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Old 01-14-2013, 09:35 PM   #1
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Depression is a pain and it screws up my diet

I'm sure that anyone who has experienced depression knows what I'm talking about-the mood swings, the weepiness, the anxiety, the fatigue, the insomnia, the the self-deprecation, the anger, the
irritability, the difficulty concentrating, thoughts about death and suicide, and the general feeling that you are swimming through oceans of mud and/or that someone is sitting on your chest. It's a horrible disease that I would not wish upon my worst enemy.

Anyway, I have had horrible insomnia for the last few days. I cannot seem to go to sleep at night, and therefore miss half the day when I finally get so exhausted that I "pass out" at 4AM. It's screwed up my diet, my exercise routine, and basically everything else. Because my serotonin and doapmine levels drop precipitously during a bout of depression, I am more prone to craving carbs/giving into those cravings, and I am also more vulnerable to missing exercise because of being tired/despondent.

If anyone would like to contribute some thoughts on how they maintain a healthy lifestyle/their diet despite depression or another illness, I'd appreciate it.

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Old 01-14-2013, 09:55 PM   #2
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I can't answer that just now because I am at work, but I wanted to get a reply in so that this thread will show up in my subscriptions and I will remember to respond.

Short version: It is possible to be successful despite constant crippling depression - and it's worth it - but it has taken me a bit of effort, and a considerable level of zealotry to keep myself motivated towards this goal.
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucy1018 View Post
I'm sure that anyone who has experienced depression knows what I'm talking about-the mood swings, the weepiness, the anxiety, the fatigue, the insomnia, the the self-deprecation, the anger, the
irritability, the difficulty concentrating, thoughts about death and suicide, and the general feeling that you are swimming through oceans of mud and/or that someone is sitting on your chest. It's a horrible disease that I would not wish upon my worst enemy.

Anyway, I have had horrible insomnia for the last few days. I cannot seem to go to sleep at night, and therefore miss half the day when I finally get so exhausted that I "pass out" at 4AM. It's screwed up my diet, my exercise routine, and basically everything else. Because my serotonin and doapmine levels drop precipitously during a bout of depression, I am more prone to craving carbs/giving into those cravings, and I am also more vulnerable to missing exercise because of being tired/despondent.

If anyone would like to contribute some thoughts on how they maintain a healthy lifestyle/their diet despite depression or another illness, I'd appreciate it.
I empathize with you.

If I had to use only one word: Distractions.

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Get and stay active, both mentally and physically, and live life one day at at time.

Best to you.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:10 PM   #4
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Are you taking any medication for your depression. If not, I would suggest seeing someone for this level of misery. Not saying you have to take it forever, but long enough to see you through this episode. If the meds help you to feel better, the motivation for getting back into the swing of things and maybe even sleep better. I have been in a pretty deep funk since quitting my antidepressant (I'd been taking for a very long time) three months ago. It has got quite a bit worse in the past two weeks. I have no motivation for anything. Can't see my psych doc until the 25th. I restarted the wellubtrin (anti depressant) today.
PM me if you have any questions.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:35 AM   #5
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I feel like I should qualify my advice. I want you to understand that I truly understand what you're going through. For what it's worth, I won't tell you to buck up, or get over it. That doesn't work. If it were as easy as putting on a happy face, the artificial and jovial mask I've contorted my face into for the last 36 years would have long since cured my condition.

A condition called Dysthymia. What this means, is that I have always been depressed since the day I was born. I have never lived a single day free from depression.

I have tried counselling and medication and my depression has resisted all attempts at treatment. Where counselling was concerned, I ultimately decided that depression was a rational response to a life not worth living.

On the medicine side of things, I had two problems (three if you count that none of them helped)

1. Antidepressants tend to leave me foggy-headed, and since I think for a living, that's not really acceptable.

2. It turned out I was allergic to one particular antidepressant, and it caused me to go into anaphylactic shock.

For me there are two modes of depression: There's the normal threshhold of anguish, apathy, hopelessness, and self-loathing that I've known all my life, and there's a special bonus round depression that happens when a dysthymic slips into a Major Depressive Episode. They call it 'double depression'. Because, out of all the things I wanted double helpings of in life, depression was at the TOP of the list

Because of the underlying dysthymia, double depression is difficult to treat, and can last for years. It's like having the worst day of your life, every day, because every new day is worse than the day before it.

