kathwhit(z8, West OR)October 23, 2006

Hi Everyone,

I know I have posted on this subject before, but as usual for this time of year, I am sinking into depression. It really hit me this morning after a wonderful weekend at the Oregon coast where it was unusually sunny and warm. All the symptoms are here: foggy brain, lack of motivation, weepy, crabby, wanting to withdraw from everyone and total lack of energy. I am doing all my usual activities to make myself feel better, but this happens every year right before the time changes. The days aren't long enough and the darkness and stress of my job hit me like a sledgehammer. I have so much to be thankful for, but when depression hits, it's like a dark cloud or film covering all the joy. I upped the dosage of my anti-depressant, but it will take a couple of weeks to feel better. Anyone else suffering at this time of year?


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rozannadanna(8 TX)

sounds like you have whatever that is that is caused by lack of light.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 12:22PM
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kathwhit(z8, West OR)

Absolutely. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I'm used to dealing with it every winter, but It's always a struggle.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 1:53PM
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Kathy dear, do you have full spectrum lighting in your house? My late DH installed it for me in my kitchen, mudroom and laundry room because I need the sunlight and we have some gloomy months in Indiana.
Remember to exercise your body and also add fish oil to your diet. I take Carlson Norwegian Cod Liver Oil...a tblsp. to 2 tblsp. a day for my brain boosting. It is a good quality oil and lemon flavored and I find it highly palatable. You can also get it in capsules.
Maybe you are already doing this stuff.....
Hugs sweetheart,

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 2:17PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

I've never had this problem, but I wouldn't let it fester. Do whatever it takes to improve your mental well-being, and don't wait, do it now. Keep us posted on what helps.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 2:35PM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

Kathy, sorry about your slump. I'm feeling sort of down over the weather change. Took a walk this morning and it was nice but cold weather is on the way. If your problem is the light thing I think that can be remedied. Good luck.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 4:45PM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Yup--it's October. Get that lightbox out, girlfriend!

When Elder Son was in gradeschool he was grumpy--I asked him what the matter was--he said "I hate the weak, washed out quality of the sunlight." It was October. You BEST believe we sent him to college with a full spectrum lamp--and some prescription medication!

Hang in there!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 7:24PM
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I hope some of thes suggestions will be of help to you.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 5:27AM
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Magnesium will help the metabolism work more efficiently.

& the best best thing I've found for a quick fix is aerobic exercise.
It gets oxygen to the brain, making those synapses fire more efficiently.

The best way to be sure to get exercise when you don't wanna is to join a class, jazzercise is my favorite.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 9:37AM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

You bet! I too have upped my dose of anti-depressant. Because I'm close to menopause, I don't walk in the summer because I get too sweaty, but this time of year I start up again and it's always amazing what exercize can do for my depression, to say nothing of how it's good for your bones, your heart, circulation, etc., etc. What works for me is to walk to the grocery store and pick up a few items. If I walked on a treadmill and got bored, I'd get off, but when you're halfway home and get bored, what else can you do but keep going? I have tried the full spectrum lights and find they don't work awfully well for me, unfortunately, but I've been on various doses of my anti-depressant for over 15 years now and it does work amazingly well. I can live with the side effects for the miracle of feeling normal in our dark, cold, long winters.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 10:09AM
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kathwhit(z8, West OR)

Thanks for your replies everyone. I am feeling a little better today. I am using my light every morning now, and upped my exercise. I walk Freddy every morning, but it is in the dark. Now I am walking for 30 minutes on the treadmill in the evening too. And I did start taking my full dose of Lexapro (I was taking half during the summer). Sylvia, I agree, the side effects are not good, worth it to be cheerful in the winter.

It is nice to know I'm not the only one that suffers from SAD. My DH is not very sympathetic, and he usually is the recipient of my crabbiness, unfortunately. Joan, I am going to try the fish oil supplements. I have arthritis in my finger, and it effects my mandolin playing and I have heard that fish oil is good for joint problems as well as depression.
Thanks all,

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 2:45PM
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I totally know what you are speaking of. I have it and it is no fun. I hate the change from summer to fall and all it promises: cold, wind, rain, gray days, wintercoats, being stuck in the house when I wish I could be gardening, biking, hiking. Dogs and me drenched from our morning and evening walks. Other miseries.
I look upon it as a very long gradually ascending mountain pass I have to climb over, treading ever so slowly, til it starts to decend (March) when I am climbing the walls, knowing spring is coming soon--but not soon enough. The times I have taken antidepressents have always been in February. I won't take them anymore do to the one intolerable side effect. I am much less social in winter due to the depression--I fantasize about hibernating every year!

