life after tms

{Lunch with my biggest support group after my last IOP day.}

I just looked back at my posts during my TMS (Trans-cranial Magnetic Stimulation) journey and now they make me cry.

I want to delete them and forget it ever happened.

I want to re-write them and erase all the hope.

I say that to say...it didn't stick.

About a week after my TMS treatments ended, I started to feel a steady decline.

My anxiety and depression returned, almost double in power.

I felt like a failure.

Like my brain didn't do what it was supposed to do.

I re-read my past posts and felt like a liar.

All the words of hope and healing were so.far. from what I was experiencing.

Which is probably why it took me so long to write this post.

(In my heart, I feel the need to apologize, like I led everyone on. In my head, I know it's not expected.)

I ended TMS in March and I was admitted to a behavioral clinic by May.

I was at my lowest of lows and we knew something had to change.

I almost opted for inpatient, but thankfully, they offer a full day program that allowed me to go home each night and snuggle my babies.

I started PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program) on May 16.

It consisted of 3 hours of group therapy, lunch, recreational therapy, and medicinal education.

9am-2:30pm. M-F.

The first thing they did was prescribe a new anti-depressant.

To tell you my "new girl" anxiety was at an all time high is an understatement.

I was put into a room full of strangers with varying mental disorders and a new-to-me therapist.

Two things immediately happened.

First, I quickly realized I had to "turn off" my bleeding heart/ministering heart. 

I wanted to speak God's love and truth into everyone I met, but I, too, was in a broken place.

I needed to take a backseat and allow the professionals to do their work.

Second, I felt an immense case of imposter syndrome. 

I looked around the room and saw homeless people, people coming out of comas after trying to end their lives, mothers whose children had been taken away from them, military men with severe PTSD, and almost all had terrible, horrible childhoods.

Who was I to be in this room?

I have a supportive husband and family. 

I have beautiful children under my roof, a roof that we own.

I never fought in wars.

I didn't have a terrible, horrible childhood.

Why am I here?

I asked myself that question multiple times a day for the entire first week.

Then God showed me that while the paths that lead us to this place were ALL different, the fact is, we ALL ended up in this place.

We were ALL struggling and we ALL needed healing.

Once I overcame that hurdle, this place became my absolute safe place.

My happy place.

Group therapy wasn't as intimating as I imagined it would be. 

It was life changing.

We spent 3 hours (with breaks) working on ONE coping skill.

Hammering it into our minds so it became muscle memory to use in times of need.

The things I learned in my two month stay will forever be a part of my daily life.

I've stopped the spiraling.

I've lowered the negative self talk.

I have a whole tool box full of ways to talk me off the edge, should I get there again.

After some time in PHP, you step down to IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) for 3 half-days a week.

Then, when the therapist (and mostly insurance) declares you ready, you walk out into the real world.

Last Friday was my last day at Valley Behavioral Clinic and I was an emotional wreck.

Not because I was unequipped, but because I knew I would miss my "friends."

The rag-tag group of people I would never in a million years had ever met, had become a sort of family.

I knew I would miss my therapists and their constant affirmation and guidance.

My medications have been working and I am not the same person I was 2 months ago.

I knew I was ready.

Only a handful of people were aware of what was happening in my life, as I kept it close to my heart until I was ready to share.

Now, I can't wait to share more of my experience and the tools I've learned that have changed my day-to-day living.

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