Ruby Wax credits new treatment with lifting her out of depression
Ruby Wax has credited a new treatment with helping her recover from a recent bout of depression.
The 69-year-old comedian revealed just two weeks ago that she was suffering with her first episode of depression in 12 years but now believes that undergoing repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment has helped her.
She shared a picture of herself on Instagram, wearing a special helmet for the procedure and wrote: "I’m better now but the pulling out of the quicksand of depression is so slow, it’s faster to watch your hair grow.
"Last time this happened to me about twelve years ago it took months to return to who I used to be, this time it only took weeks."
After joking that the procedure saved her from being one of the "walking dead", Ruby explained in detail what it involves.
She wrote: "I'm better now but the pulling out of the quicksand of depression is so slow, it's faster to watch your hair grow. Last time this happened to me about twelve years ago it took months to return to who I used to be, this time, it took only weeks.
"Here's how I pulled out of being part of the walking dead, there's a new piece of machinery called rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation).
"If you would have told me five years ago something like it existed, I'd think you had watched too much sci-fi. rTMS is unlike ECT (standing for electroconvulsive therapy), which is the last saloon' treatment for those who don't respond to medication. With ECT they knock you out, put a bit between your teeth so you don't bite off your tongue and let the voltage rip.
"Electric currents bring on a small seizure which hopefully changes the brain chemistry. In other words you're fried and even worse there is a good chance that there might be short term memory loss. Not good for any human being who wants to remember their name."
Ruby explained that the procedure is successful in 60 per cent of cases and revealed how lucky she feels to be part of that percentage.
She said: "The repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulator doesn't use electricity, it uses a magnetic pulse that whacks your neurons into action, like rebooting a stalled car. It works on 60 per cent of patients with depression, OCD and a few other mental disorders and thank you Jesus, I was in that 60 per cent.
"They put something that looks like a 50's hair dryer on your head and then the banging begins.
"It feels like Woody Woodpecker has been let loose on the left side of your head and is having a hay day. Those magnets are pounding you at around 36 times every few seconds, up to 55 times. That's about 1,980 whacks to recalibrate your brain (not pleasant).
"I've had twenty sessions and a reshuffle of meds and who would have dreamt it, I'm almost human again. I can almost smile, which is an impossibility during the dark nights of the mental knives. There are only a handful of places in the UK that offer treatment using this piece of equipment because mental illness is probably lowest on the list when it comes to taking a disease seriously.
"To me it's actually the most serious because a sick brain is usually the underlying cause of most physical diseases.
"But we know about the stigma blah blah blah... and not enough is being done about it.
"That's why with mental illness, forget getting the right help, forget getting the right meds, forget a bed in a hospital, forget seeing a psychiatrist - so really why would they bother making this magical piece of equipment available to the measly 1 in 4?
"I will continue to fight the fight."