Alas, it is all beginning again. We will get through it, but it isn't easy. AND, I have a relatively short cool season to get through. Good luck, and know you are certainly not alone!


    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 10:09PM
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Not alone here either, I thought Kathy in her first post was talking about me. Mine hit me at least three weeks ago now.It is like I just stoped still in the garden, literally while I was in the middle of topping and tailing all my 200 geraniums which I winter in a polytent every year. Left them, and all the other things I should be doing in the garden right now. Won't add much more! My doctor's appointment is not for another couple of weeks. I am walking every day too I know it is doing me good physically as I am feeling stronger, but I get very morbid and weepy on my walks. I saw my trainer at the gym today - rarely go, but she called me in as I am committed by a contract. Thank goodness it is finished in January. I will only walk then thereafter. She said the weeping while I am walking is a good thing! releasing stress - Hmmmmm! Fine bunch arn't we. I wonder if it is a gardeners disease. Should post some pictues of my geraniums, that will cheer me up and I hope some others too. I will put them in the rose gallery. Ooh, but do they have to be all roses. Maybe they should end up in this section.
Pauline - Vancouver Island

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 1:20AM
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carla17(Z7 NC)

Kathy, just wanted to check on you! My birthday was Mon. and I didn't even enjoy the day for all these agonizing thoughts over and over.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 8:23AM
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Another thing to consider...I added a separate Vitamin D supplement to the mix because of not getting it from the sun right now. There was a small amount of Vit. D in with my Cal/Mag supplement but I now am also taking another 1250 or so of D.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 8:23AM
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kathwhit(z8, West OR)

Thanks for your replies, Kathy and Pauline and your concern Carla. And Happy Birthday!

I am doing about the same. Kathy, your description of climbing over a mt. is so apt. I describe it as running along skipping and hopping in the summer and then suddenly feeling as though you are bogged down in quicksand as the days shorten. I upped my antidepressant on Monday, and am having the usual short term side effects, but am confident that I will soon start feeling better. Meanwhile, I am doing the best I can, kind of coasting at work and home, keeping to myself, saving my energy for important things and staying to my routine of vitamins, light therapy, walking and "endorphin raisers". If I could hibernate, I sure would! But life gets in the way.

It's funny Kathy, last year I started the antidepressant in February! That's as long as I could last without becoming totally comatose! So I stayed on a half dose all summer hoping that when I started again it wouldn't take so long to take effect. The "one" intolerable side effect is awful isn't it? If there was any other way I could stay functional, believe me I would do it.

Joan, I am going to try upping my D's, and starting fish oil capsules. It sounds like you have some experience with winter depression and I appreciate the advice.

It's so nice to know I am not alone in this. Let's keep in touch and keep supporting each other. Thanks so much. One of the worst things about depression is feeling that no one really understands.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 12:00PM
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Kathy dear, I hope some of that stuff helps. I have been up and down my whole emotional person...a passionate singer/songwriter kind of person. Lots for me must have been hormonal because I improved some when I had my first child at 29 and really improved about 9 years ago when I had my hysterectomy...I call it my hysteria-ectomy, lol. I have learned now at the fabulous age of 53 to use and ride my moods although they don't fluctuate like they used to. I was on an anti-depressant while Wayne was sick and for a year and a half afterwards. Finally felt myself moving forward spiritually and tapered off. It is going on two years now that I feel really great. However, I would not hesitate to take it again in my life if I felt disfunctional. Got me through. My DD who has had a rough time since losing her Daddy is on Sarafem which is basically Prozac. (I took Prozac.) Lexapro was not so good for her. That is why they make different drugs for different people.
I have ALWAYS known that I crave sunshine. I believe that some day I will live in a warm, sunny climate year round. Wayne and I always pursued good nutrition but I am diligent now because I am responsible for my self. You know, I always was, deep down...but so close to W. and I had that support continually. Now I am my own best friend and I passionately seek health on every level. Truly, I will tell you that Fish Oil changed my life. Not only does it boost brain function, it oils the joints and benefits the skin.
I also constantly seek spiritual support. I have a small group of girlfriends who meet every other Tuesday night and we encourage each other and hold each other accountable for our goals and intentions. We all need encouragement.
You are such a sweet person Kathy. I hope this is a little beneficial to you and not TMI.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 4:06PM
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kathwhit(z8, West OR)

