Friday, April 4, 2014

Ideas, Recipes and Other Things

I'm baaaaaaack!

During my long hiatus from this blog, I did many things that I'm sure I'll expand on in further entries. For now, however, I would like to talk about some new things I'm doing to improve my health and also show you guys what I've been eating for the past few days! I'm really excited, can you tell?

So I've been on a roller coaster ride for the past few months that included relocating and relocating again to an entirely new town (for me) with my boyfriend, who has lived here all his life. The strangeness of being in a new place coupled with my (as of yet, unfulfilled) desire to find full-time employment led me to use my free time to do some experimentation. I started researching easy ways to create my own health and beauty products and also jumped back on the band wagon of eating naturally and for my physical and mental health.

First things first, if you want to try using only natural products on your skin and in your hair, there is ONE THING you need to buy right away - organic, virgin coconut oil. Go do it! My boyfriend's mom shops in the US (a common thing here as we are right on the border with Michigan) and she picked me up a giant 1.5 litre jar of the stuff! I got to work immediately to start creating a few simple things. First of all, I've used coconut oil for months in my hair. I have really thick, naturally curly hair and it benefits hugely from having some oil rubbed into it, almost like how you would apply a frizz serum, once or twice a week. I also use it as a moisturizer, but I have to say - since getting the virgin coconut oil, I've noticed it soaks into my skin so much better, and I can also use it on my face without breaking out at all. It makes a huge difference to use unrefined oil, in my experience, anyways. It also works great as an eye makeup remover. I keep a tupperware container of it in the bathroom and just dip my tissue in it and smear it over my eyes. It gets all my makeup off and leaves my skin glowing and looking fresh.

I also read a whole bunch of articles on creating your own toothpaste and face wash using baking soda and coconut oil, and I found a really simple one in the list at this address. Using just coconut oil and baking soda mixed together for toothpaste (you have to warm up the coconut oil and then mix the baking soda in, then let it sit in a glass jar and cool down before using) is bitter and salty and tastes awful, but it gets your teeth so clean and mine are already starting to get whiter. If you like your toothpaste to have a minty taste, I'd recommend adding some essential oils, which I'm going to be doing soon. The face wash is simple - you can either just put a 1/2 tsp of coconut oil and 1/4 tsp baking soda in your hand and rub them together until mixed and use, or you can make a batch just like the toothpaste and store it. Here's a recipe if you'd like to do it that way. (That's also a great blog, by the way.) Apply it gently to your face, rubbing in circular motions (softly!). When you've done your whole face, take a damp, warm cloth and press it to your face to get the baking soda off, then rub the remaining coconut oil into your face like a moisturizer. It makes your skin so soft, but I can only use it once or twice a week because otherwise it bothers my rosacea. I'd love to hear from anyone else who tries it with similar or different results!

Speaking of rosacea, I also started reading up on how juicing ginger can help with it immensely, and that got me on the JUICING TRAIN! And I'm loving every minute of the ride. Juicing is a fantastic addition to any healthy lifestyle and can really ensure that you get a high level of all your essential vitamins and minerals, especially if you plan it that way. Here's a website that 
claims to be able to show you the amount of nutrition in your juice recipe. I'm not sure how accurate it is, but it's worth a try. I juice in the morning before breakfast every day, usually a recipe something along the lines of this one:

Mmm, right? That juice contains:

-2 beets
-3 stalks of celery
-a bunch of spinach (I buy mine in bunches, this would be the equivalent of a bag or a small plastic container)
-1/2 lemon
-1/2 lime
-a thumb-sized piece of ginger root
-1 cucumber
-1 carrot
-1 red pepper

I don't usually do beets and carrots in the same juice because they're both so sweet, but this was a "day before groceries, let's juice whatever I've got left" sort of day, so it ended up this way. Limes and lemons are great to use for flavour because of how sweet they are with such a small amount of sugar, and the ginger gives the juice a spicy taste. It also helps with inflammation and has definitely helped my rosacea go down quite a bit. There is some discussion about whether you should juice spinach every day, so I don't. I use it every three days, and rotate a combination of celery and cucumbers on the other days instead. If you want to know more about the do's and don'ts of juicing, I'm no expert, so here is one helpful article I found, and also here's another, just for good measure.