Fortunately for me, I do not suffer from anhedonia - a common co-symptom of dysthymia in which sufferers are incapable of experiencing any kind of fun, joy, or pleasure even when good things happen. This characteristic ability to find moments of joy in a constant sea of depression is referred to as 'atypical depression'. The name is a misnomer, since 40% of depression cases are some variant of atypical (making it the most common variety).

Enough of the fancy talk though - you asked a question: Is it possible to be miserable to the extent that absolutely nothing matters anymore, and you spend every waking moment despairing of life, and yet still successfully follow diet program?

Yes!

It is absolutely possible to be miserable and successful, but the cards are stacked against you, so it's going to take some extra work on your end. And some light rewiring.

WATCH-ME-SHRINK brought up a great point. Distractions. Have a hobby. Have 6 if you can. Spend time reading, and bowling and riding horses - find a creative outlet, and spend time out with your friends - even when you don't want to. Find something that brings you any small amount of joy or pleasure, because sometimes, you can put up enough distraction to take the edge off the pain - even forget about it for a moment. Stay busy, and keep your mind active. it's the quiet and non-productive moments that bring the pain back in full force.

Try not to think about being depressed. I know that's like telling someone to "Try not to think about elephants," but the more you dwell on your depression, the worse it will get.

Decide what your goal is, and why. Figure out the path you want to take, and internalize it. Before you even begin, treat your unwanted behaviors (eating cake, for example) with the same seriousness, fear and respect you'd treat a more classic addiction (heroin, for example).

You have to approach self change with absolute and immutable zealotry. You have to be in, 1500% - because the road is a lot longer than you think it's going to be.

From here, I'll share what got me started, but hopefully you've got better ideas. There is no positive motivation in my life. No hope for a better tomorrow. I'm already miserable, I shouldn't have to add fat to that.

The only reason I haven't killed myself is some combination of cowardice, a strong ethical aversion to taking life, a belief that no matter how bad this is, this is all there is, and an irrational fear that reincarnation might be a real thing and that suicide is merely a temporary solution to a permanent problem.

For lack of other tools, I channeled my raw hatred and disgust at my state of fitness and my appearance into resolve to change. I hated myself for every doughnut and every pizza, and every french fry. I hated myself for being fat, and for being too lazy to do something about it for all of those years.

I used all of that as the fire to keep me on the plan during induction. And as I started losing weight, I stepped up the levels of exercise, and moved to a sunny desert climate so that I could design my life around fitness.

it's the same thing that allowed me to quit smoking: An absolute unwavering unshakable zealotry that consumes my every thought night and day (at first, I sometimes think about other things now). I learned to recognize the initial discomfort as my punishment for eating wrong all these years, and to this day I refuse to allow myself to even think about eating carby foods. I will literally shout the idea out of my head, until it passes. I lock down every thought that might jeopardize my success. If you fantasize about pizza all day, you will eventually find an excuse to eat it.

I follow a simple set of rules, without any room for error: 20 carbs. No sugar. No starch. No culinary fruit (apples are out, bell peppers are in).

After a while, HFLC became a habit.

I've lost 50 pounds so far. I'm still depressed, and profoundly alone. But the improvements to my weight, musculature, and joint health have made it so much easier for me to get out and about - to engage in those distractions. I feel less intensely depressed, and things seem to be getting better all the time.

So to summarize:

1. Plan.
2. Commit.
3. Act.
4. Follow through
5. Repeat.

I can't say for sure what will work for you, but for me, it takes absolute commitment, and unshakable mental discipline. I had to be willing to abandon all excuses, and follow my plan to the letter - anything less isn't worth the effort.

I wish you all the success in the world. It won't be easy, but that's what makes it rewarding.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:56 PM   #6
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Because you mentioned suicide you have to see your doctor NOW. If you don't have a Psychiatrist call your GP and have them refer you, call someone and let them know it's urgent.

Your symptoms do not sound like general depression or even dysthymia. Those are all symptoms that indicate bi-polar disorder. (as well as a host of others, but since I'm bi-polar I know the list pretty well) Only a qualified Psychiatrist can tell you; not your GP.

I can also tell you that if you do have bi-polar disorder or any other psychiatric illness all the diets, exercise and positive thoughts in the world will not make it go away. You need a course of treatment devised by a qualified doctor.

