Recently I was looking online for some information that family member needed about whether it was safe to take melatonin when you were on an antidepressant. I was pretty sure that they should not be taken at the same time. I groaned when I saw the answer that someone had posted to this particular question on a message board. The answer was, "Melatonin is herbal, so it’s safe to take it with anything."
Herbs are considered safe by many people, under any circumstances, because they’re natural. But natural doesn’t automatically equal harmless. Almost anything natural can be toxic if not used appropriately. Sunlight is natural, but too much of it can give you a sunburn, or skin cancer. When I was a few weeks away from my wedding, I thought that I’d make sure I didn’t come down with a cold, so I took high doses of Vitamin C every day. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say that I spent a lot of time in the bathroom before I wised up and settled for taking a multivitamin instead.
via Natural Depression Treatments – Depression.
When I found out that I was pregnant, I made three phone calls. The first was to my husband at work, the second was to my parents and the third was to my psychopharmacologist a doctor who specializes in psychiatric medication. My pregnancy was planned, so my doctor and I had already talked about what my options were in terms of antidepressant treatment. Even though I suffer from severe depression, I decided to taper off my medication once I became pregnant. I figured I’d just cross my fingers and hope that pregnancy hormones would protect me from depression, although my doctor and I agreed that if I became severely depressed, we would revisit the decision.
via Treating Depression during Pregnancy – Depression.
My parents do a beautiful job with decorating for Christmas – they always have. Every year they get a real live tree. They have a couple of hundred of beautiful ornaments, as well as garlands and other assorted decorations. The tree is always put up at least two weeks before Christmas. Granted, they’re retired, but it was always like this even when they both were working.
In contrast, my husband and I broke down a couple of years ago and got a fake tree (I love the smell of evergreens, but it’s not enough to counter the expense of a live tree and the cleanup). I feel virtuous if we get the tree up a week before Christmas, and it’s been done on Christmas Eve on more than one occasion. It took me a long time to let go of my parents’ standards and to stop feeling guilty if I didn’t live up to them.
Right before I got diagnosed with depression, I suffered through the most horrible Christmas ever. On the surface, everything was fine. I spent Christmas Day with my family as usual and a couple of days later my best friend got married in a lovely ceremony and reception. But the moment I was out of sight on my way home from my parents’ house, I burst out crying and cried for hours. And I was only able to endure an hour of the wedding reception before escaping. Thankfully, by the next holiday season my depression was controlled by antidepressants and I truly enjoyed it.
The holidays put a lot of demands on everyone, but are exponentially more difficult for someone with depression.
If you’re going to be alone during the holidays and you have clinical depression, you’re looking at a double whammy that could do a number on you before the end of the year. By Christmas Eve, your depression voice might be telling you that you’re a sad loser – unless you come up with some countermeasures. Keep these suggestions in mind:
- If you’re alone because someone close to you has died, or because your marriage or relationship has ended, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
I’m perusing the shelves of the bookstore, in the psychology section, looking for new books about depression and depression treatment. I know that I really shouldn’t be doing this, because it inevitably raises by blood pressure and puts me in danger of choking on my decaf mocha. The problem is, this activity exposes me to all the ways in which someone is trying to sell us a book that will cure/heal/or treat your depression – without doctors or drugs! Let’s see, there’s:
The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs
Happiness is a Choice
Dealing with Depression Naturally
Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way
The Mindful Way through Depression
Let me just mention first that Happiness is a Choice has always made me froth at the mouth. I mean, seriously, maybe there are some people like beat poets and goths who think being depressed is preferable to being happy, but the rest of us disagree. We’re not choosing to be depressed, which is what the book implies, any more than someone chooses to be diabetic. I mean, come on, I was seven when I started suffering from depression. Can the author seriously think that a child of that age just was choosing to be depressed?
Over the years, since I started my depression site, I’ve heard (read) many people say that they want to treat their depression “but without antidepressants.” I always think, “Why?” It’s just incomprehensible to me that some people have that knee-jerk reaction to medication.
Oddly enough, I have to include myself in this group. At least initially, I refused to take medication for my depression. Nearly twenty years ago, when I was first diagnosed with depression, I was in a pretty bad way. I had had two major depressive episodes in the past, without knowing what they were, but this third one was the worst, and so far, of the longest duration. By chance I read a book that helped me to recognize that what I was going through, and I promptly made an appointment with a doctor at the mental health clinic attached to the local hospital.
Before my own depression was diagnosed, I dated a man who suffered from clinical depression and alcoholism. Of course, I wasn’t aware of this when I started dating him, or I never would have started. I don’t have a burning need to “fix” people. A couple of months after I started treatment for my depression, we split up. Although I think it was more or less mutual, I would not have stayed around for long in any case. I had gotten tired of trying to talk him into getting help for his depression. He had kept the alcoholism at bay by quitting drinking cold turkey, but the underlying problem, the depression, was still there. For some reason, he was dead set against any kind of treatment for his depression. He had had therapy when he was in his teens, and apparently it had done more harm than good.
“Summertime, and the living is easy.” Amen to that. I love summer. Credit it to spending much of my childhood in Florida, but I actually like being hot and sweaty. My absolute favorite place to be is on a beach with sun on my face and my toes digging into hot sand. I crave and need sunshine like a growing plant. And I think it’s safe to say that most of the population is the same way. Just think of how many people will lie outside on the grass on the first warm day in spring.
Our Judith Wurtman wrote about the having the winter blues in the summer, due to the weather in her part of the country switching between lack of sun and weather that’s too hot to go out and enjoy the sun. But what if your down mood in the summer is more serious than a case of the blues?
1. Recognize that clinical depression is a disease. Internalizing this fact will help your child in two ways. One, it will hopefully keep you from blaming yourself or your child. This is no one’s fault. Second, if you think of depression as a disease instead of a choice your child is making, you won’t say anything stupid like, “Why don’t you just pull yourself together,” or “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
2. Don’t freak out. This will definitely not help your child. Clinical depression can be successfully treated more than 80% of the time. As long as your child has a good doctor and supportive parents, he or she has a very good chance of recovering. Notice that last part – while everyone with depression really needs a good doctor, supportive parents are absolutely critical for a child with depression.