Juicing has helped me feel more energetic and happy, and along with a healthy, natural, vegan breakfast, lunch and dinner, helps ensure I get all the nutrients I need. I'm allergic to gluten, so my meals have had to work around that, and it's made me quite creative in the kitchen. Last night I made portobello mushroom spaghetti, and upon the advice of my friend Alicia, added some homemade hummus to the batch. It turned out amazing. Here's the recipe for both.


Hey, that's not my hummus! That's because mine didn't photograph well. But it looked a lot like that.

I just made a simple hummus as I didn't have any tahini in the house. I took 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed them, added 2 tbps of olive oil, 1/2 tsp sea salt, one clove of garlic crushed and the juice of 1/4 of a lemon and mixed them together with my hand mixer, then added some cayenne powder to give it a spice. It was okay, but I definitely like hummus better with some tahini.


And who doesn't love leftovers?

1 can spaghetti sauce
1 can whole tomatoes
1 portobello mushroom, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 of bell pepper, colour of your choosing, cut into strips
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Empty can of sauce and whole tomatoes into medium saucepan over low heat. Add onions and peppers and let simmer for 10 minutes. Then add portobello mushrooms, cayenne, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper. Let simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. Then add hummus until desired consistency and let simmer for another 10 minutes, or until veggies are tender. The mushrooms should still be firm but cooked. Serve with whatever sort of spaghetti noodles you love best!

Next time I'm going to try frying the onions and peppers for a few minutes before adding the sauce so I don't have to simmer for so long, but it did add some flavour to the tomato sauce, so it's really a win/win.

I would love to hear from you! Have you tried some all-natural healthy and beauty product recipes that turned out great? I'm going to be trying a few more complicated ones before I post about it next, so I can let you know how they turn out. Any juicers out there? Let's share recipes and new things we're trying! 

Until next time, beautiful people!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Going Gluten-Free - My Life Without Beer

So recently I have decided to stop ignoring the blatant facts in front of me and finally face up to something I have been avoiding for months: I am allergic to gluten. It was an incredibly difficult thing for me to finally admit to myself, because it meant that I could no longer skate around the idea of living without gluten, but now had to put that idea into full action in my own life.

Why was going gluten-free for me so horrifying a thing to think about? Well, when I had been playing around with the thought of giving it up, I realized something. If I could never eat gluten, I could never guzzle down another ice cold Alexander Keith's. I could never order another tall, frosty pint of Stella at the bar. I could never cook another batch of stir fry vegetables in my favourite beer. All my brand loyalty would have to be thrown out the window! And I am a woman who takes her favourite beers seriously. Not only that, but I could never have french fries again, or a greasy cheeseburger, or a juicy Philly Cheese Steak sub at some vendor booth at the fair. In the past year I have cut down my consumption of those sorts of things tremendously, but I still liked to indulge. And going gluten-free would mean saying goodbye to those things forever.

It was a sad thing to think about. I almost wanted to have a goodbye ceremony. Me, dressed in all black, holding a Moosehead in one hand and a Sub Venture chicken bacon wrap in the other, sobbing uncontrollably. But I never did, and now it's too late. I just want to feel better. I'm tired of having a distended abdomen and an intense reaction in my gut every time I eat gluten. I want to feel normal, like normal people who eat normal food do. There are going to be times when someone is drinking an ice cold brew beside me and I'm going to lose my resolve and drink one, but I need to cut that out as much as possible. The gluten I am unable to digest is keeping me from absorbing the vitamins and minerals from my food, and I'll never truly be healthy until I am only ingesting food my system can handle.

So what are the basic things you can't eat if you're allergic to gluten? Well, to start with, all conventional flours, including wheat, spelt, rye, barley (which includes anything malted), triticale, graham flour, kamut and etc. That would be simple enough, however these things are in SO many products, it would surprise you! Already with these we are eliminating beers, breads, candies, cakes, pies, cookies, crackers, pastas, gravies, french fries, processed luncheon meats, a lot of salad dressings, most potato chips (because of the seasoning) and a lot of different sauces. Being gluten-free means checking the label of everything you buy that is processed or made up of a bunch of ingredients, because a lot of the things added to these products contain gluten.

In other words, IT SUCKS.

But! It is really easy to use rice or quinoa flour to make your own gluten-free breads, cookies, cakes and pies, and gluten-free beer is available as well. Plus, you can eat ALL vegetables and fruits, nuts, wines and alcohol, you can use rice noodles instead of regular pasta, make your own salad dressings (which is better and more natural for you anyway!), and eat dried fruit instead of candy. In a way, it forces you to watch even more carefully what you are putting in your body, and to prepare your own items instead of buying them processed, so it's really a good thing!

I really enjoyed looking through this blog for gluten-free recipes, and a lot of them are vegan too. Check it out!

So, in short - I miss my beer, but I've got my whiskey, and oh my goodness do I miss bread, but... I'm feeling healthier, stronger, and have a way better attention span, so I'm excited to see how much better I'm going to feel once my system has been cleansed a bit.

Are you gluten-free? Let me know how it's going for you!



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Channel That Love!

When we are children, our parents tell us we can be whatever we want to be. Or at least, most of them do. But really what they should be saying is that we will be whoever we want to be and whoever we think we are. The idea you have of yourself in your mind is stronger and carries more weight than you ever could imagine, and when you project an idea about yourself it becomes truth. You make it so, if you will.

We all say terrible things about ourselves, especially when we are upset. “I’m stupid.” “No one really cares about me.” “I’m going to be alone forever.” “I’ll never find someone.” “I’m fat.” “I’m ugly.” “I’m useless.” I did this for a long time. Those horrible phrases I would repeat to myself become something of a comfort when I was depressed. I was soothed by the fact that I was just as pathetic as I had always imagined myself to be. All was right with the world.

But when you are constantly down on yourself, and constantly telling yourself you can’t do something or you aren’t worth something, you begin to believe it. Those words stay in your heart and you begin to act based on them. They are in the back of your mind, always taunting you. You lose your job and you tell yourself, “Of course you did. You were never good enough for that job, anyway. You’re just too stupid,” and it’s like a comfort. Ah, yes, I am my old self after all, incapable of doing anything right. You feel better because you recognize and know that person well - it’s reassuring in its familiarity. 

So, if these things work one way, they undoubtedly work the other, as well, right? This is the realization I came to last night, sitting alone in my tiny bunkhouse. It was hot – the milder weather has made it tricky for me to gage how much heat I should use, and I had misjudged. My curtains were drawn. In my window I have a postcard that a dear friend sent to me, to which she glued a beautiful phrase that I repeat to myself every day: “She accepts the fates and furies beyond her control with unflappable composure (and a serious sense of humour)!” Since I have been saying this, I have indeed begun to face things with unflappable composure, composure I never knew I had. I sat on my bed and stared at that postcard. I repeated the words in my head a few times and began to feel strong, capable, in control of my emotions. That’s when I started to think – if this works so well, wouldn’t saying other things aloud to myself and repeating them over and over in my mind start making them come true, as well?

So I wrote down everything I wanted to be. I wrote down twenty phrases, among them:


I cut out each phrase and taped them to different areas of my bunkhouse where I would see them frequently and repeat them, either in my mind or out loud. I also taped a poem to my door that I wrote to remind myself to feel love for all living things, even when it's the most difficult.

A lot of people, when they are trying to project positive affirmations, make the mistake of saying things like, “I wish I could be better at communicating with people.” When you say wishy-washy things like this, your mind gets caught up in all the “I wish” and “I’d like to”s. It must be a positive statement. I AM EXCELLENT AT COMMUNICATING WITH OTHERS. You might feel like a fraud at first, because you’re not excellent at communicating with anyone yet. That’s okay! You’re not a fraud, because by saying this you’re going to make it so, and then it will be true. 

If you don’t believe this can work, think about it this way. Everyone knows that person, the one who is always in a terrible state and horribly depressed and in some bad way at work and broke and everyone is out to get them. The tiniest cold becomes something to whine and complain about, and every slightly negative thing that happens to them is blown to the hugest proportions. Do you ever notice that those people are always miserable? It’s because they’re projecting misery. “Everything bad always happens to me.” Well, of course it does, you’re sitting there festering in your own skin just WAITING for it to happen. Constantly repeating negative statements like that puts them in the forefront of your brain, and as soon as something bad happens, it’s just reaffirming everything you were already thinking.

