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  1. 24 Sessions in...

    So last week was a bit of a doozy. For some reason or another, I fell into a really deep slump at about treatment 21. That slump carried me from last week Wednesday through the weekend of having crying spells again and feeling overall, pretty sad. Notice, I didn't say depressed though. I still maintained some of my somatic improvements in regards to sleep and fatigue, but I was sad. Genuinely sad. I actually missed feeling numb. Is this a sign of better things? Am I working through my negative emotions before my positive ones come through??? Doc couldn't give me a clear answer unfortunately but was heartened by my previous improvements. He left it only to say, he can only imagine things getting better over time and to just bear through this slump. He seemed confident that it would be short lived. Any way, ended up taking a zyprexa a couple days ago to take the edge of they dysphoria and zombie out. My mind needed the break and it was well received yesterday. Stil a little fatigued this morning and still waking up dysphoric, but the cobwebs from last weeks debacle seems to be clearing. I hope so. Doc recommended extending my treatment another 10 treatments, but I'd have to pay out of pocket since insurance is only picking up the initial 30. Apparently he's deeply discounting the continuation so the damage won't be too bad. Talked to the wife who said "do it!" Looks like I have 16 more sessions remaining.
  2. I took a two week vacation from treatment/work and went home for the holidays. I was VERY apprehensive about taking a break from treatment, but found that outside of a handful of bad days and dealing with some viral thing, I did okay. My mood still needs improvement, but I didn't come crashing down like I thought I would. I resumed treatment again yesterday. Nothing really else to report. Mood kind of goes up and down. Centering on down lately due to an uncle recently passing, I think. I still have 9 treatments to go.
  3. Day 16

    It's been two days on the new protocol. I still have lots of anxiety but it's blunted somewhat. It's most noticeable in the mornings where the morning anxiety isn't as bad as it normally is. I guess. Too early to tell for sure I suppose. I did sleep pretty good last night. So I guess that's something. Feeling low today though, so not a lot to say today. I'll have more when my mood picks up.
  4. Day 15

    The pdoc changed up my protocol a little bit yesterday. Given my numerous complaints about anxiety, he started to do low frequency pulses on the right side of my head in addition to the high frequency pulses on the left side for depression. Supposedly it's good for anxiety there. Not sure how long it'll take to improve, but at least he's doing something new. B and O have been my regular techs lately. I wonder if they choose which patients they go to? Or if they match up with the one's you get along most with. I've had the best conversations with those two. I'm a little apprehensive about my upcoming trip, right in the middle of treatment. The doctor says it's fine to take a break and resume treatment when I return in a couple weeks, but I worry still that it'll affect the results. I guess that's my anxiety talking. Overall, things are a bit easier. Not perfect, but easier. I still wake up early with lots of anxiety, but I'm not nearly as restless (where I have to pace/walk about). I still have moments of sadness, but they're interspersed with clear moments without depression. The windows of "clarity", so to speak, can't really tell if they're becoming more frequent or lasting longer. Though I'm noticing them for sure. I still have lots of fatigue, but in those moments of clarity, the fatigue wanes and I feel normal. So.... tangible, observable improvements. I worry those improvements won't last beyond the treatment period, but that's all due to the fear, uncertainty and doubt about it all (as Martha Rhodes says). I just have to have faith that it'll work.
  5. Day 14 and Bubble Guppies

    My moods been pretty volatile lately. Feel pretty good one moment and depressed/anxious the next. Not quite sure what to make of it. I want to say I'm firmly entrenched in what other rTMS users called "the dip" where there's a sudden reversion in your recovery (aka the worse before better phenomenom) for about a week midway through your treatments before you make sustained progress. I'm looking forward to that... the sustained progress part. My son keeps waking up at 3am full of energy. Being the good husband I am, I've been getting up on work days to take care of him (I get weekends off so I'm not that altruistic) and he's been keeping me up between 3am and the alarm at least every other night. It's really been exhausting and I think it's compounding my recovery issues so far. I can't really ask my wife to take over the overnights altogether though. I hate how life just keeps on going even as you're trying to get better. I just need a couple million dollars to live off of for a few years to get my shit together, you know?? LOL. Any way. Anxiety seems a little more subdued today compared to yesterday and Sunday, so I'll take what positives I can at the moment. Here's hoping to sustained improvement soon!
  6. Days 11-13 + Weekend

