

  10. I have never heard of that. I did do 15 sessions of ECT and it did nothing for me, actually, I believe it made me worse, and I lose some memory from it. I wish you luck in whatever you choose! I usually try everything myself. I have been on every medication, I’ve tried CBT, ECT… nothing works. Sometimes I wonder if this is just who I am as a person, and I’m not actually “ill”.

    (The memory loss thing is already something I deal with so ECT isn’t a viable option for me. I’ve heard mixed things about it too. ~ Jenny)

  11. I did it. No side effects, but it didn’t have any effect on me whatsoever (good or bad), so it felt like a huge waste of time and money. The sessions are weird but you get used to it. Hope you have better results than me.

    (Good to know. Did you do the neurostar one? I’ve heard different machines work differently. Did they turn it up so your fingers started twitching? I’ve seen different methods used, which makes it even more complicated.~ Jenny)

  12. I’m sorry to take up space on this particular real estate where you’re looking for input (I have none), but I just wanted to wish you well.

    (Good thoughts are never a waste. Thanks! ~ Jenny)

  13. That’s my favorite GIF! I find coloring, doodling, and music to be helpful at times, but they’re more like a day old bandaid… kinda helps, but really should be changed. I hope the best for you and hope that you find something that works.

  14. I have this GIF saved on my phone. It has come in handy on many occasions when my anxiety starts to go into overdrive. If I can catch it before it explodes sometimes I can at least keep from having to take meds for it! Also, good luck in whatever you decide on TMS.

  15. Not able to comment on the treatment, but TMS means something entirely different to me! Wondered why you were suddenly talking about cricket to treat your illness at first! Interestingly, cricket can be considered one of the sports leading the way in talking about mental ill health amongst it’s professionals. I can recommend you try the book by Graeme Fowler, “Absolutely Foxed”

  16. I am interested in hearing what people say about this as well, as it was brought up to me as an option by my doctor. I’m one of those people who has tried practically every depression med out there and am so sensitive to the side effects that I haven’t been able to stay on any of them for long. (Which kind of adds to the depression – I’m a failure at taking medications for heaven’s sake. WTH?!)

    (You’re not alone. And the only one currently working for me only works if it’s the brand name so my doctor and I have to fight my insurance company every month when they try to give me the generic. So complicated. ~ Jenny)

  17. I’ve no experience with this procedure, but just wanted to offer a good luck with whatever you decide and I hope you find some way to get out from under the chronic depressive episodes. <3

  18. Never dealt with TMS and my run ins with depression are few and far between anymore, but my coping skill of choice for shitty days is crafting. I mainly crochet and find it very therapeutic. Walks on sunny days are great. So is a shower when you least want one. Journal writing comes out as a last resort. Good luck!

  19. I LOVE that .gif and I’m going to steal it, mmkay? I really wish I knew what to tell you, because my meds work pretty well, although I don’t think my depression is as bad as yours (sorry). Unfortunately, drinking Manhattans or Martinis every night (not both at the same time, though — yet), is the only way I can cope. Before I found this combination of meds (and alcohol), I was seriously thinking of electroshock therapy, because nothing was working at all. I still wonder about whether or not I should try it.
    Sorry, this was no help at all. I just want you to know that there are so many of us behind you on this, no matter our level of depression. And I support you whatever you decide to do. Just be safe, mmkay?

  20. I’ve not had the pleasure but I worked for a psych med practice for about a decade and the best advice I can give you is to find a medical library–every teaching hospital has one–and locate the actual research on the procedure that has been published in medical journals. Send Victor and Haley if you don’t feel up to going; although hey–it’s a new kind of library you might enjoy! Once you find the research, make photocopies of any part you have concerns about and take that with you to your doctor to discuss. What I learned in my tenure is that for whatever reason, some practitioners tend to fall in love with some treatments despite the research; and others tend to be skeptics despite the research. Lucky for us all the research is published somewhere, although usually not on the free internet. The internet usually has articles which refer to the research, but don’t necessarily reflect the conclusions of the researcher so it’s tricky. Like life. That’s also tricky. And surviving on that all-air diet you referred to–glad to hear I’m not the only one who fell for that one!

  21. I have not tried it but if my doctor suggested it and could set it up for me, I would do it in a heartbeat. Not much is worse than depression and thank you for the GIF, I can see it being very helpful in the future.

  22. Not sure what the side-effects are, but a big question about them is, are they permanent or do they stop with ending treatment if you do have them? Then it’s all about weighing the pro’s and con’s and only you can decide what’s best for you. Best of luck either way!

    (It depends on the person. A lot of people are able to go off antidepressants permanently and never have to take the TMS treatment again. Some have to augment with drugs and some have to come back for follow-up treatment in the future. You initially have it almost every day for like a month and a half so it’s a long process but if it worked or even made my depressive periods shorter I’d be happy with it. ~ Jenny)

  23. I have not had this done. But last year I joined a DBT therapy group and it completely changed my life. For this first winter in 15 years I did not have to spend a single entire day in bed. A few half days certainly, but it was such a huge improvement for me. May not be a cure all but it’s definitely something in line with a lot of your posts Jenny. So I just wanted to share in case it might be something that would help anyone else. Love you all, my sad sack warriors!

  24. I had never heard of it until you mentioned it. But really…isn’t it at least worth a shot? It might not work, and I know how bad of a letdown that can be (I suffer from depression as well as migraines – whee!), but I’d think anything that might work is worth a shot.

  25. This is not something I’m personally familiar with. Not even an hour ago I ordered a decvice called the “buzzies” May be worth a look. SOMETHING at some point has to work right? In the meantime; I’m living like a cat & plopping down in patches of sunlight. I wish you ALL GOOD THINGS! ✨

  26. I have no experience or suggestions, just wanted to de-lurk to wish you well. You’re a fabulous person who deserves more time in the light, and I hope you find a solution.

  27. Oh, that gif is very relaxing! I never found a medication that worked, so for me, therapy has been key. When I was diagnosed in college when it was really bad, I had two stays in the hospital within a year, and then I did a partial outpatient program that helped me get stable enough to go back to work. I discovered coloring mandala drawings in the hospital, and I still find that crafting things like that keep my hands busy and sooth my mind. Meditation helps. Pleasant scents help. Knowing that eventually I will feel better gives me a lot of strength to get through anything. The idea that knowledge is power has rung true for me, so I read a ton of books about depression and mental health. It helped me understand myself and feel less alone and a little more in control of myself.

  28. I have looked into it for my son. He goes on the same roller coaster ride you describe. I don’t think that insurance will cover it though and it’s very expensive here. It’s still kind of fringe so to spend that kind of money made me nervous. What I have read about it intrigues me. We adjust/change his meds constantly it seems. Right now he is Wellbutrin with a small dose of Vyvanse. The Vyvanse made a huge difference for him. But I know that everyone is different in how they experience depression and how they need to treat it.

  29. Okay. Two years ago, after bouncing off and on of a bunch of meds, none of which helped, I consulted three paychiatrists. One did ECT, one did TMS, and one was a holistic psychiatrist. The ECT option probably had the most promise in terms of efficacy, but I was scared shitless of possible memory loss and quite honestly, the need for an IV over and over again. (I have a huge amount of trauma from being sick as a kid). So I said no. And the TMS guy told me that if his treatment worked, it might be half as effective as ECT. And I might have to repeat it in a few months. After 6 weeks of 5 day a week treatments. And the holistic doc said – if you deal with the underlying trauma, you can get off your meds and get better. I went with her. I did supplements and EMDR. And regular talk therapy. And I bottomed out, and went back to meds. It sucked sucked sucked. I found a combo that worked – and now it no longer works. And I am trying over and over, and not sure about any other treatment. I might swallow the ECT if I have to. I mean, Carrie Fisher did it, right?

    Hang in there, Jenny. It’s rough. I’ll hold space for both of us. And hey, I got vulnerable and submitted my first blog post for publication. Check it out.

    (Thanks so much for sharing this! The holistic stuff doesn’t work as well for me because my issues are purely chemical. But behavioral therapy was really helpful in dealing my anxiety symptoms so I totally get what you’re saying. ~ Jenny)

  30. I had TMS for a number of sessions but can’t remember how many. I don’t think it was that long, so maybe not long enough? It didn’t affect me one way or another, but it can’t hurt other than financially, so why not? I did wonder about self-fulfilling prophecy, but if you believe something works and it does, that’s fine!

    I found eating really healthfully helped my depression, but I keep reaching for the crap. I mean Krispy Kreme’s are a gift from the gods, right?

    (My doctor recommended 5 days a week for a month and a half to have the full effect. Pretty time-intensive. ~ Jenny)

  31. I’ve thought about TMS and ECT, and they both terrify me, but I also have that tiny nagging question of ‘but what if?!’ What if this could make me normal? What if I could have a normal life?! Wouldn’t anything be worth that? I’m not ready for either yet. Right now I’m looking into medical marijuana.

    (I tried the latter because I know people who’ve had great reactions to it but for me it made my anxiety worse. Then again, lots of drugs don’t work for me or have the opposite effect so I’m not a good example. For instance, my body doesn’t metabolize anything in the valium family. I could probably take a bottle and feel exactly the same. Not that I would, but still. I had to have a doctor observe me taking it to prove to her that it had absolutely no effect on me. It was for a biopsy they wanted me sedated for. In the end she gave up and I did it totally awake. Not fun. ~ Jenny)

  32. As someone who has lived through a suicide attempt and understands depression and anxiety intimately I can tell you that meditation – daily meditation especially – has changed my life. Thoughts be bitches. Kick them out of your head. But don’t worry – the good ones stay long after the bad ones are gone.

  33. I started taking Celexa last year for my anxiety and depression and it changed my life! I went from barely being able to get out of bed; nauseated, dizzy, and scared. More like terrified. I lived on Ginger Ale and Saltines because my stomach was a mess from anxiety. I started Celexa and I feel human again. I have been able to gasp make plans! And KEEP THEM! I do still have my days where I just can’t be a person, but I’m nowhere near what I was a year ago.

    I also have a really good friend that deals with anxiety too so we text each other when we’re struggling because it helps to have somebody who understands and who doesn’t tell you to calm down, or suck it up, or just “be happy”. You can text me too <3

  34. “Kremes” not Kreme’s. Auto-apostrophe.

  35. I don’t have advice on TMS because I haven’t used it; however, I have read good & promising things from unbiased sources I trust. I don’t know if your doctor has mentioned a VNS (Vagus Nerve Stimulator) to you for your depression, but you may want to discuss that option as well. I have epilepsy, migraines, anxiety, depression, and insomnia-a lovely casserole of broken brain. The VNS helps the seizures & depression, though I still take meds. Just know that whatever you decide to do, we’re all here for you.

    (Never heard of it. Checking it out. Thanks! ~ Jenny)

  36. With my anxiety and depression I do coloring, deep breathing, knitting, and most beneficial to me is guided meditation.

  37. My therapist (who I believe may be the smartest man alive, well, to me anyway) strongly recommends it. He says that it is painless and relatively free of side effects.

  38. I don’t know anything about TMS, but wanted to share that my mother had major depression when she was in her 70’s. She was hospitalized for 2 months and was not getting any better. She underwent several sessions of Electroconvulsive Therapy, and it turned her life around. She went on to live 7 more years while taking just a small dose of an anti-depressant daily. She didn’t have any major side effects, either. I’m not recommending ECT, just wanted to share and to say that if TMS is even half as effective as ECT was for my mother, I would go for it. Hope that helps!

    (I’m not sure it’s as effective but it’s less invasive. Usually TMS is a step before ECT. Just takes a lot longer. But it’s good to know. My great, great grandmother died fairly young in a mental institution in the 50’s and we suspect it was from the effects more harsh electroshock therapy so I’ve always been nervous about anything electric. I know ECT is different but it always scares me a little. I’ve heard good things about it though now. ~ Jenny)

  39. 40
    Janet Pelletier

    Because you invited us to share; what keeps the worst of it at bay most of the time is taking my meds, checking in regularly with my doctor, friends, lots of socializing, playing with my dog, being creative, working a part time job I enjoy, eating food that gives me pleasure, moving my body, teaching and mentoring and reminding myself that depression and anxiety lie to me. Which you already do too. The ability to keep myself busy is essential to me. And running out of spoons is when I am most vulnerable. I haven’t done the treatment you are being offered but I wouldn’t rule it out if I ran out of meds that work, which is a real fear I have.

  40. It’d be worth a shot? It’s a bit if a committment time wise, but it’d be good for some blog posts.

    It was offered to me and I did NOT do it because my doctor felt my particular brand of GAD and dysthymia had worse outcomes than someone with different diagnoses. I’m currently exploring ECT as I’m in crisis.

    I’d ask what the outcomes look like for someone with your diagnosis versus others before you make your decision. Good luck!!!

    (Last time I talked to my doctor about it she’d had 8 patients with my same diagnosis do it and 6 were able to get off meds altogether. One wasn’t affected. One got worse but she was dealing with truly horrific life problems at the time so it’s possible that it was unrelated to the treatment. I haven’t talked to any because of privacy issues. ~ Jenny)

  41. 42
    Emily Littlefield

    I had TMS last fall. It helped immensely with my anxiety and did help some with my depression. I’ve been on meds for depression and anxiety for more than 15 years and likely should have been on them LONG before that. I would absolutely do TMS again and actually I likely will have more treatments in the future. I would do them right now but my doctors are in the process of determining if I have Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. So that is taking my focus right now.

    I’ve read you for nearly a decade. I’ve bought all your books. Been to your signing events in Seattle both times. I’m with you all the way. Try TMS. The possibilities of what it might bring you are too great to ignore. You are too great to not try everything available to you. I hope you will try it.

    Please feel free to ask me any questions you might have about the experience. I’m here with you.

    (Was it the neurostar machine? Did you have any memory loss? That’s one of the scariest part for me since I already have a dodgy memory. Thank you! Sending you so much love. ~ Jenny)

  42. I’ve never tried it but it sounds interesting. If you can afford it, I’d say go for it. Sometimes I think I’d do just about to not feel the way I do. Or to not have to work so hard to not feel the way I do. Therapy, meditation and exercise seem to help me a lot. Medication isn’t a cure but I couldn’t function without it. Thanks for the gif. I love those!

  43. I went for a consultation and they eased all of my fears about the side effects. I decided not to do it because my out of pocket cost was VERY high and I didn’t feel the success rate was worth the money.

  44. I’ve heard of it and even thought about it. Not seriously because I’ve heard it’s expensive and I probably couldn’t afford it. My counselor was the one who told me to look into it. He says one of his clients did well with it. I would be nervous about side effects but then again medications have side effects also. If you can afford it, it’s worth considering. I like the fact that it’s something that when it works, seems to work very well. As far as other coping tools as a complementary therapy to go along with your medications, I really recommend Reiki. I got into it years ago to help with an autoimmune condition and it has done wonders for me. I even became a Reiki practitioner because it helped so much.

    Shari recently posted Reiki.

  45. I LOVE LOVE LOVE hat breathy thing, I think Imma leave it up at my desk all day. Keep Austin breathing!

  46. I had ECT at age 41. I’m almost 49 now. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made. I was so scared. I lost many memories, but I have family to remind me of those. I gained my life back. I am not cured of depression, but I am alive and relatively healthy and still here for my daughter.

  47. Thanks for that gif. I should probably keep that handy. Sorry I can’t comment on TMS but I’d be very interested to know how well it works to see if it might be worth considering doing myself. Depression sucks. Always wishing you sunshine, Jenny.

  48. Hi Jenny,
    My name is Emily and I am finishing my third year of psychiatric nursing at Brandon University in Canada. I have been following your blog since “Let’s Pretend..” hit the bookstores. I don’t have a lot of information about TMS that you don’t already know. Instead I want to thank you for helping me to identify my own depression and anxiety and giving me the strength to ask for help. It seems that despite working towards becoming a mental health professional, it can be easy to help others and forget about yourself. When I have “low” days I have a playlist that helps me get through it. It’s a list of mine and my fiancés favourite songs. If I can will myself to stop crying and get out of bed, I find baking something helps, being able to create something from a bunch of nothing ingredients makes me feel in control. I don’t know if any of this will help, but I just wanted to reach out. Keep shining, Jenny. Thank you for writing, even when it hurts.

  49. When you get to the point that anything is worth a try, then anything is worth a try.
    I would definitely try it.
    Good Luck, Sweetie <3

  50. 51
    Joanna (in Canada)

    Thanks for bringing this up. I keep meaning to unquire about TMS, but then forget to due to fogginess.

  51. Such a coinkidink! I just saw this on Twitter this morning and wonder if it is something you might bring up with your doctor. It sounds interesting, and possibly promising for treatment of depression and anxiety and PTSD.

  52. 53
    Sari Everna

    Do it!

    I haven’t had it before, but I am at least a little familiar with the literature, and it’s really quite positive. Plus, you’ll know whether it’s having any effect pretty quickly compared to drugs, and it’s always nice to know that sort of thing sooner rather than later. Also, even dealing with drugs that work well can be a bit of a pain, and personally I’d prefer the machine to the pills.

    Ultimately, though, do your research, talk to your doctor, and favour well-collected statistics over anecdotes, and I’m sure everything will be fine, no matter what you choose.

  53. Do you trust your doctor who is recommending it? If so you may want to do it and operate on that trust rather than your own research. It is hard to be objective when you are the patient and in the thick of it. Victor loves you endlessly in spite of the Beyoncé and other episodes so his voice matters and I treatment should be undertaken blindly. But the bottom line is there are no guarantees and what works for one person may not work for you. So if your doctor recommends it and you trust your doctor that may be the way to go. What’s the worst that can happen? Is that worse than what you describe now? In all of this deep down you know what is best for you so trust you.

    (I totally trust her. She doesn’t push but she thinks it’s worth a try and that I’m exactly the sort of patient it’s designed for. ~ Jenny)

  54. I can help you understand the insurance policy requirements.

  55. No experience with that but here is another idea to add to the mix.

  56. I offer a similar treatment, TES (transcranial electrical stimulation), and have been doing so for about 7 years now. Like TMS, this is much, much (x100) milder than ECT. I have seen amazing results from it with absolutely no side effects other than the occasional headaches and mild sleep disruptions during the course of treatment. Many people have been able to stop medications completely, and others have been able to lower doses. It usually produces a “huh, this would normally bother the crap out of me but it’s not anymore” type of result.
    Ultimately, of course, it is your decision and your open willingness to it will play into your results, but I do highly encourage trying it. I’ve personally done the course of sessions 3 times since we began offering it – so I can promise it doesn’t fry your brain 😀

  57. I haven’t done TMS, so I can’t speak to it. But I, too, have stretches of darkness in my life, and I have since I was a teenager. And now I have developed a chronic condition that exacerbates the psych stuff in fascinating but terrible ways. I drink lots and lot of water because it makes a difference in how I feel physically. Sometimes things seem so bad that I have to consciously pick out the good – a cross-looking tulip in my yard, catching a green light when I don’t expect it, the shockingly frosty nose of my cat, Pixel, living in a world where Sweetart jellybeans exist. And this is not “look at the bright side” because that kind of advice sucks raw chicken livers. This is a survival tool. A reminder that there IS still good out there even if the dark wants to suffocate me.

    I have also begun visualizing my depression as Trumpertantrum’s face, in the hopes that I can consciously refuse to let it have a say in my life.

    My meds help a great deal. I quit them for years and years, and I finally admitted I needed to try again. There are side-effects that are frustrating, but within a week of beginning them, I was suddenly NOT perseverating on every possible mistake I made at work or imagining horrible things.

    If TMS has a chance of making a positive difference for you, it is definitely worth considering!

    Peace be with you, friend. You are not alone. And I don’t mean that in a “LOOK BEHIND YOU! SERIAL KILLER!” kind of way.

    becomingcliche recently posted Notes From the Zookeeper: Working With Venomous Snakes.

  58. I have never used TMS, but I am a professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, so I am relatively familiar with the technique. As far as I have read there tend not to be side effects for most people. Depression is often the result of low levels of neurotransmitters, like serotonin, in the brain. TMS is just a short bit of electrical stimulation that causes your brain to increase production of these neurotransmitters for a short period of time (like the ‘natural’ version of SSRI drugs).

  59. Absolutely, 100% recommend!!!! My 24-year-old son has struggled with depression for years and after treatment has experienced a night-and-day difference. He’s more relaxed, easy to laugh, and comfortable in his skin — and this is a year after the series of treatment. He no longer has the “low-low” events — just a “normal” range of emotions. He’s even been able to cut his meds in half. As it was explained to us, the treatment retrains your brain to function correctly. It was successful for him, and I would wholeheartedly encourage you to try the program.

  60. TMS appears to be the least invasive of all of the electromagnetic procedures. My uncle has had DBS many times for another illness but a positive side effect is improved tolerance and mood. The APA seems to be behind the overall, long-term results. Give it a go if so compelled and if it doesn’t work or only works for a while then at least you’ve tried it.

  61. Hug!! I have no advice. Just a huge hug from me whenever you need it.

  62. Vicki. I have had lifelong depression and am on Wellbutrin and Lexapo. I have had TMS and it has helped me a great deal. When I was in exasperations of my depression and was struggling to be able to function, over the 6 weeks of therapy it brought me out of my depression. Do the research… it’s all neuroscience…. it’s not scary or weird. It is nothing like ECT, it doesn’t alter your perception or your fabulous personality. I did my treatment and went to work. I would be happy to discuss it in more detail Jenny.

  63. Hi- my diagnosis is PTSD and dysthymia with intermittent major depressive disorder. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was the hardest work I’d ever done and the most beneficial, probably because past trauma had a great deal to do with present triggers. It’s been almost four years and I’ve only had a couple of depressive episodes and I find that they don’t last as long or get as severe. I think it changed the way I process stressful events.

  64. 65
    Eleanor McCrary

    I have had great success with EMDR. It has been a very difficult process and is not over yet, but worth the effort, I think.

  65. I’m thinking of it myself, based on a good friend who receives TMS treatments and the recommendations of my doctor. He reports no side effects, and has been able to eliminate some of his medications. As others have said, it’s not exactly cheap (cost my friend about $6,000 in the first year and maintenance costs of $125 per month afterwards) but worth it to stay level.

    Apparently feels a bit like having a small needle pushing on the skull, and the odd mild headache while receiving the treatment. Other than that – no issues.

  66. I don’t know what TMS actually does so feel free to throw my thoughts in the garbage, just please don’t punch me in the junk with a cactus.

    Have you done any research into treatments that European countries are doing? The Viking is from Denmark and their medical system is stellar and cutting edge. I’ve read a few things about breakthrough therapies from Sweden as well. I would look at Germany too.

    I know that you are in a bloody war with your body and having had a couple close encounters with suicide myself, I have the deepest empathy for you. Hugs.

    *OMG! I just put a link to my last blog and the Electrocution thing is only a completely weird coincidence. Honestly!! I would take it down but I thought you might find the weirdness kind of amusing

    Mrs. Completely recently posted Why Aren’t You Electrocuted?!.

  67. I may have mentioned this before, but Modafinil is my miracle anti-depressant, even though it’s off-label for depression, and it took effect within two or three days. The only thing I know about TMS is that it’s supposed to have relatively few side-effects (at least compared to ECT). Good luck whatever choice you decide to make (or don’t make)!

  68. I do not suffer from depression however I do have a chronic illness that has had me on the drug merry-go-round for a few years. I say go for it! if it won’t hurt you ( like so many drugs can and do) they what have you got to lose? In the end it is the quality of your life that is important, if it can make even have of the dark days less dark it is worth it. ~blessings to you and yours

  69. I need to download the gif on my phone – thank you for that. I have no experience with TMS, but I appreciate that you bring this up on your blog as it helps those of us who are still searching for the answers to our own issues. I don’t suffer from depression but I have two other conditions that kick me in the head at times. One being PTSD.

    I have a cousin who swears by ECT treatment. It has helped him a lot. He still deals with depression but it is not nearly as bad as it was.

    Catherine recently posted The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas.

  70. I’ve not tried TMS itself, but pranic healing seems to work for me on my worst days, and that is kind of the same thing only using our bodies as the tools to redirect energy flow. I’m a chronic lymie (Lyme carrier), which according to one source I ran into, seems to affect being susceptible to getting shocked on just about everything I touch and apparently there are a number of us complaining about this problem. I’ve learned to use pranic healing methods to reduce the intensity and amounts of shocks I get while I’m driving, shopping, etc. Pranic healing is the same principle as TMS, I think, but uses our own bodies as the tools to redirect the energy flow. Some might scoff, but since weather changes affect me so badly (ionospheric change is a big deal for many people), I can see where TMS might actually do some good. If I can respond positively to mild electrical energy focusing, I imagine a tool described in that article would actually work pretty well. Also, there’s documentation for chronic anything and everything disrupting healthy energy flow in the body, and we know now that proper electron flow is extremely important in the brain and nerves. I would love to a post on how it all goes for you if you try it out!

  71. I don’t know anything about the treatment, but if your doctor recommends it and you feel willing to take the possibility of side effects, I say go for it. If you don’t, you’ll spend time worrying that it might have worked, which is time you lose from your life’s enjoyment. If it doesn’t work and the side effects aren’t permanent or debilitating, then all you’ve lost is the same time you’d spend worrying about whether it would have worked. Give it a try.

  72. There is info here from Johns Hopkins. The interesting thing to me is that it includes a copy of a consent form, so you can see what you’d be reading/agreeing to. You can also access a copy of the form they use to screen patients for the process. I don’t know ANY thing about it, but this has a lot of input, which sounds fairly balanced. <3.

  73. I haven’t tried it, but weigh the side effects against what you are currently having to deal with. It sounds as though most of the side effects are transient or just during the procedure. If it works, great, if it doesn’t, it was still worth the try. I held off meds for so long because I had tried a ton and none of them worked, except one that I continued to take for a month even though it made me sweat and vomit profusely an hour after taking because it made my mental health better. I gave up on ever finding meds and now have adrenal fatigue (aka stress-induced Cushing Disease) because I spent years not treated enough. I recently got encouraged by my psychologist to try meds again because of all the new treatments available and found one that works without the side effects and, while I hope it continues to work forever, I have to remind myself that if it doesn’t, trying new treatments is better than fighting with my brain constantly to keep it from killing me… Ultimately, the decision is yours and I support you no matter what.

  74. I had never heard of TMS before this post, and I am intrigued. I’ve been in therapy for years, with varying degrees of success (it’s hard to find a therapist I “click” with), and tried a bunch of meds before I finally found one that worked..,but seems to be less effective these days. I’ve tried yoga, coloring, drawing, meditation, vitamins…pretty much all the things, but depression is still a more-or-less constant companion for me. So I’m always interested to learn of something else that might help.

    I may, however, have found something that helps the anxiety: acupuncture. I did it on a whim and have only been doing it for a few weeks, but I have noticed that I am significantly less anxious since I started it (and there’s a bunch of stuff going on in my life that should have the anxiety monster roaring for me). Maybe it’s just a placebo effect, but I’ll take it.

  75. I haven’t tried it, but I also wanted to just wish you well. I was doing well on Cymbalta for years and yesterday I could barely get out of bed and function. This week I just watch the cat hair blow across the hardwood floors and can’t find the energy to vacuum. It sucks, ha no pun intended there. I’ve been doing acupuncture 2x/week since summer and it seems to have calmed my anxiety (have you tried that?). I’ve read all your books and love your honesty. Furiously Happy made me stop hiding my depression and anxiety so thank you for that also!

  76. I’ve never had Transcranial magnetic therapy but i have had Magnetic therapy to release scar tissue that was pulling muscles to hard i could not move.. and after being hit by a semi ( totaled my car) – i slept on a Magnetic matters pad and was 100% with in a week … i got hit on a Friday and saw my personal Dr. on Monday – he couldn’t believe i was in a car accident 2 days prior. Personally I’ve had good luck so i would use magnetic therapy again … Radiation Therapy? no not so much 😉

  77. This comment isn’t related to your post, but I just wanted to share what a blessing your new book has been to my family. My 16 year old daughter has been battling depression and anxiety and took a turn last week. I happened upon You Are Here and immediately ordered it for her and it has been so helpful for her. Keep fighting!

  78. 79
    Sophie James

    ‘Stop worrying so much’ is my favourite bit of advice I consistently get 😉
    It’s super helpful…
    I have no advice (other than be around dogs, cats and plants) just sending you lots of good thoughts <3

  79. Personally I am all for trying things that couldn’t hurt (literally and figuratively). I just read all about this at the mayo clinic website and if it were me I would give it a shot. Hugs to you.

  80. I’d say it’s worth trying. I am lucky enough to be able to handle my depression with out meds most of the time, but I’d probably try it if I needed it.

    My favorite ways to get a quick laugh or happy feeling is to watch My Drunk Kitchen or You Deserve a Drink on YouTube. I also love red carpet reaction videos (mostly by Grace Helbig) and other fun challenge videos.

    Ashley recently posted Not Ordinary.

  81. My doc does this–generally with geriatric patients who are not responding to meds. Good results but sounds like you need a number of treatments and maybe elderly patients have more time? I like the idea that it is not ECT, but I read the wiki you posted and got a little unnerved. Holy Tesla!

  82. I’m going to borrow your phrase “punch you in the junk with a cactus”, and credit you of course. 🙂

    I’ve never heard of it until just now, but I am curious to hear what people say here about their experiences with it. I’m going to read more up on it now.

  83. Highly recommend electroconvulsive therapy. It is definitely not invasive and has the highest outcomes of any therapy. Gets a bad rap in the public eye because of its name and what people imagine it to look like, but it’s not at all like that.

  84. I wrote earlier about my son’s success with TMS. The system he used was provided through Brainsway.

  85. My husband has struggled with depression (dysthymia) for 20 years now. He’s been in therapy on and off, and his current meds are working about as well as any ever have, but his psych suggested TMS as a possibility. So I’m interested in this comment section. He’s not actively down right now but he’s not quite…”Up” either.

  86. Have you ever heard of near infra red radiation ( I think that is what it is called) I have read great things about it for a while now and it appears there are no side effects. I know that just answered a question with a question and I’m sorry but I have been meaning to post that for a while .

