Thursday, February 28, 2008

Naturally

I inadvertently went off anti-depressants a couple of years ago. I was in between health insurances – waiting for the new one to kick in– when I started tapering my meds to make them last. Soon I realized that I wasn't having the usual effects I experience when I don’t take the meds as prescribed – the electric zaps one can feel in their head. Even though I had an appointment to see my shrink and get a new prescription, I didn't keep it. I decided that I was going off of the Zoloft and Wellbutrin I was on.

I had been off and on meds since the late 1980’s. First Prozac - which was popular in the late 80’s – then Celexa, Effexor, Zoloft and Wellbutrin - each at different times. Finding the right medication is akin to finding the right therapist. It takes time, patience, and tenacity. It was the beginning of a new year and a new job for me - so it seemed appropriate.
I also decided to clean out the toxins from the meds by drinking Aloe Vera juice; which I believe, also assisted in helping me lose weight. I started eating healthier; stopped drinking soda, ate more veggies and fruits, cut my juices with mineral water, and cut way back on sugar and starches.
I put on my Walkman and walked for an hour every night. The bloat and weight from the years of medication and overeating started to melt away. My cholesterol numbers dropped down to normal and so did my blood pressure. I started looking like the old Carmen again.
But, I also started feeling emotions that had been buried deep underneath the medications that kept me aloft, stable, and emotionless. I experienced joy and sadness. I could cry over any little thing; which was welcome since the meds seemed to dry up my emotions and tears.
But, about six months into my newness, I started feeling anxious. I woke up with my stomach in knots and nausea. Doom and gloom plagued my thoughts of the present and future. What the hell was this? It was anxiety! The depression had dissipated, but now I was dealing with anxiety, I had forgotten that I was also taking medication for. But, I was determined to do it naturally.
I have always been a proponent of using herbal remedies, having read the Bible of herbology “Back to Eden” some forty years ago. Twenty years ago, I wasn't so sure that herbal remedies would have helped me, when I started on Prozac. There are tinctures, teas, tablets, and capsules filled with singular or combinations of herbs to help depression and anxiety. Certain vitamins can lesson stress and anxiety.
Exercise, yoga, meditation also can alleviate the stressors that contribute to depression, and can boost that much needed serotonin –the feel good hormone that contributes to emotional well being. Two years later, I’m still Prozac free. And I’m doing it naturally. I will discuss what I’m doing in the next few blogs.

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