Depression and alternative treatments

Posted by Gary, Volunteer Mentor @gman007, Jan 18, 2018

I am certain this has been discussed previously, but thought I would jump start a discussion to see what I can learn. I suffer from clinical depression and mine is certainly affected by seasons and the immediate aftermath of the holidays and combination of many short, cloudy days are my worst season. It became obvious with my last visit to my psychiatrist that it was time for me to change providers. The fact of the matter in my area is that it is very easy to get an appointment with a bad Psych and a very long wait to see a good one. I was a bit discouraged that I thought there was help out there, but that I may not be able to access it for several months, so…I have started reading and practicing Mindfulness: An eight week plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. If you had known me 15 years ago you would have heard me compare meditation to voodoo, probably unfavorably. I was not impressed by any claims made toward alternative treatment for anything. I have always imagined the worst of every situation and my perception and imagination would have produced Armageddon years ago. My thinking was that even if mindfulness did not have a positive effect on my depression, it may help my near and long-term outlook. I am only one week in, but I can already see times where my reaction to something that may have made me more depressed have not had that effect at all. I don’t know if everyone else will have the same experience, but it is something that those of who have battled this debilitating disease can do proactively that does not include a new medicine. Please do not start this and stop taking any antidepressant or other anxiety medication before discussing with your doctor – for me, I see it as a complimentary approach to my disease.

@lafaye

Thank you for your post I live with depression and it’s taken a toll I hear voices and have hallucinations that is what depresses me too I went to mindful classes I didn’t find it too helpful meditation is totally out I’m sad to say
Because the voices are constantly talking and it’s hard to concentrate the only relief I get from them is when I sleep
Then I have nightmares. All that could be why I’m depressed I don’t know. You are right about having to change doctors some being good some being crap I have had both.

Jump to this post

I am sorry you have not found your answer yet, but I believe there is something out there that will work for each of us. May be meds or something else, but I refuse to believe it is not there and I pray you will find your “what helps”. I have been seeing some reports about “tapping”. Anyone have any experience or knowledge about this method of treating different maladies?

REPLY
@georgette12

I am trying to find a part time job. This is really a good way to maintain mental health, at least for me. I usually work in the helping field. I’ve found it rewarding even when working in alzheimer’s or hospice facilities, or with the developmentally disabled. I kind of seem to be able to work with people who are difficult to be around.

Jump to this post

I am glad you have that gift and are willing to share it. Seeing folks who may be in worse shape than you and being able to support them in any way is so very rewarding and eye opening. Please let us hear of some of your experiences either working or volunteering.

REPLY
@georgette12

I just subscribed. I am identifying with the concept of emotional safety.
Re volunteering. .. That saves me from really bad times because I am out of the house and helping others. I volunteer as much as possible. Currently as a crisis advocate for victims of domestic violence/sexual abuse. That’s usually the field I end up working in for volunteer. Mental health crisis, suicide. That is very weird because I have suffered all my life with mental health issues. I have not experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence, thank God. I do not find these jobs depressing although one would think I would.

Jump to this post

It is likely because you have personal experience that it does not have negative effects on you. I appreciate your willingness to take on the difficult task. My wife is a guidance counselor in a very low income elementary school and through years of experience, has learned to claim even the smallest victory to keep her sane and fulfilled. I came to the realization that I need to do the same because I am not likely to change anything world wide in my small circle. One reason I avoid the news most of the time because unless it is something where I can make a difference, I don’t need the negativity. I think I replied to another post, but we would love to hear you share some of your experiences.

REPLY

@gman007

I had not heard of tapping before but I did look it up on the internet and found this article,https://bebrainfit.com/tapping-anxiety-benefits/.

It appears to be like acupuncture, only you use your finger tips rather than needles. There are also some Youtube videos regarding this as well. TaiChi also uses tapping.

I would also be interested in knowing how many others have tried this.

Teresa

REPLY
@godsgirl1969

For those of you that read, The purpose driven life by Rick Warren is Awesome, and so is Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer, both helpful and encouraging!

