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herbs, diet to treat depression?

 
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Location: San Diego, CA USA
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Ronie - you can tincture the fresh St. John's Wort plant material when in bloom (entire uppers works fine) in 40 or 50 percent vodka.  It helps to put it in the sun for awhile too, and you will see the red quality going into the tincture after some time.  Keep it in around 4-6 weeks, shaking occasionally and filter out plant material.

Externally, you can also place fresh plant material in olive oil - but it is trickier.  Greg Tilford would spray vodka onto the fresh plant material and allow to set for about 1-2 hours before placing in oil.  Then rather than using a regular lid on the jar, use something that breathes to allow any water to evaporate away (or you get mold).  Fabric from an old T-shirt is great, with a rubber band (and keep it from tipping over of course).  Again, sunlight is helpful to activate the red quality of the plant - keep this for 4-6 weeks before filtering out plant material.

With internal use - St. John's Wort can be really dicey with meds (although it seems to work very well with other herbs).  So I wouldn't use this while coming off, but it could be useful when transitioning.  This plant is ruled by the Sun and is extremely protective and brings "light" to your energetic system.

Some people have better luck with a whole different energy:  Kava Kava.  So if St. John's Wort doesn't work, try different plants - and this one seems to work well for the types of energies it addresses (apparently different than energies improved by St. John's Wort).  Yukkuri's protocol is excellent, and I saw some other nervine herbs here that should work really well.
 
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Thanks for the info. I love to get good info on herbal meds.
 
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astroherbalist wrote:
Some people have better luck with a whole different energy:  Kava Kava.  So if St. John's Wort doesn't work, try different plants - and this one seems to work well for the types of energies it addresses (apparently different than energies improved by St. John's Wort).  Yukkuri's protocol is excellent, and I saw some other nervine herbs here that should work really well.


Great post!
SJWort works for me, I'm always willing to try something new.  Do you have info on how one can get KavaKava to grow? Is it exclusive to mild Pacific climates?
 
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Kava kava is a tropical plant - needs to be protected against frost or even extended cool periods. The plant is bushy and commonly 8 feet high or taller, and it takes 4-5 years to get quality root. Not very practical for areas that are far from the tropics.
 
                        
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Not sure why it helps  or where I got the idea from but I have found if I take magnesium it helps a lot to prevent or repair feelings of depression and lethargy and so forth. Sometimes when I am feeling fine I get slack about taking stuff and boy it shows within a day or two.  Missing magnesium is one of the ones that really shows up fast for me. Luckilly it works almost as fast to reverse the decline.

 
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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Good article on St. Johnswort:
http://www.naturalnews.com/033238_depression_St_Johns_Wort.html
 
Fred Winsol
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yukkuri_kame wrote:
Good article on St. Johnswort:
http://www.naturalnews.com/033238_depression_St_Johns_Wort.html


great article!  thanks for sharing. 

here's quotes from the article:

The results showed that St. John's wort was just as effective as prescribed anti depressants, and it had far fewer side effects.

Critics of natural medicine would like people to believe that St. John's wort is of little or no benefit to those with depression, is no more effective than a placebo at treating depression, can be dangerous, and has not been studied enough. However, the vast amount of un-biased research would say otherwise. St. John's wort is the oldest known remedy for treating depression, has been subjected to more studies than any other anti-depressant, has fewer side effects (if any), has a higher success rate, is inexpensive, and is non-toxic to the body.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/033238_depression_St_Johns_Wort.html#ixzz1V2wsW3Ja
 
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Hello,
SAM-e works for me. This is not an herb, but a substance naturally occuring in the body. Without it, I am severely depressed, with it, I am fine.

I hope you find something that works for you.

best,
ellen

"S-adenosylmethionine is made from the amino acid methionine and ATP. SAMe is a methyl donor involved in the making of dozens of important compounds in the body. This nutrient has been available by prescription in Europe for many years as an antidepressant and has been available over the counter in the US since about 1996. It is present in every living cell in the body. However, levels tend to decline with age."

 
master pollinator
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Thanks.    After slowly reducing my dose of Cymbalta I'm now off anti-depressants completely for about a week and doing very well.  Seem to have a little more intense emotions but nothing I don't want to experience.  I'm not using any herbs or special diet presently.



