When Your Depression Meds Don’t Always Work

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about my depression. Are you in the mood for an update? 

I like to think of my depression as being under control, but if I’m honest, that’s not the case. Because sometimes, despite consistently taking medication and trying to live a generally healthy life, it shows up again.

And every single time it is maddeningly debilitating.

It keeps me in bed, losing whole days of my life, instead of knocking stuff off my to-do list. It keeps me home, weakening relationships, when I should really get out and be social. Or it requires me to use up all my energy to focus on not dying.

Such a horrible waste.

Beyond the depression itself, the unpredictability is another layer of awful. I never know when a new round of depression is going to hit, or how bad it’s going to be. Which makes figuring out how to treat it a constant puzzle. I’ll be a few days in and wondering, do I need to see a doctor? Adjust my meds? Or is this just a blip, and I’m going to feel better tomorrow?

And then, eventually, things get better, and the medicine seems to kick in again, and I’m back to my functional self. 

I think I keep expecting to be “finished” with it at some point. The depression came on in such a bad way after we arrived here, and I could easily understand why. It was brought on by the traumatic move. End of story.

If someone had told me I’d still be dealing with it years later, long after we’d settled in and embraced our life here, with no additional triggers I can identify, I wouldn’t have believed it.

The last few times I’ve woken up with depression, I’ve wondered out loud to Ben: Am I going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life? Because a) I don’t think it’s worth it, and b) I’m not up to the task. I give up. I’m done. I need to be done living.

I hate depression so much.

As the calendar turned earlier this month, I made a pledge to myself that I would try and do something different about my depression this year. I would try something new to help treat it, or help me recognize the triggers, or just anything that will help give me a little more control over it. Do I need to add therapy back in? Do I need to change what I eat? Will a gratitude practice affect things? A calming bedtime routine? Who knows. But I’m ready to try things and see what happens.

Since I made that pledge to myself, two things crossed my path that made me take note. The first was a status update from my friend Morgan Shanahan (you might recognize her from many viral Buzzfeed videos):

“The thing about my depression is when it first grabbed me by the ankles, my instinct was to give myself little gifts — allowances that I normally wouldn’t take. It began small: You don’t have to finish writing those pages today. You can skip the shower and turtle on the couch. You can cancel that meeting. You can take a nap without checking your calendar. You can eat that entire bag of Oreos. And then, one day, I was no longer reliable. I was no longer physically healthy. No longer a social creature. I had gifted myself right out of society.

Treat yourself well, but don’t cease to hold yourself accountable. The gifts we give ourselves to get through hard moments aren’t meant to be kept around forever. I’m still picking up the pieces of a life ignored.”

Her observation hit me squarely in the chest. For me, it’s spot on. I can totally see I’ve done the same thing from time to time. I’ve been so careful about tip-toeing around my depression, not wanting to make it worse, that I’ve withdrawn when it was a mistake to do so. I’ve actively avoided school and church activities where I should have been making new friends. I’ve said no to work meetings and opportunities that would have opened doors. I’ve left a family trip early and stayed in bed while my kids were at the beach. 

I want to be better about both taking care of myself, and not using depression as an excuse to skip doing the right thing or taking the challenging step that will ultimately be good for me.

The second thing was an article in the Guardian. It’s titled “Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?” It’s an excerpt from a new book called Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions.

It’s written by someone who medicated his depression for 13 years, and then did a bunch of research into the underlying causes of depression, and it changed how he approached treatment. From the article:

“I ended up going on a 40,000-mile journey across the world and back. I talked to the leading social scientists investigating these questions, and to people who have been overcoming depression in unexpected ways – from an Amish village in Indiana, to a Brazilian city that banned advertising and a laboratory in Baltimore conducting a startling wave of experiments. From these people, I learned the best scientific evidence about what really causes depression and anxiety. They taught me that it is not what we have been told it is up to now. I found there is evidence that seven specific factors in the way we are living today are causing depression and anxiety to rise – alongside two real biological factors (such as your genes) that can combine with these forces to make it worse.”

