Finding your fuel.

I want to preface this post with encouraging any of you who are struggling with your mental health to see a therapist or psychiatrist.  Medicine (if needed) and CBT make such a positive impact.  What I’m going to talk about is to be done alongside therapeutic interventions.  

Okay, so anyway, one of the most effective things I have done for combating my depression is to try a variety of different tools.  I have had my anxiety and OCD for so long now, I know how to deal with it.  I know what will help certain triggers and what will decrease the severity and frequency of attacks.  I like to joke that I know them better than I know myself.  

My depression, though?  Totally knew territory.  I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t acknowledge it as depression until about three years ago.  I often feel like I have very little control.  Depression sneaks up on you and then beats you down.  However, I decided during one particularly difficult low that I was going to figure out my terrain.  What works for me?  What can I do to try to lessen this burden?  Is candle shopping really the answer or am I just keeping Yankee Candle in business?

Well, I’ll tell you. 

There was a lot of back and forth at first.  Some of the stuff I tried, like treating myself to lunch or leaning in to the anhedonia, only seemed to make it worse.  I realized that I was focusing too much on the depression itself and less on self care.

I started reading about alternative ways  help your brain.  I noticed that my depression took a nosedive after eating certain foods, a few of them foods that I ate often.  Anything with a lot of grease is bad news for me.  Corn is also not great for my brain.  I decided to chart what I was eating and how I was feeling afterward.  

You guys, this made SUCH a difference.  I noticed that the cleaner I ate, the less depressed I was.   Let me be clear, though…

I still struggle with depression daily.  However, getting the right fuel in me helps me take a step back and acknowledge what is depressive thinking and what is constructive thinking.  I have energy now, but I still take every Sunday to lay in bed all day, knowing that I need to set myself up for a good week.   Do I eat clean every meal?  No, but just finding foods that help is doing so much good.  

If you think you need something else on top of therapy or medicine, like I do, I strongly suggest charting food and mood.  Find out what foods are inhibiting or helping your brain to function at its best. Maybe I can’t have corn, but you can.  Play around!  Cook!  

Also, there is some really interesting research that links beets with less depression.  I hate beets (if I wanted to eat dirt, I’d eat dirt) but I buy those applesauce (baby food?) pouches that have beets in them to get my daily beets in.  You barely taste them, and how could getting more beets have a downside?

Knowing the right fuel for you is like knowing the right fuel for your car.  If I put diesel into my little Yaris, it would be bad news.  It is just as important to know your fuel.

Let me know how it goes for you.  I love hearing feedback!

  

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