How To Put A Collar On The Black Dog or TMS.


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Social climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 8, 2013 - 11:37am PT
This is a an STR (strange trip report).

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive method to cause depolarization or hyperpolarization in the neurons of the brain. (Wikipedia)

It is used for treating clinical depression in patients who have not responded to traditional antidepressant medications.

I recently underwent 35 sessions of TMS, 30 minutes a day over a span of 6 weeks. However, I didn't do it with any positive attitude. I went through the process because I needed some updated medical records related to my struggles with depression. I got a grant through a life long friend of mine who is a hospital administrator.

I thought "OK, this is free, you need the records, what can you lose?" I was bound to die anyway and if I died from this, nobody would talk about how I was a coward or how I hurt them.

I gave up on treatment in 2007, after taking the entire alphabet of antidepressant medications over a 25 year period, 7+ different psychiatrists and countless sessions of therapy discussing "what brings me down". I quit when the last doc failed to help after prescribing a dangerous antidepressant with no positive results and who answered my question, "you don't know what to do with me, do you?" with "no." I pulled the patch off my arm and went home.

Ironically he had talked me into requesting to be a guinea pig for TMS at the Emory Clinic and had been accepted. I didn't do it because it required a 200 mile round-trip commute daily. They offered pay for the use of my head; but it seemed like a waste of my time.

Jump to July and August of 2013.

Before I started the treatments, I had a question and answer session with the psychologist (as well as an evaluation from a psychiatrist), where she explained the course of the treatment, what to expect, etc.. She asked me if I had any questions, fears or anxieties about the treatment and I responded with a disinterested phrase of "not really" or something to that effect. My only objective was to get the records, I thought that would be the only significant accomplishment gained out of the whole ordeal.

She stated that was a little weird, most people had several concerns. I told her I had read enough and that I was a person who had held a gun to their head many a time; but never had the courage to squeeze the trigger and/or didn't want to leave the mess for my family or dogs. How dangerous can a magnet be compared to that? (I mention this only to indicate the severity of my depression, I was diagnosed as bi-polar, back when they called it manic depression. Other doctors did not use those terms.)

I sat there each day talking to the poor psychologist lady to the point that, I well imagined, caused her ears to ache. It wasn't that way in the beginning. Initially I asked her if I could read a book while sitting in the chair, she said "sure"; but thought it would be wiser if I did the talk therapy. I thought that she might change her mind if I start talking. Things changed. I believe she began to wish that I would start reading and stop talking.

To make a long story less lengthy, I sit here the same person; but a little different. I sleep 5-6 hours a night instead of the usual 2-3, I haven't prayed for death or contemplated suicide in a month. My ears still ring; but that has never bothered me until now. I used to like the noise, it helped drown out the bark of the black dog. I feel a little bit more optimistic, a little bit more hungry for tomorrow and the day after that. I don't mind going to the grocery if there is more than 10 cars outside. So far it has been better than dying.

Hopefully it will last.

If you know someone like me or suffer from the same weirdness, check it out.

One more thing here is a graph of my improvement over the 6 weeks.
Credit: Tobia

Maybe Ed Hartouni will look at the physics behind it on the wiki page and chime in.


Sport climber
Sep 8, 2013 - 11:53am PT

Thank you for the explanation!

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Sep 8, 2013 - 11:55am PT
So far it has been better than dying.

Ain't that the truth!

Sport climber
Sep 8, 2013 - 12:10pm PT
Black dog - I'll add this version:

A lot of complexity and tension is added through the guitar playing of Marc Ribot.

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
Sep 8, 2013 - 11:13pm PT
Mr, pretty cool that you found something that has diminished your depression.. I hope this keeps the black dog out of your life......

Wondering why there are three lines in the graph?...


ps..I hope others with serious depression check this out and talk with you....

Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Sep 8, 2013 - 11:33pm PT
You've got friends here with a LARGE amount of empathy and experience to tap if you choose so, Tobia.

Thanks for all the music you've posted that I had no clue about !

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Sep 8, 2013 - 11:47pm PT
One thing you might consider trying, for the insomnia at least, is some binaural beat recordings. There are plenty of free sources, I can provide links if you want.

I am an extreme skeptic, but they do work for me and countless others. At essence, playing sightly different tones in each ear will create an illusion of an oscillating lowish frequency sound (you will need headphones or earbuds), which will induce your brain waves to align to that frequency. There is a long scientific backing for this response. In turn, aligning to those frequencies will induce different waves vs. theta vs. alpha vs. beta.

The delta range is associated with non-REM sleep. 30min of a binaural in delta will put me out.

It's also interesting that the alpha, typically associated with meditative states, are pretty much exactly the range where most shamanistic, monk chanting and such frequencies occur. Many people use binaurals in the alpha range to assist in their meditative endeavors. Science meets metaphysics. And certainly no more "off the wall" than magnetic applications.

