Did you know that in this country, over 20 percent of women over the age of 40 are taking some sort of prescription drug for depression and/or anxiety? You may be one of them; I was, too. Conquering depression was a huge victory for me.
I lived most of my adult life as a depressed person. Sometimes it was worse than others…fall was usually an awful time for me. Everything freezes and dies, the leaves fall off the trees, the days get shorter and it gets cold and dark. While I dealt with depression year round, now I know it most likely worsened at that time because I also suffered with Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD (also called “winter blues”). SAD affects many people here in the northeast. We are more prone to it than people living in the south or on the west coast, for example, where it’s usually warmer and sunnier during the fall and winter months.
In 2012, for health reasons that were affecting my husband, we decided to try to get him off the massive doses of a statin drug he had been taking for the past seven years. We began to eat in a completely different way in an effort to get his cholesterol under control without drugs. What happened to me over the next few months was completely accidental and was nothing short of a miracle!
What we did was to simplify our diet. We purged our pantry, refrigerator and freezer of all processed food. Everything in a box – gone; everything with preservatives – gone; everything with any type of sugar, artificial sweetener, or anything we couldn’t pronounce – gone.
We began eating fresh whole food; real food, and the change for us was truly dramatic. Over the next four to six months, we each lost 20 pounds without trying to diet. My husband’s cholesterol levels improved to where he stopped taking the statin drug. His HDL (good cholesterol) was up, his LDL (bad cholesterol) was down.
For me, one day we realized I was no longer depressed. I was in the process of selling the home in which I grew up. My parents were both gone, and it had to be done. It was a sad time for me, but…we realized…not a depressed time for me. I was appropriately sad, but not the depressed mess we had both been expecting me to be. As an aside, for those of you who have taken or are taking anti-depressants, you know they don’t make you happy, they just kind of level you off. That was a huge disappointment for me the first time I began taking them. I couldn’t wait for them to make me feel happy; it doesn’t work that way.
The big test was yet to come. I sold the house in the summer, and I still had fall and winter to confront. I passed the fall/winter test that year and have done so every year since. This fall is the fourth during which I have enjoyed the color of the leaves and the change in the weather. No depression here, which is amazing still.
I will tell you that while I was changing my diet, I found a couple of tools that helped me feel better during that first fall/winter as I had stopped taking antidepressants at that point. My diet change didn’t start until October, so I was still a bit challenged that first fall. I took SAMe (which is a clinically studied supplement that helps maintain a healthy mood) and I used a natural spectrum light, both which seemed to help me during that first transitional year. If you’d like to read more about them, here are links to what I used to help myself feel better during that time: http://ThinStrongHealthy.com/SAMe and http://ThinStrongHealthy.com/LightTherapy
There’s so much more about this transformation to share with you, and my TV show, “Thin Strong Healthy” on WestfordCat was inspired by my journey and my success from depression to living as a happy and slightly thinner person. I hope you’ll join me there as I share important health and wellness information designed to help you be and feel healthier, happier and more energetic in your life, too!
Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show Thin Strong Healthy airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com. Cheryl offers ongoing information and coaching to help you feel better and be healthier. She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.
Questions? Email Cheryl at [email protected] and be sure to put Health Question in the subject line. Your question and its answer will be included in a future article.