A depressed man who “wanted to die” and lived for a decade on a cocktail of anti-depressants claims he has been cured – with magnets.
Freddie Webster says living each day was “torment” and even when he was partying in Bali he lived with a constant fear of relapsing into depression.
But the 26-year-old says he has now been cured after discovering transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy which involves targeting the part of the brain which controls mood regulation with a magnetic field.
TMS therapy costs up to £6,200 and sees two hand-sized magnets attached to the head and starts a magnetic field at the brain’s left frontal cortex.
Freddie, a website consultant, said: “The magnet is the size of two hands and it rests on your head on the target. It happens in short bursts, maybe one minute apart.
“You can feel it tapping, it’s quite unpleasant like an electric woodpecker zapping the front of your head.”
TMS has been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as an “effective and safe treatment for depression”.
After a happy childhood Freddie, from Leatherhead, Surrey, felt overcome by suicidal thoughts and was given anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs to try and help him recover.
At 16 he struggled to cope with his parent’s divorce and says the pressures of attending a “competitive and hostile” private school brought on the depression.
He said: “That accumulation of school and home life led to depression, it triggered a change in me that has been on going ever since.
“It came in varying degrees affecting every area of my life, academically, work, friends and relationships.”
He said: “At my lowest point, I could barely form sentences or think straight. My memory wouldn’t function and I felt like my mind was completely shutting down.
“The anti-depressants weren’t working and that was the point where I decided something radical needed to be done.
“People said it was just holiday blues but I felt paralysed and got to a point where I couldn’t concentrate enough to form sentences.
“I felt like I should have been in a hospital, I felt completely crazy and was getting suicidal thoughts all day every day.
“There was no point in life, I would walk past a car park and think I could jump off that and I’d be dead.
“Just being alive was a torment.”
Freddie began a course of TMS in January and after his treatment finished two weeks ago he says his life can now start properly.
He added: He said: “I’ve never felt this clear headed. It feels like it’s taken me back to when I was 15 again.”