 
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St. Jon's wort (Hypericum perforatum) can cause photo-sensitivity. I'm not trying to discourage its use -- there are a lot of people who find it helpful.
Quote from http://www.alternative-healthzine.com/html/0300_2.html
"St John's Wort can - rarely - cause a rash when the skin is exposed to the sun. The hypericin from St John Wort travels to the skin where, in a few individuals, the sun changes it to an itchy compound which causes the rash.

There are only a very small number of reported cases of this reaction; but it does happen. Where it has happened, when the St John's Wort has been discontinued, the rash disappears.

Recommendation If you are taking St John's Wort use extreme caution when in the sun, and do not use a sun bed, in case you are one of the minority who could develop photosensitivity. If you begin to develop a rash and have been in the sun, stay in the shade and discontinue the use of St John's Wort"
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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Nothing against cholesterol or pigs, but fried bacon tends to be very high in PAH's - highly carcinogenic compounds that are formed when meat is burned. 

wiki:

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), also known as poly-aromatic hydrocarbons or polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, are potent atmospheric pollutants that consist of fused aromatic rings and do not contain heteroatoms or carry substituents.[2] Naphthalene is the simplest example of a PAH. PAHs occur in oil, coal, and tar deposits, and are produced as byproducts of fuel burning (whether fossil fuel or biomass). As a pollutant, they are of concern because some compounds have been identified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic. PAHs are also found in cooked foods. Studies have shown that high levels of PAHs are found, for example, in meat cooked at high temperatures such as grilling or barbecuing, and in smoked fish.[3][4][5]



Ideally, meat of all sorts should be poached or steamed. 

Further, bacon tends to be preserved with nitrites, also highly carcinogenic.

I love bacon, but I can't recommend it as a health-improving food. 

 
                                                              
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Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
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There was a really good documentary which I saw on netflix, watch instantly.  Im sure you could find it elsewhere... im having trouble remembering which one it was but pretty sure it's called Foodmatters.  If not, it's called ingredients.  Both were really great but pretty sure it was the first of the two that focuses a lot on treating depression with really high doses of vitamins, mainly niacin i think.  Not the high doses we're made to believe are high, but really really high compared to whats the norm for us.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I have a personal theory that most mental disorders are metabolic in nature, that for some reason the body is just not processing nutrients properly.  And that we're seeing such higher incidence of mental problems such as depression, etc because our modern diet is not optimum for human health.
 
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http://vimeo.com/27961539
 
                                    
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Having had folks in my life with depression but never having struggled with it myself, I have found the following things helpful:

1)  take time at least three times a week, regardless of the weather, to go take a brisk walk (brisk for the individual) outside for half an hour.  This is important because it exercises a lot of different metabolic pathways in the body (sunlight/vitamin D, all the things that go into exercise, etc).  Also provides a sense of connectedness.  Dress for the weather so you are comfortable, but be sensible.  No walking during dangerous storms

2)  Diet-wise, extra b vitamin-rich foods often help

3)  Revisit balance of diet for carbs vs proteins, play around with this.

4)  If you can, ditch the alarm clock

I am a fan of the idea that diet and lifestyle should be the first things we try, working our way to herbal remedies and even where necessary pharmaceuticals once these are pushed as far as we can.
 
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I've heard niacin works . . . anyone know anything about niacin?
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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gossamermoonspider wrote:
I've heard niacin works . . . anyone know anything about niacin?



There are cases of debilitating depression being totally reversed with mega doses of niacin, which is a b-vitamin. 

With some of these nutrients such as niacin, vitamin c, or iodine amazing results can be found at higher doses.  But niacin is one you have to increase dose slowly.  Niacin creates a histamine flushing, causing skin to turn red and sometimes itch.  Too much too fast can be an unpleasant experience. 
 
 
Jonathan Byron
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Niacin is rather different from niacinamide in many ways, even though both are forms of that B-vitamin. Niacinamide seems to be more useful for schizophrenia and anxiety conditions. There are anecdotal reports on niacin (aka nicotinic acid) and there may be something to that, but it does not seem to benefit all types of depression.

Under some circumstances, niacin can cause depression:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15913906

Sam-e, folate, B-12, and other B-vitamin like compounds are important as sources of methyl donors, they enable certain metabolic activities (including neurotransmitter formation, especially important for depression). Taken alone, niacin and niacinamide can deplete the body of methyl donors, which can make some types of depression worse.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2531221

For general health or mood, I think it better to take a multi-B along with extra of the specific factors that seem to help w/ whatever particular issue one is seeking to address.
 
