No one seems to be certain whether depression is a symptom of many of these chronic illnesses or if it is a result of the prolonged pain, fatigue and other unbearable circumstances that go hand and glove with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and other chronic illnesses such as Lyme Disease and Lupus. One thing is for sure, many of us may find ourselves battling depression along with our many other ailments.
Of course you don’t have to be suffering from a chronic illness to get depressed — anyone can experience depression. Sometimes it comes and goes and sometimes it is chronic and unrelenting.
Here are the things that I have found that have helped to pull me out of it when I have fallen into that dark, deep pit.
- B vitamins help tremendously. You can get B Complex 100 or you can get B vitamins from natural sources such as nutritional yeast, brewers yeast, molasses, turkey, tuna, liver, legumes, whole grains, bananas and chili peppers. I recommend getting your B vitamins from both types of sources as we are talking fairly high doses. In addition to consuming foods that are rich in B vitamins, I also take several B-complex capsules spread out throughout the day. I found it best taken with food or yogurt, so I would just take one with each meal.
- Vitamin D deficiency has also been strongly linked to depression. A recent study done with nearly 4000 participants found that, ” Test subjects were 75% MORE likely to have depression at the four-year follow up if they were deficient in vitamin D.” Studies have also shown that many Fibromyalgia sufferers are deficient in Vitamin D. I recommend at least 5000 mg of Vitamin D be taken as a daily supplement. I actually take 10,000 mg daily. Even better, you can get your levels of D tested. The other thing you can do is to get a little bit of sun daily as often as you can. Don’t go out long enough to endanger your skin, but absorb some of that natural Vitamin D.
- Get out into the environment – take a walk, sit on your patio, do something to get your attention out of your head and out into the environment. Make a point to look around at the trees, the sky, or the birds. Find some beauty in your environment.
- Do some physical work. I know you don’t feel like it, but do something even if it’s very light and simple. A little yard work, house cleaning, repair something, build something or do other household chores. Doing something gets you out of your head and puts your attention out on the environment. Don’t over-exert yourself as that could make you feel even worse later, so just do light work.
- De-clutter something – your office, your papers, your pantry, anything that is cluttered. De-cluttering can be very therapeutic. Again, take it slow and easy. Maybe just do one shelf at a time.
- Do something to help someone. There is no better way to improve your mood than doing something kind or helpful for another.
- Do something creative – play any form of music, make a flower arrangement, paint, draw, make pottery, write a poem or a song, or anything that you enjoy that involves some sort of creativity.
- Find and enjoy some form of beauty; a beautiful piece of music or art, beautiful scenery are some examples. Take a drive to a park or lake or view of the hills or a site of wildflowers. When you look at or experience beauty in any way, take it in as much and as long as you can. Absorb that beauty into your very soul.
- Don’t let yourself fall prey to self pity and addictions. It is so easy to do when you are vulnerable. Drugs, alcohol, binge eating or smoking are very tempting when you are battling depression. Know that these things will simply make matters worse for your depression hours or days later. You are on a slippery slope, don’t let yourself slip into things that will make it even worse.
None of these are easy to do when you are feeling down. Battling Depression is just that — a battle. You need to be strong and tough on yourself. If you can get yourself to do at least one of these, then maybe you will feel up to doing another one.
Sooner or later, I think you will find some relief.