We all do this – I am definitely no exception, that’s for sure – but the key is to stop yourself when you sense it starting, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that everything seems the way it does because you are perceiving it that way. Doing these positive affirmations isn’t going to stop bad things from happening to you. It’s just going to help you think of them differently, and they won’t seem so bad. Remember that wherever you are and whatever’s happening to you is exactly as it should be. So it follows that whatever situation you’re in… you’re in it for a reason. So, what’s the reason? I’ll bet you could find it, if you really wanted to. “I just got dumped. I’m so sad! But… I could see myself becoming really negative being with that person” (or bored or inactive or unhealthy or whatever) “so that must be why it didn’t work out. There must be something in store for me that I haven’t gotten to yet, and then this will all make sense.”

Sound trite? That’s okay. You don’t have to do it then. But the rest of us will, and we’ll reap the rewards.

I was talking to a friend the other day who is going through some hard times. She expressed to me that she felt like a bad person and that she didn’t like who she had become. (Just for the record, I don't believe there are "bad people", just bad decisions and hurtful actions) I told her she could be whoever she wanted to be, so if she wanted to change she should find all the things she didn’t like about herself and strive to change them, one by one. It’s a frightening task, sure, and one that’s probably going to take you the rest of your life, but what have you got to lose? In your mind, who is that person you want to be? Who is that best version of yourself? Maybe you want to be kinder to strangers. Maybe you want to be calmer, able to deal with your emotions better. Maybe you want to be more courageous. Well, what’s stopping you? Grab a sheet of paper now and plan it all out. Write down all the things you want to be. Remind yourself of all the beautiful things you already are. Don’t judge yourself, don’t be harsh. Everyone has things about themselves they don’t like and everyone has flaws – you are no different. But you can take control of these flaws and change them, and the person who will benefit the most from it is you. So, go to it. Read them out loud every day, run them through your mind continuously, make them into a mantra: I am strong, I am capable, I am beautiful, I am intelligent, I am calm, I am collected, I am kind. Be conscious of your thoughts and when you feel you are slipping, repeat them to yourself yet again. I am angry right now, but I don’t have to be. I AM CALM, I AM CALM. 

So, what will your positive affirmations be? Would you share them with me, as I have shared mine with you? I would love to hear them, and all about your journey to self-discovery and mental health. My own journey has been frightfully interesting so far. I completely slipped up for a few weeks, started eating shit again, smoking cigarettes, you name it! Now I have a new sense of motivation and strength and am ready to get back to it again. The one thing I always have to remind myself of is that in no way am I perfect and in no way will I ever be, so not to treat myself like I’m supposed to be. But by constantly reminding myself that I can be whoever I set my mind to being, I feel a renewed sense of hope for this journey I’m on. 

Namaste, friends.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

On Exercise Addiction

So recently I joined a gym in town and began working out about four or five times a week. I’ve always had a general problem with laziness, and usually shortly after joining a gym I would just stop going because I didn’t feel like it anymore. Ever since I started taking my meds and taking better care of my health, however, I’ve found I have much more energy and motivation to meet my fitness goals. It’s been a few weeks now and I still thoroughly enjoy my workouts. In fact, I look forward to them, which is something completely foreign to me. I think it’s obvious that my exercise routine has been making me feel great.

But all this has brought something completely new into my life, a problem I have never had to deal with before. My problems have always stemmed from food – eating too much or too little – so having a problem when it comes to exercise is something I was not equipped to deal with. My gym visits started out being about 60 minutes long, which is perfectly acceptable, but over time they got longer and longer. Now I find myself there for at least two hours every time. I do over an hour of cardio. I’m intent upon burning at least 1000 calories. So I started to think maybe I have an addiction. I looked exercise addiction up online to get some more information, and I thought it would be beneficial to share it with you.

Exercise addiction has many symptoms.  You may think, “how can an addiction to something as healthy as working out be a bad thing?” Well, in my opinion, any sort of mental or physical dependency upon something is usually not a good thing, and exercise addiction is no exception. Addicts may feel a strong urge to exercise an excessive amount, and experience a feeling of real dread if their fitness schedule is interrupted. Oftentimes, they berate themselves if they are not able to make a workout. They begin exercising on their own to avoid attracting attention to themselves, and their relationships with friends and family suffer greatly. They may even miss work to exercise. Oftentimes, they have a goal that they wish to reach, but once they have, they create a new goal so that they can justify continuing with their obsessive need to exercise. To put it bluntly, exercising is the most important thing in their lives, and they feel unable to control themselves when it comes to how often and how long they work out.

