If you are into music, you will be disappointed…this post isn’t about a particular music genre. What I want to talk about is feeling blue. Feeling down on yourself and maybe everything around you. I want to talk about depression.
I will state again (as I do in all my posts about this) that I am not a professional. I am not able to diagnose or prescribe. I do, however, have a lot of experience with depression with myself and as a mom of a son who has chronic anxiety and depression. My experience is what I want to share, because we can all use tools to help us in the many things we deal with. Having said that, I also realize that there is NO one-size-fits-all remedy for dealing with depression (whether situational, hormonal, chronic, or genetic).
Since I have been walking through peri-menopause, the blues has been my nemesis. I have figured out how to survive the hot flashes and night sweats and am working on the little bit of weight gain (thankfully I was already on a healthy lifestyle journey), but these blues have been quite the challenge. I know many women can relate. It’s a common “side effect” of this stage of life. I’ve researched it over and over and I am hopeful as this can be overcome. I am also glad that for me, this didn’t also come with extreme anxiety (also a known side effect). But, you don’t have to be a woman or be going through peri-menopause to have times where you feel blue.
My symptoms (of the blues) started about July (2017). Mainly I didn’t find joy in the activities that I normally loved. I really just didn’t want to do anything. I would start my morning with a positive mindset, have my day organized with the activities I was planning to complete, and then, just not do them. No reason, just not doing them. I made myself seem busy, but I was avoiding the things that I set out to do. My goals, my everyday activities…just didn’t happen. And then there was just being sad. There was no explanation for it. I might be sad, but couldn’t explain why. I literally just wanted to go to bed, sleep, and not wake up until this phase was over.
Now I know that isn’t possible. I have a job (one I dearly love, but wasn’t necessarily finding the joy) and I have a family. I must say that my husband has been the most understanding during all this. Partially this is because I have been open and honest with him about how I am feeling and how this phase of life is affecting me. He holds me close, encourages me to get out and do things, and doesn’t get upset with me for being emotional. So, because I have a family and a job, I can’t just hibernate this phase of life (because we cannot be sure how long it will last). So I set out to research what to do. And of course there are all sorts of information on how to combat the blues naturally, with therapy, and with medications.
What did I try? All of it. First let me talk about prescription medication. I broke. I went to my doctor and we discussed medication. I started on one that left me so lethargic, I couldn’t stand it. I actually felt worse. I also know it’s a trial and error process (having been through the process with my son). So I tried another. It wasn’t much better. So I gave up on the prescription. I just am not sure it is what I need. Then I remembered what I used to do to start my days off right. Every morning, I would get up, meditate for about 10 minutes (my meditation was in prayer), write in my gratitude journal, tell myself (out loud) a positive affirmation, then begin my workout. I do this to get my mind focused on the positive and the exercise helps release the “happy endorphins” and gives me energy.
So was that it? Was that the magic trick? I wish that was all it took. As you might know (if you follow any of my social media or blog) I am focused (or maybe obsessed) with nutrition. And I know that food can be the answer to a lot of healing. I know that part of the blues with peri-menopause has to do with inflammation. So, I am working on a good diet of anti-inflammatory foods. This includes foods rich in anti-oxidants as well as Omega 3. These are both known to help reduce inflammation and Omega 3’s are known to help with mood.
Am I cured? No. But the consistency of my morning routine and nutrition is beginning to make a difference. Will this work for you? Maybe. I will say that the right nutrition and exercise will never harm you and will typically improve your health. So, if you are feeling blue or suffering from depression, start there. Find ways to incorporate more positive activities. Get some therapy, if necessary. And of course if these things don’t work for you, seek a medical professional about medication.