  87. 88
    Sarah Doherty

    I have had TMS, but first of all, you nneed to know you are my hero. So, please have Victor go buy you a sparkly purple tiara. Real purple diamonds would be nice, but he can also just hit up the party row at Target. Your writing captures feelings for people and that is just an awesome super power.
    Now about the TMS. I fit all the criteria and I was sinking fast. My psych (who’s Uber hot by the way which doesn’t help when talking to him), suggested it to me and at first it scared the poo out of me like it was electric shock and would alter my personality. But, I did the research (Mayo in MN is doing a lot if it) and decided I had to do it. I believe I went every week day for 8 weeks. The scores on the little tests they give you went from a 26 to an 8 over that time. I knew I was doing better when I found myself actually singing in the car. I will say, it’s not magic. I didn’t leave there after 8 weeks flitting about like Snow White with bluebirds singing all around me. I am still on meds but overall am much better. It’s a strange procedure where it feels like someone is literally thumping your brain for 30 seconds at a time. It also made me clench my teeth. You do get used to it and I definitely wouldn’t call it painful. My tech and I watched old episodes of MAS*H while the procedure took place. Some people need some boosters sessions. I did have a couple of those. Overall,if you aren’t asleep yet, I would vote yes on doing it. A local reporter did it to and wrote about it (Daniel Finney with the Des Moines Register). He also had success but did go back for boosters as well. Insurance is going to be a tough one. At the time, mine was out of pocket and it was $8k. However, more and more insurance companies are covering it everyday. My same insurance now covers it. Good luck to you and I’m happy to answer any questions, but I know returning emails isn’t really your thing so I won’t hold out hope to hear from you personally. Be good to yourself. Or at least as good as you can be. Much respect to you! Sarah Doherty

  88. I’m going to echo what Denise G said a few minutes ago… After an almost successful suicide attempt in 2012, a whole range of different medications and therapies, and over a year in a psychiatric hospital, my doctor suggested ECT. I was utterly terrified. I read around the subject A LOT, and eventually accepted the idea, despite Jack Nicholson images haunting me. The 10 sessions took place in early 2014 and were scary and more than a little disturbing, I did suffer some memory loss (but mainly concerning the 18 months I spent in the psychiatric hospital, so no great loss to be perfectly honest) but I haven’t had any depressive episodes since. I haven’t self-harmed either. In fact, I spontaneously stopped taking any medication whatsoever in June 2014 (though don’t tell my doctor, he doesn’t know!) and have been fine. I don’t know anything about TMS, but if it’s half as successful as ECT, I’d say go for it! My life is still far from perfect, but I’m still here, I’m still around to watch my daughters grow up, and I can definitely live with the memory loss…

  89. I would really recommend considering the potential side effects (those that patients report – which are not necessarily those that Drs will warn you about) in detail and whether it is worth it, on balance. Sounds obvious, right? But yet it’s not – I can only talk from experience of ECT (though the TMS machine/room was next to the waiting room and just the noise alone was triggering/scary for me)… something which was the WORST thing that has happened to me out of all the sickness, med side effects etc. It damaged my brain (basically a TBI), left me with significant memory and cognitive difficulties and, as someone who has relied on my intellect a lot in life, this has been terrifying and disabling (even more than the illnesses). but at the time, I really thought “oh a bit of memory loss in the short term will be ok”. I didn’t actually realize how important memory (and cognitive functioning) are to every aspect of life – i just thought it meant losing the ability to remember a few details of a couple of life events. Not how to drive a car, names of people I know, swathes of years of life, ability to remember what you’re saying in the middle of a sentence or what the other person just said, or to reason my way through things. Mix that up with the illnesses that were pretty severe in the first place and it’s not a fun place.
    I know rTMS is meant to be better/ less invasive but there are views out there that it also causes damage to the brain. It is so new that really, can we tell yet? And even ECT has been around for a long time and is an approved treatment yet one that leaves many many people with brain damage (most Drs who administer it don’t have any follow up with the patients later to see these effects).

    I’m not saying don’t do it. But I am saying please really really research the possible side effects (medically recognized and ‘anecdotal’ patient reports) and truly consider whether having those potentially on top of what you’re struggling with now would be worth it.
    I know that most of the people who swore by ECT are people who had others to take care of them, were financially in a good position and very supported, so even if their functioning was significantly impaired, it wasn’t as hard to manage/ as obvious to see (also consider the “punch drunk” effect of sustaining a TBI and it explains a lot). Consider that also with TMS (where peoples’ reports/ perspectives are coming from).

    I think CBD isolate may possibly have some good potential – yet to get some to try – but CBD oil helped a lot with social anxiety for me (but I have a challenging response to THC, which makes it less ideal/ more confusing for ongoing use). Craniosacral therapy has been another thing that has helped a lot (and I would strongly recommend trying that before TMS). But truly, I think that a lot of us have physical illnesses that simply manifest in symptoms that are deemed ‘mental illness’, just as yet our scientific/medical knowledge hasn’t managed to understand them yet. Such as was the case with syphilis, back in the day (“oh, you’re psychotic, let’s lock you up in an institution” followed by “ah. eh-hem… here’s some treatment … yeah, you’re not psychotic at all, you’re not even mentally ill, you just had an STI that affected your brain, you’re free to go”). Imagine getting TMS or ECT for an STI? To me, it kind of seems like a back to front way to approach things; likely there is something going on with our bodies (inflammation, faulty metabolite function, etc etc) that is causing the psychiatric symptoms.
    Sorry, that’s probably not all that helpful and it was long. But I just really don’t want another person in the world to undergo a ‘treatment’ that may cause worse damage than what it was meant to be treating. Maybe TMS isn’t like that. But maybe it is – so good to really consider it all – as far as that’s even possible when a person is really really unwell.

    So sorry you’re in the place to need to consider it. Sending so much well wishes and luck getting through.

  90. Got off my meds a year ago – they worked (finally a drug that didn’t make me feel dead inside), but I had to stop because of a surprise pregnancy. It was HELL for a month, because of withdrawal, and after that I said “no more meds ever”. I don’t have a cure, but I just moved to a house in the country with a bit of land, where we can create a space and a life where the way me and my mind work are not something that needs curing. It just is, the good and the bad, and finally that’s OK. I also smoke a bit of cannabis occasionally, and depending on the strand it helps me sleep and/or rattles things loose inside my head. Which can be a pain when I’m in the middle of it, but it always turns out to be some unresolved shit I’ve avoided dealing with for way too long, and it’s better after.

  91. I havent tried TMS but I look forward to learning about it.
    My tools are horrible and frequently counterproductive so I don’t propone them to others but I will say that I love and respect you as much as any internet stranger can because one of the positive “treatments” for my anxiety & depression is you and your tribe. There is great power and a constant healing in not feeling like a total freak alone on an island. You are the best awkward heroine ever, even on days when you can’t leave your bed.

  92. Sometimes I worry that if I “fix” my depression and anxiety that I will remove a part of what makes me, me. Then I have days like today where I can’t manage to clean my house to prepare for the house cleaner, and I think I would do anything to not feel like this. Then I feel broken all over again and I can’t decide whether to laugh or to cry.

    I have no words of wisdom or experience, just rambly thoughts. I stopped by to say that no matter what you choose to do, I hope you know that you mean a whole lot to a whole lot of us. When I have bad days I tell myself, Depression Lies. Jenny says so. And if Jenny can keep pulling herself up, and finding the humor, so can I. It will get better. It always gets better.

  93. I unfortunately can’t offer advice. But I will say you are special, a warrior, and intelligent, and whatever decision you come to will be the right one for you.

  94. You’ve been through a lot of crap trying to figure out the right balance of treatments…I can only imagine. I would say that like any treatment, do your research and talk to doctors so you know what to expect. You’re the advocate for your health. If you know what’s not working and you want to try something you think could work, then only you will know if it’s worth a try or not.

    I’d never heard of TMS before this blog of yours, so I’m not much help. I do know that in my own health struggles it has been hugely beneficial for me to meet with people who suffer from the same health issues as I do, for the purpose of community, common ground, debriefing over treatments and symptoms. Maybe at the very least, your doctor could put you in touch with someone who has had TMS done so you can hear some testimony from others who have experienced the treatment and it’s outcome.

    I don’t know how helpful this has been…but I hope you know that you’ve got a whole slough of people supporting you no matter what you choose!

  95. Absolutely, you should do it! I work in the medical field and have seen it work over and over. It is a lot safer and has less side effects than prescribed medications. The research indicates it will be a big blow to the pharmaceutical companies because all of the medications they are producing are only partially effective and come with too many side effects. My son just recently graduated from medical school and he too was totally blown away by the research and what he witnessed at the medical university. Ask your doctor for some research data, where you can read from the authoritative sources the black and white data! If you compare all the side effects of the medication you are currently taking with the magnetic approach I think you will be convinced!!

  96. 97

    I have mild to moderate seasonal depression.Years ago my doctor suggested light therapy, and it works for me. Years ago that meant tanning beds! I may have just been overjoyed at not being fish-belly white all winter. I find that i have to actually sit in the sun on nice days or i slip back into that dark fog. Literally.

  97. I don’t have any experience with this treatment (and neither does Husband, who was the better bet) but I can offer this advice: ask yourself, “which part of me is afraid?” I find that depression (hell, any chronic disorder) builds up its own defenses and becomes a separate voice in your head. Anxiety doesn’t want to be treated, it wants to be left alone to spin out and take control of your life. Depression, likewise, wants you to keep things just as they are so it can continue to fuck with you at its leisure. If that’s the voice that’s calling for hesitation – and I’m not saying it is – ignore it and go forth boldly, whatever the risks; if it’s something else, listen and consider the motivations of that part of you.

    That’s it, that’s all I’ve got. I never claimed to be wise (well, I did that one time but I got called out pretty quickly) but I’ve got a ton of experience arguing with myself over how to fix myself, and that’s the question that has led me to the best insights when I’m faced with the choice of trying something new or staying in bed watching Scrubs again.

    actualconversationswithmyhusband recently posted What’s This REALLY About?.

  98. Before doing anything with these potential side affects, please please please get your Bars run. It’s an energetic healing modality that is painless, simple, and has done amazing things for people struggling with depression. No side affects either. There are people around the world who practice. To find someone near you in Texas you can search this website:
    There are also folks who aren’t on that website, but I can ask around for you. If you were in Colorado I would do it for you.

    As an example, my wife has dealt with intense night terrors from PTSD that nothing helped with. Medication often made it worse. Then we found the Bars and in just two sessions of 20 minutes, so not even full sessions, she went from constant, unable to sleep night terrors to ZERO…for months. While the trigger of the PTSD still lived in our house. It’s powerful and potent and completely life changing.

    Here’s a great testimonial on how Bars helps with depression and is saving lives.

    But seriously, if you want to talk to my wife we can set that up. As she says, this sounds like hippie nonsense, but it works! I offer assistance or information to anyone in this thread as well. Just toss me an email jackie.meyer at gmail

    butchjax recently posted Instagram:I hope she’s a better driver in 13 years! #26months #toddlerlife.

  99. I’m sorry I have no useful helpful comments, but I wanted to send you good thoughts, and mostly to say that as someone who grew up in southern new mexico (also cactus country), I think if you are going to whack someone in the junk with a cactus for their tone deaf advice (a plan I heartily endorse), it should be a cholla jumping cactus type of cactus, so that the chunks of cactus will stay with them and serve as a longer-lasting reminder to think first. Good luck!

  100. I don’t have personal experience with it, but I am a researcher who once worked in a lab studying TMS. With that experience under my belt, if I had to make this decision for myself, I would do it. I saw a lot of success stories. Good luck <3

  101. I don’t have experience with TMS but my Dr gave me Pristiq, said it works for people when nothing else did or dies. I do still have depression but there’s been an 80/ change at least.Good

  102. Someone beat me to it, but listen to the Joe Rogan Experience podcast #830 with Neal Brennan. He did it and says really great things about it…and he has tried EVERYTHING, include ketamine treatments.

  103. My third post about my son’s success…but I’m a true believer. (I’m also from Des Moines where the reporter shared his success with the same program.) As to insurance, our Wellmark BC/BS plan wasn’t going to cover the costs, so I did a lot of research and wrote a directly letter to the Chief Medical Officer, describing the costs Wellmark could save in covering my son’s medicine and therapeutic treatment — as well as list the numerous BC/BS plans around the country that do cover this treatment. Four days later, we got approval for 100% of the costs. I’m convinced that impassioned family members can sway large corporations!!! Good luck.

  104. I made the decision to go vegan last October. It was hard especially the cheese thing but since then a lot of my health issues have disappeared. No depression, the condition of my eyes, blood pressure- everything. Before everyone starts hating on the vegan I just want to say that the meat and dairy industry may be solely to blame for a lot of health issues. I am a teacher and I see a lot more students who now who are extremely overweight than I did my first year of teaching in 1993. I believe it to be the amount of estrogens and chemicals leaching into our foods. Everyone wants to quickly blame the soda industry or the lack of exercise but teens have been drinking soda for a very long time and when you are not extremely overweight it is easier to go out and be social. Just food for thought.

  105. 106
    Lone alien

    It probably wouldn’t help me. One of my things is paranoia of things being planted in my brain or messages distributed through my brainwaves. Even if it helped my depression, I would be terrified if what it would do to the ridiculous paranoia my brain traps me in.

    I wish you the best in finding what works for you. And thank you immensely for sharing your journey with us.

  106. What they are doing now, today is totally different so do not listen to other people’s horror stories. Do your research, find a facility that is on the cutting edge and talk to the medical people there. Medicine like everything else is changing rapidly and we all need to be smart consumers and ask for the black and white, objective, hard data!

  107. Thanks for bravely posting this. TMS was recommended to me yesterday and I don’t know anything about it. Will be following this. I appreciate your bravery, always. You are a rock star! ❤

  108. I hadn’t heard of this treatment until reading this. Meds don’t work for me. I’ve tried most and the stopping and starting side effects are the worst. I take anti- anxiety meds and now my Dr. wants me to try to taper off because of addictiin to them. Umm, I’d rather be addicted to Xanax than not be able to leave the house. Confession- I haven’t showered in a month. I have no idea why. Sigh.. I knit to keep my hands busy.

  109. Secondhand, but my friend’s father (mid-70s) who is suffering severe anxiety/depression leading to dementia, has been doing TMS for the last 6 weeks and it has made a remarkable improvement in his calmness and general cognition. He’s gone from being almost catatonic in social situations to being lucid/rational, following the conversation and participating. I don’t think he’d call himself “cured” but the improvement is noticeable and significant to those around him.

  110. I saw Alyssa had commented about VNS therapy. I wanted to as well. My husband has a VNS for his epilepsy, but it has helped his his anxiety as well. Basically it is a pacemaker for your brain’s electrical stuff. It also made his beard grow in thicker, so there is that to watch out for. It changed his life. He wasn’t responding to meds alone. I know epilepsy isn’t the same as depression, but all of it is from brains that operate differently.

  111. I’ve had TMS. It was daily treatments for 7 weeks and then the last week was every other day. It has been approved by the FDA to treat depression in the US. My doctor also had a separate protocol for anxiety. It has been used in Europe for years for everything from OCD to Alzheimer’s, but it just hasn’t been approved in the US.

    I’ve done ECT (shock therapy). I lost about 3 months of my memory. Its like a giant black hole. I have spotty memory of about 3 months before that. So basically I lost 6 months of memory. Most people who have ECT have to have it “redone” within a year, which the efficacy is basically negligible when it comes to treatment. I am one of those who, when asked, will tell you to name an anti-depressant, mood stabilizer, or anxiety medication and I’ve probably been on it at some point in my life. I’ve done group therapy and individual therapy.

    TMS helped a lot. I felt myself falling into another deep depression. I wasn’t able to go off of meds, but I was able to greatly reduce my medication. I was also able to get off of most of my anxiety medication. My anxiety is almost gone. From the beginning of treatment to the end my mood almost did a 180. I had it a year ago and I would say that its still helping my anxiety. My depression is okay, I’ve upped my medication some, but it hasn’t dipped as low.

    It was offered to me by my psychiatrist and I did some research into it, along with the information he gave me. I saw that it was considered safe and it is highly regulated in the US. I was at the point where I was considering ECT again and I didn’t want to go back there again. I decided to just try it. I figured I didn’t have much to lose. I talked to the lady who did the treatment and she was very nice. She told me many success stories and I know she’s trying to “sell” the treatment, but I could tell she was genuine about it.

    TMS was weird. I got measured for a cap. I wore a mouth guard during treatments (mainly because I have so much dental work I didn’t want any grinding to hurt it). I got to watch Netflix (Closed Captioned) during the sessions (I watched 3 seasons of the British Bake Off Show). It was like a thumping on the head. You felt it, but you didn’t. Its hard to describe. I had no side effects. I had some headaches at first, but I have chronic headaches anyway, so who knows. I did have to have someone drive me though.

    At the end of the day, you need to just do your research. And see what you feel comfortable with. If it were my best friend considering it, I would ask them if they needed me to talk to their insurance and if they needed a ride.

    (I know this is long, but I thought you might like the full information.)

    (This is so incredibly helpful. ~ Jenny)

  112. I have not personally used TMS, but I have seen the results of a successful treatment plan in my mother. My mom, who is an amazingly strong woman, struggles with severe depression. She hit a point where she received minimal joy in life due to the medications and depression low points, and medication was no longer providing much, if any relief. Her doctor recommended that she try TMS for a long time before she was willing to entertain the idea of it. She completed her initial treatment in spring of last year, and now goes 1x a month for “maintenance.” She raves about the results of her treatment, and though she is not medication free, she experiences true joy and enjoys her daily life much more than she did in the past.

    I know that not everyone gets the same results from the treatment, but knowing her before and after, I cannot recommend the treatment enough.

  113. You are on Xanax, right? I left another comment but just remembered that you’re on that. I was on Xanax for a year and a half. At first it helped a lot. Then it shot me down and I had no idea. When I got more and more depressed, I tried the anti-depressant that I had been on successfully before and it didn’t work and I tried multiple others and they didn’t work. Then after a suicide attempt I realized the Xanax had turned on me and actually made me more depressed – and suicidal. As soon as I got off it, things got better. Fast. There are alternatives to Xanax. Ask your doctor. But I have found that a lot of people have had this experience with Xanax and since nobody talks about it, nobody sees it coming. I certainly didn’t. I would never have thought that was why my depression was spiraling so fast. Xanax can really mess with you. I’m sorry this has nothing to do with the TMS, but I don’t think most people think to question Xanax and I wanted to quickly(ish) share my experience. Either way, I really understand the feelings and hope you are able to get some relief 🙂
    P.S. Meditation is amaaaaaazing. My favorite meditations – especially for anxiety and depression – are Michael Sealey:

  114. Maybe punching people in the junk with a cactus is the therapy you need? Might be hard to find volunteers though, even if you tell them it’s for science.

    I sincerely hope you find the answers you’re looking for. I’m sure you’ve thought of this, but was there any good info in online support groups for people who have/ are considering TMS? I had a relative who had to decide whether or not to pursue invasive surgery for their kid and the biggest help for them was talking to parents who did it and parents who did not do it and what their outcomes and experiences were like.


  115. Invisibilia did an episode where they covered a bit about TMS:

    Maybe worth a listen?

  116. Love the breathing app. As a person that has suffered from anxiety and depression in silence for quite some time I find such strength in your asking for help and love all the amazing suggestions you have gotten! I have so much fear around medication due to addiction troubles that run in my family that I even stayed away from them, but have finally came to admit to myself that I may need to give it a try. I have done the diets, exercise, and even hyno-therapy but have not found much relief. Thank you so much for your bravery in sharing so much of yourself with us! I look forward to hearing about your journey. Good luck in making the decision!

    thompsonhouseblog recently posted When A Memory Brings A Smile.

  117. If you decide you are not ready to try TMS, maybe look into genome testing for psychotropic medications. The two main companies who do this are GeneSite and GenoMind. It is covered at least partially by most insurances, and they have good customer service. They test your DNA to see which medications will be most effective, which may take higher or lower dosages, or will be more likely to cause side effects. Fascinating info and takes some of the guess work out of prescribing. Good luck and many squeezy hugs!

  118. My son had severe depression that did not respond to medication or talk therapy. He did equine-assisted therapy and it was life-changing. This is my boy:
    It’s worth noting that not all equine-assisted therapy is created equal. This is in the Austin area, though, so if you”re at all interested I’d be happy to share a referral.

  119. 120

    Hi I love my pets. No I’m not a scary cat lady but my two dogs pass no judgement on me if I’m having a sad day. Take care and cuddle more:)

  120. 121

    For me it always comes down to this; how done am I feeling this way? So tired of it that I will try anything? Everything has a risk, Jenny. Meds have massive side effects and risks too. I think though that there is an extra layer of worry regarding this for people with mental illness. So many horror stories from the past of people being forced into procedures. Scary to think of willingly subjecting yourself even though the benefits can be incredible. You will come to the right decision for you! Hugs.

  121. Ketamine is looking very promising for treatment-resistant depression as well. It’s game changing for people who have done years of therapy and SSRIs, etc and still suffer. I’m not sure the mechanism by which it works, and the use of it as a treatment for depression is in it’s infancy, so there’s some reason for caution, but it seems VERY promising. I also think genetic testing to look for MTHR issues is helpful. Issues with the methylation cycle can cause huge, long-term problems with depression, anxiety and a myriad of other health issues.

  122. I live with bi-polar disorder and struggle with mania far more than deppression but I don’t get a “fun high” I just cycle between sad and B.I.T.C.H.Y. and hyper and S.U.P.E.R. B.I.T.C.H.Y. I have recently taken a HUGE step by having my most effective med, Seroquel, reduced because it causes weight gain and I’ve gained A LOT of weight which is super deppressing. If I absoplutely have to pick one, I’ll take fat over crazy any day but I’m hoping to avoid making that choice. I’ll just say upfront I haven’t tried TMS but I can see where I might be willing to try it if my med cocktail wasn’t working for me, or to at least give it serious consideration!

    So… anyway… I’m working on dealing with the anxiety and hyperactivity and ADHD that all come with being on a lower dose of seroquel… I’m finding that there are 2 major things (aside from a stong support system) that help in a big bad way. 1) Self awareness: I have to pay attention to myself and when I feel myself getting hyper/bitchy/anxious/unreasonable I remind myself that “This is the bi-polar disorder” and that “this disorder isn’t me” and then I ask myself “How would I react to this/be feeling right now” if I was balanced mentally and not all bi-polary? That helps a lot. 2) Meditation of some variety. I find that sitting in a quiet room with peaceful music playing softly in the background while I color is a great pressure valve. If it’s gotten bad for me I usually have to force myself to do this and the first 10 or 15 minutes I generally want to crawl out of my own skin and chew the faces off of anyone who comes near me! But… somewhere in there I find myself humming to the music and focusing on the coloring and enjoying the silence in my head.

    At this point I’ll also add that environment is HUGE! I have to not be in noisy or crowded places when I get tense and I have to not be pestered when I’m tense or I WILL bite someones head off. And I’ve found that I have to be cautious about the music I listen to. When I’m fine and in a good mood, fast paced, upbeat music is a good thing, when I’m down that’s good too. When I’m tense/anxious/hyper/bitchy that’s a TERRIBLE thing!!! But, nature sounds or calming music are great. I have an app on my iPad and on my phone that plays “3D soundscapes,” lost of nature sounds and not all ove them have spa/meditation music included, and I have several Pandora stations devoted to chill music.

  123. I’ve tried this. It made my muscles twitch and my metal fillings buzz, so it was kind of awkward and not very comfortable. I didn’t see any impact at all, positive or negative. Anything is worth a try, though, and I hope you’ll find something that works for you. When you do, I’m excited to hear about it. I’ve been on just about every antidepressant and mood stabilizer combo under the sun with very minimal relief over the last 13 or so years. I’m hanging in there, but it would be amazing to finally find long term relief. Diet and exercise help for sure but aren’t a solution in and of themselves, at least in my case. One thing that does help a little is taking a normal dose of NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium first thing in the morning. I don’t know if this helps just because it clears away some of the physical pain associated with depression or because, as some have theorized, the NSAIDs alleviate inflammation in the brain that worsens depression (part of depression as an allergy theory). But, hey, whatever helps… Good luck, Jenny!

  124. Ect has worked well for a family member with depression it is like rebooting your computer

  125. I have actually heard of this treatment and if I had the time and wherewithal I would probably do it. Or at least seriously consider it. Tired of the huge ups and downs in my mental state.
    According to Facebook all we need to do is count our blessings and think happy thoughts! barf

  126. I’m doing it now, almost done with my first 30 and will be tapering off after that. I absolutely have seen a difference as has my family. My sleep is better and my anxiety is down. A friend of mine told me about because she did it snd it wirked wonders for her. I’ve had no negative side affects. My technician told me yesterday there is asndffects protocol for anxiety asndffects well. I’m doing the depression protocol but, as I said, it has helped my anxiety too. The major downside, which has its own upside, is you have to go weekdays for 30 rounds, so basically every day. The upside to that for me is I have an hour of me time. I almost fell asleep once, ddespite the pecking on my head. It doesn’t hurt and each pulse is only 4 seconds long. My actual treatment time is 37 minutes and I get one 4-second burst every 30 seconds. I’m so glad I did it. Being able to fall asleep without medication is amazing and not obsessing about every little thing to the point of depression is too. I say go for it!

  127. 128
    Eddie Roosenmaallen

    I have not had TMS myself but through group therapy, I’ve spoken with several people who have, as well as doctors and researchers who use it. I get my treatment at a research hospital, so they are on the leading edge of available treatments.

    The consensus among group members who have undergone TMS (including many who have also done ECT) is that the side-effects are negligible/nonexistent. The main complaint is that during the treatment (while the machine is running) there can be an obnoxious pecking sensation on the side of your head; nobody in my therapy group has experienced ANY of the cognitive side-effects you see in ECT (there is no loss of memory, no confusion, you are awake through the whole treatment unless you fall asleep because you forgot to bring a good book). It works really well for fewer people than ECT, but it’s still very effective for a lot of patients.

    The doctors and researchers I have discussed it with have also never seen cognitive side-effects; this counts for a lot, this is a research hospital that does a shit-ton of TMS and ECT.

    As for treatments that help me, I’ve recently started taking Fetzima (levomilnacipran). It’s a new class of antidepressants just approved here in Canada. It’s made of unicorn sweat and puppy smiles, it is the first drug I’ve ever used (and I’ve been on pretty much everything that’s allowed in Canada, plus a bunch of research drugs that aren’t approved yet) to actually clear my head and help me feel better. It gives me constant nausea and terrible abdominal pain if I skip a meal, but it’s totally worth it.

  128. I would recommend it, it was helpful for me. Was not a cure all- I am still on meds and still have depressive periods but they are less frequent and less severe. It was boring but not painful and the side efects were minimal for me. I would say do it…. if your insurance is on board. That shit is spendy

  129. EMDR changed my life. It lifted my depression, and PTSD, and helped me see through the crap to the root of my problem. It helped me realize that my depression is really just exhaustion from the persistent and omnipresent anxiety. Getting the anxiety treated correctly made the depression not come back. I’m just finishing a year of anxiety meds but no antidepressant and I seriously can’t believe I was ok but I was and am. Whatever works for you is what works. Trust your instincts and yourself.

  130. Gosh, now I feel bad that I’m having an – alright – day. But, I just wanted you to know I wish you the best, whatever course of treatment you decide on. Did I just end that sentence with a preposition? Do I even care? Nah. Srsly. All fingers crossed for you.

  131. 132
    Meredith Myers-Petro

    Have you heard of Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube? If you feel capable of moving/standing up, I have found her to be really helpful. She does the physical side of yoga but she also seems to be oddly in my head, and whenever I start to feel like shit because I haven’t been able to touch my toes since I was six, she turns to the camera and says “no toxic thoughts”. She works in a lot of mantras like “I am strong”. Anyway, I know it’s a solution that only works once the problem has lessened, but I thought I’d put it out here.

  132. My husband was involved in a test at the NIH to use this to help control his seizures. We never saw a decrease in seizures no matter the treatment we tried, but his depression did seem to improve for a while after the treatments. I hope you find something that works for you….

  133. I’m not familiar with TMS, so can’t comment on that directly. I have gone through several medications for depression and finally opted to taper off. Personally, I would rather feel the full spectrum of my moods than feel numbed, which was my experience. (I’m not suggesting that any one else go off their meds without thorough discussions with their doctor, therapist, and family.) One thing that helped was following the program suggested in “The Mood Cure” by Julia Ross. Obviously, we are each individuals with unique chemistry and life experiences; what works for some will not work for others. Our commonality is supporting each other in the quest for peace, joy, and happiness.

  134. Light therapy has helped my depression more than any of the meds I’ve tried. The lamps can be pricey, but it is definitely worth it. It has not been a 100% solution for me- I still need to take meds, but at much lower dosages.

  135. Clinical psychiatric pharmacist here. TMS is one of the most benign things to try. The most common side effect is “scalp warmth or tingling” where the magnet is placed. In my humble opinion, totally worth it to see if it works.

  136. 137
    Alicia madsen

    I have a friend getting that therapy right now, and she says she feels like a different person, she is thrilled with the results, she has battled depression for many, many years.

  137. I have had it 2x in 3 years and it absolutely helps. I’m on half the medication I used to take, none of it is for depression. I still take some for the PTSD. I highly recommend because there are no side effects that I can notice and compared with the memory loss from ECT there is no comparison.

  138. My friend went for a few sessions of tms. If you decided to go for it, follow the prep directions to a t. My friend forgot to drink caffeine (or had some and wasn’t supposed to?) before her first session and said it gave her the worst headache ever! She said it was super painful and she was hesitant to go in for more sessions. She saw results, but they weren’t extreme. With price and schedule she decided the results weren’t worth it. BUT, she did see some results.

  139. Ultimately I feel like quality of life should always be considered when thinking about new medical treatments. If your quality of life is being interrupted, then weigh that against possible side effects of treatment. Is it something you can try short term?

    Believe it or not, soda has been helping my depression. I gave up soda about a year ago, and after a couple of months, I went through a severe depression. This had happened before, so testing my theory I tried soda again. My moods leveled out significantly. I don’t know if it’s a brain chemistry thing, or the caffeine or what, but it works for me.

    I hope you find something that works for you.

  140. I just finished reading a book about this – called Switched On by John Elder Robison – he has autism and participated in clinical trials for TMS and has written this memoir. He discusses briefly what’s being done for people w/ depression. It might be helpful to read the book (at least parts of it).
    I’m sending Best wishes and prayers for wisdom as you pursue treatment options.

  141. I did it last year in Hamilton,ON. At first people were concerned because I called it “zapping” to differ it from electrical shock therapy. I was tired of explaining the difference. I was impressed with the science and the mapping of the brain of the whole experience. Yeah, going daily to get a shower cap on the head (it is where they put the marks of the brain map and to line up the small machine) and getting thumps onto the skull was hard, but it was quick. At first it felt like little jack hammers, but after a few treatments the jack hammers dulled. The plan was to do about 26 treatments, but my cross dominence messed that up. It was like a crap shoot which side of my brain to start on. So they started on the right since I am right handed. For the first few days we thought it worked. Alas, it didn’t so they increased the power but again it didn’t. So they switched sides for a week, then they also added some to the right again for another 2 weeks. What was supposed to be about 26 daily treatments ended up close to 40. Unfortunately I didn’t respond to the treatment. I was in that small percentage that it didn’t work. I had to try because I was plateauing with all the medications. Don’t know if it was the cross dominence or my chemicals that made it not work. I was hesitate at first to try it, but after 2 years of the medications not working I had to try something. The whole treatment was about 30 minutes daily at a hospital. Yeah at first it is scary especially with high anxiety but I lucked out with a great team who kept on trying until it began to be pointless. They left my file open if I wanted to go back and try later. Got to love medical resistant depression with high anxiety. I would suggest breathe and realize it is so different than shock therapy. No pain except maybe a small headache the first few times. Hope this helps. Glad I could add and this prompted me to write my first post here. Thank you for your humor, books, and your twitter feed. You put a smile on my face at times when I don’t smile for the day. Thank you.

  142. I have no experience with TMS, but I do have a very good friend that had amazing results with EDMR. She has bipolar disorder, and tried pretty much every pharmaceutical out there with varying results. Finally, she went to an EDMR specialist and it helped her tremendously. Before the treatment, she would go weeks being unable to function, alternating with periods of manic self destructive behavior. I’m not sure if the therapy is effective for straight up depression, but it’s worth looking into. It’s non-invasive and non-chemical as well (basically utilizes rapid eye movements to reprogram parts of your brain). I’m so sorry that you are struggling. I’ve only recently gotten my depressive/anxiety disorder under control, after I found out that most of my symptoms were related to an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder. I feel for you, and send you all the hugs.

  143. I totally support whatever decision you make, Jenny and have my fingers crossed you find something that works for you. I wish for you to be depression and anxiety free, and endlessly happy with all your weirdness intact. You deserve to be super weird, without having to deal with all the other stuff. I love your brain and you. Thanks for being a hero and inspiration to so many. xo

    the incurable dreamer recently posted liftoff.

  144. TMS is NOT the same as ECT. TKS works very well for major depression that medications are not always able to reach. Side effects are fewer. If Dr. Is recommending it is worth shot (no needles involved).