Please go NOW. It will be the best thing you ever did for yourself.

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Old 01-18-2013, 08:42 AM   #7
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The frightening thing about my depression is that it does not always respond to medication. I have been on about six different antidepressants since 2002. The one I'm on seems to be working fairly well, but I think that's because I've added significant exercise and changed my diet. Still, I have bouts of depression that affect me significantly and I seem to be having one now. I see a psychiatrist regularly (once a month). I think it's possible that I may have some form of bipolar disorder or that I would benefit from a mood stabilizer, but after taking my psychological profile, the doctor feels that my problems stem from major depression and that we should try that route first. I also have a learning disorder, so sometimes these things compound each other, and that is when I am most vulnerable to thoughts about death and suicide. So, I'm already "on edge" because of depression, then I get lost in my house, loose something (which happens several times a day) or struggle with an academic assignment, and that makes me so angry that I fantasize about dying. (I don't really think that dying would be a good solution and I'm not planning to hurt myself, but those are the thoughts that go through my head, which is scary.)

Usually exercise works as an anti-depressant, but sometimes I get so down that it's hard to do it. I've also noticed that its ameliorating affects are only significant if I exercise excessively, for more than an hour a day. This concerns me, as I obviously don't have the time to do that when I'm in school/working.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:13 AM   #8
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My heart aches for you as I also have been there. I am dignosed as bipolar and quite frankly, that diagnosis saved my life. Before that I was treated only for depression and spiraling lower and lower. I attempted suicide and was put in a psyche ward before getting the correct diagnosis and correct treatment.
Like you, I went through so may anti-depressants trying to find the "right" one.

A few questions for you: Does your psy dr know how bad things really are, or are you glossing over it? It's hard to tell someone exactly how bad things have gotten but you have to in order to receive the right help.

Do you have any kind of support network? And, if so, are you honest with them as well? Again, it's hard as we all wear the mask that Z mentioned above.

Are you doing anything to try to sleep? You stated above you aren't sleeping. This is especially bad for someone who is struggling. Have you tried sleep aids, or melatonin, or anything at all? Does your psy dr know you aren't sleeping?

For me, I had a death wish. I engaged in irrational and dangerous behaviors and wanted to die/ kill someone/ have sex/ be violent/ was paranoid/ and insomniac all at the same time.
Gettign on the right meds made life worth living for me. It took time and several different combos of meds to find what worked for me, but it finally did.

Please don't give up on your self. You, unfortunately, have to be your own advocate when it comes to mental health. If it's not working, you have the right to demand something that will work, as hard as that might be.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:25 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Lucy1018 View Post
I'm sure that anyone who has experienced depression knows what I'm talking about-the mood swings, the weepiness, the anxiety, the fatigue, the insomnia, the the self-deprecation, the anger, the
irritability, the difficulty concentrating, thoughts about death and suicide, and the general feeling that you are swimming through oceans of mud and/or that someone is sitting on your chest. It's a horrible disease that I would not wish upon my worst enemy.
I know exactly what you mean. As a long-term sufferer of depression, I can say that I've had almost all of these symptoms. The big ones I used to experience were weepiness and anxiety. I would cry myself to sleep. My mind would invent things to cry about and it would distort reality into sadness. It would take happy things and turn them into sad things. Depression is really messed up.

I may be one of those lucky people, but starting on generic prozac several years ago caused all my symptoms to subside and I felt like the real me again. I have been using the generic version of prozac for years now and I do not have, and never did have, any side effects. I take 1/4th the recommended dose (the recommended dose is 20mg/day). I take 10mg every other day and that is enough to eliminate all the depression symptoms for me.

I would recommend that you get a prescription for generic prozac or a similar drug until you are able to address possibly underlying causes for your depression. I tend to believe (unlike many doctors) that depression is caused by an underlying health problem, such as hypothyroid or something.

