More than 15 million Americans suffer from depression, and more than a third of them don’t respond to counseling or antidepressants. Nathalie DeGravel was one of the unlucky ones—until she discovered a novel new therapy.

Four years ago, Nathalie DeGravel, 48, finally recognized something was horribly wrong with her brain. A human resources coordinator at the time, and living in Los Angeles, she knew that the episodes of rage and crying she battled frequently were much worse than the typical emotions everyone experiences. But her trips to a psychiatrist and prescription medications couldn’t put a dent in the vicious depression she was suffering. Her despair at finding a solution led her to an unconventional new treatment—which ended up saving her life.

 

Born in Paris, France, DeGravel had always been content with the pleasant life she built in the United States: A husband and two children she enjoyed immensely, a satisfying career, with occasional trips to visit family in Paris. When her symptoms of depression began, they were mild, almost unnoticeable. Over time, however, the mental illness grew in severity to the point she couldn’t even recognize herself, or the life she had worked so hard to build.

 

Desperate to regain control over her life, DeGravel sought out the help of a psychiatrist. But repeated attempts at traditional therapy and medication did nothing to ease her symptoms. DeGravel knew she had to think outside the box. “I was online when I saw an advertisement for transcranial magnetic stimulation. I had never heard about it and I was desperate for any solution. I talked to my psychiatrist about it, and he enrolled me in the program at UCLA,” she recalls.

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