  145. I live with major depression and anxiety daily. For me it’s like constantly being under water. Sometimes I’m able to come up for air, but sometimes I’m pulled under so far I don’t know if I will make it back out. I’m still in the process of medication juggling and trying to find out what that magic combo is. My liver had never metabolized medications very well so I have to be careful with everything. I get sedation effects from non sedating things and I get wired from things that should make you tired. It’s a guessing game. For me- if I could be cured it would be like finally being able to get completely out of the water. I don’t have any advice about TMS but I wanted to say I hope this does work for you. I have not given up hope that I will get better. I am strong right now and I can tread water. Today, My head is above the surface and I am breathing freely. I can only hope for the same tomorrow and the next day. You give me hope and make me smile more than you will ever know. I am hoping you will find whatever it is that keeps your head high every day.

  146. Background of depression, anxiety. SAD and PTSD with a heaping pile of shrinkphobia since I was molested/physical and mentally abused by my therapist from 13-16. This winter I got to the point, that point red lights are flashing and you know – I’m in serious trouble. I don’t take meds because I’m sensitive to them and they don’t work for me. I don’t go to therapy because… no. In a Hail Mary, I ordered the Fischer Wallace Device, lulled by their 30 day money back warranty and wary desperation. No lie, after the first session the blanket was peeled my brain. I wasn’t joyous, but I wasn’t depressed.
    Nutshelled, it’s like a TENS unit for your head. It worked for me, it likely saved me, and I got to look like the karate kid twice a day. I haven’t been using it since March, but still no depression and it has taken a lot of the edge off my anxiety. I’m in no way affiliated with the company, it’s just the first thing in 35 years I tried that freaking worked.

  147. I’m a Psychiatric pharmacist and I’ve seen patients with treatment resistant depression respond well. Some were able to stop medication and some were able to reduce doses and some were able to reduce the number of medications they took.

  148. Honestly, I took up running (not intense, fast-paced running, but something I could enjoy) and weight lifting (similar mantra, slightly more intensity). The feelings of self-confidence, and just the release that exercise gives, have provided me with so many goddamn benefits it’s insane.

    Try it. And try HIIT. Fitness Blender is an amazing way to ease into it. Stick with it for a few months; my confidence and physical fitness have skyrocketed.

    Best of luck!

    badparentingweb recently posted Lux Aetherium.

  149. Sharing on behalf of my ex who went through TMS for his depression. Did 2 attempts. First attempt he wasn’t stable enough and had horrible hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. Months later he was more stable and returned and found it really helped to take the edge off both depression and anxiety. Not off mess by a long shot, but made things much more tolerable for a while.

    Lots of hugs and hoping that whatever you decide helps you.

  150. I have not had it myself, but my cousin did and it was amazing for her. She posted a few plot entries about it at a blog called The Stumble.

  151. I am also a perfect candidate for TMS (I’ve tried actually every anti depressant available, and several other kinds of meds, and I’ve been on cocktails of drugs for years and it still doesn’t keep me out of my deep depressive states). But I can’t afford it. If you can, I really, really hope you do, because I know how it feels to be stuck down and struggling and aching and feeling like I’m dying, and if I could do ANYTHING to stop it I would. Give yourself the chance to feel better. You deserve it.

  152. Hi Jenny. My neurologist has suggested it to me, where as my psychiatrist suggested the ECT. From what I learned, the TMS was far less scary to me than the ECT. In the end, I got a new psychiatrist, and am on Remeron and Rexulti. If these had not worked, I would have done the TMS, and may have to in the future, as who knows how long these meds will work. Good luck. May the force be with you. Depression does lie.

  153. If you write about your experiences, can you use the cost that insurance doesn’t cover as a work-related tax deduction? Not trying to make light, but there’s obviously a huge audience/interest. Wishing you a lighter heart, peace, and strength

  154. I legit just wrote about this a few days ago. I’m also looking into it.

    K. recently posted Neal Brennan on mental illness and the brain..

  155. A good friend of mine’s son tried TMS, and the change is remarkable. He went from someone who was completely shut down to being able to attend college part time; he is able to join in social situations and interact, which was not something he was able to do before the TMS. The treatment did take some time to kick in; he did 12weeks of treatment several times a week, but his depression continued to improve for several month after the treatments stopped.

  156. I tried TMS and had such high hopes for it, but unfortunately it did nothing for me. The doctor told me that I was the first of all of her many patients who received absolutely no benefit. Her other patients received at least some improvement. Me nothing. In a way it makes me feel special…like I have some kind of extra special super-human depression that can’t even be thwarted with magnetic shocks to the brain. My depression is a bad ass. On the flip side it wasn’t too painful. It’s really uncomfortable at first, but your scalp gets accustomed to the zaps pretty quickly. I didn’t experience any memory loss or any other side effects so I say “What do you have to lose?” (Besides a whole lot of money.). It’s much less invasive than ECT and I’ve rumors of people who really benefit from it. (But secretly, I think their depression is a little on the wimpy side)

  157. 158

    I DID IT!! Do it! It saved my life. I whole-heartedly believe that this treatment should be a front-line treatment, not something people have to jump through hoops to get. There aren’t any lasting side effects. Maybe some during the session but it’s gone as soon as the session is over. It won’t make you tired or gain weight or anything. I used the neurostar machine. You go get examined, which helps them get an idea of what your issues are so they know where in your brain they want to target the machine. They also decide if you need a 30 minute session or a hour long one. I did the hour long sessions. I have already started to taper off and have a few more sessions to go. I don’t work for Neurostar but I’m definitely a free spokesperson for them. I encouraged two of my friends to go and both did it. Both have seen positive results and are happy they went. Although, one has had a more limited effect than the other. You need to do it. It’s a miracle treatment. I can say so much about it. What are you wondering about? I’ll answer anything, I’m a proponent of being open about mental health struggles.

  158. Maybe you should move to cali and try weed therapy. Every one I see on weed is happy. Unless it’s edibles because I hear those can make you paranoid. It also could be a good chapter for your next book. Just something to think about.

  159. 160

    No first hand knowledge, but I do suffer from periodic mild depression triggered from being hypothyroid, and could not handle the side effects of meds. Have you tried acupuncture ? Have you heard of Cranial Release Therapy ? I don’t think either would replace the kind of treatments you’re considering, but both improve overall well being, and the flow of energy in and thru your body, which may help, the same way as vitamins, sun, sleep etc.

    I’m not sure how to say this, or if I should, but many of us need your broken self to keep doing what you do, because it helps so many of us in so many ways that you probably don’t even realize. So just please be careful that you don’t break your inspired, creative genius while fixing something else, because the world would be a lesser place without it.

  160. My Doctor in Florida is doing a lot of clinical studies with this. I was hopeful that I was “depressed enough” to be a candidate but I wasn’t. However, I did some sessions for smoking cessation and while it didn’t work 100% it cut me WAY back. Which, if it can cut anyone WAY back on anything debilitating, I think it’s a great thing. I find it a fascinating subject, so as someone who has worn the cap, it’s no biggie at all. Kind of like wearing a tens unit on your head but less noticable. I had ZERO side effects from it. And honestly, if I was around my Dr 12 months a year, I’d be hooked up to that thing working on lots of problems. Dr. Aron Tendler- have your Dr. call him to discuss if he doesn’t have a machine. Personally, I see no reason NOT to try it. And that is coming from someone who is scared to take a new medication and often looks at the bottle for 3 months before taking the plunge. Hope that helps with your decision. Would be happy to get into more detail in a PM.

  161. 162
    Lisa Schoenwetter

    I have not tried TMS (yet!) but about five months ago my psychiatrist prescribed Deplin, an activated vitamin for me. It has been kind of miraculous for me. It works at the synaptic gap, allowing my SSRI to pass over the gap. In other words, it helps my antidepressants to actually work. I have discovered that most of the world outside the northern Midwest has known about Deplin for awhile, but it was new to me and it has given me a new life.

  162. I am going to assume that you have tried what I am about to suggest, so if you’ve heard this before, take it with a grain of salt…and maybe a squeeze of lemon juice…and a shot of tequila. Anyway, you get the idea.

    So, have you tried SAM-e? It is an over-the-counter supplement here that, no surprise, isn’t endorsed by the FDA. But apparently it is a chemical that is normally produced naturally in our bodies. I hear that it is commonly prescribed in the UK for clinical depression.

    Either way, it’s what has worked for me. Granted, my clinical depression is mild to moderate, but I was able to completely replace any prescription I was formerly taking. 400 MG a day is all I need. It’s a little costly for me, but it helps keep me stable.

    Zoloft, Prozac, Effexor, Celexa… they all caused me problems ranging from severe to bizarre, but mostly they didn’t give me a choice in how to feel. The SAM-e did. It brought me out of my depression without being intrusive. I am able to choose how to feel, and that is what it is all about.

    If you’ve tried it, I will assume that it either helped or didn’t. Whatever. But if you haven’t tried it yet, I do urge you to research it.

    God bless you and your family. I admire your strength and your work greatly.

  163. I dont have diagnosable depression, its mild enough that i can blame hormones and lack of vitamind. But I know it differs from person to person, but for me, when life has taken and beaten me with a proverbial bat, tea helps. Deep breaths and music and snugly pets too. But so does going to a sport where i can hit things … i hope that what ever your desicion it helps! You have support!

  164. My delightful cocktail of conditions (or melange of mental illnesses, if you will) includes anxiety, depression, and ADHD. If one more person tells me to exercise, I will skip the junk punch and go straight to murdering them with an elliptical machine.
    That said, I do a breathing trick when I feel panicky that my doc showed me. I inhale through my nose for 4 counts, hold it for 4 counts, and then breathe out through my mouth for 8 counts. It’s enough to pull my head together if I know I’m heading for a panic attack. Beyond that, I have zoloft and adderall to get me by. (I also sometimes sit in my parked car for extended periods of time because it’s a small, quiet controlled space. Closets work too 😉 )
    I don’t know much about TMS, but these are the things that generally keep me functional. Sending hugs your way <3

  165. @thebloggess: Ah. I was about to reply “I’ve never heard of this! WHY have I never heard of it? It seems tailor-made for my situation!” But then I saw a side effect was seizures. Besides having intractable major depressive disorder and chronic fatigue syndrome, I’m also epileptic. (And a lot of other more minor, and also obscure, things. I’m a walking freak of nature. Bet you never heard of “Alice In Wonderland Syndrome, did you? Not only have I heard of it, I’ve got it. Just one of my oddities.) My doctors undoubtedly didn’t recommend this to me because they didn’t want to induce more seizures. My several conditions often trip each other up like that.

    So, no experience with it. But if you do it, I hope it works for you. Depression is a bitch.

  166. I dont have diagnosable depression, its mild enough that i can blame hormones and lack of vitamind. But I know it differs from person to person, but for me, when life has taken and beaten me with a proverbial bat, tea helps. Deep breaths and music and snugly pets too. But so does going to a sport where i can hit things … i hope that what ever your desicion it helps! You have support!

  167. I have recently seen this treatment and seen positive results for almost all of the pts that I’m helping coordinate their tms care. Some were in research a few years ago and actually had a few years of remission of their symptoms and ate coming back to have it again. Others it’s the first time and they are starting to feel “lighter” and have “more resilience” in relation to their symptoms. The side effects are so much less than ect.

  168. I haven’t tried this practice but I wanted to share something small that’s gotten me through some of my darker days:

    When I feel like the world is terrible and I don’t have anything to hope for, for some reason this video makes me feel better. I don’t know if it forces me to get some perspective or it’s just very relaxing but there’s something about it that I find very helpful! It also helped me feel feelings a little bit when I couldn’t feel anything.

  169. Hey Jenny,

    Long time no speak (Clint from the comic here) A friend of mine here in the UK has been having this treatment recently and speaks very openly about how much it has helped him. I’ll ask him if he could write something about it and I will send you an email.

    Lots of love

    (Oooh look at me writing a commeny as if it were an email, thats full on old lady status)

  170. I have truly enjoyed reading all the advice and experiences you and others have had, not only with TMS (which I had not heard of until this post), but with other treatment options! I began having seizures almost 3 years ago that turned out to be caused by anxiety. I was told it was my bodies way of shutting down…finally giving in to my mental illness. As opposed to other people who may have “breakdowns” in other ways. (WTH?! Who does that?!….me apparently {insert eye roll here}) It has taken me a while to come to terms with this, but I can now say I believe it was a blessing in disguise as it lead to my diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. I had been diagnosed in the past with everything from GAD, Major Depression, OCD, ADHD and everything in between. Not a single medication worked for more than 3-6 months….NOTHING!!! (That isn’t even taking into account the ones I was allergic too…I know, lucky me) Looking back it all makes sense, but I was somehow able to overcompensate, “hide” a lot of my symptoms in front of others, and function enough to fly below the radar without an earlier diagnosis. DBT, CBT, and individual therapy have basicaly been a joke to me. I have no clue why and I certainly wish that wasn’t the case. I’m young and want to go back to being a functioning member of society!
    With all that said, thank you for bringing up another topic to look into. I read almost anything I can get my hands on to explore my options of what may help. If I can’t try my best to be my own advocate, who else is going to?? (Although my family is AWESOME!) I look forward to reading more about what others have experienced and hopefully the conclusion you come to as I know you will be honest about why you made your decision one way or another and how it works for you if that is the route you end up taking. Sorry to hijack your board but I’m learning to be über honest about what I’m dealing with in hopes that I can seek help from others going through the same or similar trials and tribulations.
    P.S.- I’m currently on day 10 of being stuck in bed with crippling anxiety, a “minor” depressive episode, and have become physically ill from the anxiety. This is my “new life” and it suuuuuucks!

  171. Jenny, how many treatments do you have to have before it works and are the side effects there with the first treatment or cumulative? If you are undecided, can you do a few treatments on a trial basis to judge if it starts to work for you and gauge the cost/downside against the possible benefits at that point?

  172. I have not had it done, but actually worked at one of the universities and live near one of the doctors who was a pioneer in this field – Dr. Mark George. The results he saw were amazing – and it’s not at all like ECT (as you mentioned), as it is using magnets, not ‘shocking’ (ECT is more nuanced than that, but you know). Much less physically ‘disruptive’ to the actual brain / brain waves, I guess is what I am trying to say. Very little side effects as well. Seizures can be one, yes, but it is not often or severe, but not suggested for epileptics……..whereas ECT is essentially inducing a well-controlled seizure, TMS has it as a potential side effect of it, but almost anything that is messing with brain chemistry / wavelengths would have the same thing….prob some of the meds you have been on have the same risk of seizure as TMS would.

    I don’t know if any of that helps or not, but it seemed pretty remarkable to me when they were doing trials, since it was non-chemical (pills)………..non-invasive….and side effects were minimal / not extremely dangerous. (Kind of like people who use marijuana for pain relief / anxiety relief with much fewer side effects on the organs than pills or other invasive treatments would create).

  173. I have not used it, but I am watching the comments as I am interested in what people have experienced. Which ever you decide, nothing but love and I hope if you choose to do it works for you.

    Side note, that gif of breathing calmed my ADHD brain right down. That was amazing!

  174. I love the breathing tool. I’ve used it for my kiddos as well.

    My dr suggested TMS some time ago. I was terrified. I’m very interested in your thoughts if you do end up doing it. I recently had a pharmacogenetics test done. I found out that the SSRIs I’ve been taking for nearly 20 years are not effective on me. Duh! But, it’s cool to know why.

    Anyway, I’ll be reading!

  175. I’m literally in exactly the same boat. Doctor has been recommending it for years a I decided to pursue it two days despite reservations.

  176. Jenny,

    I love that you have so many funny and entertaining commenters. However, I’m not a good writer or the least bit funny, ☹️, so this is just my serious thoughts.

    I don’t know if the side effect profile of TMS is similar to ECT but that’s what I had and it permanently (and extensively) damaged my memory and I assume my cognition. It definitely worked – until it didn’t. That said, I’ve also been told by doctor’s of the good results they’re getting with TMS. It comes down to a very personal risk vs benefit decision. I don’t believe I made the wrong decision at the time to do ECT but, of course, I regret it.

    Have you ever participated in a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) program? The last time I was hospitalized – 7 YEARS ago and I don’t think I had gone 12 months without 1 (or 5) hospitalization for 10 years before that – I was sent to an outpatient DBT program which fundamentally changed my life. I was given actually useful tools for managing my Anxiety and avoiding Major Depressive Episodes (MDE – I don’t know if that’s a real acronym 😜). Mindfulness, which I believe you already practice, helped me the most but I still use many other tools I learned in DBT. I think most of them are basic life skills that could be taught in kindergarten but I was astounded to realize that I didn’t have them (and not a single therapist ever addressed this other than to just tell me, you have poor coping skills). Since learning and practicing these new skills I have not had a MDE since. (Short periods of less severe symptoms yes, but I don’t think I’ve met the criteria for MDE). My anxiety is more resistant but I’ve gradually increased my ability to go out in the world and rarely have panic attacks anymore.

    Again, most methods work for some but not all. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – a standard, research backed treatment – and all other talk therapies made me worse. After ECT I was going around saying I was cured and then got brain damage. 😣 I’ve been on most medications and am currently taking 3 psychotropic meds. However, it was DBT that saved me.

    I wish you clarity in making your decision and best of luck with whatever you decide to do. You are my hero. I have all your books and read the blog regularly.


  177. 178
    John Clark

    I suffer major depression, and went through TMS myself. All of it. At the time I did it (2010) it was not covered under my insurance. It didn’t work for me. However, I DO recommend it as an option to others as it can be very subjective. My Psychiatrist has stated about 65% of his patients have been helped by it, and I believe him.

    The process itself is a bit painful, but only mildly so. It mainly feels like someone is tapping a spot on your scalp with the closed end of a pen for 45 minutes at a time. More annoying than anything. I wish that it had helped me, because now I have to take 4 different meds for depression, and the side effects are crappy.

    I don’t know what area of the country you are in but if you are in Southern California, I can recommend a place to have it done, or at least to investigate it more.


  178. I’m starting this today. I’m terrified. I mean, super optimistic (long-term), but fucking terrified. I’ll let you know if my terror is justified 🙂

  179. Jenny-
    I am usually too shy to comment on your awesome posts, but for once, I’ll grit my teeth and suffer through it. Regarding TMS: I have not personally had that treatment, but it was definitely the next step. It came HIGHLY recommended as I had treatment-resistant depression for a decade and had not responded well to ECT. I still want to do it, even though I found a medication–or combination of meds–that has helped me immensely (if you’re interested, I can tell you more about how I found that med. Hint: it involved spitting in a test tube until no spittle remained in my body and then a DNA test to see what meds I was more likely to respond well to). But, to get back to the subject at hand, I would definitely recommend you look into it. If I ever fall back into a severe depression again (and face it: that’s going to happen eventually), TMS will be my first solution. I just hope I can hold off long enough so that insurance companies will stop being such little bitch-babies and cover the treatment without making me jump through so many hoops.

    Your silent but faithful follower,

  180. My version of that gif is to go to the online ALA store and stare at the READ poster of Alan Rickman holding a book. I don’t know why it calms me, but it does. Feels like a mental hug.

  181. I did 10 rounds of ECT after 6 months of severe postpartum depression that was continuing to worsen despite trying many different meds and therapy. It brought me out of the depression temporarily but a few months later I sunk right back down and it was worse than ever. Plus I’ve lost so many memories. It’s very sad when my husband says “remember when…” and mentions something about my son from his infancy. I have very little memory of my only child’s first year. Plus I lost other random memories, like a vacation my husband and I supposedly took – he swears we really did it but I have zero recollection. Anyways, nothing was working to bring me out of my depression so I decided to try Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. A bigger time commitment as you attend group skills training and individual therapy every week. But it’s actually worked for me. I had to make myself stick with it for several months before I started to notice a difference. Now my depression is in remission – going on 3 months now – and I’ve started to wean off my immense cocktail of meds.

  182. My co-worker’s wife had this done. She was extremely depressed (having been in institutions and on numerous meds) and it worked for her. It didn’t “fix” her, but it made it so she was down to just a few medication and actually LIVING life. If it’s something you have talked about with your family & doctor, then I suggest it. Especially since you have bouts that last so long. No one should live life that way. You deserve so much more out of life. Best of luck & lots of love.

  183. It really is not scary. A magnet pecks at your head like a wood pecker on a brief cycle. I went for six weeks every day for less than an hour. My mood went from a 1-2 out of ten to a 5.5 out of ten. A definite improvement, but not a cure. At least for me. It is strange but does not hurt, and I was able to get insurance to cover it.

  184. I know nothing about TMS and have no opinion on whether or not you should use it. You do you. I recently went back on meds to help me with the dark days. A lot of me is irrational anger though, or just anger, I guess, and not being able to stop myself from expressing it. So, I finally started meditating to see if I could balance that. Not that it’s your situation at all, but my anger is wrapped up in my depression and I wanted to see if it would help. I started Headspace just over 30 days ago and it’s helping me a lot. I didn’t think I’d feel a difference but I’m reacting differently to situations, moments, people, life. I love my job but it’s got stress like all jobs and then I get home to an awesome husband and a dog and six cats and that many animals is a lot to take care of and I get overwhelmed and feel like I don’t have a break between the two and blah blah yelly stress blah blah. The meditation is helping me with all of it. I think that whatever you need to do is what you need to do. <3

  185. I have used Alpha Stim and that relieved my anxiety enormously. I tried to get into a TMS study but I have other medical conditions that prevented that and at the time it wasn’t covered by insurance. It is now and I would go for it! I have read about how it has helped seemingly intractable depression with little side effects, mostly headache that goes away. I, for one, would try it. It has way fewer side effects than ECT and I could only tolerate two sessions; it made me really sick. You don’t know me but I know depression and I am willing to seriously look at most things that could help, and this has been researched and tried. Hope this helps!

  186. My first comment ever so no cacti please. What’s holding me together right now is Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. When I first started it 19 years ago it reached into my brain and ripped off all the bandaids of the other things I had tried. There is plenty of research to support it and a good place to start would be any of the 3 Yoga Yoga locations in Austin
    Good Luck whatever you decide and thanks to YOU for all you’ve given me.

  187. Hi there. I cannot comment on the TMS, but I’m an acupuncturist working with many clients who suffer from severe depression, and something I’m becoming very curious in looking into is microdosing with psychedelics such as psilocybin. It is absolutely worth looking into. There is even some positive research on the subject now.

    Because psilocybin and LSD are still Class 1 substances, your psych or health care practitioner would likely never recommend them to you. Still, a lot of psychologists and psychs in my area are starting to do it with patients under the table. It’s such a tiny dose that any of the “trippy” effects are imperceptible.

    I hope you look into it yourself!

  188. I live under the philosophy that if it has a chance of helping why not try it at least once? I don’t know about TMS but I know depression sucks and if it helps you feel better than that’s a plus in my book.

  189. As part of your research, I suggest looking at to see what is currently being tested with respect to TMS. It’s another resource for what doctors are actively involved in the treatment, possible links to side effects, and where the medical community sees the treatment going. Feel free to reach out to me if you look at the website and don’t understand the study phases or what their goals are.

    For me, I found taking up jewelry making/metalwork was helpful for both anxiety and depression (in addition to the meds). There are few things I can’t fix with a hammer and a blowtorch.

  190. 191
    Kerri Haag

    I tried TMS last year and paid out of pocket for it. Unfortunately it did not have any effect for me (other than my very first grey hairs sprouting at the places where the magnets focused, oddly enough!). It may be helpful for some people, though I’ve not met any personally. I moved on to electroconvulsive therapy out of desperation and, Jenny, it’s helping. Once I met the doctors and learned more about it, I decided it was worth giving it a shot because I was so suicidal. These people are the most compassionate and brilliant I’ve ever met in twenty years begging for relief from treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. Right down to the janitor, seriously. It’s definitely a big choice because the memory loss is intense and can be terrifying, but it really does help. Keep searching for what works for you. There’s got to be something.

  191. Jenny,
    I grudgingly tried TMS for a trial. Previous to that many years of meds and docs and well, you know the routine. I did the TMS treatment for less than an hour a day, 5 days a week for 6 weeks. I have an autoimmune disease that made the treatment painful, it is not painful at all for the vast majority of patients. Even though it was painful I stuck with it and it made the biggest difference of all!!! I have been completely off all of my meds since I completed the treatment. I have good days and bad days like most people. The nurses were amazed at the degree of improvement I showed from the beginning to many months after the treatment. It has been over 5 years since the treatment and I am still doing really well. I still have the autoimmune disease but I don’t have chronic depression. I hope you will try it and that your insurance will cover it. My love and prayers go out to you and your family.

  192. It seems like minimal side effects for the possible advantage. Worth a try. but I am merely another opinion.

  193. The more likely side effects don’t look to be lasting enough to make if not worth trying. If your doctor recommends trying it, and your current meds aren’t satisfactorily suppressing your symptoms, I would give it a go. My meds have been working all right for me, but if I got to a place where I was unhappy with my quality of life and trying other meds didn’t make any difference, and my doc recommended trying TMS, I think I would do it.

  194. My sister had it done this past winter. She used the neurostar machine and went I believe for about 6 weeks. She said her only side effects were scalp pain(which went away quickly), and occasional headaches. She said it definitely worked for her, and she is now in a lower dose of her antidepressants. She does tons of research before doing anything, so I trust her opinion and experience and would say go for it. Good luck with the decision!

  195. Wiki says side effects = transient induction of hypomania, transient cognitive changes, transient hearing loss, transient impairment of working memory, and induced currents in electrical circuits in implanted devices.[7].
    I’ve had to accept I’ll need anti depressants forever now. When I was younger my aim was always to stop taking Med’s ‘when I’m well again ‘. Now I know am only well when on medication and even then not all the time. Some of us have bits missing in our brains, miss! :~)

  196. I don’t know about TMS but I would be interested to know if it works for you. Did you know there is a gene test done by mouth swab which is supposed to be able to tell you which antidepressants will be effective for you and which won’t. I haven’t done this because I have very crappy insurance right now but it helped a friend of mine.

  197. This is not a direct answer to your question. Sorry. But I read a book recently that tied together all my symptoms for the first time, and the recommended treatments are helping. And I know it doesn’t seem related to what you are asking, but please read this book and decide if it sounds like you (RA, depression, etc.). Because if it does, then treating a mast cell disorder (if you have it) can help the treatments for other comorbidities to be more effective. (Never Bet against Occam; Dr. Lawrence Afrin)

    I know this sounds suspicious. But after 15 years of nothing helping for migraines, this did. Best to you, as you weigh your decision.

  198. 1:hugs to you, and thanks for your amazing humor, which gets ME through some tough stuff.
    2: not sure if your depression is strictly chemical or if there’s associated PTSD – “old trauma”, that sort of thing. If so, or even as another option, find a trained EMDR practitioner. Can’t get to another screen to get you a link but I can tell you that it’s done me a world of good. Sounds like snake oil but it can be very effective. To me, it’s like acupuncture (which I do for physical ailments) – I don’t really understand why or how it works, but it does so I kinda don’t care!

  199. I’ve actually never heard of it, so I can’t say one way or the other. I can understand your fear, though. I’ve fought depression for 38 of my 43 years. I don’t know what it’s like to not have it. I think normalcy scares me far worse than the disease. I’d be constantly paranoid, waiting for the other shoe to drop and for the treatment to stop working. Depression is an ugly, lying bastard, but a bastard I know.

    Mel Henry recently posted So, I did a thing.

  200. I understand your med trouble. I’ve had sessions where my psych literally just sits their starring at my file and goes “huh, something about your genetics just really hates medication doesn’t it?”

    Best advice I can give is to trust the psychiatrist. Mine knows how my body and mind respond specifically. She avoids some things and try’s others specifically based on how I’ve responded to other things in the past. Maybe you and Victor can go together and have an open conversation with the psych about both of your fears, concerns, and questions before deciding.

  201. OMG my mother actually once told me that if I took up running I could get off my meds. I thought she would be the only one ignorant enough to actually say that! Really? So for 30 minutes after I run I have great endorphins…. what do I do with the rest of my day????

  202. Jenny,
    I tend to creep your page because I’m too embarrassed and ashamed to comment. TMS has been suggested as an option to me and it scares me to death so I’m happy you posted because I’d also like to hear what other people say. Since age 17, I’ve been on more meds than a pharmacy and spent more hours in therapy than I can count. Finally found a therapist I clicked with so see them twice a week at the moment. Very little works for me as well. I don’t know if there’s even a combination that will ever work. I’ve been working on it for over 20 years! I suffer from severe depression, anxiety and DID with almost constant suicidal thoughts that I’ve rarely acted upon because I have too much responsibility and don’t want to hurt those I leave behind. My fear with the TMS is the memory loss, especially short term. As a vet, I need my memory and brain to be at it’s peak or I could compromise a pet’s care and I would never forgive myself for that.
    The one thing that helps me the most, and from your posts it sounds like you already know this, is knowing when I’ve done too much and stepping back and trying to catch up on sleep and rest. This is much easier than it sounds, but I find after a couple of days of rest I feel better for a few days and then the cycle starts again. Medical Marijuana definitely helps me sleep because insomnia is a bitch. I had to play around with a lot of strains because some increased my anxiety too but finally found one that stops the racing thoughts and relaxes me enough to sleep. Again not helpful for work or when I need to be on my A game, but at night it helps.
    I wish so much I could help you more, as just reading your posts helps me. I take things day by day and luckily have an incredibly supportive spouse.
    Wishing you always the best,

  203. I don’t know what all the choices are but I know a family member who had a lobotomy, I didn’t think they did them anymore. She was severely depressed and nothing seemed to be working including the electro shock. She is not the same after the lobotomy and its very sad. So I vote don’t go that way, but just my opinion.

  204. My son has had a VNS (Vagus Nerve Stimulator) for 10 years, his purpose is the treatment of refractory epilepsy (epilepsy that doesn’t respond to other medicinal treatments). It’s like a “pace maker for your brain”. It delivers an electrical pulse, for a designated time, on a regular schedule (Kid is at 30 seconds, every 3 minutes). While he is still having seizures, I think things would be much worse if he didn’t have his VNS. It is also used to treat depression. Maybe something to peek at. (Not sure if that’s a clickable link… sorry)

  205. “(But if you tell me to stop taking meds and take up jogging I will find you and punch you in the junk with a cactus. Just saying.)” OMGOD LOVE! Ya, I will never tell ya that. One… Meds save lives. And two… Jogging? That’s running, right? Ya, I only run from bears and to cake.

    While exercise is supposed to help, it only helps if you find something you will actually do. And then, it only helps if you can fight your way out of the blanket fortress of security that consumes you in serenity, first. Two words here: Not. Happening.

    I do, however, force myself to get some vitamin D. And while the best way is to get it from the sun, finding your way out of the previously mentioned web of protection has to be doable first. So, I take it on pill form. Everyday. In addition to my meds. And although I am clueless as to why, Fish Oil seems to help. I also take 2 different anti-depressants, a mood stablizer and an daily anti-anxiety med. That last one has been the saving grace. Prior to its addition, I was practically a shut in and only had “as needed” anxiety meds.

    I have a morning cocktail and evening cocktail of pills I take, but its working for now and it’s the most stable I have been since my diagnosis and I have tried practically everything. I even tried diets, holistics, therapy, just snapping out of it… Ok, not everything. Not ECT or TMS. But I am open to them if necessary. Just not running. Unless there’s cake.

    Or a bear.

  206. My boyfriend asked about this to treat his depression and was told that it wouldn’t work with his TYPE of depression. I’m not sure what that means, but I have heard good things about the treatment overall. If it doesn’t work on some people, it might be because it only works with some types and depends on your exact diagnosis. The human brain is weird. Good luck either way.

  207. Jenny,
    I was considering TMS and in my research I found the Fisher Wallace Stimulator. (a Google search will bring it up.) This may sound like a commercial but it honestly made a difference for me. I had been using it regularly for a few weeks when my wife remarked “I love that little machine.” It had made a noticeable difference in my outlook and behavior. That was about two years ago and I continue to use it. I’m still on meds but I continue to see an improvement when I use it. Even if it does not help I suggest it is worth a try. My insurance (BC/BS) covered it so it was not too expensive. You use it in your own home so it is very convenient. (I have no affiliation with the company other than being a customer.)
    Good luck!

