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Day 11: Coping (Treating Depression) by Area 6 Can you read me? (BLW Contributor)


Nothing out of the ordinary with this session, except my hand is twitching like a motherfucker at the beginning during the pulse sequences, the way it did when my motor threshold was being tested. I find it unnerving.

“Try to relax.”

So this is basically a continuation of the last post. I talked about what an episode looks like. I didn’t say it then because I didn’t want to freak you out but in the grand scheme of things, it actually was….a lighter one.


But you see, this is actually how I know things are improving. Had I been triggered like that a month before? I’m sorry to say, it would’ve been worse. That’s- I have to be realistic here- that’s how bad MDD can be. I mean, I know you know that, but I also know some of you don’t really want believe it about me. Hey, I don’t want to believe it about me. But I guess I have the “advantage” over you of having gone through it, so- unless you’ve been through this yourself- I’m aware I can accept it for what it is just a tiny bit better than you. For me, after the worst of it, there’s nowhere to go but up. For me, that last episode looked good. So knowing that, for what it’s worth, try to have patience with depressed people, ok? It’s kind of an awful thing to work through.

Now then.

I was talking about major depressive episodes. Specifically, pulling through them when there is- for whatever reason- no one to turn to. In the end, as I mentioned before, eventually (so far), someone has turned up…but until they did? Coping. Alone.

I feel like it’s necessary to write about this because here I am like “Heeyyyy depressed person, try this treatment, only 5 days a week and at least 4 weeks before you feel anything probably, NBD!”

And of course, it is a big deal. Because how does 5 mornings a week, for 4 weeks (then twice weekly for 6 more weeks, in my case)- never mind dealing with insurance stuff- translate for someone who may not have a good support system, and can’t even get out of bed? 

I did offer some tips earlier on; I think maybe I mentioned keeping the treatment time the same each day and also post-treatment to really and I mean, really give yourself something to look forward to.

There are some good, practical tips here in the faqs from the site 3000 Pulses Later (click on the final question)…everything from consistency in time slot, uplifting music, to, again, giving yourself something to look forward to post-treatment (mine is lattes and breakfast platters that involve avocado and some sort of meat), paying attention to changes others notice in you (even outside of a support system), or if you’re a real crazypants you can document the whole damn thing in a blog. The author wraps it up with this:

“The decision to try an alternative treatment for depression such as TMS takes courage and commitment. In the beginning adopting all of these suggestions may seem like climbing a mountain, but allow yourself the luxury of envisioning the possibility of a hopeful future, even if you’re not able to believe it at first. Entertaining just the possibility that you may feel better can get you to the hope. And it’s the hopefulness that will become your trusted ally in living a life filled with vitality.”


I can get behind this, rationally and intellectually. But in deep depression, reason/intellect can sort of take a back seat.

So if it’s all you can do to simply pull yourself out of the bed, only to find yourself now plopped on the floor…and what the F are you supposed to do in real crisis moments while you’re waiting for it to work? While it would be great if ketamine was an approved form of crisis intervention (it’s not, read more on that here), in the meantime, what. do. you. do.

I don’t know. I’m not a mental health professional. I’m just a person struggling like you, trying to get through it. I only know what has saved me, so I’ll pass it along to you further down in this post, because hey. One more thing in your toolbox, right?

Speaking of tools, I feel broken a lot. I attribute this to the place where MDD originates. And I’m not talking about where physically in my brain. I’m talking in a more intangible way; that thing we call our essence. My essence contains a sensitivity that I always suspected made me more susceptible to depression. And so I would hate on it.

And this is completely wrong.

Does depression come from that place? I think it probably does. So let’s say I could destroy the origin area… actually eradicate a part of my self. I could probably always get up and do shit and not feel bad, in a heartbeat. Would I have another episode ever again? Probably not. But! It would come at a hefty price. Because from that same place- and I see it as sort of a pool at my core- comes my empathy. My creativity. My intuition. My ability to be moved. This would be gone too. And these are some of my best qualities.

That theory isn’t entirely unfounded. I have heard countless stories of how people have gone on antidepressants, and while they no longer have the lows, they can’t really feel or create worth a damn either. It really is as if they emotionally flatline and all of those wonderful things that have roots in that same, shadowy abstraction as depression does….fade.

The way I came to think of it then, is not to kill off that part, but to nurture it with self-compassion. I’ve been reading this book and while it’s pretty dense, have found it really helpful in terms of being- at the risk of sounding hippie-dippy here- more aware of what’s going on with me psychologically and physically, accepting it, and what I can do. 

And as my body is saturated in that lit water…I start thinking about being able to move. Just one little body part at a time. I just keep imagining the water, I pull my body up, I take a step, one movement after the next, moving forward what I need to do.

I do not love myself when I first look at the pool. Not at all. But as I go deeper and deeper into this imagery, the water cleaned, surging through the steel pipe, spraying down and drowning out Maj’s taunting, dousing my heavy limbs…I do begin to feel love. And if in those moments I an dark enough to where I feel unworthy of peace as an individual, I also create a wide circle of people that includes me for which I focus on and ask the “psychic web” that connects everybody and everything (kinda the closest thing for me to a God) for peace and well-being. Then I narrow down the circle smaller and smaller…until it’s just my own well-being that’s the focal point.

It can be painful, like trying to walk through mud, or to wake up from a dream that’s got a strong hold on you. But I keep the visualization up and somehow…somehow…this life-giving process intervenes on what is…uh…a destructive bit of business.

I guess this is just one way to blast yourself with an outpouring of love. I’m sure there are many ways. Maybe if you are experiencing a severe, paralyzing depression…you can try mine, and if it doesn’t work…tinker with it. But the point is loving yourself richly, almost ferociously. So much that you howl, let tears flow. Love you like that. 

I know some of you are hurting. I’m thinking of you. My heart goes out to you.

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