    Days 11-13 weren't anything to scream about in regards to treatment. It's just become part of my day to day life now, so unless something significant comes up on regards to treatment, I won't comment directly on my appointments from here on out. I woke up on Day 12 with a lot of restlessness. Not sure where it came from, really. I called my pdoc who suggested it might be an effect of the rTMS and to let her know if it continues beyond a day or 2. Luckily it didn't. Friday and Saturday were really good days with minimal anxiety/depression, but back to the grind on Sunday. I think I mentioned before that I'd been feeling more resilient lately, in regards to my depression. Don't get me wrong, I still feel depressed a lot of the time, but it's a very different feeling. Not as hopeless. Hopefully I start having more days like Friday and Saturday. Anxiety is still kind of crazy most of the time, as is the restless sleep. My prescriber last week suggested giving the perphenazine a little more time, but I think it's run its course. Left a message for her that it's just not doing anything worthwhile at doses that don't dull me out. Hopefully she gets back to me soon. Reading some user reviews on this procedure, this seems to be about the time, that many people start to hit a little bit of a slump in their treatment. Not necessarily a full reversal, but more of a dip. I was hoping to avoid it, but I think my dip started yesterday. My mood isn't particularly bad, but I did have some reversion in my sleep and appetite last night, which was where I had made my most improvement since starting treatment. This is apparently shortlived (about a week). I'm crossing my fingers. Not much else to say. Hopefully I can get some relief from my anxiety soon. That's the harder battle right now.
  7. Day 10

    10th treatment in and they start me at full strength without titrating. No problems. Had O again as my tech. She's so cute. Too bad, I'm married and she's too young. Any way, I had my 10 day follow up with the pdoc who reviewed my progress and noted that I am showing slow and steady progression. I told the doc about my anxiety and what I can do about it and he assured me that as I continue to improve, the anxiety should resolve. I should've pushed a little harder for something I can take for immediate relief that's not a benzo, but I'm not confident enough with this doc yet. Still have my perphenazine that I can take, but I'm finding that it has the same dulling effect that Zyprexa gives me. Almost depressing feeling, really in that I just feel super flat. The anxiety still kind sits in the background. I do notice that I'm sleeping more soundly through the night and my appetite seems to be normalizing. Even though I still find myself waking up agitated, I'm sleeping longer and less "restlessly" (is that a word) through the night, at least according to my fitbit. I hate how depression treatments take so long for relief. Will be seeing my regular prescriber today. Maybe she has another solution. I wouldn't mind trying Lyrica again.
  8. Day 9

    The pain has definitely reduced down to nothing really. Just a tapping feeling. Been passing the time watching Bob's Burgers during treatment. Anxiety has been up lately. Uncomfortably so at times, but it's not my normal anxiety of dread/doom. It's a restlessness. Overcaffeinated restlessness. Like I have too much energy that I don't know what to do with it. I hope this is just increased energy before improved mood. Somewhat like antidepressants. I see the pdoc today for my 10 day follow up and I hope he has a solution for it. Or at the very least, can tell me it's normal in the process. Been kind of up/down mood wise through the day. Little windows of happiness are poking through, but still depressed the majority of time. Gonna cut it short. Not in a good mood today.
  9. Day 8 + the weekend.

    Day 8 went by without much of a hitch. I've been noticing that my anxiety in general has been becoming more and more physical, rather than emotional though. Globus sensations, nausea, restlessness in the legs. Not sure what to make of that. The normal fear associated with anxiety is for the most part gone. Maybe it's related to the level of anxiety I experience? Maybe the physical stuff is a stress response? Or an effect of the rTMS itself, similar to starting an antidepressant in it's activating effects? Something to ask the pdoc at my 10 day follow up on 12/6. The weekend was fairly unproductive. I woke up on Saturday aching all over and nauseated but lacking any other signs of viral infection. Also felt fairly restless through the day and night. Sunday was much of the same, though my mood didn't drop like last weekend. Progress, I suppose. I do notice little windows where I do feel real pleasure/happiness, but they're brief and short-lived. The rest of the time I feel restless/emotionless/nauseated. Still not in the best place, but still VERY early in the process. I have to remind myself hourly sometimes to be patient and to let the process work itself out. My prescriber gave me the go ahead to increase the frequency of dosing for the perphenazine to help with the restlessness, but didn't have the heart to tell her I hadn't actually taken it in a few days. Maybe I should give it a try to see if it reduces this agitation.
  10. Day 7