  208. Gonna link an NIH paper on it here, assume you have discussed the risks, etc with your provider.

  209. Hi Jenny. I haven’t tried it but my aunt has. Depression hit her ver hard in her 60s. She has them regularly and notices an almost immediate change in her mood. I imagine it differs from person to person. It not like the horror films. Or what it was like in the last century. If it doesn’t work you don’t have to have more.

    This has worked for my mild depression/anxiety and it’s supposed to help with more severe cases. It’s FDA approved, accepted by at least some insurance in the US (and all in Europe, of course). Ten minutes twice a day, no pain, and you can do it while meditating or working or whatever.

    There’s a pretty new urine test that identifies which classes of drugs are useful, harmful, and in between for you based on your genetic type of liver metabolism. My daughter, with various types of chronic pain, ADD, and anxiety, benefited from it. I’m almost positive it’s this one.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. We are all rooting for you!

  211. I do medical research for a living, so I looked up TMS. Here is a link to a 1 year old free review of the medical literature that is more or less comprehensible. The gist is that they recommend more study and mention that clinical trials are ongoing. Perhaps you might want to enroll in one — which would make the cost a non-issue, and you would be closely monitored. The side effects I read about were primarily nausea and headache. I get nausea from Lexapro and headaches from trees and grass.

    As a patient with a chronic illness, I am always reluctant to try new things. Until I get to the point where I can stand it no longer, and then I jump in. It is a risk/benefit personal decision for you. And if you say no now, that doesn’t mean later on you can’t change your mind. Or if you start, it doesn’t mean you can’t stop.

    In full disclosure I’m not a doctor or a medical practitioner of any sort.

  212. Ok. First time ever sharing this. Lamictal has saved my life literally and figuratively. FOR NOW. Idk how long this med will work but I hope and pray forever. I would and will do whatever it takes to keep my sanity because the alternative is too great to consider. I live alone with no friends or support except for my amazing elderly father who lives 600 miles away. I work a minimum wage job that pretty much sucks but I am able to work. How do you tell people that you may want to befriend this kind of history without the fear of judgement and disgust? I can’t, it is too hard. So, I remain alone, for now. Because of my disease I have lost everything. And I mean everything! I have Bipolar II possibly related to a head injury and life long depression with several suicide attempts. Very, very serious as in should be dead attempts. This fucking disease has destroyed my life. I have 2 Masters degrees, a nursing degree, I am a Physician Assistant and now have been in prison twice. This fucking disease causes me to completely lose my mind. And in a fugue state. I lie, cheat, shop, overdraw, write bad checks, ruin my marriages (yes plural) and most devastatingly my children. I denied my disease for years and years and years. That is what many health care providers do. And when it all came crashing down I wasn’t considered sick or ill. Just a bad person. Seriously, I was 38 when it all crashed and burned and all of a sudden I was just a bad person. I had never stolen a piece of gum and all of a sudden after years of education and being a PTA and soccer Mom, I was just a bad person.
    I was in prison when I finally met a wonderful, caring psychiatrist (the only humane part of prison) who started me on Lamictal. I have now been on it for two years without any mania or severe bedridden depression. No suicidal ideation.
    So, the point of this rambling is that do WHATEVER it takes to make you happy and to live your best life. If what you have now is it, then keep doing that. You don’t have to be fixed. You are who you are and when you are out of bed; and hell even when you are in bed, you inspire and encourage everyone of us to keep going. If this treatment is something that could change your life, do you really want to do that? You are pretty awesome. I wish you all the best. Thank you for letting me have a safe place to share.

  213. Hi Jenny – The tough thing here is that every person is unique, and something that works great for one person might be the worst thing in the world for another. What’s so crappy about chronic illnesses is how desperate it makes us to try anything with the slightest glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and any hope of relief. Listen to your heart and your gut, lean on your support systems, and do what’s right for you. Best of luck and hang in there – also… I hope no cactus junk punching is necessary from your post … 🙂

  214. As someone who also suffers regular bouts even though I’m well medicated I thought I’d throw my two cents in. I honestly have no thoughts on Tms (not helpful, I know). I know it’s helped some. It really has to be a decision between you and your Doctor.

    I wanted to throw in a “it works for me”. My depression come in waves of day(s) to weeks… and vary in severity. Everything from I’m really tired to “I’m going to punch you in the nuts with a cactus if you so much as ask me to get out of bed”. Sometimes (not all the time) it’s helpful to give myself permission to feel it for a limited period of time. I make a deal withmusle that I can be sick for say 24 hours and then I have to do tasks a and b. I try to make the most of my time to hide (hello darkness my old friend) and then give myself accomplishable goals for the next few days. I can slowly drag myself out sometimes before it turns into a matter of weeks.

    I’m lucky that my work allows for this of course. But as I’m not an exercise, healthy eating or healthly sleeping person it’s the best I’ve Ben able to find when the mesds just aren’t enough.

  215. 216
    Yamima Osher

    Not personal experience here, but a quick summary of the latest solid research; my hospital was among the early pioneers of this treatment: TMS does not have side effects, really – just discomfort during the procedure – but the jury is still out on exactly what parameters are effective, it is still experimental, and there is no evidence of permanent effects. If you really fall down the dark rabbit hole again, heaven forbid, talk to your doctor about ketamine.

  216. A friend of mine had ect and she said it did not help her,but everyone’s mind is different.She disliked the memory loss but that was it’s only side affect for her.I have treatment resistant depression and I myself am not ready to try it at this point in time.Best of luck. You got this.

  217. I haven’t tried TMS, but CBD oil help me tremendously and I am currently unmedicated. While marijuana makes me terribly anxious, CBD doesn’t. Wish you all the best, Jenny!

  218. Jenny,
    I have not tried TMS, but did ECT for approximately 18 months. I am bipolar and on disability, and when I crashed, I didn’t get out of bed for 3-4 days. This would be my cycle every 3 weeks or so, because I’m a rapid-cycling Bipolar NOS. Medication is futile, my body does not metabolize it correctly and that leads to a build up in my body and a generalized freak out by me. I have to stick with Topamax and Celexa. I had severe suicidal ideation which the ECT cured. CURED. I did maintenance only when I could feel myself getting extra “twaty.” After about 15 rounds or so, I stopped because of the memory issues. Some issues were slight, some were worse. It’s been almost 2 years since my last treatment. I’d like to say my memory has returned in full, but that’s not true – I mostly draw total blanks on names and words. But I’m playing Jeopardy much better these days. I would still do it again because of the benefit for my suicidal ideation, but at times the memory stuff just sucks. I hope you find comfort in your decision and relief with a treatment plan.

  219. I’m just sending you strength and love. And I hope that something will help you!!!

  220. Perhaps this particular podcast has been recommended to you already (and maybe you’d rather read the transcript – I often prefer to reading articles vs watching videos) but these guys speak in such an approachable way. Apparently TMS can have other functions too – maybe you’ll become even more talented than you already are, which seems like the world’s best side effect. covers it, and they address the ‘thinking cap’ misnomer as well.

  221. 222
    Greg Massey

    I vote to try it. It sounds better than deep brain stimulation (DBS) which also was recommended for me. Depression is like a work in process. Best wishes. Never ever, ever, ever, ever give up. Winston Churchill

  222. 223
    Love This Club

    Thank you for this very dangerous post! And thank you to all the commenters sharing their experiences. I’ve been dragging various friends over to read them as I think they could be helped by the suggestions posted.

    In case it helps anyone else out there: I struggled w depression and anxiety for years. I was constantly worried, couldn’t keep track of anything, couldn’t clean my house or get anything done, and generally failed at being an adult. Anti-depressants were not helping. Until one had the odd side-effect of making me not afraid to clean the kitchen. (I generally would hide in the closet when faced with dishes.)

    After some research into what part of that drug was helping (SNRI) and some testing it was found that I have ADHD. As soon as I started taking ritalin, I could relax. That constant gittery-ness was gone. I could sleep. Sounds backward, I know. So concerta and welbutrin are my current tools for handling life. It’s not perfect, but being able to (usually) be a grown up has helped cut the depression and anxiety. I also take Yasmin for PMDD, handfuls of vitamins, and exercise, which I’m sure probably help, too. Bring on the cactus.

    Good luck, Everybody!

  223. I go running (ok yeah, it’s about the same pace as a snail trying to get through molasses but whatever) and it helps with anxiety because I get to pound out all the thoughts and worries through my shoes. I think about all the people that I’d feed to my attack hippopotamus (if I had one) and all the crap I fuss over and all the crap I forgot to fuss over earlier and after a couple miles you run out of worries. I think it’s having alone time with my thoughts while doing something moderately productive that helps iron it out. Still on medication though and I don’t know that it does a whole lot for my depression. Woo, DBT.

  224. 225
    Debra Kelly

    Hi Jenny,
    I don’t have any experience with TMS or even deep depression (I am grateful for that), but I saw an article the other layabout the leas singer from Passion Pit who had it. Here’s a link to his story, and I’m sure you can find others:

    I hope this helps! And I just want to say thank you, for all your very funny stuff, for your help for those who suffer with mental illness and for sharing yourself with us.

  225. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with the quirky world that is – it’s a terrific website for those of us on the autism spectrum. They did a video about TMS that I think might be helpful.

  226. 227
    Michelle P

    I haven’t done TMS, but I have a few thoughts.
    1. This may be a “duh” but have you ever tried adding a mood stabilizer? Most people only try them if they’re bipolar, but there’s evidence that they can help make anti-depressants more effective. I know that Abilify is the one that’s getting a lot of press right now, but I have been on Seroquel for years and it’s been a life saver. It also helps me sleep, which is super helpful as well.

    I am still a bit of a skeptic on this one, but I’ve been getting into mindfulness and meditation lately. I’ve been doing medication and therapy for years, but the anxiety and depression keep and chugging, so I finally caved and jumped on the mindfulness train. I thought meditation was all about chanting and humming and sitting on mountains, but basic meditation is all about breathing, which is exactly what the gif is honing in on. Learning to control your breathing is a great technique for managing anxiety and there’s actually a lot of science to back it up that it physically relaxes you. A few things I’ve found helpful are: the book “10% Happier” (written by someone who started out as a skeptic of mindfulness AND had a panic attack on live TV) and the app HeadSpace. You can subscribe and get more content, but there’s also ten basic exercises that come free with the download.
    This one might be on the level with telling you to go for a run, but one of the things that I’ve found most helpful to me is sticking to a schedule. When I say this I mean a super basic schedule. I try to go to sleep about the same time each night and get up the same time each day. I have insomnia and lots of other sleep issues (including sleep related eating disorder) so I know that it isn’t easy. It took me almost two months of a lot of work and I basically had to reset my internal clock. I went from staying up late to being more of a morning person (which I have never in my life been).

    I still wonder if there’s ever going to be a “cure” for depression and anxiety because despite all the progress I’ve made, I still get knocked on my ass by it on a fairly regular basis. I have started to learn that a lot of the skills I’m learning help to make the depressive episodes more manageable, but it still never seems fair!

  227. I don’t have any answers for you, but I am sending love and a basket of chicks and baby bunnies.
    I’m really tired. I mean, like, really, really, really, tired. I feel the fight draining out of me, and that’s scary. It’s super mean/ironic that I’m married to a therapist and he has all the tools and can’t help me. He wants me to go to someone EMDR certified, but we have shitty insurance so anything is out of pocket and we have no disposable income.
    Thank you for this safe space to get the scary thoughts out.
    p.s. it would be amazing if you could add a “reply to” plugin for your comment section. I saw someone above with my exact same diagnosiseseses (IDK the plural so I’ll uber-plural it) and it would be great to talk to her.

    Jenness "Dory" Asby recently posted No, I haven’t seen my therapist for awhile; why do you ask?.

  228. 229

    Bless your heart on fighting your insurance for name branded medications. My mama has to do the same! She has ADD plus depression plus narcolepsy plus thyroid issues, and has to be on name brand meds for ALL of them.

    I wish you well with whatever you decide to do. Living with depression is a bitch and a half, but at least you’re DOING something about it, and taking care of yourself as best you can. My ex has bipolar disorder that he ignores. Its cost him our marriage and the respect of his children. I am so proud of you for putting this out here for us to talk about! hugs and hugs and hugs. (If you are a non-touching person, I send air hugs. They never hurt, and let me express my affection while respecting your needs at the same time.)

  229. I applaud your courage in posting this question. By doing so, you are helping others as well.

    Meditation has been a life-saver for me. It literally rewires the brain, and allows me to view my anxiety or depression from a distance, without being a participant. As long as I do it daily (just like taking meds!) I’m good. If I stop doing it, I definitely feel the effects.

    I also recommend the following two books:
    Buddha’s Brain by Dr. Rick Hanson
    Habits of a Happy Brain by Loretta Graziano Breuning. My review of it is here:

  230. I was recently at a support group and they had a speaker that talked about TMS. He said it had really helped him especially because he had issues trying to get the right meds to work.

    Hope this helps!
    Thanks for being on here so we know we aren’t alone! 🙂

  231. I did a full course of TMS treatment. It DID NOT work for me at all. No improvement.

    Let me see if I can answer some of the questions you’ve asked:
    *DID THEY TURN IT UP SO YOUR FINGERS STARTED TWITCHING? – This only happened in the initial appointment and it didn’t hurt at all. It was actually kind of amusing! They position the machine at different places on the brain and try different settings to see which will get the strongest reaction. You hold your hand up like you are waving “hi” and when they hit a useful location/setting your fingers will twitch. Then you squeeze your hand into a fist to “reset” the muscles for the next test. The combo that gets the strongest reaction is chosen to be the treatment site.

    *DID YOU HAVE ANY MEMORY LOSS? – None. (That had been a fear of mine because dementia runs in my family.)

    DIAGNOSIS: I have had treatment resistant depression for 14 years and had tried about 16 meds before doing TMS.

    COST: I did it in the summer of 2015. The TMS people worked everything out with my insurance. I had a BCBSTX plan. They covered most of the cost. My out-of-pocket was $2,400. They also required me to see a counselor during the course of treatment. There was an in-network misunderstanding and I ended up paying for the sessions. (FYI: BCBS has a separate “arm” called Magellan that handles all Behavioral Health claims. Call Magellan directly for any mental health treatments.)

    SIDE EFFECTS: Mild soreness on scalp at treatment site. Some headaches and trouble falling asleep during the first couple weeks. Increased Hunger – don’t know if that was TMS related or if I was “eating my feelings.” Increased anxiety and depression in weeks 5 & 6 when I realized I wasn’t improving.

    FELT LIKE: Someone thumping you in the head with a finger. Feels strange – but you get used to it. Not painful. And if your scalp does get sore – they can place a felt pad against your head.

    TREATMENT: I went 50 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 6 weeks. I had TMS on both Left and Right sides of my head. I think that one side was for depression and the other was for anxiety. One side was about 40 minutes and the other was 10. Don’t remember which side was which.

    THE EXPERIENCE: You are in a big, comfy padded chair. Your head is in a brace and the machine is placed against your head. They offered me pillows to prop my arms and a blanket if I got cool. I chose to spend my time talking with the tech who sat in front of me so I could make eye contact. I also had the options of listening to music or watching TV. You just can’t do any activity where you would move your head. It was good to have a distraction so I wasn’t focused on the “thumping”.
    Some people here in the comments mention wearing a cap. I did not have one. The Neurostar machine had all kinds of measuring arms (Imagine a drawing compass or protractor). They had specific settings for the angle of my head, and the angle of the machine arm, and the angle of the part that goes against your head. They would set the machine to my angles before I arrived. The position I was held in wasn’t painful. But sometimes I would end up with a stiff neck after not moving for 50 minutes.

    THE NEGATIVE: What was hardest for me about the treatment was the dashed hopes towards the end of treatment that all the time and money weren’t working for me. And that I had gone through one more treatment that didn’t help me.

    THE POSITIVE: I marked one more thing off my list in a proactive attempt to beat this monster called Depression.

    BE AWARE: The TMS people are very positive about their “cure,” but they are in sales. They will give you high percentages for success rates. I have recently been researching ECT and have noticed that TMS has a lower success rate than was reported to me by the sales people. ECT is scary – but it appears to have a higher success rate for treating depression. (Of course, it also costs more and carries more risk.)

    I have now tried 34 medications. Start number 35 next week. I came across an interesting article yesterday that posits the idea that all these medication failures could be a result of learned behavior. Our brain has learned that pills don’t work. So they don’t work – even if they could. The article is from 2012. Not sure what recent research suggests. But it’s an interesting idea about our broken brains:

    Things that I have found to be helpful:
    DNA testing – My psychiatrist offered a test that shows how well I would metabolize all types of medications (not just antidepressants.) The report is broken down into three columns: Standard Precautions, Use With Caution, Consider Alternatives. This has helped us in choosing which antidepressants would potentially be the most effective for me.

    EMDR – I was a sceptic. But so far I have had 3 treatments and I think that my feelings about my traumatic event are not as painful as they were before starting the treatment.

  232. I have no personal experience with this, but the way I see it, anything that could improve your quality of life is worth giving a shot.

    Courtney M. Bolton recently posted Planning is in full swing!.

  233. Hi Jenny, Could you email of fb message me re : this post.

  234. I have no experience with this, but there is a very new test available called Genesight. It tests your DNA for resistance to various anti-depressants, analgesics, and anti-psychotics. After two years and trying drug after drug and dosage after dosage without my teenage son getting any relief (except from talk therapy, which isn’t enough), he had this test and learned that everything he had taken were drugs he was most resistant to. He’s been on a different med for several months now, and he’s a different kid. I could not be happier that he’s getting relief.

  235. I can’t possibly offer you advice on depression, though I’ve been depressed for long bouts over the years. Never heard of nor tried TCM. But I want to thank you for the GIF. I find it incredibly useful and appealing and feel like you just gave me a birthday present months earlier. You are the best!

  236. I had not heard of TMS, but now I want to research it. I’ve been taking Zoloft for nearly a decade, and it has worked faithfully…until this year. I’m currently in one of the longest-lasting periods of depression I’ve ever experienced. (And there have been some doozies.) There’s only one real psychiatrist in my town, and I’m trying to get in to see him. It’s…an ongoing process. I hope you find more things that work for you!

  237. I’ve particularly had a hard time with the well meaning advice. My mom did it to me again yesterday and it breaks my heart and I can’t make her understand. No matter how I explain and even though she’s seen me in the hospital she’s in some weird denial where I’m evidently just very lazy. And what really breaks my heart was that I flipped out when they locked me in the hospital and my closest friend upped away from me and never came back. And I miss her so very much. They had wanted to do electric shock and she was all for that but I thought it was too extreme and wouldn’t do it. So, I don’t know yet what works. But I COMPLETELY understand the confusion and the desire to be better and the desire to just make it stop. So I don’t know that I have anything to offer other than the fact that I stand with you, and all of us standing together helps us and maybe together we will find the answers.

    FaereWolf recently posted Papa. Part three. On what would have been his 74th birthday..

  238. Sorry, Jenny, I know nothing about TMS. It sounds a bit alternative. I’m not sure.

  239. I asked my mom who trained as an occupational therapist many years ago and she’s never heard of this, I won’t pretend to know anything about this either.

    However I do think that you should consider all the facts, and consider what your doctors and those who love you say, including us; then make the decision that is the best for you.

    You have to do what is best for you, so you can be the best versions of yourself for your family. And don’t let anyone make you question yourself and your health decisions. Even if that occasionally is you.

    Lots of love and good vibes.

  240. I’m writing you a prescription (not a doctor) to punch at least three people in the junk with a cactus a week. Side effects should only be extreme laughter.

  241. 242
    Elizabeth R

    Hi Jenny
    I’ve had two clients go though TMS before coming back in to therapy with me. One had some temporary relief that lasted about six months after a year long treatment protocol. The other quit after 9 months with no noticeable change but later went for ECT and did have success with that. I have attached a segment from David Eagleman which underscores my primary concern about TMS. Until they have fully understood the hows and whys of what it does, I’m going to hold of on teferring people for it-there are unintended consequences of its use. Studies currently supprting the use if TMS (including the machine you mentioned) have been funded/underwritten by the manufacturers. Doesn’t means they are invalid; just that until there is a good bit of research by more objective sources, I am going to hold off recommending it. It is too costly in terms of time and money to have such iffy results and as with David Robison, it may result in unintended consequences-they just don’t know yet. Sorry to be the Debbie Downer in the crowd. I really do hope for research to show awesome it is.

  242. 243
    Niki Cooper

    You have helped me so much. Just knowing I’m not alone. I take a mix of meds and have 7 cats and don’t leave my house much. My biggest help is my husband. And then seeing the light of day too. But one of my favorite things is to break stuff. Like throw a fish tank in the dumpster to listen to the sound, or throw some furniture out a window. Well only stuff u no longer want…. listening to birds and enya also help me. Lately my favorite mantra is one of yours ” frightened rabbits fight the hardest” thanks for that

  243. Thank you for the GIF!! I was looking for that specific one the other day. I was in mid anxiety attack in the grocery store (day before Easter. Duh katy, bad idea) and i thought of that GIF to help me.

    Katy recently posted Q is for Questions.

  244. Hi Jenny,
    I’m so sorry you’re not doing well with your treatment. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything to offer by way of advice. I am curious to see that meds stop working though. I started on 40mg of Celexa, now bumped to 50, and last year I had a solid low level depressive state for months, so I added Wellbutrin temporarily. I’m back in that state again and fear trying all new meds due to side effects. I’m not even sure how many meds you can be on at the same time.

    Good luck and lots of hugs as you make this decision!

  245. Don’t know about TMS. Just wanted to suggest the book My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel. I go back to it often. Reminds me I’m not a weirdo. Plus wine! Lots of it. All the best💗

  246. My wife was about to try it when her psychiatrist recommended first trying DBT therapy (which is also a fight with insurance since most real DBT providers don’t participate in plans, but most states require insurance to cover if there are no participating providers… took 3 months to get insurance to agree, and a fight every time I submitted a bill, but it was worth it). She is still on a cocktail of medications, but is doing tremendously better at handling things that used to make her suicidal.

  247. I take trintellix and it helps me. Though I had to go off it bc we are trying to have a baby but it’s the first medicine to actually work. So once I have a kid I plan on getting right back on it bc I felt normal while I was on it

  248. I say if your doctor thinks it’ll work,it’s definitely worth a try! I should probably google more about it, but it couldn’t make you worse, could it?

  249. I’m very lucky that I found a med that works for me. I’d never heard of TMS but looking at it, it seems like it is worth a shot. The side-effects sound a little scary, how rare are they? The little I know of clinical trials they have to report it as a side effect even if very very few people experience them. Is this right? That class was a long time ago!

  250. I don’t know if it works or if it’s total hokum, but if it does work, I hope it works for you. 🙂

    mommatrek recently posted Hippie Dippie fringed festival bag.

  251. Your long deep breathing gif is fantastic. This is an ancient yogic technique both apocryphally known and scientifically proven to relieve anxiety and associated stress. SO GO YOU! and thanks for sharing. <3 <3 <3

  252. My cousin did it for her Major Depression and it works wonder for her. She started write a course of ? Weeks (I can’t remember how long it was), tapered off and now goes for “top ups” when she feels like she’s sinking.

  253. Yes, I have had the treatment. About 6 months ago. I would absolutely do it again, and wish I had done it sooner. The positive effects of TMS are proof positive that depression is a physiological/chemical disease and not a personality flaw. Even my rather skeptical husband observed an improvement. My insurance covered most of it – and the TMS clinic actually did the homework for me in order to make sure my insurance would cover it. I’m on a reduced dosage of my antidepressant now – didn’t feel comfortable taking it away completely because I still have some dark moods every now and again, but thanks to the brain zapping (my loving sobriquet for TMS), they pass. In my experience, there were no lasting side effects from TMS, and I recommend it highly. Feel free to contact me with more specific questions if you want.

  254. I went through TMS. I was the <1% side-effect girl: insomnia, nausea and general aversion to food/inability to eat, and by the end it made me suicidal. I was going through with virtually no support, driving 60 miles round trip, myself, for each treatment and no one at home to help me. I got zero benefit or reduction in my depression symptoms. It took me months to recover. Context: diagnosis major depression chronic recurrent, with sides of anxiety and PTSD. I’ve been declared medication resistant, and even got to experience Seratonin Syndrome once! Happy to talk if you want to know more of my experience.

  255. I suffer many of the same things you suffer from:( I know we all suffer differently. This month is a good one for me….I am so sorry it is not for you. It was a suggested therapy for me but my Husband and I decided to hold off not sure about it and we need to research it some more. I am sorry I am not much help but know that I am in your corner and wish you all the best at this difficult time. I am thinking of you….

  256. Hi Jenny – med resistant depression here too, so tried TMS (several month regime). I’m sorry to say that it didn’t help at all, but at least I had no side effects. I’m not sorry I tried it, though; based on the studies it does help some people, and if I hadn’t done it I would still be wondering if it could help. Hugs and much love to you. No platitudes here, but Dory’s “just keep swimming” has served me well during lousy stretches.

  257. I will be reading these replies carefully as I too am considering TMS after many years of treatment resistant depression. My biggest concern (besides the $$$) is memory loss. I am a copywriter and really need my brain to be able to access all the words! 😉 Hoping this thread helps me decide. Thanks for posting, dearest Blogess.

  258. 259
    Mary Cleveland

    I haven’t completed it, not even close, but when I’m using it, it really helps.

  259. 261
    The Copper Cruisader

    I’ve been mentally composing this as an email to you for a long, long time. (Years.)

    I’m a superhero and you might be one too. Last year (or the year before?) there was stir in the scientific community saying that research should be done not on the people with deathly illnesses, but on the superheros who seem to be able to survive with them.

    There are no superpowers (yet), but my kryptonite is copper. I had serious fatigue, headaches, insomnia (spinning mind), skin-crawling anxiety, general anxiety, cloudy mind, compulsions, some depression, despair, etc. etc. (copper toxicity symptom list link: ). After seeing that list and sitting stunned for an hour, I cut out dietary copper (by following this: ). Within 3 days the headaches were going away. By 1 week I suspected that I had more energy and was sleeping better. By 2 weeks I was peppy (for me) and was reasonably sure that it wasn’t a placebo. The monthly despair was gone (or heavily reduced anyway). It has been over a year and I have absolutely no doubt that it made a difference. If you want all the details on any of it, send me an email.

    It isn’t a complicated or horrifically restrictive diet and you could see a change in days or a week. So, follow my assvice or ignore it. Either way, I wish you wellness. 🙂

  260. I saw someone already mentioned the Vagus Nerve Stimulator. I got one 14 years ago as part of a clinical trail for treatment resistant depression in rapid cycling type 2 bipolar disorder and it was a miracle for me, even though I still needed mess and I still dipped into depression in the winter. It was so much less severe. I could tell you more if you are interested. I think there’s only one place still doing them for depression, in Boston. I had mine done in Dallas.

  261. 263
    Emil C Dez

    No sage advice here. But my therapist does it and is learning to to it to others. (i’m afraid he is going to recruit me to have it done) I’m not yet falling for it and I trust my meds to do the job for me, for now.

    Forgot to include this in my earlier post…
    My psychiatrist believes that not all generic antidepressants are equivalent in effectiveness to the brand name. But brand name drugs are expensive and my insurance coverage sucks. My Psychiatrist has recommended 2 reputable Canadian pharmacies. I have used both for about 5 years. Usually the meds are about 1/3 the cost of buying in the USA. Just make sure you order 3 weeks in advance because fulfillment and shipping can take a while. Both of these pharmacies are backed by the Norton Shopping Guarantee

    BTW, I ignore all spam emails about online pharmacies. These recommendations are from my Psychiatrist and based on my own personal experience.

  263. I have nothing constructive to offer you but wish you well with whatever you decide to do.

  264. Just go jogging, Jenny. Kidding, and ready for that punch! I had to stop all meds because I don’t seem to react as anticipated to anything, and the side effects of most meds are worse than the cure. Its real. I struggle a lot sometimes. But I say this in all seriousness-exercise is an underutilized treatment option. And I mean real, down and dirty, flop-sweating, daily exercise. If I can only walk every day, I walk. But I feel my best when I get my heart really pumping for about thirty minutes every day. Every day, because people like me can’t just do things three times a week and stay with it. And I hate to exercise, but I love how it makes me feel. I have several conditions which make this very difficult, and sometimes I keep up with it and sometimes I don’t. But I know it works form me, since you asked!

  265. The gif is amazing and brilliant. Thank you for sharing it!

  266. I’ve got a spiritual bent and I figure I’ll regain everything I’ve lost someday, glory jalapeno. And if I could also gain a more even keel right now, a measure of ease and happiness that would lead to building even better memories, then I would definitely go for it.

    Jessie G. Talbot recently posted I’m out of my mind. Is it Halloween yet? #halloween #autumn.

  267. I have seen ECT being administered and I have heard it is very helpful when it works. People swear by it. Some feel the effects right away and others need a series of them. Alas, others don’t see any noticeable difference. I have not heard of the other treatment you mentioned but if it less I visited and you are at a loss, I say go for it. What do you have to lose? Maybe a few brain cells but then maybe this will wake up other ones that are less depressed. You don’t know unless you try… I hope my cliches help you:)

  268. While I cannot say one way or another if this is a good solution for you… I am so excited to learn of this. My best friend’s husband suffers from debilitating pain and there is nothing the military doctors can do… I just emailed her-There is always HOPE!

  269. I haven’t read through all the comments, but hypnotherapy really does work for some people. At the very least, you feel amazing after the session is over. Like a big, long, much needed nap. Although I may be biased (my husband is a certified hypnotherapist), his clients LOVE it – for anxiety especially.

  270. Hi Jenny. I haven’t had TMS. I did recently request pharmacogenetic testing. When my doctor got the results back, she said my body doesn’t properly process folic acid. I’m taking the supplement methyl folate now and it will be a few weeks until I know if it works, but I thought I’d mention it on the off chance you haven’t heard about it. (The bad memory is a rough and scary symptom, thank you for validating that! Of course you don’t want to make it worse.) If the methyl folate works, I could be completely medication free for both depression and anxiety. Dr. Says it works 96% of the time. It still feels like a long shot after decades of trying everything else. I’m scared and hopeful for me. Sending psychic hugs and mental hand to hold for you no matter what you chose. Also thank you for validating that the cactus-junk punch is an appropriate response to the “cheer up” cheerleaders.

  271. I haven’t tried either this type of therapy, so I can not speak on it. I just wanted to throw in a couple of things regarding my own issues. I did my DNA for Ancestry a while back. Once you do your DNA with them, you are able to upload that raw data to a number of other companies, one of which is Promethese. Promethese compares your DNA to medical research and gives you info. I was surprised by one finding that said “This version of a blood brain barrier protein blocks many common antidepressants from entering the brain, including: amitriptyline (Elavil), citalopram (Celexa), paroxetine (Paxil), and venlafaxine (Effexor). That makes those antidepressants 7 times less effective” I had no idea, but now I know that those won’t work for me, and I have stored that info in my brain in case it ever comes up.
    Luckily, I haven’t had any major depressive episodes in years, but I have told myself that if I ever have another one, I would seriously look into the research on Ketamine, Psilocybin, and LSD, and try to find a therapist or hospital that is providing those treatments.

  272. All Things Considered on NPR now (4-20) is talking about using electrical brain stimulation for memory improvement. Off-topic, I know, but best wishes to you.

  273. 275
    Charlie Melton

    I have a friend who suffered for YEARS, basically from jr high into her mid-40s. Nothing ever worked. She had ECT and now feels like her dial goes to happy, whereas before it only went to minimally disheartened.

  274. Wishing you well with your decision, and I know you will get a lot of good advice from friends and supporters here. I love your breathing gif!

    Kathleen recently posted Lab Girl.

  275. One of my son’s classmates has a father who is a psychiatrist. He has stated that he wishes everyone with severe depression would do it, it is that life-changing. However, where I live money if often an issue. I wish I could do it!

  276. I have noticed with my depression, there seems to be three major parts that vary day to day. When all three converge is when it gets really bad. I have found Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to be helpful for the part that comes from trauma, meds for the long term depressive part, and acupuncture seems to be helping for the “black cloud” days. So for me at least, it’s not just what works, but what works for what part of my depression.
    Blessings as you decide!

  277. YES…TMS has been a life saver for me. Unfortunately it came after I had already screwed up my 2 kids, lost my husband to someone sane and ruined god knows how many other relationships. After years of therapy and drugs, some of which I was at the highest dosage allowed, suicide attempts and voluntary committal, I finally said “Screw the consequences, if this doesn’t cure me I can still off myself at a later date!”
    I started feeling a little different within the first week. People started commenting on my mood, the fact that I was smiling and singing. Not to mention getting out of bed in the morning and looking forward to doing something. With the partnership of my Dr. we reduced my medication slowly. I am happy to say that I am currently on only one medication now (not the three I was on) and am on half the dose I was on previously. I am sleeping at night, can get out of bet and have actually been looking forward to hobbies that I haven’t done in years.
    I started all of this just before the Holidays. A time which I would start winding myself up for around the end of September. By November I would be a raving lunatic, crying at every mention of socializing and the gearing up for the Family gatherings… lets just say the kids stayed as far from me as possible, My Dad would constantly demand “Just calm down”
    And my siblings would make fun of my every comment and mood. I was always sick throughout the holidays.
    This past Thanksgiving, everyone was asking what new drug I was on. I was not sick, brought dessert that was a disaster but that was ok. I would not say that I didn’t care but it just wasn’t that big a deal! I invited a friend over to bake cookies for Christmas (first time in probably 20 yrs.) Had a great time and even Christmas day was relaxing. Friends Family and even the Ex have commented on how great to see me like I used to be.
    The treatment is not terribly uncomfortable, I had a startle reflex each time it started up and only had a headache one time. The tapping sensation is no worse than someone tapping you on the shoulder. The noise can be muffled with earplugs. I listened to books on kindle. I did tell my technician that if I had to do the treatment every day for the rest of my life I would gladly do it to continue to feel this good.
    Sure I still have occasional blah days but they are just a day. I am now 60 yrs old and wish that this could have been available 40 years ago! BTW…I recommended your book to everyone at the office where I was treated.

  278. Hello, Bloggess and Bloggessian Comrades!

    I highly recommend TMS. For me, it was the turning point for my treatment-resistant major depression. It has worked the way nothing else has. I hope that the more it’s studied, the more precisely it can be tweaked, and the more helpful it will be for more people.

    In 2007, at age 33, I’d been on the treatment-resistant-depression carousel for most of my life. It’s familiar to you lovelies, so I’ll summarize: Talk therapy. CBT. Various life strategies. Medications with the help of a shrink. Appreciating trees. And so on and so on, on a consistent basis. I was seeing my therapist every week and my shrink every month, and I’d spent the past five years trying various medication combinations with possibly absurd conscientiousness. I’d spent five years before that trying the medication-plus-therapy route in general, with a shrink who wasn’t as experienced with medication as my current one. I’d been in a bad way for the past two years. At the time, avoiding death was a more common strategy than appreciating trees.

    My shrink was pushing ECT, but I didn’t want to do it for various reasons: memory issues (memory being something I already have trouble with), the intensive nature of the treatment, and the possibility of long-term “maintenance” treatments. I researched TMS on my own and went to Canada for treatment until it was FDA-approved in 2008.

    My mom paid for it and made it possible. It should be available to everybody and covered by insurance.

    For me, TMS did what it said on the tin. (At least the tin being used at the time! I haven’t researched it lately.) This was: I needed relatively frequent treatments at first; fewer over time; and since 2011, no treatments at all. I don’t have records in front of me, but here’s the rough schedule: I did my first two treatments every six months or so. Then a third treatment about year later. Then a fourth treatment about two years later. For me, a treatment session was two TMS treatments per day (morning and afternoon) for two weeks. I think each individual TMS treatment lasted 45 minutes.

    The only side effect I’ve had is a minor headache during treatments and sometimes immediately afterwards. Sometimes I took ibuprofen, sometimes I didn’t need it. I’ve noticed no difference between the TMS machines used in Vancouver (don’t remember the brand) and the NeuroStar brand used here in the US.

    During my initial treatment, my mood improved during the second week of the treatment itself. When I did follow-up treatments over the next few years, my mood tended to improve 1-2 weeks after I finished treatment.

    Although I was briefly off my medication–still seeing my therapist and my shrink–TMS ultimately works best for me in combination with medication. I was able to go back to an early two-medication combo that had helped slightly in the past, and that I tolerated very well in terms of side effects. Now it actually works. I feel confident that if I start to go into a severe depressive episode again, I can do TMS, and I will emerge from it.

    Like lots of people, I think my depression is ultimately a chronic condition. Given my experiences with it, the fact that it started when I was a kid, and the way it runs in my family, I don’t consider myself magically cured; I consider the occasional low mood normal for me. I still use my helpful life strategies and appreciate trees and so on. The difference with TMS is that I’ve never had such a long or severe depressive episode since trying it. My dysthymia has improved as well.

    Crucially, since I finally feel definitively better, I feel confident that I’ll catch a dangerously stubborn low mood sooner that I did in the past; and now I have TMS as a resource. Since I’m less freaked out by my normal low moods–knowing that I have a resource–I am more tolerant of myself when I feel that way, and better at taking care of myself.

    Also, I should mention that I basically had no confidence in TMS when I started my first treatment. I was at the end of my rope, and I was willing to try almost anything. Magnets? Midcentury-sci-fi-looking equipment? Sure! So the placebo effect was not in effect..

    Thanks for asking and listening! I’m holding a good thought for all of you.

  279. Hi Jenny,
    Is it possible to respond privately? Thank you!

  280. 283

    There’s an account of TMS in one (or both?) of Dr. Norman Doidge’s books about the brain. They’re quite wonderful, though I confess I enjoyed his anecdotes more than the technical explanations. He’s in favor of it [spoiler alert?] and the stories are really inspiring.
    It’s being used here in Calgary at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. Perhaps if your insurance won’t cover it, there’s similar research happening closer to you?
    ps Reiki Master myself, and yes, I love how well Reiki works too. And I think TMS sounds like a great idea.

  281. Hi Jenny. I have not had either procedures but, like you, I find that some Rx’s work for a while
    and then my Psychiatrist and my Therapist come up with the next combination. I realize that this is how my life is going to be. I quit drinking 10 months ago, I was blessed with the combination of being depressed and an alcoholic (Yay me!) and now that I’m sober I am starting to remember things that I forgot. My concern would be the potential of memory loss. I couldn’t bear that. I would hate for that to happen to you because in my opinion you are a national treasure! This may be off topic but when I went into a medical facility for 6 days to detox from alcohol I brought your book with me and I am so thankful I did. During those brutal 6 days you brought me laughter through my tears, fears and plain old feeling shitty. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!


  282. I was very interested in it, but after sustaining a traumatic brain injury I ruled it out. I have done neurofeedback and it was very helpful, but not permanent. It is now covered by most insurance so it is a good, safe option. Since I have a trauma background and diagnosed PTSD, depression and anxiety, I could only get so far with anything. I have been doing eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and it is amazing! Researching all this I am convinced that at least for the trauma, the work has to be in the body. I am reading Amy Weintraub’s “Yoga for Depression,” and just got the Trauma Center’s (Boston) trauma-sensitive yoga DVD (they certify instructors and have classes there). And amazingly just yesterday I found two yoga instructors in Lincoln, NE who have studied with these folks (one with each). I am convinced it will help. And I so hope you find the help you are seeking!

  283. Outdoor yoga (or that slow old-Chinese-lady Kung fu) in the early morning sunshine. Alone, in my yard, stretching and breathing. Keeps me from screaming at people, and some days feel like magic.

  284. Honestly, I haven’t found anything that helps my bouts of depression other than grinning and bearing in. Although I should say that my downs are not that down compared to other people. But what I have found to help me when I’m feeling anxious, is counting things. It gets me out of my head space. Luckily I have a wonderful man in my life (who reminds me of Victor sometimes) who helps me and understands that there are days when getting out of bed is not an option for me. I take multiple meds per day and if I was able to find a cure-all, I would probably go with it. But I don’t know much about this process you speak of or its side-effects. Best of luck love

    Real Talk with Dee recently posted Part 2.

  285. TMS very rarely causes long-term side effects. I haven’t ever used it as a treatment for depression, but I have had it a couple times as a research participant and never experienced negative side effects. I know many people who have performed and received TMS, and negative responses are rare, and the symptoms that do occur (e.g. headaches) pretty much only cause short-term problems, so if you don’t respond well, these side effects will go away after a month or two. It doesn’t always work, but honestly I’m willing to undergo the procedure for the benefit of helping science and getting $40, so I would obviously recommend it if the benefit is the possibility for much improved quality of life. TMS is newish, so it makes people nervous, but in practice it’s often less dangerous (although also less understood) than many medications.

  286. I haven’t tried TMS but I dated a guy who used it with very good results. He dealt with depression & had some childhood issues that were deep & TMS helped him so much. He didn’t have any side effects.

  287. I used an at home TMS machine for migraines (celexa works for my depression). It was painless and no side effects, but it also didn’t help the migraines. I recently started low dose naltrexone for my super high ana (probable lupus). It has helped the chronic migraines and joint pain. Without those, my mood has improved even more. You might consider it for the RA.

  288. Hi Jenny!
    I’m not going to say you should or shouldn’t, but you’re a smart lady and I know you’ll do your research. When I was hospitalized some of the ladies took up this option because all else had failed. I sat down and had a long, fun chat with *Jane over dinner. The next night I sat down with her again. She’d had a treatment at during the day. She introduced herself all over again and had no memory of who I was. She realized halfway through our conversation that she’d forgotten ‘something’ about meeting me, and became very distressed. Not only at her memeriy loss, but at realizing that she had memory loss. It can be a temporary side effect and wear off, but she never did remember that first dinner together and we were there for two weeks after that. For me, even though my brain is ‘faulty’ I wouldn’t want my memory to get any worse.
    Good luck lovely lady, it’s a tough call xxxxxxx
    Something to consider. Not evidence for or against, just a first hand (or secondhand?) experience I had with someone who used the magnet option. As far as I know, it did not affect all the patients the same way.

  289. I haven’t tried it but I see the most pressing side effect is fainting and you’re basically a pro at fainting. Like you’ll probably already have fainted before the treatment starts…at least once anyway. So maybe you should look at all medical professionals as having terrible adverse side effects.

    I say do it if your gut says yes.

    The Informal Matriarch recently posted You’re Wrong About Your Wrongness.

  290. A friend of mine had this this treatment after suffering from debilitating depression for 20 years. He now says he’s “in remission” from depression and, while he has some bad spells, none of it as dark as his darkest times. He had to fight his insurance (Kaiser) to get them to approve it, but I know he wouldn’t go back.

    Just another anecdote. Good luck!

  291. Hi Jenny, I used to take anti-depressants and I honestly think they (all the different drugs) made it worse, then add vitamins, herbs and over the top can’t think straight. So I finally had it and said ENOUGH, I cannot do this for the rest of my life! gave them all up (I was so scared!) and I feel wonderful today, and more days then not….NO ONE has great days every day. I know this isn’t an option for everyone, but your body is meant to regulate itself, and these days when I feel funky, I say “I can chose to be happy or choose to be sad, or mad, which one do I want today?” because I get to choose, not some drug. Then I block everything out that can take me off kilter (like news) and focus on mountains, laughing children and flowers instead of the idiot that just cut me off in traffic. And really, how can you have a bad day with you have that cute racoon there? Love & Light, Rev T.

  292. 295
    Cathy Howat

    I’m a former ER and psych nurse. I do consider it a much better option that ECT which I hate and consider barbaric. Results can vary, but I would say try it

  293. I’m going to assume that your doctor ruled out Bipolar II as a diagnosis. Many people who are originally diagnosed with unipolar depression and are treatment-resistant end up being diagnosed as BP II. One episode of hypomania is all that is required to change the diagnosis. A mood stabilizer like lamotrigine (or lithium) is added. That wasn’t enough for me because of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so we added a longer-acting anxiety drug and thank heavens it’s helped a lot. Finally coming out of a 5-month depression!

    You seem to have a very good relationship with your doctor, a true doctor/patient partnership. If she has proven that she has your best interests in mind when making recommendations, with full knowledge of your particular needs, you should put your trust in her.

  294. Totally a California hippie here, but the latest things that have been helping with my depression are meditation and medical marijuana. I recently purchased a gadget called “Muse” (a spendy, techno headband (wearable EEG) that looks like it came from an 70s utopia/dystopia movie) that reads your brainwaves while you meditate and gives you immediate audio feedback (so you learn/know you’re “doing it right”). The detractors note it’s only for a very specific type of focused meditation, but I’ve found it to be very useful at finding some inner calm, reducing my anxiety. The marijuana I pair with stand-up comedy on Pandora; I literally laugh myself to sleep, and find my depression to be less the next day when I’ve so recently had happiness to remember. I see you’ve tried the leafy green stuff and found it increased your anxiety; if you’re able/willing, there are some strains that are less-likely to induce anxiety. I’ve chatted with a fellow at a dispensary who noted that his brain/body chemistry is atypical, so the energizing strains put him to sleep and the sleepy ones amp him up. Sometimes some strains increase my anxiety, but I’ve often been able to talk myself down from those, soothing my racing thoughts with “Hey, chill out, that’s just the imaginary side-effects and not a real symptom.”

    I hope your call for input and research into TMS gets you the info you’re seeking, enough to help you make up your mind. I wish you the greatest portion of health and happiness you can wrangle. 🙂

  295. Thank you for the gif. You posted it a while ago and I saved it, and it’s been extremely useful. In fact, I run a group chat (about 65 people) that has what I would guess is a fairly high proportion of people with anxiety issues, and I posted it there. When someone says they’re anxious, one of the first responses is usually, “Use the gif!” and it helps enough that people can then work through what they’re anxious about.

    I’m in school to become a therapist, and I think it’ll be a really useful thing when I start actually doing therapy, too. Thank you so much for sharing it, it’s so helpful!

  296. I had rTMS last year. Best thing ever for me!
    I had had major depression as a formal diagnosis at 19 (although I am sure it started much earlier). At 30 I had been unable to pull myself back out of suicidality this time.
    I had a medication chnage and had started DBT but I still felt like I was missing the essential element that made life so much less of a struggle to others.
    Enter rTMS. I was so skeptical. I mean…using magnets?
    I tried it anyway because I was terrified of ECT and the side effects seemed to be no worse than the ones i was already experiencing.
    The first two weeks, I felt no change. If I hadn’t been an inpatient at the time I may have given up going.
    Some time in the third week I felt like I had woken up from a dark fog or I had been just below the surface of the water my whole life and had managed to break through to the surface.
    It was phenomenal and still is.
    I am still on a low dose antidepressant and just finished my DBT (as behaviours need to be retrained darn it) and I am still doing really well.
    TMS has changed my life to be completely different to what I expected.
    I’ve actually had to learn the difference between what are my personality traits and what were attitudes and behaviours caused by the depression!

    I know some people have limited results whilst others have none. As all treatments go.

    I still highly recommend it. I still have to maintain my mental health but it’s a lot easier than fighting mental illness.

    Good luck!

  297. My head hurts from all the comments but some great info. Thanks for bringing this topic to light, Jenny. I haven’t heard about TMS therapy, and I’m now going to look into it. I doubt my Medicare would cover it though. I’m disabled from depressive disorder so paying for it myself is out of the picture. My horses are my therapy that gets me up out of bed. I’m on a combination of 3 different antidepressants plus an antianxiety med and see my therapist every week, but none of it really seems to get me past having very few spoons. I’m tired.
    Wow…Sorry that all spewed out.
    Oh, and I loved the comment “thoughts be bitches” and I think I’ll stick that up on the mirror and “kick them out!”

  298. As a few others have mentioned EMDR, I have done that. It has greatly stabilized me and I have not been to therapy in 3 years. I still have to take all of my meds, and sometimes still have them adjusted but I am now 100% aware and incontroll, not a heaping mound of human, laying on the garage floor crying, as my husband just steps over me, and goes about his project he’s working.. while I want to jump up and flail myself in his path again… I wish I could one day be 100% med free, but I have accepted that might not ever happen, half my meds cause me memory loss now. I have DID so I don’t remember half the things I do, so if I was offered TMS.. I would probably do it. What could be worse???

  299. I just finished TMS in January, and after 20+ years of depression I can honestly say it’s the most immediate and effective source of relief I’ve ever had. I still have highs and lows, but my highs are higher and my average is higher, too. Functioning is so much easier, and although depression still tries to lie to me, it’s much easier to spot the lie and stop before it starts to spiral into something bigger.

    I have Optima insurance and they require you to have tried (and failed with) 4 different drugs. It’s still not cheap – the copay each session. I’m lucky that I could afford it, and that my employer let me leave 2 hours early for over a month. It’s a big time commitment, going every day, but I grew to enjoy that hour in the chair.

  300. I am new to your blog so I don’t know if you have already tried this but my daughter suffered from debilitating depression and cycled through many brand name anti-depressants and finally tried lithium and it was the most miraculous recovery in less than two weeks at full dose. I am grateful everyday for her recovery and get so frustrated when doctors are so slow to recommend lithium for severe depression. It truly gave her her life back and she has had zero trouble since.

  301. First of all you’re my hero! And it is a dangerous post! 🙂
    I had just one TMS session. I live in a rural area and it was over a two hour drive to get to the clinic and frankly I didn’t enjoy the procedure. In the meantime, I found out about ketamine infusions, nudexta, and LDN. I have been on every antidepressant known to man, done EMDR, and talk therapy. You name it. But for the first time I feel hope. Of course now menopause is involved and it hits those of us with PTSD harder then normal. The LDN cleared up my psoriasis and arthritis as well as helping my depression. I don’t want to paint rainbows or dance with fairies just yet(although I did have a slight lift after my first round of infusions), but I’m not balled up in a corner of my bedroom covered with a blanket, sobbing and wanting to die. So for me, that’s progress.
    I think it’d be worth looking into. Less invasive too!

  302. My 31 year old son had a six week course of it. I find him far better. Not perfect but for someone who contemplated suicide practically on a daily basis, much better. Not the miracle cure he was secretly hoping for but a good, noticeable improvement. Sometimes that’s enough to get through the day.

  303. Hi Jenny, I have not heard of this treatment, but I have been on and off Wellbutrin for a number of years and am permanently off because it started to cause me terrible stomach pain similar to appendicitis. Fun. Anyway, I started seeing this new dr. in December who is very on top of things, and she did a very detailed blood test. It turns out that I have a defective gene that doesn’t process b vitamins correctly, which can cause depression, fatigue, metabolism problems and a number of other problems. I was also dangerously low on natural occurring lithium. She has since prescribed to me b vitamins which are past the point of what my body can’t do and lithium, & she told me that about 90% of her patients whom she prescribes these to start generally feeling better over the course of 6 months. I am feeling a bit better as far as fatigue and depression. My husband has said he can see a small difference when I’m feeling well that I seem to have more energy like I used to. Anyway, I can get the name of the tests to you if you are interested. Best of luck in your ongoing quest to get well-er 😉 we all need you. 🙂

  304. 307

    I have had long term depression. I am at twenty-three years of being depressed for a quarter to a third of the year. Antidepressants only take the depression from severe to moderate and I have had fairly high dosage, with a lifetime of low dosage. Right now I am on Cymblata. I have about six other chronic illnesses, which I think are not helping my depression. I had thirteen years of therapy and dealt with many issues. I do all the good vitamins and eat fairly healthy. I will be interested in how this goes because I have been seriously thinking about the same thing. Hugs for you and I sure hope that you get relief that you seek.

  305. I have nothing to offer because depression-wise I am an amateur by your standards. I just want to send you my love, and my whole-hearted endorsement of the cactus junk-punch.

  306. 309

    It doesn’t seem to have many if any negative side effects (other than costing a ton of money). I’ve battled the symptoms of bipolar disorder for 20+ years and I want to try TMS myself. With mental illness sometimes it’s years of trying and hoping something works, and it’s so worth it when something does.

  307. 310

    A close friend has fought major depression for years. She had several rounds of ECT with not luck. She has had 3 months of TMS and is feeling better than she has since her late teens. She is very pleased with it and has had no side effects. She is gradually decreasing her medications.

  308. No actual usage info on TMS to give, but rather a big ‘thank you’ for putting yourself out there because sometimes I come home and see a post and it makes it easier or the day less difficult. I will say that my doctor does TMS and she’s never once asked me if I was interested (I’ve been with her for 7 years). So, that makes me wonder if there are certain levels of disorder that it can help more than others? Or other co-conditions that impact it? Something to consider. I wish you the best; always.

  309. 312


    I read about a 100 comments to try not to duplicate but my brain glazed over. EMDR helped with depression from childhood sexual abuse.

    Recently I’ve realized that I have depression, anxiety and sensory/adrenal stuff tied up with my fibromyalgia. I’m on a treatment that helps with that, but makes it worse before it makes it better. That’s what made me realize it was tied up with the actual fibro and not just the general suckitude of having a chronic condition. I’m not sure either these help at your end of the scale but coloring and exercise are the two things that made a difference and help on the bad days. (John Green did a you tube series about getting healthy called 100 days and found it actually helped with his OCD) I can’t do anything as strenuous as he does in the videos but I also think that part of what helped me was that I did pilates with a terrific person who helped me get stronger in ways particular to my body and allowed me to stand differently. It sounds super weird but there’s some research showing strong somatic effects from how people how themselves or even facial expressions. Not being slumped over all the time makes me feel more powerful and helps a lot.

    Whatever you choose to do, you’ve helped tons of people and we love you.

  310. I have no experience with it, but I have heard of it. It was mentioned when my psychologist was pushing me to try electroshock therapy (I haven’t and I won’t). From what I understand it has less possible side effects then electroshock, but I don’t know how much it actually works.

    What helps me personally? Writing. Reading. Putting on those stickers that came with You Are Here (that helped me get through work today). Cuddling with my animals, and talking to them. Reading this blog and listening to Furiously Happy (seriously, I’ve listened to it eight times). If you can find an audiobook or video or something where the person’s voice soothes you, listen to that. Repeatedly. Do you have videos of Hailey when she was younger? Watch those. Get sun, but not just going outside. Find a spot where you can feel the sun’s rays, close your eyes, and revel in it.

    heather26r recently posted Camp NaNo and not reading.

  311. 314
    Sue Zieman

    My husband did it in the fall of 2015 and it cut down his meds to just Abilify, he had been taking anywhere from 5 to 8 meds at a time over our 14 year marriage. What it didn’t improve was his verbal communication skills, but he’s kinda cute, so I’ll keep him for now.

  312. I read to help my depression & watch movies, which I know you probably already do. I just want you to know that I’m sending positive vibes for whatever you decide. You’re my hero.

  313. 316

    I am a psych social worker. I thought ECT was barbaric but it was the only thing that worked for a few and memory loss was short lived. Never heard of magnetic thing but it sounds harmless and might just work. Worth a try. I still think bi polar disorder is a possibility and if it is the meds are different. The clue is mood swings from immobilizing depression to super productivity and/ or anxiety. Xanex works for anxiety but is very addictive and certainly is an energy zapper. I’ve worked psych inpatient and saw patients go through a week of hell getting of benzos (xanex is a benzodiazepine). Who am I to say an addictive drug is wrong treatment for major anxiety. As a kid I had horrible performance anxiety which was hell to speak or read in front of class. I remember how horrible it felt but I plowed on and eventually triumphed but still a supervisor saying, “come into my office and shut the door” can still mangle my innards. Luckily with guts screaming I have still was able to save several lives. And yes a mentor taught me to change my anxiety-provoking thoughts to ones that get me through (CBT). Changed my life forever after.

    I wish you well, you are a fabulous person and you deserve peace.

    Sent from my iPhone


  314. I’ve been lucky – on the same meds for 13 years and they’ve worked well – but three years ago I started EMDR and that changed my life even more than the meds did. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried it but I just thought I’d throw it on the pile of suggestions.

  315. I’m depressive and anxious, but mostly managed with meds. No advice, I’m just sending you healing thoughts, and the hope you find something that helps!

  316. 319

    I have wanted to try TMS for yeaaaaarrrrrssss. But I haven’t been able to find anyone to prescribe it. They just want to give me pills that give me seizures, Hitchcockian level vertigo, send from a little suicidal all the time to stab-myself-in-the-face-with-a-carving-fork levels all the time, or most of the time, nothing at all except making me impotent which, quite frankly, really depressing. I would love to say “TRY IT! YES! PLEASE!” but I can’t because I really don’t know what the downside would be. For myself, I don’t see any downside. All I can say is compare the possible side-effects with the real-life side effects of what you’re using right now. Personally, I love the idea of TMS vs handfuls of pills because I did lousy in chemistry class, but I loooooved physics. Also, this is the 21st century. Food should be in pill form. Medicine should be more like Dr McCoy’s tricorder. (Yes, I know Star Trek TOS was in the 23rd century, not the 21st. Eff off. Thank you.) I did try tDCS. (Basically, it’s licking a 9v battery, except with your brain.) I didn’t feel a difference. I did see a bright light flash, but that could have been the government monitoring chip burning out. (Joke, just a joke. I live near the NSA. I love my chip. Really guys. sweats nervously)

    So, basically, I really, really want it to work for you, because then there might be hope for me. Whatever you decide, thank you for being you!

    p.s. Thank god for electrons. These blog post comments won’t show tear stains.

  317. 320
    Carol zeni

    Have you read The Daily Coyote blog? The author is a young lady named Shreve. She wrote about her experience with this. She is a very generous spirit, so if you contact her she would probably help if she is able.

  318. So I know in theory this isn’t the same as ECT but admittedly not sure on how different it is. My mom had ECT, it did not “cure” or even really treat her depression effectively. She eventually committed suicide. I remember the side effects of ECT as horrific for me — lost memory doesn’t just effect the person who lost it but those who can’t share it anymore​ as well. Again, I know it’s not exactly the same and I haven’t done extensive research but just a different perspective on the potential pitfalls.

  319. Wow, a ton of responses! I don’t know how helpful it is to get people’s opinions on treatment, though. In my experience (and I’m sure in yours) everyone has different reactions to treatments and medication. I have had unfortunate reactions to medications that fell in the “rare” side effects listed, and have suffered complications from surgery that happen only to a small percentage of patients. I have also found out that certain drugs have no effect on me, or not the effect they should have. I have no knowledge of TMS, but the decision has to come down to whether the benefits outweigh the risks. My default position always seems to end up with sticking with the devil I know, but we don’t suffer from the same problems, so I could never give you any helpful advice. I certainly hope that you find something that works for you, and I send love and hugs.

  320. I can’t add more than any of your other people have already said, but please know your words always elicit an emotional response in me–joy, compassion, we’re-in-this together kind of stuff. I hope your people can help you (and me) find answers

  321. 324
    Carol zeni

    Never mind my comment above. She was writing about EMDR. Couldn’t find how to delete my comment. Sorry.

  322. Oh dear. My husband just did 8 ECT treatments and the side effects were very hard. He is now going on maintenance ECT–just one treatment every 4 weeks or so. It did help tremendously once the memory gaps came back. What you are considering is way less invasive but also less effective. I would not be at all worried about trying it though! You can stay on your meds while doing these treatments also. We have also been advised to consider Ketamine infusions. The doc who did my husband’s ECT had the anesthesiologist use Ketamine because it has been shown to help depression, but you really have to have a 40 minute “trip” on it for it to work. Anyway, I would DEF try the magnetic stuff. You have nothing to lose. And I would even consider ECT. But make sure you are prepared for a month or 2 of total life disruption. And write down all your internet passwords, your pins, and anything else you might forget beforehand and give them to Victor.

  323. I love you Jenny.

  324. Whatever works. I usually like my treatments to be peer-reviewed and proven but honestly, depression sucks. If the path away from depression is a little weird, it might be worth taking.

    Wolf of Words recently posted Media Update 4/20/17.

  325. I have taken most of the antidepressants on the market and the best ones did nothing. The worst had horrific side effects. I decided to do TMS for both anxiety and depression after a severe depressive episode lasting over 6 months. I felt the difference with the first session. I kept asking the doctors “Is this what the drugs were supposed to do?”. Both the depression and anxiety improved by over 50% in the 36 sessions my insurance would approve. No side effects at all. My doctor said that some patients don’t even begin to show progress until the 6 week mark. So we were both frustrated with the insurance company. I don’t know what type of machine so I will call my doctor’s office and report back. There is also a book about a patient experience. 3,00 pulses later by Martha Rhodes. I haven’t read it yet.

    Back to meds and DBT outpatient group therapy but this time I got the anti-seizure and antipsychotic meds, which are more effective but come with their own special side effects. This is my second time through the partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient group therapy. Since you asked for what helped; the TMS was magic, the anti-seizure and antipsychotic meds seem helpful. Group therapy has also helped immensely with providing lots of tools (discovered coloring) to cope while in the midst and to reduce future episodes. All in a safe neighborhood with my tribe to help me feel less alone or like a failure as we work through our shit. I now have hours where I feel normal. Fingers crossed for days, and then weeks…

    Best of luck with whatever you decide Jenny.

  326. I did TMS in 2014. I would be happy to share my experience if you wish.

  327. Sorry, I have not tried it myself, but have recently just started to research it a bit, and so am also eager to read how it worked for other people! Depression’s a bitch. I’m feeling a bit better these days and things like getting out to walk the dog and keeping my forward momentum going help, but it’s a 2 way street – I needed to START feeling a little better in order to even be able to do these things, which in turn help me feel even a, little MORE better. Betterer. Anyway, after trying several new medications unsuccessfully, it was suggested I once again try the one that had stopped working after having worked for many years, since having taken a several month break from it may have made me more likely to benefit from it again. That, and I’m insisting on marriage counseling, realizing I will never feel one hundred percent until I tackle this one major problem head on. Anyway, good luck to you and to me both!

  328. P.S. That last comment was from me, I thought I was already logged in, didn’t mean to post anonymously.

  329. 332
    Dave Danielson

    I can’t add anything about TMS, but I am intrigued. I’ve been on the same med for 15 years and it works, which is nice. It has side effects which aren’t so nice. And, I fight the brand name versus generic fight over and over again. The docs get it. Insurance does not. The generic is worthless.

  330. P. P. S. (Heh, that says peepee) I had always kind of held out hope for ECT as a last ditch resort, like, “Well, if things get bad enough, there’s always ECT.” But then 2 of my acquaintances actually had it done, and it didn’t help either one, which was a huge bummer. To be fair, one of them never finished the treatment course because she regained consciousness during the procedure but was unable to signal that she was awake and aware. The other one said in the end it actually made her feel worse. Le sigh. So now, I’m kind of holding TMS up as the last hope if things eventually get bad enough and nothing else is helping.

  331. I go for advice to Jerod Poore(?) he has been running a site called he has been through a lot and has compiled huge amounts of resources for us mentally interesting. And he does it with raw humor. Not for the faint of heart. Also he is self funded so the web site can be tricky. But he is on fb and he will respond to any enquiries. Anytime I have extra cash I send it his way, that web site is chock a block with info.

  332. wow. we certainly have a lot to say about this, but i guess based on who you and we are that’s to be expected. if reading helps your depression than you are in like flynn!

    i haven’t had any experience with this, but my current think to do for both my anxiety and depression is mindfulness. one of my practises is to find something in my space that is beautiful to me and describe it’s physical characteristics outloud to myself. peace and breaths!

