Wednesday, July 09, 2008

depression and supplements

I am not prone to depression. I tend to pop out of it after a few days, and I have a lot of experience working through painful feelings. But facing the future with John's diagnosis has been tough. A week and a half ago I found myself so discouraged that I wasn't finding any resolution to the pain and grief that I thought maybe I was ready to try antidepressants. That is a strong statement for me--I have never taken antidepresssants in my life and I try to avoid medication, for one thing because I am very sensitive to mental side effects (when I had chicken pox as an adult the doctor tried to give me medicine to help the itching and one antihistamine caused me to cry for three hours).

That day I happened to read a blog in which someone wrote of a herbal remedy that had helped her in a similar circumstance. My first question was whether it was safe to take. A mainstream site on supplements doesn't have any serious safety concerns. And the web site for the company gave me the impression that they weren't likely to be buying contaminated ingredients from China. So I figured I would give something called Serenity formula a try--if it worked by the placebo effect that would be best of all because I wouldn't be messing with my body but I would be feeling better.

I've been taking it for four days now. My initial impression was that it took the panicky edge off the emotional pain I have been feeling. It didn't blunt my feelings too much, I was able to do good work in my therapy session this week, and so I can't separate whether that or the supplement is making me continue to feel better. What I am impressed by is that my morning fasting blood glucose has been going steadily down. I just tested it a few times before I started the supplement but both times it was over 120, which is terrible for me. Since I started taking the supplement it has been lower each morning--this morning it was down to about 105, which I consider the high end of ok. I believe the high fasting blood glucose is a stress reaction and the downward trend suggests that this supplement really is reducing my physical stress reaction. I also notice I have fewer carbohydrate cravings.

All that may just be that I have kept up my exercise and had a chance to recover from my travels. But it is good news in any case. After a few weeks I may try not taking the supplement and see if my numbers go back up; that would be more solid evidence.

I don't want to discourage anyone who is taking or thinking about taking anti-depressants; they make all the difference for some people. And I'm no expert in alternative medicine. But this is a new step for me in what I can do with the philosophy: "My body, my science experiment," and I am pleased with how it is working for me.

No comments: