I retired with a bit of a PTSD issue. I was advised to seek out a counselor, someone to help me process and make sense of my anxiety and depression that I developed. After one phycologist, and three therapists I finally found one that I could relate to. My anxiety was getting under control but the depression remained. My family physician, Dr. Ashley Simpson, suggested that the folks at Genesis have had amazing success in dealing with depression with transcranial magnetic stimulation, TMS. I sought out information and scheduled an appointment. I met with Dr. Ted Williams and staff and after an initial conference, I agreed to the procedure.
The thought of one hour a day for 30 consecutive days was a task I thought may be difficult but once I got started I looked forward to my sessions. It was only three or four sessions later that I began to feel a difference in my moods. By the sixth or seventh session, I felt remarkably better. The best way of describing that feeling is as if a fog had been lifted and my thinking, reasoning, and decision making were a whole lot clearer. Genesis’ approach to their treatment is amazing. They assign the client with a team, a highly trained and professional team of therapists that guide you on your recovery. The procedure is painless, feels, and sounds like someone knocking on a door inside your head. I can’t explain how it works but it does. I’ve been able to lower my anti-anxiety and depression meds. I haven’t felt this good in a long time.
I want to thank Dr. Williams, Hunter Lilly, Carly, Melissa, and the rest of the staff for giving me a new sunrise in my life. Life is good and getting better.
A little back story on myself; I’ve been in EMS for 13 years. I became a paramedic at the age of 19, and sadly that was the beginning of a lifelong struggle. I poured my heart and soul into saving lives. By having that mindset, when I could not save someone, it destroyed me. I wanted to save the world, but all I could think about were all the people I could not save despite my best efforts. I came to a point in my career where life began to fall apart. I initially didn’t notice the changes I was experiencing. The people around me were the ones that noticed. People began wondering why I didn’t want to go do things that I used to enjoy. I would not allow myself to think about why I did not have the desire to do anything. It was second nature for me to shove it down to avoid dealing with all of the unresolved feelings. I made a change in careers, hoping this would help me. But, that is when I began to consume myself with work in an effort to avoid thinking about my depression.
I was put on over 15 different medications, diagnosed with multiple conditions, attempted different treatment plans, worked very hard in therapy, but nothing was working. I have officially been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and dissociative identity disorder. To put this bluntly, it sucks! I was so overwhelmed with everything and I didn’t know where to start. It didn’t matter what I tried or how hard I tried, nothing was working. I felt like I was struggling to survive through a day; battling depression and anxiety the whole time. Despite having a great job, recently receiving a promotion, and thriving at work, my life was falling apart. Unfortunately, I ended up turning to alcohol as a way to escape when I was home. Alcohol would numb the feelings, but once that wore off, I was still faced with the same problems. Drinking was my way to cope, however it quickly became a problem. I had been suffering from constant nightmares, panic attacks, depression, and anxiety, day and night. I felt like I was drowning every day. Every waking moment was spent trying to figure out how I could escape the overwhelming feelings of depression and anxiety. There is no way to convey how exhausted I was from this battle on a daily basis.
I wanted it all to end, and if that meant taking my own life, then that’s what I was going to do. I came up with different plans, wrote suicide letters, and was focused on putting an end to my misery. There were some unanticipated circumstances that prevented the follow-through. Thankfully, I did not take my own life. I informed my best friend and therapist about my spoiled plans. I felt ashamed that things had spiraled so badly I would try to take my own life. I felt like a failure with myself, in life, and to those that cared about me.
After confessing to them, I was not given a choice anymore in regards to what I thought was best. The “I’m fine, I’ll figure it out” mentality as a disguise was not going to work. They stepped in to fight for my life when I couldn’t. The two of them worked together and placed me into an inpatient treatment facility for veterans, military, and first responders called, Warriors Heart, where I spent 7 weeks. This was the first time I admitted that my life was spiraling out of control. I held on to so much guilt and shame which ultimately became an endless fall. Nothing was going to change until I faced it head-on. I began to allow myself to open up, began to fight for myself, and developed a will to live. I realized that I alienated myself from friends and family and destroyed relationships that were important to me. It broke my heart to realize how much damage I had done not only to myself but to those I love and care about. When I completed the treatment program, I was feeling great. I continued therapy and treatment. Things were really good for about three months, then I began to notice that the depression and anxiety were starting to spiral again. I was devastated. All of the time in treatment, all the medications, all of the therapy, just to feel like I am back where I started.
Thankfully, my Genesis treatment team stayed with me every step of the way. Together we agreed to first focus on the medications; adding meds, changing meds, and even taking meds away in hopes of finding the right combination. I would manage to find a little relief, but it was short-lived, I felt like I was hanging on by a thread. The suicidal thoughts were coming back and I felt hopeless. My team at Genesis then spoke to me about TMS. My initial reaction was hesitation, only because I did not know anything about it. It was a big chance on something I have never heard of. Genesis provided me with research and answered every question I had. I decided that TMS was my best shot. On my first day of treatment, Dr. Williams took the time to see how I was feeling about treatment. I told him that I wanted to be hopeful, but getting my hopes up usually ended with me being let down. He very sweetly said, “How about we go with cautiously optimistic.”
I was pleasantly surprised that the treatments were so painless I wondered if it was even working. Initially, I did not notice any major changes, then three weeks into treatment, it seemed like someone turned on the lights in my head. I felt this euphoric feeling that I have never felt in my life. It was an uncomfortable and foreign feeling for me. I was trying to convince myself to embrace the feeling. I was convinced the euphoric feeling would go away and that I should not let myself be hopeful. As I continued with treatments, I shared with Lilly what happened with the euphoric feeling. I just knew it was a matter of time and it would go away. Lilly told me to let myself enjoy it.
That euphoric feeling lasted about a week. During that time, I felt absolutely amazing! I decided that I wanted to be adventurous because I was not bound by the chains of depression that held me captive for so long. I got a much-needed break from the hell I had been living through.
As I continued through TMS treatment, I was attending therapy twice a week. Through the combination of the two, I felt that my mind began to open up. I was starting to feel many emotions and recall memories that I had both intentionally and unintentionally suppressed many years ago. I will admit, experiencing these relatively new emotions felt overwhelming at times. But I was ready to process and feel what I needed to. This was a fight for my life and having a quality of life that I wanted to live for.
Through Genesis, in conjunction with TMS, I attended the Wild 5 wellness group as well as the anxiety and depression support group. This along with my continued therapy sessions were a huge commitment, but I owed it to myself. These were all key parts of my recovery. TMS by itself can show amazing results, but the underlying reasons for the anxiety and depression will still be there. At the end of my TMS treatments, I was told that my depression was in remission. I never in a million years thought I would hear that. All of the work, the appointments, the therapy sessions, the TMS sessions, were paying off.
I am still rebuilding the relationships with those I love and I remind myself that I cannot quit working on myself. If I ever stop working on myself, I will end up back to where I started; and that is when I was desperately wanting to be where I am now. To put it shortly, “I am not where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.” I have finally taken ownership of my life, turning my pain into purpose. I learned to accept reality, which can be still difficult but is also a step towards finding inner calm and peace. No, life is not perfect for me, but it is now worth living. TMS gave me the opportunity to reclaim my life and continue my story.
My story isn’t over.