After working on a psychiatric unit for over 23 years, I watched some people find relief with medications for depression. Yet, I’ve also witnessed countless times when a person either experienced no relief or found that the side effects of the meds far outweighed the benefits. Not only are people complex, but so is depression, and it often has many triggers and causes, both physical and emotional in nature.
Let me share some alternative methods that can help alleviate both the physical and emotional roots of depression. Often, combining several modalities can be the most effective approach.
First, a simple, yet often overlooked, modality is homeopathy, which works to bring the body back into balance physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It’s not an overnight fix, but you’ll find an upward spiral of growth happens over time with no side effects. Occasionally, you may notice your symptoms will reappear for a day or two and then subside because an old pattern often reappears before it’s released. Keep in mind that homeopaths study for four years, and homeopathy has a long history of being a popular medicine that can also increase the effectiveness of other modalities.
Secondly, if you’re eating a lot of low-vibration foods, such as processed sugar, white flour and food products with artificial ingredients, you may experience low energy and lethargy, with a mood that matches the way your body responds to these foods. Consuming more fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to shift not only your mood, but your health. Experiment for yourself by eating more whole foods and notice if your mood is positively affected. I do understand that when you’re struggling with intense symptoms of depression or PTSD it may be difficult to choose fruits and vegetables, as they aren’t as comforting or numbing as processed foods. However, try adding one additional fruit, vegetable, smoothie or juice per day.
A healer who has had a profound effect on my health is Anthony William. In his paradigm-changing, best-selling book, Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic Illness and How to Finally Heal, William explains that PTSD is a chemical imbalance in the brain caused by trauma. When there isn’t enough glucose stored in the brain tissue to feed the central nervous system, PTSD symptoms can develop from relatively minor stresses. He explains that fruit sugar and raw honey in their unadulterated states are the only sugars the body accepts for glucose storage in the brain. He suggests wild blueberries, melons, beets, bananas, sweet potatoes, figs, oranges, mangos, apples and dates, among others.
William also discusses how depression can stem from non-emotional causes, such as adrenal dysfunction, viral infection, electrolyte deficiency, heavy metals or other toxins in your body. For these conditions, he suggests specific foods to help heal these conditions such as wild blueberries, spinach, hemp seeds, cilantro, walnuts, coconut oil, sprouts, kale, apricots and avocados. He also provides a list of healing herbs and supplements that can help. He just released a second book, Life-Changing Foods, which connects one to the power of food.
For emotional causes of depression, such as traumatic loss or stress growing up, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and EMDR are effective tools to release trauma from past events or circumstances that are stored in the body and subconscious mind. There are many experienced practitioners available for support in the Twin Cities.
Often when we don’t get emotional needs met growing up, negative beliefs about oneself can set in at a deep level. Shame programs such as feeling unworthy of love or success can be so strong that affirmations don’t easily work because a subconscious part of you doesn’t believe them. In these situations, it’s helpful to find someone who can guide you in transcendental inner journey work, where your consciousness can take a separate, observational look at your egoic mind patterns.
Any type of transpersonal hypnotherapy is helpful in releasing the grip of false, limiting beliefs that may feel true but are absolutely not. When these false beliefs can be seen from a higher level of consciousness, they no longer have the same effect on you, and thus support the releasing of depression.
Lastly, it’s important to connect with others. We were meant to love and support one another, and the burden of depression can lighten with more connectedness. I understand that one of the biggest challenges with depression is having the motivation or confidence to reach out to others, so you may want to get some support from other modalities first and, as your spirit lifts, you may more easily cultivate the wisdom and courage to know that you are worth seeking out support and connection.