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HisMom
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15 Jun 2014, 9:19 pm

Aside from CBT, are there any non-medical interventions for serious depression ?


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tarantella64
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15 Jun 2014, 10:48 pm

Define "serious".



HisMom
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15 Jun 2014, 11:04 pm

tarantella64 wrote:
Define "serious".


MDD.


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O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
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That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.
At least I'm sure it may be so in "Denmark".

-- Hamlet, 1.5.113-116


Schneekugel
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16 Jun 2014, 5:36 am

It was not core part of my therapy against depressions, but part of my homeworks was to care for eating healthy, try to have some moderate movement and daylight, and forcing yourself to get into an normal sleep rythm again. But take in mind, that during a serious depression, your energy level is rather low, so dont overdue it. Healthy meal can as well be warming up something frozen (There are healthy frozen meals. ^^), for movement in daylight a simply small walk is sufficient, and working on a normal sleep rythm simply meant to shut down television/computer at a certain time, and go to bed. If you cant sleep, nothing bad about reading an comforting book in smooth light or whatever, but you should at least give your body the opportunity to rest. Reducing caffeine helped as well.

All of that is definitly not THE treatment of an serious depression, but are small things you can do on your own, to help your body chemistry a little bit. For the sleeping part, I needed for the first weeks some moderate sleeping helpers, but that was really of an help. (And was as well only plant for a minor time, to get my sleeping rythm into a pattern again. :) )



arielhawksquill
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16 Jun 2014, 7:32 am

I successfully treated a major depression in my 20s by getting up at dawn every day and going for a mile walk. (Morning light is thought to stimulate the production of serotonin, and is a part of "light therapy" for seasonal affective disorder.) I also improved my diet, did yoga, and tried supplements including St. John's Wort and 5HTP, but it was the early rising coupled with exercise that broke the cycle.

Eating processed foods, sitting indoors all day and staying up half the night playing on the internet will cause anybody to get depressed, and it seems to be the the usual way of life for people on the spectrum. No wonder depression is rampant in our community! However, it is impossible to force a person who is depressed to take the initiative to improve their situation, so unless your son WANTS to get better and feels like he actually has something to live for there's no way you're going to be able to get him to exert the effort to help himself.



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16 Jun 2014, 9:25 am

Exercise, a good regular sleep schedule, and healthy meals are all very good suggestions. When my mood gets bad, I tend to skip eating, and everything seems much worse, so be sure you are eating regular meals if you have that problem, even if you don't think you are hungry. In the same way, I find sleep deprivation always makes things seem much more grim than they really are, so good sleep is priceless. As others have mentioned, exercise certainly was key in pulling me out of a bad hole, I usually just play a walking or dancing game on my wii for about 20 minutes a day minimum, exercising for about an hour a day gives a nice euphoric feeling after, but it's harder to continue if you do too much to begin with, so be sure to pace yourself. I second getting sunlight and cutting back on caffeine, I can't have caffeine at all because it makes my anxiety go though the roof! Please do take care of yourself!



tarantella64
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16 Jun 2014, 10:05 am

HisMom wrote:
tarantella64 wrote:
Define "serious".


MDD.


that wasn't quite as descriptive as I'd meant, but okay.

Everything already listed is a good idea, as is "recognize major environmental stressors and ditch them if possible". Chronic sleep deprivation is a killer, too. And everyone should get daily exercise anyway. If you can arrange things so that it's built into your life all the better (I live a few miles from work, so if the weather's non-horrible I walk/bike/run in and sometimes back, too, and I keep hand weights scattered around pretty much everywhere I regularly am).

If you're suicidal, though, you really need to do something about it. I'm in Vacation City, where I met an old boyfriend several years ago, and outside my apartment is a billboard about how depression kills. I don't need to be told; he was badly depressed and killed himself. But it's true, and if you're there and it's not going away, take the pills. Better inconvenienced than dead.

As for "immobile for hours" MDD...again, depends on how long it goes on. Your son is autistic, right? What kind of help do you have looking after him?



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16 Jun 2014, 10:36 am

Note I don't think I've ever had serious depression, so I don't really know what you are going through. These are what help me if I find myself coming to a standstill:

If everything overwhelms you or there are too many tasks to do in your mind, writing them all out in a simple list is very stress relieving, as it unloads all that you have to remember onto paper. This is particularly a good thing to do before you go to bed. Write out everything that's on your mind, and then it's unloaded, so you don't have to stress out remembering what you need to do the next day. It's makes falling asleep much easier.

Also have *all* the lights dimmed for a few hours before bedtime, that helps to set the mind for sleep. Have the computer screen dimmed as well, although I'd recommend not using the computer for 2-3 hours before bedtime if you're having trouble sleeping.

