Natural Remedies

Dealing with Depression Naturally

Dietary Changes, Exercise, Supplements
Posted by Jill (Bronx, New York, United States) on 12/18/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Dysthymic Depression

I've suffered from a moderate constant form of depression called Dysthymia since I was 14 (I am now 43). I've been on several different antidepressants over the years. The last one I took was Paxil CR (which I was forced to quit cold-turkey in 2005 after production of it was briefly stopped after a problem at the pharmaceutical lab). It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It was a hellish experience and though I did get an appointment with my Dr. a week into the cold-turkey and could have taken regular Paxil to ease my distress, at that point I wanted NOTHING to do with these medications. The withdrawal symptoms showed me just how much they mess with your brain chemistry. I was getting all sorts of electrical "zappy" sensations, dizziness, tremors, and neuralgic pain that traveled all over my body. It took about 3 months for me to get over the hardest part of it. After that I joined a gym and started a simple EXERCISE program. Just 20 minutes of cardio (pick the machine of your choice) and another 20 minutes or so of weight training and stretching. Yoga classes are super helpful as well. Not only did this help me detox from the residual symptoms but my mood improved dramatically. I still have some 'down' days, but who doesn't? Overall I feel much more energized and balanced than I ever did on the antidepressants.

I've since made incremental changes in the quality of my DIET over the years and this has boosted my mood even more. I no longer eat any overly packaged/refined foods. I eat whole grain breads (sprouted & hemp mostly), and try to cook from 'scratch' as much as possible. Extra virgin olive oil is my cooking oil of choice (except when I am sauteing or using a relatively high heat, in which case I use sesame oil). I still eat meat, but not at every meal or even every day, and when I do it is no longer the "star" on my plate, it is about a 3-4 oz serving and the rest of the plate is filled with vegetables and whole grains. I've learned to love leafy green vegetables (so much so I pile them on my plate). I still 'allow' myself to have guilty pleasures, but after awhile you find you don't really want them because your body has everything it needs nutritionally (so you don't get carb cravings) and your mood is so good you don't cave in to the emotional eating binges. The only 'difficult' time is around that time of the month...I get a little hungrier and may have a slice of cinnamon toast or a little ice cream, but nothing like the pig-outs of the past :) For any emotional irritation during that time there is nothing like a good cup of tea (sweetened with agave so as not to spike your blood sugar...I've come to prefer it over sugar).

Finally, SUPPLEMENTS can be the icing on the good mood cake. I take a whole food multivitamin to fill in any nutritional gaps, a good Omega blend oil (something with borage oil in it is excellent too) and vitamin D drops in the wintertime (along with plenty of time under a sunlight simulator bulb - I keep one in my reading lamp).

Record numbers of people are suffering from depression because of the standard American lifestyle & diet. It doesn't have to be that can feel good again without dependency on pharmaceuticals and by only making a few simple lifestyle changes (no need to go vegan or raw, though go for it if that makes you even happier).