Starla’s Story — Overcoming Depression and Anxiety with TMS Therapy

By: Jayson Tripp, MD


My name is Starla Smith. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for about six years. In the last year, my mental health worsened to the point that I started to self-harm multiple times a day, almost every day. It made me feel helpless, like there were no solutions. I had a great life, and yet I felt awful. All the things I used to love, one by one, started to sound like too much work. 

When my depression reached its worst, I was in my dorm room and had overdosed on about 70 painkillers. My best friend came home and rushed me to the hospital. The next day I was transferred to a behavioral hospital. 

While I was at the hospital, my parents and a close friend searched for places that could help me. They considered extensive outpatient care, but I didn’t want that. Finally, my good friend, who struggled with depression as well, happened upon Serenity’s website. It was like a miracle. The clinic was only 30 minutes away from my home, and I could do treatment every day. I wouldn’t have to go away again. I agreed to try ketamine  and TMS therapy

I was so surprised by how kind everyone at Serenity was during my treatment. Although people at the behavioral hospital tried their best to help me, it was hard sometimes because I felt more like a prisoner than a patient. At Serenity, they treated me like a normal person, and they validated my feelings. Everyone was just so kind. 

I loved my experience with ketamine. It left me with an instant happy feeling. When I started TMS, I was very doubtful that it would work. But here I am now, and I love life. I love to live. It was a gradual steadiness, but suddenly I had no self-harm thoughts, no suicidal ideation. I wanted to live and plan my future. It was almost as if my brain felt clear overnight and I finally understood the meaning of being “clear-minded.” I didn’t realize this is what you were supposed to feel like. 

My family has noticed the change in me after finishing treatment. Those who knew what I was struggling with were able to see me go from point A to point B. I love to do the things I used to do: making jokes, having conversations, and just laughing. Ketamine and TMS therapy have helped me see that I have a future I want to experience. My depression and anxiety were just a chapter in my book, and now I’m able to continue writing.

If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, anxiety, or another form of mental illness, you are not alone. Contact Serenity Mental Health Centers  to discuss our full range of treatment options, including ketamine and TMS therapy

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*All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.