Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Naturally and Spiritually Healing Depression (My first steps)

Before reading my story please be respectful of my “truth”. With respect, I ask you not to judge, but realize that like you, I have feelings, my own purpose, and my own challenges. Even if you don’t particularly like what I say, please see I speak from love with the hopes of helping others. Thank you.

“I don’t want to keep going through this. There has got to be a way out of this”

This thought came into mind for the millionth time the day before I ran Speedgoat 50k as I felt my mind crumbling under another “bad day”.

The thought then came again the days after the race alongside the thought “I don’t want to keep fighting my own mind.”

If you don’t know what it’s like having depression, imagine having a bad day. Then imagine feeling like you have no control over your negative thoughts or ending that bad day. It’s kind of like that song Bad Day by Fuel.  I have hated myself for not being able to control my thoughts, making things get only darker. 

So on the day before Speedgoat, I felt my depression rising. While adrenaline used to get me ready to race, a series of not feeling so great races replaced that adrenaline with a fear of feeling bad. I tried to fight back but could only pull off attempts of seeming “normal” to those around me. I could feel my mind wearing itself out along with my body as my cortisol levels rose.  This stretch of depression lasted for 4-5 days, leaving me exhausted. (This was a bit of a long stretch for recent years)

In that time, I contemplated my 25 years of life. I felt that while I had some amazing and beautiful adventures, I had missed out on too much joy. Moreover, I realized that I have people in my life right now that I love too much to screw up the relationships. Though I have had my fair share of rejection and failure, I really enjoy living in Colorado, I have been blessed with some great adventures this summer, and I have people who I love deeply and completely and love me the same. It’s time I truly enjoy it.

But how?

I had already been to see my doctor, and tears rolled down my face as for the first time in my life I had the courage to admit I faced the challenge of depression and my healthy lifestyle wasn’t enough to fix it. I really appreciate and like my doctor and trusted her opinion when she prescribed my Prozac.  

I thought this could be the answer until I told my sister. She accepted it, but then lovingly said she wished I would have tried harder to help my depression in a natural way. At first this really upset me, and I believed she just didn’t understand, but then the thought popped into my head that maybe there was a higher purpose to her statement. I also researched Prozac and learned that it is most likely to have a negative effect on running and that immediately put an end to that since there is no way that was going to make me happy.

I began my research once again and found things I hadn’t found before. I found natural supplements like St. Johns Wart and 5-htp that can do the same things as Prozac without the negative effects. (I AM NOT SAYING PEOPLE SHOULDN’T BE ON PRESCRIPTION MEDS FOR DEPRESSION. THIS IS JUST OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER.) Then I found books dedicated to helping people improve their thinking based on the research that 40 days of practicing meditation or saying positive words (even if u don’t feel like it)will  start to change your brain. I kept on finding more and more ways to naturally and spiritually heal depression that I believed in. And you know what… it has helped me. While everything hasn’t been perfect, I am starting to feel better. On the “bad days” I don’t feel quite as bad and I can now look at myself on those bad days from an outside perspective and be aware of my thoughts and actions. If you’ve struggled with a mental illness, you know that’s a miracle.

I am extremely proud to announce that my mind is already improving my body as I FINALLY did the side ways crow pose (it may not be pretty but I can do it) and on tired legs I had a 2 minute PR going up Green Mountain! (What I pretend to look like do side ways crow pose:

With this information I have started new journey.  As you can see, one of my first steps has been to accept and appreciate my journey to this point and share it with others. I know I am not the only one who has gone through this and my hope is to help others as I help myself, as helping others is a really important tool to feel better. Thus, you can expect tons of new blog posts on possible ways to help improve depression (or your life even if don’t have depression) naturally and spiritually from now on.

I promise I will write whole blog posts on specific things to help improve depression/ your life, but for today I will leave you with a simple mantra:

“I choose to see love instead of fear” (from GabrielleBernstein)

Run wild, run towards happiness, not away from pain,



  1. Wow, powerful stuff. As someone who has to deal with mental illness in the family on a daily basis, I can only express my admiration for your courage.

    I sincerely hope it all goes well for you.

    1. Thank you Thomas. I hope your journey with having a family member with a mental illness brings you strength and wisdom. I know its not easy on the other side of depression too. It's something I hope to do a post on in the future.

  2. Well said and thank you for sharing. The world needs more Sandi's :-) And I love your quote “I choose to see love instead of fear”.

  3. The only thing that helped me with anxiety and depression was St. John's Wort. I had tried several anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications but they just made me worse or I would experience other side effects that were worse than my depression. My depression was very mild: I was still able to work normally, I would have regular days, almost no one knew anything was wrong but it was there as the first thing I thought of in the morning and the last thing I thought of before bed. Try it, but keep in mind it takes months to fully work. I would say it was about two months before it actually had a noticeable effect and the effect was very subtle. I would not suggest it for anything more than very minimal depression. If you are remotely suicidal, that requires immediate professional help and it is not the time to experiment with (only) natural healing since self-medicating can make it worse. Even St. John's Wort involves certain minor makes you sensitive to the sun (I had to wear sunscreen constantly and I am not someone who usually burns), it should not be combined with alcohol at all (like any other anti-depressant) and, you may not like to hear this, but it made me tired and sluggish at first. After awhile I didn't notice, but at first I found it very hard to get out of bed. It wasn't a drugged feeling, but just the feeling that I had slept very deeply and couldn't get out of bed. Also, it should not be combined with certain medications....antibiotics, etc. Do your research and maybe it's the right thing for you. However, I need to stress, please do not mess around with self-help and healing if you are suffering from anything more than very minimal depression. Depression is very serious, as you know, and as much as I like to think attitude and spirituality can heal it, depression is a real illness just like cancer, and ask yourself, would you want to experiment with cancer?

    1. Thanks for the comment! You brought up some great points that I was planning on bringing up in a future blog. I just have mild depression which is why I feel like I can experiment, but I know with sever depression there needs to be a lot more involvement of doctors and therapist, although some of the research I'm doing makes me believe some alternative paths could be a great addition to help severe depression too.

  4. Fly high pretti girl, if you got some darkness in you... let it out.

    " I think folks carry on about heaven too much, like it's some kind of all you can eat buffet up in the clouds and folks just do as they told so they can eat what they want behind some pearly gates. There's sinning in my heart, there's evil in the world but when I got no one, I talk to God. I ask for strength, I ask for forgiveness, not peace at the end of my days when I got no more life to live or no more good to do but today, right now... What's your heaven?"

  5. Really appreciate what you've shared on here. I too have struggled for years to find a "natural" way to cope with mild-depression/anxiety. I tried all the different aminos, herbs, diets, etc. ...and much meditation, yoga, running, cycling... But the one thing that really appears to be working for me is a relatively low dose of Citalopram (aka, Celexa). All I can describe it as is this feeling like I can handle the lower-lows without going into a tailspin of negative headspace. Of course, I still do all the complementary things like meditation and running and eating well and trying to get good sleep, but I feel this has really given me the chance to lay down some good habits and turn a corner with my life. I urge you to stay open to some alternatives; in many ways, the supplements you are considering are just as manufactured as other drugs...I know what it's like to have that fear to get over, but I'm really glad I did. And there have been no side-effects for me in running, sleep, weight, etc.

    Just a thought. Rock on!


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