Thank you for this thread, and I'm glad that it has picked up enough momentum that a lot of wonderful people are chiming in with their insights. I
too have been battling depression for at least 10 years and am currently trying to figure out the exact answer to the question you posed (actually
started a similar thread a few weeks ago that didn't pick up much steam although there were some great replies there too). I had always been very
busy with school which kept the depression submerged, though it still haunted me. In the last year or two I decided to directly face the issue and
get rid of it once and for all, but in some ways it almost made things worse, like it gave the depression more power by acknowledging it.
I've visited many doctors the past two years to deal with the low self-esteem, extreme fatigue and brain fog (along with other symptoms), but every
test came back fine and they told me I was probably just depressed. I saw a few psychiatrists, who did nothing but throw pills at me. I also refused
to take these for the longest but ended up giving Citalopram a shot. It scared the crap out of me, because it literally made me a zombie-- I didn't
feel bad anymore, but I couldn't feel good either. What was especially scary was that it wasn't really addressing negative thoughts that continued
to haunt me, but rather it numbed my mind so much that no thought packed a punch of pain or pleasure. My mind is one of the few things I continue to
cherish coming from both an academic and a creative (musical) background, and the fog stuff made me wonder if the drugs were forever altering my brain
chemistry in a bad way.
Needless to say, I got off of those, and have since been trying to put the pieces together myself. However, I only bring this up to say I understand
where you're coming from not wanting to take pills-- I'm not a doctor and am NOT advising against doing whatever is necessary to resolve your
problems. In fact, I'm actually going to try another medication if my current plans of action don't help. I wish I had the complete answers for
you, but all I can do is sympathize and support you on your quest since I'm going through the same thing, and share a couple of thoughts on the
1. Be sure to rule out any physiological factors. Since you said this has been ongoing, I'm guessing it probably isn't physiological, but who
knows if some imbalances or conditions came up in the last six months that accelerated your downward spiral-- a whole bunch of these list depression
as a symptom. One poster mentioned to check vitamin D levels-- I didn't even know about this one, but sure enough I have a deficiency and will try
that myself. Also, I don't think it has been mentioned here, but hypothyroidism is another major cause of depression in people. I would consider
looking into that particularly if you have some of the other physical symptoms-- brittle/thin hair or fingernails, cold sensitivity, fatigue etc. Low
testosterone is another one, which apparently applies to women as well. I would at least check to get the basics covered on everything.
2. Exercise. I know it sounds lame and played out-- I thought the same--but did you know they actually did studies on this and a regular exercise
program removed major depression for 60-70% of those studied?? Check out
Couldn't hurt to give it a shot, no?
3. Diet. I wish I knew more about this, and I hope others chime in-- a couple have briefly-- but many health professionals, both eastern and
western, acknowledge an intimate relationship between the gut and the brain. Many people including some I know personally have praised the mental and
digestive benefits of doing things like detox cleanses/fasts, and shifting their diets. I'm actually planning to do one very soon and am more than
happy to report my results...
4. Mental. When it comes down to the plain old "all in your head" depression, that again, I TOTALLY understand, I feel it really is a process. I
think checking in on all of the points above, as well as getting adequate rest and a regular sleep pattern, all contribute to getting rid of this
issue, but in addressing the mentality itself, I think the first thing to realize is that you are not alone. Many in this very thread have shared
their experiences with you, and many others you'd be surprised about are going through the same thing. Not only that, but understand people are
willing to help you. I think finding yourself in a community of those willing to help might really aid in your transformation (I plan to start using
www.meetup.com to find such groups).
I'm running out of characters in this post, so I'll just wrap this up and say, look, if you're cool enough to be on ATS then you deserve to
overcome this depression and feel better
The world needs more open minded people like you. We're here to help!