How I Kicked My Antidepressants to the Curb…

I have been thinking about this post for a while, but I feel VERY compelled to share it today… not sure why today, but I will follow the leading of the Spirit!I almost hate to blog about this because there is such a stigma about antidepressants.  It is almost as if you are a “lesser” person if you need to use and actually take antidepressants; it is as if you are weak or just unwilling to “suck it up” through your circumstances.  I don’t think that is the case; I believe that antidepressants area a tool to help a person manage through a difficult time.  I don’t place any judgments on people who take antidepressants and I hope that you do not judge me for what I am going to share.

Hello, my name is Amy Strait and I have been on prescription antidepressants on and off for over eleven years; yes, you read that right, eleven (11) years.  Here’s my story:  My oldest daughter is nearly 13 years old and I suffered some pretty severe post-partum depression after she was born.  I didn’t seek medical help nor take an antidepressant then because I was way too proud to admit that I needed help.  In my mind I thought, “Medication is for the weak; I am not weak!  I will push through this.”  I did push through but I was pretty miserable both to myself and to my husband and new daughter.  I got pregnant for my second child when my oldest was just 9 months old and I was an overwhelmed, emotional mess.  At every appointment with my OB/GYN, he would ask me if I wanted an antidepressant.  I always declined.  Finally, near the end of my pregnancy, I just couldn’t deal with my anxiety anymore and decided to see if an antidepressant would work for me.  Much to my surprise, I felt like myself again!  WOW!!  Amazing!  I’m not sure how long I took them, but I did eventually wean off of them after my second daughter was born and I was through the post-partum depression stage.

Through my next three pregnancies, I pretty much repeated the pattern:  antidepressants during end of pregnancy and through the post-partum depression stage.  However, after my fifth child was born (five kids in eight years), I was having a very hard time weaning off of the antidepressants.  I tried to quit taking it but I was an angry, emotional mess each time I tried.  I was on a relatively low dose but I just couldn’t quit taking them.  That really frustrated me!  When I got pregnant with my sixth child, I was still taking the antidepressants and have continued straight through until just recently (she is now three years old).  I have tried MANY times to cut back of them in an attempt to quit taking them, but I was never successful.  What had once helped me was now taking my joy away!  I felt like a slave to those pills.  I knew that I wouldn’t be a nice, happy mom and wife if I didn’t take my pill at night.  I didn’t like it at all!!

Recently some things changed in my life that have made me more equipped to quit taking antidepressants.  First, I started feeling the need to get healthier.  Through 13 years of being pregnant and/or nursing nearly the entire time, I was a tired, sleep-deprived mom and I had given in to soda/pop to help keep up my energy… and I drank a lot of it.  I was also a carb/sugar addict, so I also consumed a lot of sugary, processed foods in an attempt to feed myself quickly while taking care of many little ones.  Over the course of 10 years, I put on nearly 50 lbs.  It was time to take charge of my health again.  I turned 44 this year and it seems like an epiphany year for me.  I have come to realize and understand so many things about myself this year.  Getting healthier and taking control of things in my life just seem the right thing to do…

The second thing that changed was that we started using Young living essential oils.  We have been trying to make some healthier changes such as eliminating many processed foods from out diet, cutting way back on fast food, and eliminating chemical cleaners from our home.  We knew that we wanted to keeping going along that path and changing out our over-the-counter medications and some of our general health and beauty products with more natural ones (including essential oils) just seemed the right thing to do.  I knew that the essential oils could help with my occasional bouts of depression, I just had to figure out how.

Fast forward to today, Sunday, July 27th.  I am pleased to announce that I have successfully weaned myself off of antidepressants and have not taken any since Monday, July 7th!!  Here is what I attribute this success to (I can’t say if all of these things were necessary but I have to believe that they have all worked together):

1.  I dramatically decreased the amount of sugar and carbs that I eat.  I once considered myself a carb-a-holic.  However, I started cutting back when I realized that foods high in sugar and carbs were also really high in calories and I was trying to keep my calories down.  Then I realized how much better I felt when I wasn’t eating those foods.  (There is a lot of research that shows how excess sugar and carbs in one’s diet can contribute to depression; obviously there is truth to it, at least in my case it is.)

