4

votes

Things I can try that are conducive to a balanced mind?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 21, 2012 at 12:05 AM

Hey all :^) So, I'm about four months in now and things are looking up. I just wanted to consult with the community here to see if you had any other ideas of how I can fast-track my journey to feeling awesome.

Quick history: Always had gut troubles / felt tired since I was a kid, emotional eater, and last year became a vegan and gradually just stopped eating anything but scant servings of beans and vegetables. I have body dysmorphia and my doctor thinks I have low serotonin. They said I have two options: speak to somebody, which I have, and it helps; and taking medication. I think there's also the option of a complete lifestyle change, and I'm seeing leaps and bounds of improvement, although I quickly revert back to tearfulness and stress when I miss sleep or don't see the sun in a while.

I know these things are often very multi-causal, so I'm trying to hit all the bases. And I'm not very far in, so I know there's a lot of healing going on, especially as I've always had symptoms of intolerences to modern foods, in many ways.

Things I'm doing

  • Sleep in a pitch-black room for 9 + hours
  • Wild salmon, bone broth, fruit and veg, grass-fed lamb, sardines, lamb liver, ghee, coconut oil, egg yolks, water kefir, starch and fruit, strictly when hungry.
  • Vitamin D, K2, magnesium supplementation
  • (Non-paleo things, like setting goals and pursuing them, facing fears, speaking to a psychologist)

Things I think also might help:

  • Zinc supplementation (Due to vegetarianism and the fact that I can eat lamb steaks until it hurts)
  • Some kind of challenging, wickedly fun activity that moves all your muscles and is out in the sun. And hopefully something I can do every morning without travelling somewhere. I'm going to try climbing trees :D
  • 5-HTP. I've heard about some folks using this when they feel like they're in a wound-up state and need a boost. I'm wondering if it might be helpful for those times when I get off the rails despite my best efforts. Are there any reasons I would not want to take this?

Can you think of other things that you, or someone you know, found effective?

Update: I am going to try zinc supplementation, making sure I get liver in once a week, and most importantly, make a religion out of getting outside every morning and playing on the jungle gym (and doing bodyweight exercises). I won't be trying 5-HTP. I'll let you know if my mood improves! Thanks for the hacks guys.

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on April 02, 2012
at 01:57 PM

Glad it's working for you. Just 5 minutes of this during my regular walk is really powerful for me.

C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 26, 2012
at 09:14 AM

Thanks Eric :) I'm fed up with being sick and tired and I am trying to hack my way out of this mess!

C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 26, 2012
at 09:13 AM

Oh good info. I've heard folks saying that this particular supplement was helpful to them, but I suspect they're not certain of the long-term effects. And pastured butter is wonderful! I have been eating a lot of ghee (I mean A LOT)- for some reason it just tastes so good to me. There's talk on these forums about butter raising LDL and that worries me. I also eat lamb liver once a week.

C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 26, 2012
at 09:09 AM

This is what I was afraid of. I've got the supplement on hand, and I guess I might use it if I have a really tough patch to get through. But so far I've been steadily feeling better, so maybe I just need to keep doing what I'm doing and wait it out. Thanks for your input.

C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 26, 2012
at 09:07 AM

Thanks Heidi, this was good advice! It actually worked for me. I'll start doing a variation of this every morning when I walk.

C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 26, 2012
at 09:04 AM

Thanks so much! I tried low carb recently and it was fantastic. In the beginning I was posting questions here about how to regain my energy, and going cold turkey on all sugar for two-three weeks helped me sleep and relax. I've since reintroduced fruits and starches because they don't seem to be problematic anymore- yipee!

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on March 21, 2012
at 03:17 PM

I wish you all the best! :)

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on March 21, 2012
at 03:16 PM

Medis, have you considered eating a ketogenic level of carbs and protein? Many of us have found eating a ketogenic diet to have a profound stabilizing effect. Dr. Emily Dean's blog, Evolutionary Psychiatry addresses this. And these posts at Emma Davie's blog (I'm not sure I have here name right.): http://autoimmunethyroid.wordpress.com/?s=ketogenic Also, there are a couple of folks who posted their experiences of ketogenic diets and mental health, at Dirty Carnivores: http://forum.dirtycarnivore.com/ It takes some experimenting to find the right foods, amounts and supplements. ...

