TMS – Round 3 – Short Treatment

Hi guys!! Well, I’m two days late with my second week of posting. And, believe it or not, this is my last week of treatment for a few weeks. Sadly, due to unexpected circumstances, I can’t afford my co-pay for a few weeks. So Cal TMS has graciously offered to let me make payments, but I’d rather be able to pay as I go. So, I’m waiting to see how this month goes at work, and what I might be getting paid next month. But there is good news……..

I forgot that I had “highs & lows” during my first two treatments. I honestly don’t think I did during the first round, because I was SOOOO LOW that any little sign of going up or getting better was a pure blessing. I remember them telling me that it is very common for most during the first couple of weeks, but I didn’t remember it. Tracy, my original tech, assured me that I did experience this the second time – and again, totally normal.

So this time I noticed it – for the first week and a half. It wasn’t bad, but it scared me. I wondered for a moment if maybe it wouldn’t work for me this time?? Then poof – last Thursday the lows stopped, and I noticed the great things again. I was able to let things go faster, less looping, more energy, laughing more, getting more done in a day – all of the things that had been slowly but surely slipping away from me. The best part being that TMS is still the ONE THING that always works for me – and it doesn’t take long. If this wasn’t my third time going through this, there is NO WAY I would put off the balance of the days in this round. However, I know it works for me, and quickly, and I know that it’s already helped me immensely in just three short weeks (and I mean short – 4 days a week twice, 3 days a week once). So starting back up to finish in a few weeks is a good thing – not a scary thing.

Please friends – share this treatment option with anyone you know who may be suffering. I would surely not be here now if it wasn’t for TMS. Contact me, or So Cal TMS Center – reach out and ask the questions. It could save your life or the life of someone you love.

KEEP FIGHTING!!

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I’m Back!!! TMS – Round 3

Hi Guys!!!

Surprised to hear from me? It’s been quite the whirlwind for me this year! But I just started my third round of TMS, so of course, I want to give you all the details.

As I think I mentioned at the end of last year, I met a man who seemed to be pretty incredible. I’d seen him around, so to speak, for a few years, but we didn’t really say much to each other except hi. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and timing does as well. Daren is my landlords son, and I’ve lived here since November of 2013. I was sick over the summer last year, and he showed up on my doorstep to do things like take out my trash and wash my car. I was at my physical worst – matted/dirty hair, coughing up blood, no voice……. bottom line is, we connected. We went out for the first time on August 26th, (and no, it was NOT a date!!), and we’ve been together ever since. I think that we came together last summer because we were both at a place where we could “see” and appreciate each other. He’s amazing, which you will hear more about.

So, I had some scary medical issues at the beginning of the year. It was a throw back to my thoracic outlet syndrome/blood clot/cervical rib odyssey back in 2007. After months of many doctors, treatments, and a hospital stay, it was coming down to trying to get into pain management and/or physical therapy. Then it happened………

On August 18th, Daren was in a horrifying accident that should have killed him. He’s raced super cross bikes since he was a kid, broken many bones, has plates/rods/bolts everywhere in his body, and it never phased him. On that day, he was on a “Mule” (which is basically a 4×4 golfcart), and in a freak accident he was catapulted off a cliff, over 100 feet. The horror of that night is not being able to find him, seeing the fire department, ambulances, and police – and nobody telling me if he was dead of alive. For hours.

Bottom line is he was life-flighted, dangling from a helicopter to a trauma hospital. 6 major surgeries in 16 days. He had his right leg amputated below the knee (and yes, they tried to save it), broke his right arm, and was banged up bad – obviously. His face is still perfect – not a mark on him, not even a chipped tooth. But this was the accident that had him seeing the reality that your life can change in an instant.

32 days in the hospital, 12 days in acute rehab. He had to use a walker with an arm rest because he couldn’t use his right arm (broken wrist). I’ve known since day one that he’s incredibly strong, and I’ve called him my hero for quite a while, but seeing his physical and mental strength through this was awe inspiring.

Two weeks after the accident, my problems with my neck/shoulder forced me to take time off work. I was mentally and physically exhausted from the accident, daily trips to the hospital, worry, anxiety…….you name it. I woke up one morning and couldn’t move – and I still couldn’t get into pain management or physical therapy for a month. My psychiatrist took me out of work because I was cracking. I thought it was just physical, with the added stress of the accident. For the first time EVER – my physical body gave out before my mental health. Shocking!

