Note: I am not qualified to give, nor is this intended as, medical advice. Talk to your doctor and do your own research before making any changes in your own life.
There had been a point where I felt pretty low, and very anxious. In that time I had started taking a mild antidepressant to help me get myself back on my feet emotionally.
While taking that prescription I had felt numb, and frustrated, and broken. But it was there when I needed it, I told myself. Even as I swallowed the bitter little pill, it brought me down as it lifted me up.
I had not taken it for days, when we were losing another family member chaotically and quickly, between the chaos and driving and late nights. I realized I was past the point where I though I needed it to function as an adult and as a parent.
So I quit something I quite shouldn’t have cold turkey, accidentally, and after talking to a pharmacist I worked my way off it as best I could. Don’t ever stop taking antidepressants without discussing it with a professional. My advice to you. (I called a pharmacist and not a doctor because my doctor had quit the practice and I had not established with another.)
But I knew, even as I didn’t need a prescription anymore, I wanted to take care of my emotional health more holistically. Even as I as an emotional wreck for months after taking a small dose (detox is real) I took some more measures for self care and to start focusing on myself as a whole person instead of a broken one.
I’m a longtime fan of the podcast Sorta Awesome (link to their anxiety episode) and in the discussion on their Facebook group I had seen a lot of options in dealing with the emotional turmoil I feel so many parents and adults are feeling. So I paid attention. I tracked what they were saying, took note when they said they could feel a difference.
And then I did my own research.
And I pulled out something that had been given to me a while before I just hadn’t yet tried.
And you know, it worked. I felt a difference.
And instead of numbing the emotions, it felt more like I was being allowed to have them.
My life is still stressful, and chaotic, and my role is in turmoil and I become a part of the sandwich generation children of baby boomers fell into. But I feel more balanced and able to handle it.
Turns out part of the equation I may have been missing is something a lot of people are also missing.
My Daily Supplements
Part of my new plan was to take better care of myself by making sure I was getting the vitamins and nutrients I needed. I feel that diet is playing a bigger role than people understand with stress, anxiety and depression in this country.
I was blown away by the amount of people I found out that were taking magnesium to feed their emotional needs. Magnesium was found to be a benefit in recovering from major depression, and being depleted in magnesium can cause depression, anxiety, psychosis and irritability.
And it turns out, conventional farming is actually depleting magnesium from produce. Spinach, almonds and many other foods are rich in magnesium, but without it being present when the food is grown food is now giving less nutrients than before. And we as Americans are definitely getting less magnesium and other nutrients than we used to be. So I grabbed a giant bottle and am taking as directed. There are ways you can find out if you are magnesium- deficient, including a blood test.
A Canadian study found that omega-3 fatty acids were effective in treating major depressing without an anxiety disorder. Of course, they’re known for being good for your heart, even as the American diet veered away from whole eggs and eating fish. People deficient in omega-3s may also be deficient in DHA and EPA, brain chemicals that help with function.
I’m not good at getting them from my diet as well (look for sardines, salmon, herring, trout and canned albacore tuna), so I added omega-3 fish oil pills to my daily pill-popping.
Drinking tea (as part of my self care) and using aromatherapy has helped me keep my mind in a calmer place while detoxing. It’s as easy as putting a little lavender oil in a diffuser, but I also had a charm on a bracelet I could drop essential oil on and take a whiff as I needed it.
I’ve also been using Gaia Herbs ‘ adrenal blend, which includes holy basil, daily as well. I feel this has been a huge help as, when I finally hit the point where I am overwhelmed, I feel like I cant calm myself down. Taking those for the last few months, I can see a difference when I am in stressful situations and can still think clearly. Stress can cause a ‘fight or flight’ reaction in regards to the endocrine system, and doing what I need to no longer get to that point is helping me daily when living with two active little boys and freelance work.
Again, this is only my story, not advice.
But I laid it all out for you so you can start doing your own research if you want a change. And if you rely on medications, this is not alternate advice from your doctor, nor is it bad to be taking anxiety or depression medications. I was on a mild one for 16 months, and never feel any less for taking what is needed.
We all do what we must and what we feel is best, and there are as many answers as there are people in the world.