Phew! That definitely doesn’t describe me. I am more than happy to reschedule or cancel my workout if a friend or family member would like to meet with me. Exercise is definitely not the most important thing in my life. However, I do feel like it’s very important that I looked up this information, because I was headed down a path that may very well have led to a bad addiction. It’s so important for us to remember to pace ourselves, especially when it comes to physical activity. Working out too much can lead to serious injury, and if you are not willing to pace yourself, you will never have time to heal. Remember, our main goal is health, not perfection. Burning too many calories is not healthy – it’s basically the same thing as not eating enough, and we all know how bad that is for you. You may lose weight, but you’ll be losing muscle mass and important vitamins and nutrients too, and that isn’t good for you.

If you feel like you may have a problem, be honest with yourself. Do the above symptoms describe you at all? If so, take a step back and examine your mindset while working out. Do you refuse to let yourself stop, even when you’re in pain or feel like you don’t have the energy to go on? Does everyone who was in the gym when you got there leave before you do? Do you get physical pleasure from the “workout high” we all experience, so much so that you push yourself beyond what you thought capable just to achieve a stronger sense of elation? 

If so, take a step back! Grab a friend and sit down with them. Ask them if they have noticed anything or been concerned. If exercise addiction is a real problem in your life, chances are a good friend will have noticed. They can give you some advice, but also help you to understand that your worth as a person does not come from how physically fit you are, but how healthy your relationships are, your heart, your generosity, etc. Ask yourself if you are really willing to give up those things just to achieve a better figure. I should hope not, and I think a few soft words with a good friend might help to put things into perspective.

I hope this information has been as helpful for you as it has been for me. I have enjoyed writing about this because it has helped me work a lot of things out in my mind and understand this situation a lot better. 

Remember, in order to be healthy, truly healthy, your mind must be healthy, too! 

<3 Namaste

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Recipe - Black Bean & Avocado Burrito

I hear a lot of people say that eating vegan is “bland” or “boring” or that you can’t make delicious food without meat. This is so ridiculous I felt the need to argue publicly on the behalf of all vegetarians and vegans. Plant-based protein is not only oftentimes more nutritious and more lean than animal-based protein, it’s also delicious! So here is one of my favourite vegan recipes. Try it out and see how you like it. You may just find that eating vegan is a lot easier and tastier than you thought!


If you’re vegan or vegetarian, EAT. BLACK. BEANS. It’s just that simple. They are incredibly high in protein, not to mention a bunch of other vitamins and nutrients, and they taste great.


-one red onion, cut up

-one red pepper, cut up

-one green pepper, cut up

-one clove of garlic, minced

-one can of black beans, mostly drained (I like to leave a little bit of the juice)

-a bunch of mushrooms, whatever type you like best, as many as you think you will want (I prefer Portobello)

-half an avocado, cut into little pieces

-some spinach leaves

-whole wheat tortillas

-hummus (whichever type you prefer)

-extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil


Pour a little olive oil into a large frying pan or skillet. Add onion, peppers and garlic and cook on low until the peppers and onion are slightly soft. Then, add the mushrooms and cook until all vegetables are at desired tenderness, stirring often. Then, add the black beans and any spices you might like to include (I find it tastes great with just pepper, but that’s me). Once the beans have heated up, turn the stove off. Don’t cook the beans too long – you just want to warm them up, really.
Spread the spinach leaves onto your tortilla wraps and pile the mix as high as you want! Then, add the avocado and the hummus, wrap and ENJOY! You can also add a whole bunch of other things to the mix – zucchini, tomato, or cheese if you’re not a vegan. Try it a bunch of different ways and figure out how you like it best!
Easy, cheap and delicious!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Are Anti-Depressants Addictive?

It’s been a while since I have written about my depression and the experiences I have been having on my medication, and last week something happened that I feel is really worth talking about. Remember when I said that I was going to try and be as unbiased as possible when it came to telling you guys about how the meds are working for me? I’d like to exercise that in this blog entry, and talk about something that may be difficult for some people who have been on anti-depressants for a long time to face – the threat of addiction.

When I started my meds, I didn’t really think about the fact that my brain could become very accustomed, in fact – addicted, to them. I think in our society we tend to view drug addiction as something that happens with recreational drugs, or at the very least drugs that can be used to get high, not psychoactive drugs. But the reality is that your body and your mind can become accustomed to any chemical substance, and when you take away your daily dose, it can be very difficult to function without it. Although people will try to tell you differently, I don’t see how it’s possible that these drugs aren’t addictive. Everyone has a different opinion on this, however, so I’m not trying to say mine is fact. But I do believe that anti-depressants are addictive and that this addiction can pose a threat.

