Monday, 27 February 2017


Well, it’s been 9 months since I finished TMS treatment. It didn’t help. Actually, I think it helped with the anxiety for a bit, for a while – I was able to search for an apartment without being reduced to a quivering ball of sobbing tissue. Most of the time. But now I’m back to where I was before treatment. I never heard back about the research study I participated in. But I still think the MRI pics are cool!

I have my own apartment now. My sisters both give me money every month to supplement welfare (called Ontario Works) so that I can afford to live here. (Taking money from family feels so humiliating, even though they both have been wonderful about it. But it’s better than renting a room. Thank god for siblings!) It’s a small one-bedroom in a modest complex. I took custody of my older sister’s two cats when she moved out west to be closer to her little grandson. So: my own place (HALLELUJAH!) and I have company. Both of those things contribute greatly to my sanity! I didn’t realize how much I missed my privacy and my belongings until I was here. And it was time for cats. I’ve known these cats for a couple years and it would have broken my heart to see them go to a shelter. We make a good family now. They do make me laugh! And feel needed.

I am waiting to find out the final ruling on my ODSP benefits (Ontario Disability Support Program). I was denied, we appealed, denied again, it went to a hearing and I should hear about the adjudicator’s decision within 60 days. Fingers crossed. If you are applying for ODSP, or any other type of government support, please, please, PLEASE, get legal assistance! If you can’t afford to hire someone, go to a legal clinic or try your province’s legal aid program. Most cities have community legal aid clinics, and any university or college with a law program usually will as well. I am intelligent and have navigated government applications and bureaucracies throughout my career, and there is NO WAY I would have got this far on my own! Now I have a good chance of winning. The woman I have been working with at the city legal clinic is a paralegal and disability support benefits is all she does, so she knows what works, what is needed, and how to get it. Do it!

I have also expressed interest in joining a study into the effects of Ketamine on depression. The researcher is reviewing my file, and if I’m not disqualified for some reason, she will call me for further screening. Ketamine has proven extremely effective in the short term and especially in hospital emergency rooms with people who are suicidal. The only concern is that there is an experimental group that receives the medication, and a control group that does not. It is a double blind study, so the participants and even the researchers do not know who is in which group. The good thing is if I get in the control group, after the research is finished, I can try the medication to see if it works for me. Here’s the link to the details of the study: Again fingers crossed!



Tuesday, 21 June 2016


My depression does not come from nowhere and is not formless. It is the result of my firm and immutable belief that life/ the gods/ the universe hates me and/or is punishing me and that it is impossible for me to be loved. This is based on my experiences throughout my life. No matter how much I have tried, and tried, and tried, I cannot connect with someone; I have no love in my life. I am alone. Always have been. Always will be. That is the belief that my life sits on.

I have to admit that for the last week or two, I have been feeling pretty good. I have felt the tug of depression but not too strongly. Just when going to sleep at night. Not sure whether this is the effect of treatment or just a good phase I am going through. I just can't tell. It is possible that it is the TMS. Possible. I think my anxiety is down quite a bit. And my depression is often a reaction to anxiety: I just cannot deal with anxiety so I think of things to depress me so I can sleep. It works.

However, two nights ago, I fell into the pit of depression. There's an actor I just crushed on and when I do that, all my beliefs about the hopelessness of my life erupt. (I haven't crushed on a 'real' man in several years. In part b/c actors are 'safer' since they're aren't really real, and in part b/c there just haven't been any men around me since I went off work on sick leave.) Horrible things went on in my head and I finally I cried myself to exhaustion and slept. I was depressed and subdued all the next day.

At the time, while I was torturing myself emotionally, the depression felt just as deep as it ever has. Now, I'm not so sure it was. And it only lasted a day and a half or so. I'm not as upbeat as I was before it hit me, but close. Again, the result of treatment or just a fluke of mental health?

Today while in treatment, my psychiatrist stopped in with a medical resident whom he was explaining the treatment to. He said that it is believed the treatment helps b/c it increases "neuroplasticity."