And – wait for it – 10 days after the accident WE GOT MARRIED!!! Yep. I got married! Who saw that coming?!?!? NOT ME!! We got married in the hospital, and without giving you even more to read, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were made for each other. And every single minute of every day, I know it deeper in my sole.

So, Daren came home just before Memorial Day. I had started physical therapy, went back to work, and life was returning to what our new normal would be. Things are good. Then, about two weeks ago I noticed something. I was getting more and more tired, and irritable. My patience level was below tolerable, I was crawling out of my skin, having trouble concentrating, my head wouldn’t never shut up!! Endless amounts of looping – every minute of every day – about the most ridiculous things. And then it hit me………….. it’s back.

When I started my Round 2 of TMS, I thought I was going to treat my anxiety. I learned through that experience that my anxiety is what presents itself FIRST – it IS my depression! The anxiety symptoms are my body and mind telling me that I’m not where I should be – and if I don’t handle it now – it will take me down to a depressive episode. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to let that happen.

So, I got in touch with my wonderful friend/first TMS tech Tracy, and told her what was going on. So Cal TMS has opened a lot of new offices, and there’s one right by my office. Within 2 days of coming to grips with the fact that I needed to get back on track, the wheels were in motion. I started my third TMS round last Tuesday, June 26th.

I remember the very first time I went to TMS I was told that most patients go up and down with feelings, etc., in the beginning. I never did that – neither round. I went steadily up and up. This time, I noticed within the first 24 hours that I was going up and down. Nothing bad, at all. But I would be okay one minute, and then all of a sudden I’d be overly emotional, or edgy, and have no idea why. But it went away pretty quick. The fact that I was already noticing it “went away fast” shows that TMS had already lessened the feelings I was having constantly prior to starting. This weekend I was at a family celebration, and my social anxiety kicked in. Too many people, too much noise – just basically uncomfortable in my own skin. That night I even started crying and having feelings of “Why did this man marry me? I’m too much for anyone to handle”. Which, isn’t true. Daren has accepted me 100% for who I am, even at my worst – since day one. But that doesn’t mean my depression doesn’t try to tell me the exact opposite. Then, later that night – I was fine!

Today, 5th day of treatment – I felt pretty good! Still tired in the morning, but got through the work day without dread, made it through traffic without wanting to pop a Xanax, and even got my internet connected on my computer again without thinking I might throw something through the window. And, NOT TIRED!!!

I love that I know what I have to do to keep myself on track. If it wasn’t for TMS, I still swear I wouldn’t be here today. The year 2015 would have been it for ┬áme. And yet, I’m here, living a great life, and still dealing with Chronic Major Depressive Disorder every day. People have other diseases that have to be managed every day – and mental illness is no different.

My mission in all of this has ALWAYS been to spread the word, share my story in case someone else can relate and know they aren’t alone, and to BREAK THE STIGMA. It’s the same now, and just as strong – if not stronger. Do not be ashamed of any illness you have – especially if it’s not “visible” like some others may be. We are all different, and most of us have illnesses we have to manage. Mental illness is no different, and it is NOTHING to be ashamed of. Would you be ashamed for having diabetes? Heart disease? Or getting cancer? NO – you wouldn’t. So why be ashamed of something that your brain isn’t doing? People aren’t ashamed of their heart not working right, or their liver, kidneys……… WE ARE NO DIFFERENT!!

I’m doing TMS again because I KNOW it works! I know it gave me a life I had never imagined existed before. And if I have to go for a “recharge” every year or so, I’m more than okay with that. It’s not chemo every day. It’s not a heart or liver transplant – it’s a painless treatment that I only need once a year or so – to LIVE. So you better believe I’m going to be the first one in the chair when I need it.

I still have a lot going on – new marriage, work, adjusting to a new-ish lifestyle, so I’m not going to be writing every day. I will promise to write every week to give you all an update. I don’t know who’s reading, or who I may reach – but that doesn’t matter. All I know is if I don’t share my story – my truth – then I’m not doing my part. Maybe my story does reach one person, somehow, and they know they aren’t alone. They may discover that someone else has felt how they do – and they survived. Thrived even. I have to tell my story – because you never know who might be listening.

Be well friends. Watch over your loved ones. Pay attention. Listen, look, and for God’s sake – TALK ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS! It is all of our responsibility to BREAK THE STIGMA.

And, KEEP FIGHTING!

