Freedom From Depression written by: padhia
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THE THINGS I DID THAT FREED ME FROM DEPRESSION

I believe that everyone has a unique set of circumstances, and must figure out which combination of life changes, supplements, spirituality, and nutrition works for them. Over the course of a year, here is the combination that worked for me in the order in which I added them into my life . It is very important to take small steps, and each time you feel a slight lift in the depression, push a little more and make a few more changes.

Here is a very over-simplified version of the combination of life changes that worked for me personally:
1. Started Point of Return Program.
2. Began to wean myself off of all meds. This is dangerous! Make sure you are under a doctor’s care.
3. Began Neurofeedback. This helped regulate my brainwaves that were going haywire after being bombarded with chemicals for over a decade. Helped immensely with anxiety,disturbed sleep, and brain zaps.
4. Got off all the antidepressants & sleeping pills.
5. Began reading books to educate myself about about how the brain and it’s chemicals actually work and also to learn productive lifestyle habits, and all kinds of things that I had no reference point for like- forgiveneness and overcoming burnout.
6. Began to learn to control my mind and thoughts, by going to a meditation group.
7. Began stretching/ yoga upon awakening to get energy flowing through my body and try to start the day with a positive mindset and a connection to my body.
8. Began very slow and moderate exercise.
9. Began re-connecting with old friends. This was a major factor in feeling connected to humanity, getting my personality back and seeing how deep I had slipped into depression.
10. Began therapy with a new doctor who believed in addressing the roots of how my depression was formed. This ultimately was the key to my recovery.
11. Began taking supplements: SAMe (1200 mg a day), D3, B-complex, & Omega 3s. Can’t say enough good stuff about Sam-e.
12. Ran a short race and realized how sedentary & lifeless I had become. Felt joy & energy in a group for the first time in many years.
13. Began exercising more rigorously with a small group. A couple of years later this would lead to my discovery of Crossfit.
14. Greatly reduced intake of gluten, preservatives, sugar, & salt, and began eating a more alkaline diet. Eventually realized this was harder than eliminating them entirely, at least in the beginning.
15. Began doing things that were fun and involved being around people. Breaking out of my isolated way of life involved a lot of effort and was not always pleasant, but it became easier over time, as we form new neural pathways with each new experience.
16. Began taking more supplements: trace minerals, calcium, & pro-biotics.
17. Began working on this website, as a way of making sense of my life and letting my pain out.
18. Began to re-frame exercise as a natural part of life that would help my mental health instead of an overwhelming chore.
19. Began taking kite surfing lessons. This step is so important- it signifies something far greater. Think of all of the life energy that has been consumed by your depression. As it frees up, you need to find rewarding and constructive ways to channel it so that it doesn’t get transferred into compulsions or addictions. Intentionally channel it in positive directions.
20. Celebrated one year of being off the meds by riding roller coasters all day. That was one of the most beautiful moments of my life- feeling the wind whipping through my hair, shooting through the sky, feeling weightless, warm sunlight on my face. It was brighter than I had ever remembered seeing it before. I had tears of pure joy streaming out of my eyes the entire time.
21. Having finished the part of my therapy where we dealt with the past and how it shaped me, I began to deal with my present life and to see how basically all of the components of it were contributing to my depression in one way or another. Once I began to see this clearly, it was time to make some major life changes.
22. Adjusted my life so that a happy & functional person could live in it.
23. Began to truly understand the bigger picture of how much of my life energy and resources were consumed by depression, and became proactive about consciously channeling all of that energy into new positive life directions and new goals.

