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happy pills
happy pills
04/16/10 at 07:56 PM by .invisible ink.
I decided to write this because i thought maybe my personal struggle with severe clinical depression as well as moderate anxiety and my eventual discovery of how to cure or at least alleviate the symptoms of it without the use of pharmaceuticals might help someone. Yeah, it's kind of personal but hopefully it inspires someone to think outside of the pharmaceutical box.

To preface, I was officially diagnosed as clinically depressed starting at the age of 14 even though i definitely had a low grade depression for most of my life prior to that diagnosis, I took Prozac and Buspar for a few years (with shitty side effects that I did not appreciate - no sex drive anyone? ugh.) before switching to 5-HTP (an amino acid responsible for helping build serotonin, no side effects at all) which I was taking for at least 8 years (it worked pretty damn well on its own) and doing pretty okay for the most part on it. For the past 6 months or so through the addition of vitamins and other supplements I began taking for general health reasons, not specific to my depression, I have gotten to the point where i don't need the 5-HTP at all anymore because the supplements and diet which I maintain strictly about 85% of the time (nobody is perfect!) have completely eliminated the need for it.

It might sound silly to take a bunch of different supplements when the 5-HTP was working but it's a totally different feeling now of being way way healthier than I was on either the pharmaceuticals or the 5-HTP. I actually feel like I'm not just maintaining a level of 'not particularly depressed but 'not particularly stoked' on life either. I'm actually *not* internally depressed in the slightest now and haven't been for months, which is practically unheard of for someone who's dealt with lifelong depression. I am not saying that there isn't the possibility of external depression, but it's a completely different animal altogether, which if you have real depression, you most certainly know the difference between.

Anyway, that's sort of my back story. Here's the recommendation that has worked amazingly for me:

What I take daily: Magnesium http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Magnesium-Caps-400-mg-180-Capsules/662?at=0
Vitamin B-100 Complex http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-B-100-250-Capsules/395?at=0
Fish Oil http://www.iherb.com/Carlson-Labs-Super-Omega-3-Gems-Fish-Oil-100-30-Free-Soft-Gels/2799?at=0
Flax Oil http://www.iherb.com/Natural-Factors-Flaxseed-Oil-1000-mg-360-Softgels/2624?at=0
Vitamin D-3 http://www.iherb.com/Healthy-Origins-Vitamin-D3-5-000-IU-360-Softgels/18335?at=0
Vitamin C http://www.iherb.com/American-Health-Ester-C-500-mg-with-Citrus-Bioflavonoids-60-Capsules/13130?at=0
Alpha Lipoic Acid http://www.iherb.com/Natural-Factors-Alpha-Lipoic-Acid-200-mg-120-Capsules/2524?at=0

(btw, i hate being a commercial since that's completely not my style, but i actually love the company I posted links from a lot and recommend them completely. It's the only place I buy my pills from because they're cheap, have amazing turnover, and are insanely fast, but I don't work for them or anything, you really don't need to go there but they're really good. If you use this code if you order from iherb you can get $5 off: RIK781)

here's articles about every supplement i take so you can see the science behind this. It really works, and these vitamins can be used in conjunction with pharmaceuticals, just make sure that you still see your doctor and make adjustments if necessary. Don't forget to tell your doctor what you take in addition to your prescription as vitamins and amino acids whether taken in a pill or consumed in diet, do affect your body chemistry.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php Vitamin D
http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/depression.shtml Vitamin D article

http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/fish-oil-to-treat-depression Fish Oil article

http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Health/story?id=129498&page=1 Fish Oil article

http://depression.about.com/cs/diet/a/vitamin.htm Good overview of a few different vitamin sources

http://www.orthomolecular.org/library/articles/ocdepression.shtml Vitamin C & other depression helpers

http://www.mdjunction.com/forums/agoraphobia-discussions/medicine-treatments/892724-vitamins-for-anxiety-and-panic Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) & CoQ10.ALA is really great for rebuilding damaged cells caused by smoking by the way.

All of the supplements I take daily are used to treat depression and anxiety but provide a huge variety of other health benefits as well. Since taking this stuff, I have been 100% better (seriously) and all of my depression symptoms have pretty much disappeared. I am healthier and more energetic and feel so much more productive and happy it's an incredible change.

I combine the use of these supplements with a healthy diet that does not contain much if any processed foods. Eating a diet which is unhealthy affects your body chemistry whether you want to admit it or not. I am extremely aware of the negative feelings I possess when I eat a lot of processed foods/refined sugars. You might think I'm being ridiculous but seriously, if you go for an entire week (or longer) without eating flour or refined sugars (whole fresh fruits are fine) you will notice a complete difference in how you feel when you go back to eating the foods that your body is not meant to have. Listen to your body. Your mental and physical health are not exclusive. You are one person, consuming healthy food provides cleaner fuel for your body to run on. It's not rocket science. I eat mostly organic vegetables, fruit, whole grains/legumes (oatmeal, lentils, beans) and wild caught (never farmed) fish for extra protein. Sometimes (not often, because of cost) I eat (organic, free-range) chicken and (grass-fed) beef but it's pretty rare. Of course I occasionally eat unhealthy foods, but it's only once in a while because i've figured out that i feel (and look) much much better when i don't consume refined sugars, processed foods. Once you stop eating them, you lose all interest in consuming them (i swear). You don't have to change everything all at once to see real improvements, just by making small changes over time can lead to feeling much much better (improved energy, mood, skin, motivation).

I doubt anyone will read this blog but if you do and you're interested in learning more about this stuff, please hit me up. I really love this sort of thing and would be stoked to chat with you or anyone about it.

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