My Next Fight

Well, I’ve been surprisingly quiet about this. I’ve been trying to process it all. But I’m putting it out there a little now because I can use all of your positive thoughts.

Some of you know I had a life threatening medical issue 11 years ago. I thought it was part of my past.

I found out Friday that it’s back, and worse. I’m seeing a Thoracic Surgeon Tuesday to find out more. What I do know is I will be having major surgery soon. I’m just not sure which one yet.

I don’t want to lose my arm, and more importantly, I don’t want to die. I’m trying to stay calm, but yes, I’m scared to death.

I’ve fought for everything my entire life. It’s never been easy, but I ALWAYS fight. And you bet your ass I’ll fight this too.

On Tuesday, I will be celebrating 17 years of sobriety – on the same day I find out what happens next with my arteries. Getting sober was a fight I still fight every day, so celebrating 17 years of that huge fight is pushing me to fight this next battle too.

I’m thankful for so much. My family, my friends, and my amazing boyfriend who is by my side and holding my hand.

Another fight for another day. Please send positive thoughts. Everything helps.

HELP ME REACH DAVE GROHL & SAVE LIVES!!!!

HEY DAVE GROHL – I NEED YOUR HELP!!!!

**SHARE – WITH EVERYONE!! NEW YEAR – RENEWED MISSION!!**

Okay, so you all know about my 100% commitment to spreading the word on MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS, Breaking the Stigma, and getting help to everyone and anyone who needs it. This is an epidemic, and society needs to wake the hell up about these topics because people are dying every minute of every day because not enough people understand the disease, have the compassion or empathy to reach out and help others, and the stigma surrounding this is intolerable.

As you all know I am sober, and the one thing I’ve been hit with most last year is the number of addicts and alcoholics – both sober and using – that are mentally ill on some level. I firmly believe that many people who drink or use do so to numb the pain and “feel better”. Those lucky enough to survive addiction and get clean or sober very often find themselves using or drinking again, or, God forbid, not being able to deal with the underlying causes of why they did so in the first place – depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia – or any other mental illness. Sadly, many end up committing suicide.

I know that this is not the case in every situation, but I do believe it happens more often than considered. I got sober in a 12 Step program that saved my life, and I still live my life by the principles I learned there. The one thing I do know is that there is a lot of negativity around using mental health medications – which are just as life saving and necessary as diabetes medication, heart medication, etc. And, having a system of sobriety, the right doctors, and even medications if necessary is what has kept me alive this long.

So, I’m taking a huge leap of faith, and I know it seems ridiculous on a lot of levels – but I need help. I need to get the attention of someone huge, someone with reach, who also has heart and compassion, and most of all has been affected by all of the things I have spoken about here.

DAVE GROHL – You’re a man of heart, compassion, one of my idols, and I know you have been touched in your lifetime by addiction and suicide. PLEASE HELP ME!! I’m not asking to meet you, or for anything for myself. I’m asking that you help spread the word on MENTAL ILLNESS – how it kills good people every minute of every day. Maybe with more people talking about it, we will all come to understand more, and save more lives. You have the voice, the reach, and the heart to help me. Please Dave – help me do this!!

If everyone who sees this shares it, re-posts it, tells someone, etc., maybe this idea will reach someone, even Dave, who can help get the word out. Let’s make 2018 the year that we made the most difference and saved more people from unnecessary pain, suffering and death.

 

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Ending 2017 – The changing faces of Anxiety & Depression

Hi friends…..! I know I haven’t written since I ended TMS last June. There is really no good excuse, other than to say life gets busy. I also got horribly sick on August 4th and was out of work for 46 days. Losing that much of life “normalcy” tends to throw me for a loop.

There have been a lot of changes for me. I finally got off of Cymbalta after years of being on it and almost a year of wanting to not take it. It took a long weaning off process, but I’m glad it’s gone. I started taking Buspar, which was highly recommended by two very respected doctors, but it was a roller coaster for me. It’s supposed to be excellent for people with major depression and anxiety, but I had allergic reactions, mood reactions, and ended up stopping it. This caused my depression to resurface, and I’m not take a VERY low dose of Buspar along with my Viibryd. I’m still taking Xanax for anxiety when needed, but it’s usually only .5mg once or twice a week.

I’ve had a rough holiday season. I LOVED the holidays as a kid, because my grandparents made them magical. Over my adult life I’ve had a love/hate relationship when they arrive. I look forward to it every year, but the stress, money, planning issues, etc. end of making me a train wreck. This year was the one that made me decide I am never again doing Christmas the way anyone else thinks it should be done.

