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Depression Help

anger | someone depressed| Terezia Farkas | Beliefnet | depression help

 

A depressed person can act functional. I’ve had people tell me I seem happy, so how can I say I’m depressed? A smile can hide a lot of pain. So here’s a couple of things to not say to someone depressed.

You’re Lying

This is a mean one. I’ve had depressed people tell me that they were called liars by their doctors, emergency room physicians, and psych nurses. Yet each and every one of these depressed people was clinically diagnosed as suffering severe depression. Words hurt.

Snap Out Of It

I can’t just snap out of depression. Would you tell a cancer patient to snap out of cancer?

Cheer Up

Humour is one of the first things to go in depression. It’s also the last thing to come back in recovery. Tough to laugh when the world looks bleak and you feel unloved.

It’s All In Your Head

The pain is real, not imaginary. Depression causes physical and chemical changes to the body. Negative ideas are stuck in the head. Serotonin and cortisol levels in the brain become unbalanced.

It Could Be Worse

I don’t care if it can be worse. I already feel horrible. I don’t want to or need to feel worse. Comparing people’s problems is unfair. There are things you can’t see or don’t know about individual situations.

It’s Always About You. You’re Selfish

Yes, and I need to make it about me. I don’t have much energy. What energy I do have, I need to use to heal my pain and trauma.

It’s Your Fault

Stop judging! Guilt doesn’t heal depression or make it go away. Guilt only prolongs depression. Depression is complicated. Its a result of both social and genetic factors.

You’re Not Trying To Get Better

Anti-depressants are harsh chemicals. There are many side-effects. It’s tough finding the right one that helps you. Low energy, poor self image, guilt, and pain keep me from doing things you think I should be doing.

I Know How You Feel

Unless you’re depressed, or experienced grief or trauma, you really won’t understand the emotional darkness of depression. Depression can take you to the point of death. Coming back from that point is like a near death experience.

You’re Always Depressed

Yeah, and does telling me that help me? I need solutions, not judgement.

What Do You Have To Be Depressed About?

Depression can be caused by many things like SAD and genetics. It isn’t always about  trauma or grief.

Loose Some Weight

Weight gain or loss is one of the symptoms of depression. It can also be caused by anti-depressants. Exercise may help slightly depressed people. It’s not something a person who is severely depressed may even be able to do.

 

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

1-800-784-2433
www.hopeline.com
This will connect you with a crisis centre in your area.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Phone Number: 888-333-AFSP (2377)
Website URL: www.afsp.org

 

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Using herbs for depression has for centuries been the norm for many cultures. In fact, using herbs for depression is sometimes preferred to using antidepressants. People throughout time have found that certain herbs have healing properties for depression. Of all healing herbs, adaptogenic herbs are considered to be top performers. Adaptogenic herbs are non-toxic. They have the ability to help your body resist stress, whether its physical, chemical, or biological. These herbs give you strength, energy, endurance, and improve mental clarity.

Herbs are safer than antidepressants. Antidepressants often have serious side effects, whereas herbs are pretty much safe to use even for children and pets. However, some herbs do have serious side effects if combined with other medication. As always, its best to consult with a medical professional about using herbs for depression. If you are on antidepressants, don’t stop using it without talking to your doctor first!

Eight herbs for depression

Arctic Root

arctic root | Terezia Farkas | depression help | Beliefnet

 

Like the name suggests, this herb is found in cold regions. Arctic root grows in the high altitudes of the Arctic and the mountains of central China where its cold.

Arctic root is adaptogenic herb. Adaptogen is a natural substance found in herbs that works to counteract stress in the body. Stress causes chemical changes in the brain, endocrine system, and immune system. Adaptogenic herbs have stimulant properties that counteract those harmful effects.

Arctic root is helpful in fighting depression and improving brain activity. Arctic root is especially useful for depression that has anxiety and fatigue. It’s also good for reducing the effects of SAD (seasonal affective disorder). There is research showing that arctic root reduces depression symptoms faster than antidepressants.

Arctic root is a fantastic belly fat burning herb. Increased body fat is one symptom of depression and anxiety, so arctic root can help with that situation. But be aware, arctic root may lower blood sugar levels. So monitor your blood glucose levels. It may also alter your blood pressure.

Lavender

lavender | Terezia Farkas | depression help | Beliefnet

 

Lavender is a strewing herb. Botanically speaking, lavender is a flowering shrub and a herb used in cooking, oil, and aromatherapy. Lavender is one of those flowers that you can eat and use on your skin. Lavender is used for healing because it has no real side effects. It’s safe to use for humans and animals. Lavender is non-addictive, even though it acts much like benzodiazepines, which are addictive.

Lavender flowers contain a volatile oil which has a rejuvenating scent. Lavender is known for improving mood and reducing anxiety. Research shows that lavender is as effective as Ativan (lorazepam) in treating anxiety and helping with depression symptoms. It is a non-drug alternative for depression and anxiety in some societies. 