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Originally Posted by Lucy1018 View Post
Anyway, I have had horrible insomnia for the last few days. I cannot seem to go to sleep at night, and therefore miss half the day when I finally get so exhausted that I "pass out" at 4AM.
This sounds like chronic stress and anxiety rolled up into one. If you start on generic prozac or something similar, I believe this will help you immensely and you will feel a lot like your old self again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucy1018 View Post
...my serotonin and doapmine levels drop precipitously during a bout of depression...
Wait, how do you know that is going on? Have you done some type of test that shows that your serotonin and dopamine levels are dropping? If so, what is the name of the test?
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:29 AM   #10
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The frightening thing about my depression is that it does not always respond to medication. I have been on about six different antidepressants since 2002. The one I'm on seems to be working fairly well, but I think that's because I've added significant exercise and changed my diet. Still, I have bouts of depression that affect me significantly and I seem to be having one now. I see a psychiatrist regularly (once a month). I think it's possible that I may have some form of bipolar disorder or that I would benefit from a mood stabilizer, but after taking my psychological profile, the doctor feels that my problems stem from major depression and that we should try that route first. I also have a learning disorder, so sometimes these things compound each other, and that is when I am most vulnerable to thoughts about death and suicide. So, I'm already "on edge" because of depression, then I get lost in my house, loose something (which happens several times a day) or struggle with an academic assignment, and that makes me so angry that I fantasize about dying. (I don't really think that dying would be a good solution and I'm not planning to hurt myself, but those are the thoughts that go through my head, which is scary.)

Usually exercise works as an anti-depressant, but sometimes I get so down that it's hard to do it. I've also noticed that its ameliorating affects are only significant if I exercise excessively, for more than an hour a day. This concerns me, as I obviously don't have the time to do that when I'm in school/working.
This sounds like an underlying health problem. Have you run a lot of different blood tests? Have you had a full thyroid panel? Have you tested for vitamin deficiencies?

When did your depression begin? Did anything in your life change that may have triggered it?

Of the medications you have tried, was prozac one of them?
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Lucy1018 View Post
The frightening thing about my depression is that it does not always respond to medication. I have been on about six different antidepressants since 2002. The one I'm on seems to be working fairly well, but I think that's because I've added significant exercise and changed my diet. Still, I have bouts of depression that affect me significantly and I seem to be having one now. I see a psychiatrist regularly (once a month). I think it's possible that I may have some form of bipolar disorder or that I would benefit from a mood stabilizer, but after taking my psychological profile, the doctor feels that my problems stem from major depression and that we should try that route first. I also have a learning disorder, so sometimes these things compound each other, and that is when I am most vulnerable to thoughts about death and suicide. So, I'm already "on edge" because of depression, then I get lost in my house, loose something (which happens several times a day) or struggle with an academic assignment, and that makes me so angry that I fantasize about dying. (I don't really think that dying would be a good solution and I'm not planning to hurt myself, but those are the thoughts that go through my head, which is scary.)

Usually exercise works as an anti-depressant, but sometimes I get so down that it's hard to do it. I've also noticed that its ameliorating affects are only significant if I exercise excessively, for more than an hour a day. This concerns me, as I obviously don't have the time to do that when I'm in school/working.
I'm so glad to hear you are working on it with your psychiatrist.

From my experience I tend to try and gloss over the depression symptoms when expressing them verbally. I keep telling myself "it's not as bad as I think, it will be better tomorrow and I don't want to get anyone all worried about me." Meanwhile I can hardly keep up the struggle inside.

My current cocktail of antidepressants/mood stabilizer has started to not work as good as it used to so I'm having to see the PDoc every 4 weeks to try a new combination until it's right. It was really hard to go through the list and say "yes" to the "have you been down?" "do you have feelings of worthlessness?" questions.

So, I have a new combination of pills to take and one new pill to add to the mix and I hope this will be the winner. If not, we'll try again next month.

BTW, I was at first diagnosed as major depressive disorder and the Pdoc I was seeing at the time kept upping the dosage of my antidepressant until it was WAY pass the recommended dosage. Thank God my pharmacist noticed and said something to me about it. It's a long story, but the short version is that it kicked off a year long serious manic episode and after that there was no denying I was bi-polar and had been bi-polar all the time. Finally found a great Pdoc and we've worked really hard to keep me "normal" ever since.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:12 PM   #12
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My heart aches for you as I also have been there. I am dignosed as bipolar and quite frankly, that diagnosis saved my life. Before that I was treated only for depression and spiraling lower and lower. I attempted suicide and was put in a psyche ward before getting the correct diagnosis and correct treatment.
Like you, I went through so may anti-depressants trying to find the "right" one.