I found the essay really interesting, and I’m intrigued enough to want to read the book, though I’m not sure if I totally agree with it. For example, he mentions having no control of your work being a major cause of depression, but, I have full control of my work, so in my case, that doesn’t apply. But I want to stay open-minded and see what I can learn from the book.

So that’s where I’m at on mental health at the moment. Still taking my daily medication, and looking at additional options that might help.

How about you? How is your mental health these days? If you already deal with depression, or anxiety, did it get worse after the election? Or better? Have you made any breakthroughs lately? Figured out a trigger or found something that helps? I’d love to hear.

105 thoughts on “When Your Depression Meds Don’t Always Work”

    1. I love Dr. Greger.. So much good information. His new How NOt to Die cookbook is also excellent. Food as nutrition and as healing for all manner of the body’s dysfunction, because of how we poison it with typical American diet, and the other stressors of our modern lifestyle.

  1. I was sitting in my office at work having an anxiety attack when I decided to check Design Mom to distract me (and keep me from crying in front of my co-workers). I almost didn’t read this post because quite often reading about depression and anxiety makes mine worse. I did read though, and I’m glad I did. I’m breathing normally now and however twisted it is, I’m always comforted to know I’m not alone. Like you, I have suffered for years. All of the years. I can literally not remember a time when I didn’t have anxiety. I have taken meds off and on for probably 20 years, but my nothing daily for the past 5.

    Over the last year I have felt my depression creeping back and my anxiety increase, but I have been telling myself it is situational/current events related, and tried to shrug it off. Saturday I cried all day. ALL DAY. For no reason that I could pinpoint except that I’m just so so sad. I know I need to go see my doctor. And I will. But gosh, I’m tired of feeling this way, and also, like you, I wonder if I am doomed to fight this forever.

    Thank you for being so open with your life, it can’t always be easy, but it makes a real difference to know I’m not the only one.

  2. I so appreciate your post, Gabrielle. I’ve had depression on and off for quite a few years. I “failed” prozac and zoloft with horrific side effects. Eventually went to a quite expensive (but very effective for a couple of years) psychiatrist-homeopath (Dr. Robert Turner in San Francisco) who gave me an option of meds or homeopathy. I chose homeopathy and it was incredibly helpful. for a few years. and then it wasn’t. But, NO side effects, and I learned a lot about myself, which has remain helpful now (six years later). My moods are still unstable and I too don’t know why the darkness descends, but when it does it is my “narrative” (I’m lonely. I’m peripheral to the lives of my closest friends. I’m retired, and haven’t filled up my time “enough”. Etc)… When the narrative gets going, I’m in big trouble. A few days ago, my acupuncturist suggested I try the question. “What can I do NOW?” which feels helpful. I saw a video, a TED talk that also helped me understand something about my psyche… which had everything to do with a concept called “social integration”, something we lack almost entirely in our country. The talk was given by Susan Pinker. on longevity, but definitely about the quality of life. SO excellent. https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_pinker_the_secret_to_living_longer_may_be_your_social_life?utm_campaign=social&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_content=talk&utm_term=science
    Also, I have been much more anxious since Trump and the GOP seized power. Much much more.
    Again, Gabrielle, thank you SO much for your deeply thoughtful and inspiring blog.

  3. I am a scientist and studied animal models of depression. Although, I earned my PhD in this stuff, I am far from an expert on all things depression and only most strongly know my own research niche (as is typical of most scientists/doctors). However, with that being said–the depression literature is very messy and the research that supports many of the pharmacological approaches to treatment is shaky. The animal models that are used to screen antidepressants are pretty terrible, and are not good equivalents to human behavior. This is all to say that there is much to be desired in the current medical/pharmacological treatment of depression.

    I hope that you approach data/research/expertise with a critical eye and open mind. Noticing inconsistencies in what a doctor tells you and how you actually experience depression is very important. Most of the time you are NOT the except, but the rule. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions, and don’t be afraid to admit to yourself the hard truths. I love your blog and always appreciate your openness with your depression. You are not alone….and this is not uncommon.

  4. What a rich conversation.

    A few things I’ve noticed during my own bouts with the blues/anxiety/depression.

    Shame is often the most common denominator. I become less productive when dealing with depression and drop the ball on something and shame takes over and can be quite debilitating. That gets the cycle started.