  333. Hi there! I’m bipolar and in addition to all the meds I take I do ECT. It seems to help (not quite to the extent that I would like, but hey – every little bit helps).

  334. Oh man, I know the feeling of trying to weigh the potential pros and cons. It’s so hard since nothing is concrete. As for me, if I couldn’t find treatment that work, from what I’ve read I think I would try it. The side effects don’t look bad, there’s no anesthesia, and all of the pills have so many potential side effects too. Ideally you might be able to cut back on some pills…. And now I’m going to make what feels like a ridiculously silly comment. For me, my anti-depressants only work if I exercise regularly, especially something that gets my heart rate up. And believe me, running or anything like that is just not going to happen. But the elliptical (WHILE WATCHING TV) I was able to do in the beginning and it got me over the hump I started with like 15 min and pretty slow, and in a tiny gym half a mile from my house (and I’m still a bit embarrassed to say that that and trips food shopping were pretty much the only time I left my house.) Some days if I felt really bad I would go twice. But now I’m feeling OK and in a bit better shape and the kinds of exercise that work for me are things that I have to pay attention to and follow a teacher. I do zumba 2x a week and believe me we all look like fools. but I have to watch to try to figure out the choreography and it keeps me in the right headspace to stay in the room and it turns out to be fun, and my heart rate goes as high as I want it to. And the same with bootcamp. If I’m not totally engaged, my brain starts saying, get the hell out of here!!! And fingers crossed, my pills are mostly working now. I wish you the BEST of luck. Even though you have a flexible schedule and a lot of support, it’s still so sad to think that you would need those things to work around times when you really suffer.

  335. Here’s something that doesn’t involve magnets or machines…just read this morning. I don’t know where one might go to get this therapy but it sounds promising. You’re not alone!

  336. I had. EMDR sessions once a week for 8 months. It’s expensive but I had real and lasting improvements. I recommend it especially for people that have physical pain associated with depression and anxiety.

  337. I’ve never had this done but I’ve found that doing small things like reading a chapter in a book or going for a short walk really help when I’m feeling particularly anxious or down. When I go for walks, I really focus on my surroundings; what things look, smell, and sound like. This usually helps get my mind off of what’s made me lose it. (Plus, I use that same gif almost constantly!!!)

  338. The miracle drug for me has been Celexa (don’t know if you’ve ever tried that one). The TMS sounds interesting, and I know you will make the right decision. I suppose you’ve tried a different diet. Depression truly does suck. Hang in there, and do not give up. We are together in this, you do not walk alone.

  339. I had a friend give me homeopathy drops because we both have similar depression and anxiety symptoms. I stopped taking meds because they didn’t help one bit. My friend had been to an apothecary that suggested them. I notice I am happier when I take the drops. After months of struggling, the drops have helped. The days I forgot to take them, I was more down. I’m too busy and forget occasionally. I’ve been using them for a couple of weeks. I’m not sure if it is subconscious but real or fake …I’ll take this break from feeling terrible all day. The drops are Field if Flowers (8 drops) and Hypothalmapath (5 drops).

  340. Due to other reasons TMS wasnt even thought of for mine however Ketamine infusions were recommended and seemed to have worked very well. Perhaps another avenue to look at for severe depression and ideation treatment?

  341. I hope you’re still reading, because I’m feeling a bit vulnerable sharing this…
    Yes: I’ve tried rTMS and ECT. ECT did nothing for me. TMS did. It didn’t happen straight away though. I initially had 20 sessions over 4 weeks, which were inpatient (which was blah). It feels a little like a small child is banging you on the head with one of those plastic mallets. It doesn’t hurt, but if a child WAS banging you on the head, you’d tell them to stop. It also feels like there should be a bruise on your head afterwards, but there isn’t.
    It is STRANGELY RELAXING!!! I was very cruisey afterwards. You can also read or, my preference, listen to audiobooks while you’re doing it. It’s loud, but not so much that it causes a problem.
    It didn’t take effect for me until the six week mark after my first treatment though. I thought that perhaps it wasn’t going to work for me… And then literally one day I felt better. Not well enough to live without meds or to be without maintenance treatments, but better.
    Feel free to mail me if you’d like more details. Good luck with your decision.

  342. Sending you good thoughts and vibes so you can make the best decision. I think you are so brave and wonderful and funny and your words have given me so much laughter and tears. I am grateful for you. I know there is no wrong decision here.

  343. Hello. I read your blog, but I’ve never posted. I’m a scientist and studied neurobiology for something like 10 years. I have never had it done, but I would like to tell you that because the possible side effects are so minimal, I think it’s worth trying. Also, because it doesn’t take months to figure out if it worked, you only have to try it once to know if it’s for you. Finally, medication usually modifies the way in which we fire our nerve impulses, and really that is what this treatment would try to do, but more localized, without directly fucking up everything else. I hope you are comfortable with whatever decision you make, just know we are here for you.

  344. I have two friends who suffer from depression. One had ECT, and she thought it was not only useless but very harmful. In her mid-20s,made her memory as bad as my grandmother’s (and she is88 and has dementia). My other friend is in her 80s and did TMS with pretty good results … so good that she tried to come off her meds, on her own. Now, she was a psych nurse for years before she retired, but I don’t think she realized how much her meds did for her. Her TMS results did not last and she did a second set of treatments and she did okay but not as well as with the first trip around that block. However, she feels that her meds are more effective for her now. Since I am a Gilda’s Club member, I meet a lot of ppl struggling with situational depression, and some with chronic depression. One of the other members had TMS done a few years ago and it worked well for her until it didn’t, and she decided to do it again … and again, she had good results. For her she knew after her first treatment that it was working for her. I did not know this woman well,but the setting where we met leads ppl to share their vulnerabilities openly by everyone there is struggling in one way or another. Neither of these women had side effects. Best of luck to you!

    Maria recently posted Too Cool for Old School, Not Cool Enough for New.

  345. You got a lot of advice here so I won’t leave any because I don’t know anything about this TMS thing. Personally, I wouldn’t do it cause it just gives me a bad vibe, but on the other hand, I know what it’s like when the depression is bad, and I would do anything to stop it. I know you have tons of people to talk to, and I know that when things are really bad, talking isn’t on the list of things you want to do, especially to another person. Never stop talking to somebody who has your back. You need support most then. Don’t forget that. No matter what you decide to do, never give up. I hope you the best and I hope what you choose to do is the right course. Take care.

  346. Thank you for asking about this!! In a week and a half, I am seeing a Psychiatrist so I can find out what I actually have going on and work on a better way to treat it. The place I’m going to offers TMS, and is very proud of this. It’s good to hear these experiences from other people! I hope you find something that helps!!

  347. The gif reminds me of the breathe function of my Apple Watch. I have it set to go off hourly and it seems to notice when my heart rate jumps and reminds me to breathe then too. Along with the animation, it taps my wrist to help regulate breaths. I love it. Good luck!

  348. Have you read A Mind of Your Own by Dr. Kelly Brogan? Highly recommend.

  349. Great question, and great comments! I debated responding because there are like a million comments posted already, but maybe my comment can help someone so it’s still worth posting. I’ve had the same suggestion from my Dr, but decided against it because the side effects are genuine health problems my family suffers from, and I don’t want nor need those problems in addition to my current issues. Instead I’m taking several mood stabilizers/anti-seizure drugs in addition to my antidepressants. To my surprise the mood stabilizers help to reduce the side effects of my antidepressants and have helped to almost eliminate my suicidal thoughts. I only suffer from major depressive disorder but for me the mood stabilizers are a Godsend.

  350. My husband is in his 3rd week of an 8 week treatment course of TMS. He’s being treated for symptoms of depression and anxiety from a concussion he sustained a year and a half ago. He is already feeling positive effects (but finds the treatments exhausting). Still, we both recommend this treatment. I hope you find it helpful, too.

  351. I am currently undergoing TMS therapy and I have to say, when I started I was in a very bad and very prolonged (we’re talking years) major depressive episode. I’m not fully better, but I’m to a point now where I no longer have negative and/or suicidal thoughts and I have much more motivation and energy.

    Like you, I’ve been on more medications than I can remember and never found any of them to really relieve my symptoms.

    The great thing about TMS is there really is very few side effects. The treatment is very non-invasive, the worst thing you might have to deal with is some scalp tenderness in the beginning.

    I highly recommend this website for further research:

    I also documented my experience on my tumblr which you can find my ‘tms therapy’ tag here:

    You are absolutely free to send me an ask or message on tumblr or via email if you have further questions.

  352. You’ve tried methylfolate, I assume? A large minority of people have an enzyme that doesn’t work so well for the first step of using folic acid, which is essential for making serotonin and a few other necessary things. It is available and reasonably cheap as the supplement methylfolate, which is the compound on the other side of that first step and helps against depression for some people (including some of my relatives, I am heterozygous for the gene so I am alright for that – just a few other problems).

  353. I haven’t ever had TMS or ECT. I was last in hospital in December of 2010 (in Seattle) and remember seeing patients returned to their rooms after ECT. I decided then that it was not for me. And then in 2012 I moved to Arizona to be with my parents and help take care of my Dad.

    In September of 2014, my Dad died. This destroyed me and I accidentally/intentionally stopped taking all of my meds. What saved me is that in June of 2013 I had adopted a puppy dog, and we had gone through numerous trainings, including train-your-own-service-dog trainings, together.

    After around about six months to a year after my father’s passing, I realized that I felt no different off the meds (Cymbalta for depression and Lorazepam for Anxiety) than I did when I was on them. This is thanks to my service dog (also known as my puppy-son, my love, my life).

    My dog, my Max, is my Lorazepam substitute thanks to the fact that when doing just about anything, he is with me, distracting me and keeping me calm by “forcing” me to focus on him and not on my surroundings. And if my anxiety does spike, he calms me down even faster than the Lorazepam did, because it is very hard to sob when one’s puppy-son is “attacking,” giving kisses and barking and whining. And as he now weighs +85 pounds, my incentive to calm down is even greater than it was when he was my little baby-baby. 🙂

    Max is my Cymbalta substitute because I love him and NEED him and I will not commit suicide, or even contemplate suicide, because I cannot leave him alone in a world without me.

    One day, hopefully soon (please let it be soon!), he will be fully mature and amazing and even better for me than he is now. (Max is currently soon-to-be-four and still very much a pest of a puppy at times. But even at his most annoying, I remember my love for him and stay away from suicidal thoughts.)

    And one day, hopefully far in the future, my Max will predecease me, but hopefully by then I will have more dogs – at least two – and one of them will step into my Max’s shoes. (And now I’m crying, so I’d better talk about something else…)

    Anyway, for me, I was diagnosed treatment-resistant in 2012 after being on four different antidepressants in four years (from Wellbutrin in ’08 to Prozac in ’09 to Celexa in ’10 to Cymbalta from ’11-’14). Of the four, Cymbalta worked the best for me, as it didn’t let me focus on suicidal thoughts (a major plus, as the Celexa CAUSED suicidal thoughts) and I felt as “normal” as I ever feel (in other words, I was alive).

    My depression is primarily apathy, and while Max is not so great at helping me overcome it, I am hoping he will be much better at it when he is fully mature (and calmer). The Cymbalta didn’t help with the apathy, either, though, so my puppy-son is pretty much exactly the same – slightly better? – for me as my last drug regime.

    Also, as a potential point of interest, my mind doesn’t focus too well on things unless I’m reading a book I LOVE. It skips around a —- squirrel! (A lot, in other words.) I had thought this was a side effect of the Cymbalta, but it was livable because as soon as a suicidal thought entered my head, it exited my head in favor of some other, shinier, thought. But off the Cymbalta, I still have this trouble focusing. So Max is truly my Cymbalta substitute. And at least when he’s around, I can focus on HIM, so, in a way, he is definitely better than any drug I’ve ever been on. 🙂

    I don’t ever want to undergo TMS or ECT, as I don’t want my brain to get potentially even more messed up than it already is. My dog works for me. The medical community failed me. (And I really mean this last sentence. Mental Health Medicine here in southern Arizona – all of Arizona? – sucks royally. I moved here in September of 2012 and stopped seeing the doctors here in September 2014. I wouldn’t trust the doctors here to give me TMS or ECT therapies, or even to listen to me and prescribe drugs. My last few AZ doctors didn’t do the listening thing very well.)

    But Jenny, you do what you feel is best for you. If TMS scares you, I wouldn’t do it. But if you are intrigued and think it could help, go for it! Find a doctor you trust and try it. (And then let us know how you feel — before, during, after — please!) 🙂

    Lastly, I am sorry for writing such a long comment. If you read all of it, kudos! And thank you! <3

  354. Hi, a dear friend asked me about this last year as I’m a health researcher with a psychology background and she went on to have ECT instead for other reasons. I don’t have answers but if you give me three days, I will research what anyone has published that is supposed to be peer-reviewed and decent and send it to you so you sit down and decide with your gut! The personal experiences are probably excellent and in the 300 comments above… let me know if I can help, free research for any one that needs it is all I have to offer!

  355. I am currently exploring both TMS and ECT so thanks for Posting!

    One thought/comment- I’m 36 and have struggled with depression and anxiety for 22 years. I’ve tried every med under the sun also. About 18 months ago I started seeing a new clinician who said to me, “Are you sure you’re depressed? I think you may have Bipolar II.” Your comments above made me wonder if you’ve considered that? It sounds like you experience cycles of hypomania, though most of the time you are depressed – that’s bipolar II. A mood stabilizer in conjunction with antidepressants may help (it has me), though I’m still exploring longer term/more permanent solutions like TMS or ECT. (I haven’t read every post/comment so I may be covering ground you’ve already covered- if so, my apologies!)

  356. 359
    Blissed Out

    Have no experience with it.
    My first thought is to get the real info from Google Scholar, not Wikipedia. If the actual studies are only available as abstracts, see if your library can get the whole thing for you.

    I spent my life self-medicating, because I could see other people didn’t struggle like I did. I felt sluggish and stupid abd teachers told me I didn’t apply myself. I tried sugar and chocolate as a kid and later used cigarettes, coffee and alcohol to try to get “up” and they’d briefly work. Never did hard drugs. Alcohol I cut out some time ago, after I made the rule to not consume anything flammable, or something that my car can use for fuel… The comedy helps…

    Drugs I was perscribed were a pricey nightmare and took me months to detox from and feel better again, whilst getting fired by my docs and a rep for being non-compliant. -They had the wrong diagnosis!

    Now I’m on a “drug” that we’ve gradually ramped up and by all that’s holy it is working. Meanwhile I was still dosing with caffeine sugar and chocolate, now these are making me sick and manic. This week I followed a hunch and looked up caffeine intoxication. Bingo. So, I’ve cut that out and the chocolate and hey presto, my perscription is able to work much more thoroughly.

    I mention this because I’ve read you talk of the wine slushies while struggling with the depression. Alcohol is the smoothest mf liar I ever did see. It says it’s a party, but it’s a central nervous system depressant on a major scale. I’ve had to show it the door and it was hard. Along with these other things I was self-medicating with.

    So my 2 cents for your question would be, before embarking on this intriguing new therapy, to take a look at your overall diet and see if anything is working against your meds. XO

  357. I did ECT and my memory is now shit. It did help though. My life changing med was adding abilify to my meds. Only bad thing is it makes my anxiety worse but my depression is better than it has been dor years.

  358. Unfortunately I can not comprehend what you’re going through, nor comment on the treatment. Just know that you have love and support coming to you from London!

    Bronnie recently posted A bunch of books I’ve read recently.

  359. There are so many comments, I didn’t look to see if someone has already offered this advice.

    When facing a difficult decision, I weigh the pros and cons. Sounds cliche, I know, but you have to look at the potential positive benefits and decide (maybe with Victor) whether the potential negative consequences are worth facing to get those benefits. Also maybe ask your doctor how easy it is to stop doing these treatments once you’ve started, and whether or not things will be as they are now or if even doing a few treatments will cause irreversible changes. Put those answers in your “pros” or “cons” lists. Then talk through it, Explore all the “what if” scenarios you can think of and how you would potentially deal with them. Talk it through with everyone you trust (Victor, your sister, your parents, your best friends, etc) and add their opinions and advice to your lists.

    By the end of all of that, if you’re still completely neutral (not leaning one way or the other), don’t do it. Not yet, anyway. Maybe down the road it will come up again and you’ll remember all this research but something will have changed so you’ll be ready then.

    I hope that helps. One of the things people say about me is that I am good at details 🙂

    Genevieve recently posted Episode 9 Fan 2 Sea.output.

  360. It may sound silly, but when I feel an anxiety attack getting ready to punch me in the stomach, singing full force does help sometimes. I have to be in the car though, by myself ( I’m too paranoid of anyone else hearing me.).

  361. JL,

    I have yet to be convinced of the benefits of TMS. If you do it and it works, I will be interested in reading your experience with it.

    I’m scheduled for jaw surgery on Tuesday coming up, so the fear of being in a hospital again has spiked considerably. I’ve been through many surgeries before as a kid. My last surgery under a general anaesthetic was in 2000 and there were no issues. My issues stem from my Dad’s sudden passing in 2013. It triggered a year of heavy drinking and being fearful of alarms going off. So with needing this surgery to my face, I have to face this fear head on and accept that the benefits for surgery far outweigh my fear of being in a hospital. So I have had to mentally prepare.

    I recently downloaded the Calm app, and I highly recommend it for everyone. You do NOT need to purchase the paying content to use it. As someone who is working through mindfulness, this has quickly become another coping tool to help with practice. I’ve found in the last few days that I am thinking ahead to getting out of the hospital a few days after surgery. How I will be able to be home for a month to recover while I get adjusted to a new smile. How this surgery will change my life for the positive. I’m turning the fears into excitement.

    Another thing I have done just this week is wrap an elastic around my arm. Might sound silly, but when a bit of anxiety is happening in thinking about surgery, I will gently snap the elastic. What it is doing is helping me re-anchor my thinking back to the benefits of surgery. I don’t know how, but it seems to be helping.

    All of us can agree that our mental health struggles are debilitating at times. So we need to celebrate every little victory. If getting that victory is a result of ANY therapeutic method that works for you, then bravo. Hand to heart, I hope it works for you and you feel comfortable sharing any experience with readers.

    Kind Regards,

    Dann Alexander recently posted Rewind and Refresh.

  362. 365
    paul jordan

    A cellphone should do the same thing. Only….

  363. This is just a small suggestion of something you can add to your regime. I know you’re already good at appreciating silly little things, like cat videos, but you might want to try writing three things that went well every day. They can be small, like you didn’t burn your toast, or bigger, like you took Dorothy for a walk. But actually writing these things down can help remind you that the depression is lying and it’s not all bad.

  364. 367
    Fraulein N

    I say this as someone who HATES exercise and doesn’t get what the hell this exercise “high” is that people talk about … but I really found Pilates helpful for both anxiety and depression. I can’t shut my brain up long enough for meditation or breathing exercises to help, but I think the Pilates has a similar effect on me because it requires the kind of focus that doesn’t really allow me to think about much else.

    I’ve been considering TMS but holy SHIT do I not have that kind of money.

  365. HEADSPACE APP. Period. Live it, love it.

  366. I never, ever thought I would be this person, and you’re probably not even still reading comments anyway, but… I started a super-low-carb ketogenic diet for Lent (mostly for food consciousness and weight loss purposes)… and to my complete surprise it has done WONDERS for my chronic depression. After a few days of feeling completely miserable during “keto flu,” I popped out on the other side feeling better than I have in probably a decade.

    It sounds ridiculous. It SEEMS ridiculous. It does not make sense to me that eating different food should have effects like this. But I overindulged in carbs on Easter weekend, and immediately my energy levels plummeted, brain fog and anxiety came back, focus was shot, world was flat, couldn’t do anything. I got back into keto… and now I’m fine again, like a real live functional human being. It’s bizarre, but can’t argue with results.

    I’m a bit regretful that I apparently have to avoid pastry and ice cream forever… I can indulge in some dark chocolate occasionally though, and on the whole it’s a damn sight better than spending life feeling dead inside. (Not to mention that I’ve lost twelve pounds and a pants size, which is also nice.)

    Whatever you decide to do, though, I hope it helps! You’re an awesome person, Jenny Lawson, and an inspiration to more people than you probably realize. Your work has gotten me through some very dark times, and you deserve as much peace and happiness as you can manage to collect for yourself.

  367. you say your issues are purely chemical – I’ve seen amazing results through testing/products by a company called Neuroscience. They use various amino acids and supplements to correct neurotransmitter imbalance. I know at a time when my doctor told me my serotonin levels were in the shitter and I was having trouble functioning I opted to try some of their neurotransmitter support products instead of prescription drugs and it was amazing how within just a couple of weeks I was mentally back on an even keel.
    Each of us reacts so individually to various treatments, you just never know what will be the “fix” and what works for one won’t work for another and vice versa.

  368. Kuddos to you for layin it all out there! It has been recommended to me to try EMDR, and a few of my friends have had great success. Curious if you have heard of/tried that?? Mental illness is a fucker, and the process of treating it is a big ol’ pain in the tuckus too. I’ll be trying EMDR myself in a few months, after this latest medication change seeps into the crevices or synapses, or whatever they do. Best of luck with your journey. Trying new stuff is scary and hard and exhausting and trying-to-stay-optimistic-while-realizing-reality-may-be-different-that-I-hope/fear can be draining. Hopefully you won’t have to shove cacti into crotches anytime soon.

  369. Interesting, very interesting. The TMS link also talks about pain being relieved – and with your arthritis, I would definitely be researching this deeply. I know magnetic therapy with physical therapy works – or it did for my pet that had knee surgery. After the magnet was rubbed her range of motion increased temporarily so they could make improvements in the muscles. Good Luck! I’m rootin’ for you and I know you root for all of us in this depression boat.

  370. I’m not too familiar with TMS myself, but I’m all for treatment! My friend had ECT a few years back and it literally turned her life around (for the better). If you think of your brain like a computer (which in a way it is, for the body), sometimes it just needs a reset. So I want to wish you all the best with your research and possible treatment, I hope you get a positive result xx

  371. 374
    Lynne Thomas

    The best thing for me has been Cranial-Sacral massage. It’s classified as “energy work”, but having worked in the spa industry for many years, I can tell you that it’s ALL energy work. Cranial-Sacral should be from a certified therapist only. I made mine bring her certification in so I could see it. If I get it about once every two weeks, the fuzziness in my brain goes away, the constant worry goes away, and the bitchy anxiety goes away. I think this help me because I have more of a chronic anxiety and depression instead of the sine wave type.
    PLEASE let us know what you decide so we can hold you in our hearts even tighter.

  372. Ask your doctor for the scientific (not anecdotal) studies tht have proven the effectiveness of this treatment. Only if there have been a large number of subjects, I’m talking thousands, that have gone through double blindstudies with the same results, should you try this. If thete is no solid evidence-based results, don’t waste your time, money or mental health.

  373. Hi there.

    ECT saved my life, I got better and I wrote about it for the Huffington Post. (link below) I was able to complete my book “Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipoalr Disorder” & get a book deal about my life with postpartum bipolar depression. (Post Hill Press, October 2017)

    But FAR more important than that, after ECT I liked living again. I wanted to stick around for myself, my kids, my husband, and my dog. While I had ECT for treatment-resistant bipolar depression, as you know it’s used for major depression. I’d do it again this afternoon if I needed it. Trolls be damned! I had minimal side effects and I’m still doing well a few years after I had it done.

    Good luck and I hope you feel better no matter what you decide to do!
    Dyane in Santa Cruz, CA

    dyane recently posted Wake-Up Calls from the Universe.

  374. Here’s one more thought – have you tried a MAOI (Parnate/tranylcypromine) & lithium? These are old-school meds, & some people will freak if you tell them you want to take them, but that specific combo can work for treatment-resistant depression. That combo. worked for Naomi Judd who wrote about it in her book (she suffered fro major depression) and they help me stay stable. You can’t eat certain things while taking a MAOI liked aged cheeses and booze, & yeah, you need occasional blood tests for lithium and MOST people are FINE taking it. Please contact me via my website if you need details about that or ECT. Xo

    Dyane Harwood
    Member, International Society for Bipolar Disorders
    Member, Postpartum Support International
    Contributor: The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Postpartum Support International, Postpartum Progress, International Bipolar Foundation
    Founder, Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance, DBSA Santa Cruz County Chapter

    dyane recently posted Wake-Up Calls from the Universe.

  375. I would absolutely suggest you try TMS. I had a series of ECT and it was life changing. It worked 100xs better than meds for me. Everyone thinks ECT is so awful and scary, but it’s really not, and TMS is even less so. I really think it is worth trying for you, and I will keep my fingers crossed for if you try it.

  376. Thanks. That Gif helps.

  377. Thank you so much for talking about how crazymaking it is to navigate the ever-shifting maze of treating our mental illness. I especially love that you put into words that tremulous ache/guilt/doubt/hope that something might finally break us out of a prison that is THEORETICALLY tolerable. <3

    And thanks to everyone who recommended Neil Brennan’s account; I’m totally going to check that out!

    I haven’t tried TMS, but I’m with you on the quest, climbing one therapeutic sand dune after another in search of a stable place to catch my breath and hopefully, someday set up camp.

    My most helpful place right now is spending time in mindfully violent fantasies. It sounds weird, but my therapist has convinced me that my tearful overwhelm is actually a multi-layered parfait, and anger is the warm fruit compote at the bottom. She says I make myself anxious by trying to suppress my anger; the anxiety makes me spin with self-criticism, and the build-up of self-hate makes me crash into paralyzing depression.

    She recommends that I spend time each day tuning-in to the things that have made me angry, and then dive into a visualization where I imagine how I would express the anger, if I could do anything I wanted without hurting anyone in real life.

    I’ve had a lot of rather satisfying dark meditations… tearing people apart with my bare hands, lighting various edifices on fire, and instigating a large number of impromptu demolition derbies.

    It’s remarkably cathartic, and I was very relieved to find that by letting myself go there in imagination, I actually felt more calm in real life, and had fewer raging explosions at my husband and kids.

    And it eases the self-directed fury, too.

    This weird meditation hasn’t replaced therapy and chemical support for me, but it makes me feel more like a whole person while I march along the wobbly-brain path.

  378. 381
    The Rocking Raw Chef

    I cured myself of 30+ years of chronic depression (suicide attempt, hospital, meds, the whole shebang) through the food I eat. But I didn’t know that the food was what changed things for me. It was like one day 10 years later I woke up and thought hey, I haven’t felt really sad in years, what the hell happened? I changed the way I eat, that’s what happened. But not like 100%-regimental-do-this-or-die… more like in a ‘when I can that’s great and when I can’t that’s great too cause I’ve got small kids and I hate to cook’ kind of way. I got results right away – and I honestly have no idea if you’ve tried this, so if you have, just ignore me. But if you haven’t, it’s definitely worth a go for a few days, ’cause then you’ll know. If you feel no different after a few days then it probably won’t work for you (unless you’ve had a really crap diet beforehand, in which case it will take a week because of detoxing shit, no pun intended). If you want help just email me ( I’m not selling you anything. I’m just offering to help. You’ve given me so much, the least I can do is give to you in return 🙂

  379. I’m sorry that I don’t have the attention span to read all the comments but I recommend watching “3 Mics” by Neal Brennan on Netflix. He is our people and he has done it and has good things to say and he’s funny too. Good Luck!

  380. This is by no means helpful, but I thought you might appreciate it. I clicked on your link to read about TMS because I had never heard of it.

    The first sentence is “Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a magnetic method used to stimulate small regions of the brain.”

    I read it as “TMS is a MAGIC method…”

    So that happened.

  381. I completely understand how certain meds until they don’t. I did a cocktail of meds that worked until they starting taking away my short term memory and my family forced me to stop all meds and “detox”. Depression and anxiety came back, so did a self medicating with booze. I still take meds and actually 2 years of a little cannabis of all things actually REALLY HELPED and a vegan diet. It stopped the bad thoughts, made me live in the moment (though i couldn’t do more then read a book in my house) and it really gave me a chance to start to heal and process my trauma, pain and regrets. I’m still full of behavioral disorders, but i have a lighter heart now and more self love.

  382. 385
    Marty Hufford

    A friend of mine tried TMS and it didn’t work for her, but I know it works for a lot of people. What do you have to lose? Give it try! If it works, great! Do whatever you need to get more spoons for the day.

  383. I have heard a lot of incredible feedback on EMDR therapy. Initially it was mostly used for those who suffered from PTSD or other traumatic events in their past, but they are finding that it is also doing some great things for those with anxiety, depression, and phobias as well. I’ve looked into it for both my stepson and myself and would have already been in the therapy if it wasn’t for costs (the person I would see did not accept the insurance I had at the time and I didn’t have the money to cover the costs) and with a husband with cancer and a child some extreme issues, I didn’t have the time either. It might be worth looking into and seeing if you have anyone near you who does it (and talking to them).

  384. Jenny, TMS saved my life.

  385. Jenny, TMS saved my life.

  386. Hi, Jenny! I’m emailing you a super-long synopsis of my first two days of treatment. It seemed like a lot to post here 🙂

  387. Hi Jenny. I know that EMDR therapy helped me immensely with my depression and anxiety.

  388. If you do do it (hee, I just said “do do”) then go into it with a positive attitude. Keep repeating to yourself that it will help, it will be good, it will be worth it and the results will be astounding. It will be good. It will be worth it. It will help. The results will be amazing.

    (I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.)
    Do not go into it with hesitation and doubt. Talk yourself into believing the truth – that it will be worth it.

    The side effects will be minimal. It will be SOOO worthwhile. The results will be fantastic. I AM WORTH IT.

  389. 392
    Heather A. in NJ

    TMS sounds way, way less scary than ECT, which I did a few years ago (the kind where only one part of the brain is zapped so that the memory stays intact). I thought the potential side effects of TMS were basically, like, a headache (if anything)? TMS sounds much “safer” than most meds, and if you’ve survived various cocktails, it seems like it really won’t hurt you to try TMS. (Note: I am totally not a doctor.)

    TMS and ketamine infusions are next on my “List of Things to Try for Crippling Depression So I Can Cross Them Off This List and Say They Didn’t Work or Didn’t Work for Long,” since I’ve almost run out of meds to try.

    Good luck! I hope that, no matter what you decide to do, you feel much better soon. And I hope that “feeling better” manages to stick around.

  390. Man. This is so hard, I am sorry. I truly hope you can find what helps you.

    Talk therapy worked for me (mostly) but then I also did two years of EFT – which seems totally woo woo – but it worked. I later met a nurse who had done research on how EFT works (and its an actual chemical reaction on your brain cells.) Her contact info is

    I have also heard really good things about low doses of psychotropics (like mushrooms and LSD)

    Fingers crossed for you on whatever you try. Hugs and best wishes.

  391. I don’t know if you want to hear this, but I have found that meditation has helped me greatly. I was diagnosed with severe depression and panic disorder in my early 20s. On top of that I have pretty heavy endometriosis (= constant pain). I admit I was skeptical about meditation at the outset. But I gave it a try (in addition to my meds) and it has helped with the panic attacks immensely. Anything that puts me “in the moment” helps. Which includes your breathing gif! Thank you for that! I also found that yoga helps – if only because I am concentrating so hard not to fall over! I am not the most flexible person – but I found a very positive and supportive yoga studio in my city (Toronto). That is key. I have bounced from therapist to therapist – you have to find one with which you connect. She taught me meditation and “being in the the moment” and that has helped.

    Your books have helped me too. I do not feel so alone. I hope you get a chance to read this.


  392. Watch the comedy special ‘Three Mics’ by Neal Brennen. It’s hilarious, touching and he describes his experience with TMS. Might give you a little insight from ‘one of us’.

  393. I have done TMS. It did not work for me, but that could be because I have bipolar rather than unipolar depression. I have talked to people who said it completely changed their lives. A family member did TMS and she is such a different person (in a good way!). I personally thought it was very painful, although most people say they can’t feel anything. Insurance companies are starting to cover it, so that seems like the science behind it would be very positive. Good luck!