From Wikipedia:
Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity, is an umbrella term that describes lasting change to the brain throughout an individual's live course.
So right now, my brain should be more able to be changed. Maybe if I think things I would LIKE to believe instead of what I DO believe, even though I don't currently believe them, they might change my brain for the better. Things like:
I think I can grant that it is possible for those thoughts to be true even though I don't believe they are currently. So I put them as pop-ups on my phone with reminders several times a day. We'll see if they help. Maybe my brain can adapt and accept them. Who knows...

PS, they say everybody likes blogs that have pictures better, so here is one of the lake behind the hospital one hot windy day last week.

Monday, 6 June 2016


Two full weeks under my belt, nearly half way done, and I don't feel any different. I am sleeping better than before I started but I go through periods of sleeping well, not sleeping well, back and forth.I still sink into the black pit regularly, hating my life, hating my future, wishing I had never been born, looking forward to dying some day, can't come soon enough.
The best I can say about TMS is that I don't feel any worse.

I'm not sure that anything can get rid of my depression. My whole life has majorly sucked and my future has nothing but sucking in it. Even if my brain isn't depressed my life is.
I am concerned that TMS will take away my access to my pain. I know that should be a good thing but my pain is like a friend. It is the one constant in my life. Whenever I want I can touch my pain, like a missing or chipped tooth. It is comforting to cry sometimes, especially at night when I can't sleep; it puts me to sleep. What if the depression and pain are still there but out of reach? What if I can't cry when I want to? What if it just makes me dull and numb rather than sad or happy? What will I do then?
What I hope is that it will at least relieve the depression that drains all the energy and will out of me, and that I will feel like doing things again. Like cooking, tidying my room, creating, being social. All those things are too draining for me to do regularly and have been for a lot of years. Just give me back energy. I would be grateful for that.

Monday, 30 May 2016


One week of treatments under my belt. I've decided to try a week of taking only 1 Naproxen with my morning meds instead of two for a week and see if it affects my reaction to the treatment. If it doesn't I will try none next week.

Walked along the lake for a while after the session. The wind was up so it was rough and there is a tiny rocky beach in one spot where the waves crash and thunder. It was delicious! Very therapeutic.
Saw these ducklings there the other day. So cute, especially the yellow ones!

Saturday, 28 May 2016


I met with my psychiatrist on Wednesday, after my 2nd treatment. He says that we will review the treatment at the end of 4 weeks. If necessary, we can add more sessions. Also, he doesn't like the idea of just finishing the treatments and going cold turkey. Although there is not yet any research for or against, he would like to taper off the treatments gradually. I agree.


Friday was my fourth treatment. We've maxed out on both sides now so it won't get any worse. The only uncomfortable bit is my jaw moving. On the right side, I snap my teeth. Not much though. If I bit my tongue it would hurt but no more than all the other times in my life I have done so. Ouch! And even though my jaw muscles are being stimulated on both sides, I haven't had any muscle ache after. So far so good.

Since I can't take a photo myself, here is much what my treatment looks like, only the lounge chair I sit in is more comfortable than this looks, and I wear a lycra cap. The cap is marked to make sure that the exact same spot in my brain is stimulated each time.


Below is what the actual instrument looks like, though the one used on me is attached to a stand like in the photo above. My psychiatrist says it puts out 3 Teslas, similar to a standard MRI. The best MRI available uses 7 Teslas.


Thursday, 26 May 2016


Was even easier than Day Two. No aftereffects. None at all.

Started out pretty blue. Today is the 2nd anniversary of the death of my older cat. She was my baby, my best friend and my confidante for more than 20 years. I miss her as much as if she died yesterday. I cried on the bus on the way to the hospital.

The therapy was short: 3 minutes per side and bing! I was done. A friend picked me up afterwards and we ran some errands and she treated me to lunch. We gabbed and gabbed. We went back to her place for tea and crafts but her puppy is so cute we just sat on the balcony petting the dog and cat.

I walked home (Hot!) and stole lilacs from a couple places so now my room smells like spring!

It was a good day.

RIP my kitty-love.