If tasks are difficult to do, then break them into little chunks. Like for tidying the house, I say - I'm going to tidy up this half of the living room and that's it. Make a limit on what you do. Have as little clutter as possible. When you set a limit on what you should do (and mean it, and don't worry about the rest), you relax and you sometimes end up doing more anyway.

Treat yourself if you have some time to yourself. Having all the lights turned off with some pretty candles lit up, some floating on water and creating pretty reflections...have a cocktail/mocktail/hot chocolate/whatever. And if you like comfort eating, get a little of your favourite food, and *savour* it, really slowly. Pay no attention to anything or anyone else around you. Just listen to the silence, or music on in the background, look at how pretty all the candles are and the shapes the flames make, and feel, taste the food you have. Dwell on how delicious the food is. Or if you don't fancy food, then find a book that makes you laugh.

What's helped me more than anything is learning how to silence the mind. The paragraph above is a great way of learning how. Another way of doing it is to focus on how quiet your mind is when you've just awoken, and focus on keeping it silent.

Waking up before everyone else in the morning, there is a kind of sound outside that I can't describe. It's relaxing, and very peaceful to listen to. Listening to the birds can be peaceful and beautiful too.



HisMom
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16 Jun 2014, 4:14 pm

Thanks, everyone.

I don't know how else to describe my depression, except as "serious". I have MDD and have had it for a while now. I don't feel suicidal, on the contrary, I feel as if I have to live forever as my son would be lost without me ! I don't think I have the liberty to kick the bucket, just yet. However, I struggle with insomnia and there are triggers - such as "Fathers' Day" - that worsen it.

I am currently on a low-carb-high-fat diet after a close friend of mine insisted that my diabetes was exacerbating my depression. I just started it last week and have been walking around the block several times a day in the sun to get me moving.

I have low self esteem, which is a big part of the problem, although I hide it quite well to the extent that very few people know that I don't think too highly of myself. Mostly, I don't have a physical social circle as I live far away from where I grew up, so my "friends" are mostly online. I HAVE been considering moving back closer to home, the only thing that keeps me here is poor services back where I come from. The other thing is that I have an acerbic relationships with the entities I have to deal with to get my baby the services he needs. I have a pending fair hearing against my State, I am fighting the insurance company for denying him additional speech therapy AND I am homeschooling him after the district had the gall to tell me that my son was "retarded" and offered to babysit him for several hours a day as opposed to actually attempting to give him an education. AND I AM DOING ALL THIS BY MYSELF, so the stress / pressure is ENORMOUS. I feel like I don't have a life and my very existence is just to take care of my son and to fight his battles for him by being an aggressive advocate for him. This, ironically, goes against my core personality which is deeply peace loving, and very easy going / laid-back (as hard as that can be to actually believe).

I am exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed and DEPRESSED.

I want to thank all of you -- smudge, sneekugel, ariel, pyrola and tarantella -- for giving me great ideas here. I seem to be more forgetful too, these days, though I don't know if that is a side-effect from lack of sleep or from the depression. My "respite" is the couple of hours my son gets in-home therapies a day,. I use it to power nap for about 10 minutes or so, although it isn't a good idea to nap when a stranger is in your home with your non-verbal son.

I want to avoid medications at all, if possible. I don't know if I can avoid caffeine, it has been my sanity saver, along with Facebook, although I really should cut the cord with Facebook, ASAP, as it is adding to my depression. Most of my friends know my phone number and can reach me that way. BUT, of late, Facebook has been driving me crazy and I think I will have to wean myself off of it, too. NOTHING is worth my well-being, especially not social media.

My son's inability to use any language is something I will have to live with, learn to deal with. I have no control over when and if he will ever be able to communicate, but he recently turned 5 which has made me fear that he will never communicate :(. THAT, and my struggle with TT-ing him, has been hard to handle. He was almost TT-ed, then regressed again, and is back in pull-ups.

I do mind-mapping, and try to quash negative thoughts about my son's future as soon as I notice them creeping into my mind, but sometimes I do let them take over and brood and then have a jolly good pity party for hours on end, with the woe-is-me-cry-me-a-river-hang-dog face / attitude.

YIKES ! I need to pull myself together and do something about this. ANYTHING but PROZAC. ANYTHING.

Thanks again to all of you for your feedback. Much appreciated.


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O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
My tables—meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.
At least I'm sure it may be so in "Denmark".

-- Hamlet, 1.5.113-116


tarantella64
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16 Jun 2014, 6:47 pm

Given what your life's been like the last few years, it'd be very surprising if you were anything but exhausted and depressed. Even mothers of perfectly ordinary 5-year-olds tend to be depressed and overwhelmed, divorced from their own lives. Are you married? If not, is your son's dad around?

It sounds to me like you guys need to be in a place where autism services are easier to come by and also much better, because if you don't get some down time and time to yourself, you're gonna fry completely. Homeschooling's lovely if you've got the wherewithal, and any special-ed services will require lots of participation, but it does get better than this in public schools. You just said you were thinking about moving back home, but are you free to go pretty much wherever, or do you need to stick around where you are?

