TMS: A Game Changer for Wall Street Veteran and NYC Teacher
Stanley Golbert, 66, had a successful career on Wall Street for 24 years. Susan Hemmer, 55, spent about 20 years working for the New York City Department of Education as an elementary school teacher. While Stanley and Susan chose different career paths, they both share at least one thing in common: they suffer from major depression — affecting their day-to-day activities and relationships.
Major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. In fact, there are more than three million cases per year. For some individuals, major depression can result in severe impairments that interfere with or limit one’s ability to carry out major life activities. For those coping with major depressive disorders antidepressants can play an invaluable role. However, for those who experience what is known as treatment-resistant depression, — like Stanley and Susan — standard medications may provide little relief.
Earlier this year, Mercy Medical Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic added the FDA-approved Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy treatment to its wide range of behavioral health services. TMS is offered to treatment-resistant adults suffering from depression who do not have full and complete recovery from medication therapy.
“I tried every antidepressant known to man but nothing was working,” said Stanley. “Nothing would shake any of it and my depression kept deepening. I was never suicidal but there were many nights that I prayed to god that I would never wake up.”
In the spring of 2019, Stanley’s neurosurgeon suggested he try TMS, as Stanley’s depression was triggered after the passing of his mother. Stanley began the six-week treatment in May.
“My depression is definitely clinical but then it became situational with the passing of my mom,” Stanley said. “I felt like my thoughts were getting darker; however, after two weeks of TMS therapy I started to notice a slight increase in my mood. At four weeks into treatment, I noticed a big difference and started to feel hope.”
Today, Stanley credits TMS for helping him get back on his feet and allowing him to do something he wanted to do for a long time. “I was able to adopt a puppy. I finally felt like I was in a good place to be able to take care of someone else,” Stanley added.
Susan credits TMS for strengthening the relationship between her and her 16 year old daughter. Like Stanley, Susan had also been on a lot of different medications and treatments and felt like nothing was helping. After speaking to the Director of Mercy’s Behavioral Health Clinic Dr. David Flomenhaft, it was determined that she qualified for TMS. Susan began treatment in April.
“I wanted to try TMS because nothing else was working and I was desperate to feel better. I was barely getting by,” said Susan. “Before TMS, it was even hard for me to do the simple things like get out of bed and shower.”
Susan said that toward the middle of her treatment she and her daughter started to see a difference in her behavior. “It was like a dark blanket was being lifted off my shoulders and the feeling of dread started going away,” Susan said. “The best part of it all was that my daughter noticed a difference. She told me I was paying attention more and was present.”
TMS takes place in an outpatient setting and does not require any form of sedation or anesthesia. It is much less invasive than electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and memory loss is not associated with TMS. During TMS therapy, patients are fully awake, resting in a chair. A small curved magnetic coil device is placed over their head. Dr. Karl Dormesy, medical director of Mercy’s Behavioral Health Clinic, said the TMS device delivers magnetic pulses to the brain, and these pulses cause electrical changes that affect emotion regulation and depressive symptoms. When the treatment is finished, patients can immediately resume normal activities.
TMS therapy treatment is available at Mercy’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Services office in Garden City, NY. It’s widely covered by major insurance plans and is available by prescription. For more information call, 516-705-3400 x3230.