Is Depression Your Constant Companion?
Depression is not something that only drugs can control, and it is not something that people should have to live with week after week, month after month. Instead, by simply tracing its development, you can find the solutions you need to return to a meaningful and happy life. Periodic depression is one thing, but lasting, chronic depression is quite another. There are a lot of ideas about chronic, lasting depression. But first we have to get clear about something... exactly what is depression vs. bein depressed? We live in a society that tends to exaggerate the negative in negative. In fact, it is perfectly normal to feel depressed, even sad, about the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, even the loss of a beloved pet. In fact, certain situations tend to bring on a normal emotional response. Change tends to bring on fear, loss of control brings on anxiety, and loss brings on sadness. So to feel these emotions for a period of time after an event is normal, even necessary as part of the healing process. Some cultures even advocate a month or more of grieving after loss.
But when we have an emotional response that is not attachable to an event, or that overwhelms us to the point where we cannot function, or lasts far longer than we can bear... then we are talking about something that may need support. Depression is a large part of this. And often, unexplainable depression is triggered by a chemical cascade that occurs within the body as the result of an immune response, severe adrenal fatigue, or hormonal imbalance. Sometimes even a physical injury can trigger this response. So let’s take a look at the possibilities...
Since our body uses chemistry to signal physiological action, and to store information, then chemical changes can also trigger an individual to over-react to a normal situation, and many times to experience lasting depression for no emotional reasons that are detectable. Depression causes withdrawal, and in fact, if we look at the body’s instinct to withdraw, we might have a clue to the nature of depression. When your glands are depleted and their function is depressed, the body needs to hibernate to restore normal levels of chemicals and normalize glandular function. When you have a physical injury, the body will withdraw to utilize needed energy for healing. Often the idea of convalescence is not something that our society pays attention to, instead pushing individuals to get back into their normal life and normal level of function as quickly as possible. But often this may be too quick for the body to have restored enough of its normal function. Also, if the individual has had a poor diet, or their nutritional reserves are depleted, then it is virtually impossible for the individual to regain their health. Often depression can be the body’s way of forcing the individual to stop long enough for full health to be restored.
There are a number of levels to depression. There is the original trigger which creates the chemical cascade. Then there is the physiological and energetic responses to handle the shift from that cascade. Finally there is the psychological and emotional results of experiencing the depression and its effects. So the first step is to identify the trigger and provide resolution for it. Often you can identify the trigger because it will have taken place generally within one month of the onset of the depression. A physical injury, an infection, birth experience or an illness, all can be possible triggers.
Physical Injury - Massage Therapy, Chiropractic, Myofascial Release Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy all are possible options when dealing with a physical injury. Acupuncture can help to restore normalized energy to the injured area. Nutritional/Herbal Options include Standard Process MyoPlus and Myotrophin PMG, Ligaplex I & II, Ostrophin PMG, while herbs such as Cramp Bark, Gotu Kola, Nettle Leaf, Dan Shen, Ginkgo, Tienchi Ginseng, Bilberry will all help.
Infection — First a determination needs to be made as to the type of infection. In all cases Infrared Sauna treatments are essential. Lymphatic Drainage is also good for improving the movement of immune cells and clearing debris from the infection. Cat’s Claw, Pau D’Arco, Andrographis, Baical Skullcap, Baptisia, Reishi and Shitake mushrooms, St. John’s Wort, Thuja, and Goldenseal are my favorite herbs, but each has its own specific actions, so it works best when applied to a matching condition.
Illness — this will often be a lengthy issue, such as bronchitis, flu, mononucleosis or even food poisoning. Resolution in this situation may take longer and require a more comprehensive approach. Often because of the length of time involved with the illness, there wil also need to be a lot of intensive nutritional rebuilding, which often is the reason for the depression in these cases. Simply by reducing activity (back to the idea of convalescence) and then providing concentrated nutritional foods, a lot can be achieved in restoring balance.
During the period of initial trigger resolution, mood-stabilizing herbs can be used to help modulate the depression. My favorites are St. John’s Wort only if the original trigger was a viral infection including Hepatitis or Herpes, Damiana, Skullcap, Valerian and Chaste Tree for post-natal depression.
The second phase is to resolve any physiological and energetic consequences from the unresolved trigger. Often by simply addressing the trigger, most if not all of the secondary aspects will have resolved. If not, then nutrition is usually the answer. If, after at least two weeks of concentrated nutritional therapy, there are still symptoms, then the system under duress was weak prior to the initiating trigger, and will have to be treated for a period of time to resolve that pre-existing imbalance.
This is often the case with post-natal depression, where the hormonal balance of the woman was a problem perhaps for years producing premenstrual symptoms, irregular menstruation and even pregnancy complications. Another aspect of post-natal depression can be the drugs administered during delivery. Liver cleansing is an essential component of post-natal depression to clear pharmaceutical issues and to help regain some hormonal balance, since the liver is the determining factor in hormonal levels in the blood and cycle time.
Often during period of time I will use homeopathic options that address the residual energetic signature of the original trigger as well as any pre-existing issues. If depression has lasted into this phase, then it has become endogenous. Homeopathic remedies such as Kali phosphoricum, Aurum metallicum, Helonias dioica, Selenium metallicum can all be the perfect solution. And this is often the time for counseling and psychological support because the body biochemically and physiologically can process the mediation more effectively.
Often, when depression has been the case for a very long time, particularly with fatigue and exhaustion, then a Bipolar situation may be the result. Bipolar individuals are very different from simple depression cases. They ride back and forth between manic episodes which may even slide over into OCD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and severe, debilitating depression. These individuals seem to have a slower switching of nerve signals from the left to the right sides of the brain making maintaining balance quite difficult.
Often this can be the result of drug use, alcohol abuse or a long-standing adrenal deficiency which can produce confusing symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Counseling and psychological support is essential for these cases, but quite a bit can be accomplished with natural medicinal options. The first step is an adrenal support approach which includes regimented eating patterns and large volumes of concentrated nutritional support focusing on key mineral groups to relax the nervous system. Ginkgo, Bacopa and White Peony can provide strong cognitive balance and can be much more effective than treating this as depression, although depression is a part of it. If there is significantly more depression than manic episodes, I like to use a combination of Schisandra, Damiana, Skullcap and St. John’s Wort to balance the emotional mind. If anxiety is the dominant experience, then relaxing and calming herbs are very effective such as Valerian and Chamomile, while outbursts, anger or mania is treated with Skullcap. Finally for any OCD component, I use inositol, which balances sugar levels in the blood and clinical studies have indicated its strong effects in these cases.
Nutritionally, Niacinamide B6, Selenium compounds and parasympathetic minerals can make a huge difference in increasing oxygen across the blood-brain barrier. This is especially important in schizophrenia, parasthesia and even a complete loss of appetite. Also, as I mentioned with Bipolar cases, there is a disconnect between the left and right hemisphere of the brain. One of the best remedies I’ve found is Standard Process e-Poise capsules, based on Dr. James Isaac’s work on electron poising. And high levels of essential fatty acids such as Tuna Oil cannot be underestimated. Standard Process also makes a great compound for men called Orchex which not only addresses emotional issues, but helps with typical physical side symptoms such as hypertension, hyperirritability, outbursts of anger and even high cholesterol.
Depression is not something that only drugs can control, and it is not something that people should have to live with week after week, month after month. Instead, by simply tracing its development, you can find the solutions you need to return to a meaningful and happy life.