You Probably DON’T Have Depression
The ‘HOW TO’ Guide People Are Scared To Write
The ‘HOW TO’ Guide People Are Scared To Write
The likelihood is, you don’t have depression.
This is a controversial statement and likely to incite rage, but before you get off your high horse to give me a verbal beating, please read this guide carefully.
(There’s also a video at the VERY bottom of this page you can watch after you’ve read this)
Depression is a medical condition. A chemical imbalance in your body. A treatable one that’s sadly over-diagnosed.
In a study conducted by Professor Gordon Parker, he took a group of 242 teachers, 79% met criteria for some level of depression. He argues that, as a result, people who are experiencing a normal feeling of low mood rather than true illness may receive treatment unnecessarily.
Feeling sad and being depressed are two different things. But it’s ever more frequent for some people to hide behind the smokescreen of depression. As if that excuses their behaviour, actions and effort.
I have no doubt in my mind that SOME people genuinely suffer from it, but I’ve seen first hand how easy it is to be misdiagnosed by a Doctor/GP.
Depression, according to the American Psychiatric Association is composed of an array of symptoms. The problem is those symptoms overlap or contradict one-another in some ways. Thus increasing their reach.
These genuine symptoms can be loss of sleep, or sleeping too much. Or weight loss or gaining weight that’s unrelated to dieting. Hmmm. This reminds me of a cold-reading statement popularised by P.T. Barnum, the inventor of the modern circus. It seems to apply to everyone.
We’re all getting too much or too little sleep, depending on when you’re ‘diagnosed’.
In 2010 I was being made redundant from a role and got accepted into University. The only problem, the last day of work and the first day of University overlapped.
I was sick that day from work. I booked in a Doctor’s appointment and told the Doctor I wasn’t happy at work.
They immediately diagnosed me with depression and prescribed me ‘prozac’ (fluoxetine), a very addictive and strong anti-depressant with very serious side effects.
It’s so strong it’s actually sold along with cocaine by drug dealers.
Of course I wasn’t depressed at all. I don’t think I ever have been. I’ve been sad before, I’ve felt down before, everyone has. But clinical depression? Nah, not me.
Unfortunately, within minutes I was misdiagnosed and prescribed a VERY serious drug.
Obviously I never claimed the prescription, I finished work on great terms and started University happier than ever. Horrified at what could happen if you just say you’re not happy at work.
Chances are the same thing happens every day, with people who aren’t happy in relationships, jobs or in that current moment.
There seems like no way out, but it’s all about framing and I’m here to help. I have experience in this. I was cyber-bullied like crazy on a national scale for being a fat loser in a TV programme years ago .
Stick with me and we’ll get through this together.
“But who the f*ck are you?”
That’s a very understandable question. I don’t have a medical licence. I’m not a Dr and like Tim Ferriss always says “I’m not allowed to play one on the internet”. So at the bottom of this article is a video from Dr Rhonda Patrick.
She is a Dr and breaks down the mechanisms of depression… but first I’m going to put it in laymen’s terms for you.
The first thing to contemplate is that GP’s are trained to treat symptoms, not causes. In the US their best practices and plans are often lobbied by big Pharmaceutical companies. The corporations that make the drugs are often the ones sponsoring clinical trials.
That may sound a bit like I’m sitting here writing this with a tin-foil hat on, but it’s true for some, so you need to prepare yourself for the possibility that the medical professional you see is human too. They do make mistakes sometimes, or the research that informed their opinion is quickly out-dated when science and technology makes natural advancements.
This initial step is to understand that YOU DO HAVE CONTROL. You have people around you that care about you, and even if you don’t feel like you do right now, there WILL be those people in future.
It’s often easier to get stuck in the moment, but this present moment and source of your depression is a blip on the radar of your life.
Your choice to do nothing is the most important choice in this hormone imbalance.
You probably feel this way, because of external factors and choices.
Do you have a poor, processed food diet with a lack of natural fruits & veggies? No wonder you feel terrible.
Do you fucking hate your job? … it’s time to change it. You spend most of your waking life at work. I’d be depressed too if I didn’t like my job.
Do you choose Netflix instead of the gym 7 days per week? That might be a good place to start.
Some things happen like the loss of a job/income or the loss of a loved one. It’s important to remember that those situations are genuinely acceptable to feel sad about, but unless controlled, can spiral you into a long-term funk that it’s hard to get out of.
You have to want to take control of this illness yourself. You have to want to own it. To be the one who shapes the way you feel.
Let’s start with diet.
As explained in the video, inflammation can cause depression too. Are you allergic to gluten? Do you have undiagnosed crohn’s disease? Do you drink alcohol many times per week? Did you just eat a big carb-filled meal at 9pm at night?
“But Geraint, I eat well. Yesterday I ate a weight watchers cheese sandwich.”
You may not know this, but even bags of grated cheese have processed potato starch in them. I was shocked too, now I have to grate my own cheese *sad face*
With diet you have to understand that labelled ‘healthy’ products might not be healthy for you.
LOW FAT often means HIGH CARB (aka sugar)
Each time you eat sugar, your insulin levels spike and your IGF-1 (a growth-factor hormone) lowers dramatically.
This puts your body into a rough-sea sway between catabolic and anabolic states. Your hormone responses become irregular and unnatural.
Don’t underestimate the power of diet to control your bodies response.
Some of us are blessed with great genes, some people like me can’t eat a regular gluten pizza without a stabbing pain in their stomach. Life isn’t fair.
I could go into more detail on this, feel free to leave a comment below and I can do a follow-up blog piece on various dietary choices that might help you.
Diet’s aren’t about losing weight, they’re about your food and lifestyle choices that perfectly suit your body. Finding an optimum choice for your health.
I’m not suggesting you run a marathon, but it’s Spring now and maybe it’s time to get outside for a walk in the sun.
Or go to the gym for a light 30-minute workout. Easing yourself in.
After some time off at Christmas, I went in too hard and spent 5 days in pain. That’s often the case with most-newcomers to exercise.
They go big or and then go home… and stay home.
They can’t sit on the toilet for 3 days properly after their 100 squat workout.
We’ve all been there right? You have to hold onto the sink and fall onto the toilet seat with great aim.
The secret is to go slow in the beginning. A 15 minute walk is fine. Incrementally build yourself up from there.
5-Htp is a great place to start. You can find it in health food stores. It converts to L-tryptophan in the body, which converts to Serotonin. The happy hormone. As applies to all of these suggestions, I have to offer a legal disclaimer which says check with your doctor before consuming any of these ‘blah blah blah’. It’s good, trust me.
Vitamin D is responsible for over 1,000 gene expressions in the human body, and those in my part of the Northern Hemisphere struggle to get ANY vitamin D3 for at least 6 months of the year. Damn you UK weather!
Not to mention, with full time 9–5 office jobs, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see daylight long enough to absorb it’s benefits.
Imagine what that does to your body? Years of inadequate Vitamin D3 uptake.
It plays havoc with you. So this is one that I personally supplement daily.
COD LIVER OIL / KRILL OIL
Omega 3,6 & 9 are incredibly important for the body. They actually help to reduce inflammation. Your body could be inflamed without you ever being aware of it.
In the video below by Dr Rhonda Patrick, she talks about the links between inflammatory cytokines and depression. (It’s at the bottom of this article)
Krill oil sounds disgusting, but it’s more bioavailable than Cod Liver Oil, so you need less of it for the same results.
The last piece of the puzzle is sleep. I’m so grumpy if I don’t have my 9 hours sleep. Others can function with less, but some need more than the rest of us.
A deep sleep can improve hormone imbalance, help you recover from exercise and even help you lose weight. It’s a win win.
To find your perfect sleep time, try turning your alarm off all weekend and see when you naturally wake up after going to bed?
An irregular sleep can affect your mood and hormones. Making you feel depressed.
Do you struggle to get to sleep? Insomnia? That pesky bastard. Not you too…
Turn your iPhone into Night Shift mode to block blue light before bed, take some ZMA 30 minutes before you intend to sleep and make sure it’s incredibly dark in your bedroom. You’ll have the best nights sleep of your life.
We’re bombarded by devices and screens all day, especially during the hours are bodies except us to sleep. We haven’t been able to adapt to this change in society and the result is more diagnosed insomnia in people than ever before.
My girlfriend was deficient in Magnesium, so taking 1 tablet 30 minutes before bed cured her. Magnesium being one of the core ingredients of ZMA.
It’s well known to help sleep by decreasing cortisol. The stress hormone.
And that’s it. You’re probably well on your way to feeling amazing again.
Just remember you’re not alone. I imagine a lot of you reading this will assume it’s not that easy. It’s worth a try right? Lots of my blog readers will be following this regime, or recommending it to a friend or family member.
A problem shared is a problem halved. So if you’re stuck in a rut, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or someone you care about to talk about your problems.
Change jobs, move house, do whatever you feel is necessary to attack the source of your concerns.
You probably don’t have clinical depression, and that should feel like an amazing relief.
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