    I also think different strategies help at different times. Once, I was able to identify the cause of my anxiety (I was starting a new, hard job and my mom was just diagnosed with cancer). I realized I needed to be brave to face these scary things and turned it into a mantra that helped relieve anxiety.

    Other times, exercise has helped. Especially when I had lost my appetite and wasn’t sleeping. Training for a half marathon made me hungry and sleepy!

    I have tried therapy. I started going to look for coping strategies (clearly I’m all about strategies). After 10 sessions, I was ready to move on—I was feeling better. The therapist wisely observed that the coping strategy was going to therapy!

    There are no straightforward answers but I wish there were. I suppose the closest thing is sharing resources like people in the post are.

  5. This post and the comments remind me of one of my favorite sayings: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. So many people struggle with anxiety and depression, yet most people feel that they should “hide” their problems. This post means the world to so many, Gabby.

    My heart hurts for you and your depression. There are so many good suggestions in the comment thread, I don’t have much to add. But as a mother of three grown children, I find that I am often overcome with sadness at the passing of the years. I miss the years when they were little and I could (or so I thought!) control things in their lives. Now that they are grown I recognize that I can’t control a thing, and I have to work at not worrying about their futures. I wonder if you are missing your son? I would try a little bit of therapy. A good therapist might help you unlock the triggers. All the best to you. You are an amazing woman and role model to so many.

    1. PS – The election of Donald Trump and his presidency has been extremely upsetting to me and many of my friends. I know a couple of people who have had to go on anti-anxiety medicine due to his election, and my doctor told me that requests for antidepressants have gone through the roof. Personally, I have never felt so full of rage. If I were prone to depression, I think I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed.

  6. I am a military spouse, and each time we move (every 2-3 years)I suffer depression for six months or so. At first I did not recognize it as such, I had trouble getting out of bed but I did not feel “depressed,” I felt angry. My husband said I was depressed but why would depression cause so much anger?
    Finally, I found a therapist that I could talk to and she was the only one to address my anger; all the other’s had dismissed it. One of the first things she said to me was that depression was anger turned inward. For me, that was true. My anger was at myself for unfulfilled expectations that I had and anger at myself for thinking that things would be different with this move.

    We move again in 6 months, and I keep thinking I need to prepare myself for the move and the depression that will follow. But I am at a loss of how to do that. I know what my expectations are, they are always the same but how do I convince myself not to have them? Not to hope to make friends quickly, or find a support network, or that my husband will not again be working 60-70 hour weeks, or that my oldest, who struggles socially, will make a friend? I hope one day I can figure that out, but I think depression will be a regular part of my life until my husband leaves the military, and even then I think I will struggle with it since I know I also have seasonal depression.

    1. Cassandra, I got a lump in my throat when you said your child struggles socially. There were many years when I was my daughter’s best friend, and my heart was always breaking for her. She is grown now, and she doesn’t remember her social struggles the way I do. She is happy, has friends, and is well adjusted. Sometimes childhood is lonely. But a loving parent can do a lot to take the sting out of that loneliness. Best wishes to you!

  7. Oh this just took my breathe away when I read it, thank you for sharing. I am a new reader and I would have never guessed of your struggle. How humble and intimate for you to share. Your truth is so comforting to someone like me who reads this and then feels seen. I have struggled with depression since collage and I agree that the waves can be so scary. I remember crying to a college mentor, who was just so beautiful and sacred, and she told me that this would be a lesson that I would learn again and again as it unfolded for me in new ways throughout my life. I remember being horrified, thinking I could not do this my whole like. However, I must say that sometimes (when conditions are perfect; like when I am understanding my triggers, and communicating my needs to my husband, and not allowing myself to feel shame), I feel grateful for my depression. I feel like it flattens me and forces me to come back to myself, it makes me compassion. It’s like that poem “Zero Circle” by Rumi. This struggle has made me into a Mighty Kindness. May I ask have you written about having depression and being a mother? My husband and I are hoping to have children soon, and my depression is one fear I have.

