I used many tools and techniques to overcome severe and chronic lifelong depression without drugs. There is no pill that will provide an instant cure for depression. Drugs may numb the symptoms, but they are not the cure and will inevitably harm to the liver and kidneys. Overcoming depression permanently may take years (in my case a decade, and I still have work to do to achieve my personal goal of a life filled with abundant, overflowing joy and love). So make sure to plan a strategy and enlist support. And then your new lifestyle must be maintained. Depressed people are likely to have food allergies, trauma, lack of support, physical challenges, sedentary lifestyle, chronic fatigue, or other challenges. All of which need to be addressed to create a total package for healing.
Here are number of suggestions to lift your spirits and create a life filled with positive thoughts and bountiful energy. Please do your research to determine if any of these remedies are right for you. Enlist support and gather your healing team. Addressing your depression alone may add additional stress to your situation, and could be a form of self-sabotage. Where applicable get advice from and work with an alternative health practitioner, such as an herbalist, acupuncturist, or chiropractor:
1. Detoxify and cleanse your body, especially your colon. When food decays in the gut, it releases toxins that affect your mood. This is first on my list, because you will see the results so quickly, often immediately. There are many books and diets on detoxification. I am writing one myself. Keep in mind that one week of cleansing will not clear out decades of eating poorly. Keep at it with regular cleanses, either periodically or daily if you can manage that, over the course of a year or two. Cleansing may need to become a regular practice for the rest of your life, for example one day a week.
For powerful, instant emotional transformation, I recommend herbal or coffee enemas, or the salt water flush as specified in “The Master Cleanser” by Stanley Burroughs. Enemas will massage the reflex points in the colon, and this will release old trapped emotions better than the salt-water flush. I alternate them. You can cleanse on a budget, so don’t delay. You need big guns and to feel better now! There is no need for an expensive store-bought remedy or to wait for an appointment to get a colonic. You can get an enema bag for under $10 in the drug store. If you do have some money to spend, you might consider incorporating a few other powerful tools for detoxifying into your regime, such as hyperbaric oxygen chamber, infrared sauna, clay baths, ionic foot baths, ozone therapy, and so on.
2. Feed your body. Eat 50-100% raw food, and 99% vegan diet (a super healthy diet, with no junk and processed food). Eating a lot of meat makes you have low-vibration thoughts. When you eat meat of any kind, you consume the vibration of the animal, which is a lower vibration than what is possible for us as humans. This is not to say that animals are inferior, rather they are more dense in their energy. Animals do not have the cognitive abilities that humans have. They are in the reactive mind. In addition, they are stressed when they are slaughtered, which means there are high levels of stress hormones in their blood and tissue.
Vegetables, on the other hand, are free from stress hormones, contain the high-vibration energy of the sun, and are packed with vitamins and minerals that oxygenate your blood, thus making it more alkaline–a biochemical state associated with health, wellbeing, tranquility and bliss. Being vegetarian is the classic yoga diet, because eating meat makes you reactive rather than neutral and thus interferes with the process of self-realization. The understanding of this goes back thousands of years, throughout the yoga literature.
I am not suggesting that you must never eat meat again. I recommend a more graduated approach, in which you reduce the amount of meat you consume while you address your depression, and that you consider eating 100% vegetables for short periods as a cleanse.
3. Move your body. Exercise releases endorphins in the body, which make you feel good. In addition, exercise will help you sleep and keep you calm. The best forms of exercise to deal with depression will have left-right balanced movements, such as running, biking, and walking. This type of movement activates all parts of the brain and releases neurotransmitters, which enable the brain to move recent memories into long-term storage. The effect is a calm and peaceful mind with few intrusive thoughts.
To help clear your mind, it is best to do these brain-balancing exercises without distractions, such as talking on a cell phone. In silence, one can observe the inner thoughts to discover the truth about your situation. Exercise then becomes a form of meditation.
