Antidepressant Tips

This month (May) is Mental Health Month and as glad as I am for the opportunity to discuss these issues more openly, I wish we lived in a time where we didn’t need a month to remind us to be aware of those suffering in silence.

In honour of Mental Health awareness, I’ve been testing out a few anti depressant *tips*the last 10 days [and will continue to try out for the rest of the month]. These have all been accredited by varies medical research clinics and depression foundations but I would like to have a bit more proof. I’ll be sharing my experiences with you over on twitter. Here are the *tips*

  1. Get out more!

Firstly getting sun increases your body’s natural production of Vitamin D which in return lifts your mood. Also, a change of scenery might just do the trick and allow your mind a much needed break from all the worries of the world. Also, light regulates or body clocks so when it gets cold and dark early we go into hibernation mode and psychologically withdraw. Engaging with people should lift your mood and self esteem, which is why I’m organizing a dinner out with friends once a week, tea with friends twice a week and instead of watching the rugby at home, I’m making a day OUT of it.

  1. Eat more fish

Fish is rich in Omega 3 and according to a bunch of ‘almost vegetarians’ people who eat fish are much happier. So I’ll be giving it a go. My diet does not really have fish scheduled in it so it’s been a bit of a shock to my system so far but it does seem to be working [although we’re only on day 10 so let’s see if it lasts]. I’ve have some form of fish every second day of the month so far. Some of it was a whole meal, others were just a tuna sandwich and I’ve discovered this dried out tiny little fish thing that’s quite salty and I actually enjoy eating a lot and since it’s not something I have to prepare, just a snack, I think it works really well.

  1. Other diet changes

Vitamin D in eggs and oily fish increases serotonin (via www.galennaturopathic.com ) which lifts your mood. Mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes are rich in Folic Acid and Zink (via UK Mental Health Foundation) which improves the mood of depressed patients. Vitamin B for breakfast like oats increases serotonin production and again: it leads to good chemicals in your body. These are simple things most of us have in our diets anyway but it might be worth increasing when we feel those dark clouds headed towards us. Besides, it’s an action we can take and that in itself gives us back our power [and self confidence to some extend].

  1. Go old school

My grandmother never went to bed without her warm water bottle. I always just chocked it up to her arthritis or ‘just something grandmothers do’ but psychological research has shown that, like a teddy bear, using a hot water bottle is incredibly soothing to the soul. So when you feel alone or just need a hug and there isn’t anyone around to give it to you, hug your warm and cosy water bottle.

  1. Go on vacation

Negative ionizers act as antidepressants as it increases serotonin levels. These negative ionizers are naturally found in places like waterfalls, beaches and forests. This in itself is a great medical reason to go on holiday. Plus, you get to take a break from all the everyday stuff that piles up and leaves you feeling overwhelmed or depressed. However, not everyone can afford to go on holiday nor do we have the time. So if you are lucky enough to live close to any of these places, go for a daily walk or even a weekend camping trip. If you happen to live in the middle of nowhere, try listening to sounds from these places or flipping through photos of them, it might just relax you too.

  1. Exercise releases endorphins

Like most of us know: running or playing sports or basically any type of exercise has a way of lifting our spirits [along with our bum line]. Besides the fact that it gives you a reason to get out of bed and face the world, it also releases endorphins [like with chocolate] it helps us feel more confident, energized and enthusiastic. So try to get 40min to an hour of exercise in a day. Doing it with your friends or a partner tends to be more effective [in my opinion].

  1. Staring into a live fire

This is an interesting one! Apparently staring into a live fire for an hour will be calming. Since it’s still too hot here to sit by a fire every night, I’ve decided to do a little experiment. I’m watching a video of a live fire [with sparkling twitches and crackling mini-explosions included] on my laptop while I fall asleep. The aim is to test whether it is the CO2 levels of the fire that trick you into being drowsy leading you to believe you are relaxed or if it is the heat [like the water bottle] or if it simply the colours. It might also just be the lack of other distractions but I’ll test that with meditation at a later stage. Also a great excuse for a romantic evening [you can even include a meal of fish and mash followed by an evening stroll down to the beach] followed by an early morning [getting up with sunrise, going for a jog together and eating a breakfast rich in Vitamin B].