    1. Really beautifully put, Jessie. Your comment reminds me of how I think of the migraines I get a few times a month. Sometimes I get really frustrated to have one, and sometimes rather despairing if I have a few in a row, but other times, I know it is a reminder to me that I probably try to do too much. A migraine day is one where I have to let go of the doing, let go of the fixing and preparing and thinking and planning and organizing, and just BE, in the very simplest way possible (and yes, rather flattened).

  8. I have not read this, but listened to an interview of the authors on the 10% Happier podcast. It seems like a comprehensive look at depression. Thank you for your vulnerability. I have learned that vulnerability is a sign of true strength.
    The New Mind-Body Science of Depression
    by Vladimir Maletic (Author),‎ Charles Raison (Author)

  9. I’m so sorry and hope you are finding some answers. My depression was triggered by my teenage son’s long term rebellion and the consequences. I finally went to a therapist practically begging for meds. At the end of our session, he said, i want you to try the first 50 pages of this book before you try meds. I asked, how he will know if I need meds? He said, if the book doesn’t work. So I figured I’d show him. Amazingly enough, the book really helped me. It was a life changer. It helped me recognize faulty thinking patterns and also taught me how to change them. I can’t say enough good. It’s called Feeling Good by Dr David Burns. Might be worth trying the first 50 pages. ;)

  10. was at a public health conference today re: air pollution, and one speaker noted that feeling a lack of control over environmental policies was taking a toll on people (in addition to the deleterious effects of poor air quality). It might not be a lack of control over your work but that feeling of futility re: other issues. the political/environmental/social issues have been relentless. Be well.

  11. Gabrielle, your honest posts about depression have been a comfort in years past, when I was struggling with my mental wellbeing. It’s arduous to repeatedly put the puzzle pieces together, making medication/dosage adjustments, considering other possible causes and treatments. Further complicating the process is the experience of depression — the lethargy, emotional pain, and diminished ability to assess information and experiences with clarity. Whenever we come back to ourselves, it’s so much easier to look back and go, wow, that guilt was the depression speaking, or that indecisiveness and overwhelm was not because of some personal failing like laziness. But when we’re in it, we’re…so very in it.

    Everyone’s experience is different, and the possibility that different causes and different “types” of depression may exist, making it more difficult to find an across the board treatment that works. With that in mind, I’ll briefly share my experience in hopes that something might help in your commitment to try a new treatment or consider a new basis for understanding the nature of the beast.

    I struggled with symptoms of depression from my early twenties through my early thirties. SSRIs were, for me, ineffective. What did work, but only for limited expanses of time, was neurofeedback. Neurofeedback is wonderful. The caveats are: 1) it’s imperative to find a trained, reputable doctor who practices, because there are many technicians and clinics that perform the treatment and can tweak one’s brain into a worse condition. Please don’t let that possibility frighten you — the treatment is so effective, it’s worth recruiting the time and help of a family member to help do the research to find a great doctor. 2) treatment regime is up to you, and can vary from once a week to a more aggressive twice/week, over the course of 2-6 months. The length of time is determined by when you feel well enough to stop, which leads to 3) the wonderful neurofeedback doctors I’ve worked with have consistently told me that neurofeedback is a permanent, long-lasting solution, with maybe a “tune up” session needed once every few months. In my experience, the benefits lasted for one to several months beyond the completion of treatments, but not indefinitely. In fact, the results faded over time until I found myself in the grip of depression and anxiety again.

    Neurofeedback is worth considering. For me, I needed a more feasible long-term solution. I’d exhausted holistic routes based on eating better, exercise, taking supplements, received infusions (for adrenal fatigue which, at the time, a doctor suspected might be the root of the depressive symptoms), underwent sleep clinics, talk therapy…ultimately these routes proved insufficient. I don’t say this to discourage anyone, just to demonstrate that in my experience, those routes mostly just kept the wheels spinning without taking me forward.

    When my last bout of depression occurred in November of 2016, I recall thinking, “I have to Occam’s razor this shit. If one of the most debilitating and prominent symptoms is bedridden lethargy, what pharmaceutical medication exists to stimulate energy? I googled that question and the search results led to articles about ADD, something I’d never considered. I read the symptoms, as well as articles similar to one I recall you sharing in “A Few Things” not too long ago, about how much more has become understood about ADD, particularly for the unique ways it manifests in women, which can be very different from men. I related to many of the symptoms, and my husband — who had the benefit of discernment uncompressed by depression (unlike myself) — felt confident that I fit MOST of the symptoms.