EXPLORE THE DEPRESSION
All of those years, I had fought the depression. That was the wrong way of looking at it. It is not a demon that needs to be fought. It is something that needs to be faced and explored. That is the only way to truly resolve it and heal. After going through the worst of the detox, I was aware that my emotions were going haywire as well. Yes, I felt a million times better than I did on the meds, but I was still miserable and living in mental agony of my own creation. Things that I should have been able to dismiss I found myself harping on. I was stressed over things that I was completely aware were not stressful. I was overwhelmed by nothing. I was beating myself up, my mind was like a dog chasing it’s tail, it wouldn’t quit. I would become gripped with anxiety and unable to let go. And so again, that little voice said something is not right about this. Life should be different. This can’t be what existing is all about. I had made a very important choice in deciding to get off the meds, gone through hell to get through it, and now I was aware of something new, that at first I didn’t want to face. Truth was, I was really disheartened to not feel like a shiny new person. Somewhere I think I convinced myself that maybe it was the medication that was making life inside my head so unbearable, and if I could shake the detox symptoms, I would be fine. Better than ever. Renewed. Healed. Not so. This really broke my heart, but eventually I got my determination back to get to the bottom of this mystery. To figure out how to live in a state of peace of mind and happiness. I realized a great start is important, but it means nothing without follow-through. I found a new psychologist. She was very different. She had little interest in what I liked for breakfast or what my relationship was like with my mailman. She proceeded to tell me we would be going deep into my depression and exploring the cause of it. My stomach dropped and I could tell by the paralyzing fear I felt, I had arrived at a major milestone in my healing process.

FIND YOUR PERSONAL TRUTH
Listen to that voice inside. Does it tell you that your life is meant to be more than it is? Explore what works for you. Gather data & wisdom everywhere you can; evaluate it’s personal relevance. Value and consider the opinions of others (i.e. doctors) but always define your own personal truth. A lot of this involves being very still and listening to what your heart and soul has been trying to tell you. I guarantee you whatever your truth is, once you connect with it and are really able to feel it, it becomes even clearer where you will go and how you will get there. This is one of the greatest tragedies of a society of people who are over-medicated. Most adopt the truth of others as their own. There is no individuality and no hope in that.

BUILD A SUPPORT NETWORK
Often, depression if untreated, can leave you with few friends. I had some acquaintances, but very few friends, and even less whom I would have shared all of this with when I was going through it. None of whom I went to, in my darkest times. At times I was my own support network. When I felt a little relief I would write affirmations for myself to repeat and focus on upon waking and when I was feeling depressed and anxious. I keep a book of things I want to remind myself of when I slip to the other side. I also keep a notebook of how I want my life to be, where I want my journey to lead. When I start feeling depressed, I read it to regain focus and the perspective I had when I felt better. Living with intention cannot be understated. Even if your intention for now is just to reclaim your mind and spirit. (Don’t overwhelm yourself with long term goals & demands). In your immediate environment, draw people closer who are in your life who believe in you, who believe in your journey. Open up to them and let them know how they can make this easier for you. Let them know where you want to be, so if you lose sight of it from time to time they can remind you. In revealing some of your deepest secrets, some of what you may perceive are the ugliest most embarrassing things about you, you will find that they embrace you and celebrate you for being brave enough to share these things. Out of the time in my life, some of my most precious friendships were born. That would not have been possible if I had not opened up.

PROTECT YOURSELF
You have to come to terms with the fact that you are fragile and delicate during this process. You have to admit this to yourself. This is so difficult, no one wants to feel vulnerable, especially in this way. But you need to acknowledge that you are so that you can protect yourself. You have to distance yourself form people who are not supportive or comforting. This is confusing because often in coming out of depression, part of healing is coming out of isolation. But during detox and shortly thereafter is not the time to work on that. You have to insulate yourself from things, people and situations that are not comforting, supportive, and/or inspiring. I lost a lot of friends. People who were close to me thought I had lost my mind and actually wanted to have an intervention. I constantly heard about how different I was now that I “was off the meds”. It was the most painful thing to hear because it made me feel crazy. I had become very different… because I had found a voice for everything I held in for so long. It made some of the people in my life very uncomfortable, but it’s not because I was crazy, it was because our relationship was based on the dynamic of my silence and submission.

RE-PARENT YOURSELF
Become aware of habits of thinking and speaking to yourself. Do they serve a positive purpose? If not, teach yourself new ways to see, interpret and react to things. Becoming aware of your inner conversations and reactions is so important. It is not possible to just push a button and make a change within yourself, but by observing the things that go on in your mind, you can begin to shed old thought patterns and behaviors. Even if you can’t figure out why you “always react a certain way” becoming mindful is a big step in figuring it out. Study, read books, talk to people. Become a student of the universe. Teachers are everywhere and they magically appear in places you least expect. If you are simply open to it, you can learn a lessons and find valuable wisdom in all situations. This is when life becomes an adventurous journey instead of a depressing nightmare. There is magic everywhere, be open to experiencing it. Look for it.

