Treating Depression Naturally

Depression can be a bit of a touchy subject.

I was diagnosed with depression when I was in High School and spent most of my teen years on a low dose of medication. I “self-weaned” myself when I was 18 years old off of Prozac, when I started telling people that I struggle with depression I got a myriad of responses. People have very different views on depression some people think depression isn’t a real thing and some think it means you are on the verge of a breakdown. I can testify that it is a very real thing and no, it does not mean you are crazy. I have learned my “triggers” and what can bring me down which has helped me get myself out of a funk before I get there although sometimes it does creep back up.

First off, I am not a doctor or a practitioner and I would never say what you should or shouldn’t do. I know what works for one person may not necessarily work for the other and I think depression fits that very well.

What I will share is what has worked for me personally. Yes, I still struggle with depression. I am not on medication anymore, I haven’t been since High School but I definitely still have times when I am struggling. I also suffered from  postpartum depression after my second was born. Here are a few things that have worked for me

1.Ginkgo Biloba-This herb  improves circulation, including blood flow to the brain. My brain was just foggy all the time and I felt very unmotivated. Literally within a day or two of taking Ginkgo, I began to feel more clear-headed than I had in a long time. I have read that Ginkgo shouldn’t be used for more than 6 weeks at a time, but other places have never mentioned a need to take breaks, so you’ll have to do your own research on that.

2.St.Johns Worts- One of the most commonly recommended herbs for depression, it has a reputation of reducing anxiety and calming moods. One quote read, “It is to the nervous system what Arnica is to the muscular” (Millspaugh, American Medicinal Plants, 1892). It is a mild sedative and reduces pain, anxiety and tension, as well as inflammation

3. Cod Liver Oil-Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most common suspects for physical causes of depression. In our society, there is a chronic issues with Omega-3 deficiency

4. 5HTP- This has been BY FAR the biggest help to me in depression. I started taking it this summer. My husband started traveling the very beginning of this year and was only home 5 days  a MONTH by June I was starting to really feel depressed, I just wasn’t getting breaks and was just tired, actually exhausted is more like it . I got some 5HTP and I felt like myself again. 5HTP is an amino acid that is the intermediate step between tryptophan (found in turkey, milk, etc.) and serotonin (the feel-good brain chemical). Many people are beginning to use this as an alternative to other depression drugs. It is an extract from the seed of an African plant, and it helps to boost serotonin levels in the brain, regulate mood, improve sleep and calm anxiety. I don’t produce enough serotonin so this really helped regulate it naturally.

5. Get Rest- You need to sleep, I know if you’re a mom it’s probably very broken up but try and get as much rest as possible. My husband puts the kids to bed for me when I start feeling funky and getting depressed he knows if I can get a extra hour or 2 in it really helps me the next day.

6: Ditch the caffeine and sugar- I struggled with using both as coping mechanisms, but they really only wound me up tighter and made me crash harder. I am not saying to 100% get rid of it but don’t rely on it to give you more energy the crash is worse trust me.

I strongly believe that our spiritual health can have direct effects on our physical health (“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22), When our physical health suffers, in our pain or despair or exhaustion or anger, we can often allow our relationship with the Lord to suffer  rather than running to Him for grace and  strength to endure the  trials that we are facing. In my experience, my depression is related to my circumstances and began to influence me spiritually.

I am in a good place now, and a lot of that has to do with my circumstances in life. I am my own worst enemy in a lot of ways and work myself up and create what I fear the most. Giving it to God and letting him take control of this part of my life has been the most healing of all. You can have healing from this, I won’t say you will fully be healed because I think a lot of people will always struggle with depression. I hope that this will be the beginning of a fresh start for you if you are struggling and know you are never ever alone in this. There is restoration and healing.

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