    I went to psychiatrist, was diagnosed, and began taking a prescription medication for a mental disorder that very much resembled straight depression and anxiety, but that actually needed very different brain chemicals addressed other than those that SSRIs target. (my particular medication is called Vyvanse). After 10+ years of struggle, the depression completely lifted, my energy and focus and ability to asses, prioritize, and discern with clarity were restored, my sensitivity to stress tamped down, and the anxiety all but gone. I worked so very hard trying to take responsibility for my depressive behavior, and trying to find solutions that heavily explored holistic approaches, and my miracle came in the form of western medicine — a drug for a condition no previous psychiatrist or psychologist had picked up on, because up-to-date information on ADD was sparse, and because my symptoms, and certainly the way I conveyed them, seemed to exclusively resemble depression/anxiety. I simply did not have the information to recognize I was experiencing symptoms for another mental disorder.

    I still have a sprinkling of unpredictable days here and there. Not the anguish, usually just the lethargy and anxiety. I’ve learned how to take my medication to increase it’s efficacy and therefore, the predictability of my days (hydrate, take it with protein, get enough sleep, and take supplements to support the growth and restoration of dopamine and norepinephrine receptors in the brain). But on the whole, my days are my own again. I want this for you. I believe it is possible.

    All this is to say, I deeply empathize with the task you have at hand. Finding a treatment that is as resilient as your hope, as up to the task as you are, is not as straightforward as we’d like (I know remaining hopeful and resilient may feel like burdens you don’t currently have the strength to carry. Let others carry them for you, and trust me when I say that anyone who has been touched by your blog, your work, your friendship, KNOWS your character embodies those words, you just can’t feel it right now). Consider neurofeedback, IF you can find a qualified doctor within a reasonable driving distance. Consider looking into other mental illnesses who might have comorbid symptoms of depression or anxiety, that a different kind of medication will target. And go easy on yourself. In our admirable desperation to treat depression, it’s easy to feel you should be doing and being more somehow, when you may be the least able to do so. If trying harder to stay socially engaged feels hopeful, try it out. But if it drains you, then please believe me when I say that this is not always a matter of what came first, the chicken or the egg. Meaning, when you isolate, withdraw, turn things down…that’s likely the depression leading you into isolating symptoms, rather than you slipping gradually off the grid, one no at a time, until you’re fully depressed. We all desire to feel in control, and for some types of depression, maybe being that proactive is a path toward lifting the depression. For me, trying to “do better” was akin to somehow feeling accountable and therefore, in control, of my depression. At that time, I needed to feel somewhat in control, but challenging myself to maintain a normal engagement with the social and academic/work activities just led to more stress, feeling more out of control, because I just could not do it. I asked my friends to please understand, and for their patience. I enrolled my husband as a co-researcher in seeking doctors, treatments, information. It’s a process, but hang onto to what you’ve seen occur over and over in your life — that if you given up at any point when you felt like it, you would have so missed out on the much happier days that were ahead. In the past, those happier days DID come. Take that as a promise that they will come again.

    You are loved and appreciated.

  12. While I’ve never needed medication, I found myself spiritually and emotionally depressed several years ago. Quitting refined sugar helped, and spiritually, a book changed my life: The Second Comforter. I hope you find answers soon.

  13. thanks for sharing with us and always being real. Was wondering what you thought of dooce’s approach and her dramatic treatment? i am so curious to read more about it (her book)

  14. Gabriella,
    The only thing that helped and really transformed me ( I had seasonal depressions)is treatment with medicine Ayahuasca. I encourage you to look more into it.

  15. Have you tried essential oils? I know several people who have had great success with EO’s and their depression. I will be happy to send you some. Also, exercise and fresh air daily! It does wonders for your mood and body. Hugs to you.

