Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Part 3

The effects I have experienced in the past few sessions have been very strange. They are easier to intellectualize than they are to describe in detail. The treatment onset isn't always felt as soon as the procedure ends. Last night around 8 pm my brain felt intensely fatigued, in a way I can only compare to taking classes in grad school. I went to bed early, unable to even watch television or read. I'll be curious to know if the impact of today's procedure will be felt the same way today. Immediately as soon as each course of treatment ends, I concede I do feel somewhat cognitively tired. Writing this out today takes more effort than is usual for me.

Thoughts usually run in logical fashion, even with what we refer to as stream of consciousness. If you wanted to chart your own mental banter over the course of a few minutes, you'd likely find there is some basic underlying thread that runs between supposedly separate thoughts. Now my mind bounces around from idea to idea without much in the way of common thread. I've begun to remember submerged recollections from years ago. Most of them are banal, few of them are hurtful. This is interesting to observe passively, as long as they remain curiosities and not sources of pain.

I've experienced a substantial antidepressant response, but depression alone is not the sole source of pain. The blanketing social anxiety I've felt since birth has taken longer to combat, as it is the bigger challenge. Every day, a bit more of it melts away. Today was session number seven. I have twenty-nine more to go. Thus far, I'm sold. No treatment before has ever thoroughly targeted the maladies from which I suffer. My optimism persists.

The workers at the treatment center have been intensely helpful. They provide one-on-one attention and talk to me for the duration of the TMS session. We are contemporaries, which means conversation flows easily. I can understand why people enjoy luxurious things, why they delight in being waited on hand and foot. The Quaker in me finds this exclusivity somewhat disconcerting, but I enjoy the company and the attention. To cite but one example, there's a particular blend of coffee that costs $65 a pound, known as Jamaica Blue Mountain, and I know I would drink nothing else if I was wealthy.

I'm well-liked by the staff, half of whom are native Southerners like myself. Small world. I miss the casual small talk of my place of origin, even with other aspects that offend my sensibilities. The secretary and I have divergent political beliefs, but manage to steer clear of the topic. This is how it should be in an ideal world, away from the needless complexities of insurance companies and sullen, resentful employees. It's unfortunate that the ideal requires a vast amount of money to be fully realized. Socialists wait in line. Capitalists never have to wait for anything.

Tomorrow is another day. I remain hopeful.

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