Saturday, November 6, 2010

Anti-depressants anyone?

I have struggled with depression pretty much my entire life. It's a frustrating phenomenon that has, at times, controlled my life. I have felt helpless as it descended upon me with no warning and no clear departure date, to bring me down and squash my spirit without my permission. Over the years, I have worked hard to learn good coping techniques to minimize depressions affects and damage on my life. Really, struggling with depression has been the catalyst for lots of great personal growth and wonderful learning opportunities. At the same time, I have felt so frustrated that no matter how hard I tried, I still fell prey to it's power over me. Recently and joyfully, I have noticed that depression has not been a very large part of my life at all these past 3-4 months.

Everyone has heard or read that exercise and healthy eating are wonderful tools to combat depression. Like most people who have heard this, I have only given these anti-depressants a "try" for short periods of time...then feel justified in using the excuse "well, exercise and healthy eating didn't work for MY depression" when I lost my steam and stopped trying. This time, however, has been much different. I committed at the beginning of this journey to NEVER GIVE UP until I reached my goal! I gave myself permission to trust myself to actually follow-through....and I've followed through knowing I could not let myself down.

I was so happy to come to the realization that my healthy lifestyle has kept my depression at bay! I have always been wary of pharmaceutical anti-depressants and so have never taken any, while wondering in the back of my head if I was making the wrong choice and furthering my suffering. Now, however, I know that I have the power to create my own anti-depressant lifestyle by exercising religiously (i.e. regularly) and heating healthfully with minimal junk.

I know and accept I will still have "downs" and that, like an alcoholic, I will always have depression looming over me in some way. I also know that I will always have the tools necessary to minimize and quicken any episodes that creep in. That knowledge gives me plenty of another one of the best non-pharmaceutical anti-depressants out there: HOPE.

If you struggle with depression, I challenge you to take control of your happiness by changing your lifestyle to include more daily exercise, lots of fresh healthy foods and minimal junk. Change the way you live, don't just "try"!

A healthy lifestyle truly is the very best anti-depressant there is!!

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