  16. You have never mentioned having an anxiety disorder and I wonder if that might not be one of the issues here. Sometimes the inability to get out of bed is because the idea of getting through the day is too much, which to me screams anxiety. It is often found right alongside depression and sometimes the medications for depression can make you anxious, or waiting around for your depression to surface can make you anxious; any number of things, really. I am not unfamiliar with depression. I know what it’s like to not get anything done, to feel tired all the time, to spend months wishing to die. It’s ghastly. Medicine did help me which felt like pure luck. I know a lot of people that it does not help.

    Most recently I started having issues with anxiety, which aside from the post-partum months, has not been a chronic issue for me. But we had a huge year in 2017 that involved a lot of life changes , all positive ones, and by December 31st I could barely breathe. It was clear that it was not going to be temporary and that I needed to make changes now. And so I did and now i am actively managing my own anxiety, and I didn’t know if it was possible; right now it is. I don’t know your schedule but I know you have a heck of a lot more on your plate than I do. It’s time to cut some things back and that’s ok! And I’m not talking about the way Shanahan does it. Ask yourself, what can I manage today/this week/month? And only do those things. Stop trying to max out or overspend your emotional credit; budgeting is not just for finances! Not making new friends at church or your kids school? So what! Giving up maybe one thing you truly love because the stress surrounding is slowly killing you? I did that recently, and it hurts and is somehow embarrassing, but it was a positive adjustment for my mental health, and I’d do it again.

    I know you wonder if you’ll have to deal with this for the rest of your life and the answer is yes. This has been and will be part of your life. Depression is a chronic condition for a lot of people, and you might find accepting it helps. Accepting it does not mean letting it take control of your life. Make space for it. How do I make space for my depression? I acknowledge my feelings out loud, “Today I am feeling anxious but I don’t know why/it’s frustrating.” “Today I feel really angry and I don’t know why….” I constantly check the weather and make sure to get outside for two hours every nice day. This literally costs nothing but I have to budget for it. Did you know that trying to control a panic attack makes it worse? I try to put depression through this same lense. Sometimes I have to accept that even with careful planning, my depression might win some days. I ride the waves instead furiously swimming against them.

  17. I never write comments, especially with so many already written. But this post struck me hard. I can relate on so many levels. I’ve been through a bunch of waves in the last year. My family has lived abroad for 2 years. I have a hefty volunteer assignment at church. I’m a mom to 5 busy kids. When I read, “give myself little gifts — allowances” that was totally me! I have manage my depression for 6 years through working out. This last year I kept saying my normal workouts are too hard and I didn’t have time for them. I kept shrinking away from them and subbing with something else. I was taking it so easy that I just wasn’t myself anymore. I felt horrible. I was in a pit and couldn’t see a way out. I felt like I was drowning in my life. Yet when I took a break for our normal life and went on vacation with my family, I felt instantly normal again. I finally made a commitment to myself this last month to make serious progress to my fitness again. And it has made all the difference to me. Also, there was a talk given that helped me realize how I was shrinking away from the hard things that were actually the helpful and necessary things. (search David Bednar, Shrink Not, if you are interested).
    I really do look back on our time abroad and wish I could go back to that life. I think it is difficult to have your heart in two places. But I realize that the “grass is always greener” concept worked while we lived in South America too. It just adds another aspect to my life that those around me just can’t relate to. And I long for the simpler, happier times of my past while I grapple with the stress and mundanity of my reality.
    I sincerely hope you feel you on your way to being on top of the waves instead of buffeted by them. Thank you for sharing your struggles with us all.

  18. When depression hits me, my instinct is always to withdraw, but it’s taken me a long time to learn that that is the opposite of what I need. When I am depressed, I need love… I need connection… I need hugs… I need care… I need to not be alone in my misery.

    As the days got shorter and darker in December, I felt some seasonal depression coming on. It scared me. When you’ve had it really bad, it’s like a post-traumatic stress. “Oh no. Is this going to be like last time?” But rather than withdraw, I reached out. I made it to yoga class. I talked to my best friend on the phone. I told my spouse and felt less alone in my misery. After a week or so, it passed. Thank goodness.

    Thank you for asking for us to share our experiences, Gabby. It feels good to talk about something that still carries so much stigma. Out in the open, but still protected by the anonymity of the internet.