  1. Fresh flowers

Again something my grandmother took the time to do: fresh flowers in every room, every single day. Even though none of us really appreciated it back then, we still maintain that tradition, which might be why that house has some of the happiest memories of my childhood. It ties in really well with the belief that smells with happy memories attached to it will lift your mood. I’m taking the opportunity to go run outside in the rain [like I use to when I was little and care free] and also got my grandmother’s cook book and started cooking all those lovely smelling food that makes my mouth water while I smile remembering all those amazing memories attached to each meal.

  1. Add a little colour

Orange lifts depression and yellow brings optimism. So I’ve changed my curtains to yellow along with my bed linen and my pillow and duvet are both orange. I’m also attempting to wear something yellow or orange every second day… surprisingly I have a lot of items in those colours in my wardrobe. Granted, it sounds like a makeover from hell but I have to admit that is really does seem to be working, I love being in my room again and I feel oddly more confident in those colours than the usual blues and reds I tend to wear.

So these are the things I’ll be trying out along with the most important TIP when it comes to any mental illness [or disorder for that matter] which is: to talk about it! I know it’s hard and most of the time when you feel depressed you really don’t know why but taking an hour or two to acknowledge that you have emotions about something is vital! This will probably be one of the hardest *tips* for me to try but from experience I know how well it works. I’ve picked 5 really sad movies [including Pay It Forward, My Sister’s Keeper and The Ultimate Gift] and stocked up on some chocolates and tissues for those moments I want to cry but don’t know why. My theory is that by watching a sad movie, I subconsciously give myself permission to be sad and fall apart and eventually acknowledge my own feelings, without having to discuss it with someone.

I know discussion is key in ending the judgement and helping to change the stigma around depression, self harm and even suicide but sometimes you really don’t know how to express what you are feeling or thinking and it scares you. How can you expect someone to understand how you feel when you yourself have no clue? For me watching a movie and spending an hour crying has a way of either lifting my mood when the end credits start to play or at least allows my brain to bring those issues bugging me to the forefront so I can actively deal with them. Knowing what the problem is lifts a huge weight off my shoulders.

I have also found an amazing comfort in all of my twitter friends and the support group I have built there. It is wonderful to know that halfway around the world there is someone feeling the way I do and who really understands me, even when I don’t, because they have been there and they have gotten through it. If you’d like to join my amazing twitter family, you are welcome to @am_mf.

I would love to hear what you are doing for Mental Health Month so feel free to contact me either on twitter or by leaving a comment on here. Also, if you or anyone you know suffers from depression or have suicidal thoughts, you should check out the Don’t Lose Your Grip charity benefit and organization / support group or TWLOHA who deal with self injury [cutting].

Let’s end the stigma,

AM

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8 Comments »

  1. Maggie Riley Said:

    Really good blog, I’m trying to do a lot of those already, but might pick up the fresh flowers idea. I can’t believe you are only 23, you seem so much more mature

    • Ahw thanks, you’re so sweet ❤ In our messed up world age really has turned into 'just a number' experience is what gives us all wisdom #fortunecookie 😉

  2. Good tips, I will share them for clients and others to see.

    • Great 🙂 The more people we can get involved and end up helping [even if it is just through discussion] the better

  3. I love those tips! Today was a beautiful day here and I spent four hours outside after work watching the kids play and taking in the fresh air! I’ve also starting running outside – I was going to the gym, but there is something about running outside that just lifts my spirit. Also funny – I love the colour orange, have lots of burnt orange shirts 🙂 Lastly, I live by the ocean, and could never imagine living away from the water.
    Jamie

    • Yes, being outside is amazing! It’s one of the many reasons I left London and get to enjoy the beauty in Zimbabwe now. I’m also not one for excercising in doors, I’d rather go mountain biking or surfing or simply just run around with the dogs for an hour 🙂 My favourite colour is yellow and I’ve been wondering if that has any impact on my generally optimistic view, in which case I’m so going to paint my kids rooms yellow [in the future when I actually have kids] ❤

  4. Rebecca Ward Said:

    Great tips. I’ve had a hot water bottle in a Bagpuss cover come to bed with me every night for years! Couldn’t do without Bagpuss!

    • That’s quite cool! We’ve had a lack of electricity the last few nights so I’ve been using the dogs and mongoose as my make-shift water bottles lol but it still works 😉


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