                        
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Something I heard yesterday.  Studies have apparently been done which show that people who spent a few minutes each day actively expressing honest gratitude or appreciation for something have as much or more relief of depression and experience increased happiness  than those who were on prescription medication.

I haven't followed up and identified the studies and don't know how long this takes but my impression was that it was within a month.  This info came up as a sidenote to a talk I was listening to  about the power of attitude to affect what happens in your life both in health and other terms.  That's been pretty well documented so I tend to think it has traction.

This is NOT to suggest this activity alone would be enough for people who were at the extremes of depression but it might enhance the usefulness of other treatments.

Actually, not a bad idea for people who aren't depressed in the first place, as a sort of preventive medicine. 



 
Jonathan Byron
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Here's a link a version of that:

http://blog.seattlepi.com/naturalmedicine/2011/10/10/the-key-to-wellness-its-gratitude-one-doctor-says/


The brain changes in response to use - it is constantly re-wiring itself, and areas that are used more see more growth of neurons, more connections.  I think it is generally reasonable to say that exercising the gratitude muscle makes it grow stronger. Yes, some people have other biological problems that contribute to the depression or cause it, they may need some additional therapy ... but if we are talking about the average person who is blue, that makes sense.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks for all this input.    I'm still off the anti-depressants and having mostly good days.  I would have bad days even when on those anti-depressants, even when nothing stressful or different was happening.  I'm having more bad days without them, but on the other hand, I'm not doing as much as I could be doing with diet and supplements.  Regarding expressing gratitude - it's taken me a long time to learn more helpful mental habits, but it has helped a lot to try to remain conscious of what I'm letting go on in my mind.  Spending time with upbeat, problem-solving people both in real life and internet life helps, as does spending my personal time solving problems and being physically active.  If I sit around I feel much worse than when I get outdoors and work.
 
steward
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Here is one of my favorite bloggers and her description of a recent bout of depression:  adventures in depression.

Somehow, the way she writes about it is especially illuminating.

Plus, she is rather unique...my favorite posts of hers are a better pain scale and the alot. Oh, and the year Kenny Loggins ruined Christmas!

In any case, I wish Allie (the blogger) would/could read this thread because there is an amazing amount of info here for depression.

 
pollinator
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Oooooooooohhh..... I love Allie!!  Hilarious truth is so refreshing   I'm also going to share the D Adventure far and wide.  In a way, it sort of, kinda supports my personal aspirational motto - DGARA (easier said than done
 
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Sorry, not enough time to read everything here, lots of responses, so hopefully this is not a duplicate.

B12 for the brain and moods
D3 for depression, sever depression to the point of looking for bridges.
Both Timed release and effective in about 3 days or less of taking them.

best of luck
ps, yes I know they are not herbal, but.... they help me out
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you for that information.  So far I'm not taking regular supplements. I sometimes take a B complex.  I'm still taking some pharmaceuticals every few days - very small amount of the antipsychotic Zyprexa which is sedative and helps me sleep, but I think I could possibly replace it with an herbal sedative such as valerian.

I mainly seem to have major problems when I can't sleep.  My sister reports the same.  She says if she doesn't take a sleep aid, she can only accomplish gardening and sitting around, which is not her preferred way of life.

I hope this thread can be helpful to other people.  I want to be clear I do not advise going off psychoactive pharmaceuticals without consulting one's physician.   

 
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Read the post about valerian root further down, then look it up on Wiki. Almost all anti-depressants are built on the same molecular structure.

Watch that vitamin D3, caused blot clot in my calf muscle in less than  a week, and i never have had them before.

if you got Med Marijuana in your state, it works too. especially if you have some painting materials around......
 
Morgan Morrigan
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latest discovery changes the equation with serotonin and nerve cell communication

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130318105329.htm
 
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Self medicating is self medicating. I would highly suggest getting some sort of psychiatric help whether or not you decide to take pills or herbs. My opinion comes from a different perspective than most...I am the emotionally damaged one left behind from those suffering from mental illness. I'm not saying this to hurt anyone's feelings. This comes from my life experience. It is just so difficult to try to save those who think they can do it on their own and they can't. It is the same hurt as loving an addict. There has to be some sort of support system in place. No one can tackle mental illness on their own.
 
