I recently spent the weekend with my sister who suffers from occasional bouts of depression. While I have dealt with postpartum depression, I can’t imagine living with depression long term. it seemed appropriate to address such an issue this week.
My sister has been on multiple medications for her depression and over a period of time the medications have gone from managing her symptoms to being useless. The reason of course is that the body builds up an immunity to most prescriptions and over time, the body ceases to respond to the drugs.
So what options are there for those who suffer from this illness when the medical prescriptions stop working?
Over the last 20 years, my sister has found that these solutions help her maintain a life that is worth living.
1. Diet. My sister is very much an advocate of eating green, organic, live, and uncultured foods. Preservatives, sweeteners, hormones (found in meats), and dyes set off the triggers that spiral her down into her depressive moments and by monitoring what she eats and drinks, she can eliminate many of the triggers that exacerbate her depression. She works at eating only whole unprocessed, chemical free foods and while she may have to hunt around for her food stuffs, the cost isn’t that much more than purchasing processed foods.
2. Exercise. My sister isn’t a health nut and hates gyms but she does walk each morning, 3 miles a day. Even this limited amount of exercise is beneficial and releases endorphins. She also sets a timer when she knows she will be sitting for longer than 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, she gets up, moves around, stretches and then if she must, she returns to sitting and resets the timer.
3. Essential oils. In my quest for health and a solution to my daughter’s mystery illness, I became an advocate for essential oils as nature’s medicine. I gave my sister a few sample oils to try and she is now an advocate for treating illnesses naturally. She even uses essential oils for her depression. Her favorites are ylang ylang, frankincense, and a blend of essential oils put out by a highly respected company. She has also tried bergamot, lavender, and melissa but finds the others to be more effective with her body chemistry. She uses the oils daily (both topically and internally) and rarely has more than 3-4 short depressive episodes a year as compared to feeling majorly depressed all the time.
4. Journaling. Writing out her feelings and thoughts has been a great resource for my sister. She can look back and see patterns and recognize them when they start again, giving her a chance to change the pattern and forestall the depression. She also finds it helpful to have several compassionate, understanding friends and family members who understand what she is dealing with. Turning to these individuals helps her manage her illness better.
Depression is an insidious disease but it is not a life sentence. Management is the key. These are just some suggestions that may help you or someone you know overcome the effects of this illness.