Dear Joan,
Not at all too much information. I appreciate so much you sharing your experience. As you know, I also lost my husband when my children were young. But my experience with depression goes back before that. Anyway, I have found that each person has to find a balance for emotional and physical health. And every suggestion is helpful, especially because you don't always have the knowledge or ablility to try different things on your own. Certainly nutrition is a large part of the balance I am trying to seek. As is spiritual knowledge and practice, relaxation, sun, hormones, and above all seritonin....the neurotransmitter that is the source of all my troubles :-) I have also found that, through trial and error, you can find a medication that works well. Even though the SSRI's all have that "one" side effect that is so problematic, they really do work well. I used Paxil for several winters before I tried Lexapro. Thanks so much for your caring comments.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 5:39PM
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Someone told me that B complex vitamins with choline, along with lecithin supplements, twice a day--immediately upon arising--and anytime after 5 p.m.--worked wonders bordering on a miracle.

Of course, depression is such an individualized thing that it's hard to know what to do sometimes and what works for one simply may not do at all for another.

It is wonderful to have a forum where different experiences can be considered.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 7:58PM
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kathwhit(z8, West OR)

Thanks for your suggestion Michael. I have heard about the B vitamins. I take a B50 complex with C (it includes Choline) every morning. Maybe I will try and double up on it. I wonder what the lecithin does? I will check it out.

I am going to buy some fish oil capsules today. I tried them before and couldn't get rid of the fishy burps (yuch), so I am going to consult with someone to find one that doesn't have such a bad after effect.

I am sitting under my light right now. It has a cheering effect usually. Massage is something else that has helped me in the past. I will call and schedule an appt.

Today I am feeling a little desperate. My motivation is zilch, and I just want to sleep and eat carbs. I haven't gotten up to walk Freddy the last 2 mornings, and my sleep has been disturbed. It is unusual for me to have such a pronounced slump so quickly. Usually it is more gradual. I sure hope the Lexapro starts to work soon. I sure do appreciate all your help and comments.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 12:10PM
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Thanks MAT. I read the bottle of my B Complex and yes, it does have choline. I, too, wonder what the lecithin does?
Kathy, my DD and I have observed that the lemon favored liquid (not bad at all) does not result in fishy burps later but the capsules always do. I prefer the liquid.
Hang in there, sweetheart. Be gentle with yourself.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 1:25PM
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Since things are being discussed which have the ability to alter, in some cases significantly alter, energy levels I think it's best to remind anyone affected that one's own doctor or NP or whoever's in charge needs to be consulted, or at least notified, before implementing any changes, even simple ones. It's also always a good idea to tell the most responsible family member around about what one is doing, even if it's as simple as adding vitamins.

Depressed people who suddenly find themselves with physical energy are at a multiple level of risk for injuring themselves in a variety of ways... ranging from suicide to running up the credit card balances.

So, moving on, choline and lecithin are precursors of acetlycholine, a neurotransmitter involved with several processes but simply put, an excitatory transmitter or one that stimulates and increases energy levels.

Various studies have shown significant changes in human and animal behavior reflecting increased calm.

Few things, IMHO, seem as paradoxical as the world of neurotransmitters. First we learn that acetylcholine is a (naturally present) stimulant and then we learn that increasing its availability promotes a calm and centered affect.

I mention that only to emphasize, again, the need to keep your prescribing physician informed of any changes. It's a very complex subject riddled with anomalies and potential pitfalls.

I'm going to mention one more thing concerning half-lives of various antidepressants. It's an important thing to ask your physician what the half-life of your particular medication is. Some, example Paxil, have a half-life measured in hours. Others, such as Prozac, have a half-life measured in weeks.

For some people, many people, missing one dose of Paxil will make itself known almost immediately. Conversely, a person who's been on Prozac could stop taking it for weeks and believe they'd been "cured" without realizing it's still circulating and working six weeks after they took the last dose.