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I know that Saint Johns Wort helps in a lot of People but it can interact with other medications.
you should never just stop taking any medication unless directed by your doctor.
I live in ny state (Syracuse) and saint jons wort grows wild everywere here and I have used it with great results but now that i am on other medications that interact with SJW I cant take the herb anymore.
Talk to your doctor and tell him you want to try herbal medicine and make sure you are supervised while using the herbal medicines because they might not work for you and you could get suicidal.
I hope it helps you. also I can pick you some saint johns wort if you pay for the shipping.
 
pollinator
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I know that the three things that help me are making music ( in my case traditional Irish ) being out in nature , gardening , walking And sex.
The combination stops m'y dépression mood swings And stress.

David
 
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[li]B12 - a friend was missing all motivation and didn't know why. Since I'd found relief from treating physical things, I encouraged him to get checked out. His serum B12 was almost non-existent and once he began taking B12 shots, he felt better, could concentrate and get things done again.[/li]



That must be me!

I have no business replying to this thread. I don't think I've ever dealt with depression. I have had a lot of personal focus on productivity. I suppose it is possible that the two could be connected.

The B12 thing came from several years of low productivity. I didn't feel depressed - I just didn't seem to be getting much done. At least when compared to earlier in my life. Jocelyn sent me to her ND and the ND wanted to try only one thing: test my B12 levels. The results came back and the ND said it was the lowest she had ever seen. It took months of weekly B12 shots until I would have spurts of productivity. Now it is years later and I feel like my productivity is back pretty much all the time.

Dairy (pasturized) knocks out all productivity for a day or two.

I find that I am more productive if I avoid grains.

Getting natural light (without glass or hats) seems to help.

This one is going to sound weird: flossing. I think somehow flossing is a big help.

Music, art and culture is often a boost. Even watching a movie.

I think reducing toxins is a big help.

I think it was one of the documentaries that Jocelyn and I reviewed where a guy made such a profound case for niacin as a full cure for depression (although I put more weight on what was said earlier in this thread - each person will be different).

Here is something that probably doesn't count for diddly, but it seems that I am often told of a person that has depression and I know a fair bit about their life. I just feel like .... and forgive me for this vulgarity, but I do wish to make a point .... if my life were so pointless I would be depressed to. That person (those people) seems to exist for the sake of existing. They work at a job they hate. They spend their money at the mall, and burn time with dozens of hours of television every month. Granted, their life is a hundred times more wholesome than the life of a hater, but can they not build one good thing? One good and daring thing? Give a gift to their future self? Hugelkultur comes to mind. Plant some tree seeds. Even a bird house would be good. Maybe whittle one of those wood chains. Plant some flowers. Go on-line and give a thumbs up for something nice somebody said. Smile at a stranger. You don't have to live as large and magnificently as I do, but consider living a little bigger than you do now. If you try to please everybody, the only action is to do nothing. Be okay with pissing off icky people and suddenly you have license to do epic shit.


 
pollinator
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paul wheaton wrote: test my B12 levels. The results came back and the ND said it was the lowest she had ever seen. It took months of weekly B12 shots until I would have spurts of productivity. Now it is years later and I feel like my productivity is back pretty much all the time.



My grandmother used to get b12 shots when she was down in the dumps. She swore by it.

I've never tried it. I took niacin once and turned really, really, really red. And I'm pretty red in general. I felt fine, totally normal, but my husband thought he was going to have to drive me to the hospital!
 
pollinator
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I'm not going to touch the 'herbs' bit but BY FAR the most reliable cure for depression I know of is strenuous physical activity and fresh air.
 
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Oh Tyler I do feel for you..Iam in similar position.

I'am on peroxatine and I would say its slowly turning me into a zombie. It SEEMS to VERY slightly take the edge off bad feelings but ALSO ..for me..stops completely my ability to feel joyful. ANY of this familiar ?

What scares me to death is that discontinuation can be VERY painful. Did it abrubtly once..omg !! Appears to be nobody who can even help with discontinuation..road back prgramme..doubt it. None seem to be credible...so what to do ?

Diet et al..maybe...but look at the massive complexity and possible contradictions in all the above fantastic advice. Again..what to do eh ?

My research has concluded its highly likely..at least in my case...childhood "trauma"..although i cant remember any !!! Ioboga (Ibogaine) seems only way forward.

Big love to ya..from London
 
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Having been a psychiatric nurse for several years, one thing I have learned is that people who have no contact with mental illness really don't know how devastating it is. I think it is one of the cruelest illnesses "this flesh is heir to." Our science is woefully inadequate in dealing with it and that just may be what the problem is. We tend to try to "treat" (cure?), rather than looking at the person holistically. One thing that stands out to me as I have been reading through these posts is the support and compassion that shows in this community towards each other. Even as others have admitted they tended to be hermits, they are still posting here. I applaud those who have been brave enough to post about their "limitations" but even so, its just another way we are all different, and as was mentioned before, what works for one may not work for another. But being a friend surely helps and no adverse reactions!
 
Simon Brown
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Valerie Dawnstar wrote: people who have no contact with mental illness really don't know how devastating it is. I think it is one of the cruelest illnesses



Just wanted to say well said. Anybody who has not suffered severe depression.."cant even go there". Tempted to say if you havent had it you probably couldnt treat it..but I wont. Only thing that ever gave me relief was acupuncture..just saying.
 
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Great thread everyone! I have SAD which is a version of depression that gets worse in the winter. I have mostly treated it with cognative therapy when it's gotten really bad. Mid-bad a light box seems to be enough but this winter has been a bit different. I've been on a mostly whole foods diet for a long time but I started drinking Kombucha this summer and noticed that my motivation picked up. I've continued drinking it and the depression hasn't been as bad this winter. I've *gasp* gone outside for walks and almost been able to keep up with housework (there's a new baby in the picture too). I've also been sure to eat my grandmother's liver paté recipe since I wanted to be sure the baby got enough iron. I think the B vitamins and possibly the iron in these foods have been the difference for me. I'm looking forward to the increased sunlight of spring and plan on spending lots of time outside puttering around with permaculture projects because that'll be both exercise and vitamin D which can only be good.
 
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Thanks, Paul, for redirecting my thread here. I didn't find this one when I searched the forum before starting that other one - sorry!

Lots of great ideas for holistic approaches here, and I'll be trying some of them out myself!
 
author
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Kathleen (and everyone else willing to talk candidly about mental illness), I am glad you had the courage to bring up this topic. Talking about depression, and mental illness in general, is really important both for the individuals that suffer and our society as a whole.

I think that living a homestead life has many aspects that can be very theraputive to depression. Interactions with animals and soil, a feeling of connectedness to the Earth, a sense of self-worth from creating one's own sustanence, these are all things that, IME, are very anti-depressive. Escaping from a nihlistic and materialistic cultural mentality is a positive mental shift.

On the other hand, there are aspects of this life that are challenging to mental wellbeing. The permacultural homestead life tends to be socially isolating, because it is not a common path in our culture. This doesnt have to be the case, but IME, you will find more friends at the coffee shop than in the garden, because that is where people are. You will be more valued for your contributions to your local schools than your homestead.

In short, I dont think that permacultural homesteading would directly cure depression in a clinical way. There are so many different combinations of causes for depression, that permacultural living would be more healing to some individuals than others.

Living a more meaningful life, albeit filled with physical hardship, is a wonderful aspect to permacultural homesteading. If you feel some hope in your soul that it may be a positive path for you, I would go for it with everything you have. I have found great satisfaction in the homestead life that I live. My world is not perfect, but I am content with my life, in ways that I never imagined possible in the past.

good luck!
 
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As someone with a past diagnosis of depression, and a family history of depression, being now free from it is so liberating and joyful. I have taken anti-depressants in the past, and they took away my feelings both bad and good, and also my libido, which was kind of a deal-breaker. I have had counselling, but it didn't really help; it was just rehashing the same old fears over and over, without any solution. But I've not been depressed for at least 8 years now, and while I don't think I had The Cure, there were a succession of small steps which lead me to where I am. I think some of these steps included:

-Getting rid of the TV (big impact on my self esteem)
-Going walking in the fresh air every day
-Eating my 5 a day (at a minimum)
-Setting myself small, achievable goals; to start with, this might have even been something like: get dressed today
-Eating low carb/primal

I have particularly noticed that if I fall off the low carb wagon and eat sugar or sweets, the next day I will feel depressed again, usually for a full day--sometimes two. I wonder if it's the sugar crash.

This feeling of freedom really is the best feeling in the world. Every day I wake up happy and hopeful.
 
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