My TMS treatments consisted of 36 treatments. It takes a bit of a commitment because as I said until the final two weeks the treatments are daily. Each visit begins with standard questions to see if there is any change in my medications and if I have had thoughts of hurting myself or others. Then a paper strip is put around my head which is a measurement tool for placement of the coil. The chair is reclines and the coil is put in its pre-determined location just above my head. A test pulse is given to make sure it feels ok to me and to check placement. Then the pulses begin. After each group of pulses there is a twenty something second pause until the next. A tone sounds to let me know the next round of pulses will commence. This continues for just under 40 minutes.
You can listen to music or watch TV to help pass the time. The staff is super nice and very accommodating. Since I wear glasses that have to be removed because of the metal I can not watch TV but I now play my iPod to pass the time.
I say all that very matter of fact but in reality it was much more difficult for me. As I said before I don’t like medical procedures and my anxiety is at such a high level that just getting and staying there was an achievement. A part of my anxiety is a fear of being alone away from home so my partner accompanied me to the treatments.
Initially each time they put me in that chair I wanted to jump up and leave. I would sit motionless lost in my anxious mind, using every technique I have learned to remain calm and hold back the panic. Many days that first week I wanted to give up and just go home. Having my partner with me and utilizing all my tools helped me stay in the chair and complete each session. Working through anxiety is exhausting and I’d go home and rest afterwards.
I felt no effects during those first sessions. It’s been reported that some people can start experiencing noticeable improvements as early as the first week. For me it was all about enduring, getting there, staying in the chair, and finishing each treatment. I was fatigued the entire week from the added stress and anxiety.
Towards the middle to end of the second week of treatments I began to notice some changes. Subtle and what I call moments. Sometimes after the treatments for an hour or so my mood would improve. One of the first things I noticed was that I was listening to my favorite music in the car again.
I have always loved music and it is a big part of my life, but for about a year I hadn’t really listened to my old favorites or anything pop current, I couldn’t handle a pounding beat, and I didn’t feel any enjoyment from it. Instead I would listen to calming, spiritual, meditative music, or mindfulness podcasts.
That my enjoyment of music was slowly returning was a sign that something positive was happening. It was very inconsistent and some days it wasn’t there at all, other days it could vary from fifteen minutes to an hour or better. It was still an improvement and I reveled in actually enjoying something I haven’t been able to enjoy in over a year.