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Depression...?

I suffer from an often times dibilitating bipolar disorder, and I was wondering if anyone could direct me to some natural depression aides.  I'm willing to try a lot to feel better!

I had depression, I went on anti-depressants which didn't make me super happy like some people think they do, they just put me in a position where I had the strength to fight again. I then saw a psychologist for cognitive therapy, and now I am pill free and happy with minimal effort.

Once I was on medication and no longer seeing the world from such a dark point of view, I told my family and good friends what symptoms to look out for, and that if they saw any of them in me to tell me.

I don't know a lot about Bipolar though.

Oh, eating well and exercise does seem to make the fight for happiness easier.

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Everywhere i look recommends St. John's Wart for depression but it didn't seem to help me at all. A healing herbs book i have recommends coffee (...?). I havn't found anything herbal-wise that helps me as i am unwilling to go on prescription medication, but when im feeling down, i visit the tanning salon. Doesn't sound very healthy, i know, but sometimes it's the only thing that'll get me out of bed.I've heard that sun entering the eyes increases serotonin in the brain, so if it's a sunny enough day, or if you live closer to the equator than i, a nice long walk might help.

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I do know people that suffer from it as well and know how rough it can be. I know those who tried St. Johns Wort said it did absolutly nothing for them.....more important.... are you ok right now? if you need to talk let me...or anyone here let us know...ok?
-dave
ps- you can have my # ,or I'm sure anyone here would offer the same.

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hey ashleykimball, i am hoping you are not in crisis right now. your message doesn't sound like it but if things are really bad you need to see someone asap. mild depression i think can really be handled with cognitive therapies, diet, excersise, etc but major mood disorders (like bipolar) you really should have a professional working with you. if you don't do 'regular' medical doctors, you can try nutritionists or others who specialize in mood d/o using therapies/approaches that jive with you.

i'm also bipolar and totally know what you're going through. prob with bipolar is you really need to be on meds for it. i've been on and off meds for years, been hospitalized twice, and have tried everything to be med free. i find the drug lamictal to be a real real good one for me, its a seizure med but it stabalizes moods and is a good antidepressent. my doctor is really willing to keep me on lowest dose possible (totally find a doctor that will listen to and respect your desires for your body!) and i currently take lamictal and lithium and i have some zyprexa for "emergencies" that i take only when needed.

anyways, here are some of my suggestions:

1. i don't remember if you are vegan (i think you are) but that helped me a lot--it is one of the key reasons i went vegan. i found cutting dairy really helped lift my depression.
2. b complex vitamins help me a lot. these days i drink emergen-c.
3. excersise! even if you can't do anything hardcore, walking is good. my shrink always tells me to walk 40 minutes a day (go 20 in one direction and turn around and come home).
4. distraction/background noise might help. i have the "racing thoughts" often (even with depression) and will listen to music constantly when working, writing, reading. my shrink thinks it is odd that i can't concentrate in silence, but having that extra level of mental stimulation seems to help keep things flowing in the right order.

as for "natural drugs" (st johns wart, ect) i would advise against it unless you are seeing someone who is working with you and the natural drugs. the different ones on the market are not regulated and i've had more than one doctor tell me that the effectiveness can vary from pill to pill and manufacture to manufacture.

again, these are just my opinions based on my experiences. i have a really complicated bipolar (rapid cycling, lots of mixed episodes, psychotic symptoms with depression) and do not respond to most medications very well. i am not even able to take the "recommended" therapeutic levels of my drugs because i am sensitive to them.

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Oh, I'm ok at the moment.  Thanks for the offer Dave and Baypuppy!

Hmm...the sun sounds like a very good suggestion.  I live in Ohio, though, which is as far from sunny as you can get, lol.  ::) I regularly exercise and try to eat healthy.  Hmm..maybe I'll just sit under a lamp for a while....or next to a space heater and lamp?  Or what about those "natural light" light bulbs?

I've  been hospitalized as well.  In the past I think I've been force fed every anti-depression/bipolar prescription med out there...they just don't work well for me.  Side effects over power any potential benefit, really.  And since i'm younger, they always have that risk of imparting thoughts of suicide.  Makes you wonder why they would give you a pill that can increase your dispair.... ??? fishy...

