This article is not medical advice, but it is intended to help you on your journey. While I don’t know if anything can actually prevent you from becoming depressed, I believe that my diligence helped me come out of it. The signs that I personally experienced were from my own combination of invisible diseases. I was diagnosed with “secondary depression” stemming from pain.
Symptoms you might experience:
- Loss of energy or fatigue even after sleeping.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt that you are to blame.
- Weight loss or gain…in my case it was gain.
- Thoughts of suicide or just nothingness…as in what would happen if you didn’t exist?
- Restlessness, insomnia, or wanting to sleep all day long.
- No pleasure in any or all activities, and/or no joy or happiness in other things that used to bring you joy.
- “Hermit” behavior and not speaking to anyone.
While there are certainly more symptoms, these are just a few that are warning signs your body is trying to tell you something. What do you think your body is trying to tell you? There could be many underlying health problems mimicking depression that can be corrected and/or helped once noted.
5 steps to take if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms:
- Have your thyroid checked, your vitamin levels and possibly even your adrenal glands. If you open the link on thyroid, in the fine print of the article, it says this: A 2005 study found that subjects with Hashimoto’s disease displayed high frequencies of lifetime Depressive Episodes, Generalized Anxiety Disorders, Social Phobia, and Primary Sleep Disorders. What had I been trying to tell my doctor for over a year? That there was a link. When he refused, seriously, to listen to me I went to a functional medical doctor instead. The body gives us these warning signs as a way of letting us know that we really are not in balance. I could see that I was not, and definitely knew something brought it on because never in my life had I felt so empty.
- Get more Vitamin D. I take this one right here, but have your levels checked first. I started looking into the most pure form of phytotherapy, or plant-based nutrition supplements, and was personally sold by the methods of how this company preserved the nutrients in the most readily available form. I read that Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may be linked to depression. So I also decided to take a gluten-free multivitamin.
- Check and see if you suffer from food intolerance as it a real thing. Like most people, I used to think that food intolerance caused unpleasant reactions like diarrhea, swelling of lips or tongue, etc. I would not have associated my food with what was happening in my brain and gut until I studied the effects of what I was eating. I journal the questionable items which might have sugar or gluten to see if that is what triggers my response or mood shift now. When I am away from foods I need to eat, and make do with foods that I should NOT eat, there is a consequence in my body. My body warns me almost immediately now.
- This one is hard, but drink less caffeine. Anxiety often happens along with depression, and too much caffeine can make you nervous, jittery, or anxious. There is no clear link; however, it is well known that cutting out sodas and sugary drinks that spike your energy and then leave you in a slump and replacing with water will leave your blood sugar levels at a more normal balance, which will, in fact, help you in the long run. Plus you might just sleep better this breaking the cycle.
- Exercise in some way shape or form daily. People get mad at me for pointing this one out usually, but it brings us back to the endorphins. I wrote about this a while back, but it is true that endorphins help us. In my own way, I always have dark chocolate here, so I hope you opened my old post up there as it has a funny clip, plus I do yoga and walk, get outside, etc. Truly is life saving to get exercise.
While these things might seem insignificant to others who do not know what it’s like to be trapped in a world of nothingness, these tips really could help save a friend’s life. Keep the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on a card as well.
Articles I have written on autoimmune can also help you in your research on gluten intolerance, leaky gut and more.
- The great puzzle takes you back to my allergy tests.
- Fog speaks on what it’s like to have brain fog.
- War on me talks about my inside battle.
- Motivational Monday on this day talked about tips I used to get by daily in pain.
- The Thief is one of my faves and talks about old age being a bitch.
Brain based research has been around a very long time. I remember the first time it came around when I was teaching…how can I use this information to better my teaching? To engage students more? I used techniques that were thought to be ahead of the times…each and everyday in my class. I never thought that as I got older I would be applying that same idea to my research in depression and what causes us to become depressed. I found so many links to neurotransmitters in the gut I was astonished. I was finally getting somewhere and like each and every time I have found something important, I get this tingle. I knew that I was on the right path to helping others like me. Here are a few things I learned to boost my head:
- The dreaded word exercise. You know the whole a body in motion tends to stay in motion theory? Same for a body at rest. “A 2010 study on primates published in Neurosciencei also revealed that regular exercise not only improved blood flow to the brain, but also helped the monkeys learn new tasks twice as quickly as non-exercising monkeys, a benefit the researchers believe would hold true for people as well.” I just wanted to throw that in because sometimes I read scientific research for fun. But let’s suppose you have brain fog like I do…it comes from things like fibromyalgia as well as my hemochromatosis. Sometimes, I can’t remember things, so on days that I do yoga, I feel amazing and notice I have less brain fog. I know this is the day I can read up on new things and process better. So if you have a hard time learning new things, exercise before.