RECONNECT WITH PEOPLE & THE UNIVERSE
The powerful force of depression causes people to isolate themselves. Reclaiming ties with people from your past will help you remember who you were. It will help you see how much you have changed, and will encourage you to want to feel alive again. Make sure these people are ones who can contribute something positive to your life. Sharing happy memories, remembering good times, all these things will help you put your pieces back together. One night while I was watching TV towards the end of my detox (in the beginning I couldn’t bear the light), I was watching The Dog Whisperer on TV. I was struck by Cesar Milan’s “dog psychology center”. He was dealing with a particular dog who had lots of bad habits, neurosis, etc. Caesar said he had forgotten “how to be a dog”. He brought the dog to live with his pack at his center. The dog learned to reconnect with being a dog and became a pack animal once again. Part of the therapy was spending time with puppies. By the end of the episode the dog was swimming in the pool and playing in the pack. He was healed by remembering what it meant to be a dog. I cried after this show. I wanted to go to a place like this for humans. I realized how truly alone I had become in the world and how much I had disconnected myself from all of life’s energy and society. I could barely walk through the grocery store, because people around me felt like they were covered in long pins. Things like getting a haircut where someone actually had to touch me and I had to speak to them? Torture. I did it; I never gave in to this secret madness that was consuming me. But it was always so painful. So that is how Cesar reminds dogs how to be dogs… How will you remind yourself how to be you?

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH WISDOM
Teachers are all around us, you only have to open your senses to them. I have always had these little snippets of wisdom that I found in random places that permeated the thick fog of pain and suffering and over-medication. You have to be open to it happening. Collect these snippets and use them to help yourself grow. This is how I learned of some of the great resources and books mentioned on this site.

FIND YOUR VOICE
Depression and anxiety, like any abuser, isolates and silences us. Explore your feelings and the way you look at things and connect a voice to the things in your head. Express yourself. The more you hold inside the more depression or anxiety builds. Worry more about letting things out for the sake of your mental well being than holding things in for the sake of others.

EXERCISE & NUTRITION
For many years, I had a lot of hatred and aggravation for myself for not being able to keep a regular exercise schedule (if at all) and eating things that I knew made me feel worse. Once I was off all the meds, and starting seeing a new psychologist, I felt a lift in my depression that was so different from the pseudo-lift I experienced on meds. It was a feeling of being peacefully alive. It was the first taste I had ever had of this, and I wanted more. I started to realize that I wanted to do everything in my power to help this lift become permanent. I started by avoiding gluten and sugar and foods high in preservatives. I did this in moderation, being kind to myself- nothing fanatical, and I was amazed at the immediate results. After a few weeks, I began to want to take vitamins on top of these better eating habits. Medications deplete a lot of important nutrients from our system and vitamin deficiencies worsen depression. I started by taking Sam-e, B Complex, and D3. Then I added in pro-biotics, CoQ10, trace minerals, calcium, and omega 3. Soon, I found myself outside, jogging for the first time in years. Tiny changes have snowballed into a lifestyle that is not about depression. It is about living and enjoying every day.

It is nearly impossible when you are at a low point to start exercising and make healthy lifestyle changes. But as soon as you feel the slightest lift, take advantage of it and start moving. Exercise increases the Seratonin levels in your brain and helps new healthy brain cells to thrive. I have found it very helpful to find a group to exercise with- it is fun instead of a chore, and I find myself getting much more activity in than if it were up to me alone.

MAKE GENTLE LIFE CHANGES
One of the biggest reasons for failure is making too many changes at once. Huge life altering changes rarely stick, but small lifestyle changes become permanent and encourage more of the same. There is a big difference between forcing yourself and encouraging yourself to do something. Once you have detoxed, make small changes in your habits and lifestyle. Do not overwhelm yourself. Be kind, always step back and acknowledge your progress.The biggest piece of advice I can give you in getting off medication and adjusting to life afterwards is to stay in the moment and tackle things as they come up. Go through the process, step by step, and get reacquainted with yourself gently. Do not force yourself to do anything, let your journey unfold.

The Balto Bunny Community is a place to Process. Check out this discussion going on right now in the Triumph forum: 100% love (1 posts - last post 2 years, 10 months ago)

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