Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Journey from Darkness to Light: One Woman's Journey out of Depression (Part III-B of III)

In this three part series, one of our avid TUS readers (with a background in mental health) shares with us her journey through anxiety and depression and how she found peace in natural remedies. Perhaps this story is yours. If you are struggling with anxiety and depression or know someone close to you that is, please share this series.

If you are just joining us, please read Part I here:
http://theuniversalsoul.blogspot.com/2010/05/journey-from-darkness-to-light-one.html.
And you can read Part II here:
http://theuniversalsoul.blogspot.com/2010/06/journey-from-darkness-to-light-one.html.
Part III-A can be read here:
http://theuniversalsoul.blogspot.com/2010/06/journey-from-darkness-to-light-one_15.html.

Disclaimer: And please keep in mind that though Ms. Chartier has a background in mental health and is very informed, citing all her resources, she is not a physician. Please consult your physician if you are dealing with depression or find a professional in natural remedies and homeopathy to help you. Thank you.

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Part III-B
By: N. Chartier

Change Your Lifestyle, Change Your Life

So far in this series, I have shared what triggered me to seek psychiatric care, how antidepressants affected me and changed my life, and the natural cures I rely on day-to-day that have drastically improved my stressed moods and depression. Now, I would like to focus for a few minutes on some of the other ways to help improve your quality of life and therefore, your emotions. Combating depression and anxiety naturally can be done. I am living proof that it is possible. But, it requires more than just taking a handful of supplements every day. It requires changing the way you think, what you eat, how you live your life, and who you associate with among other things. Depression can be a serious problem for some, but for most people, by establishing a healthy lifestyle and incorporating the supplements I previously mentioned, living life depression free naturally is not only possible, it is probable. Here are few other changes you can make in your life to not only help combat depression and anxiety, but to improve your quality of life over all:

• I know I have said it before and now I am going to say it again: Exercise! Exercising does more than just burn calories and boost your heart rate; it also helps to improve your mood because physical activity stimulates the “feel-good” chemicals in our brains, like endorphins, which leaves us feeling more relaxed and energized than before we worked out. Plus, exercise helps to boost our self-esteem, too.

• Eat organically as often and as much as possible. If you are on a budget, find out which foods are the most important ones to eat organically and only buy those. For example, foods with thin skin, such as tomatoes, absorb more mood killing, harmful pesticides than their thick skin counterpart, the pineapple. Also, try purchasing your fruits and vegetables from local farmers markets. Locally grown fruits and veggies are typically not genetically modified and are not treated with nearly as much pesticides as their big-company counterparts.

• Eat Protein. Protein sources such as turkey, chicken, beef, eggs and dairy are the best natural sources of the 26 essential amino-acids, particularly tryptophan, which helps to improve mood and sleep. I try to eat a protein source in every single meal.

• Eliminate or reduce your intake of bad mood foods like alcohol, tobacco, excessive amounts of caffeine, starchy carbs, sweets, candy, and soda. It’s okay to drink a cup of hot tea or coffee in the morning, but if you are relying on 8 cups to get you through the day, you could be doing a lot more damage to your mood than you know. Sugary and starchy foods spike up our blood sugar and give us a temporary energy or mood boost, however, when our blood sugar plummets after eating these foods, we are left feeling lethargic and depressed. Alcohol, as many of us know, is a depressant. Drinking alcohol at night prevents us from falling to quality and restful REM sleep, which leaves us feeling tired and depressed the next day.

• Drink water! Purified by reverse osmosis, and lots of it! Dehydration causes headaches and can leave us feeling depressed and lethargic. Try to drink between eight to ten glasses throughout the day. If you do, you might actually find that you won’t need that 3 p.m. coffee anymore.

• Get at least 10 to 20 minutes of sunlight each day. The vitamin D we get from spending about 20 minutes in the sun is enough to boost our mood instantly. While everyone else at your office is having a 5 minute smoke break, go take a 5 minute sunlight break for a quick mood booster.

• Spend at least 15 minutes a day alone with your own thoughts. Better yet, start a journal and spend 15 minutes each day writing down your thoughts. It will help make you more aware of what triggers certain emotions and will also help you to clear your mind by getting negative thoughts out of your system rather than harboring them.

• Connect with someone. Feeling blue? Call up a good, reliable friend or sit down and write a letter to a friend or family member. Having someone to talk to and who will listen to you, even if they have no advice to offer, improves bad moods drastically.

• Avoid people/situations that are negative. Limit the amount of time you spend with friends or family members who have a tendency to bring your mood down. Whether these are people who unintentionally (or deliberately) hurt your feelings and make you feel bad about yourself, or if these are those people who overwhelm you with their never-ending, emotionally draining drama, try to reduce the amount of time you spend with people who often leave you feeling bad or emotionally drained afterwards. You don’t have to avoid friends and family all together who tend to make you feel bad, but at least set a time limit and stick to it.

• Find something or someone to care for. I read somewhere years ago (I can’t remember where) that people who have either a pet or a simple house plant that needs watering are less likely to commit suicide than those who don’t have anything to take care of. Having something to take care of, or knowing someone or something relies on you day to day for survival can drastically improve your quality of life and can increase self worth.


There is Hope

For some people, I am sure, depression is debilitating. It can cripple our ability to function and hinder our desire to live a fulfilling life. Depression can leave us feeling hopeless, unworthy, guilty, and uninterested in life in general. It takes its toll both physically and emotionally. But, it does not have to be that way anymore. Every day we are bombarded by pharmaceutical companies with commercials for drugs that will “cure” our depression and that will change our lives for the better. What many people fail to realize is that just like any business, psychiatry and “Big Pharma” have one goal: to increase the number of people taking mood altering drugs in order to increase their profits. What many people don’t know is that antidepressants carry “black box” warnings which indicate that the drug that is supposed to be treating the depression can actually cause the people taking them to commit suicide. That very fact is what led me to get off antidepressants entirely and steered me in the direction of natural alternatives. What I found is that the natural alternatives I use have no side effects what-so-ever, and are far more effective (and far less expensive) than the antidepressants that were literally making me suicidal at times and emotionally numb at others. I truly hope that my message touches at least one person and encourages others to explore alternatives to the harmful pharmaceutical antidepressants. Now that I am no longer taking pharmaceutical antidepressants I am happy. I can feel excitement again. I no longer have deep spells of depression and suicidal thoughts. I am motivated again. I no longer battle with the side effects I felt while taking medications and my quality of life and my mood has changed drastically. I am finally free…

Recommended Reading:

The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, M.A.

Creating Optimism: A Proven, Seven-Step Program for Overcoming Depression by Bob Murray, Ph.D. and Alicia Fortinberry, M.S.

Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation by Charles Barber

Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About by Kevin Trudeau

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