Ruby Wax has claimed to have cured her depression by undergoing the repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation treatment, which uses magnets to pound her brain.
The comedian, 69, revealed she’s faced twenty rounds of the procedure in a Thursday Instagram post, which is thought to come at a hefty price tag of £4,000.
Joking that the ‘sci fi‘ procedure has saved her from being one of ‘The Walking Dead’, Ruby explained that she had worn a helmet that looked like a 50s style hairdryer, and shared an accompanying snap.
‘I’ve pulled out being The Walking Dead with TWENTY sessions!’ Ruby Wax has claimed to have cured her depression by using magnets to pound her BRAIN, in a Thursday Instagram post
The non-Invasive procedure is said to repair damaged neurons in the prefrontal cortex and also increase serotonin production to repair damaged parts of the brain.
Following the treatment Ruby felt well enough to do some gardening and caught up with her daughters Mandy, 32, and Marina Bye, 29, who are due to perform at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
The remedy, which is not widely available on the NHS, doesn’t come without some possible side effects including headaches, lightheadedness, burning sensations on the scalp, and in extreme cases seizures.
What?! The comedian, 69, is thought to have splashed £4,000 on the non-Invasive procedure which repairs damaged neurons in the prefrontal cortex and increase serotonin production
She wrote in full: ‘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.
‘rMS is unlike ECT (standing for electroconvulsive therapy), which is the last saloon treatment for those who don’t respond to medication.
Shock: Joking that the ‘sci fi‘ procedure has saved her from being one of ‘The Walking Dead’, Ruby explained that she had worn a helmet that looked like a 50s style hairdryer
‘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.
The TV personality, who has battled with her mental health over the years and quit TV 25 years ago as a result of depression, admitted she is ‘frazzled’ and ‘didn’t spot the signs’ as she told fans of her current battle with the illness that makes thoughts ‘so agonising it’s hard to stay alive.’
‘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.
Hooray! Following the treatment Ruby felt well enough to do some gardening and caught up with her daughters Mandy and Marina Bye who are due to perform at Edinburgh Fringe
HOW DOES TMS WORK?
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is relatively new in the UK.
The non-invasive, medication-free treatment was approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression in 2008 and in 2015 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) deemed it effective and safe for the same condition in the UK.
Studies have also suggested it is effective in reducing the symptoms of anorexia nervosa, chronic neuropathic pain, drug addiction, PTSD and schizophrenia, among others.
TMS utilises pulses of magnetic energy that produce very small electrical currents through a treatment coil placed on the scalp.
It delivers a highly concentrated magnetic field which turns on and off very rapidly, the same type and strength as those produced by MRI.
It is applied to the area of the brain shown by scans to be most associated with the medical or psychiatric condition being treated, to stimulate or dampen down activity there.
Experts believe CD symptoms may involve communication errors among different parts of the brain, including the orbitofrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex (both in the front of the brain), the striatum, and the thalamus (deeper parts of the brain).
The magnetic field does not affect the whole brain, reaching about 2-3 cm in, directly beneath the treatment coil.
‘Works on 60% of patients with depression, OCD and a few other mental disorders and thank you Jesus, I was in that 60%.
‘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 disease seriously.
‘To me it’s actually the most serious because a sick brain is usually themunderlying 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.’
It comes after Ruby bared her soul by admitting to fans she is suffering from her first big bout of depression in 12 years, and saying she has ‘dead eyes’.
Taking to Instagram on Monday, she shared two images of herself and penned a revealing post, writing: ‘A sure sign of depression is dead eyes (first picture) In contrast to me when alive and well (second picture)
Ruby also told her fans just a few days ago that she was experiencing the first bout of depression in twelve years. She said this time it took her by surprise.
Alongside a zoomed-in image of her eyes, she wrote: ‘I have gone on about stopping the stigma for mental illness for about 15 years; writing books, performing in theatre shows speaking at businesses.
‘Questioning why it’s treated differently than if someone had a physical disease. Over the years I’ve asked people suffering from both physical and mental problems which is worse and without exception they always say mental.