A few questions for you: Does your psy dr know how bad things really are, or are you glossing over it? It's hard to tell someone exactly how bad things have gotten but you have to in order to receive the right help.

Do you have any kind of support network? And, if so, are you honest with them as well? Again, it's hard as we all wear the mask that Z mentioned above.

Are you doing anything to try to sleep? You stated above you aren't sleeping. This is especially bad for someone who is struggling. Have you tried sleep aids, or melatonin, or anything at all? Does your psy dr know you aren't sleeping?

For me, I had a death wish. I engaged in irrational and dangerous behaviors and wanted to die/ kill someone/ have sex/ be violent/ was paranoid/ and insomniac all at the same time.
Gettign on the right meds made life worth living for me. It took time and several different combos of meds to find what worked for me, but it finally did.

Please don't give up on your self. You, unfortunately, have to be your own advocate when it comes to mental health. If it's not working, you have the right to demand something that will work, as hard as that might be.
I know exactly what you are saying, with the addition of spending lots and lots of money!

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Old 01-18-2013, 06:08 PM   #13
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Well, I definitely have the spending money issue, and have mentioned it to my psychiatrist. He seems to feel that as long as I did not go and buy a boat, a new house, or whatever, it's not a symptom of bipolar disorder. I'm not sure-after all, I'm on public assistance so I barely have any money anyway-maybe if I had more money I would go buy a boat.(Maybe not-I just don't know.) Right now I tend to buy small things-accessories, ornaments, food, DVDs, the movies, etc. A lot of my spending occurs because I feel down and buying stuff helps me feel "up" at least temporarily.

Unfortunately, the one psychiatrist who suggested that I might be bipolar in 2002 also told me to take lamictal, which I regarded as a very dangerous medication-people can get Stephen's Johnson syndrome from it, which is basically a flesh-eating rash that causes your body to "burn" from the inside out. I only knew of one other person who took it-a child with a very severe seizure disorder whose parents agonized over that decision, so I thought she was being reckless and didn't go back to her.But, now I'm at the point that I'm willing to try it. I know some people who have tried it and had good results. I've mentioned that to my psychiatrist as well, and he said he'd try it if the anti-depressants didn't work.

I did try Prozac in 1999 during a sudden depressive episode, and it did help. I've mentioned that, too, but the doctors I've spoken to have said that I should take something less sedating. I have told my psychiatrist about my more severe symptoms, including my thoughts related to death and my anger, but they haven't been *as* severe these last few months, so I've said that, too. That is also frustrating me-I had a six month period in which my symptoms were in remission. I wouldn't say I'm incapacitated at the moment (which was what was going on before this remission), but the symptoms are bad enough to be bothersome. To complicate matters, I, like Z, think for a living. (Or, at least I think for my occupation-I'm a grad student and I don't have a job yet). I write papers and present them at conferences, and I anticipate doing this for the rest of my life in addition to teaching at the collegiate level. So, I NEED to be able to use my brain, which is hard to do when I feel like I'm thinking through a thick fog.

I am fortunate to have familial support. I live at home right now and have lived in apartments that my parents pay the rent for. At home I pretty much don't have to worry about things like food, cooking, and doing my laundry-my parents do that. Sometimes, when I was living in my apartment, I wouldn't be able to clean up after myself or do any laundry due to being depressed, and my apartment would get so disgusting that I felt like I was living in my own personal hell. I do do chores now, but it's hard to do too much without prompting.

I am happy that I've managed to get some control over my eating habits-I started doing this when I first experienced a relative let-up in symptoms in March, 2012. May was even better and I was able to stick with my diet for several months. I'm still doing that, but it's been more of a struggle lately.

I don't have any way of knowing that my dopamine or seretonin levels drop during a bout of depression, but I have noticed a strong correlation between the ingestion of carbohydrates and brief periods of being able to think much more clearly and feel much better. (This only works if it's a periodic thing-I've noticed that eating refined carbs for several days exacerbates depressive symptoms.) Since I know that carbs trigger the release of Serotonin and other "feel good" chemicals, my hypothesis is that my body's levels of serotonin are low, and that's why it desperately desires carbs.