Exercise is going to be crucial to your wellbeing. If you don't have the freedom to get out for a good hour a day, start investing in a home gym. It doesn't have to be anything expensive: aerobics DVDs, living-room workout stuff, even walking up and down the stairs. It'll help with the diabetes and also with mood and self-esteem -- you'll feel stronger.

Is there a way to contract for more respite hours?



blueroses
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16 Jun 2014, 8:44 pm

I think moderate physical exercise, like walking, and time outdoors is really helpful, as are doing whatever you can to get back in touch with any creative and spiritual inclinations, even it's just in seemingly small ways. Talk therapy is great for those who can afford it, but journaling can be a decent substitute for people who can't or whose free time is limited to when their kids are in bed.

If you want to try supplements, vitamin D3 and fish oil have been pretty widely studied in treating depression. I personally had a lot of side effects from L-tryptophan and would not touch it again with a 10-foot pole, but I know many others who swear by it. The side effects I had went away immediately after I discontinued it, so it could be worth at least trying for both the depression and sleep issues.

Wish you the best in beating this.



tarantella64
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16 Jun 2014, 9:24 pm

also, HisMom, do your friends know you need support now? It's really easy to isolate yourself when you're depressed, but unless people know they should be calling you, they won't, they're busy. Do reach out to a church or other such community group -- let them know that you exist and need help. They may not be able to help with your son, but they can certainly help with household things, and just knowing that people know and care about you can make a huge difference.

Also, while it can be difficult to schedule and go to therapy when you're looking after someone, if you can either do that or do skype sessions with a therapist, that can be helpful, too. Having a pity party's always better with company, and don't let them ray-of-sunshine you about it -- it can be good for you! And if insurance is paying for it they can't get bored and hang up...definitely a plus.

Sometimes you have to thrash around in the water to let people know you're drowning, even though it takes a lot of energy to do it.



HisMom
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19 Jun 2014, 7:57 pm

Hi Everyone,

Yes, most of my friends know that I suffer from MDD. They also know why. Thing is, everyone is so geographically separated that personal, physical assistance is impossible. I DO talk to most at least once a week, and with a couple several times a week, but I also realize that I need to keep myself busy.

I am trying to go back to work. I am not SAHM material, and being at home, all the time, played a BIG role in worsening my depression. I used to work in IT, but I am looking outside that field, as well. I think outside employment and feeling productive with myself are key. I am NOT saying that housewives are not productive (it is the hardest job in the world !) but it just isn't my choice of a career any more (it never was).

I also lost 4 lbs this week and that has made me feel better. When (not if, but when) I lose all 35 lbs, it will be sweet and I could reduce or eliminate my diabetes medications. Plus, it would give me the energy to physically run after and play with my son.

Please send positive vibes / some good luck my way that I get a job soon that will keep me away from the house at least 5 hours a day ! !! That would change my life around... even if the position was part-time, minimum wage ! ! It won't be the pay that matters, but the opportunities to socialize with ADULTS, and getting out of the house, and keeping myself busy that will.

Thank you all again so much for the support ! Much and gratefully appreciated.


_________________
O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
My tables—meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.
At least I'm sure it may be so in "Denmark".

-- Hamlet, 1.5.113-116


lucy1
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30 Jun 2014, 11:52 pm

You state you are on a low carb diet - so I guess you are on a high protein diet.

I think my depression is aggravated by fragile blood sugar levels - going up a down.

I find when I get adequate protein - daily recommendations - my mood improves.

Fruit and veges help.

A balanced diet - including protein and complex carbs at every meal helps me to reduce my antidepressant dose down to just one tablet.



HisMom
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01 Jul 2014, 1:52 am

lucy1 wrote:
You state you are on a low carb diet - so I guess you are on a high protein diet.

I think my depression is aggravated by fragile blood sugar levels - going up a down.

I find when I get adequate protein - daily recommendations - my mood improves.

Fruit and veges help.

A balanced diet - including protein and complex carbs at every meal helps me to reduce my antidepressant dose down to just one tablet.


Well, my mood has been AWFUL these last few days. I am crying a lot more. I don't know what is triggering it - I *have* been losing weight - but I seem to be quite the weepy willow these days. I also am getting some god-awful MIGRAINES and dosing liberally with Vicodine. Before I get completely addicted to Vicodine, I am going in to get that damn Rx for Prozac. I can't do this anymore.

Walking in the sun is also helping although these last couple of days have been unbearably HOT. Time for some Vitamin D, I think.

BTW, I am not on a high protein diet, I am on a high fat diet. I also drink a lot of coffee... I can't make it through my day without lots of coffee to help me.


_________________
O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
My tables—meet it is I set it down
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.
At least I'm sure it may be so in "Denmark".

-- Hamlet, 1.5.113-116