Help for Depression
I read with great interest the article titled “Zoloft & the Sacred.” As a nurse practitioner working in psychiatry, my day is filled with patients seeking help with depression and anxiety. Pharmacological management can be helpful and for many it’s a life-changing experience. As the article pointed out, there is a price many pay for having a stable mood. The price can include flattening (“I know I should be happy, but I just can’t express it”) or sexual side effects (lack of desire, inability to orgasm, etc.). Those are only two of the host of common side effects one can experience, yet they are very troublesome for many. Others say, “I’m better. Let’s just leave good enough alone.” To me, a “good enough” life isn’t living, and I strive to help each and every patient live their best life—whatever that looks like for them.
In my quest for the best, there is a treatment that is less known called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). The machine uses electromagnetic energy to “wake up” the brain and improve mood, concentration, and focus. While this treatment isn’t as well-known as Prozac, it has a 60 to 80 percent success rate. There are no known side effects and, unlike medication, either it works or it doesn’t. This is not “shock therapy” and there is no downtime. It has been covered by insurance providers for 10 years and has helped many people with treatment-resistant depression. I encourage anyone who has tried antidepressants and can’t tolerate the side effects to consider rTMS. The psychiatrist I work with is examining other possibilities with rTMS, including treating autism, dementia, and pain. The future holds limitless possibilities. If you hunger for a best life, not a “good enough” life, I urge you to consider rTMS as a treatment option.
—Jean Arroyo, ARNP-BC
To me, a “good enough” life isn’t living, and I strive to help each and every patient live their best life—whatever that looks like for them.
Sharing an Invitation
I’m not Jewish, but I was at the Beyt Tikkun High Holiday services last year and was moved by it—and heard feedback from many who were also moved. People travel a long way to come to these services in Berkeley. It’s really worth it.
Led by Rabbi Michael Lerner, with the assistance of Ami Goodman, Cat Zavis, and Abby Caplin, the services have a unique blend of spirituality, social justice, joyous celebration of the universe (Rosh Hashanah, among other things, is a birthday party for the earth), and serious rethinking of our personal lives and the social order we live in.
As I learned, this process, called Teshuva, is about returning to the highest level of “who we really are” after all the ways that we as individuals and as society have strayed in the past year. To help in this process, Rabbi Lerner facilitates us getting a “Teshuva buddy.” This is a person we can check in with each day from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur to discuss whatever obstacles we face as we work through a short but deep Teshuva packet. Rabbi Lerner teaches that the services are mostly cheerleading for the process, but the process itself has to be done by each of us as we reconsider what we’ve been doing all year long in our personal lives, our work lives, and our relationships—to family, spouse or partner, children, and the larger society. It’s a deep and very meaningful process, and you don’t have to be Jewish to get a lot out of this experience!
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