Wishing you the best.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Sep 9, 2013 - 12:24am PT
Very interesting stuff there. Sounds like a better step than ECT which seems to be making a comeback but in a new improved version.
Wishing you continued luck with it.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 9, 2013 - 12:52am PT
Maybe Ed Hartouni will look at the physics behind it on the wiki page and chime in.

looked at the Wiki page... I have no expertise in how these sorts of things work, the effect of electromagnetic fields on depression (or any other behavior)... the major issue is with the the "placebo" for the clinical trial... so how effective it is may be difficult to evaluate by standard statistical methods.

on the other hand, if it has worked for you then that is important.

Social climber
Sep 9, 2013 - 03:39am PT
hey there say, tobia... this is a very good improvement as to the sleep...

i hope that, in itself makes all this new try, worth it all, SLEEP is so essential, it is a natural refresher...

keep hanging in there, think of this as a climb... hard to understand how the summit will be, but it is always worth it...

make yourself smile at yourself in the mirro, too, each morning and think of yourself as 'a best friend' to you! after awhile, it becomes habit and you really do feel happy about your 'selfworth'...

little steps lead to goals...

and if the tree stops growing, it withers and falls over..

we are in your corner...
god bless!
thanks for checking in on this, :)

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 10, 2013 - 08:30am PT
Thanks for all the responses,

elcap-n-z I would love the links. I still have to medicate myself to sleep; I now just sleep a lot longer; but would love to get away from the pharmaceuticals that promote drowsiness. I have been taking them for 30 years and it seems to take more than ever.

The docs say that my problem is "electrical", my brain just won't switch off and allow me to fall asleep, so xanax or valium has been my lullaby for 30 years. Not really a good thing.Before the TMS it would only let me sleep for a couple or three hours. Sleep is so wonderful!

Susan, I was a candidate for ECT, back in my 20's and 30's; but my dad (a doctor) fought hard to get me not to do it because he didn't want me to have the stigma and/or insurance records of having resorted to that treatment. I begged for it, anything really to end the pain. I tried using my electric fence around my tree nursery as a do it yourself kit; but that didn't work to well.

I wonder about Juan Defuca and whether he would have made it if he had known about and given it a chance.

I would like to reiterate that this not about me; I posted in hopes that other people who suffer from this malady will consider given it a try. Insurance companies are paying and success makes it a worthy gamble. If it worked on me, it might work on anyone.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 10, 2013 - 08:40am PT
I have managed to make myself sleep twice last night for about five hours total, about two the night before.

It's an ongoing problem that I can't do much about and blame the aging process for it.

This wasn't a big deal ten or twelve years back, when it was occasional. Now the problem is dogging me. I will not use meds to sleep, barring the occasions I reach for the Tylenol PM (out of desperation).

I'd like to check out the binaural links as well, please.

I'm glad for your success, Tobia. Hang tough.


Sep 10, 2013 - 09:11am PT
Thank you all for sharing the interesting therapies. If we can learn something new every day, life would be a heck of a lot more interesting, and if you learn things like this: better as well. It's appreciated.

Regards and best to all

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Sep 10, 2013 - 11:38am PT
Wow. That is really great news Tobia.

Your OP may have been posted in the interest of helping others, but of course we're stoked that it helped YOU!!!

Thanks for posting.

Whoop That Trick!!!
Crazy Bat

Sport climber
Birmingham, AL & Seweanee, TN
Sep 10, 2013 - 04:18pm PT
I am so happy you posted this. My first hospitalization back before the earth cooled (1983) was with a whole bunch of messed up folks who had ECT. They were all on repeat visits to the phych ward.

When my depression reoccurred in the late 90's my doc wanted me to try it. not having it even if voltage is greatly reduced. After all the C stands for Convulsive. I read about MRI's causing short term improvements and knew studies were going on. So glad to hear directly from someone who has had it.

I'm lucky to be on a good drug right now, but I've had more than my fair share quit working.

I'm also lucky that I can forget the whole 24 hours a day thing. I've discovered that I don't suffer from insomnia so much as an extremely strong circadian rhythm that is more like 30 hours long.

Myrna's Personal Bullshit Opinion #23: some of evolved to have insomnia so we could keep the clan fires burning and keep the clan from freezing.

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Sep 10, 2013 - 04:26pm PT
Having slept poorly all summer, when I'd been sleeping better than ever in my entire life the 2 years prior, I started back with the binaural beat recordings the same night I posted my prior one above.

And I've slept amazingly well the last two nights after using them for ~30min right before bed. Better than I've slept in months. I'd urge any of you with sleep issues to give it a shot. Plenty of free downloads available, all you need is headphones or earbuds and a computer or ipod or something to play it on.

Sounds nutty, but lots of people will testify, myself included. Free, too. Google binaural beats and/or isochronic beats for background on wave entrainment.

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
Oct 8, 2013 - 01:41am PT
Tobia, Thank you for talking to my girlfriends brother... I Truly.. truly..truly.. appreciate it!!!
and so does my girlfriend...

Are you still getting treatments?..Are you still doing good?


Social climber
Oct 8, 2013 - 04:03am PT
hey there say, tobia...

just sending a hey there, a long with nita!

hope you are doing up to your best par, :)

god bless!

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 23, 2013 - 05:30pm PT
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