Non-drug, FDA-approved treatment for depression delivers hope and happiness By Diana Dunne Kenia animates her words with dancing hand gestures and smiling eyes. She is a different woman since her first visit to The Psyclinic in January. “The first day I came to see Dr. Ahmed, I was at the lowest point of my life,
Non-drug, FDA-approved treatment for depression delivers hope and happiness
By Diana Dunne
Kenia animates her words with dancing hand gestures and smiling eyes. She is a different woman since her first visit to The Psyclinic in January.
“The first day I came to see Dr. Ahmed, I was at the lowest point of my life, but I was in denial about my depression,” Kenia says. “I couldn’t express myself at all. I could not understand what other people were so happy about and it made me angry to see others smiling. I was unable to smile.”
A life in jeopardy
Kenia has worked as a nurse for 17 years. She is married to a wonderful husband, and looks forward to becoming pregnant with their first child. Depression put all these things in jeopardy.
“Depression affected everything in my life. I was always angry, irritable and anxious.” Kenia admits. “I would see piles of mail, but I could not pick them up to look through them. I stopped going to church; stopped talking to people. They would ask me how I was doing and I could only stare, reminding myself I had nothing to smile about. I would go days without showering, that’s how depressed I was.”
Kenia forced herself to go to work so she would not lose my job. “I thought, Here I am helping all of these people get better, and yet I cannot help myself. It only made me feel more broken and miserable.”
At home, Kenia’s emotional instability was destroying her marriage as her husband lost his patience with her apathetic behavior and attitude. “My husband said, ‘You have to do something. You need to see a psychiatrist.’ I was on antidepressants and had tried so many different kinds of medicines. I was going to therapy. Nothing was working.”
The medications were also affecting the couple’s desire to have a baby. “We knew that I would be unable to take anti-depressants while pregnant, and it was just too scary for me to get off them – no matter how deeply we want to have a child,” she shares. “I couldn’t even function well on anti-depressants!”
Skeptical but desperate
“I believe in Divine intervention, and that’s what I feel happened one day when I was at an urgent care clinic waiting area with my husband,” Kenia says. “I love to read and I saw the Change magazine on the table. Flipping through it, I read a story about one of Dr. Ahmed’s patients who found relief for their depression with TMS Therapy® and that it was FDA-approved and worked without drugs.” Though skeptical, Kenia immediately phoned The Psyclinic for an appointment.
At her first appointment with Dr. Ahmed, Kenia was insistent on jumping right into TMS Therapy. “But Dr. Ahmed wanted to learn more about me and my history – he never pushed TMS on me.” Kenia was already seeing a therapist, and Dr. Ahmed encouraged her to continue. He changed her medication and over time they began to see that she was a good candidate for TMS Therapy.
“I’ll never forget my first day at The Psyclinic,” Kenia says. I met Dr. Ahmed, I met the girls who work there, I met Tom – who I eventually chose to become my new therapist. They all told me I was going to get better. I did not believe them and told myself, They cannot fix me, I’m too broken. I remember writing that in my journal that day.”
From broken to better
After starting TMS Therapy, Kenia could not see positive changes immediately, which reinforced her feelings of despair and that she was beyond repair. She began to cry all the time.
“TMS uses a pulsed magnetic field, similar to an MRI, to stimulate cortical neurons, which results in the release of the same neurotransmitters provided artificially through antidepressant medications,” Dr. Ahmed says. “TMS can also trigger memories, which can cause a flood of emotions including sadness and crying.”
Since one major symptom of depression is an inability to feel any emotion, the fact that Kenia was crying was a good sign. “She was beginning to react to her environment, and that is a positive thing,” Dr. Ahmed says.
After a week or two, Kenia’s crying ceased, and was replaced by giggles. “I started to feel joy for simple things,” she says. “My heart was happy.”
Although Kenia did not notice the changes at first, her husband did. “One day my husband said, ‘Was that a joke you just said? I never heard you joke before!’” At work, one of her coworkers asked why she was smiling so much. “She asked me if I’d won the lottery! She said she’d never ever seen me smile! She asked if there was something wrong with me! All of my coworkers noticed a change in me.”
Kenia knows she’s better because she’s back to doing the simplest things that once seemed impossible – showering daily, attending church, reading the mail and grocery shopping. “I just went to HEB by myself. It was a little scary, but in the past I could never do that at all. My husband had to grocery shop for us.” Her marriage and relationships are improving. And her OB/GYN and Psyclinic team plan to work together toward a future pregnancy.
Kenia says she is deeply grateful to everyone at The Psyclinic. “They are each extra special in my heart and I could not have gotten as far as I have without every one of them – physicians, nurse practitioners Michelle and Renee, my therapist Tom, case manager Fita, Christina, and especially Liz!”
Kenia made a bold decision to speak out about her struggles with depression, in spite of her family’s opinions. “In my Latino culture, being depressed is not an option. Depression equals crazy,” she says. “When I told my mother I was going to tell my story for a magazine, she told me I was crazy. She told me that she would always support me 100 percent, but was I sure I wanted to let the world know I had depression? I am sure. It’s time we remove the stigma and begin to talk about this disease. I pray that, by myself and others speaking out, we can change society’s perspective – but most importantly, that people affected by depression seek the treatment they need.”
Depression affects approximately 14.8 million American adults age 18 and older, in a given year.
Depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44.
It is estimated that 121 million people around the world currently suffer from some form of depression.
Overall, women have higher rates (almost double) of depression than men.
Despite its high treatment success rate, nearly two out of three people suffering with depression do not actively seek nor receive proper treatment.