I recommend a steady and regular practice of yoga, preferably Kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Kundalini yoga combines breathing, sound therapy, movement, meditation, and asanas, all in one program. Other forms of yoga can be effective, but your experience may depend more on the teacher (for example, what is the teacher’s objective for the class–to assist you to look good or to deeply heal yourself). Kundalini yoga almost always works to transform your emotions, despite the teacher, because it is scripted and carefully crafted to achieve a specific result.
Finally, don’t forget the most basic movement of all: breathing. Breathing creates gentle internal movement throughout the body. As the heart pumps, blood flow increases, lymph flow increases, peristalsis increases, cells become more active. The ribs and diaphragm move and stretch, opening the heart chakra to love and self-healing. All healing functions of the body increase. This is something you can do anywhere at any time. If you are too tired to exercise, try conscious powerful breathing for 15-30 minutes.
4. Heal your spirit and heal your trauma. This is easier said than done. The key to speedy recovery is to use techniques that address subconscious thoughts or programming, like hypnosis, neurolinguistic programming, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and biofeedback.
EFT is the fastest self-help technique for healing trauma and addressing ineffective, negative or outdated programs in the subconscious mind. It can quickly dissolve or transform “negative” emotions like depression, anger, grief, or fear. It takes about 15-30 minutes to learn EFT and then you can do it yourself, for free! There are dozens of great instructional videos on YouTube. Look for videos by the founder of EFT, Gary Craig.
Other techniques to consider are rebirthing, somatic experiencing, sensory deprivation, shamanic initiatory rituals such as a vision quest, and inner child work. Many psychologists, chiropractors and acupuncturists have now been trained in these fast-acting modalities, including variations of EFT with acronyms such as EMDR, SET, and NET.
5. Have a strong intention. The most important thing is to have a strong intention and commitment to heal, as if your life depended on it (which it does). When you project this intention, the right teachers, tools and techniques will come to you.
A commonly heard belief held by healing professionals is that it takes years to heal. This is the legacy of Freud, who generally prescribed psychiatric therapy for a period of ten years. This thought virus is in direct opposition to the new consciousness coming in, which is “you create your reality with your thoughts.” These are contradictory beliefs. So first you might want to get rid of any belief that it will take a long time to heal and embrace the possibility that you can overcome your depression quickly and easily.
6. Learn psychic self-defense. Perhaps your negative thoughts are not even yours! Avoid people and events that make you depressed, at least until you have learned how to recover and protect yourself from psychic attacks, even unintentional ones. Thoughts are energy vibrations that create a “cloud” around a person. Thoughts can travel long distances or remain in a space after everyone is gone. If you come in contact with a negative thought cloud, it can stay in your energy field.
Other types of psychic attacks are more obvious, for example when someone verbally assaults you. Verbal abuse is common in modern civilized society and accepted as “normal”. Is it any wonder our world is filled with violence and hate? How often do parents berate their children, calling them stupid or clumsy? How often do we hear someone put down another person in a joking manner? To learn how to recognize verbal abuse and violent communication, read “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” by Patricia Evans and “Non-violent Communication” by Marshall Rosenberg.
There are many self-help techniques to remove psychic debris from your energy body, including burning sacred incense, cold showers, ritual baths, alkaline baths, prayer, meditation, and many of the tips mentioned so far, such as exercise, EFT, and yoga.
Again, your intention is everything. If you are 100% committed to feeling better and releasing any negative energy, these techniques will be much more effective. The biggest part of psychic self-defense is avoidance and saying “no” to abuse or negativity that is forced upon you. For many people this is hard to do. It is about putting up healthy boundaries and maintaining them. It may take some practice, but don’t give up. You can do it!
7. Rest. Depression goes hand in hand with stress and anxiety. This is very taxing on the body. Please allow yourself to rest when you are tired. Ask your loved ones to help you with this. Get takeout for dinner if you need to, or ask someone else to cook or clean.
Many people with depression are also completely exhausted. In Chinese medicine, this exhaustion is viewed as the source of depression. I have personally experienced the truth of this, as I observe the patterns of depression in my own life. When I am exhausted, I am depressed, and when I have energy, I am enthusiastic and happy. So please remember this when you are tired. And please don’t give up. It will get better if you keep with the program.
