My name is Rayna.
I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for over 18 years and it really hit a peak this year around March. Since I first began experiencing depression and anxiety I’ve tried several different medications, experienced the side effects that come with them, and I learned what a struggle it is trying to balance those side effects with additional medication. On top of that, these medications didn’t seem to address the root of my anxiety and depression. Instead, they would mask it and help in some areas, but I didn’t feel like I was truly improving my long-term situation.
I can’t put into words just how much of a mess I was when I found Serenity. For years, my anxiety and depression had been growing. As additional events would come up, I didn’t have the presence of mind to cope and so things continued to escalate and get worse. When vast changes had to be incorporated into my workplace during the pandemic, things reached a whole new level. I was crying all the time, I couldn’t get out of bed some days, and I couldn’t feel happiness or connection. I couldn’t function in day-to-day life and I knew that I really needed help. Emotionally, I was in the worst state I had ever been in my life.
I had started to see a counselor and I concluded I needed to switch to a different psychiatrist as well. I asked for recommendations for a psychiatrist and my counselor referred me to Dr. Aaron Clay at Serenity. I called and left a message, and they called me back later that evening, which really impressed me. The person on the other end of the phone asked me a lot of questions and I felt she really cared. That phone call alone gave me hope, the first I had felt in quite a while.
When I came into the office for my appointment, I met with one of the Patient Care Advocates, who took the time to understand my situation. I was treated with empathy, compassion, and a genuine smile. I could tell she really wanted to see my mental health improve. Then I met with Dr. Clay, and he spent quite a long time with me, truly listening, showing interest in what I was saying, and looking to address the causes of my problems instead of covering my symptoms. Compared to my previous psychiatrist, the difference was night and day.
For the last 18 years, up until coming to Serenity, I had been on many different medications. After our conversation, Dr. Clay accurately diagnosed me. With his help, I was able to reduce the number of medications and find a medication that truly works for me. He emphasized that he thought ketamine and TMS would help me improve my situation further. I knew I had to try something different because what I was doing obviously wasn’t working. My insurance covered TMS for 36 sessions, and I figured I had nothing to lose. In my current state of high anxiety the prospect of TMS seemed like a frightening one, but I honestly didn’t know what I might do if I didn’t start getting better soon.
My TMS technician, Jeff, took the time to explain everything to me and ask me questions during the consultation to make sure I was as comfortable as possible. Once again, I could feel how much the staff really cared about me and my well-being. I remember looking at him when I came in for the first treatment and telling him how scared I was. He was so patient and understanding with me.
Throughout the treatments, he would ask me about what I was grateful for. At my first treatment, even though I knew what the correct answers were, I couldn’t connect with them. Logically, I knew I was grateful for my husband, my dogs, and my family, but I felt numb and couldn’t actually feel the gratitude. As time went on, Jeff talked to me about my goals and ambitions, and I realized that the questions he asked allowed me to self-reflect on my behaviors and establish ways to help me get better.
After two weeks of TMS treatments I was able to feel positive again, which was just such a world of difference for me. When I talked about what I was grateful for, it connected! My husband says that I’m like a different person now, like the girl he met years ago who was full of joy and determination. Now, after the full 36 sessions of TMS, I feel like my depression never existed, and my anxiety is very low and manageable. I cook dinner frequently now, and I’m able to enjoy playing with my dogs and even exercising. I choose to do things that make me happy now, which is so far from where I was.
TMS and Dr. Clay changed my life, and I’m so grateful for that. If you don’t feel there is hope for life to get better, please know there are options out there for you. You are worthy of happiness and a better tomorrow.