Among the flower remedies for depression, lavender essence is the one most strongly recommended. Pour 2-3 drops of this essence into your bath water or simply add it to aroma lamps. Make lavender tea, sleep pillows, sachet bags or potpourri. Lavender helps with depression insomnia because it increases slow-wave sleep, slows heartbeat, and relaxes muscles. 

Passion flower

passion flower | Terezia Farkas | depression help | Beliefnet

 

Passion flower is an herb used to treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It is a natural, non-addictive sedative. It has alkaloids and flavonoids which have a tranquillizing effect. Passion flower is used to treat anxiety and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). In the United States and Europe, passion flower is used as a calming herb for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and hysteria.

Research has shown that passion flower can reduce depression. Scientists believe passion flower works by increasing levels of a brain chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). When levels of GABA are increased, it decreases the activity of depression inducing cells like monoamine oxidase. This is what antidepressants do.

Be careful when using passion flower. Blue passion flower (Passiflora caerulea) is somewhat poisonous to both humans and pets. Passion flower can also have harmful side effects when taken with certain medications and alcohol. It’s okay to take passion flower in small amounts, but large amounts can cause confusion, dizziness, and drowsiness.

Ashwagandha

ashwagandha | Terezia Farkas | Beliefnet | depression help

 

Ashwagandha, or Indian Ginseng, is another adaptogenic herb. It’s used in Indian Ayurvedic healing to help the body deal with daily stress. Ashwaganda means “the smell of a horse.” Its said that the root does smell like horse sweat.

Ashwagandha is known for its ability to reduce the levels of cortisol, commonly called the stress hormone, which increases during stress and anxiety. The herb has been shown to prevent stress related gastric ulcers, and weight gain of the adrenal glands from chronic stress. Ashwagandha helps relieve insomnia that comes with depression. Ashwagandha is also used to reduce blood sugar levels and body fat. It also lowers blood pressure. However, there are some side effects to Ashwaganda. These include arthritis, constipation, skin conditions, and gastrointestinal issues. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking Ashwaganda, as it might decrease the effectiveness of some sedative medications like Xanax, Dalmane, Ativan, and Valium.

Chamomile

chamomile | Terezia Farkas | Beliefnet | depression help

 

Chamomile belongs to the daisy family and is a multipurpose healing herb. It is used for reducing swelling, calming aches and pains, and treating stomach aches. Dried chamomile leaves are used in tea. One to two cups of chamomile tea per day is usually enough to see an improvement in health. If you have pollen allergies, be careful with chamomile as the leaves can be contaminated with pollen from other plants.

Chamomile is useful in treating depression and anxiety because it acts as a mild sedative. Chamomile has an antioxidant called apigenin, which binds to receptors in your brain which start the sleep cycle. Chamomile also increases glucose levels, helping to relax the nerves and muscles of your body. So sipping on chamomile starts a chemical reaction that lets you drift off to sleep and calm your mind. In this sense, chamomile acts like a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are drugs that reduce anxiety and help you fall asleep. Research suggests that chamomile binds to benzodiazepine receptors.

Ginkgo

Gingko-biloba | Terezia Farkas | Beliefnet | depression help

 

Ginkgo is an adaptogenic Chinese herb that’s been used for centuries to open energy channels of different organ systems. Ginkgo is best known for improving memory and focus. This is because ginkgo increases blood circulation to the brain, and protects the brain from neuronal damage with an anti-inflammatory compound. It’s the anti-inflammatory compound that gives ginkgo its many healing abilities.

Ginkgo has been used to treat headaches and migraines, two things that are common symptoms of depression. Ginkgo also reduces stress and anxiety by lowering cortisol levels. Research shows that people who use ginkgo experience reduced anxiety compared to people who use placebos.

Gingko helps fight depression by increasing the brain’s dopamine and serotonin levels. By increasing dopamine and serotonin, a person’s mood gets better. But the effect is subtle. Gingko reduces mental fatigue and failing concentration by increasing blood flow to the brain.

Tumeric

turmeric | Terezia Farkas | Beliefnet | depression help

 

Tumeric is part of the ginger family. You may know turmeric as the main spice in curry.  Tumeric contains a yellow chemical called curcumin, which is a curcuminoid. Curcuminoids have powerful anti-inflammatory effects and are a very strong antioxidant. Curcumin shows promise as a depression treatment because it elevates serotonin while lowering stress hormones like cortisol.

Tumeric has been found to reduce symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD). Not only does turmeric act like an antidepressant, its curcumin has been found to increase nerve growth in the brain’s frontal cortex and the hippocampus. These areas are important in mood because when they aren’t functioning at full potential, severe depression occurs.

Cations against using turmeric are if you have gallstones or are pregnant. Curcumin can also interfere with chemotherapy chemicals used to treat breast cancer. Be sure to ask your doctor if you can take turmeric if you have any of these conditions.

Saffron

saffron | Terezia Farkas | Beliefnet | depression help

 

Saffron comes from the stigmas of the purple saffron crocus. It has to be hand picked because the stigma is so delicate. Because it’s so labour intensive, saffron is one of the most expensive and rarest spices in the world.