  394. I couldn’t do antidepressants. They either make me very aggressive or dangerous behind the wheel. And TBH they never worked. For me, I find more success in Vitamin B complex and Magnesium for depression.

    My brain fog started after my thyroid crapped out 12 years ago. I now see a doctor who does Integrative Medicine. He studied under Dr. Weil. He did a blood work up beyond the CBC and started treating me for inflammation in my body. It has made a world of difference. Basically Clean eating, supplements, eating only organic if possible and exercise. I also use Joy by Young Living on bad days.

    The single most powerful changes were prayer, meditation and always asking St. Michael the archangel to protect me from the things attacking me (often my own insecurities).

    I hope you find peace . And I want you to know I still think of you whenever I see taxidermy animals and think of a poop rope.

    I’ll,add you to my prayer intentions dear Jenny.

    P.s. I’m a fellow papillon owner and lover 🙂

  395. OK. Long time reader, first time to comment. I’ve had recurrent major depression and anxiety since I was 19 — 30+ years now. I’ve been on and off more antidepressants that I can count. This last year I got so depressed that I needed to be hospitalized. My choices at that point were: ECT, TMS, or ketamine treatment. I was dead set against the first, because I’d heard of very significant memory losses associated with it, and I didn’t want to risk losing my “me-ness” to the treatment. I wasn’t sold on TMS, and it would take a month of treatments to see if it would work. I read up on ketamine treatments, and decided that the risk/reward was sufficiently low to give it a try. I found there to be a noticeable benefit after two treatments. I think the doctors say that for treatment-resistant depression, there’s about a 70% (positive) response rate. It’s not a replacement for all of the other medical/physical/mental things you can do, but it really gave me enough mental energy back to dig myself out of the deep hole.

    However you decide to attack your depression, just continue to get up each day and fight it. You are a warrior!

  396. I have anxiety. I am currently taking Lexapro daily and lorazapam as needed. A few months ago, i started going to AA because I was drinking a LOT as well. I feel better than I have in a very, very long time. Knitting and deep cleaning also help me when I am overly overwhelmed.
    You bring a smile to my face every time you post something and your books have helped me through some pretty rough times. You are a special person with a purpose. Thank you! 🙂

  397. Thouhht of you the orher day when NPR did a piece on ketamine. Might want to give it a Google. All the best. X

  398. Thouhht of you the orher day when NPR did a piece on ketamine. Might want to give it a Google. All the best. X

  399. Hey Jenny…
    I had four months of TMS completed in April 2015 and it completely changed my life and my depression and anxiety. I would LOVE to talk to you about it, but I’m not going to type everything here 1.) In case you don’t read all the comments after 400, and 2) It’s partially NSFW, if you know what I mean. 😉 You can find me at Sam.Zavitz {at} gmail . com if you’d like to hash it all out.
    Love and Anti-Depressants,
    The Pretty Chicken

    The Pretty Chicken recently posted BRAVE..

  400. My mother did this in her 50s when all the meds quit working well and she was on the verge of having to move into assisted living because she couldn’t get out of bed or take care of herself. It was a total success. She still needed meds but they worked. And the treatment basically lasted about 10 years.

  401. Glad you are at least feeling well enough to look toward the future.

  402. Please do check out vagus nerve stimulation. My husband managed the clinical studies for using VNS to treat epilepsy and depression. He would be more than happy to discuss it with you.

  403. Years ago I had ECT for my chronic depression. I don´t recall there being TMS at that time. It worked for me, but I still needed antidepressants. I think you should give TMS a try. It certainly can´t hurt. The best of luck, Jenny.

  404. I haven’t tried this. And, meds haven’t worked for me. Sleep helps, but anxiety takes that from me and then everything just gets worse. Eating right helps, but I’m allergic to everything, so it’s hard to cook and eat well when I can barely put one foot in front of the other to get to the bathroom ten feet from my bed. I go to therapy, but I regularly quit because it’s hard and come back months later when I am falling again.

    I can feel mine when it is coming on, so I prepare myself, dig in, and try to hold my face to the wind as long as I can. Then I call in sick with the flu and hide in my bed until it’s over. Things that work for me are watching Pete’s Dragon or The BFG or some other child-intended fantasy which ends sadness with hope. And, I read sad books which draw tears up from some deep well in me which is invisible the rest of the time.

    And, when none of this works, I call the people on my safe list. My two closest friends, my baby sister, and my mom (last resort because I love her and she’s fantastic, but she asks too many questions and I really just need someone telling me how to breathe again).

    When none of this works, I somehow make it across the street to my best friend’s house, where I curl up on the cold tiles of her kitchen floor so she can watch me and make sure I stay alive another day.

    I never thought I’d live this long. It wasn’t in my plan. And, I’m scared of what it means to be alive now. I don’t know how to do it. But, I know I have people who love me and will walk with me through tomorrow and the tomorrows after.

    So, I guess that’s my plan. People. Since drugs don’t work, and sleep doesn’t happen for long stretches of time, and food becomes insurmountable, the only thing left to me is to fall into the safety net of my people. On my good days I do everything I can to give back because I know how much they give to me.

  405. Okay, here’s my flaky 2 cents.
    I suffer depression, but not as severely as yours. I only get it really bad every couple years, but I’ve had it more frequently since moving out of the country. Stress makes me less diligent to see the signs and do my thing to head it off, I guess.

    I see you mention meditation, but also that holistic therapies don’t really work for you. For me, I will not take any medication because so many have the side effect of increasing suicidal thoughts, and that is not a road I am willing to risk ever again. What has helped for me, is mindfulness. Not really meditation, but focusing on the facts of the moment. It doesn’t take away my depression, but if I’m drowning in my head, and can’t muster energy to get out of bed, focusing on my senses helps me see light at the end of the tunnel. It goes like this: Where am I now? Am I safe? What can I touch? What do I hear? What do I see? What can I smell? What could I taste (if I wanted to)? Again, not a cure, just a tool to tuck into your self-care toolbelt. Wishing you the best!

  406. i’m on meds (60mg prozac a day plus propanolol as needed) and have accepted that this is likely to be permanant, having tried to reduce the dose with bad effects, even tapering very slowly. what helps me most is my horse – when i’m in a bad way just sitting listening to him munching hay. my dogs too. (they don’t eat hay but they help by just being dogs). you have done so much to bring this stuff out in the open and make it ok to talk about – thank you.

  407. Ketamine infusion therapy. Not snake oil, not a gimmick, a lifesaver! There are not enough words

  408. I have a good friend who does TMS treatments and she swears by them.
    My 20 year old daughter has severe depression, anxiety, BP2, etc……
    She has been getting Ketamine infusions for the past 4 months and it has helped tremendously. Her depression and anxiety have decreased significantly. She gets infusions every 3 to 4 weeks. She also had gene testing that proved she has the genetic mutation where she doesn’t process folic acid. She now takes an L-Methylfolate supplement called Deplin. This has been very helpful – it helps your anti-depressants work. I have a friend with a son with severe depression who also takes Deplin along with his anti-depressants and she reports amazing changes in his attitude and energy levels.
    That’s all I’ve got for now but there are many exciting things happening in depression treatment!

  409. I’ve tried posting this a few time but it doesn’t seem to be posting. Apologies if this turns into duplicates!

    Hi Jenny,

    I’m a big fan. Long time lurker, first time poster and all that jazz.

    I’ve been living with major depression since the birth of my daughter 10 years ago. Severe Post Natal Depression back then, now it’s the bastard who just won’t fully leave. (Turns out I’m treatment resistant – yay me!) In the beginning I was hospitalised for 3 months. I was spiralling fast and meds weren’t working, so we tried TMS. It apparently stabilised me a bit, but I didn’t improve fast enough. I ended up having ECT, and while it saved my life, I lost 6 months of memories. I remember my daughter at 5 weeks old, then suddenly she was 7 months. Very disconcerting. So I don’t actually remember my first rounds of TMS.

    I did have TMS a year later to try again, though. It again stabilised me, but that was about it. The only side effects I got were feeling exhausted for the rest of the treatment day, after that I was fine. But I did have some lovely chats with the administering psychiatrist. He said that the “train” length (the amount of time the magnet pulses and how long it stops) was what determined different results. He told me that research was being done into inducing seizures with TMS to mimic ECT without the need for a general anaesthetic, which seems to be a major factor in memory loss. The TMS I had didn’t induce a seizure and just felt like someone was tapping me on the head with a pencil. No pain, not frightening, just there.

    So if I was you, I’d be looking into whether your doctor was looking at TMS to induce seizures or not, then decide from there. I’d definitely try without inducing seizures. I’m in Australia so it was all covered by Medicare for me, I have no idea what the costs there are.

    As for me, dexamphetamine (in addition to Prozac – NOT generic) has been wonderful. There were a lot of hoops to jump through to get it though. It’s gotten me back to about 70% of who I used to be. The other 30% I’m making up as I go along. 😉

    Much love,


  410. I have a very good friend that did TMS about a year ago, and she cannot say enough good things about it. She says she feels like her depression has been cured, not just lessened.

    That being said, I have had good results by adding a medical dose of methylfolate to my medications. My dr tested me to see if I have the mthfr gene mutation, and I do. It means don’t metabolize folic acid the way I should…and that affects a large # of things. It’s been associated with medication resistant depression, among others. Here’s some info:

  411. 414
    Heather McKenzie

    Hi Jenny, I am thinking about TMS as well. I am trying to get into a clinical trial at the National Institute of Mental Health for their Ketamine trials as well. Have you tried it? Anyone?

  412. I am a psychologist. 3 people with whom I have worked in therapy have obtained TMS treatment from their psychiatrists after many years of medication treatment that had provided some benefit but not enough. One of the people had good results (it provided some clear benefit) and the other two had excellent results (described as “I don’t have that unrelenting blackness inside of me any more”). Two of the people felt that they were able to get much more out of therapy after the TMS; they were finally able to get traction in areas that they had worked on without much success previously, because they weren’t being pulled down into that black hole over and over again anymore. I have worked with other people who likely would have benefited from it, but their insurance wasn’t paying for it; however, that is changing rapidly (although most insurance companies have a complicated set of criteria that they use to decide whether to authorize it – find out exactly what criteria your insurance company uses before your doctor writes up the pre-authorization form).

    The other intervention that I have used personally with people that has helped people to get “unstuck” after many years of unrelenting symptoms is Rapid Resolution Therapy. It was developed to help people who were experiencing severe anxiety, depression, or self-harming reactions after experiencing trauma. This intervention technique is designed to help people clear the after-effects of trauma in one or two sessions (that typically are longer than the usual therapy session; I usually spend 2-3 hours per appointment for RRT). Some people just seek out the RRT treatment, and others combine it with traditional therapy. Other therapists have referred people to me for a one or two session “consultation” to do the RRT, and the person and their therapist continued to do their own work together. I have used this technique with many, many people; one person did not appear to derive much benefit (but likely needed someone more skilled than I am), and all of the other people found it to be exceptionally (transformatively) helpful. In my 20 years of practice, it is the most effective intervention I have learned. I have used it with veterans, with people who have experienced childhood sexual and physical assault, people who have been in car accidents, people who have endured years of emotional abuse, and others. If people want to know more, they can look up the term “rapid resolution therapy,” and the website will have a feature where you can look up certified practitioners in your area.

    These have been the two most effective interventions that I have witnessed for helping people get unstuck.

    Also, you are wonderfully generous for sharing your gifts and bringing light to others.

  413. I thought I’d posted earlier, but I don’t think it went through because I wasn’t signed in. I’ll summarize what I said very briefly re: things I’ve tried recently for low-grade depression.
    1. Vitamin B complex supplement
    2. Long-distance walking (I get serious endorphins any time I walk four or more miles at a time.)
    3. Hypnosis via an app. I’m glad I didn’t research the guy before trying it because he turned out to be a hypnotist to the stars, and I don’t know that I would have tried the app. I LOVE the hypnosis sessions. They’re not an appropriate substitute for medication re: depression, but they are VERY CALMING. It’s kind of crazy. Joseph Cough app.

  414. Weelll, I am a trauma survivor and nothing made too much difference to my depressive, anxious self with dissociation better until, until at age 56 I started with a great therapist and EMDR. Now I don’t need the EMDR and can access my deepest memories and feelings surrounding the traumas. This has stopped the dissociation cold and I’m more alive and feelingest* then I’ve ever been. Progress at last. Thanks for everything you do and do it so well. Do Wop Do Wop

  415. A friend of mine who lives in Kerrville went through it with very successful results.

  416. I don’t know about transcranial magnetic stimulation, but I can highly recommend craniosacral therapy, which is less invasive.

  417. Your doctor is your best bet for good, non-anecdotal, statistically solid information.
    Don’t follow any advice that involves YOU “trying a device.” This is medical shit, not astrology. Medical shit has a real chance of being useful, and that other stuff doesn’t, no matter how many woo-promoting stories accompany them.
    I tend to evaluate things on a Bayesian-type analysis of potential gain vs potential loss: There is at least some realistic chance that this will be of value (and maybe great value) to your life. Most of the side effects I’ve seen are relatively minor and all have the word “transient” associated with them, which means you’re not going to permanently screw yourself up even if NOTHING of value happens. So, small but actually significant chance of HUGE reward vs small chance of “transient” issues — seems pretty straightforward to me. Of course, you have to include the money thing in there — and I can’t help you with that.

  418. My depression is not very bad most of the time, and the couple of can’t scrape myself off the floor bouts I’ve had have been amenable to therapy, so I’m not speaking from the perspective of someone who has gone through what you have mentally. I have spent the last twenty years in constant physical pain, though, so I completely empathize with the danger of opening oneself up to well meaning advice (and 100% endorse the punch them in the junk with a cactus response). All of that said, one thing that has helped me deal with both physical and mental pain has been the book Turning Suffering Inside Out by Darlene Cohen ( ). The other thing that works really well sometimes is giving myself permission to just give up from time to time. I can’t do it often because I’m working two jobs and just getting by, but taking a day to just stay in bed because I decide to (as opposed to days when I do because I have no choice) with the mental attitude that I am not required to even try to be well can be oddly liberating. Just a couple of small tools for your toolbox.

    I hope that TMS works well for you if you decide to try it.

  419. 422
    martha pomilio

    TMS works. Plain and simple. I had over 20 ECT treatments which were effective but I had a great deal of memory loss. My doctor suggested TMS for further treatment. The doctor spent about half an hour fitting the head piece properly and adjusting the intensity until the magnetic pulse made my finger twitch. He turned the lights down, and put a blanket over my lap (I was semi-reclined, kinda like a dentist chair) then started the procedure. It was an unusual sensation, there was a period of stimulation, then a rest period. The stimulation was sort of loud and felt like a bird was pecking at the side of my head. Not painful at all, but a little annoying. My treatments were 30 minutes each and I had 3 per week for a month, then twice a week for another month. Now I’m on a maintenance schedule and just come in for treatments when I feel like I need it. There are no side effects. Please try it, what have you got to lose??

  420. I’ve never heard of this form of therapy but it sounds great to me. I’m in the beginning stages of getting treatment for my own depression and my doctor wants me to add a second medication in addition to the antidepressant I’m already taking. I consulted the internet about its risk vs. rewards and ended up even more confused. So I totally get your hesitation especially if people close to you are against it. I have no advice unfortunately and I don’t want to waste space in your comment section, I just wanted to say I understand how scary trying something to alter your mind can be. One minute you’re imaging a life without depression and the next you’re reeling at the thought of making yourself worse somehow or at least different. Ultimately, as you know, only you can decide if it’s worth the risk. I have to decide soon too. Not this morning though. Maybe tomorrow. 😉 Best of luck, whichever way you decide to go.

  421. I don’t know anything about TMS but I saw this video of a meercat laughing as it’s being tickled and thought of you.

  422. I have never commented before as it makes me nervous but here goes . . . . . My depression is not severe but never really leaves which sucks. Medication works ok but in the last year I’ve been using essential oils and I can tell a huge difference I only trust Young Living oils and their blend of Stress Away has been a god-send. I was so skeptical at first but I can tell if I don’t apply it daily. Probably not a life changer but maybe can help. Love your work, Jenny! You are so brave to talk about this.

  423. Hi Jenny. I did TMS for nearly 6 months and it was only mildly helpful. What I would tell you is that it’s a relatively new treatment and there isn’t a ton of research in terms of its efficacy. But it is fairly harmless so it can’t hurt to try. However, the loud prolonged thumping did cause severe migraines so I would keep an eye out for that. Also, you have to keeep super still for the entire session so make sure you are positioned comfortably or you will be sore in your neck and back. I hope it helps, give it about a month and you should know.

  424. Hi, Jenny – I’m a full time writer, married, live in a place I love but depression cycles through my life like random tsunamis. Last fall I was anxious, restless, fuzzy, unable to focus, way behind in my work, sometimes just sitting and staring, sometimes just watching sitcoms to keep breathing until my husband came home from work. For various reasons, antidepressants aren’t an option. In December I had my first acupuncture appointment. I’ve read it’s equivalent to antidepressants. For me I can go about a month between appointments during which I’m happy, in the present moment, able to plan and daydream, able to write, meeting my deadlines and watching way fewer sitcoms. May not work for everyone but for me it’s been life-changing. I love and appreciate your work, and wish you all the best. There are many times your posts have made a huge difference when I most needed it. Thank you!

  425. […] This is a dangerous post to write, mostly because I’m opening myself up to something that every person who deals with mental illness dreads…well-meaning advice from others.  But this is specific and I’d really like to hear from you.  Not about … Continue reading → […]

  426. I’ve had two friends who have done this. One with depression connected to PTSD and one who is bipolar. For both of them they had some relief, but it was not a dramatic change or enough to get off their meds. I don’t think either of them regrets trying it.

  427. You’ve had a bazillion responses to your question already, but I’ll add my two cents anyway 🙂 I just finished with a course of TMS treatments about two weeks ago. First off, TMS has something like a 60% efficacy rate for depression. So if your insurance covers it, I think it would be well worth the shot.
    For me personally, I was in the percentage that did not benefit from TMS. Which feels super sucky after dedicating six weeks of my life driving to and fro from the treatment clinic. However, though I did not get any benefit from the TMS, I also did not have any terrible side-effects. Which is way more than I can say for almost any medication I’ve tried!
    The treatment is painful, particularly initially, but it is not unbearable. I had minor to moderate headaches the first two weeks of treatment, and periodically after that. It also left me feeling super tired some days, but not most days.
    Overall, it was not a bad experience, certainly. My insurance covered it fully -I just had to pay a copay each treatment session. I was treated with the NeuroStar technology. Parts of it were fascinating, in the sense of getting to experience your brain being directly stimulated and having your hand or fingers twitch -and learning all the methodology behind the treatment.

    So I’m counting it as an adventure I had! And hoping it works better for other people than it did for me. But it definitely sounds scarier initially than it really is ultimately. And for the folks for whom it works, it sounds like a freakin’ magical thing -and something that might be worth trying for you 🙂

  428. Hi Jenny! I actually went through the series of TMS treatments a year ago. I’d never heard of it before but my Nurse Practitioner recommended I try it before doing the more extreme ECT. The side effect that bugged me the most were the headaches and tiredness. The days off were better and better though. What I really liked was that they had an IPad with Netflix set up for you to watch while you’re going through the treatment–helps distract from the clicking sound and abnoxious but minor pain. (Sounds silly but it really did help to put something funny on to pass the time) (each session was approx 20-35 minutes). It did help. Somewhat. I was able to get out more and I was more reliable. But I must admit that for my level of depression and anxiety, it did not help enough. After a couple months I ended up doing ECT—which was NOT a good experience for me personally. However ECT did help my mother drastically when she went through a major depressive breakdown. (I just could not handle the side effects and constant failing at getting my IV’s in EVERY time)…sorry probably way more than you wanted to know!! – Anna

  429. My mother had it done for something unrelated to depression but side effect for her was her depression was put into remission (? I hate to use the word cured). She refused to be treated for depression or admit to it, even though she had a serious attempt at suicide. My sister and I are 100% sold on it for a treatment for depression!

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  430. Make sure if you do get it to negotiate (or have someone you know negotiate) on the price. The price they give initially is the price they get talked down from by the insurance company. You can get a better deal.

  431. I have not, but don’t forget to start your research with published studies at PubMed. Go straight to the source and even if it’s behind a paywall, you’ll be able to read the abstract/summary. This will give you hard numbers for likelihood of side effects, efficacy, relapse, etc.

    Side note, I love DBT. It doesn’t try to cure anything (like CBT), but gives you tools to deal with the shit better. <3

  432. I have tried a lot of things to alleviate my depression. Continuous swimming ( espescially in sunlight) has always made things significantly better. I realize that it is not loved by everyone and it is certainly not a cure-all. Yet I know that I was at my best in the months that I was able to swim 20 plus minutes a day. I rarely WANT to swim, but I never regret it. Pool access has recently become economically and logistically impossible for me, but when I get the chance to swim routinely it can really help me out of a dark time.

  433. My mother-in-law was treated with TMS and it worked wonders on chronic depression. I don’t think she’s had a bad bout since, and its been a few years since the initial treatment. Not exactly sure if she goes in for follow up treatments or is able to rub especially strong fridge magnets on her head in order to maintain the progress, but it certainly seems to have helped her.

  434. Follow your own good sense ( I have read your books and still say this)…ask yourself how would this affect my time with my family,friends and my plethora of adoring fans (mofos). The treatment is non-invasive, not another drug your body has to deal with, is approved by the FDA but will it take me where I want to go. Your therapist should be able to tell you more about the research on magnets and depression. Good luck and no running unless you are being chased.

  435. I am grateful, honestly, to ONLY suffer from occasional (and mostly mild) Depression. Mommy had Chronic Fatigue LOOOOONG before any doctors were able to diagnose it, and like D meds or A meds or any-mental-illness meds, every treatment is individual, whether doctors know it or not. So Mommy was a very willing guinea pig, because, why wouldn’t she be? If Treatment “X” will help!

    So, no, I have no specific advice for you. But it sounds like more than a handful of readers have chimed in with solid “next steps”, and like just about everyone, I would LOVE to know what you discover, if you should give this a trial run!

    I’m only just now really trying things in You Are Here, but I’m so glad I finally took the leap. I was afraid since receipt (of my PRE-ORDER) that I might mess it up! I love it, Jenny. Thank you so much.

    emelle28 recently posted Day "One" with Daddy.

  436. 439

    I’ve always found Boggle the owl helpful. Boggle is worried about you! Boggle is also an owl.

  437. I haven’t had it, but I’ve heard it works for mild or moderate depression but not for anything more severe. Like you, meds only keep me from completely stopping to function. The only thing that has worked for me is therapy that is more frequent than once a week. I now have therapy 3 days a week. I also have a therapist who does ‘milieu therapy’ which is basically therapy in your world. It helps me so miuch, especially when my therapy makes me incapacitated or when my MS is acting up and my fatigue is out of control.

  438. I have not tried TMS but belting out Adele with zero regard for how I sound usually pulls me out of a funk, if only momentarily.

  439. I take a lot of medications and we’ve finally found a group that work together well. The truth of medications is that they don’t always continue to work well with the ever changing body so my truth of the moment is gratitude for the days that I’m having. And here’s hope that your system will find what it needs as well.

  440. I am a licensed psychologist. I’d not heard of TMS before, so I did a review of the literature. [Sidebar: If you want to do this yourself without access to a academic library, google the treatment name (ex: “vagus nerve stimulation”, the targeted disorder/symptoms (“depression”), the word “meta”. Then select “Scholarly articles for blahblahblah”. Then narrow down the published date, preferably to articles written within the last year or two.” You’re looking for academic articles with the words “meta-analysis” or “review” in the title, as such analyses consolidate the findings of many studies, toss out the ones that were poorly designed, then analyze the reliable data.]

    I’ll point you to a research review article published this year: “Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for the Acute Treatment of Major Depressive Episodes: A Systematic Review With Network Meta-analysis.” It was published by JAMA and examined the results of 81 TMS studies conducted with 4233 patients. 468 articles/studies were excluded because they were anecdotal or had other reliability/quality problems. Here’s a link to the review’s abstract: You can get the full article through a library. Or I’ll email it to you at your advertising address, because that’s the only one I can find for you.

    The take home message is the evidence doesn’t support the use of TMS for treatment of MDD. Some of the 8 studied iterations for TMS may have shown a slightly better effect than the others in some studies, but the results are hit or miss and are poorly replicated across studies. Overall, the evidence in favor of the technique is weak. It hasn’t yet been refined enough as a procedure to figure out how to make it work consistently and well across patients and settings, if it’s even causing the change at all. Placebo effect is a major factor in studying a treatment like this.

    So. If you have money to burn, you could give a shot just to see how it might turn out. (I didn’t delve into the negative side effects, so I don’t speak to the risks.) Or you could take Hailey and Victor on a trip instead and buy a fabulous taxidermied unicorn. The latter is a guaranteed good time, while the former is iffy at best. If you were my sister, I’d recommend against the TMS unless or until it’s better refined as a treatment and the support for its efficacy jumps drastically.a

    I will second the other suggestions that you think about vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), if you haven’t already. It’s more invasive, but it’s far better supported as a treatment option.

  441. Okay – longtime lurker but first time commenting. I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression for over 20 years and I started taking Zoloft. It’s felt like a black cloud has been lifted from my mind and I can think clearly for the first time in years. Even my friends and family has noticed the change in my personality – it’s like I’m a completely different person. I really hope that you find a treatment that works for you. Thank you for being so open and generous – you’re an inspiration!

  442. Just hold you cell phone on top of your head when you use it, seems like the same thing.
    This activity has the advantage of keeping people from bothering you while you are on the phone. However on the downside you do become one of “those people” who must yell at their phone when using it in public.

    PS: Looks very similar to a process used to preform induction welding.

  443. I just started neurofeedback and pulsed electromagnetic field therapy. I’m seeing holistic neurologists, so they are taking a full body approach. Essentially they are helping my brain strengthen the connections it still has, like a software update on a computer, doing functional neurological training to help my body rebuild nerve passageways, and fixing my gut, which has been causing me increasing autoimmune reactions.

    I am confident I will remain myself but reduce my pain, exhaustion, anxiety, and depression levels. I will continue to be cynical and sometimes snarky, enjoy dark humor, be random and quirky, and love too fiercely. But I will have a stronger immune system, better sleep, fewer headaches and stomachaches, and not get exhausted performing seemingly simple tasks, like driving or basic problem solving.

    I guess what I’m saying is, you know who you are. This might just make being you a little easier.

    Best of luck in whatever path you choose. I’m routing for you.

  444. I’ve never tried it, but the drugs weren’t working this winter and I almost went away. Breathing does help anxiety in an almost magical way, doesn’t it? Remembering to do it is the hard part.

  445. I’m no doctor, but I once spent a year doing research in neuroscience. We used TMS for stimulating parts of the brain that are responsible for motor control – essentially making people’say toes twitch involuntarily! Not the same part of the brain as what you’re talking about but just to reassure you that the procedure itself is all very safe and nothing like ECT. I presume youve discussed side effects with your medical professional. Inot any case I wish you well, whatever you decide to do. <3

  446. I hesitate to leave another comment. If I had to read thru’ 300+ (albeit, well meaning) comments, I’d be more depressed! I’m familiar with TMS, but haven’t tried it. However, I strongly recommend MFR (Myo Fascial Release)–– ONLY with a certified therapist, who has very preferably trained with John Barnes. He invented MFR, and is an 83 yr old healer, who is truly life changing. They are miracle workers, in so many areas. I’ve seen folks helped, who I was sure didn’t stand a chance, and I’ve personally been fortunate to experience his work.

    I won’t go into all the reasons, from reading your works, that I think MFR would help you, but I wouldn’t leave a comment if I wasn’t confident, and you hadn’t asked. Last year, I went to Sedona to do the John Barnes 2 week intensive, at Therapy On The Rocks, and came back a changed woman. They have a place in PA as well. It’s not a miracle in the sense that everything can/will be fixed instantly, but they are amazing! It is the first time, in my long and at times traumatic life, that I feel hopeful that healing is not only possible, but happening.

    Do some research; look it up. But trust me, I’ve sent several people for this work–– some who seemed would never live fully happy, healthy lives, and each of them has come back to say that they feel utterly “saved.” No religion. 😉 We have the capacity to truly heal, Jenny, not just be medicated or fixed. Whatever you do, or choose, I’m sending healing thoughts and love your way. xo Dawn

    Dawn Quyle Landau recently posted Friday Fictioneers: End Of The Diet.

  447. My husband has had two rounds of TMS. For him, it has drastically improved pretty much everything. He basically has a depressive personality — anhedonia. I can usually live with that, but sometimes he dives deep into the well and can’t come out again, not on his own. When he falls, he stops talking, interacting, smiling — it’s like living with a robot that works and then comes home to recharge. I sometimes worry that he will stop breathing. He has tried and failed pretty much every antidepressant. He was almost catatonic before starting the first round of TMS in 2010. After the first week of treatment, the light inside him had been switched back on. He was back in my life, our daughter’s life. The second treatment was in 2013. Again, he came back out of the black night he had been living under.
    The biggest deterrent will be the cost, at least in my experience. We paid 8000 for the sessions in 2010 and about the same in 2013. He fell down again these last six months and has just found another doctor to provide TMS services. Though waiting was awful, this doctor has been a true blessing, and I say that as an aspiring atheist. She convinced the insurance company to cover this round of treatments. I am hoping again for the same miracle because I desperately need him back in my life, and the lives of our children.
    All of this said, TMS is not a cure, but another form of treatment. If you accept that you might have to have a ‘reboot’ every three years or so, I would highly recommend that you go for it. Between treatments, my husband was not on any prescribed medications for his depression. His new doctor, though, wants him to try some new medications and we are even looking into the possibility of genetic testing to screen him for any ‘abnormalities’ that would prevent certain medications from working appropriately (This is already done for patients on anticoagulants and some pain medications. We are are truly special snowflakes :). And it has been seven years, but I finally convinced him that therapy isn’t bad or a sign of weakness — for him it is a canary in the mine, letting his doctor know if he needs another round of treatment or a different dose or a new medication.
    I say go for it.

  448. No experience to share, but wondering if PatientsLikeMe might be a useful resource for finding more information? Best wishes with whichever approach you decide on.

  449. I’ve had an alpha-stim for about 3 months because my doctor wants me off psychiatric meds for a different medical thing until we’re through with that. It’s worked fairly well for the depression, but not the anxiety. My insurance does not cover it at all. My doctor got it for me at a discount, so I paid about $720. Without that, it retails at $795 for the AID device. It does need a prescription but I’d guess you can easily get that from your psychiatrist. The device uses micro currents for cranial electro therapy. There’s a fair amount of clinical studies on that type of therapy dating back to the early ’80’s that indicate that it mostly works but they don’t know why. These devices were recognized as a medical devices in the mid ’90’s by the FDA. You might try something like this before going all the way to TMS.

    It’s fairly non invasive. You clip two little things to your ears and have it on for about 20 minutes a day at about 3 micro amps (that’s what my doctor said for me. Yours might want something different). While it’s on, your best bet is to stay stationary, because you feel vertigo. After it’s off, it doesn’t seem to cause any side effects (for me). My doctor has suggested that I also try having it on while trying to fall asleep for the insomnia. I’ve had some partial success with that, but not the kind I’d say means it definitely does the trick for insomnia. My depression though is currently gone which is sort of amazing. I’m hoping it stays that way but not really that naive to think it will.

    Anyway, it’s less invasive than TMS, has many of the same effects, and might be something to try first.