8. Supplements. Okay, this is as close as I will come to giving you that quick fix pill remedy. But keep in mind one thing: herbs are less powerful than drugs, and very often, if you take the recommended dosage on that bottle of herbs you bought at the supermarket, it may have no effect. In addition, a toxic body, whether due to poor diet or excessive negative thoughts, generally has poor digestion, thus herbs may be less effective.
That being said, a body experiencing chronic or acute stress requires more nutritional support than a calm peaceful body, just as a competitive athlete would require high-quality nutrition, whereas a Hindu yogi or Tibetan monk could go for days without food. Chronic stress is like running a marathon over and over again.
I generally recommend tinctures or teas rather than pills, because liquid is easier to absorb and requires less digestion. Please purchase unadulterated, high-quality products. As with everything I have said here, please do your research to determine if any of these remedies are right for you, and get advice from an alternative health practitioner, such as an herbalist or acupuncturist.
To directly address depression, consider Kava, skullcap, oat straw, peppermint, passionflower, St. John’s Wort, niacin, and magnesium. For long-term tonics to address fatigue and help your body recover from stress, consider schisandra, reishi, Tulsi, spirulina, chlorella, Vitamin B complex, antioxidants such as Vitamin C, CoQ-10, selenium, Vitamin E, lecithin, and a good multi-mineral with trace minerals.
Niacin is a powerful antidote for depression. Niacinamide is the non-flush version, but is less effective. The flushing sensation is very healing, as the blood is forced into cells and areas of the body with poor circulation. Take magnesium and niacin (or niacinamide) before bed for a deep sleep. A deep Niacin-induced sleep may leave you groggy the next day if you are severely sleep deprived. But as you recover your sleep, you will start to feel more energy during the day. Valerian will also help you sleep, but a small percent of people become energized by it. Unless you know how these supplements will affect you, do not drive immediately after taking Valerian or Niacin.
9. Troubleshooting. Chronic and severe depression may be the result of underlying physical conditions such as allergies, spinal misalignments, or the presence of toxins such as heavy metals. Any one of these underlying conditions could not only impede your progress, it could render ineffective most or all of the techniques I have discussed thus far.
Visit a chiropractor for a spinal assessment. To determine if you have allergies, you can go on an elimination diet. Many alternative health practitioners do allergy testing. I recommend Advanced Allergy Therapeutics, which is used by some chiropractors and is similar to EFT in its approach to healing allergies. You can get a test for heavy metals through the Sierra Club (the link is on their website). A naturopathic doctor can also provide the heavy metals test, as well as tests for other toxins.
If these tests show nothing, try the Collarbone Breathing technique. This is an EFT routine specifically intended for use when all else fails. You can learn it from videos on YouTube. If you are not getting fast and immediate results with EFT and your healing routine, it is probably time to seek the assistance of a trained EFT practitioner or other healer.
My own personal journey to heal depression and chronic fatigue took many decades for several reasons. I had mercury poisoning which was not diagnosed until I was in my mid 30s. Then almost a decade later, having experienced mediocre results from numerous healing efforts, I discovered the best treatment for removing mercury from the brain (the hyperbaric oxygen chamber) and was treated for my allergies. I had many allergies, more than most people according to my doctor.
The pace of my healing dramatically increased after the heavy metals were completely removed and my allergies were healed. After that, I did the collarbone breathing everyday for about a month. Now the EFT works lightning fast, and I can dissolve a negative thought or episode of depression in about 5 minutes. Even herbs and supplements work better for me now, and one cup of Kava stress tea or 500 mg of niacin before bed leaves me pleasantly content all day.
Of course, during those frustrating decades, many of the above techniques had not yet been developed or were not available in my area. But now, there exist a wealth of affordable healing tools, and much wisdom is available on the Internet or via one of the countless healers trained in recent years. No one should live with depression due to ignorance of these amazing tools, and I intend to do my best to rectify that.
© Arden Riordan 2011