Research shows that saffron is as effective for depression as Prozac. The exact reason for this isn’t known yet, but saffron is a promising alternative to the harsh chemical.

Saffron is also helpful in reducing stress, anxiety, OCD, and PMS. High doses of saffron should be avoided by pregnant women.

Herbs as an alternative to antidepressants.

Herbs for depression are generally safe, side effect free, and not very expensive. Herbal remedies can be given to children, pregnant women, and elderly people. The key to using herbs is finding the one that matches the type of depression you have. Does your depression include anxiety, fatigue, sleepless nights, appetite loss, and changes in body weight? A single herb may not work for all symptoms. You might need to combine herbs. It’s best to ask a licensed herbalist what’s best for your particular set of symptoms. Also, always let your doctor know you are trying herbs for depression. Herbs work on mild to moderate depression. It’s not proven effective for severe depression, self-harm or suicidal thoughts. If you’re on antidepressants, you shouldn’t stop using them without first consulting with your doctor. Most herbs don’t interfere with antidepressants, but there’s always the exception.

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mental health| Terezia Farkas | Lets Talk | Depression Help | Beliefnet

 

There’s an exciting new trend in mental health. People with lived experience of mental health are driving research and charities. This is great news for mental health. It’s also great for the person, because it improve the sense of self. It empowers someone who feels powerless from depression, anxiety, PTSD, or trauma. People with lived experience are also being given mental health supports so that they can carry their emotional burdens while helping others.

Training encourages people to use their lived experience to help others.

Mental health peer support workers often have first hand knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. This knowledge is gold for charities and researchers. But not everyone with lived experience is at the same level of emotional health. Everyone heals at different rates. People are at different levels of emotionally healing.

Mental health charities realize this. They use a model that recognizes the different levels of emotional health. So emotional support mechanisms for people suffering mental health issues like depression, anxiety, PTS, and trauma are built into the charity. Self help groups, getting participants to run their own meetings, and holding regular meetings to get feedback are also tools used.

People are eager to offer suggestions based on their lived experience.

People with depression and other mental health issues are eager to share their lived experience. They want to help others. They want to reassure others, usually with the truth that “things will get better.” Advice is usually about self care, getting help, relationships with mental health professionals, and keeping up social contacts.

People with lived experience want others to see them as real people. They want others to see depression and anxiety as a human experience, not just as a disease. This helps break stigma by putting a human face on depression. As people with lived experience often say, your life is long, and depression is just one part of it.

It’s the exam, the job interview, or the dinner with the new in-laws. Whenever you are stressed, your breathing becomes shallow and hard, and your chest constricts. A deep breathing exercise can relax your chest muscle and return breathing to a normal pace.

Breathing and stress.

Breathing is especially impacted by stress. Lung tissue is fragile. It’s thin like tissue paper. Air expands the lung, filling it with oxygen, which is then picked up by the blood vessels around your lungs. These vessels carry oxygen to the rest of your body.

Normally, your lungs fill up with air and then deflate as oxygen is downloaded. The more stressed you get, the quicker your lungs inflate and deflate. If stress goes on for a while, the lungs hyperventilate. This means they are deflating faster than they are filling up with air. Your body isn’t getting enough oxygen and you might feel faint or black out.

Your diaphragm helps push the air out of your lungs, but your chest muscles also help lungs move. Chest muscles expand and contract the ribcage. Your chest muscle automatically contracts when you get tense. Your diaphragm pushes up, squeezing air out of your lungs. You feel that familiar “tightening of the chest”. 

Gentle stretching and deep breathing relaxes chest muscle. But your lungs also need to de-stress. Deep breathing exercises help expand your lungs. As your lungs expand, more oxygen gets into your body. Fresh, oxygenated blood is pumped throughout your system, helping to relax tense muscles and get your breathing back to normal.

Breathing exercise

Having a good breathing exercise in your depression tool kit can help you fall asleep, soothe aching muscles, and get you into meditation faster. Learning a simple breathing exercise can be handy when you’re in a tense, stressful situation such as exams, a job interview, or dinner with the in laws.

Deep breathing exercise

  • Stretch the rib cage and spine (overhead arm stretches, side to side, clasp hands in back and lift to fully open the chest area)
  • Inhale through the nose (count of 3)-this allows the air to be filtered, moistened, and warmed.
  • Breath slowly and in a relaxed manner – allow complete exhalation (exhale count of 4)
  • Practice breathing exercises in several positions – for varied air distribution.

Upper chest breathing:  Concentrate on filling the upper chest area with your breath. Place your hands on the chest area to focus on this particular area.

Abdominal breathing:  Concentrate on filling the lower lungs with your breath and observe the abdomen rise and fall. Place your hands there to confirm expansion.

Lateral chest breathing:  Concentrate on expanding your lower ribs with each breath. Place your hands on each side to help focus your attention to this area.

* The deep breathing exercise taken from Aromatherapy – A Lifetime Guide to Healing with Essential Oils by Valerie Gennari Cooksley (1996)

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