  450. I had TMS done two years ago for both depression, right side, and anxiety, left side. I never got off of meds…in fact, I moved from Texas to Colorado and my new doctor said I was way overmedicated. I think it works for some, but most of the review are written by the the NeuroStar folks. I love your books, they have helped me explain my brain’s tendency to hate me to my husband and teen daughter. What’s helped me is exercise, sunshine and my family’s help. I was extremely disappointed about my own results…all those weeks of driving to treatment, tapping and twitching, headaches and being told that I had to believe it would work for it to work… It really didn’t help my depression and I was on more meds than before. My brain was like, “Ha, you loser…”

  451. Hi Jenny,
    A close friend started TMS treatments two years ago. She swears by them and we definitely notice her both increased energy and moods. One round of treatments seem to last about 6 months for her, so she does treatments twice a year. Her medications didn’t change after treatment, but then her medications aren’t really working as best they should for her.

    God bless you for all the great work you’re doing and for being such a champion. Even when you can’t get out of bed, you are my hero.

  452. 455
    Curiouser & Curiouser

    This isn’t about TMS, but I work at a facility for medically fragile people with developmental disabilities. Many of them have psychotropic medications for a variety of issues and it can be extremely difficult to give meds effectively for people who don’t communicate well. Last year our psychiatrist had all of our people on psychotropics take a psychogenetic DNA test. This gave a profile of how our residents metabolize medications – normal, fast (where you need larger doses because regular ones don’t stay in your system long enough to be effective), or slow (where you need lower doses because the normal doses stay in your system too long and you get issues with side effects). This information in and of itself was very useful, but we discovered that quite a few of our people do not naturally produce methyl folate as they should and needed a supplement called L-Methyl Folate to help them metabolize medications more effectively. This is a very oversimplified explanation obviously, but I can tell you that this supplement had a positive effect on many of our people. Behaviors went down and we have been able to avoid increasing meds on many people. We had a few that did so well we were able to lower or even discontinue some of their medications. This supplement has a lot of heart health benefits too. From what I have been reading of some the medication difficulties ya’ll have expressed here, some of you may want to try this. It’s just a cheek swab. I am considering doing it myself because of my issues with medication side effects. Head’s up, it is a somewhat expensive OTC supplement though . . .

  453. just an FYI…I called the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline tonight…I’m NOT suicidal but REALLY NEEDED an ear that was not connected to my world and I AM NOT SURE why we get up every day….anyway…after about 3 minutes of conversation, the guy put me ON HOLD! just a head’s up…next time I’m “in crisis” I won’t call them… 🙁

    (That happened to me once too. At first it was a bit annoying but then I told myself that it’s probably because there are many people calling in, so it made me feel less alone in the end. ~ Jenny)

  454. Buspar has been a lifesaver for me for anxiety. Now I forget I ever had anxiety and forget that I’m on it. No side effects for me. A friend of mine was taking xanax several times a day. I recommended Buspar. Her doctor agreed to try. She no longer has to take the xanax. Sorry, I have no experience with TMS.

  455. While I don’t have any experiences with TMS as treatment option, I once had a TMS session for a research project and just wanted to add that I didn’t have any side effects and it wasn’t uncomfortable…My face muscles were twitching a bit during, which was a bit weird, but more weird-interesting…Apart from that I din’t feel any different before and after…
    My mom has problems with depression and migraines (and various other stuff)…so it’s interesting to read about people’s experiences…Maybe this could help her…

  456. My doctor and I had considered TMS as a treatment option as an add on to my current meds. Around the same time the new medication REXULTI came on the market and he added that as the next best option. This drug has changed my life, gotten me out of that black hole and back into the world of the living.
    If I fall back into that deep depression I will certainly consider TMS. I hope that whatever your decision you find peace and healing.

  457. I think you’ve already got this down Jenny, but many people overlook one of the most basic tools of dealing with anxiety and depression – communication. I had severe anxiety panic attacks caused by hormone medicate that tore into my family. I was counting the periods between ‘episodes’ by hours, not days. We finally figured out what meds to stop, but then I had to re-learn to emotionally deal with everything.

    Communication was 99.9% of the process. Talking to my family when I was ‘okay,’ helping them to understand how I was feeling, and learning myself to communicate when I felt the downward spiral begin. Talking about what was making me anxious so they could help me diffuse the fear. It requires a strong support system that I know not everyone has. However, if you do feel ‘safe’ with the people around you, talk to them. Bring them into your struggle. They are already struggling with you- you can give them a lifeline and help them be strong by giving them a battle to fight and ways to fight.

    If you are afraid to ask for help for yourself, remember that doing so can also help the ones you love.

  458. Hi Jenny — I haven’t tried TMS, but I know quite a bit about it. It’s actually most effective for the treatment of OCD, but there is some success with treating severe depression. ECT remains to be the most effective treatment for severe depression, but the cognitive side effects are real. I am an academic, so I was nervous about trying ECT, but I was desperate and nothing else was working (running, meds, eating well, therapy, ….) and I was going to die. So I tried it. I first did right side unilateral ECT and it helped with suicidal thinking, but didn’t really make me feel much better. Then, after 12 treatments of that, we switched to bifrontal (more efficacious, but more cognitive side effects). I had 5 of those treatments and then stopped because the side effects were too much and it wasn’t helping. If it was helping, i would have been willing to continue, as the side-effects DO diminish as you space treatments out, but since it wasn’t working, I stopped. I am fortunate that I live in an area where IV Ketamine is available for the treatment of severe refractory depression, and I have started that treatment and it has changed my life in a way that nothing else has. I feel well. I didn’t know feeling well was possible. I was just hoping to make living bearable — not even shooting for enjoyable! It’s NOT an approved treatment for depression, but the data are promising and the side effects are mild. Based on the preliminary data, it’s more efficacious than TMS, but less efficacious than ECT. But is has changed my life. I think TMS is worth a shot. I also think ECT is worth a shot if TMS doesn’t work. I get it — these procedures are scary BECAUSE IT IS OUR FUCKING BRAINS! and no one wants anyone to actually DO anything to our brains — but living with severe intractable depression is a misery.
    Sending you love and holding onto hope for you. I couldn’t hold it for myself just a few months ago, and i was glad others could hold it for me. So, in case you’re in that spot, know that I am holding hope for you. (and I promise I will punch anyone who tells you to just “try harder” or to “eat better”, because… well you know, fuck them.)

  459. I take Wellbutrin and work out 4-5 days a week. It’s a combination of weights and yoga. It has changed my life. When I think back to the way I used to feel, which was horrible depression, anxiety that would make me literally feel like tearing my hair out, a constant desire to just disappear, I can’t believe I survived it. Even before I started the Wellbutrin in 2012, I felt better when I exercised. The combination of the meds and the working out has made me feel almost normal. I am always telling people it saved my life, and I truly believe that it did. Another positive thing about group exercise classes, is that it gets me out of the house (I work from home, too), and around other people. I can easily start to become agoraphobic, so that really, really helps.

  460. I think that the most helpful things for me are writing or drawing it out. I let myself free-write in a document or something, and I just add to the document every time I need to vent about something. I know I’m not going to show anyone, so I can say anything, even if it is something I wouldn’t want anyone to know. I also dance. Not ballet or anything. Because I’m a terrible dancer. But it helps. I do zumba. There is a fantasticly silly and fun dance to ‘Uptown Funk’ and the movement and the silliness of me dancing around to it helps me a bit. I also have a whole list of movies and shows that are ‘feel good’ shows that I watch, like Yes Man or Secret Life of Walter Mitty or Gilmore Girls (but be careful with that last one- sometimes I have very serious breakdowns when I realize I am not as clever as Lorelai).

  461. Hi, not sure if you’ve looked in to this or not. I’ve done a lot of reading on Ketogenic diets and they have proven effects on brain chemistry. You can think of food as a drug that you take in every day. Something to think about….

  462. I was on Lithium, plus a variety of anti-depressants, for years. I have bipolar 1, but always way more downs than ups. Lithium helped, but the side effects where/are difficult. When my husband and I decided to have children I wanted to see if I could get off all the meds, since they are still discovering the long term effects on children. I switched to omega-3’s (you need minimum 1000mg of EPA, I take about 1300mg a day). There are a lot of studies that back this up for treating depression. This, in combination with regular sleep, eating healthier (cut down on sugar, refined grains/wheat, and alcohol), regular exercise (even if just walking or doing basic yoga), and sticking a structured schedule has been a huge help. I have been stable-ish now for 5-1/2 years 🙂 I did have difficulty after my second child, due to lack of sleep and hormones. But my strong family support system got me through.

    I don’t recommend people drop all meds. I only attempted this for my children’s health, and am very aware that I may relapse. But adding omega 3-s to anti-depressants has been shown to help. And maybe the other stuff I did could help too, if you haven’t already tried. Just being able to openly talk about this is also a huge help. When I was 1st diagnosed it was a huge secret, and the shame made it all worse. Luckily my family has accepted it and is now a huge support, And things are getting better society wise, thanks to people like you!

  463. Not that this belongs in this thread, but after so much advice, you may need baby goats in pajamas:

  464. Best wishes to you, Jenny. I’m actually starting TMS tomorrow, so I’ll be following this issue and thinking of you.

  465. I wish you all the luck in the world, sending you much love and respect from the UK.

    anyinteresttoday recently posted Selling Yourself (In A Good Way).

  466. Hopefully you’re one of the ones that it works for! Best of luck, and we’re all thankful for whatever version of you we can get!

  467. After my long-standing prescription stopped working, I’ve been back on the meds roundabout with varying degrees of failure.

    During this time, I have noticed that my mood is altered pretty significantly by what I am eating – if I am eating carb-heavy and lots of sugar, I am unhappy, which of course leads to more cookies because who doesn’t want a cookie when you are unhappy? Yum, cookies. If I can stick to something Paleo-ish with fewer carbs and sugar, I do much better. This sucks, because I love cookies and cake and stuff, and have zero self-control around any sort of sugary snack. I don’t have “just one”. How many salads can one girl eat? Sheesh.

    There’s more research going into the mind/gut connection, especially as it relates to serotonin and depression. As every body is different, your mileage may vary.

  468. I looked into TMS when I first got diagnosed with PTSD and have read a lot of good things about it. My therapists have never suggested it (probably a case of ‘you’re young; let’s try everything else first’), so I don’t have first-hand experience.

    I don’t know if I have a suggestion of my own, but I thought this was a good time to say that one of your suggestions has actually helped me a ton: Pokemon Go. I would switch it on when I felt the darkness creeping in and it would distract me enough to help. Plus, cleaning out my Pokedex so I only had one of every Pokemon and they were alphabetized and at the highest CP… It got my head back in a place where I could deal with life, even if I dealt with it poorly. I can’t tell you how much that helped.

    I also just started a new med a couple weeks ago. It’s my first time on dailies where I haven’t immediately gotten worse. The symptoms aren’t gone, but their roar is much softer now. I feel like myself again. I haven’t felt that in years. If TMS can do that for you, I’d say it’s worth a shot.

  469. I have not had it myself, but the author John Elder Robison has had it and has written about it in his blog and I believe he has written a book about it. His website is and his book is called “Switched On.”

  470. For many of us, Jenny, the way you share your own struggles with humor and optimism is an integral part of our own therapy and/or medication regimen.

    desertcurmudgeon recently posted This Is Not A Test.

  471. […] I noticed that she had posted on her blog about how her increasing depression and that she was considering looking into TMS to treat it.  She says she’s going to see the results of some bloodwork and then proceed […]

  472. Good luck, Jenny!! I have my fingers and toes crossed that this is the answer for you. I just love the hell right out of ya! xo

    the incurable dreamer recently posted liftoff.

  473. TMS transformed my life! While I was taking the treatment, I did not notice much change, but after the sessions, I am depression free. I still take Effexor, but could probably stop if I wanted to.

  474. When I found that I had a brain antidepressants didn’t work well on, they finally tested me for the MTHFR mutation. yep, the motherfucker mutation, its called in my house. Technically its methyl-tetra-hydro-folate-reductase. But whatever.
    Basically, it keeps your body from detoxing, and the gene is also a precursor to SAM-E, which is the precursor to dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. So, basically you don’t get the building blocks to even make the building block for happy chemicals. My life has changed since I started taking l-methylfolate, which is just the same thing we would normally get, but bypassing the fucked up gene. And turns out both my parents have it too…go figure.

    I also started doing a neuroplasticity program called the Dynamic Neural Reprogramming System, and its for POTS, PTSD, anxiety, depression, chemical sensitivities, food allergies… basically any brain that tends to go “OMGWTF!!!!” on a regular basis. It taught me to practice catching my brain going into depressive/anxious spirals, and change my thought patterns. It isn’t perfect, and takes practice, but I managed to not completely lose it when my mom died, because I was taking brain breaks to not freak out…and that has been the best $300 I have ever spent- those dvds, that is.

    I know this is long, but I hope if you get to this you are feeling better!
    Nikki 🙂

  475. I don’t know a lot about the therapy you are questioning, but I have seen Neuro Feedback (bio feedback) work wonders in several people I know. So if TMS isn’t an option, maybe check into that. It has changed our lives completely.

  476. A friend just sent me this post, and I want to say I’ve done TMS and it saved my life. Seriously—I would have killed myself long before now without it. I did it under particular circumstances that made it extra-likely to work, and I’d be more than happy to tell you more about them or the experience in general and help you find the right practitioner.

    You’re right that it’s not for everyone, but if it’s done in the most informed way—it often isn’t—it’s for a lot of people.

    I would go on and on, because I’m such a believer in this therapy, but I’ll stop for now, lest I make you think I’m a crazy person. I’m at if you’d like to talk.

  477. Hi Jenny,

    I don’t know much about TMS but was interested in it myself. A few years ago a doctor recommended ECT and that just sounded scary. It made me think of old movies and old psych hospitals. You mentioned that TMS is not as invasive as ECT which is good. Weighing the benefits versus potential side effects helps me decide usually. What has been the most helpful to me so far is medical marijuana. It has been a bit of a process learning what strains work for me and which ones to avoid. Sativa strains will usually make me more anxious so I tend to avoid them but they will motivate me enough to sometimes get stuff done even on a really bad day. Lately I have been finding a few Indica strains that work pretty well for me. The site leafly is good about telling you the side effects of each strain. Plus, looking at different properties of the strain like CBD, THC, CBN all will help narrow down a type for you if you ever try it. Hope you find some relief soon!

  478. Also, the doctor I worked with got my insurance to cover it.

  479. I’ve been both on meds and off for my mental illness going back to seventh grade. Long story short, I’ve found something that’s working (for now) and I’m supplementing it with journaling (I picture myself writing to an old friend so it feels a little more personal), reading (mostly your books), drawing, taking naps, withdrawing when I need to, copious amounts of cat-petting, singing, dancing, and avoiding social media as much as I can.

    Do I relapse? Hell yeah. Can I bounce back? Sure thing. Does it work for everyone? Who knows? Whatever decision you make, it’s the right one for you. Until maybe a better one comes along. In that case, THAT’s the right one for you and disregard everything I said.

    You’re amazing. Thank you for helping me. I wish I could help you a little bit more.

  480. Hey – I’m late to the party here, but wanted to bring something up I wasn’t seeing in the comments. If I missed one, I apologize. I was in to see my Botox girl this weekend (it was supposed to be a tattoo session that I couldn’t do – don’t ask.) Anyways, I had to mention the 2 new anti-depressants I am now on, and she said that there is research being done on the effectiveness of Botox in the Frowny area (between the eyes), and that a dr. in bethesda had gotten some really promising results and they’re supposed to be moving foward with more clinical trials. (especially for people that have failed multiple drug regimes). I have not followed up on this info or done any more research into it, so I don’t have anything else to share.

  481. Hi,

    I take a combination of antidepressants (currently Lexapro and Buspar, with Klonopin as needed) and since early February, have been doing Electroconvulsive Therapy- with the addition of Ketamine since mid-March. I have the great luck of being a “tough case” (Doctor’s words) because rather than having spells of depression, it’s sort of always there in the background, getting better or worse depending on a number of factors (I’ve discovered that getting enough sleep is one of the biggest factors).

    I spent 72 hours on a psychiatric hold last fall, and that’s where ECT was first suggested to me. I know it’s not for everyone and it’s a LOT to go through, but I’m pretty sure ECT- especially with the Ketamine- saved my life.

    Best of luck with whichever route you end up taking to battle this asshole of a disease. No matter what, you’re brave as f*ck for dealing with it head-on.

    Much love,

  482. I don’t know anything about tms. I just wanted to give some lovins. ❤

  483. Check out all sorts of Energy Medicine- I can give you the science, stories, and all that, but it is something you need to experience yourself. No side effects, realigning your body’s natural state of being, and an exploration of self. Happy to give you some ideas of where to go to explore it as an option.
    Big Love. E

  484. I had TMS done. It hurts and is very loud but you get used to it. I didn’t have any side effects other than a headache. I don’t think it helped me much? If anything, it was temporary. I had the Neurostar one. It was expensive.

    I did have hormone issues that hadn’t been addressed and have since had that fixed…and that was MAJOR for me.

    I also highly recommend genetic testing to see which medicines work best for your genes.
    I used Genesight. I still have to take meds, but it was good to find out why some of them
    made me so much worse.

    Just keep searching for answers. And thank you for sharing your struggle!

  485. I used Genesight too. In the process of switching to a completely different class of drugs based on that and feeling hopeful. Best of luck to you- your writing has brought me so many needed belly laughs on my darkest of days. Hang in there.

  486. You know how when you have depression the first thing everyone says is EXERCISE! Run! Work-out! The endorphins will make you sooooo happy. That’s total bullshit. There are a larger number of people who don’t get an endorphin high than do. But there is something else that happens during exercise. More labored breathing, which oxygenates the blood, which THAT is what calms a person and can help with depression. Oxygen. Not necessarily endorphins. Which is also why your .gif calms you. Because you are increasing the oxygen in your blood. So screw running. Find an oxygen bar and inhale that shit. Or even try a hyperbaric chamber therapy. Or take up scuba diving. Anything to increase the amount of pure O2 in your blood stream. I know it seems “outthere” and not a well known or prescribed form of therapy, but girl, trust me. Give oxygen a try. It’s a whole new world of aaaaahhhhh.

  487. Jenny,
    Thank you for sharing your struggles!!!
    I wish I could convey how much you have helped me.
    You are a rockstar!!!!

  488. I so appreciate you sharing your path. I don’t have depression but I do battle chronic migraines and I feel the same frustration when treatment after treatment fails and well intentioned people suggest things I’ve either already tried or things that are so outlandish they would never work. I so hope you find the healing you need.

  489. I had 45 sessions of TMS. It did help but wasn’t a miracle. At the time I was profoundly depressed, so having any improvement was very helpful. I was even able to wake up smiling, something I hadn’t done in years. I have bipolar type 2 rapid cycling, mostly depression and some hypomania. Still dealing with depression after it (though not as severe) I kept looking for other things to try (have tried many psych medications, currently on Lamotrigine). The thing that has helped me the most with the depression is low dose Naltrexone. It is used at a low dose for depression, anxiety, and some auto immune disorders. I have Hashimoto’s which is a thyroid auto immune disorder. Because it’s such a low dose (mine is 4.5) I haven’t had any side effects, which for a psych med is amazing to me. So I am continuing on Lamotrigine and low dose Naltrexone (LDN). Not all doctors prescribe LDN, I was glad to find one who did. I hope you’re able to find something that works well for you. Depression sucks!

  490. I was comment number 492, and I forgot to tell you something. TMS can vary in how it feels. Some people don’t find it uncomfortable at all. For me it was painful. I wasn’t able to tolerate it on the left side, so they switched to the right side and changed the pattern of the pulses. It still hurt, but I was able to tolerate it. The depression I had was horrible enough that I was willing to deal with the pain for all 45 sessions and I’m glad I stuck with it. I hope if you try it that you’re one of the people who find it comfortable.

  491. My sister-in-law tried TMS last year and it has worked wonders for her. Best of luck in making the decision that is best for you.

  492. Yes, take up jogging! The exercise will….oh, wait. Fuck that. You do what feels right for you. I don’t know anything about TMS, so I won’t comment on that. I’ll just say that we’re all here for you, and support you in your journey. Sending you love!

  493. Hiya Jenny – I am in the middle of a huge downswing so I feel ya. Hard. It’s so helpful that you’re here, speaking your truth (and often, mine as well). Thank you so much.

    I’m on Wellbutrin and it’s the only med that keeps me clinging on while not being flattened out. The psych office where I get my scrips does TMS (they are BIG on it) and I’m curious. Any port in a storm, man. Do whatever you need to responsibly feel better.

    And though I fought it for years, I finally started going to yoga (though I’m middle-aged and chunky and rigid and not at all a yoga babe. SFW – deal, hipsters). It freakin’ changed something in my brain chemicals – in a good way. I started making my own drugs and just feeling fantastic (combined with the meds, of course). Stupidly, I haven’t gone in 3 days, so I lost the magnificence of what it was doing to me. But if I go 5-6 times a week, I mellow the F out and actually feel good. I’m not a true believer from the spiritual whatever perspective, but no lie – I think it’s saving my life. Noon tomorrow – it’s time to feel better again. I know it sounds like a hippie – dippy suggestion, but whatever works, right?

    Wishing you the best with whatever you choose to help yourself. XOXOX

  494. I’m a therapist. With a PhD in neuroscience. It won’t make anything worse and will very likely help. Can’t go wrong doing it.

  495. Thank you for being our voice. As someone who struggles each day not to end it all, I appreciate it. I hope you find something that gives you peace.

  496. I went to my first psychiatrist because my husband and I were talking about starting a family but were concerned about my antidepressants and anxiety meds as well as my major depressive disorder. She told us that I would need to go off my meds, and see her at least twice weekly for progress care. She did offer the TMS as a treatment while pregnant.

    After that visit (and discussion with other doctors), we decided not to take me off any meds and not to try to have children. The thought of going off my meds, not just for my mental illness but also for my severe asthma, scared both of us. To this day I find it strange that she had offered TMS for during pregnancy.

  497. NO JENNY! NO NO NO! Don’t do That SHIT with your Brain!

    I know you want to feel better, I watched my young daughter die of depression. Victoria was 20.
    BUT NO, FUCK NO! I wanted her to feel better too, but I never wanted to lose who she was.

    What if you are the Canary in a MINE FIELD Of mental issues that we haven’t defined yet? What if you are our ALERT SYSTEM? Telling us that we are fucking up here?
    What if you are the WARNING?

    What if you never write again?

    You have saved so many lives, you have comforted so many people who have lost loved ones. To lose you would hurt terribly.
    Jenny Lawson, I hate that you are miserable and dysfunctional in your own view of yourself, but honestly, you are perfect just the way you are NOW. YOU ARE PERFECT.

    We all love you, please don’t risk it. Don’t take chances if there’s any other way to fight this problem.
    I take your Cactus Crotch shot threat seriously–I’m in Arizona now. We have a lot of Crotch and Ankle hating Cacti. But fuck it all, try Yoga if you can stand a group of losers trying to find Zen one bad balance at a time.
    It helps me, it helped Victoria.

    Jenny, bring your family circus out here if you can muster the energy, we’ll hide you for a fun weekend of watching the desert do weird things. Bobcat 2 weeks ago, gopher snake last week, birds galore. and a neighbors housecat attacked our home tonight.
    You know my email, let me know when you want to come visit.
    Best to you and yours, I’m very proud of you, and you save lives Jenny, You are a hero already.

  498. Hi Jenny. Iworked directly with TMS and tDCS/tACS for a couple of years – working directly with some of the more prominent researchers in the field (I was the research lab manager for Dr Fregni at Spaulding in Boston). I was trained in TMS as well as other neuronstim techniques. I have to tell you – it is one of the most promising non-pharmacological treatments for depression since ECT. Using standard treatment protocols, there are llimited risks as there are with any treatment. It is FDA approved for use in the treatment ofndepression and I have also read tons of the research – and for medication resistant depression, it can be extremely effective.

    In my work, we primarily used TMS as a measurement tool for changes in brain plasticity, but in either application (whether for treatment or measurement) the sensation is the same. It feels like a tapping on your head – you may feel facial miuscles twitch, or your fingers twitch (depending which area of the brain they are in). And you may feel tired after treatment because you’re having to sit in the same spot, in the same position for a long period of time. I have had TMS performed on me as part of research and training, and I have performed it on others. If you have specific questions, I’m happy to answer!

  499. I practice psychiatry an my office collaborates with a center that offers TMS. One of our docs sets the parameters for each client. Getting it covered by insurance has been a holdback, but those who have proceeded with TMS just need help with the insurance battle. I have only a few clients who have completed all the treatments. They all improved to varying degrees. Memory issues like with ECT aren’t problematic, no downtime, you can drive yourself to treatments. This isn’t necessarily a replacement for medication, although often less is needed or clients report the medication is more helpful.

  500. I can’t help with your question. Drugs always worked for me. But I do have two bits of unsolicited advice. One, there are companies now that can do genetic tests and tell you which drugs you should take. It will give you a report on which ones you will have good success with, which are likely to give you side effects, and which will suck and blow. My second is add massage and reiki to your meds. They have helped me tons and I’ve been able to go longer and longer off meds. This is the longest I’ve been without an ugly depression spiral. Now I’ve probably jinxed it.

  501. I know TMS and ECT are different, but I wanted to chime in and say that I saw first hand how much of a dramatic difference ECT made in a family member’s life. It carries such a bad stigma (thanks to movies and such) but it is pretty miraculous for some. It abruptly stopped all of his obsessive thinking and he was more present and peaceful than I’ve ever seen him. Even though it wasn’t a permanent fix, it did take the illness down to a more manageable level. I applaud you for being willing to try TMS and I wish you all the best.

  502. I’m late to the party but just wanted to mention this… in addition to taking Rx medications for depression/anxiety, I experienced a noticeable positive change in mood after taking Meriva (a curcumin supplement) for an unrelated problem. There have been some studies done on curcumin alone showing an antidepressant benefit, and I saw another study combining curcumin and fluoxetine (Prozac) that showed a significant benefit to patients taking them together. So, the benefit is not quite in the realm of established scientific fact, but maybe something to ask your doctor about and/or try if you decide against TMS. Note that it takes 4 – 8 weeks to really tell if it will help you.

  503. Just relax. Wait…no words have the power to make me feel homicidal than those two. I suffer from PTSD, GAD, ADD and depression, mostly in the order, although they like to get jiggy with it and dance together all of the time.

    I know I’m way down on the comments list, here, but all of the others have been so helpful in my search for what works for me that I’ll add my own story. No thoughts on TMS..I didn’t know what is was until right now.

    I cannot take SSRIs unless I have a 6 hour nap built into every afternoon, which isn’t an improvement from my main symptom of depression, which is not being able to get out of bed. I take Wellbutrin now and it has been effective for the depression and anxiety, but can exacerbate the anxiety disorders so I mix in benzodiazepines to counteract that. Getting a prescription for long-term use of benzodiazepines (Klonipin, Valium, etc) in my state is about like pulling teeth (or worse), so it can be very frustrating to get the meds I need.

    EMDR has been amazing for me. I call its getting “zapped” to my therapist, and it works miraculously. It’s like it re-sets my brain when it’s out of control. I know there are ways to do it on oneself, but I find that I need a trained therapist to guide me through the treatment in order for it to be effective.

    Good luck to all of you!

  504. in reply to your update, we’re not broken, not you , not me, not any of us, we’re just individual and wonderfully unique! there is no such thing as ‘normal’ and if there was, i don’t honestly think i’d want to be it because it must be very boring! no more random thoughts like do moles ever get it wrong and try to come up for air under a road and bang their heads? no more arguing between my sensible brain and stupid brain and no more being able to laugh at the most ridiculous things, how dull life would be! Sometimes the down times are hard and debilitating but I’ve learnt to accept and embrace the way i am and that makes the good times so much more fun.x

  505. I’m sure you’ve seen this, but I thought it might be helpful, or at least give you further resources to consult for a second opinion.

  506. It’s probably pretty small potatoes compared to what you’re up against, but it does help the body in a buncha ways–2000 units of Vitamin D a day. I suffer from long term, very low level depression, mostly in the winter, and Im directly affected by low light levels.
    Someone suggested that Vitamin D might help. It works a treat (and may work better in conjunction with other meds, too) and as a side benefit, my hair stopped falling out.

    Turns out, D is a kind of hormone thingy, and it behaves just that way, repairing and replacing anything that might be related to hormone losses. If you haven’t tried it, you might consider it as an add-on to what you ‘re getting already.
    I hesitate sometimes when it comes to vitamins, since some doctors still raise both eyebrows and shake their heads when vitamins or minerals are mentioned. But if it works, it works, and if it doesnt you havent invested too much of your soul in it…

    Beyond that, I surely hope the TMS works. You deserve a better deal than you’re getting, all around. Sometimes, sadly, it’s the price we pay for creativity. Nothing is free.

    judyt54 recently posted flavored water, yum.

  507. Because of people like you, people that speak openly about their mental illness, it makes it so much easier for me to post articles, pictures and even say that I’m having a hard time because of my depression or anxiety on Facebook or Twitter, or even to my “nonbeliever” family. I get most of my support from my online friends and long distance family that I can only speak to online. I have generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder for chronic mental illness, and more chronic physical illnesses than I care to count most days. You said “That’s the thing about treating chronic illness…different things work for different people and the exhausing process of finding a cure for your symptoms usually never completely goes away.” That caught me double in the chest, once for the mental and once for the physical. So even though I don’t have any treatments to recommend as the perfect cure or any info on the TMS treatment, I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you. When I’m having a bad day, I know I can read a few Twitter posts even, and feel a little lighter. Not a cure, but a decent treatment all the same! ☺ Thanks!

  508. Hi Jenny, I’ve had neuro Lyme recently and am now in remission. When I read your book and you grew up steeped in taxidermy, there’s a good chance your depression and anxiety could be caused by Lyme. There are tests you can take and a very good company out there who can give more definitive diagnosis for Lyme. Also, the Columbia School of Medicine has a whole neurological Lyme institute if you want to check that out. If diagnosed, there are several different avenues to explore to cure it. Have done so much research in this area and can certainly give you what seems to come to the top of the pile for many people to resolve it. You can also reach me for more info at Here’s to your feeling better!!! We need you. Big hugs!

    (I was tested for it. Don’t have it. But thanks! ~ Jenny)

  509. I hadn’t heard of TMS until now, but I’m a fan of whatever works. My depression is pretty manageable now, but it was really bad for many years when my kids were little. I only took SSRIs, which helped but never cured me. Sorry I can’t be of more help, but like I said, I support whatever works for people & everyone is different so it’s hard to know what that is.

  510. 513
    Anonymous Hedgehog

    Hey! That’s the breathing thing I use! Every little thing is useful.
    Including having your work to read–which is much greater than a little thing. Thank you.

  511. I’ve never tried TMS. But I want to tell you what helped me a lot. I need to be on antidepressants much of the time (I go on and off them). What has helped me a lot is practicing Buddhist teachings. Please don’t stop reading this! I know, it’s not exactly mainstream, and trust me, I would NEVER have thought such a thing would help. But it did. Mostly it’s about how you respond to your lows. Read some books by Pema Chodron (former elementary school teacher). They changed my life and they could yours.

  512. If it’s safe, go for it. I’ve had a depression diagnosis for about 14 years, and luckily medication has worked most of the time. Then, of course, I up and had a break down last year, which was terrible and horrible, and taught me to do whatever the hell is necessary to try and get better. Along with med changes, I’ve forced myself in to a sort of routine (mostly at night, morning is still chaos) which absolutely galls me because it makes me feel old. But, it’s either feel old, or be completely depressed and out of my mind. One of my doctors had me start with “sleep hygiene” which was just a game changer. I’d definitely recommend it, even if it just helps a little.

  513. I just did TMS this Feb-March. The side effects weren’t a problem – it was uncomfortable and disturbing at the beginning just b/c it was odd and new, but I got used to it. Yes, while you are doing the treatment sometimes your fingers can jump a bit. I did it for 6 weeks, 5 days a week. Around day 16 I started to feel my depression lift a lit