Testimonials: Donna

"Today I feel like myself again."

Donna, a single mother of 3, has battled depression for more than 20 years. Her depression began after a car accident left her with chronic physical pain. For 12 years she tried to pull herself out of an emotional tornado, often putting on a brave face for the sake of her children. “I never planned on having to cope with treatment-resistant depression, nor did I know I would be so stigmatized by society.” 

Then, 14 years ago, her depression worsened. Her doctors tried more than 15 medications. Some worked for a few months, but ultimately each failed, leaving her feeling helpless and disconnected from the world. “I kept feeling it was all my fault that nothing was working and that I was doing something wrong. “All my plans for the future were gone, all my assets were gone, and I was so totally exhausted that any physical movement was a huge effort. Depression is like living in quicksand, the harder you try to get out the further it seems you sink. I just kept pretending and hoping that something would work or change. After so long, though, my energy just totally ran out.” Donna also tried a few rounds of ECT. She felt better for a while afterwards, but then fell back into the depths of depression. Barely able to get out of bed, she was forced to quit her job, and she couldn’t concentrate or even hold a detailed conversation. Donna does not remember where she first learned about VNS Therapy.  The years of medications and ECT caused memory loss. She asked her psychiatrist about VNS Therapy. After some research, her doctor discovered a VNS Therapy clinical trial in Omaha, Nebraska, and helped her complete the paperwork necessary to enter the trial. “Winning one of the spots in the VNS Therapy trial saved my life. Today I feel like myself again,” she remarks. “And I continue to improve, thanks to VNS Therapy.”  Since receiving VNS Therapy in 2001, Donna’s life has changed dramatically. She can participate in life now. She’s even started working part-time again with one of her sons. “Thanks to VNS Therapy and my faith, I have dignity, hope, and joy back in my life. I am Donna again.”

Donna is using her second chance at life to help others battling depression. For that reason she started a support group at her church 3 years ago that has more than 100 participants.  Today she is teaching others about the treatment options available for depression, including VNS Therapy. She is also working to combat the stigma attached to mental illness by educating others about this misunderstood illness.


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The VNS Therapy System is indicated for use as an adjunctive therapy in reducing the frequency of seizures in adults and adolescents over 12 years of age with partial onset seizures, which are refractory to antiepileptic medications.

VNS Therapy (or the VNS Therapy System) is indicated for the adjunctive long-term treatment of chronic or recurrent depression for patients over the age of 18 who are experiencing a major depressive episode and have not had an adequate response to four or more adequate antidepressant treatments.