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Old 01-18-2013, 06:51 PM   #14
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I've been taking Lamictal for around 10 years. I do have to let my doctor know if I get a rash, but the chance for adults to get a dangerous rash is less than 1%. I have to say it made all the difference in the world for me. Antidepressants kick off a manic episode so the Lamictal keeps that in check.

I was put on Topomax first, but the side effects were really bad. Now I understand why it's also known as "Stupidmax" because it really makes you stupid.

BTW, before my bipolar was diagnosed I was making a ton of money but I spent it on lots of things. I bought a special edition Miata, over the internet. I did always want a convertable. I went to Paris 3 times as well as London and Dublin on one of those trips and I took friends with me, as in paid all expenses for one and lots of expenses for the others. At the end of it all, I had to file bankruptcy so I wouldn't lose my house.

My year long manic episode was a wild ride!
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:01 AM   #15
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Lucy, do you take any supplements? I've been reading a lot lately about magnesium deficiency, and how common it is. One of the main symptoms of it is depression. The article I read goes on to say the antidepressants can make the magnesium deficiency worse.
Certainly your doctor could run a simple blood test to see if any of your minerals are off. But it's simple to add a supplement to your diet to see if it makes any difference. Good luck, and I hope you get this worked out soon!

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Old 01-19-2013, 08:21 AM   #16
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Lucy

If you are leery of meds, perhaps try reading "The Mood Cure". The science in the book says that moods and brain disfunctions are based on amino acid deficiencies. I know I have seen HUGE differences in my mood by supplementing with some if the things suggested. It's worth a read.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:31 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Lucy1018 View Post
Well, I definitely have the spending money issue, and have mentioned it to my psychiatrist. He seems to feel that as long as I did not go and buy a boat, a new house, or whatever, it's not a symptom of bipolar disorder. I'm not sure-after all, I'm on public assistance so I barely have any money anyway-maybe if I had more money I would go buy a boat.(Maybe not-I just don't know.) Right now I tend to buy small things-accessories, ornaments, food, DVDs, the movies, etc. A lot of my spending occurs because I feel down and buying stuff helps me feel "up" at least temporarily.

Unfortunately, the one psychiatrist who suggested that I might be bipolar in 2002 also told me to take lamictal, which I regarded as a very dangerous medication-people can get Stephen's Johnson syndrome from it, which is basically a flesh-eating rash that causes your body to "burn" from the inside out. I only knew of one other person who took it-a child with a very severe seizure disorder whose parents agonized over that decision, so I thought she was being reckless and didn't go back to her.But, now I'm at the point that I'm willing to try it. I know some people who have tried it and had good results. I've mentioned that to my psychiatrist as well, and he said he'd try it if the anti-depressants didn't work.

I did try Prozac in 1999 during a sudden depressive episode, and it did help. I've mentioned that, too, but the doctors I've spoken to have said that I should take something less sedating. I have told my psychiatrist about my more severe symptoms, including my thoughts related to death and my anger, but they haven't been *as* severe these last few months, so I've said that, too. That is also frustrating me-I had a six month period in which my symptoms were in remission. I wouldn't say I'm incapacitated at the moment (which was what was going on before this remission), but the symptoms are bad enough to be bothersome. To complicate matters, I, like Z, think for a living. (Or, at least I think for my occupation-I'm a grad student and I don't have a job yet). I write papers and present them at conferences, and I anticipate doing this for the rest of my life in addition to teaching at the collegiate level. So, I NEED to be able to use my brain, which is hard to do when I feel like I'm thinking through a thick fog.

I am fortunate to have familial support. I live at home right now and have lived in apartments that my parents pay the rent for. At home I pretty much don't have to worry about things like food, cooking, and doing my laundry-my parents do that. Sometimes, when I was living in my apartment, I wouldn't be able to clean up after myself or do any laundry due to being depressed, and my apartment would get so disgusting that I felt like I was living in my own personal hell. I do do chores now, but it's hard to do too much without prompting.

I am happy that I've managed to get some control over my eating habits-I started doing this when I first experienced a relative let-up in symptoms in March, 2012. May was even better and I was able to stick with my diet for several months. I'm still doing that, but it's been more of a struggle lately.

