My Journey with Depression and Anxiety

I have an overwhelming empathy for people who are suffering from depression and/or anxiety.  Whether it is the “winter blues” that come your way every season, a mild listless feeling you have that anchors over your spirit during certain periods, or a debilitating poison that eats away at your soul, I get it…. I’ve been there.

My struggle with depression and anxiety, severe at times, impacted my life in seemingly insurmountable ways.  I was embarrassed, frustrated, lonely, and didn’t understand why I just couldn’t “snap” out of it.

Anyone who has struggled with these things also knows there are ebbs and flows with it. I never wanted to take prescription meds for it because in my “mind” I wasn’t that bad. Looking back now, it was that bad at times. After years of this I turned to natural supplements plus lifestyle changes to heal myself. It worked. I feel 100 pounds lighter mentally. I have passion again. Purpose. I feel happy and at peace with myself. FINALLY.

Here is my story of what I went through and what worked for me. And what is continuing to work for me.

My situation

When I started having fertility issues seven years ago it was the nail in the coffin. As someone who already suffered from high anxiety and worry, it threw me into an internal tailspin that quickly turned into depression. Thoughts of worthlessness, internal conflict and loneliness clouded my days. I became obsessed with my situation and thought I was alone and no one understood how awful I felt and how helpless I felt. It affected my friendships. It affected my marriage. I started avoiding people. I woke up every morning exhausted from the restless sleep I had the night before.

And then my mom had a stroke. She needed help applying for disability, finding health insurance, getting on programs that would help her and sorting out her finances. It was hard and I struggled with the fear and responsibility I felt for her and her situation on top of my issues.

What was at the time just depression turned into an anxiety fueled debilitating illness. I developed severe insomnia to the point where I ended up taking prescription sleeping pills that reacted badly with me and made my depression worse. I felt alone, terrified of the future and clueless on how to proceed.

I knew I needed to do something. But as with a lot of depression sufferers, I lacked energy and the purpose to take action. After a few months of this I pushed myself and decided to join a gym. They had water aerobics classes and I thought exercise might help take my mind off of some things. What a blessing in disguise. The women in my class were  wonderful. So friendly, so easy going. They chipped away at the barriers I had put up for what I thought was protecting myself from more hurt. They got me to talk. About the infertility. About mom. About my fears, hopes and anxiety. I started healing.

I decided then to try and live healthier. I starting watching what I ate. Less sugar, more protein and vegetables. I took antioxidant supplements and drank whole food shakes (Love my Vitamix blender by the way-worth the investment). It helped. I started feeling hope again. This went on for a few months.

And then my husbands dad died. At our house. It was awful. Those first few months afterwards were bad. It left the whole family in a state of shock and wondering where do we go from here? My depression kicked back in.

Six months later my husband took a new job in Florida. When we moved I saw it as a new beginning. I was determined to find my joy again. I was blessed to be able to take my time to find a job that was actually in my field of study. I continued to exercise and started doing yoga and took meditation classes. I started acupuncture. And then as you have read in another of my posts, I got pregnant. That dear readers, was the best antidepressant money could  buy me. I know it is cliché, but Bryce truly has helped heal me. Children give your life instant purpose. Your life path suddenly becomes crystal clear. You are there to raise and guide your child in this crazy thing called life. He has brought me SO much joy.

This past summer was hard. My mom died suddenly in July. I could feel myself getting sucked down the path I have known too well. I was introduced to and purchased a Young Living starter kit at the end of July. People, these oils are helping me feel more grounded than I have in years. I can’t tell you why they are working. I do believe aromatherapy is a benefit. Scents have a very powerful effect on our emotions and mood.  And Essential Oils contain the concentrated beneficial compounds of the plants, seeds and organic matter they come from. All I know is that I have found a natural way to continue to control my anxiety and depression and I feel liberated. It is working for ME.

My Routine

In the beginning I began using the oils that came in my starter kit and honestly did not have any particular plan.  I just began diffusing different oils at different times, inhaled them directly and placed them on my body.  One of the best ways I found to use the oils is by diffusing them. I love that the Premium Starter Kit includes a diffuser. I love mine and use it everyday. It has been a huge blessing to my family. Below are the oils that are working for me.

