It has been two months since I last had an antidepressant, four months since I last took a full dose. And I still have withdrawal effects. I usually have about one a day, but lately I can sometimes get two or three days per week without symptoms. A friend recommend a book called The Mood Cure, which I immediately jumped on. I read it in two days, started following the diet by the next meal, and rushed out to buy the recommend supplements. I have a soft spot for alternative/nutritional cures.
When I was 19, I was diagnosed with a colon disease and put on a battery of medications. After a while they stopped working, so the doctor recommend I increase my dose. "You might have to take four in the morning and four at night, or five in the morning and five at night, or even six in the morning and six at night. Just keep increasing the dose until the symptoms go away." Six pills twice a day was twice the manufacturer's recommended amount. And the side effects of the medication were the same as the symptoms of the disease. I was floored. How long would I have to keep up this dosage? He didn't know. Would it ever go away? Probably not. What if I did nothing? I'd have cancer by my 30s or 40s. Frustrated and angry, I went to see a nutritionist my mom was raving about. I sat down and told her my diagnosis.
"Oh my husband had that," she said turning around to grab a reference book.
"What do you mean 'had that'? You can't get rid of it."
"Oh sure you can," she said, like I was complaining about an acne flair up.
She wrote out a diet and made a list of supplements for me. The diet was tough, no coffee, soda, alcohol (not that I was a big drinker at 19), whole grains, raw veggies, nuts, granola, chocolate (that was a tough one) and a few other things. I drank daily protein shakes, took fish oil pills, and had an intense probiotics lineup. One year later, I was completely cured. 100%. I occasionally get flair ups, especially when I'm pregnant, but I just go back on the diet and within a few weeks, I'm back to normal.
I tried all the doctor recommended alternatives for depression after my first three pregnancies (including the miscarriage), but, as you know, they aren't working this time around. I'm ready to get really alternative here, flirting with essential oils and wondering if I can stomach enough needles to try acupuncture, so after I read The Mood Cure, I was pretty stoked. So many symptoms of a deficient amino acid are things I've had my whole life and never know were related. The grinding of the teeth, the anemia, the hypoglycemia, migraines. If I lived in the "olden days," I'd be one of those women wasting away in her bedroom of "consumption." Or at least it feels like that sometimes. So I jumped into the deep end with both feet.
I woke up the next morning like a new woman, or, feeling more like myself than I have in a really long time. I was happy, like, really happy, I could hop out of bed in the morning instead of dragging, I skipped coffee and didn't even notice. I didn't lose my temper as I got Abigail ready and out the door to school. I handled Eleanor's terrible twos calmly. I was available for Theodore. It was amazing. I took my afternoon dose and was still on cloud 9. Until about 5pm. When I started having a bad reaction to one of the supplements. It got really bad. Matt had to take the next day off work because I couldn't get out of bed. It took a full 36 hours to recover. But I'm going to try again.
I'm not going to give up - the author acknowledges that some people do have a reaction and recommends a few alternatives. So I'm going to give myself another day to recover, then I'm going to try the supplements again, much smaller dose and one at a time until I can identify which one is bothering me. Then I'll eliminate the trouble-maker and try an alternative. I'm not giving up. I'm still praying Rosaries and reading Mother Theresa's book. I'll try everything I can think of, and if nothing works, I'll start over and try the list again. I can't resign myself to depression and I'm not ready to embrace an SSRI (at least not after 12 months after birth). I refuse to give up hope.