Additionally, I cut off any “normal” relationship with my mother in April. I love her dearly, but she is an alcoholic who never really wanted to be a parent, and made it clear my entire life that I was a bother to her. I’ve readjusted my boundaries with her countless times, and I finally realized that I just can’t communicate with her on a regular basis. This, sadly, has worked well for me. I hadn’t seen her in a year, and we all (my family) saw her for Christmas. She’s shriveled down to 92 pounds, still smoking and drinking, has the worst case or psoriasis I have ever seen – and will NOT listen to anything anyone says. She believes every doctor knows everything, and that she has no need to get a second opinion, or let any of us help her. Stubborn does not begin to describe this woman. I almost had a nervous breakdown the entire week prior to her visit and collapsed with the flu and emotional overload yesterday after dropping her off. On the way home from taking her home, my aunt calls to tell me that the entire family insists we get my mom to see another doctor, etc. I have tried this until I bleed from my eyes for YEARS, and it only lead to my mother and I not having a real relationship. I ended up telling my Aunt that if she wants to try to get my mom to accept help, she will have to talk to her, because I will not let that woman abuse me any more in my life, especially when all I’m trying to do is keep her alive. How do you handle the feelings of loving a parent and wanting the best for them, and yet not letting them emotionally abuse you any longer for your own protection?

Surprisingly, I’ve been in a relationship since August. He’s a wonderful, giving, loving, understanding person and he actually showed up in my life when I was at my worst – when I was sick for the 46 days over the summer. I’ve never had any man in my life that supported me like he does. What I have learned over my life is that there have only been 3 people ever that loved and accepted me completely – 100% of the time – no questions asked: my grandparents, and my best friend David. My family and friends love me, but my anxiety and depression – and the moods they bring about in me, along with overwhelming feelings, etc., make it really hard to totally relate to me. I either come off as bitchy, isolating, feeling sorry for myself, unfeeling (when I’m trying to protect myself), or just plain misunderstood. I know now more than ever in my life that finding someone who can be understanding towards this condition and respectful, tolerant, and everything else, is not only not easy – it’s almost impossible. That is why I tend to isolate when things get hard – it’s too hard to explain how I feel on a level that “normal” people can comprehend it, but it’s a lot for someone to watch. This last month has been up and down immensely for me – and I realize that even my wonderful boyfriend might not be able to deal with it. It’s not his fault – not even close. But it’s easier for me to be alone than have to shut up, close down, or tried to hide my feelings around someone I’m with constantly. If I can’t be myself, I have to be alone. And me being me is not an easy thing for anyone – I get it. So, I have to lay it out on the table and be willing to accept that he might bot be able to handle it. No fault of his, but I have to put it all out there.

I’m emotionally drained right now. I had to sit down and write all of this because I’m so overwhelmed, that I had to get it out – and as you all know – writing is the only way I can do that. I still get panic attacks occasionally when I realize that these diseases are going to be what I battle for the rest of my life, and a daily basis, with no clue as to when or where something might change (meds, body chemistry, situations, etc.), that can send me into a tailspin. Life changes in an instant, for everyone. The thought of having it all be too much at some point is not lost on me.

I love you all, and please – be compassionate, be kind, respect other people’s struggles. We all of different demons we deal with – and just because your demons seem worse, or someone else’s seem like “no big deal, you never know what is going to be too much for someone to handle.

Here’s praying for peace, understanding and love in 2018.

KEEP FIGHTING!

End of TMS Round 2

So, I decided to do the last 5 sessions of TMS – the last week – without updates. I wanted to take the time to absorb it all, process it, and then reflect.

So, again, it was very different from last time, for a lot of reasons. One, I wasn’t in a full blown depressive breakdown since my anxiety is what presented first. And, as I said previously, what depression symptoms were being brought on by the anxiety quickly dissipated and then disappeared. In all honesty, I’m not sure if the TMS really did “wonders” for my anxiety. I do know that it has been made so incredibly better since I started, and that’s what counts. I’ve changed the dosage on my Viibryd, tried “right side” TMS, and learned a lot from Dr. D at the center about anxiety and depression – both together and separately. All of these things combined have made things so incredibly better that I couldn’t be happier. I know I have options going forward, and that in itself is priceless. I’ve learned how to better manage the anxiety, and learned that I need to deal with it daily just like I do with my depression – and not to assume that one is caused by the other – they are separate and equally deadly – so I have to be constantly monitoring both.