Oils I Use

Joy

I honestly did not like the smell of this oil at first – it is very flowery – but I put a drop of this oil on my wrists and over my heart every morning before I walk out the door. It really calms and uplifts my spirit. I notice more bounce in my step in the morning and now I love the smell.

Peace and Calming

I diffuse this one quite a bit at night. It seems to help everyone in the household relax and for me helps quiet the mind. Plus, it helps put Bryce to sleep and that dear friends, is reason enough to use this oil. lol.

Stress Away

This oil is a favorite of many – I like the lime and vanilla scent – it really is different but so relaxing.  If things get a bit cranky for me, this goes in the diffuser and/or I apply it to the back of my neck.  (This oil comes in the premium starter kit). It really helps relax me. I have put this in a rollerball that makes this very convenient to apply.

Lavender

Oh Lavender, how I love you. It is called the swiss army knife of essential oils for a reason. You will find this diffused daily in my home.  If I am not sure what to diffuse, I go with Lavender.  It has such a calming fragrance and it just settles my mind.  I also have made myself a night-time roller bottle sleep blend and this is the main ingredient. This oil alone is making everyone in my family sleep better. This oil comes in the premium starter kit

Valor

I saved this for last for a reason. This oil has helped my anxiety the most. I put two drops on my feet before bed every night and instantly feel relaxed. More centered and happy. It is considered a grounding oil and I see why. It seems to melt away my anxiety. Since I have been using this oil, I feel renewed. More energy, more joy. Just more. I always have a bottle of this on hand. It is that good.

Your Journey

If you are in need of emotional support, please get help. Whether that is through therapy, medication, or natural supplements like Young Living. Do it. Life is too short and you deserve to be happy. I have been there. I know it is hard. But believe you can. You can and will get better.

Have hope.

Recipe for Pain Cream

I don’t know what happened, but when I turned 35 it was like my body decided youth was over and my joints needed to remind me that they have been abused. My hip hurts when I turn a wrong way, or my back will act up. And the flexibility I once had? Well, I know I have toes but it has been a while since I have seen them. Also, since having a baby I am finding my body just feels different. I am not one to take pain meds, so what am I to do?

Enter Panaway Essential Oil. It is a very popular blend that reduces pain and inflammation, increases circulation, and accelerates healing. It relieves swelling and discomfort from arthritis, sprains, muscles spasms and cramps, bumps, and bruises. The blend includes Helichrysum, Wintergreen, Clove, and Peppermint.

Panaway can be applied topically, or used aromatically,

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Peppermint oil is known for its pain relief and Valor is a blend of Ylang ylang, Rosewood, Northern Lights Black Spruce, Matricaria, Idaho Blue Spruce, Frankincense, Vetiver, Cistus, Bergamot, Cassia and Davana oils. Combined with the Panaway oil you have one powerful pain relief blend.

I started using this one in a pain cream with two other essential oils and it works! I suffer from major neck tension/pain most days and this really helps it calm down at night. Brian has been using this on his ankle and his arthritic hot spots and even he says it is helping. I find it gives a nice cooling sensation to the skin and helps relax the muscles and joints.

Below is the recipe. Remember to store this in glass and not plastic, as oils degrade plastic over time. (I bought my jar at Walmart for like $2 – no need to get fancy expensive ones). You also could just mix a few drops of Panaway with some coconut or other oil and rub on your pain spot, but I find this cream makes applying it easy and moisturizes the skin at the same time. It really soothes and helps numb the pain. Try it and see for yourself.

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup shea butter
  • 10 drops PanAway
  • 10 drops Valor
  • 10 drops Peppermint

Melt coconut oil and shea butter together in a double boiler. Let cool to touchable temperature. Add essential oils and stir. I refrigerate this initially to re-firm the oil, but I store in on the counter so its easier to apply as needed.

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How to order oils needed (if you don’t already have them):

I can only speak to the effectiveness of Young Living Essential Oils. That is what I choose for my family, so that is what I recommend for anyone else to use! PanAway and Peppermint essential oils both come in the premium starter kit, which I talk about in detail here. It is a killer deal with 11 bottles of oil, a diffuser, and some other great samples, and purchasing this kit also gives you a wholesale discount, which means you can order anything else for a 24% discount. The Valor oil is not in the kit, but once you are a member you can purchase for the member price or just make the cream without it – it still will pack a punch!

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