Adding to the confusion, it could even be possible that the hypothetical person taking Prozac actually is "cured" (and I use the word very loosely) BUT upon finally beginning to experience the bizarre set of withdrawal symptoms--which can be very similar to depression itself--mood swings, irritability--weeks later mistakenly thinks they need to get back on it.

This is not an area where anyone wants to find themselves alone; it's every bit as dangerous as being broken down in a bad neighborhood alone at three a.m. without a cell phone. Don't put yourself in that situation. Plan ahead.

Be willing to experiment, conditionally, but make sure a professional is monitoring, or at least aware of, any changes.

Sorry for being so long-winded.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 1:40AM
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You are so right on, Michael. Good reminders. You should always talk supplements over with your doctor! Thank you for reminding us of that.
I happily share what I do for myself but emphasize that we are all different and what applies to me may not apply to anyone else.
Having said that, I appreciate our sharing here.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 10:16AM
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gardening_fever(z8, bc)

Hi Kathwhit and others,

Last year I managed to avoid *this* b/c I kept gardening in the rain, sleet and snow. Our winters are pretty mild mind you but I think I will have to start up again as I am feeling the "sinking". I do really need the sun.

Right now my heart feels so . . . heavy . . . like someone is standing on my chest. My lungs are feeling cramped too. No foggy brain but just some sadness.

I thought at first it was PMS but it's been going on for about a month now. Somedays better than others.

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one though.

Thanks for "listening".


    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 2:59PM
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kathwhit(z8, West OR)

Hi Everyone:
Karen, I know just the feeling you are describing. I sure does help to get out in the garden during the winter, rain or shine. I hope it helps you this winter.

Michael, thanks for your informative posting. It is very important to have medical supervision when dealing with depression. Let's not forget that major depression can be fatal--in the form of suicide. It is very serious. And the medications are effective, but as MAT says, are tricky.

As for me, even though I have been sick with a bad cold, I am feeling better moodwise. The time change is always a shock though. It is like a plunge into darkness. On top of that, we have had a cold snap here, and our first freeze. I wish I could embrace the winter. I understand the wiccans have a view of winter as a time of renewal, relaxation and rest. I hope I can adopt that view this winter and enjoy my "inside" time with family and friends and get as much outside time as I can. My goal right now is to stop struggling against the darkness and cold, and embrace it as a time for renewal and rest. It's a tough mind shift for me, but I am tenacious......I never give up.
Love to all

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 12:18PM
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iowa_jade(C 5b H 6)

My son lives in Seattle and we have to send him photos of the Mudwest so he is reminded what sunlight looks like, seems to forgit!
Our Exec. Sec. has a lightbox and I enjoy going over and staring at the sun for a bit now and then as our days are now sooooo short. She ( the Exec. Sec,) is also a good looker so that also brightens up my day.
You are not alone. Many folks miss that little golden orb this time of year. A lot of good advise here. F.L.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 12:38PM
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kathwhit(z8, West OR)

Ha-ha F.L.!! I am the only one around here with a lightbox and I'm not that good looking, but I still have people hanging around here, especially on cold dark mornings.

Today I am feeling much better. I think the meds are kicking in, plus I have practice to look forward. Nothing like a little male admiration to make me feel better.....thank goodness they don't have to live with me!

Hang in there everybody.
Love and hugs,

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 6:52PM
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It's good to know that you have perked up Kathy - now have some fun! My appointment is not until 8th November. I'm hanging in! :)
Pauline - Vancouver Island

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 12:37AM
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kathwhit(z8, West OR)

Hi Pauline,
I'm sorry you have to wait so long for your appt. And then it takes awhile for the medication to start working. So be sure to write if you need support. You can email me if you want.

I am definitely getting a lift from my meds now. I woke up cheerful, took Freddy for a walk in the cold rain (40 and pouring--typical Oregon November) and got to work a little early. Using an antidepressant is like struggling to swim with your head just barely above water and then suddenly having a life jacket. You feel boyant! Thanks to everyone for their words of encouragement. Let me know if there is anything I can offer to you in return. It means so much to be understood.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 11:24AM
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Thanks Kathy - I appreciate it.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 10:30AM
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