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Re: Diet/Lifestyle change that REALLY help depression spike4848

Posted by sid on February 18, 2002, at 12:46:18

In reply to Diet/Lifestyle change that REALLY help depression, posted by spike4848 on February 18, 2002, at 9:43:55

> Anyone find diet changes or life style changes help with depression.

> I have heard about avoiding aspartame and alcohol, coffee helping depression, avoiding over slepting, omega 3 oil, exercise helping. Anyone have experience with these helping or other advice?
> Spike

Yes, some things may have helped me; since I was doing many things at once to heal from major depression, it's hard to say what really worked. I used to be a heavy coffee drinker; I stopped drinking coffee, even decaf for 2 years. No colas either. I switched to green tea, which might have all sort of healing properties. It has caffeine in it (teaine), but I was told to avoid coffee altogether, even decaf and drink green tea instead. I was seeing an acupuncturist for my major depression and she's the one who told me that - chinese medicine based suggestions. I did not realize the effect coffee had on me when I drank a lot. Once I stopped, after a while, I drank 1 coffee from time to time, on special occasions. I quickly realized it made me aggressive and over-angry and saw the possible link with my depression, when I was sad and angry at the world all the time. Now I rarely feel anger whereas during my depression it was several times a day.

I avoid oversleeping too, since my depression made me sleep and eat carbs too much. If I oversleep, I'm spacey all day and I don't feel good; I want to get back to bed ASAP - not good. So now I limit my sleep to 7-8 hours per night. Sleeping less than 7 hours a night makes me tired if I do it for several days in a row, but I have no problem otherwise. Sleeping more is bad bad bad. Makes me feel like a big lump.

I used to drink alcohol a lot when I was youger (late teens, early 20's). I didn't realize the effect it could have on my health. Now I drink, one or two drinks in an evening, a few time a month maximum. If I don't feel good (down, depressed mood, PMS), then I don't drink at all. I never get drunk anymore as I've realized my body can't take it the way it used to. I feel like crap the day after, so there's no point in hurting myself that way. So my alcohol habits have changed. I never use illicit drugs, I find I've had enough health problems, I don't want to take unnecessary risks.

As far as other things you mentioned, I'm not sure... I had some residual symptoms of major depression, which subsided last fall, even before I started taking Effexor XR. Concurrently, I did made it a point, for the first time in my life, to eat fish 2-3 time a week (mostly salmon, sole at times, and tuna less often). Perhaps it helped? Is there a link? I'm not sure.

Exercise now makes me feel great too. With Effexor XR my symptoms of dysthymia and anxiety are mostly gone now, and I feel like being physically active. However, when I tried to exercise during major depression, my heart was not into it. I exercised because "I should." Sometimes I'd feel better after exercising, but getting to exercise was agonizing. I'd think about it for days and feel guilty (dang depression!) about not having exercised on day X, etc... So I'm unsure about exercise helping in the midst of major depression... Except I am convinced it is helping me to stay healthy and perhaps get even better now that I am better - it is helping both physically and mentally.

As I mentioned, I slept too much and ate too much carbs during my major depression. So now I eat more fish, but also I eat more meat - more protein overall. I feel like it (very new thing for me - I was almost a vegetarian before, not trying to be, just not liking meat at all). I am still picky with meat, but a few times a month, I'll make a good piece of beef in the oven and enjoy eating it over several meals. Is it helping? Or do I feel like eating that because I am in remission? Is there even a link? I'm not sure.

I must say that I started drinking coffee again in the morning, since I started taking meds for dysthymia and anxiety. Effexor XR disturbs my sleep and I find it hard to fully wake up in the morning, so I now treat myself to 1 strong coffee in the morning. I love coffee, so it's no sacrifice to me. If I see that I become aggressive or irrationally angry again though, I'll stop and get back to green tea, which I like too.

- sid




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