I normally like to post on this blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So why did I miss last Friday and this Monday?
Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say I had some personal obstacles that prevented me from keeping to my self-imposed posting schedule. But misfortunes happen all the time– so why was I not able to deal with life so easily this past weekend?
Well, when you suffer from depression, it’s hard to bounce back from things like you normally would. Hence this post about how I go about treating my own episodes of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Like the acronym implies, seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that one suffers usually during the winter months when there is not as much sunlight outside.
Without fail, every winter, I get really depressed. Frankly, it’s easier for me to come out as open and bisexual than it is to admit that I suffer depression secondary to bipolar disorder. Why is that?
I really believe in sharing how I make healthy choices in life, in the hopes that someone out there reading this can perhaps help themselves in their own challenges. And if that means facing social stigmas regarding mental illness, then so be it.
OK, so how did I bounce back once I realized I was feeling depressed and needed to do something about it?
- Natural Stacks Serotonin Brain Food has really been a godsend for me. The recommended dose is 3 capsules but I take one capsule every few hours instead of all 3 at once. It contains all the precursors for natural serotonin production so my body can produce it on its own vs. just depending on an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor– common class of antidepressants) that leaves me feeling sleepy. Natural Stacks also has a Dopamine product but since I generally run high in dopamine, I don’t think that product would help me personally. I trend high in dopamine and low in serotonin– I’m very ambitious/high-achieving/excitement-driven but also somewhat restless/anxious/irritable. The Serotonin Brain Food leaves me feeling calm and content with the present moment. I’m better able to access all the mindfulness tools that I have developed with my cognitive-behavioral therapy over the past decade or so.
- Now Niacinamide has also helped me feel my best. I read somewhere that niacin deficiency is implicated in bipolar disorder— so, being the biohacker that I am, I decided to give it a try and found that I did indeed feel better after taking it. I will often cycle between this and the Serotonin Brain Food to boost my mood. If you don’t have a niacin deficiency, then you most likely will get red/flush skin– so if you just have depression but no niacin deficiency, then you can skip this one. But since I apparently have a deficiency, I never get flush. This product also advertises “no flush” so just see what works for you.
- Plus CBD Oil is another thing I take on occasion to feel better. There is no THC in this so there’s no psychoactive affects– totally legal to buy in almost any state or country. You get all the benefits of marijuana (the calm, happy feeling) without the high. I like to use the total plant complex (it’s part of my general holistic approach to plants/life) spray sublingually. My one issue with this is that I don’t like that it leaves me feeling… er… more frisky than usual– so I try to take it on a weekly vs. daily schedule. The other aforementioned products I take on a daily basis when there’s no sun outside and I’m feeling blue.
- Sunlight! This one is a freebie– whenever it stops raining here in SF, I try to get as much sun exposure as I can. Low-intensity cardio walking with my dog in the sun always leaves me feeling cheerful.
- People. Surrounding myself with friends and loved ones helps me get through the hard times– it’s really difficult to set up hangouts with friends when all I want is to lie in bed but I always try to power through that initiation challenge since I know in the end I’ll be a happier person.
If you suffer from depression, seasonal affective disorder, or bipolar, then try some or all of these out and see if they help you!