I have a history of depression that worsened during and after my pregnancy. This stemmed from the changes of my body, serious hormonal imbalances, and a series of unplanned events that occurred in a short amount of time. I found out I was pregnant, got married, went back to school, and went through some stuff with my family all in the span of a year. Each of these life situations are difficult, but in the span of a year…WOW that can be a little stressful. After I had the baby, I dealt with serious post-partum depression, which by the way is normal, mommas (do not let anyone let you feel any less of a human because of PPD). On top of that, I was dealing with some serious body insecurities and a relapsing eating disorder. Because of this, I was put on a high dosage of anti-depressants.
We often think that when we are depressed, the only solution is medication. Hey, that helps some people, and if it helps you BY ALL MEANS take it. There is no stigma attached to medication and it is such a helpful resource. It helped me for a while, but then I felt as if all my emotions were stagnant. Yes, my dark, lonely feelings were suppressed…but so were my joyful feelings. I felt as if I were in a brain fog. One day, I felt the urge to try something new so I stopped cold turkey. Warning: this is not the best approach, and if you feel the need to get taper off of your medication consult your doctor before doing so. Depression can be caused by genetics and other factors, such as hormonal imbalances, but we often fail to acknowledge other things that may lead to anxiety and depression. With this in mind, I began researching holistic approaches to treating my depression.
Here are a few things that absolutely blew my mind.
–Magnesium deficiency: Magnesium acts somewhat like a guard. In summary, it can prevent stress hormones from entering the brain and it can potentially suppress the ability of the hippocampus of releasing stress hormones. Things that can prevent magnesium absorption: Acids found in soda, antibiotics, excess coffee, sugar, diuretics, salt, alcohol, etc.
-Leaky gut: The gut and the brain are pretty close. I mean, they communicate ALOT. Did you know that nearly 80% of people in the United States alone suffer from leaky gut? This condition is basically an increase in the permeability of the small intestine. If the intestine becomes damaged, things can escape from the intestine INTO YOUR BLOODSTREAM which makes your immune system a bit more sensitive. Basically, if you do some research, you will find that these escaping things, usually toxins, can negatively affect your neurotransmitters which could be why we are faced with depression and anxiety.
-Blood sugar instability: When you ingest sugar, insulin is released and glucose is pointed in the direction of the bloodstream. Because your brain simply cannot store sugar in the way that it can store fat cells (important for your brain’s myelin!!!), it is burned up FAST. This is what leads to a sugar crash…aka a drop in energy levels and ultimately your mood.
–Lack of exercise: ehh, this one is pretty self-explanatory. When you exercise, you produce endorphins that make you happy. So pretty much, exercise is dang important.
I challenge you, whether you are on medication or not, to take the steps to a healthier you. Reduce the amount of toxins and preservatives in your foods and lifestyle, eat REAL food, do your research, and be patient! Who knows, you may start to see some differences just as I have. I still struggle here and there with bouts of sadness and days when the anxiety seems like too much, but I have been so grateful for the journey that has taken me to where I am now. I am married to the most amazing man who supports me through the good times and bad and I am the momma to the most precious, kind-hearted little girl. Life is tough sometimes, but I would not change a thing. I cannot wait to share more of my journey with you