July 27, 2022

Finding hope after trauma

Sara was working as an emergency dispatcher when she experienced trauma that she needed to get help for. She sought out professional counselling and was involved in a very extensive Traumatic Psychological Injury program that included two hours of group therapy and two hours of occupational therapy every week. She worked incredibly hard to get through the treatments and she found there wasn’t a big difference in how she was feeling.

Her doctor recommended a therapy she hadn’t heard about: Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS), a therapy used to treat extreme depression. Within a few sessions, Sara started to feel a real difference.

“Conversations were lighter, my irritability went down. Near the end I really did feel better, I had moments of calmness which is not something that I was familiar with,” says Sara.

At one point in her journey, Sara did feel suicidal, something she knew she had to seek out help for. She shares that when she was an adolescent she was in the hospital for mental health support and in the decade since she’s seen a big difference in stigma going down, openness and access to mental health supports as well as advocacy.

Her advice to anyone who is struggling with their own mental health is, “If you’re not feeling well, get the help and reach out. It’s so common.”

Reaching out for help was one of the best things she did for herself. “We don’t’ need to lose any more people to suicide. We don’t need people to become another statistic.”

Dr. Lisa Harpur has been using rTMS therapy to treat her patients and she didn’t anticipate the radical outcomes her patients would experience.

“rTMS, for many people, is a life-changer. It has provided me with the opportunity to see changes in patients that I have never seen before,” says Dr. Harpur.

“Struggling with extreme depression can make it challenging to maintain a job, enjoy time with family and even make plans for the future,” says Dr. Harpur. With treatments like rTMS, clinicians are hopeful they can help more patients get better and return to their lives.

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