Jump to this post

@gman007

We read an Advent devotional online by John Piper, which was very good. My wife and I are reading a book by Philip Yancey about prayer. We’ve read a couple of other books by him that were lighter reading, but this one is a bit more on the scholarly side.

“The Happiness Trap” by Russ Harris. It’s a mindfulness based guide to ACT – Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. His ideas are good, but I find that many of the books about creating a meaningful life, etc., tend to be quite simplistic. If only life could be done by following an approved formula.

Jim

REPLY
@godsgirl1969

For those of you that read, The purpose driven life by Rick Warren is Awesome, and so is Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer, both helpful and encouraging!

Jump to this post

I have read a couple of books by Yancey and enjoyed them. I am hard pressed to remember them right now. Unfortunately, I remember books as I read them and because of medications I take, not long afterwards. For a while I gave up reading books and would only read magazines, but I enjoy reading so much, I decided that the salient points would stick and I would enjoy the rest as I went. I don’t do well reading Piper, but love listening to his podcasts.

REPLY
@godsgirl1969

For those of you that read, The purpose driven life by Rick Warren is Awesome, and so is Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer, both helpful and encouraging!

Jump to this post

@jimhd

Jim, you’ve mentioned some good books and authors. I agree that creating a meaningful life cannot be done by a simplistic formula – there is no “one size fits all” in this type of work. Thanks for that reminder!

Teresa

REPLY
@godsgirl1969

For those of you that read, The purpose driven life by Rick Warren is Awesome, and so is Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer, both helpful and encouraging!

Jump to this post

@hopeful33250 So very true!

REPLY

My alternative treatment would be to have physically able to have continued working and believing there is a purpose. Even volunteering is not an option. age seems to have worsened the depression and anxiety. I would like to move somewhere without so much noise pollution and realistically this is not an option. Anyone living in an apartment complex understands this. Creaking floorboards day and night as well as yapping dogs are not pleasant. I tell myself I will adapt. It has been 7 years now and still have not done so. At least I can afford to keep a roof over my head, have food and can keep my utilities bills paid. One cannot realistically expect any more.

REPLY

I have done various types of treatments for depression and anxiety over the years. I’m 69 years old, and started talk therapy in groups when I was 26 years old. Because of my rough childhood, I was aware when my feelings began to make me take reckless chances with my life and others lives when I was angry. I stopped one day and even though I was afraid, I called a mental health lifeline and asked for help. They guided me to my first group therapy experience. I eventually also did one-on-one talk therapy, along with group therapy for years. In my 40s I was invited to take training and become a support group facilitator which I did for another 7 years. During all these years I still suffered from depression but learned ways to handle it better.

I also discovered Yoga during my early 30s, and used running to relieve my stress until I hurt my back. I returned to Yoga (Restorative Yoga) in my late 50s and found it tremendously helpful. I read every self-help book available, each of which helped for a while. I took EST Training (twice) in the late 1970s and it was tremendously helpful. Still, my depression returned and my anxiety never left. I suffered from panic attacks and anxirty all these years, never really handing it well.

In 1995, my husband and I moved from the high pressure corporate world of Silicon Valley, computer startups, constant change, and high salaries to a small Amish town in rural Missouri where we heard the clop, clop, clop of horses and buggies in exchange for semi trucks and highway noise. While there we declared bankruptcy at one point and I was mortified that we were no longer in the flush. We had started a bed and breakfast w/restaurant and were making no money. We finally closed the restaurant after I took a job outside our business, mostly for health insurance coverage. We broke even in the B&B after that, and stress went down again. I eventually took a job in a hospital close to town, and then my career took off again. I was offered a job in a town in Nebraska making 3 times more money, and I took it. We kept the B&B and had a young former Amish couple manage it. Then we moved to Nebraska. The hospital there was poorly managed, and I did not work well with my boss who was the VP. I was even more depressed and eventually we moved back to Missouri. I was so depressed I finally asked my GP doctor about antidepressants. He prescribed Citalopram, which took me a long time to titrate onto. I almost gave up.