I used to have a therapist.  Maybe I should get one again.  I've seen a large number of them, and they allllll push the drugs.  My nutrientionist respects my choice to abstain from drugs, however, and she too reccomended b-vitamins.  I take a hard core b-vitamin suppliment.  It's really helped with my mania and --ahem--mild halluciantions/dellusions/racing thoughts/irretability.

I was just wondering if there's a "b-vitamin" equivalent for the depression/anxiety side of things

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Good! Now I can go back to bed....I've had no more then 3 or 4 hours of sleep for the past 2 nights in a row. I got worried for the moment (long story).
The offers always open...find my email on one of my posts and I'll give you my#. You can call ar 4am..I don't care......i may not answer.......(I can sleep through anything).....goodnight y'all!

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that's really sad. most of the meds on the market aren't for younger people--not tested, not used right, etc. but don't give up hope with meds, i've been on just about everything also with many problems with most (ranging from the shakes to whatever it is called when all your white blood cells go away).  my lithium dose is 300 mg ("standard" is 900-1200 i think), i start getting side effects at 600 mg. have you tried the different seizure meds on the market? i think those are some of the newer ones they are using (depakote, lamicatal are big ones). and if you are bipolar and they want to put you on antidepressants don't ever do that!! they often will pop you up on manic (thanks to prozac for being the reason for my first hospitalization  :(). anyways, sounds to me like your doctors may not have been looking out for your best interests and may have had you on doses that were too hight for your body.

for the sun thing, it can be worth a shot. i think they use that for SAD (seasonal affective d/o) so maybe try looking up information on that. tanning beds maybe? i think it is the UV that helps.....!? but def try the b complex, apart from vegan those helped the most when i was off meds

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btw if you wanna private talk about bipolar stuff my sn is the same on aim.  but i can really relate to what you are going through. i started meds at 14 and know the "joys" of taking adult meds as a youth and the stuff that comes with that (that was before the black box warnings even!)

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have you tried the different seizure meds on the market? i think those are some of the newer ones they are using (depakote, lamicatal are big ones). and if you are bipolar and they want to put you on antidepressants don't ever do that!! they often will pop you up on manic .......

Lmao!  Prozac made me go insanely maniac as well!  I thought I was a highly accomplished singer and pranced around, bursting randomly into song and dance for a couple of days.....when I wasnt singing I felt so anxious.  (I never sing normally, by the way)

depakote=nothing

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ha ha depakote made me gain 50+ pounds in like 2 months and throw up several times a day. miserable times. it did work for managin' the bipolar though. i got some killer stretch marks from it toooooooo!

what about omega oils? flax and that stuff. i know fish oil is good for managing mood (my shrinks are always big in European approaches, they do more with natural vitamins and junk than the US "LETS MAKE $$$$ DRUGS"). i can't remember if fish is omega 3 or 6 or whatever but you can get it from raw seeds and nuts. i know you can buy flax oil...another thing to look up google style?

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I'm a big fan of B-complex vitamins and Omega 3-- get lots of nutritional yeast and flax oil in your snacks (and don't heat that flax!)  It seems to bring me back up to par without a violent effect.  Not that I have been diagnosed with depression or bipolar syndrome, but I just quit grad school, so I know from depressed...  ::)

Do try to get enough rest, get enough light (try a light box!  Or make sure you've got healthy daylight or simulated daylight to enjoy for part of every day), and try to eat right: vitamin C, orange things, dark green things, whole grains.  Eating simple carbs will only bring you high-then-low, so try to choose complex ones.

Best of good luck-- we all hate to see you troubled, and are here for you.  Hope you have it well in check.  8)

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If you can find a ND, check into GABA, 5 HTP, and/or Valerian Root.  Do NOT take St. John's Wart if you are taking birth control.  It decreases birth control effectiveness even more than antibiotics. St. John's also makes you extremely photosensitive.  If you are going to buy and use natural supplements, don't buy them from GNC or Wal-Mart - buy them from someone who knows what the h*ll they are talking about.  My parents own two vitamin/herb stores in West Virginia and I worked there for about 5 years.  I saw sooo many people come in that bought dietary supplements at pharmacies and/or drug stores that could have KILLED them with the meds they were on.  Both of my parents have Master Herbalist degrees from a highly accredited school, and my mother is studying for her ND right now.  If you need help finding a qualified ND in your area, contact me through my profile.