C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 21, 2012
at 12:38 AM

Sort of, but it's only recently that I started feeling good again. I used to get so tired! I walk around a fair bit during the day since uni started, which has really helps. I want to incorporated swimming, sprinting and bike riding more often, it's just a matter of getting out and not worrying about what people think! Thanks for your points Suz :)

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8 Answers

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2
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on March 21, 2012
at 01:36 PM

Your plan sounds good in general, because you need sunshine, liver, plenty of fat. But, if you base anything off the modern myth of serotonin levels having anything to do with this, you may shoot yourself in the foot. At this point, I think it is more likely the lack of fat soluble vitamins contributing to the spread of depression.
Of course, there are also very many perfectly reasonable reasons to be unhappy as this society falls apart, but psychiatrists want to medicate you if your mother dies, or if you get cancer.

What happens on SSRIs ? The brain changes in response to the increased level of serotonin, essentially defending itself against it. Meanwhile, there's all this extra serotonin everywhere else in your body, wreaking who knows what kind of havoc. One does not have to believe in giant evil conspiracies in order to appreciate how this looks like one medication leading to dependency on medication, and eventually multiple medications to treat the various symptoms that the first medication caused. It is addiction without the high. Worse than addiction with the high, in my opinion.

So, 5-htp sounds dangerous because it screws with serotonin too. You'd do better with some melatonin before bed, if you need it.

When in doubt, eat liver. I first noticed this effect with chicken liver. I've found pastured butter to be helpful too.

C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 26, 2012
at 09:13 AM

Oh good info. I've heard folks saying that this particular supplement was helpful to them, but I suspect they're not certain of the long-term effects. And pastured butter is wonderful! I have been eating a lot of ghee (I mean A LOT)- for some reason it just tastes so good to me. There's talk on these forums about butter raising LDL and that worries me. I also eat lamb liver once a week.

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on March 21, 2012
at 02:01 AM

I'm suspicious of herbal supplements to alter mood. Your body wants to self-regulate and anything you toss in is going to throw you out of whack and it's going to push back. Getting nutrition inline makes a lot of sense. Being very active makes a lot of sense, especially in a playful way and not in a hard, stressful, overly taxing way.

C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 26, 2012
at 09:09 AM

This is what I was afraid of. I've got the supplement on hand, and I guess I might use it if I have a really tough patch to get through. But so far I've been steadily feeling better, so maybe I just need to keep doing what I'm doing and wait it out. Thanks for your input.

2
B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on March 21, 2012
at 01:18 AM

I think anything playful or that involves movement outside in the sun would be helpful for you. You may also want to try yoga or meditation to reduce stress and help you feel more balanced physically and emotionally. I love walking meditations outside in the woods. I walk at an even pace until I can start to feel the rhythm of my footsteps (count them 1 2 3 4 until you feel the rhythm). Then I repeat positive self-talk in short sentences that take four beats -- I am wonderful, I am amazing, I am healthy, I am powerful, I am strong etc. This combination of meditation/positive self-talk/walking/outdoor activity is VERY POWERFUL! It makes me feel so amazing and those good, calming feelings can help take you through some of the stressful or emotional times in a more balanced way.

C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 26, 2012
at 09:07 AM

Thanks Heidi, this was good advice! It actually worked for me. I'll start doing a variation of this every morning when I walk.

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on April 02, 2012
at 01:57 PM

Glad it's working for you. Just 5 minutes of this during my regular walk is really powerful for me.

0
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on March 26, 2012
at 11:50 AM

Definitely read a book or two by Pema Chodron. Her stuff is very good at calming yourself down and remembering what's important: being kind.

0
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 21, 2012
at 03:56 AM

Everything seems perfect except the 5-HTP. I am not familiar with it. Other than that. Very impressive and well done!!!

C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 26, 2012
at 09:14 AM

Thanks Eric :) I'm fed up with being sick and tired and I am trying to hack my way out of this mess!

0
1586db0f16b2cef51ee4e71ab08ad1a2

(965)

on March 21, 2012
at 01:53 AM

Deadlifts.

Seriously. I always feel amazing after I do them, even on a down and stressful day.

ALA/NALC combo also really turns me around some mornings. I also like Rhodiola in the AM and Holy Basil at dinner when things don't feel so bright.

0
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 21, 2012
at 12:25 AM

Go outside and play, or if you are sheepish, go for a walk. Invite a friend to go with you or borrow a dog.

0
F4d04667059bc682540fdfd8b40f13a7

on March 21, 2012
at 12:15 AM

Do you exercise in any form much at the moment? I think any form of regular daily movement is so important and can make you feel so much better!

Also stress - not sure how stressful your life is (though sometimes people who are under a lot of stress don't seem to realise), but worth thinking about this and seeing if there are any steps you can take to reduce this.

C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 21, 2012
at 12:38 AM

Sort of, but it's only recently that I started feeling good again. I used to get so tired! I walk around a fair bit during the day since uni started, which has really helps. I want to incorporated swimming, sprinting and bike riding more often, it's just a matter of getting out and not worrying about what people think! Thanks for your points Suz :)

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