Let me first start by saying, wow.
The response to this post was overwhelmingly supportive and amazing.
I admitted in that post to suffering from depression, which I attributed to post-nursing hormone changes.
For 7 years I was pregnant or nursing. My body was adjusted to an increased level of oxytocin and Wesley weaning earlier this year did quite a doozey on my body.
But, I’m thrilled to report that today, on my 31st birthday, the greatest gift I could have given myself was achieved.
I am no longer depressed.
Similar to my refusal to admit I needed supplements for digestive support after losing a gallbladder, I also was in denial of needing support for my depression. And as I played with foods, lowering and increasing carbs, sugar, fats and anything in between – the deeper my depression got. I felt like a failure for not being able to solve my problem with proper nutritional choices.
Meanwhile, my sleep and stress got worse and worse. Ultimately, I became so ridden with guilt about being depressed that it became a huge contributor to the depression itself. I felt like a complete and utter phoney to you all, having previously blogged about and spoken of increased levels of energy and joy from going paleo – yet there I was, exhausted by life and generally frustrated by everything. My patience was short with the kids, my marriage strained, my jobs overwhelming.
Fortunately for me, the friends and family in my life encouraged me to take care of myself. Diane and Hayley gave me advice on how to supplement for depression, while mostly giving me a big kick in the pants down the de-stressing path. I knew this already from my autoimmune protocol, which was fresh when I wrote the admission of depression post. But, when I was researching solutions and supplements for depression on Chris Kresser’s site, and his top 6 suggestions were all lifestyle related, I knew I needed to buckle down even more.
What did I actually DO
- Going to a waterpark, being in a bathing suit for 2 days straight in public and riding tube slides with weight limits, reminded me how far I’d come, and what I should be proud of. Just a couple of years ago I couldn’t have gone to a waterpark – and now, I got to go and play with all of my boys!
- Took Cole on a camping trip, by myself, in monsoon-like rain (for his birthday) #spiderslikethewoods #justsayin’. I woke up the next morning full of exuberance. I had tackled a fear head-on and not only did I do OK, the boys and I had a fantastic time doing it. I felt so proud I was teary-eyed from joy.
Focused on self-therapy and making myself happy:
- I wrote this post, which ultimately helped me feel incredibly better about myself and released feelings of guilt.
- I looked back at photos of the family, in happy times, reliving those memories for hours on end.
- I updated and finished personal projects plaguing me as unfinished for the past year (like The Paleo View, our family scrapbook, website maintenance and organizing home cabinets).
- We took a family summer vacation and actually TOOK a vacation, without my head buried in my phone or computer.
- I went to bed when I was tired; without caffeine or sugar, this sometimes meant 8pm – no matter how embarrassing.
Kept my diet clean:
- Kept my diet low-sugar and completely autoimmune. I successfully added back cocoa, egg yolk, ghee and fruit to make it sustainable. If you’re curious about AI, listen to our Autoimmune Protocol here or ead more about my Egg-Free Saga and autoimmune protocol here.
- Increased “superfoods” like fermented CLO, wild fish, and bone broth.
- I avoided sweet foods after dinner, as the sugar rush would keep me awake longer than I should have been.
Found recipes that filled my “sweets” void, like:
- Creamy Dreamy Frozen Custard
- Banana Pumpkin Pucks
- Creamy Coconut Chocolate Chip Macaroons
- Berries & Cream Breakfast Cake by The Urban Poser
- Paleo Breakfast Cookies by Against All Grain
- I also reintroduced alcohol. No shame, I enjoy booze and a gin & soda water with lime a couple times a week goes a long way for a working mom of 3 active boys!
p.s. Because you’ll ask, and the trolls will arrive in the comments… I’m tired of hearing all the drama about sweets in the paleo world. We’ve said our peace here. I personally think deprivation of carbs and sugar was one of the causes of low serotonin for me, because I just can’t do a high fat/ketogenic diet without a gallbladder and you need one or the other IMO. So I’ve reintroduced foods that are sweetened naturally and am not giving it another thought. If your body reacts differently, then follow those cues.
And, I took a supplement.
What did I supplement with? Well, my research led me to ordering one of each of these.
But I started off with just the St. John’s Wort, which I take 1200mg of a day, and with everything else combined – it was all I needed! I’m still taking it, and plan to for another 2 months (for 3 months total) before I wean myself off. The amazing news, is that all of these supplements are totally affordable. Especially considering the price some other people are willing to pay for happiness!
Take Back Your Life
This is not a one-size fits all solution. This is not medical advice. What this is, is a declaration of happiness and joy.
I’ve woken up with tears of joy in my eyes the last month. I’ve been driving home from work so excited to get to hug my boys when I walked in the door that I was literally bouncing in the driver’s seat. I’ve been compelled to call people, tell them I love them. I’m texting friends, planning events and meet-ups, hosting parties and generally engaging with society again. These things are my normal again, and I wish them for everyone.
No, this is not a prescription drug commercial. But, if you’re suffering from depression or any other health condition, don’t feel guilt. Don’t let it go on, because it doesn’t have to. Take your life back with controlling the illness that plagues you – both body and mind. Because just like the difference 30 days of clean eating makes, 30 days of mental recovery is just as powerful. Try it, you’ll be so thankful you did.