Between age 16-29, I was diagnosed with labels like depression, anxiety, bipolar, and the like. I’ve been in and out of healthcare centres, hospitals and clinics in two different countries, and was prescribed with several more drugs and tablets—nothing worked.
And then I met a certain Ayurvedic practitioner a.k.a vaidya in Malaysia. “It’s all herbal (the treatments),” I was told. “At least you won’t get any side-effect.”
So, with neither drugs nor chemicals and just a few simple lifestyle changes, these are the seven foolproof ways I got over my super emo phase:
1. Sleep, fucker, sleep
Throughout my teenagehood and early adulthood, I thought it was cool to be an “insomniac”. I didn’t understand what it really meant to be pathologically sleep deprived.
In fact, the time I got diagnosed with major depressive disorder (and eventually bipolar) was also around the time I slept past 10-11pm on a regular basis.
But when I did regularly sleep by 9pm or 9:30pm (and waking up by the ungodly hours of 3-5am) not only was my mind calmer, sharper, and clearer, I was far more productive than I was waking up by 7 or 9am.
Fact 1: You need melatonin to deal with stress. Without it, your sleep quality worsens, leaving you more susceptible to stress. And according to Dr. Siby, melatonin is produced by the pineal gland only at night, mostly during the hours between 9pm to 3am. Click here and here for some effective all-natural tips to get the best sleep ever.
Now, could you maybe sleep around midnight and get up at eight, and still reap the benefits? Sorry, but your circadian rhythmic cycle ain’t gonna change for your party habits; sooner or later, you’ll see that it’s nature’s way of reminding you you’re only human. Also, nobody’s born a night owl, and many good things in life are an acquired taste.
Fact 2: According to Forbes, super successful people generally are very early risers. Take cue!
2. Eat like a king
No, you don’t have to buy that organic high-calcium protein bar, or eat expensive quinoa every day. But when we eat nutrient-rich food that is well-cooked or made fresh, it has a positive effect on our mood, compared to when we binge on a packet of crisps or a tray of sugary treats.
My cravings for sweets or savoury things was cut down tremendously when I regularly ate on time. Eating mainly whole foods instead of factory-made, packaged foods helped too.
Fact 3: Simple, local, fresh nutrient-rich produce is always best. Your gut is king in your body, and it loves freshly-prepared hot foods the most.
Ultimately, it’s how we eat that counts. Because the way we approach anything transfers spiritual energy. So if we eat in a hurry, we transfer that stress into our food or drink.
On the other hand, if we consume our meals with grace, gratitude, and appreciation, we absorb that energy in kind.
Doesn’t this bring to mind that food tastes the best in the presence of people we enjoy being around?
3. Move that ass
You know that film Prozac Nation? That’s what happened to me. Six months into it, the antidepressant psychotropic drug fluoxetine (a.k.a. Prozac/Sarafem) stopped working for me. I had to move onto another drug.
That didn’t work either, so I moved on to another. And another. Nothing worked.
Throughout this cycle, one constant remained – my brain went numb. My critical faculty went away. Worse yet, I felt dependent on these chemicals.
Sure, the results came quicker with drugs. I was getting by, but I was also no longer passionate.
When I was stable enough, I was finally allowed to stop taking Western medicine. I decided to concentrate on all-natural alternative treatments. Gradually, I started to feel alive once more.
Now, the question is, which type of exercise is the best?
All my doctors and psychiatrists suggested yoga to treat my depression and anxiety. Boring, that’s what I thought, at first. Yoga is too slow!
Yet, over the next ten years of gradual practise, I saw how it is indeed the best stress buster. Nothing beats yoga in providing stability, strength, flexibility and grace to the individual.
Fact 5: Yoga is the only physical and mental art form which moves every part of your body (even your involuntary organ functions) and practices the art of breathing simultaneously. Breathing itself, which we all take for granted, influences our thought patterns. Therefore it’s capable of healing neuroses and the like. Meditation, the art of uniting or balancing the body, mind and spirit by means of single-pointed concentration, elevates an individual’s sense of peace, calm and steadfastness.
Ultimately, there are countless benefits to practising this ancient holistic art of living. The key is to find a good, true authentic teacher as a guide. I have found one, (Datin Suleiha Suguna firstname.lastname@example.org), and have benefited greatly for almost a decade now (and counting). I have been off psychotropic medication for more than two years now, am stable as can be, and let’s just say that it feels good to be excited about living once more!
4. Hugs not drugs
As I got healthier I began to view my social environment in a new light. Moderation may be key, but I started to see how intoxicants impaired my judgment and were detrimental to my personal growth.
My previous “poisons” had been alcohol and weed. Along with them came plenty of bad decisions such as junk food , one-night-stands, “friends” with ill-benefits, remorseful mornings, and over time, a crumbling self-esteem.
Fact 6: Harvard studies have shown that the keys to a happier, healthier life include emotional vitality, optimism, a supportive network of family and friends, and good self-regulation.
I did not have a very close-knit family, but I worked hard on bridging the gap. I made better friends too.
I wouldn’t say we were very close , but the intimacy shared with people who you know will be there for you through thick and thin was worth more than any ephemeral high given by tequila shots, ecstasy pills and marijuana bongs.
So invest in people. Keep positive people around you. You want to surround yourself with people whose wavelength you resonate with. You also want those who have your best interests at heart and want you to succeed.
But whatever it is, do not take on charity cases, especially if you’re one yourself. The world won’t become a better place until you become a better human being.
This is the end of part 1 of the article. For the second part, click here.
This article should not be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a mental or medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.