I don't have any way of knowing that my dopamine or seretonin levels drop during a bout of depression, but I have noticed a strong correlation between the ingestion of carbohydrates and brief periods of being able to think much more clearly and feel much better. (This only works if it's a periodic thing-I've noticed that eating refined carbs for several days exacerbates depressive symptoms.) Since I know that carbs trigger the release of Serotonin and other "feel good" chemicals, my hypothesis is that my body's levels of serotonin are low, and that's why it desperately desires carbs.
Your situation sounds quite complex, to be honest, and we folks on the forums are not aware of your entire previous medical history and I'm sure most of us do not have a medical degree and are therefore not qualified to advise further. I know I'm not. But that 6 month remission makes me wonder what caused it.

I'm in the same place you are regarding money. But I'd suggest that you gradually do various testing to see if you have any problems that can be picked up via blood tests (squirrel some money away each month and then get a series of tests run). I'm going to be doing that myself: the next test I'm going to get done will be a full thyroid panel.

Do some research on what can cause serotonin and dopamine levels to drop/increase. That might provide some clues for what is going on that could be causing your symptoms.

You mentioned that a doctor told you prozac causes a sedative effect. Is that just the doctor's opinion or was that your experience while taking prozac?

My opinion is that you should be taking some type of medication or herbal supplement to help you deal with your symptoms until you can figure out what is causing them, and then deal with the cause.
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:29 PM   #18
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Unfortunately, the only way to find the right medication is to keep trying them. Often in varying combinations. In my first two years of treatment I tried almost 20 different medications. A couple of years after that, my diagnosis was changed and I've tried even more. I've felt like crap most of the time and although I am the best I have been in many years, I still have many bad days. I've been suicidal in the past, but not recently.

Original diagnosis: Bipolar 2 and anxiety
Current diagnosis: ADHD, Atypical Major Depression, General and Social Anxiety

I take 5 prescriptions and a boatload of supplements. I've been low carb for over 18 months, and I haven't broken ketosis since last October. I've lost about 50 pounds. I haven't exercised at all, but I probably would feel better if I did. I manage to leave my house two or three times a week.

I've said all of this so that my advice to you has good context and so that you know I understand how bad it is.

1 - Be at your worst when you talk to your doc. Do not soften or be delicate about anything. A good doc will assume you are being honest, but sometimes you have to make them believe it is as bad as you tell them it is.

2 - Carb binging may make you feel good in a moment, but for me it wasn't worth the cumulative damage to my moods and body. Once my body adjusted, I feel better without them. Yes, it sucked for a couple of months. Despite what pop science media say, we know surprisingly little about how brain chemistry works. If you don't want to go low carb, that is fine, but choose one way or the other honestly. Because if you try to hold yourself to a standard you haven't fully committed to you are setting yourself up for more misery. Either way, it is important not to punish yourself for either missing a goal or for something you can't control. Better to say "I'll do better tomorrow" than "I screwed up today, bad bad me."

3 - Educate yourself as much as possible. Learn the why's and facts and choose a specific program and do it right, at least to start. Look at mental health message boards and learn about medications, but remember that you are usually hearing the worst about any med or situation so keep an open mind. Doctors are people too, and they aren't always up to date and can be wrong. Most people don't find prozac sedating (I did a little but I'm not normal and find nearly everything sedating because of the ADHD).

4 - Supplementing with magnesium (glycinate in my case), vitamin D (I had astonishingly low levels), and most especially Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-l-Carnitine (OMG no brain fog for the first time in over 10 years). None of these should interfere with any prescription drugs. If you are going to be taking any prescriptions, do not take St. John's Wort, 5-HTP, or l-Tryptophan. They can all interact very badly with antidepressants. Someone above mentioned magnesium deficency and antidepressants. Don't not take an antidepressant because of that. It isn't conclusively proven or even widely studied, and magnesium is easy to supplement. Because it sounds like you need an antidepressant more than you need internet advice. And correcting any mag deficiency I had hasn't cured me of depression, but my muscles are looser and my Restless Leg hasn't bothered me in months.

5 - Last thing before I shut up, realize and accept that whatever way of eating or regimen of supplements and medications you adopt to help your moods and body, you will probably have to do for the rest of your life. One of the hardest things I've ever done was accept that I will always have to take medication in order to function even half as well as most people. And it isn't my fault, but there is nothing I can do to change that. So going on from there, accepting myself as I am, I have made more progress than I could have when I thought that maybe I could be fixed. All of which made it easier to accept that if I want to not be fat, I don't get to eat sugar and bread anymore. Google "radical acceptance" for good info.