2.  I am exercising!  I am amazed at how much better I feel (energized even) after I have exercised.  Those endorphins that are created when you exercise are amazing!!  Gotta love those happy hormones!!  WOOHOO!!

3.  I don’t drink pop anymore (I guess that goes with cutting back on sugar), but this was a big deal for me!  I haven’t had any pop in nearly 9 weeks (not that I’m counting) and I no longer crave it!! :-)

4.  When all else seems to not be working and I find that mean/edgy mom/wife start to creep in on me, I lean on my essential oils to get me through.  I can take a drop each of the Joy and Peace & Calming essential oil blends and put it on my wrists and over my heart; I would also inhale each from the bottle just to give the essential oils a jump start into my system.  If I am feeling angry, I also use a little Purification essential oil blend.

I am glad that I am no longer taking the antidepressants because I am glad to be off medications!  One positive side effect to not taking the meds anymore is that I feel like I have my emotions back.  While taking the antidepressants, I felt emotionally “flat”.  Now, I cry when a friend sends me a sweet, encouraging note on Facebook or when I see a tear-jerker movie or video clip; and I feel more able to sympathize with a sick or injured kiddo.  I am just generally happier and seem to laugh more as well.  It also seems like other people are friendlier as well (LOL!).  :-)   I feel like a person again and not a “mom zombie.”

I have no negative feelings towards antidepressants or people who need to take them. I think they are a good tool to help people who are in a difficult place in life.  I just want to encourage anyone who feels like they are stuck taking them because they have been unable to just “wean” themselves off, that there are things you can do to reduce or eliminate your dependence upon them.  I hope that my story can give someone else the hope they need on their journey with antidepressants!

** Added note to those that may wonder, I did NOT stop taking my antidepressants “cold turkey” (that is dangerous, don’t do it!).  I slowly weaned myself. I was taking a daily dose of 50mg, then went to 50mg on odd days and 25mg (half of a 50mg pill) on the even days and did this for a couple weeks, then I went to 25mg (half of a 50mg pill) every day and did this for a couple weeks, then I went to 25 mg (half of a 50mg pill) every other day for a little while, and finally I just quit.

*** What I shared here is not meant to be medical advise to anyone, it is merely my story.  You should consult your own physician or medical professional to help you make decisions that are appropriate for your situation.

The Secret to REAL, Lasting Energy!!

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WOW!!  I think I have finally figured out the secret to real, lasting energy!!  While what I share here is not likely earth shattering to some, but it was really shocking to me!I have had times in my life when I struggled to have the energy that I needed in order to be a functioning human being.  Early in adulthood, I worked an hour away from home and had to be to work BY 8 am (for those that know me personally, I know you just fell on the floor laughing but you can get up now! :-)  ); I tried to drink coffee for a caffeine boost but didn’t like the taste of the coffee.  I tried to mask the taste of the coffee with creamer and sugar, but still didn’t like the taste and all I really got was a sugar and caffeine buzz that quickly wore off and left me looking for the next “pick-me-up”.   Later as a full-time student and full-time employee, I tried drinking pop/soda, even the stuff that was supposed to REALLY pump you up, well that too left me looking for the next buzz.  Then, as a tired mom, I also sought out something to bolster my ever dwindling energy; I still sought out pop/soda (a local gas station had the BEST fountain pop ever, so it was easy to indulge) but I also eagerly added high-sugar, high-carb foods that tasted so yummy; however, none of these gave me the long-lasting boost I needed either.  I am sure that many of you can relate to my quest; just watch TV and you’ll see a bunch of commercials for energy drinks, etc. so I am obviously not alone!

Fast forward to my recent quest to get healthier… I have mentioned in earlier posts that I figured out early on in this journey that foods high in carbs and sugar added a lot of calories but weren’t necessarily filling.  I gave up on those foods and started eating more veggies and meat (I figured out that I am a “protein” nutrition type and that I had actually been following a paleo diet; if you would like to figure out your nutrition type, check out this post), and I found that I actually felt better… a lot better!!  So, my not-necessarily-earth-shattering revelation is that real, lasting energy comes from…. (wait for it)…… REAL FOOD!!!  When you eat real food it gives your body real nutrition, and then your body actually has the energy it needs to help you get through your day!  Yes, you will still get tired at the end of the day and you still be tired if you stay up too late and/or get up too early, but if you are feeding your body correctly, it will be much easier for your body to get you through your day.

I have had a few days lately where I have not eaten as well as I know that I should.  And guess what, I have not had the energy I have needed to do my nightly walk and have not had the energy to fight off whatever sickness my kids are passing around.  I even indulged in a seemingly innocent piece of birthday cake… well, let me tell you that one piece of birthday cake was enough to “take me down”; I haven’t had that many carbs and sugar all at one time in a LONG time and my body revolted!!  Let’s just say that I won’t be making that mistake again any time soon!!

So, my recommendation to anyone who feels that they are lacking in the energy they need to get through the day is to consider your diet.  If you eat lots of carbs and sugar, you are likely not fueling your body the way you should; consider making the change to real food – veggies, fruit, meat, and some high-quality grains, I can nearly guarantee that within a short time you, too, will be feeling more energized too!  ….Food for thought!


Ready for an August Challenge???

I am a little late on sharing this, but who is in for an August challenge? In July, we had the #MyJuly30Miles. Now in August we have been challenged to #MyAugustFit50 – 50 miles in August: running, walking, biking, rollerblading, etc… …(no, driving your car/truck does not count :-)   ). I’m going to take the challenge; anyone want to join me?? I figure even if I don’t hit the full 50 miles, I will be closer to 50 miles than if I hadn’t done anything at all!  :-)

Here’s a fun challenge – let’s do 30 miles in July!!

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Who’s up for a challenge?!?  A sweet friend in Texas (big wave to Colleen!) was telling me that her trainer (Tiffani Findley Allamon) has challenged her bootcampers to do 30 miles in July – that is 30 miles of walking, running, hiking, biking, swimming, rollerblading or whatever other exercising you do that can be tallied in miles (no, driving does NOT count – LOL!). CHALLENGE starts Tuesday (today!)!  Let’s see how many people we can get moving in July.All you have to do is give a shout out on FB or Twitter that you are joining the challenge; be sure to use #MyJuly30Miles for tracking!  You can also search #MyJuly30Miles to see who else has accepted the challenge as well as to give (and get) encouragement!!

I’m in; how about you??

‪#‎letsgetfit #challengeyourself  ‪#‎letsgethealthy  ‪#‎healthy ‪#‎motivation ‪#‎inspiration ‪#‎determined


Motivation!

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Let’s talk about motivation for just a moment…I just finished logging my daily food intake into my MyFitnessPal app. I was under my calorie goal quite substantially today (actually two days in a row).  Not sure why though – I ate when I was hungry and I felt satisfied all day; I am not starving myself (just in case anyone was worried :-)  ).  For some reason I have just not felt hungry lately… not complaining though… :-)  :-)

Well, when I completed my entry today it told me at the bottom of the page that if every day were like today, I’d weigh 199.7 lbs in 5 weeks!!  (It is still hard actually sharing that number… sigh…)  That will be down 16 lbs from what I weigh now!!  Holy crap!!  WHOOP  WHOOP!!


That is awesome!!  Now I know that not every day will be like today – I am realistic.  HOWEVER, this does mean that what I am doing could actually work and that was very motivating!  That one sentence will keep me watching what I eat and will keep me exercising twice a day!!HAPPY DANCE!!  HAPPY DANCE!!  But it will be an even happier dance when my scale actually reads 199.7 lbs!!

Quick side note:
I do have to say though, that if you or anyone you know are trying to be healthier and/or lose weight, I highly recommend logging your food intake and exercise into an app such as MyFitnessPal or one similar to it.  I have been watching what I eat and making healthier food choices the past several weeks, but when you have to actually look at how many calories, sugar, carbs, etc. are in a food item and see how those items all add up at the end of the day, you truly do look at your food differently.  I am much more mindful to not finish Bekah’s sandwich or nibble a little of the macaroni and cheese sitting on the counter when I know that I have to log those items (yes, I am being that careful and actual with what I log).  It is also motivating to see how your exercise adjusts the amount of calories you can consume as well.  So, apps like MyFitnessPal get two very enthusiastic thumbs up from me.  (No, this is not any kind of affiliate endorsement – it’s a free app or you can use it for free online as well – I actually use both all day long.)

That’s all for now…
Stay healthy my friends…