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Am I screwed? I have seasonal depression and badly need help.

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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 1:27:32 PM PST
Bobbie says:
you could try vitamin D3, it may help. I've been researching underactive thyroid. Standard tests are useless. You would have to test your temperature daily in the morning. If it's low, you may be hypothyroid. I've been checking my temp. and this morning it was 96F plus i have some classic symtoms. They also say a saliva test is important. I recently read the best medicine has been changed and useless now. The medicine is Armour dessicatted thyroid. It used to work wonders, but since they changed the formula, I heard horror stories. Try to get your hormones in order, maybe take whole food vitamins and minerals such as Megafood brand. I wish you luck. I'm not a doctor by the way. I have been feeling some of the same things you have lately and I'm just trying to help give some insight. Good Luck! Don't give up , we had a friend commit suicide. I'm certain that suicidal thoughts are a result of something such as mineral imbalance or a combination of that and hormone issues. Synthetic thyroid medicine doesn't seem to do much good. Anything "synthetic" is not what your body can be lacking. Just like you can't be deficient in perscription drugs! Try to get 20 minutes of sunlight everyday also.

Posted on Feb 5, 2012 2:20:50 PM PST
I lived in Puerto Rico for 8 months when I was 17, in Florida for about a year in 1997, then moved back to the N.E (PA) and have had SAD every year since then for over 40 + years. I've tried light therapy, Celexa and other anti-depressants with massive side effects, prayer, meditation, etc. I finally realized I had to face the fact that I will never be really happy until I live in the sunshine, warm weather and the necessary palm trees. I refuse to waste half of my life living in a place where I am so utterly unhappy all winter. Some of us were born to live in places where the sun shines most of the time, the warmth embraces us and we KNOW that winter will never come again. Part of my anxiety is trying to hurry up and enjoy the spring and summer before fall comes once again. So I am in a state of constant anxiety unless sleeping. I plan on enjoying the rest of my life somewhere in the sun even if it moving reduces my income. I'd rather be poorer and warm and happy than have more money and less quality of life.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 2:59:35 PM PST
Tommy says:
I had the exact same problem as you... doctors were quick to try and prescribe antidepressants. I know the frustration of feeling afraid to lose work due to low energy and lack of enthusiasm about much during the low-light days of winter. I finally met a South African doctor who listened to my symptoms and answered "you sound as if you have a vitamin D3 deficiency". Now, note, I am NOT a doctor, so you should get your own D3 levels tested (there are many places online that will mail the test to you and send your results to you if you can't get to a doctor).

He "prescribed" 10 days of Vitamin D3 in a megadose of one 50,000 IU capsule a day (Amazon Sells them-- I took Bio-Tech D3-50 50,000IU inexpensively) to build up my depleted stores of the vitamin. On the fourth day, my bones stopped aching, and by the sixth day I felt far less exhaustion and my spirits lifted. After the tenth day (at which point I felt like a new person), he put me on 5,000 IU of D3 Bio-Tech D3-5 5000 IU 250 caps (also sold here on Amazon) indefinitely. My life has not been the same since. I notice that on days that others drag into work, I spring in. I keep close tabs on my D levels with regular home testing, as it is possible to overdo D3, but you'd have to take huge amounts (over 10,000 IU a day for an extended time) to do it, according to recent studies. Again, I am not a doctor, I am just sharing what worked for me. Do your own research, and you will find out what many have... that most doctors won't go the vitamin route... but it has worked for many!

Who thought that the "sunlight vitamin" (which is actually a hormone) would have made such a difference in my life? Most North Americans are lacking in this important vitamin since we don't get enough sun exposure, and when we do, we screen out the rays with sunblock. I am grateful for meeting that doctor, and grateful that I can manage my health with simple vitamins purchased online. Good luck, and I hope you will find a solution to your problem!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 3:17:14 PM PST
R. Davenport says:
Hi Mia,
I see you have gotten a lot of responses, and I hope that mine is anything near helpful. I have had SAD for years, probably since childhood, but more notably since i moved to alaska at age 15. I was raised in the "sun belt" and have been told we get it the worst. In other word, how much has you used the light box? I have one at home, and one on my desk at work, that i sit under for literally hours at a time as I can. I believe that some of us need more light than anyone! I used to get blue on rainy days....and its real. What's difficult for me is that I have underlying "regular" depression that i have struggled with since probably age 11. I am not trying to bore you with my story, but telling you to see if maybe this might be something of what you might have... SAD on top of depression, or dysthymia. I do take anti-depressants, with moderate relief, and try to take vit D and fish oils regularly. I think those can be very important. I have also had counseling in many periods of my life and think it has helped tremendously. Don't stop trying. I do know what its like to have to get up and face the world when you feel like pulling the covers back over your face. Its just awful. then throw in a couple life events/stressors and its nearly impossible. The best medicine: friends. social activities. Plan them!!! do your best to go, even when you dont want to. I find it imperative to plan outings for each weekend, even just coffee with a friend.

I hope I haven't overloadeded you. I surely don't mean to. But I have struggled for many year and still continue to struggle, but would be happy if I helped you even a little bit, because I have survived the odds, even when there were times when I thought life just couldn't go on. I try to find something good each day, and not in a pollyanna way. Something even small. that's what has made the difference for me. And music. It helps persuade my mood. Don't stop trying or looking for something. I am sorry that you are going through this. hoping you got a good physical now and then? I was found to be low thyroid also.....
Let me know if you have questions...

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 3:19:38 PM PST
R. Davenport says:
Your post just made me think. I just wrote a long reply to the young lady, encouraging her because of all my past with similar issues. I am in social work, and it does make me wonder if i should have been in another field. Was always put in the "world of engineering". I am 49 and i know its not too late. I found your post though provoking. What if someone really didn't like math or similar though? Just curious. I think doing something active and interesting that uses different parts of your brain just might be the key.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 3:26:32 PM PST
R. Davenport says:
Wow, Mia, I didn't see this response post you did. I mentioned at the end of my post that I was diagnosed with a thyroid condition. I had most of the symptoms, including severe memory problems, and my nurse practitioner kept on testing me because even though some testing (TSH, etc. ) comes out ok, she tested me for antibodies, which came out positive, indicating that I had Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune. With proper treatment, I was WAY better. I thought I had early onset Alzheimer's and it was very scary! I do understand about you questioning whether it could be "all psychological" but remember that women are sometimes not believed as much by male providers (sorry, but its sometimes true), and I firmly believe that women practitioners are usually better at detailed symptom related issues that fly "under the radar". I hope you can find that.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 3:31:54 PM PST
Gigi says:
The light needs to enter the eyes to be effective. The positive effect is triggered through the eye. You don't need to look directly into light; let it enter your eyes indirectly.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 3:40:07 PM PST
Gigi says:
15 years ago I was over radiated for Graves Disease and have been suffering from hypothyroidism as a result. It has been a very difficult 15 years. I've been though a number of docs who have told me "you are fine, the numbers are within range, it doesn't matter that you feel awful and have all the signs of hypothyroidism". After years of reading and changing docs, I have found out that there is quite a controversy on treating hypothyroidism. It has been recommdend that the normal ranges be changed because people are being told they are fine when in reality they really are mildly hypothyroid. Many doctors and labs have not changed the normals they use. It took me 15 years to find a doc who would listen to me and was up on the current research to actually treat my problem. I'm actually beginning to feel normal again. Ironically, I was in the worst shape when treated by and endrochronologist. Keep looking for a doc that will listen to you and is willing to explain what they are looking at and why. I have a background in medical laboratory testing procedured for determining "normal" ranges so I was able to evaluate the information I found and believe it was true.

Posted on Feb 5, 2012 9:45:29 PM PST
I've suffered from periodic depression since childhood as well and I'm in my late 40's now. In a recent 'motivated' period, I spent time researching alternative depression treatments (I just don't see me doing the meds and talk therapy) and found some evidence that the B-complex vitamins may help. I honestly can't recall the details but if you google around enough you ought to find something; I'm not a professional researcher and it probably took me half a day to find enough information to act on.

I take a 'stress formula' vitamin daily with breakfast, and on difficult days where the weather is bad and life sucks, I might take a second one with a later meal. I had to fiddle with a couple different brands, as one of them was HUGE doses and I think it caused some nerve tingling. I have found one that seems just right, and feel like my life has been re-set. If only I could get about 35 years back to try again...good luck, me and many other posters know how you feel. I hope you find a solution.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2012 10:33:20 PM PST
R. Davenport says:
@ K.D. and Mia,
Thanks for all this wonderful information. I have heard/read most of it but it always helps to hear what others are doing. I truly think that it takes some experimentation to figure out what our own brain/body chemistry is. I have huge difficulties with taking B vitamins, as they either make me flush and get a headache (i already get migraines..dont need any more triggers!!) or upset my stomach. B2 is supposed to help as a preventive for migraines, so i found an enteric coated B2, and it worked well. For those who might not know, enteric coated means it won't break down until it hits the intestine, so that helps those of us with sensitive stomachs. ah. Still trying to figure it out. I have been in Alaska for almost 30 years even though I haven't wanted to, because it takes tons of money to move across the country, and my kids already had roots here. So, last one graduating this spring and we will see where life will take me.

K.D, are you male or female? just couldn't tell. Well, thanks and let's all try to help each other. Hope so anyway.

Posted on Apr 26, 2012 12:24:15 AM PDT
Matt Sidwell says:
Tanning bed. Ten minutes. Your vitamin-d is low. And the best kind is the stuff your body produces. Supplements sont even touch some time in the sun

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 1:01:58 PM PDT
STme says:
I would try to only use anti-depressant pharmaceuticals or ANY sort of drug, as a last resort. I go through phases of depression and have been doing so since I was about 4 yrs. old. I had a really bad one recently that lasted about 3-4 yrs and got to the point that I wasn't coping anymore. I got involved in the mental health system and ended up on more drugs than you could imagine. So many side effects, and then MORE drugs to treat the side effects.

I have learned over the years not to beat myself up with guilt (and shame) because of how I am or how others perceive me. I am who I am and one can love me or leave me! That one thing has been more helpful to me than just about anything. There is so much guilt involved with depression because so often we feel as if we don't measure up or that somehow we are to blame. Some people are just born with a melancholy nature and if events in their lives worsen that then it can lead to depression. Learn to embrace who you are at whatever time of the year it is.

Also, I would recommend doing all you can to lead a healthy lifestyle. There are so many sites and so much info on the Internet that you can research and try. Stay away from anything that seems a little too "out there" and go for some solid, down to earth diet advice that is backed up by other sites that aren't pushing a product to make a profit. This has been really helpful for me at least. One site I like is
Keep in mind that you don't have to change your entire lifestyle overnight. It takes time to read and research and decide what is right for you. I started with oil pulling and then moved on to eliminating chlorine, fluoride and other contaminants from my drinking, cooking and bathing water. Now I am going to order the fermented fish oils and butter oil to incorporate into my diet. I have also been working to get the excessive chemicals eliminated from the beauty products I use.

Anyway, that is what has been helping me and if you try it I really hope it is helpful for you also. I have accepted that I more than likely will have phases of depression throughout my life but I have also accepted that that is not as bad as some people make it out to be. Some of the most creative and inspiring people are melancholy by nature. Oh and one more thing---keep forcing yourself "to just get up and do it" because it will keep you strong and determined and it's way better than giving up and doing nothing. Best wishes!!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 3:15:53 PM PDT
Mercy7455 says:
its all in the diet try not to eat any dairy products and meats for just seven days drink water with a few drops of lemon often during that period.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 4:00:50 PM PDT
There isn't a quick-fix or 1 thing that will help, unfortunately. I, too, suffer from SAD. It is frustrating, for sure. You should look into trying a mood stabilizer in addition to the anti-depressant, as often the anti-depressant can't do it all. Also, keep the light box on at night until about an hour before bed, and buy a timer to have it turn on automatically in the morning when you need to get up. Also in the morning, turn on music you that gets you going/moving. It is amazing how music has helped me go from blah to feeling energized. Also, you have to make sure your diet is in check. Too much sugar and bad fat can effect your mood. Seriously. Diet, I believe is a big part of feeling better. When I eat better, it helps, no question. Less alcohol too.

Posted on Apr 26, 2012 4:40:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 26, 2012 4:42:05 PM PDT
EXERCISE! Run, jog, lift weights, use resistance bands, push ups, jumping jacks, anything, all of them, none of them, some other exercise. Do not exercise with a goal to lose weight, or to build muscle, or burn fat, or gain strength, because more often than not these factors are not acquired so eaily and can leave you more depressed than before. Exercise simply for the goal to exercise. A good honest workout at a minimal of 15 minutes a day releases endorphines <SP?, a natural mood enhancer. Select a few easy to do exercises and begin. Even if you think your too depressed to even try force yourself. Do not respond to this post till you've given it a full week's try.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 29, 2012 1:28:27 PM PDT
STme says:
Dairy and meat have gotten an undeserved bad rap. Eating dairy and meat that are free range not loaded with chemicals and antibiotics, etc. is healthy and much better AND gives you a well-balanced diet which you absolutely need!

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 1:54:33 PM PDT
This is what I've used for SAD, as well as for infertility. It's a stress management technique that worked immediately for me.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 2:07:40 PM PDT
You may have an adsorption problem where your body is not getting required nutrition. See a veterinary about this at has made some important discoveries. Eliminate gluten and A1 Beta Casein from your diet...Good luck ...Clint

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 2:45:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 2, 2012 2:46:51 PM PDT
Add to that that fat free is not so good since fat is needed for nerve tissue, but what makes you fat is carbohydrates. Milk is probably good if it does not come from cows producing milk with A1 Beta Casein. ..Holstein, Freisen and Aryshire.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 3:32:22 PM PDT
C says:
Have you tried vitamins especially folic and vitamin D3, most people are very low in these and have no idea. take a good multiple and add some D3, drink plenty of water ( even light dehydration can effect a person emotionally).Get some protein and a bit of good carbohydrates in you for breakfast. Big glass of water too. When I wake in the morning and all the pain, and negative thought come crashing in , I say stop, remind myself this is a temporary state, and I have posted positive note and signs where I will see them , so the darkness can't carry my day a way. Keep a log of what helps, or what does not. Fish oil , 3,6,9 and CLA 2000 mg, helps with inflammation ( you can find at Wally world) i have also gone down to 150 good carbohydrates a day. One more thought watch what your eating before bed time. If you are sensitive to carbohydrates. Recently read we should not eat 2 hours before bed , so the body can focus on healing and rebuilding. The change will not happen overnight so give it some time and keep trying, don't give up.
Remember , your not alone in your struggle ( though it my feel like it. )

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 6:33:11 PM PDT
jpl says:
jpl: Hi, Mia. I, too, was affected by dead trees and cloudy, cold days. However, I've been learning to appreciate these seasonal changes. I'm being treated for depression, social anxiety disorder, OCD, and am subject to panic attacks if I don't take enough of my "anit-anxiety" med. Nevertheless, I think most of this is an unwillingness on my part to go through the discomfort and time it takes to reprogram my thinking.

I think the psychologists and psychoanalysts in our society are more to blame than we are! I think SAD is just one of hundreds of American inventions that keep psychologists and psychoanalists in the money. I'm tired of invented labels that make charlatans money!

I think I choose to feel helpless. Our brains are made to accept seasonal change, unless we have a genetic inheritance from another country or continent that has endowed us with a certain "brain climatization" gene.

It's possible that that you have an actual physiological anomaly of the brain. That's doubtful.

As Americans, we have far more psychological ailments than the rest of the world. We've been brainwashed. I think I have. I intend to eventually do away with all my psych meds--five of them, to be precise.

Change your mind every day you disagree with the weather. Think of anything at all positive that you can about, for example, snow and cold weather, or days of clouds and rain. Don't give up. Make yourself understand that these are natural events, and beautiful in their own way. Bear the pain. Keep talking to yourself. Your mind is the Leader. That's worked for me.

The weather no longer gets me down. What does get me down is my psychiatrist making money from my buying into any number of "disorders" I allow myself to buy into, because it's the easy way out for me. I think many psychologists and psychiatrists are in it for the money. Just put a label on it, and people will believe they "have" it. People don't "have" psychological ailments. They "think" or "feel" that they do. Of course, this doesn't apply to psychotics.

People "have" illnesses, such as small pox, or a cold, but we don't "have" (inherently in our bodies) psychological problems unless they're really severe. For example, Paranoid Personality Disorder. This disorder is the hardest one to cure, and if the person who "has" it and allows it to fester, that person can become a paranoid schizophrenic and has entered the realm of psychosis.

People who have real problems to legitimately work through have been brought up in terrible conditions, often hostile; or they're people who have a physical handicap that they can't adapt to, etc.

You're not psychotic. You can reprogram yourself. The main problem comes with being willing to live with the discomfort for however long it takes and continually telling yourself during incimate weather that it's beautiful in its own way. Feel it and believe it over and over. You CAN do it.

Remember, psychologists and psychiatrists who write books endorse one another's "creations".

I'll be working on weening myself off these stupid drugs I take.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 9:10:25 PM PDT
fun times says:
I can help you. There's a book by Dr. Eric Braverman that you need to get. the title is-The Younger Thinner you. It's not just about weight loss. It talks about Anxiety, & depresson. When u r depressed, you are low on serotonin. You also have 2 brains. The stomach is called the 2nd brain. When you are stressed, your stomach acts funny & transfers that which the stomach is doing to the brain in your head. You need to eat cashews, different kinds of fish, chicken, turkey, cottage, just to name a few things. Please get the book. It is so very insightful.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 11:13:23 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 2, 2012 11:14:01 PM PDT
R. Davenport says:
Although I believe that you have some really valid points about being positive, saying that SADD is not really there is pretty bold. It took me flunking out of college after moving back to Alaska to realize how much seasonal affective disorder affected me. Its the actual lack of light, not being unhappy with "bad" weather. As someone who grew up on the east coast and the sun belt, this put me at even greater risk to SAD, as the receptors for light are much less sensitive, as in sort of burned out. It wasn't just my will......I responded well to light therapy and medication and still being in Alaska, need this every winter. I feel remarkably better come March and April, and I am certainly not the only one. I don't think you have read the recent research on the disorder. I don't let it rule me, but I certainly don't deny its existence or chalk it up to money waiting to be made by someone. Recent research that has attributed some of the symptoms to lack of Vitamin D has certainly helped a lot of people, especially in the extreme northern climes of Alaska. When the native peoples stopped eating their traditional foods (which has some stores of vit D) and started eating a more americanized diet, that's when trouble ensued. Some of their problems can be attributed to lack of vitamin D and other needed nutrients. Just don't forget that some of biochemically have some issues, and medication, or other lifestyle changes can help, but I don't wake up every day and "choose" to feel that way. I would much rather be happy!!

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2012 3:24:49 AM PDT
JohnTL says:
I have struggled with Depression for 20 years now. In the beginning I had some Tragic events occur that triggered periods of pretty major episodes. After the first 2 or 3 episodes It became a constant battle. #1 recommendation is find a good Psychiatrist. Try to find one that will not only prescribe medication but also do counseling sessions with you. They are rare, but I found a good one and cant say enough about how she has helped me.

I have been on different medications on a daily basis for the past 15 years. Every couple of years or so, even on medication, I would become seriously depressed again. My Psychiatrist would change up my medication and I would feel better for a while, and eventually would repeat the pattern. I began to notice a pattern of feeling worse annually during fall and winter. Eventually, my Doctor recommended that in addition to my anti-depressive medication, that I start to take a High dose of Calcium with Vitamin D. 1200 Calcium / 1000 IU D (D3). In addition she asked me to start taking a supplement named DEPLIN or L-Methylfolate. It is a special form of Folic Acid that is able to be absorbed into your system.

Since I started taking both suppliments, I have not had any serious depressive episodes. It has been 3 years now and I have not had to change my anti-depressant medication either. (I take Effexor ER) Just recently my doctor asked me to start taking another supplement called NAC or N-Acetyl Cysteine. It is supposed to help your body absorb the deplin. It is normally used for treating Acetaminophen overdose. I have a very bad back and have had to take pain medication with almost 3000mg of Tylenol per day. NAC is supposed to help to maintain proper liver functioning when taken daily. I dont know what effect the NAC will have yet, but I am going to start taking it also. My doctor is very up to date on new ways of treating depression and Bi-polar disorders. I have complete trust in her advice.

I have seen people comment in this post about daily meditation, and Physical workouts. When things are really bad I think that meditation especially helps. Bottom line is when I added the Calcium/Vitamin D, and the Deplin, to my daily medications I have not had a serious bout of depression for three years now. Make SURE to find a good Dr. Don't be afraid to change Dr's if your UN-comfortable with the relationship in any way. Good Luck to you.

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2012 7:23:27 AM PDT
Have your doctor check for a vitamin D deficiency. This is common for people suffering with depression.
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