I had been totally against medication to deal with depression so it was hard for me to even consider taking anything. But, when I adjusted to it, I felt so much better I was asking myself why i had put it off for so long. I now truly believe that certain chemical imbalances in the brain can make alternative treatments alone, ineffective. This is only my experience and it may be different for each person. I think the most effective treatments for depression include both medication and alternative treatment of some kind. I prefer group therapy and Restorative Yoga, as well as time spent in nature at the beach, in the mountains, in national parks, in art museums, etc. I love art and will be drawing and painting again after our move to our daughter’s new home. I have been addicted to Tramadol for the past year due to a back problem. I have noticed some occasional return of anxiety now that I’ve withdrawn from it. I’m hoping that over the next few months this will dissipate. I don’t want to change antidepressants as it’s a guess about which will work.

Please feel welcome to ask me any questions you may have about my experiences. I am not a medical professional, so I can only impart my experiences.

Gail B
Volunteer Mentor

REPLY

Any of the medications for depression did dreadful things. T’would have been nice if there could have been one that helped-even a little. Up to me to keep striving for quality of life. No one else can do thus for me.

REPLY
@gailb

I have done various types of treatments for depression and anxiety over the years. I’m 69 years old, and started talk therapy in groups when I was 26 years old. Because of my rough childhood, I was aware when my feelings began to make me take reckless chances with my life and others lives when I was angry. I stopped one day and even though I was afraid, I called a mental health lifeline and asked for help. They guided me to my first group therapy experience. I eventually also did one-on-one talk therapy, along with group therapy for years. In my 40s I was invited to take training and become a support group facilitator which I did for another 7 years. During all these years I still suffered from depression but learned ways to handle it better.

I also discovered Yoga during my early 30s, and used running to relieve my stress until I hurt my back. I returned to Yoga (Restorative Yoga) in my late 50s and found it tremendously helpful. I read every self-help book available, each of which helped for a while. I took EST Training (twice) in the late 1970s and it was tremendously helpful. Still, my depression returned and my anxiety never left. I suffered from panic attacks and anxirty all these years, never really handing it well.

In 1995, my husband and I moved from the high pressure corporate world of Silicon Valley, computer startups, constant change, and high salaries to a small Amish town in rural Missouri where we heard the clop, clop, clop of horses and buggies in exchange for semi trucks and highway noise. While there we declared bankruptcy at one point and I was mortified that we were no longer in the flush. We had started a bed and breakfast w/restaurant and were making no money. We finally closed the restaurant after I took a job outside our business, mostly for health insurance coverage. We broke even in the B&B after that, and stress went down again. I eventually took a job in a hospital close to town, and then my career took off again. I was offered a job in a town in Nebraska making 3 times more money, and I took it. We kept the B&B and had a young former Amish couple manage it. Then we moved to Nebraska. The hospital there was poorly managed, and I did not work well with my boss who was the VP. I was even more depressed and eventually we moved back to Missouri. I was so depressed I finally asked my GP doctor about antidepressants. He prescribed Citalopram, which took me a long time to titrate onto. I almost gave up.

I had been totally against medication to deal with depression so it was hard for me to even consider taking anything. But, when I adjusted to it, I felt so much better I was asking myself why i had put it off for so long. I now truly believe that certain chemical imbalances in the brain can make alternative treatments alone, ineffective. This is only my experience and it may be different for each person. I think the most effective treatments for depression include both medication and alternative treatment of some kind. I prefer group therapy and Restorative Yoga, as well as time spent in nature at the beach, in the mountains, in national parks, in art museums, etc. I love art and will be drawing and painting again after our move to our daughter’s new home. I have been addicted to Tramadol for the past year due to a back problem. I have noticed some occasional return of anxiety now that I’ve withdrawn from it. I’m hoping that over the next few months this will dissipate. I don’t want to change antidepressants as it’s a guess about which will work.

Please feel welcome to ask me any questions you may have about my experiences. I am not a medical professional, so I can only impart my experiences.

Gail B
Volunteer Mentor

Jump to this post

@gailb

I agree, finding the right med as well as alternative therapies, such as exercise programs, support groups, volunteering, etc. all make for a better life. Combination of treatments are important.

Teresa

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment