It amazes me that when I was first seen by a doctor for severe depression at the age of 15, that there were no tests done on my body. The doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists were quick to encourage or prescribe medications for a mental disorder, yet they did not think it was important to draw blood work or educate me on proper nutrition for my body.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
If you aren’t eating the right diet for your body, and if you are missing just a few essential nutrients or minerals, you could easily experience depression. It’s very possible that you are low on vitamin D, B12, folate, selenium, iron, or omega 3’s. Or perhaps you have too many foods in your diet that contribute to depression; like alcohol, sugar, processed foods, or caffeine. Maybe you’ve overloaded on things that breakdown gut health like GMOs, pesticides, stress, birth control, antibiotics, or oral corticosteroids. There’s also a chance you have an organ in your body that is low-functioning, like your thyroid or liver.
Everyone has a unique body with different dietary needs. I recommend reading about different diets, different blood types, and learning as much as you can. It took me years to narrow down a diet that worked for me.
I had an abundance of inflammatory foods in my diet; like gluten, dairy, sugar, and alcohol. These foods not only contributed to my inflamed and leaky digestive system, but they also affected my moods as well. Inflammatory foods contributed to me feeling more irritable, angry, reactive or… quite frankly… inflamed! After taking these foods out of my diet, I’ve experienced healthier digestion, less mood swings, less irritability, and clearer skin!
I had to learn about my diet through a lot of trial and error. I spent hours and hours on the Internet self-educating about nutrition for many years. If I were to do this journey all over again, I would have gone straight to a nutritionist or naturopath. Seeing a professional does cost money, but it is worth it if you aren’t willing to put in the time to research online, or if you aren’t patient enough to eliminate foods out of your diet and slowly introduce them back into your diet over the course of a year. If you lack patience or need quick relief, don’t rule out professional guidance –– my naturopath was a lifesaver!
For example, I was aware that I was sensitive to foods. For a couple of years I tried going gluten free, and would occasionally experiment with going dairy free. I had a hard time being consistent with eliminating things from my diet because I never received significant results. After 4 painful years of trying to eliminate foods out of my diet, I finally took an allergy test at my naturopath’s office. It turned out that I was having an immune reaction to about 10 different foods that were regularly in my diet. No wonder my system was so inflamed! On top of that, my iron was low, my thyroid was sluggish, my hormones were off, and my liver was low-functioning. There was a lot of work to be done to get my body back in balance.
“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates
Did you know that candida, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and parasites can not only cause chronic fatigue, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, but also mood disorders including seasonal depression? Most serotonin is produced in the gut, so a major gut problem is likely to throw this production out of balance. I personally struggled with a couple of these imbalances in my gut, and I was amazed at how much more energy and vitality I experienced just by doing some routine cleansing and detoxing. I had tried doing candida cleanses for years on my own, but it wasn’t until I did some testing at the naturopath where I was finally able to identify everything that was having an impact on my gut health.
I’ve found that over the years, as I come out of chronic or seasonal depression, I experience more anger and less apathy or sadness. For many, depression is buried or deeply repressed anger. I used to frequently bury my anger, hence the depression, and since I no longer bury my anger as much, I can feel it –– and that’s healthy! At first, you might think anger is bad, or you might think it’s wrong, but I encourage you to develop a new relationship to your anger. It’s important to be friends with your anger. Don’t be afraid of it and try to release your judgement of it.
When anger arises, give yourself space to connect with it. Don’t brush it off; try to feel it instead of resisting it. Rather than yelling or punching a pillow (resisting it), sit quietly, feel it, and listen to it, even if that means your body starts to tremble or cry. Breathe through it. Anger is important and it’s telling you something. Maybe a personal boundary has been crossed (many many times), maybe something needs to change (or a lot needs to change), and maybe there is some internal or external need that is not getting met (or there are a lot of needs not getting met)?
This is emotional work, and when you listen to your anger, you might find yourself changing your life and establishing boundaries. This is the gift of anger. Anger will help you get your needs met. It will point you in the direction of how to keep yourself safe. It tells you what is violating, toxic, or what needs changing in your life. Start to relate to your anger, so that you are not shoving it down into a dark abyss. Suppressing it will not only keep you stuck, but it will keep you down, and it will make you sick.
Something you can do — physically — that will help support this process of relating to your anger is taking care of your liver. Eat foods like garlic, grapefruit, beets, carrots, leafy green vegetables, and green tea to support your liver. Do some research and take high quality supplements that help cleanse and support your liver. You might even consider reducing, limiting, or cutting out alcohol all together during the winter!
Not only have I had to eliminate a myriad of foods out of my diet, I’ve had to do multiple cleanses, and take multiple digestive, liver, and hormonal supplements to simply get my gut health back in balance. Like I said, I’m amazed at the age of 15 that this was not even remotely acknowledged when I reported severe depression. To me, it seems extreme to jump to a mental disorder when the majority of us lack simple education about maintaining proper diet and gut health for our unique bodies.
There’s much more to discuss in regards to how you can support your body and bust away winter blues. Stay tuned for some of my upcoming blogs that talk about exercise, sleep, rest, sunlight, light therapy, hormones, nature, water, and fresh air.
Once I cover the foundations of taking care of your physical body during the winter, then I’ll discuss how you can support yourself mentally, emotionally, and energetically. There are some interesting psychic dynamics to be aware of so that you can kick those winter blues goodbye for good. Stay tuned!
Michelle Corazao is an instructor (and much more) at Boulder Psychic Institute. She offers professional clairvoyant readings, energy healings, intuitive classes, and channeled offerings. For more information, or to sign up for her newsletter, please visit her website: http://www.michellecorazao.com. If you want to connect on Facebook, check out her page here: http://www.facebook.com/MichelleCorazaoIntuitiveHealer