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May is mental health awareness month so we are pulling the veil off a painful epidemic of depression in women. Right now, many people are feeling down and I was inspired by a moving story by Elizabeth Flock published in The Atlantic last week. 

 

There’s nothing simple about depression. Everyone has their own unique experience of it. Medication rarely solves the root cause of depression but since it does the very important job of improving mood fairly quickly in many people, conventional medical approaches tend to stop there. If you are lucky, you will find the right prescription and a mental health practitioner who is a good fit but these are also very long and painful journeys for some. 

 

There are root causes of depression that most people don’t get help with as it is usually some combination of circumstance, stress, neurotransmitter imbalance, and genetics. I help women in particular with depression because of its direct causal relationship with stress, hormones, and nutrition that we don’t ever get addressed in conventional care. Since my passion is helping women feel healthy, happy, and sexy so we can make a bigger impact, this is a very important subject to me. It is also a personal one.

 

My mother has suffered from major depression her entire life. My family carries a genetic trait that predisposes us to depression and other things. I know how much depression can hold us back from living a meaningful life. Women experience depression at a rate twice that of men and attempt suicide 2-4 time more than men (although men die more due to using more violent means). About 12 million women each year are diagnosed with clinical depression and most of these women are between the ages of 25-44. So if this is you, know that you are not alone.

 

Take the Beck’s Depression Inventory to assess your level of depression.

 

The things I look for in my patients suffering from depression are:

  • Hormones: low DHEA, low testosterone, or low estrogen as well as hypothyroidism or low-normal thyroid hormone, all can cause depression.
  • Nutrition: Low iron or iron storage (AKA; iron poor blood), low vitamin D status
  • Genetic issues: The MTHFR gene defect causes low activated B vitamins responsible for making serotonin, the main mood lifting (and calming) neurotransmitter. 

 

It can feel overwhelming to think about wading through information and making decisions on your own when you are depressed so the first step is to get help! Do not try to fix yourself or white knuckle your way through it. Getting help is not a weakness, it is a strength and now more than ever there are people willing and able to support those in need of a hand up out of the darkness. 

 

Book an assessment now with one of our providers to get insight into your specific situation!

 

In Elizabeth’s article, she gives some tips on what else has been helping her:

  • Working with your hands
  • Gardening
  • Volunteering
  • Reading poetry

 

She quotes Theodore Roethke, “in a dark time, the eye begins to see.” I think many of us are experiencing profound shifts or new, intense emotions and fear of the unknown. This will pass and we will survive together! 

 

What are some of the things that have helped you? Submit a comment to share!

 

Important message: If you are having thoughts of suicide, there is help now. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are just a phone call away and they understand what you are going through. Call them at: 1-800-273-8255