- The good fat…coconut oil. Sooooo. My family has a track record of some pretty ermmm crappy genes. I have inherited a few, but the thing I am concerned about it that at such a young age, I started showing signs of the above brain fog I mentioned. The brain needs glucose and it actually manufactures it’s own insulin to convert glucose in your bloodstream into it’s food…if it is starving, think Alzheimer’s patients. What I would like to know, is where was this research about 17 years ago that I am about to share? Maybe it was known…maybe not. BUT, I wish I could have slipped my grandpa some bulletproof coffee. What am I talking about? This! “According to research by Dr. Mary Newport, just over two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 35 ml or 7 level teaspoons) would supply you with the equivalent of 20 grams of MCT, which is indicated as either a preventative measure against degenerative neurological diseases, or as a treatment for an already established case.” P.S. That link is to one neat coffee recipe I found.
- Fix your gut…but seriously. I will never forget the day I started my second brain research. It was amazing to me what my doctors had missed when they had put me on proton pump inhibitors, and I started telling everyone who would listen to get off them. For those wondering, that’s acid blockers like omeprazole. Anyway, my gut was a mess, my acid reflux was a mess, but the pills actually were making everything worse. I got off them, and learned what gut health meant. It could actually be it’s own post…and oh, it was. Up there I linked it. But seriously…your gut bacteria is actually closely linked to food. That is why I counsel all my clients, ALL my clients, to tell me how they are eating. We really get into it and I start to get them to see a pattern. Because let’s face it, when you tell people your food is actually making you crazy, they get a little mad at you. Even if they know they need to eat better and get off processed foods, and white sugar. Probiotics are your friend.
- Vitamin D. This one is quite easy, but often overlooked. I went for years before anyone even thought to check my levels..and here I am not supposed to go out of the house without SPF 50. But let’s not check her levels. Hmmm. Moving on. IF appropriate sun exposure is not an option, cough porphyria, not an option, then get on readily available vitamin d. Basically it’s liquid form. Just get checked. Don’t skip this.
- Meditate. You knew it was coming probably. Since I completed my 200 hours of Vinyasa yoga teacher study…I know that I need quiet time. Okay, well, I kind of have a problem with noise now that I didn’t have before fibromyalgia anyway, but seriously, meditation is superb. After only 20 minutes, we start to show a decrease in beta waves, which is basically like we are learning how to halt the processing part. I know that I have probably put this in here at some point, but one such interesting brain researcher who I love is Jill Bolte Taylor. Her understanding of the brain after her stroke is outstanding and I cry every single I watch it. I can’t explain why…it’s just wonderful. Okay, maybe I can explain a little. I think about the part where she talks about not having to process and how she can just float…and everything seems to be a beautiful experience and that my friends, that is what meditation at the highest form would be like for me. If I was there. Which is why I keep practicing. Because sadly, I have a hard time. Imagine that. This point is technical, but it’s really interesting. The more we meditate, the less anxiety we have, and it turns out this is because we’re actually loosening the connections of particular neural pathways. This sounds bad, but apparently it’s not.
I created my own way of healing and invite you to join us in the Head|Heart|Health Club to learn more.
Every once in a while you might feel like Life has marched right up to you and thrown down the gauntlet. Poof. The dust rises and you look her right in the eye, and you say come on
bitch. I got this. I was having a year like this, but no more. I made myself do a 90 day challenge on my little known supplement page called Vitalize You. Of course, my friends all know about it, but I won’t apologize for waking up and realizing what is in the food we eat. What is in the medicines we take, and what WAS in my vitamins. I now am on completely all-natural NON GMO products. It is very important for someone with autoimmune conditions.
May 12th is Fibromyalgia Awareness DAY. One day? Are you serious? No, that won’t cut it. I am going to try to talk about it more on my FB page for my blog. So to start off with, I encourage you to read a few articles I found. The first one was really hard for me to wrap my head around. I hurt all the time and you are telling me to exercise. WHY?? Even if I didn’t hurt, I am not likely to actually WANT to exercise. Sigh. Read Fibromyalgia Exercise Studies if you want. I have some lovely friends who try to encourage me out of my hermit-like state. I appreciate you all. Because I guess comfy clothes can be worn walking. So technically I don’t have to change…I can add that to my list.
