Depression seems to be in the news, what with the onset of winter and the cricketer Jonathan Trott’s woes. Dragging ourselves into the doctor will result usually in a prescription for anti-depressants, with SSRIs still being very popular. Easy to prescribe, easy to take. Not so easy to stop taking – and no guarantee that they’ll work.
To assume that all depression is caused by a lack of serotonin is wildly optimistic. I have two stories to tell that give me real pause for thought as to the underlying reasons for depression. One concerns high quality supplementation and the other food intolerance.
I have worked the Poliquin Biosignature method for eight years. When I did my first course, I came back extremely excited, convinced I could cure all diseases and fatnesses. I suggested to my clients that we all take basic supplementation. Fortunately, they agreed to give it a try.
Up until then, my clients would come in and regularly cry. The cause for their woes was the normal stuff – rows with the partner, children being difficult and so on. Some weeks it was dreadful – man the pumps, we’re off again. I got through boxes of tissues and was wondering if I ought to learn some sort of counselling.
After about three months of everybody taking basic supplements – a good multi, fish oils, zinc, magnesium and so on – it occurred to me that nobody was crying any more. My box of tissues needed dusting. Result!! Everybody was happier and coping with their lives better. How interesting is that.
The second story concerns myself. I am extremely dairy intolerant. A few weeks ago I went on a weekend conference and for lunch ordered a chicken salad without croutons or cheese. Lunchtime came, and I got stuck into my salad. Part way through I noticed these white things. Upon a bit of a prod, I realised they were small squares of deeply dubious parmesan cheese – utterly tasteless, as it transpired. I shoved them all aside and finished my salad.
The conference resumed, and, to my horror, I found myself falling asleep. This is a prime symptom of food intolerance and meant I’d eaten some of the cheese. As the afternoon wore on, I got increasingly stressed. At the end of the day, I was so stressed and upset, I could hardly speak. I’d desperately wanted to talk to someone about something and realised I couldn’t string a sentence together. I just had to leave and drive home very slowly and carefully. I did have good reason to feel stressed, so the connection between eating cheese and feeling so stressed and depressed didn’t occur to me.
The next day I took my own lunch. In the afternoon, I didn’t fall asleep and at the end of the conference did not feel stressed or depressed – despite there being even more reason to feel both. I felt pretty much my normal self.
I have told this story to others battling with food intolerances – and have seen a wondrous dawning of realisation as people relate it to their own experiences of eating something they know they can’t – by mistake or deliberately – and then understanding why, a few hours later, they then went on to have a flaming row with their partner, for example.
So here are a couple of reasons for depression – and high stress levels – not enough nutrition in our food anymore and eating food that does not agree with us.
Of course, its still much easier to take an anti-depressant than address these fundamental issues – and certainly much cheaper. Supplementation that works is not cheap. Changing the diet to one that suits us is neither cheap nor easy. Much easier to stay in the rut of doing what we have always done. On the other hand, address these fundamental issues and not only are we happier we are also very much healthier.