Also, for sunlight, you may consider laying in a tanning bed for 3-5 minutes a few times a week while the weather is crummy.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DON'T MAKE IT A HABIT!!!  ;) 

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mdvegan sounds like a GREAT person for you to talk to.....I just noticed you were on line....How do you feel today? I've been through a lot with friends who are bi-polar and kind of know what you are going through (though I'll never really know). I know the ups and the downs associated with it.
Hopefully you have nothing but ups today, and from here on out!

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My family has taken to refering to bouts with depression as a sugar rollercoster.  I have noticed that if I start enjoying sugary treats, even beautiful homemade vegan sweets, that there is a "come down."  I can always tell when my 10 year old daughter has eaten things outside of our home by her reactions to normal daily events.  She will often go from quickly getting angry to crying over everything under the sun.  I myself was diagnosed bi-polar and since I becoming interested in nutrition and learning to recognize that my sadness was directly related to my nutritional intake, I no longer feel the need to be medicated. 

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i'm not really into drugs either, but bipolar is pretty serious. maybe you can work with a GOOD doctor who listens to you to find the right medication for your body. it may take awhile to find the right doctor, but she or he is out there!! i used to think the idea of taking anti-depressants was strange, but then i realized that some people just need these things to lead an every day life. there is no shame in taking a medicine that allows you to be happy and take advantage of all life has to offer. it's not worth suffering. anyway, good luck with your search and i hope you find a reputable doctor who can help you! also, as mentioned in previous posts, every single doctor i've ever seen has recommended exercise for these types of problems.

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MDvegan I tried to figure out your email address with no luck......I would def. like to contact you or something because you seem, like Davedrum said, to be a great resource.

Thanks to everybody that posted stuff.  I never thought about the whole refined grains and sugar thing effecting the body in "highs" and "lows,"  but then again I remember lots of sugar comas when I was a little kid.

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dude AK i totally spaced on the you = this topic when you IMed me the other day!! (i tend to be reallly distracted when i'm working on things and don't make the connection sometimes!). i hope some of the suggestions are working/helping out and if you want to talk about things anytime let me know. i have now engrained it all in my knuckle head!

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hello, im sittin here reading your conversation, and I think this is the first place i have seen any comment on bi-polar "anything that isnt meds" conversation outside my head.  Im a borderline bi-polar.  I like to call it bi-polar light.  took um 2 straight weeks of cognitive theropy/observation for them to define it.  words are words.

Anyway..im in c-bus oh, are you anywere near? 

one of my favorite ways to stay happy was eating grapefruit everyday, but now that trama caused me to finally go on meds, feel human for the first time in my life, i cant eat the grapefruit very often.  Im guessing because of it's unique chemical that helped me out, but reaks havock on the consistancy of meds in the bloodstream.

its such a tricky situation, balancing yin and yang.  I did find that if i meditated (actually not buhdist) even for a few minutes each night, praying is the same for me, observe what you need to do or want to accomplish the next  day, it was much easier to stay balanced.  yes you can do it with background noise like drumming or chanting sounds, i do that alot.

thanks for another couple voices!!!!

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fpmolina-

that is strange you are having food interactions with bipolar meds. well, not weird. this is what baypuppy thinks:

i know there is an antidepressant on the market that interacts with grapefruit (don't remember what one, i never took it). if you have a form of bipolar (bipolar light--i like that!) you really shouldnt' be taking antidepressants because they can make you manic. i know that they are starting this "bipolar spectrum" thing now to group people with mood d/o that don't fit classic definitions of bipolar 1 or 2. maybe this is what is going on? anyways, they should have you on mood stabilizers. again, i don't know what you are on but i've taken a lot of mood stabilizers (and eat lots of grapefruit!) and have never been told the contrary!

i found a link about grapefruit and drugs...?! i'm happy to say my drugs = no hits!
http://www.powernetdesign.com/grapefruit/

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