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Patient Story: A Veteran’s TMS Journey Helps Her Out of the Cold

Anne’s Explains Her Transformation Through TMS Treatment After Experiencing Military Sexual Trauma and Depression.

“I enlisted in the Navy to escape an unpleasant family life. Yet somehow, the cold I was feeling got worse,” shared Anne M., a Veteran and Family Care Center patient from Colorado Springs, CO.  

“I spent four years in service, only to experience military sexual trauma (MST). It was a betrayal I never saw coming, a violation of trust that cut me to my core. Yet, in my fractured mind’s twisted logic, I believed I deserved it. After all, I was just another government-issued cog in the machine; who would care about the pain I endured? Who would listen? So, I kept silent, burying my military sexual trauma deep beneath layers of duty and obligation.” 

Living with depression is cold 

Looking back, Anne describes her depression as an ongoing feeling of cold.” When asked to what degree, she calls it a five. “I grew up in Michigan selling Christmas trees with my great uncle. I vividly remember that cold. That five-degree weather. That’s what my depression feels like.” 

After a while, Anne had enough of the cold. She relied on the Veterans Administration (VA) for support, but what they could offer only went so far. In Anne’s words, “They aren’t able to do enough. In my experience, the solutions always centered around medication and more medication, right on top of each other. They never took a prescription away; they just added more.” 

It was defeating.   

The next right move: TMS

When suicide felt like the next right move, her strength drove her to call Next Chapter, a Colorado Springs grant-funded community wellness collaborative serving Veterans and their families. It was Next Chapter who introduced her to Family Care Center and offered to support her financially so that she could receive the treatment she needed for her depression and military sexual trauma. 

“Next Chapter really stepped up,” she said. “They’re marvelous.” 

When Anne got to Family Care Center, she was impressed by her therapist and physician assistant (PA) who worked together to understand her medication regimen and what her negative thoughts looked like. After a few weeks, it all became clear – Anne was an ideal candidate for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Her use of talk therapy and medication management alone were not enough to improve her depression symptoms. It would take the removal of all medications and a six-week course of TMS treatment to alleviate her symptoms. 

“Before I say this, let me remind you I was in the military, and putting it this way is important for my fellow service members to hear – going to TMS every day for a half an hour is a pain, but it’s an accelerated course that can change you so much. No way would I have ever imagined I could feel this good on the other side.” 

Life-changing treatment through TMS 

Anne described her TMS treatment course as life-changing and credited her TMS technicians for being so supportive. “The techs often ask, ‘How are you? What’s going on today?’ They even shared stories about themselves to create a connection with me. Living alone with no support, that connection really had a positive impact on me.” 

When asked about her progress and when things started to improve, Anne noted the three-week mark of treatment: “It was about three weeks in when I really started to feel different. The ‘not-so-positive’ feelings started to fade, and so did the negative dialogue in my head. I wasn’t talking down to myself as much. I didn’t feel as cold, going from 5 to 50 degrees.” 

Anne completed her entire six-week course of treatment in May of 2023. As of March 2024, she continues to reap the benefits of TMS. 

“Before TMS, I didn’t move much because it only hurt more. I remained alone and let negative dialogue in my head take over,” she shared. “But after TMS, I found energy, warmth and my voice. I’m currently at a warm 70 degrees, and when I see a Veteran who looks like they are struggling, I speak to them.” 

Anne also finds time to give back to her community and recently completed a part-time project for the county’s voting system. “Working for them is something I never would have done before TMS. I worked weird hours and had to leave my home to talk to folks. With the help of TMS, I was able to do that, laugh while doing it and really feel a part of something.” 

TMS also gave Anne the energy to start walking on a treadmill at home, further benefiting her physical and mental health. 

Advice for Veterans, military families and civilians considering TMS 

Anne was quick to answer when asked what advice she would give to someone considering TMS treatment. “Don’t give up. The right solution is out there.” She added, “I wish I could hold the hands of Vets who are struggling with their mental health. So, I could say, ‘Take the time, force yourself and go through this. Do this one last thing. Force yourself to do this.'” 

For those who care for a Veteran, Anne added, “Find a way to get your service member to these appointments. The frigid weather is going to warm up. It will show a positive change. Make the commitment. Family Care Center cares. This is your place for healing.” 

Learn more about Family Care Center mental health services 

If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma or any other mental health condition, it’s time to call Family Care Center. With compassionate care built for your specific needs, we’re proud to offer individual, couples and family therapy as well as psychiatric services and TMS. 

If you’re looking ready to start your healing journey and would like to try a personalized approach that regularly beats mental health benchmarks for patients of all ages, we’re here to help.   

Call (888) 374-5066 to speak with our intake team about Family Care Center services, including TMS. 

If you are in crisis, are having suicidal thoughts, or are in need of immediate support, please call 988. 988 is a free, confidential service available to anyone experiencing a mental health, substance use, or emotional crisis. People can reach out for themselves or for someone they are concerned about, such as a friend, neighbor, or loved one.   

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