Candid: Taking to Instagram on Monday, she shared two images and penned a revealing post, writing: ‘A sure sign of depression is dead eyes (first picture) In contrast to me when alive and well (second picture, above)
‘There’s a feeling that you’ve done something wrong when your own mind turns on you and takes revenge for something you never did.
‘It’s the black hole of diseases where you sit helpless as your mind hammers you with accusitions, sucks out your soul and spits it out and the brutality of your thoughts become so agonizing it’s hard to stay alive and have to listen.’
She continued: ‘Because I’m committed to dropping the shame, I feel I need to walk the talk at this point. Here’s the situation – I have depression at the moment.
‘Nothing happened specifically to bring it on. I come from a long line of ancestors with various flavours of mental illness so genetically, it seems it’s a no-brainer that I’d be the next in line.
Suffering: The TV personality, who has battled with her mental health over the years and quit TV 25 years ago as a result of depression, admitted she is ‘frazzled’ as she told fans of her current battle with the illness that makes thoughts ‘so agonising it’s hard to stay alive’
‘Not my fault, or even the fault of my relatives, it’s deeply planted in our genes.’
Ruby said mindfulness had stopped her suffering for a long time, explaining: ‘My last bad bout was about twelve years ago so I haven’t done badly. Mindfulness was a wonderful tool, helping me spot early onslaughts and awareness is the key.
‘It meant I could hold back the the snowballing effect of depression before it rendered me helpless, where I’d sit gormless in a darkened room too afraid to take a shower.’
She added: ‘This time, I didn’t spot the signs. I’m coming out of it already otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write this because you can hardly speak, let alone type.
‘When I recover, I’m going to write my next book called, ‘I’m Not As Well As I Thought I Was.’ Wish me luck.’
Admission: Ruby also told her fans just a few days ago that she was experiencing the first bout of depression in twelve years. She said this time it took her by surprise
Her candid post was met with a plethora of supportive messages from her fans and showbiz pals, with Dawn French writing: ‘Love you Rubes x.’
While Lily Cole penned: ‘Sending you loads of love, I have been there too.’
Ruby has been open about her battle with clinical depression over the years, and in 2013 graduated with a master’s degree in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy from Kellogg College at Oxford University.
Appearing on the Crisis What Crisis? podcast in 2020, she told how she ‘lost her mojo’ while struggling with her mental health on television, and admitted it severely bruised her ego to be replaced.
However, the Girls On Top actress went on to stress that she’s glad her showbiz career came to an end when it did, because she may well have ‘harmed herself’ if she’d ended up on reality TV, which she believes would have been the inevitable next step.
Open: ‘My last bad bout was about twelve years ago so I haven’t done badly. Mindfulness was a wonderful tool, helping me spot early onslaughts and awareness is the key’ (pictured in 2021)
When asked about her decision to distance herself from showbiz, and throw herself into understanding mindfulness and her study of psychotherapy, she said: ‘I was thrown out of it.’
When pushed further, she explained: ‘It was a mutual agreement, I started to hit depression while I was on TV, and that made it really difficult.’
The TV personality said her mental health meant her ‘brain was shutting down’ and she could no longer perform in the way she used to.
Ruby said she is glad she left showbiz when she did, and believes she could have been ‘eating a cockroach on an island’ by now if she had kept on taking jobs.
Ruby went on to call her studies in psychotherapy a ‘life raft’, which she finds far ‘more exciting’ than her life in television.
‘If I was doing it now, it would be a tragedy,’ said Ruby. ‘There would be such unhappiness, I wouldn’t come out of an institution you could visit me in there.
‘I know when there’s a life raft, I jumped on that neuroscience like a mother, and it was totally exciting, more exciting than television.’
Ruby told that there was no ‘epiphany’ which helped her overcome her mental health disorder, and that at some points she didn’t know ‘whether to have a manicure or jump off a cliff’.
If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org.
Illness: Ruby has been open about her battle with clinical depression over the years, and in 2013 graduated with a master’s degree in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy from Kellogg College at Oxford University