Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fighting the Healthy Battle

So that time of year has come - the one in which the days become more dark - along with my thoughts. Every year about this time, I get bipolar depression. Or perhaps I should call it seasonal affective disorder. Regardless of the name, it's very real. I become lethargic, I cry for no reason, and suicidal thoughts traipse through my brain. 

But that can't happen to me this year because I've got a full time job to hold down at the same time as taking Abnormal Psychology and an EMT training class. So what do I do? Preemptive strike!

First thing: give up caffeine. I always say: I'm not addicted to caffeine - I give it up all the time. And I will try, try again. Starting today, I will only drink one can of Diet Dew a day. At the end of August, I'll switch to one every other day. And at the end of September, I'm done. Part of my worry is that my teeth will rot out of my head. But I've also heard a lot of stories about how getting caffeine and aspartame out of your body does wonders for health and decreases anxiety. Let's try it out. 

Next: exercise. Now, I have a job where I'm scrubbing and lifting and squatting all day long. I'm exhausted when I get home. But I can exercise on Saturdays and Sundays. I plan on spending an hour or so each of these two days at the gym. Running and biking is the goal  - I can listen to my audiobooks while doing that. ;)

I've always promised myself I wouldn't become a pill-popper, but over the years I've added more and more supplements to my list. I'm going to ween it down to just a few - and make sure they're quality. My doctor tells me that most Minnesotans are low in Vitamin D, and that raising Vit D can help fight depression. Sure enough, when tested, I was low. I will start taking Cod Liver Oil each day - it's high in Vit D and is apparently the magical oil that fixes everything from brainpower to complexion. I will switch from the CVS brand of calcium (which is calcium carbonate) to one that uses calcium citrate. Apparently, this increases absorption. And I'm going to take an iron supplement because often when I go to the Red Cross they find that my hemoglobin is too low. 

That's it. Those, and my multi-vitamin tablet, is all I need. Get rid of all those extra, dubious supplements. 

Last but not least, I'm going to be like this woman - basking in a happy lamp each morning. I've never tried this out, but I hear it works wonders. It'll mean I have to get up a half hour earlier, but if it will save me from depression, it's worth it. 

The scientist in me is flinching switching so many variables at once - but I must ignore those anxieties and journey on. 


  1. I am so sorry to hear about your struggles with depression.

    It sounds like you are taking some really smart and healthy steps in your life.

    Eight years ago I changed my eating habits dramatically and began exercising regularly. It has made a huge difference in my life.

    Your post has reminded me of what is truly my last bad habit however, that is too much caffeine.

    Good luck and be well.

    1. Thanks Brian! It's good to have support. I have to admit, I'm doing a bad job of giving up caffeine so far. But there's always tomorrow. If I "fail" today I can still succeed tomorrow, right? :)

  2. I hope exercise and eating right will help you from depression. I think they have helped me over the years. Best wishes.

    1. Yeah, I hope so too. It would be a bad time for depression to hit.

  3. The 'blues' are real and can be so depressing ( can' think of better word). This year I stopped #NoSugar and #NoCoffee (blogpost dd 18 Oct 2015). I found that 'keeping a journal' and blogpost for 14 days ( initial struggles) was a great way to reach my goal and enjoy the occacional rant. Breaking a habit is difficult and a blogjournal post is helpful. You can't do it alone. Success with your 'preemptive strike"

    1. That's a fantastic idea. I'll have to think of something similar because I failed miserably at giving up caffeine. Going to white-knuckle it between semesters.