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3000 Pulses Later

Martha Rhodes Recounts Her Recovery from Depression

Martha Rhodes Recounts Her Recovery from Depression

How does a high-powered executive spend most of her adult life smiling when she feels like crying? For Martha Rhodes, it became second nature to smile. But she desparately wanted to harm herself. If this sounds familiar, read on as we delve into Martha Rhodes’ honest and insightful memoir.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation has played a miraculous role in saving my life and the lives of over 12,000 people suffering with Major Depressive Disorder.

 My story may seem implausible, but it’s frighteningly true.    – Martha Rhodes, fully recovered


Martha’s Depression

“Although a nagging sadness clouded even the happiest days of my life, I’ve managed to pull off a successful career as a senior-level executive in some of the largest NY City advertising agencies. I have a loving 37-year marriage and have raised two amazing children. That’s the good news.

“Here’s the bad news: With what appeared to be a perfect life, no one could have been more surprised than I was to end up in a hospital emergency room due to a self-inflicted drug and alcohol overdose.”

Prescription Drug Overdose Deaths

Prescription Drug Overdose Deaths

A person can overdose on drugs the very first time they try them. It is even more dangerous to mix different drugs or to mix alcohol with drugs.

The U.S. government does not track death rates for every drug. However, the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does collect information on many of the more commonly used drugs.

National Overdose DeathsNumber of Deaths from Prescription Drugs. The chart above shows the total number of U.S. overdose deaths involving prescription drugs from 2001 to 2014. The chart is overlayed by a line graph showing the number of deaths by females and males. From 2001 to 2014 there was a 2.8-fold increase in the total number of deaths.

After Martha’s Attempt to End Her Life

“After my suicide attempt I tried a variety of drugs for several months and nothing helped. I actually felt worse than when I started them, trying to find the one, or combination of pills, that would work. Either they were flat out ineffective or the side effects were intolerable. I was scared, frustrated and hopeless.”

TMS – Depression and its Stigma

This video – 1:59.  (See Martha’s full story – 55 minute video.)

Why isn’t the medicine working?

If your depression medicine didn’t help you feel better, you are not alone. About half or more of all people treated with medicine for their depression will still have some symptoms or will have symptoms come back.

When your symptoms do not go away after trying two or more different medicines for 6 weeks or more, you may have what doctors call “treatment-resistant depression.”

Why do I have treatment-resistant depression?

There can be many reasons why a medicine works for some people and not others. Depression is a complex illness, and everyone is different. Your doctor or health care professional may want to talk about your symptoms again to see if there may be other reasons for why you feel depressed. You and your doctor can also explore other treatment options.

Martha discovers TMS

Then a miracle happened. I discovered a magazine ad for TMS with the headline: “Treat Depression Without Medications”. I made an appointment with a psychiatrist to learn more and to see if I was a likely candidate for TMS. The verdict was “yes”.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of major depression

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, or rTMS, involves taking an electromagnet, essentially a wire wrapped around a solid coil, charging it with electricity, and applying it to specific points on the skull, to target the underlying brain areas. The result is a very powerful magnetic field that can affect brain cells.

The current practice involves targeting the left prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain helps control emotions, decision-making, impulses, and social behavior. Patients receive 3,000 pulses per day, five days per week, for four weeks.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation for the treatment of major depression

Electricity doesn’t go well through skin, hair, or skull for that matter but the magnetic field passes right through,” – Dr. Mark George, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston, SC.

Martha wakes up

Somewhere around my 20th session I woke up one morning and that disgusting “UGH!!” feeling was gone—the feeling that’s a thousand times worse than the “I wish it wasn’t Monday morning and I didn’t have to go to work!” feeling. (I call it “emotional nausea”.)

A gentle lightness came over me as if I was lifted out of a dark hole. I noticed the music I listened to during my drives to and from my treatments was more upbeat and I found myself actually singing to the music! I began reaching out to friends again, to talk on the phone, go out to dinner—and I actually caught myself laughing. My energy increased and life felt amazingly manageable.

About 3000 Pulses Later

Not only is 3,000 Pulses Later a testament to Rhodes’s own experience with TMS, it also provides information and guidance to anyone who is considering TMS, is in the TMS treatment process, or has completed TMS therapy. Most important, Rhodes’s broader message is meant to create more awareness of the dangers of undiagnosed and untreated Treatment Resistant Depression, that depression is a medical, oftentimes chronic illness, and that patients must find the therapy that works for them.

While Rhodes urges patients to “own” their illness and responsibly attend to it with whatever therapy relieves their symptoms–alternative or mainstream–the book offers readers an understanding of what it’s like to go through TMS therapy and how effective it has been in the author’s life.

Select Book Reviews

Like the author, I tried TMS and now feel free of depression. She quit her drugs before treatment, and I will be off mine very soon. Ms Rhodes writes very well and is a worthy proselytizer for TMS.”  -LChabod

“The author tells it all and it is a wonderful book for anyone who suffers from severe depression or anyone who has a loved one who is.”  -Muffy787

“Excellent book to read if someone in your life is going through depression. helped us make a decision. super information.”  -R. Musgrave

“Most all of the time I do not give anything a perfect score. However, in this case it may mean the difference between falling into a black hole or walking into the sunshine again. After reading this book I have decided to fully pay out of pocket for my son to get this treatment and I pray it will turn out as well for him as it did for Martha.”  -R. Swanson

3000 Pulses Later

Purchase your copy – and pick one up for a friend or family member. You could change a life!

3000 Pulses Later

Dr. Scott West

About Nashville NeuroCare Therapy: In April of 2010, Dr. West brought the technology of NeuroStar TMS to Nashville, becoming the first physician in Tennessee to offer the option of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for patients whose severe depression has not responded to a course of antidepressant medication or treatment for depression. The team at Nashville NeuroCare Therapy offers the most experience in the Tennessee-area. We have treated 550+ patients across the U.S. and administered 16,000+ TMS treatments, plus we maintain some of the highest percentages of positive patient responses and remission rates in the industry.

At Nashville NeuroCare Therapy, we deliver personalized therapy, specializing in TMS Therapy and Neurofeedback. We provide safe and well-researched therapies for depression, ADHD and sleep problems—all without the need for medication.

For more information on our therapies for Depression, ADHD and Sleep Problems, please contact us at (615) 465-4875 or or or visit our website

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APA Reference
West, W. (2016). 3000 Pulses Later. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 Feb 2016
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