For Martha Rhodes, author of 3,000 Pulses Later: A Memoir of Surviving Depression Without Medication, depression first came in the form of a pervasive melancholy feeling that affected her since early childhood. In her memoir, Martha shares her journey to health and healing through transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
The book 3,000 Pulses Later is aptly named for the 3,000 magnetic energy pulses per day that TMS patients receive. These pulses are given to stimulate the underactive nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex responsible for mood control.
As a successful advertising executive, wife and mother, Martha shines a spotlight on those who suffer from drug-resistant depression. She also discusses the dangers of it going both undiagnosed and untreated. Contrary to popular belief, it is not uncommon for those on depression medication to find it ineffective. According to a study published by Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, “Up to one-third of adults with major depression battle symptoms—such as persistent feelings of sadness, sleep disturbances, low energy and thoughts of death or suicide—that don’t respond to treatment.”
Although she was diagnosed with Clinical Depression early on, Martha spent many years on a revolving door of medications. She then unsuccessfully attempted to take her own life. Despite what she describes in her book as a “successful game face,” the pressures of a demanding career as an advertising executive coupled with the side effects of her medication left her feeling powerless in her fight against her severe depression.
In 3,000 Pulses Later, Martha gives an enlightening account of these events. She also shares her frame of mind leading up to her overdose in 2009. Luckily, a phone call to her brother on the eve of her suicide attempt would ultimately save Martha’s life. Though she doesn’t recall dialing his number, her brother, 5 other siblings, and first responders were able to locate Martha. They immediately transported her to a nearby emergency room. Two days later, Martha describes waking up in the hospital room feeling numb. It wasn’t until her family rushed to her side that she awoke to the reality of what she had attempted.
After being transferred to a psychiatric ward, Martha saw an ad in a magazine for TMS therapy. This led her to make an appointment with a psychiatrist. During these appointments, she quickly learned she was an optimal candidate for TMS treatment. However, it wasn’t until her 20th session that Martha started experiencing positive changes.
“A gentle lightness came over me as if I was lifted out of a dark hole. I noticed the music I listened to during my drives to and from my treatments was more upbeat and I found myself actually singing to the music! I began reaching out to friends again, to talk on the phone, go out to dinner—and I actually caught myself laughing. My energy increased and life felt amazingly manageable.”
Several years later, Martha continues to manage her wide-scale depression with monthly TMS Therapy sessions. She currently acts as an advocate to patients and health care professionals interested in the alternative treatment method.
“Life’s circumstances will present days that are anything but happy. My endgame is to reclaim my spirit for living, an appreciation for life that this illness has robbed from me in the past and will continue to steal if I don’t take care of myself.”
3,000 Pulses Later
3,000 Pulses Later is an important resource for anyone struggling with managing their own mental health and even gives an insightful perspective for loved ones who so desperately want to get inside the mind of someone battling a chronic illness.
In addition to her recovery process, Martha shares key strategies in her book on how she has avoided a major relapse. She also shares the many tactics and tools available to those in need of managing their depression. 3,000 Pulses Later serves as an inspiring and informative guide for anyone interested in learning more about TMS therapy and the stark reality of drug-resistant depression.
For those struggling with depression, Martha strongly encourages being forthcoming with your doctor. Talk to them about how you’re feeling and responding to treatment options. “Living with depression requires constant vigilance and self-care in order to survive it.”