TNS (post #4)

Eight weeks.

Eight weeks sleeping with sticky electrodes adhered to my forehead and wires running down the inside of my shirt to a small, metal box.

Eight weeks of feeling the sensation of electrical current contracting the forehead muscles, at times to the point of discomfort. Ironically when looking in the mirror with everything attached, the current causes the inside end of my eyebrows to bow upward giving the appearance of marked worry and sadness.

The initial phase of the clinical trial is over.

No change.
No benefit.

I have the option now of continuing to use the device for up to six more months. I've agreed to do just that. The facilitator suggested I could be a "slow responder," or a "non responder." If I'm a slow responder then it's possible I'll have remission within the additional six months. If I don't continue then I'll never know.

There is another treatment that uses the same principle called VNS. Vagus (like Vegas) Nerve Stimulation. This involves the surgical implant of a device that has lead wires that wrap around the vagas nerve which runs down the neck. A completely different nerve, a completely different devise. The facilitator shared with me that he knows of subjects who have had the VNS implant but didn't have any remission until a year later.

A year.

This got me thinking that I need to be more patient and to see this through to the end as much as I can stand it. I am thoroughly disappointed that the first eight weeks failed....but, I've been here before...many, many times. I have nothing to lose by continuing. I don't know what else to do.


  1. Hi 4-Lorn,
    I'm sorry to hear that the TNS doesn't seem to be making any difference in your case, and I hope that you turn out to be one of the "slow responders".

    If not, you can always look into the VNS. I know that your depression has been going on far longer than mine - I'm "only" at the 4 year mark. But sucky as it is, I'm learning to live with its ebbs and flows, and to accept that it is just a part of life. I need to eat, sleep, work, and exercise. Just as necessary for those of us going through long term depression is to keep up our treatment, or to be looking for new ones once it is clear that one option is not for us. It sucks, but I don't think we have much choice.

  2. Thanks for your supportive comment. I really have an aversion to any type of surgery. I'm not 100% dead set against VNS or even shock therapy, but those options will only be a very last resort if I should reach a point where I simply cannot function anymore. So far, I hang by a thread.

  3. Hi 4 Lorn,
    I am new to your blog, and I like your writing style. I dealt with depression for many years, and then developed Schizoaffective Disorder which includes depression, so I have been through lots of failed treatments too. In my case the failed treatments were always drugs or therapy, as I have never tried anything like TNS. But I think whatever type treatment it is - when it fails everyone is left feeling disappointed and lost. It's so easy to lose hope at such times, but try not to. They are doing new research all the time, and there will be something that works for you. Hang in there.

  4. Hello Jen,
    Thank you for the kind sentiment. I do appreciate it. I am still hanging in there every day. Not sure why sometimes. There hasn't been much to report lately....still trying this TNS but so far nothing. I hope you find something to help you. If we both succeed in beating this, we should share with each other and others. Thanks again.