I spent many, many years trying different antidepressants, going back almost 20 years ago, and after little success and lots of nasty side-effects, I decided to go the natural route several years ago. Everyone is different as to how they react to meds, and whether or not the prescript
ion meds work for them, so please understand that my comments are based on my own experiences, and are not to be considered a criticism against anyone who takes meds. Also, please talk to your doctor before you make any changes….that’s really important. All the methods I use now for anxiety and depression are under the supervision and recommendation of my doctor.
I’m glad to read that you are using exercise….that’s so important. There are days when I wonder how much the effect is helping me, but all I have to do is sit on my butt for a couple of days to notice the difference. It really does help to get moving. I am limited in what I can do physically, but a couple of walks a day or some swimming really makes me feel better…..less depressed, and more energetic.
Like AlwaysLove said, diet can really help, too. I agree with her about
the meat issue…..when you think of how stress affects the cells in our bodies, would it not make sense that it affects animals in the same way? However, eating meat is a personal choice, so I won’t get too far into that. I do occasionally eat free-range, naturally-raised chicken from time to time, and wild fish – great health benefits there, but other than that, I eat a mainly vegetarian diet. I use beans a lot in my cooking for protein, fiber, folic acid and iron, and I make sure to get a few servings of leafy greens in my diet every day. Most of what I eat falls under the fruit & veg category…..approx. 8-10 servings a day, a serving being ½ cup. I feel so much better for it. I mostly use brown rice products for my grain intake….even brown rice pasta when I feel like noodles of some sort. Avoiding/cutting down on the gluten in this way has made a big difference to me. I have a bit of a lactose problem, so I can’t comment on the milk…..I use soy milk for things instead.
As far as supplements go, I’m one of those folks who has had good success with St. John’s Wort (hypericum). I took it when I first went natural for the depression, and after I felt better, I stopped. (As I said earlier, I was monitored closely by my physician). Recently, I had another downward turn, and went back to the doc to talk to her about
it, and she prescribed it to me again, seeing that I’d had success with it before. After a couple of weeks of taking it, I started to feel a definite improvement. I’m feeling so much better now. It has helped me to sleep better, and to feel motivated and not so heavy-hearted anymore. I’ve read some articles which state that it is not beneficial to those with severe depression, but I will tell you from my own experience that I have been at rock bottom…..wishing for ‘you know what’….and this has helped me, in combination with therapy – a very important tool, IMO, if you are going to go natural. Counseling has been a must for me, for anxiety and depression. I have taken supplements for anxiety in the past with some success as well……for a long time, I took a product called Trancor, made by Metagenics, which was quite helpful to me. I haven’t had a problem with anxiety in a while, so I am not taking it at the moment.
I also rely heavily on prayer and meditation. As with the exercise routine, I do notice a marked difference if I have a lapse in these practices. They have proved to be really important to my outlook on life, and to maintaining a balance, especially on stressful days.
I hope what I’ve shared will be helpful to you. I’m so glad you are doing the CBT. It’s a great tool, and I know a lot of folks here and on the depression forum have had wonderful success with it. My therapist has used it with me, and given me a ton of assignments to do, and I’ve found it really valuable.
Best of luck to you…..I hope it works out! Please let us know how it goes!
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." ~Marcel Proust