Next, I was reading about Vitamin D Benefits and Fibromyalgia. I am really low on Vitamin D since I have that pesky vampire-type thing going on where my skin can actually be harmed by the sun. Go figure. I am now on an all-natural readily available Vitamin D supplement. Lastly, I read about this list where I pretty much had all the symptoms on it. It was depressing for a second, and then I thought, I have had these symptoms for as long as I can remember, get over it. Move. Do something. A war in my head would be like Darth Vader fighting Luke. Obviously my symptoms are the dark side…I am not giving in! Oh, the list is called Fibromyalgia Symptoms.
I hear the whooshing noise of the light sabers…I am screaming. Noooooo! What? I am a geek. You have whatever you want in your head. Okay, back to the fight. Whoosh. That breathing mask noise is on my nerves Darth.
I leave you with this quote I have used before, and still love:
P.S. I do not look like Amy Farrah Fowler.
9 tips on how to manage your iron overload disease…
This post will be dedicated to all of my new friends and friends I have yet to meet. I can’t wait to get to my quote, but that’s my closing signature as you know. So here it goes. Let’s collect all of things we have learned and put them on one page. I’m going to start because it’s my blog. Onto your assignment. If you have been diagnosed with Hereditary Hemochromatosis, you already know what’s wrong with you. Hopefully, somewhere along the way someone explained what you should be doing, but if not, click the link above. I am moving onto the next step. Healing. All of the bloggers I have recently met share a wealth of knowledge, but we are not doctors. We are here as a support group for each other, so ask your doctor about any tips we share. I am going to share some things that have taken me over 12 years to learn. I don’t want you to wait that long. If anyone has anything to add, please comment below.
- My joints ache. What should I do? Start taking a product with Glucosamine and Chondroitin like Relief. I use the products I linked here, and if you are really interested in buying them, you can contact me with a valid e-mail address, or just use the link above.
- I am exhausted all the time. What’s next? After your ferritin has reached a good level (10 is nice), have your doctor check your vitamin D. Seriously. Why did it take 12 years to realize this? I can’t be out in the sun for long. This would make sense to check. My favorite is this one called It’s Vital Minerals.
- I was taking a multi-vitamin. What now? Stay away from them! Too much vitamin C is not needed as it promotes the absorption of iron and obviously we can’t take iron. It was all Mr. Flintstones fault…if only we knew back then. Find a vitamin with either low C or none added, and no added iron!
- I like raw seafood. I heard I have to stay away. This is true…to some degree. Do not eat raw oysters ever due to Vibrio Vulnificus. Thanks to one of my new blogger friends, I learned this word. Honestly, no one ever told me why, just the get sick and die part. Seriously.
- Drink more coffee. Why? Coffee is your life’s blood. Ha. Okay, so not really, but it does interfere with the absorption of iron. Awesome. We are Bi-winning now.
- Can I still drink gallons of sweet tea? Okay, so I live in the south, and drink lots of tea. My momma will even tell you she put it in my bottle. No lie. Please drink all the tea you want! In fact, it also has magical properties if you drink the green tea version. Would I fib? Well, maybe not exactly magical per say, but it depends on your symptoms. We are basing this off me. While it does have a trace amount of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), it has selenium, which helps the thyroid. This is important as iron has played with parts of my body I was not aware of. That statement sounds a bit off…moving on.
- Prebiotics are good for your gut!! If you are in maintenance phase and are de-ironed, add these chews to make your digestion better. Prebiotics are fibers that support the growth of healthy probiotic bacteria in your digestive system. Very important to heal your “gut” and to think about it as something that helps balance your whole system.
- Yay! I am “normal” again. Can I stop getting treatments? No, you can’t. Not unless you have a vampire living with you or you are into bloodletting with leeches. Go every 4-6 months for life and you’ll be fine. That is why my doctor has a house on the water and just added a library addition. I wish I was kidding. She could at least offer me a tour.
- Please get checked for diabetes, thyroid problems, heart disease, or pituitary issues should new symptoms occur.
This list will continue to grow and evolve as my readers share their knowledge. If you found my blog through Facebook, welcome! Please feel free to subscribe and share with your loved ones. And now the part I like sharing best…one of my favorite quotes.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.”