    I think I can conclusively say that there's been an improvement in my overall energy levels. Mood in the mornings can still be a little rough, as is the anxiety, but as the day progresses, I actually start to feel sort of normal, particularly at night. I know it's classic depression to have these circadian rhythm type differences in mood, but the difference at night is shockingly clear. While before I'd improve at night, but still feel pretty shaky, I feel good at night now. Like I said, almost normal! Of course I type this out as my anxiety is somewhat raging in the background this fine Friday morning, but I blame most of that on the terrible night of sleep last night. I'm actually sleeping well, when I can, but the boy has been out of control lately, waking at 330am wanting to play. Of course when it's time for him to get up at 6am, he's fast asleep. Lets just say I've been averaging less than 6 hours of sleep per night and I'm an 8 hour guy. Looking forward to the Pac12 Championship game tonight to see my huskies play. It's been 16 years since I've seen them play this good. Not since I was a freshman in college. Other than that, nothing really else to report. I look forward to a good night of sleep tonight as it's the wife's turn to sleep with the boy. Till tomorrow.
  11. Day 6

    Yet another new tech yesterday! C, was her name. I'll spare you the details, but we had a nice long discussion about the criminal justice system and mental health. At any rate, the whole session went by without a hitch. The feeling of the tapping was so light, it didn't even phase me when I was talking. I'd talk right through the tapping. The only thing I'd wish they'd do is have a blanket to use while the procedure is ongoing. Over the 6 days I've had 5 techs, 4 females and all 4 cute as heck. My feelings. My emotions have been mixed this week. Part of it due to my son messing with my sleep schedule, but also I think I am having some positive benefit from therapy. My mornings feel lighter, I think, when they were the gloomiest part of my day. I don't feel so agitated anymore and I'm able to better concentrate on my work. Don't get me wrong, I still feel miserable a lot of the time, but it's different. Dare I say I have hope? Hope that the misery I'm experiencing now will eventually end, unlike before? It's still early on. Robust results probably won't show for another couple weeks, but so far, so good.
  12. Day 5

    The pecking is getting much much easier to tolerate. It's almost comforting, really, as if I know that it's doing something up there. I unfortunately chanced a piece of cheese in my sandwich at lunch before the appointment. As I'm mildly lactose intolerant, it was a gamble, but my previous experiences with that amount of cheese had been unremarkable for the most part so I ate it. Big mistake. My tummy started rumbling about 2 minutes into the session. Thank god it was a 20 minute session cause I was ready to rumble by the time it had ended. At any rate, treatment for the most part will likely remain the same from here on out, so I'm going to focus more on my moods. Mood's.... okay. Not in the throes of depression, but still feeling fairly blah to mildly sad for the most part. Still dealing with some anxiety, but not earth shattering. Been avoiding the zyprexa for now as I don't feel my anxiety is high enough to warrant the fatigue, but know it's there for me in case I need it. One thing I have noticed though... I have more energy during the day. Don't get me wrong, I still feel tired for the most part, but my limbs don't feel as heavy anymore and it's not such a chore to get out of the couch or off the chair. Also, it's taking a little longer to fall asleep at night, and I'm not so prone to getting to bed promptly at 9:00pm. Last night I found myself reading news until 10'ish. But the biggest change? I slept through the night last night, only to be woken by my wife before she left for work. I'm usually up well before the rest of the family (not because I want to) so this was a welcome change. Small changes, I know, but interested to see where this takes me.
  13. Day 4

    I mentioned my increased anxiety and depression on Saturday/Sunday following my pretty good mood on Thursday/Friday and was told they'd note it in my chart but it could be a good sign in regards to future response to treatment. The pulses seemed a lot easier to deal with today and actually got to watch Netflix while treatment was ongoing. Nothing better than John Carpenter's classic "Big Trouble in Little China". My tech, O, was much too young and had no idea what that movie was. I encouraged her to watch it when she had the chance. My mood was a lot.... calmer after the treatment. Not sure what to make of it, tbh, been just all over the place lately. Probably due to what's going on in my brain with the magnets stimulating something in there. I get the same way with AD's, except with the added bonus of nausea, diarrhea, boner kill, etc. Emailed my normal pdoc about my perphenazine experience and given the go ahead to dose twice a day and to check in next week. We'll see how that goes for the anxiety. Crossing fingers.
  14. Day 3 and the Thanksgiving Weekend

    Day 3 was pretty uneventful. I noted to the clinician that my anxiety seemed a bit higher since starting and was told that it was a common complaint at the onset of treatment. I guess the treatment is doing something and that's evidence to that. Got up to 120%, which is the desired level of strength, without any further issue. I did note that the pulsing was causing my left eye to tear up. Not in pain, though, so no biggie. Will bring tissue at future appointments. I woke up the next day feeling pretty good. Not great mind you, but good. Anxiety at a minimum and depression at bay. I got up and prepared Thanksgiving and in all had a fairly wonderful time with my family and a friend who joined us. Could this be a sign of things to come? Friday, was more of the same! I actually had the motivation to exercise a bit. Got out, did some shopping and watched the Huskies beat the Cougs in the Apple Cup. Saturday morning... felt a little dulled. Okay I guess it's not all peaches and cream. Got a good 1 hour work out in and went about the day. Had lunch out with the family and felt exhausted afterwards. Decided to take a nap. When I woke up my anxiety was back. Crap... spent the rest of the day just milling about, ate left overs and went to bed early. Sunday morning... anxiety and depression back. Double crap. Spent the day just not doing much at all. After the craziness of last week, I figure I owed myself a down day. Tried a low dose of perphenazine as I went to bed to see if it would work on the anxiety. It didn't, so I guess I'll go back to the Zyprexa for now. I start day 4 of treatment later on today. I think it'll be worth noting my good days on Thursday and Friday to the technician and to discuss further the anxiety I'm experiencing. Update tomorrow.
  15. Day 2

    So yesterday was day 2. As far as mood goes, I wasn't really expecting anything this soon into treatment, but I felt a little more chipper through the day. Don't get me wrong I still felt somewhat numb and mildly anxious, but like I wasn't as bothered by it, if that makes any sense. Any way, day 2 was a lot quicker than day 1. Didn't have B as my technician today, which was disappointing, but the other tech, A was just as nice. She's yet another med school student getting clinical experience. Any way, the nitty gritty. Since I had done all the positioning yesterday, today was a lot quicker. They just hooked me up, juiced up the machine and away we went. 20 minutes later, all done, and the woodpecking wasn't as strong, even at the higher "dose" they had me on (apparently they titrate the strength of the pulses over time). I had a mild headache for the rest of the day and the emotional period I experienced after day 1 came back but wasn't as strong. Appetite was fine. Played with my son and did the normal thing at night and went to bed. Falling asleep was a little more difficult than normal and I found myself waking up mildly through the night. This insomnia was a little different than my normal insomnia though, I didn't find that I was as distressed as I normally would be. At 5:00am I was wide awake and have some pain down the left side of my neck (same as treatment side). Unsure if that's treatment related but will ask the tech today. Also noticed an uptick in anxiety. Not overbearing but uncomfortable. Also wondering if this is the effect of the TMS. Something again, to ask my tech today. Luckily I see my prescriber today before TMS so I'll have a discussion with her about a non-benzo daily med I can take until the TMS takes hold. I have Zyprexa that helps with agitation/anxiety/depression, but I kind of want something less sedating, and something that doesn't just cover up my depression with the zombie feeling Zyprexa is known for. I've looked into perphenazine and trifluoperazine as options, but I don't know how comfortable she is prescribing typical antipsychotics for "just anxiety" but it's already been established that benzo's and I don't mix, and antihistamines don't work for me (hydroxyzine) except to knock me out. Comparison charts show that both typicals are less sedating than zyprexa and good as adjunct medications for agitation/anxiety. Any way, day 3 is looming, then turkey day tomorrow. yay!