  19. Here are some things that I have seen help my husband. My husband suffers from PTSD. I know it is an extreme for of depression. He has been off and on medication. One place that he went to that helped a lot was the Amen Clinic. They have clinics across the West coast like Seattle, and Sacramento. They do a brain scan when you are relaxed, and when you are active. They do this to see how your brain in functioning at different times like when you are sleeping or working. They also get a baseline blood test to see if you are vitamin deficient. They look at vitamin D, B, Zinc, Magnessium. Their theory is if you are deficient, then depression medications have a harder time working. They also do repeat blood tests, and scans. This helped a lot. The other is he say a relaxation therapist. He was able to lean that his body was always in fight or flight mode, even when sleeping. With the relaxation therapist he learned how to relax. Also counseling has helped him as well. I hope these tips help someone. Depression is serious, and we should not ignor it.

  20. Gaby, I’ve had depression and anxiety off and on for at least 17 years (since my first child), played with medications, diet, therapy. Five years ago I downward spiraled pretty hard and my psychiatrist introduced me to a psychiatrist and CBT. CBT saved my life and my relationships. I’ve worked really hard at what I think of as rewiring my brain, but I finally feel like I am living well. I still take daily meds, still have “off days” but I am so much better- and importantly- I feel like if/when it comes back, I will have a plan on how to handle it, so that anxiety is quieted, too. Best wishes

  21. there are MANY factors to take into account when trying to tackle depression. our bodies and minds are much more fragile than we like to think about. you listed some things you were considering modifying to see if it helped and i wanted to reach out with my success in eradicating sugar from my life. “sugar” means so many things and everyone has their own definition, but i’ve found great success in avoiding all processed sugars and alcohol. my partner and i have been sugar and alcohol free for over a year now and i can tell you that it has been like flipping a switch on both of our depressive cycles. we still have a challenging day here and there, but long gone are the “episodes” that may never end and pull you down so completely it takes everything you have left to not die, like you said. the thing that was the most eye opening for me in this process were the times when sugar accidentally got in. without fail, if i had any sugar, mandatory three days of deep, painful depression. three days, every time. and that was just trace amounts in something i wasn’t anticipating would have sugar. can you imagine what a slice of cake can do? or even the most beloved glass of wine? i will admit, it is hard to deal with social interactions without the glass of wine, but the fact that i’m not in bed crying instead of attending this event is beyond worth the awkward soda water with lime order. i hope you find your missing link. if it’s not sugar, it’s likely something else you will be able to control once you find it. hugs and high fives, laura

  22. I struggled with depression, and a few health issues, that were debilitating for years and robbed me of enjoying my children’s infancy and then early childhood when postpartum depression evolve depression into depression and ptsd like symptoms. I came across the book Eat Dirt by Dr. Axe and after making some major dietary changes I feel like a black cloud has been lifted from me. It is an easy and quick read with very doable changes. Do I miss some of the foods I used to eat- sure- but I don’t miss the depression. It is worth a read and a try.

  23. I knew there was a reason I heart you.

    Personally, I’m still learning how to cope but I am doing better than I was last year about this time. I’d say Fall 2017 is when I’d begin my downward spiral. I finally broke down and went to see a mental health professional. It was a good start for me and I’m proud of myself because who knows where I’d be right now.

    The depression has been lingering since age 7 and it’s unfortunate because in African American community depression is viewed as a stigma and I was always taught there is no such thing – pick my head up and keep moving. Depression coupled with anxiety and insomnia is a dose. I knew I had insomnia for 15 years…but I attributed the insomnia to design school and working the design field. The anxiety I noted when my son was four (he’s now 9) and he went to visit his other grandparents out of town.

    I’m taking it day by day. I’m not fully where I want to be but to have had the strength to address the issue and seek help are what has been important to me. I just now need to be more aware of my triggers.

    Thank you for sharing.

  24. I thought I had my depression and anxiety under control but this week it all came crashing down. i just started meds (zoloft) and hoping they help but i’m scared and anxious of the meds too. the only thing thats calming me is remembering your posts about you depression and that meds just help. i’m really hoping i have the same luck. im so scared.

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