I have had depressive bouts for a long time. In the early years, they would come on as a result of a life situation, or circumstance, or poor decision, and cling to me like a strong sedative for a short duration. I would loll in the depths of despair for a few days, allowing the emotions to be acknowledged. Then, I would pick myself up and shake off the dredges – usually finding a positive action to perk me up – and resume. Don’t worry, be happy. Happy face on, life goes on.
At some point though, I stopped recognizing the depression, as it would not necessarily be tied to a thing that I could pinpoint, but rather, an accumulation of things that were akin to being in the pot of water, as the fire is started below. You don’t notice the heat, until it’s reached near boiling point. These depressive bouts didn’t give me the awareness to acknowledge and feel the pain, which I had earlier found to be an integral piece in the process of healing. Rather, these bouts were more like a drug addiction, where the chemical has lost its potency. I had built up a tolerance to the depression and a deeper state would settle on me before I would become aware.
This last bout, coupled with its added menopausal symptoms, struck a nerve finally. Likely, it was because I could finally point my finger at a cause and effect. Estrogen, you bitch! How could you do this to me?
No matter the reasoning, I now feel that I have the arsenal to effectively combat this bout, and be more aware of any future bouts to stop them before I become mired.
I’ll admit, the emotions do start to roll in, creeping from the edges like fiery smoke, and it’s usually the awareness of an angry edge that raises my alarm. I’m aware now, that alarm means it’s time to take action – turn up the music, sing it off. Take a walk, reason out the emotions. Drink some water, and redirect my attentions to some neutral subject for five minutes. And suddenly, I’m back. Me. The me who finds the positive in life – the upbeat, still reclusive, but happy me. Not the angry, withdrawn little ogre I’ve been.
So – wordy insight now given you to explain my dilemma, I thought I’d share some of the things that have helped me recover and get myself back to stability, sans pharmaceuticals or intense psycho-therapy.
- Supplements – first three taken daily, with EPO taken once/week (due to effects of blood thinning – I always check counter-indications for any alternative therapy on WebMD):
- Vitamin B12
- Fish oil with Vitamin D
- Grapeseed Extract
- Evening Primrose oil
- Topicals – mixed with carrier oil and a few drops rubbed on top of feet a few days a week:
- Clary sage
- Roman chamomile
- Foods – needed to counter the effects of the estrogen loss
- Green tea, and occasional Tulsi tea
- Colorful vegetables: leafy greens, beets, red cabbage, etc
- Nuts, seeds, legumes
- Wild caught salmon, sardines and mackerel
- Oils: EVOO, Flaxseed oil
- Probiotic yogurt
- Reach out to and spend time with friends
- Exercise at least 3 times a week for 10-30 minutes each
- Music therapy – something I can do at work, at home, or in the car
- Art therapy – the picture above is from my adult coloring book – a great way to redirect my attention at home
- Outdoor time
- Education – more time with actual pen and ink books and less internet
- Reduced social media time
These are the things I employed to counter my situation, and it has worked wonderfully. Being aware is key, I believe. I had to know exactly what I was dealing with in order to find the balances necessary for me to put into effect. Then I had to act.