hi, i have suffered chronic depression twice, and this second time ive been doing natural therapies. thought i would share what has helped me on this site, as i got some of this stuff through japanese sites that people may not have access to and some of it has been crucial to my recovery!
my depression got so bad i couldnt get out of bed, talk or even eat by myself. being only 27 i pushed myself with work despite feeling terrible for 8 months and this is what happened. i didnt want to take medications, which are still so unreliable, my dad found a site whose plan we followed. main points are:
1. eliminate all forms of stress, as much as possible, including work, study, jobs, housework, cooking...get others to do these for you. also important, avoid all reading, violent movies and programmes, the news, and all games, which cause the adrenals to go.
2. do what you want every day (not what you think you should do, or be doing) - if you just want to sleep, do that and tell others to support you, you need to realise that this is okay and important for recovery.
3. just get someone to make sure you`re eating well (greens to make up half the meal, then quarter protein and quarter carbs. keep to organics and whole foods which means less toxins for your body to have to waste energy on). Drink at least 1.5 litres of good water a day - this helps all your organs function properly and flush out baddies. Avoid smoking, caffeine, alcohol and sugar, which all cause strong mood imbalances.
4. take the following supplements 3 times a day: phosphatydilserine (solgar is gd brand) - this will elevate your mood within 30 mins - you can take this as you need it. soy protein powder (NOT whey. soy releases energy slowly and helps your blood sugar balance) i also found this elevated my mood and brain function each time within about 30 minutes. omega 3, B vitamins (tresos B is good, as is the V2000 by solgar). St Johns Wort - or any of the above can be taken in conjunction with antidepressants safely.
If you have pretty severe depression like i did, then you know that you`re so sensitive to anything that counselling or therapy is a nightmare. In this case the plan above is great because you get better purely by addressing the nutritional balance in your body first. i did it for about 3 months before i felt up to seeing a counsellor. the four points above are all equally important - basically the aim is to eliminate emotional, physical stress as well as any cause of stress on your organs (which i now realise is THE crucial thing with depression and anxiety which doctors and therapists tend to overlook or minimise the importance of), and give your body everything it needs to produce the right balance of mood hormones again. Just note, that as you get better you will find that you level of energy increases - and this can be a fragile time because this can mean that if you`re still having suicidal thoughts you now have the physical energy to carry it out. make sure people around are aware of this so that they can be there for you during this time until your thoughts catch up and balance out too.
These are additional supplements which my naturopath helped me with later - i am not sure if they are all compatible with antidepressants though so please check. 5 HTP has chilled me out a lot, helped ease my insomnia and overeating. adrenal gland tonic (herbal health stores can make them up for you) including things like withania, liquorice, shatavari, wood betony, has helped me as long-term stress in constant fight/flight mode has worn out my glands (hair loss is one indication of this, which i had). bach flower essences, taking epsom salt baths with lavendar, meditation, walking in nature - even taking a short walk in the sun, yoga, are also things that i got into when i was ready.
the rest are really more to address emotional and spiritual needs (which, in depression and anxiety is important) - network spinal analysis and reiki can provide temporary relief at an energetic level, and if you like these i have found that a good spiritual healer can be 10 times better than seeing a therapist as they are way more holistic in finding out what`s wrong, and really care. also EFT technique (free on the website). also an online community called anxietytribe.com and depressiontribe.com helped me connect with others who had the same thing. was especially helpful when i was too down to see any friends or family.
hope this helps...i am still not 100%, but this plan has been amazing. the supplement plan i wrote about is effective for those with medium and mild depression too, and from the hundreds of feedback i read on the site, it has helped so many people.