Depression is a lonely illness. It's so hard for people around the sufferer to give support and care, as one of the features of depression is a sense of isolation regardless of circumstances.
The word depression is used quite casually; its meaning can range from having a "down day", to at the extreme, being clinically depressed. The incidence of depression has increased over the last few decades. There are many ways to help combat the effects of depression, most of them very simple to do. But remember because of the nature of depression, even the simplest of tasks can require great effort and encouragement to do.
Exercise has been shown to make a huge difference to the rate of recovery in depression. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise EVERY day. Just walking at a pace where you feel slightly breathless will make a difference. If you are walking outside you have the added benefit of the influence of sunlight (it's still there on dull winter days). Bright light stops the body producing melatonin that slows us down and induces sleep. Light will also increase serotonin, a chemical in the brain that lifts the mood (antidepressants such as Prozac work by increasing serotonin).
If 30 minutes every day sounds too hard at the moment, then just make sure you do at least 5 minutes brisk walking outside every single day; and then on some days spend a bit longer. It is very important that you do some exercise every single day, the longer you spend doing exercise the better.
Despite the lack of motivation to do anything when depressed, true relaxation is usually severely neglected. Make sure you take time to relax every single day. Start off with just 10 minutes relaxation, and explore what helps you to relax. It could be deep breathing; tensing and relaxing your muscles; or simply looking at the sky.
Food rich in nutrients will help
An excellent diet is essential to recovery. Nutrients that play a key role in alleviating depression include the B vitamins, Magnesium and essential fats such as the omega 3 fats found in fish.
Eat the best foods for your individual metabolism
Aim to eat the best foods for your individual metabolism so that your body is not only getting optimum absorption and utilization of nutrients, but is eliminating toxins that may cause ill effects. The metabolic typing program is a fantastic way of assessing and monitoring individual needs.
Swings in blood sugar levels, and food sensitivities
Swings in blood sugar levels, and food sensitivities can cause fluctuations in mood and energy levels, which exacerbate depressive feelings. Avoid all sugary or extra sweet foods, also avoid all refined grains such as white rice and white flour. These will make swings in your blood sugar levels worse. Have a look at the ingredients when you're buying food. Avoid any food that has sugar, corn syrup, honey, fructose, glucose, maple syrup, sucrose, malt extract or anything ending "ose". The easy way to check if something is too sweet is by choosing based on the sensation of sweetness, and avoiding anything which is extra sweet. For example, a fresh apple is sweet but not extra sweet so is okay to eat, on the other hand ice cream is extra sweet so should be avoided.
High quality fats help, the poor quality fats do not
Be very careful about cutting down fats in your diet. The type of fat is important, poor quality fats are destructive to the body, whereas good quality fats help absorption of nutrients, and proper functioning of the body and brain. People consuming a very low fat diet are more likely to suffer from depression and suicide.
High quality fats include cold pressed oils such as extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed flaxseed/linseed oil, cold pressed avocado oil. Also fats from fish, and fats from animals and animal products, but only where the animal has been reared organically on foods and the environment natural to that species.
Poor quality fats include any overheated or processed fats, any trans fats; these are likely to be found in fast foods, sausages, burgers and preserved meats. Fats from animals that have not been organically bared on a diet natural to their species, have poor quality fats that are detrimental to the body.
Naturopathic Treatment will also consider other physical health problems such as hormonal influences and toxicity
Whenever any depressive symptoms arise Naturopaths will always consider other aspects of the body, such as the hormones (depression may be worse at certain times of the month), and the liver (due to the influence of toxins).
Naturopathic Treatment will also consider environmental influnces on your health
Environmental toxins, for example sprays and heavy metals, can affect mental health.
Naturopathic Treatment will also consider social, family and relationship influnces on your health
Depression may be triggered or made worse when situations are difficult or strained within a relationship, family, friends or whanau, or a person has difficulty with feeling comfortable in the society they live in. It is important to acknowledge these this difficulties and explore some strategies to cope with difficulties.
Naturopathic Treatment will also consider spiritual influnces on your health
Naturopaths understand that spirituality is perceived in different ways in different people, and does not necessarily involve organised religion. Exploring and strengthening your own spiritual connections can be a great help in overcoming depression.
The benefits of St John's Wort for treatment of depression have been widely publicised. Its action is focused on its effect on nerve transmission. Rosemary has an even longer tradition as an antidepressant. These form part of an extensive list of herbal nervous system tonics, including Valerian, Motherwort, Skullcap, Passionflower, Vervain, and Lemon Balm.
There are many homoeopathic remedies that can help with depression. The homoeopathic remedies are chosen on a very individual basis, according to the person's symptoms, behaviour patterns, likes and dislikes and number of other factors. In this way 10 people who have depression may all be given a different homoeopathic remedy.
Use the mirror to state the positive aspects of your life
As with any illness, but even more so with depression it is essential to bear in mind some positive aspects of your life, however small they may seem to be. It helps to state these to yourself aloud in front of the mirror several times a day.