The one thing that has stood out very much to me is that my empathic abilities have skyrocketed over the last few months. I feel in my gut that this is because of the treatment this time. I feel like I’ve been moved to a better understanding of my thoughts, brain activity, emotions, etc., and because of that, I’ve become “free and open” to receive energy and read things in a healthy way. I’ve always had these abilities, but now that I’m learning more about protecting myself from negative energy, how to calm down (so to speak) and listen to what my heart and soul are really feeling and saying to me, I’m experiencing a growth in this “thing” that I now am sure is a huge gift. If I process my feelings – depression, anxiety, frustration, etc. – as they come up, and with absolute clarity, my mind is clearer and I am more able to receive the energy from others that gives me insight. I know it all sounds a little wacky to some of you, but I firmly believe in this because of I’ve had a lifetime of these experiences that I couldn’t explain, started to read about, and that have been proven to me over time.

So, once again, because of this experience, I have been given gifts that I never expected. So incredibly blessed, and a major advocate for TMS therapy. I know more and more research is being done every day to find how it can help with other ailments, and I firmly believe that in the not too distant future this will be helping many more people who are suffering.

Thank you again, to everyone at So Cal TMS………. Dr. Todd Hutton, my wonderful friend/tech Tracy, Doctor D., Stephanie, Brandon……..anyone I’ve come across and worked with. You are an amazing group of people and I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. You have all become a special part of my heart since we first crossed paths over a year ago, and I’m sure we will be meeting again down the road.

Much love friends!!

KEEP FIGHTING!!

TMS Round 2 – #32, #33 & #34

What a busy week. I even went on a date. WHAT?!?!?!? Well, it was actually a coffee “meet & greet”, but it had a “date” feel. I went out to meet someone I didn’t know, risking meeting someone new, and chancing letting someone into my life. Dramatic, a little. But I don’t take it lightly. It’s not easy for me. It went well, which was nice. Sweet guy who is on a great life path that is very similar to mine. That doesn’t happen often – at all. He’s had challenges in his life, as have I, and he’s turned it all into putting himself on a better life path. I admire that, and I understand it. Bottom line, I’m looking forward to getting to know him more, slowly. That’s more than I can say about anyone I’ve come across in a very long time. I rarely get to the “meet in person” phase. And, usually, when I do, that’s where it ends. No harm, no foul. Knowing I’m willing to get to know him better is a good sign. We were going to get together today, but I’m broke until I get paid again, and I don’t ever go out if I can’t pay my own way. It’s not fair to the other person. Plus, sadly, today is one year ago that I lost my kitty Henry, and it’s hitting me hard.

Yeah…….I said goodbye to my boy one year ago today. In some ways I can’t believe it’s been a year. On the other hand, I think about him daily, and remind myself that he’s no longer in pain, and still with me and Indy in spirit. I even saw him TWICE yesterday out of the corner of my eye. It’s comforting knowing my Bubba is still close by.

My anxiety is MUCH better. I didn’t even take Xanax yesterday! It was a hard day, memories of my boy and all. I slept a lot, but in my defense I had a very long week and I needed to rest up. Still, no Xanax. That’s only twice in 4 months. But I can feel the anxiety symptoms dissipating, and that makes me happy.

I only have 5 more TMS treatments – Friday will be my last one. I’m so grateful for this entire experience. It’s also amazing to me how different it all is from last year. Since this all started with anxiety instead of depression this time, it’s been a different path. What depression symptoms were presenting because of the anxiety started being alleviated quickly. And, I’ve learned so much about my illness – the ties between anxiety and depression, how they are so intertwined, and my options – things I never saw coming. Up until this phase, I never realized how much anxiety I had. I’ve only dealt with anxiety over the last few years, whereas I’ve battled depression my entire life. I always thought my anxiety was caused by my depression. Now I know they are separate issues, and yet can be triggered, aggravated, and made worse by each other. I have to keep a close eye on both of them, daily. One is not necessarily a side effect of the other – they have to be watched carefully – both together and standing alone.

I’ll write this week about my last treatments. And, as always, I will continue to blog about my illness in my daily life. I will always strive to be a loud voice for those of us who suffer, because we deserve to live good, happy lives – and I know how difficult that can be.

Love you all…………

KEEP FIGHTING!!