Do what you need to do to take care of yourself, but most of the things that can help will take time. Sometimes the only difference is that you're miserable with hope of improvement instead of without hope. The trying is worth it.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:59 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solarpluvia View Post
Unfortunately, the only way to find the right medication is to keep trying them. Often in varying combinations. In my first two years of treatment I tried almost 20 different medications. A couple of years after that, my diagnosis was changed and I've tried even more. I've felt like crap most of the time and although I am the best I have been in many years, I still have many bad days. I've been suicidal in the past, but not recently.

Original diagnosis: Bipolar 2 and anxiety
Current diagnosis: ADHD, Atypical Major Depression, General and Social Anxiety

I take 5 prescriptions and a boatload of supplements. I've been low carb for over 18 months, and I haven't broken ketosis since last October. I've lost about 50 pounds. I haven't exercised at all, but I probably would feel better if I did. I manage to leave my house two or three times a week.

I've said all of this so that my advice to you has good context and so that you know I understand how bad it is.

1 - Be at your worst when you talk to your doc. Do not soften or be delicate about anything. A good doc will assume you are being honest, but sometimes you have to make them believe it is as bad as you tell them it is.

2 - Carb binging may make you feel good in a moment, but for me it wasn't worth the cumulative damage to my moods and body. Once my body adjusted, I feel better without them. Yes, it sucked for a couple of months. Despite what pop science media say, we know surprisingly little about how brain chemistry works. If you don't want to go low carb, that is fine, but choose one way or the other honestly. Because if you try to hold yourself to a standard you haven't fully committed to you are setting yourself up for more misery. Either way, it is important not to punish yourself for either missing a goal or for something you can't control. Better to say "I'll do better tomorrow" than "I screwed up today, bad bad me."

3 - Educate yourself as much as possible. Learn the why's and facts and choose a specific program and do it right, at least to start. Look at mental health message boards and learn about medications, but remember that you are usually hearing the worst about any med or situation so keep an open mind. Doctors are people too, and they aren't always up to date and can be wrong. Most people don't find prozac sedating (I did a little but I'm not normal and find nearly everything sedating because of the ADHD).

4 - Supplementing with magnesium (glycinate in my case), vitamin D (I had astonishingly low levels), and most especially Alpha Lipoic Acid and Acetyl-l-Carnitine (OMG no brain fog for the first time in over 10 years). None of these should interfere with any prescription drugs. If you are going to be taking any prescriptions, do not take St. John's Wort, 5-HTP, or l-Tryptophan. They can all interact very badly with antidepressants. Someone above mentioned magnesium deficency and antidepressants. Don't not take an antidepressant because of that. It isn't conclusively proven or even widely studied, and magnesium is easy to supplement. Because it sounds like you need an antidepressant more than you need internet advice. And correcting any mag deficiency I had hasn't cured me of depression, but my muscles are looser and my Restless Leg hasn't bothered me in months.

5 - Last thing before I shut up, realize and accept that whatever way of eating or regimen of supplements and medications you adopt to help your moods and body, you will probably have to do for the rest of your life. One of the hardest things I've ever done was accept that I will always have to take medication in order to function even half as well as most people. And it isn't my fault, but there is nothing I can do to change that. So going on from there, accepting myself as I am, I have made more progress than I could have when I thought that maybe I could be fixed. All of which made it easier to accept that if I want to not be fat, I don't get to eat sugar and bread anymore. Google "radical acceptance" for good info.

Do what you need to do to take care of yourself, but most of the things that can help will take time. Sometimes the only difference is that you're miserable with hope of improvement instead of without hope. The trying is worth it.
Everything you say is true and excellent advice.
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:15 PM   #20
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I'm feeling a little better today, likely because I've managed to re-start my intense exercising. I do take a multi-vitamin, a magnesium supplement, a B12 supplement, and an omega 3 supplement regularly. I haven't tried ALA, but I am working with a nutritionist at school, so I'll ask her about it.

Right now I've been doing Atkins induction (Although I've cheated a little bit with some nuts) and I think that's helped with the carb cravings, but they're still pretty strong. My doctor gave me something for anxiety, which I'm hoping will help. I'm really hoping that the stress of school isn't going to exacerbate my already fragile state-I start on Tuesday.
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