I have suffered from depression since about the age of 10. It wasn’t constant in my younger days, but as I have gotten older, it has morphed into what the professionals call “Major Depressive Disorder” (MDD). In layman’s terms, that means that despite medication, I feel so low almost all of the time: So low that the sadness and hopelessness I feel has made it near impossible to function and perform my daily responsibilities.
At the urging of my primary care physician, I decided to try a fairly new treatment called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). It’s function is to stimulate areas of the brain that are under active in depressed people.
My treatments were set to begin on September 8th. Of course I had every intention of making prayer part of that regimen, but planned to keep the whole situation under close wraps, family and close friends only. That is until my sister was inspired to draw a 40-day prayer circle around me. She planned to invite people I know and love, as well as people I have never even met to join her in spirit each day to recite a prayer she had composed from The Book of Psalms specifically for healing for me. Despite my inclination to keep my private life my own, I agreed. I was just that desperate for relief and help.
Not only did my treatments begin on September 8th, but a prayer mushroom began. It was like the old Faberge Organics shampoo commercial: The people she invited told their two friends, who told their two friends, and so on and so on. Before we knew it, countless people began praying for me, and graces started flowing. As my sister put it, God was sending me the Holy Spirit in little “threads” that, through divine mercy, were being fashioned into a “prayer shawl or blanket”.
You see I have a blanket that I have affectionately named “Tess.” This massive, cozy blanket has been used by me since my children were small to comfort them when they are sick or sad. I sure was sick and sad, and God and the Holy Spirit were creating their own “Tess” to comfort me while I waited for my miracle of healing.
In the beginning, the fogginess of depression made it difficult for me to see these serendipitous “threads” as graces from God. But my mother and family encouraged me to see them for what they were, and to start acknowledging them as signs from God: Signs that if I would simply listen to, or act upon, would guide me to healing and wholeness again.
They were so right. Each time I felt discouraged and hopeless, something crazy would happen. For instance, one Friday morning I arrived at the hospital parking lot feeling so defeated. I had a few minutes before my treatment so I decided to look up “Does TMS help depression?” Although I had googled TMS topics many times, my search came up with a site I had never seen before: 3000pulseslater.com. The author, Martha Rhodes, had received TMS treatments for her MDD and had achieved remission. Although I was so sad and sorry for myself, I reached out to her to congratulate her and ask her to pray for me. (My sister’s invitation to anyone and everyone that was willing to pray for my healing was catchy and I had begun inviting anyone I could to pray for me.)
I went into the hospital never really expecting to hear back from Martha. However, when I was checking my emails leaving my appointment, I was floored to see that not only had she responded, she went over and above. In a lengthy email, she assured me that what I was feeling was normal: It has been termed “The Dip,” feeling worse before you feel better. She encouraged me not to give up so soon, gave me the name of websites I should check out, and said that she would pray for my healing. How crazy is that? Her words lifted my spirits and hopes immensely.
The following Monday, my husband surprised me by showing up for my treatment. He had never done that before. The doctor that runs the clinic asked to meet with us. In the meeting he expressed discouragement. He recommended that we stop treatment as it didn’t seem to be working. Thankfully, Martha’s words of encouragement and my husband’s presence and support – more prayer threads – had renewed my commitment to TMS and my trust in God’s mercy. We were able to convince the doctor to approve one more week of treatment.
By the following Thursday, when the nurse issued the routine question, “How do you feel?” I was able to say, “I THINK I may be feeling a bit better”. That answer, and that day, marked the turning point in my journey. That was two weeks ago today. I am sooo elated to be able to say… I have 14 days depression free under my belt now. For the first time in years I can honestly say, I am looking forward to my future!
Prayer circle? You bet!!! So many faithful prayer warriors lifted me and my depression up to God, and He and the Holy Spirit wrapped me in grace and brought me out of the darkness of depression. Glory be to God!
To read more about TMS and Kerry’s journey, visit My TMS Journey.