Last week I fell ill and so of course was very preoccupied with all of those things you tend to do while sick – sleeping, whining and more sleeping. I was so preoccupied that for two whole days I forgot to take my meds. That’s four doses. For whatever reason it just completely slipped my mind. On Friday I spent the majority of the day alone – the rest of the farm occupants were all gone to a cottage up north, and the entire vast space of the property was empty save little old me and my cat. By around 6 PM I started to feel stir-crazy, which isn’t unusual for me. I began texting friends asking them if they wanted to get together to hang out, but everyone was busy. I panicked. Suddenly, a lonely feeling spread through me like ice. It had been such a long time since I had felt it, but I recognized it immediately - it was the same way I used to feel in these sorts of situations before I started my meds. Soon I had collapsed on my bed and was weeping. I felt completely alone. I’m sure that anyone who suffers from depression knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Soon I remembered that I needed to take my meds, so I quickly popped a pill. My friend Kate talked to me and calmed me down a little, but I decided I couldn’t stay on this big farm all alone, and set out for a friend’s house to stay there for the evening while he was away (and use his claw foot tub). It took me nearly an hour of trekking through the snow and the freezing wind to get there, but I made it. By the time I got there I had already started feeling better, and soon I was back to my regular self. The medication had made it into my bloodstream, you see, and the chemicals in my brain were all where they should be again. 

That scares me! Granted, stopping any medication cold turkey like that isn’t good for you, and if I had eased myself off of them my reaction wouldn’t have been so strong. In fact, I may not have even had a reaction at all. But the idea that my body has become so used to getting its twice daily dose of anti-depressants that it simply cannot function normally when the supply is cut off is absolutely terrifying to me. What about people who have been on this medication for years? Have their brains ceased being able to fend for themselves all together? Are they like opiate addicts writhing in pain as soon as the juice is cut off, because their bodies don’t know how to produce their own endorphins anymore? The fact of the matter is, probably! If you take the time to wait it out, eventually your mind will get back to normal, but when it comes to mental health and people who suffer from debilitating depression, asking them to “wait it out” may not be the best idea! Very bad things could happen during that waiting period.

I’m not a doctor, and I’m not saying that my opinion is fact or that I know everything about these meds and what they do to peoples’ brains. But the fact of the matter is that the brain can get used to any change in its chemical levels. If you eat a lot of salt for years and years and then stop, you’re going to crave salt, it’s going to drive you nearly crazy. So wouldn’t it stand to reason that if you’re pumping SSRIs into your brain for years and years that it may become accustomed to those as well? So all of this just drives the point home for me that I do NOT want these pills to be a lifelong solution. I don’t want to be dependent on any medication in order to be able to function normally.
So what do I do? I don’t want to stop taking these meds yet, because I am also using them to quit smoking, and for that you’re supposed to be on them for at least six months. So far, I’ve been on them for almost three. They have been doing wonders for my mood, and I feel lighter and happier than I have in years. It’s also been a lot easier for me to dig to the root of my issues, and I’ve been having a lot of revelations lately about the way I think and how I got to this place in my life, so I don’t regret starting them. I don’t think it would have been possible for me to do all this work if I were still trapped in a pit of depression. So in that sense, they are doing exactly the job I had wanted them to do. 

So. I’m going to continue doing the work, continue trying to find ways to cope with my depression and my negative moods without the meds. I’m going to keep trying to get to the root of my depression, and find healthy, natural ways of fighting it, like eating specific foods and developing an exercise regime. If you are on anti-depressants, I urge you to do the same! Try and think of your meds as something transitional, not permanent. Talk to someone – see if your doctor’s office has a counselor you can speak to or find out if your health plan covers psychiatric visits. Do some reading, and try and find a method of calming your mind that works well for you. You can try guided meditation, which I find works really well when I am too worked up to sleep. You can search ‘guided meditation’ on youtube and find a lot of really great videos that help make it easier. Start researching different foods and herbs that help with depression and anxiety, and develop a regular exercise routine that will get your blood pumping and the endorphins flowing three or four times a week. Find a method of dealing with your chemical imbalance aside from just popping a pill every morning. That way, at some point when you do decide to go it alone, you will be a lot better equipped to deal with what’s coming your way. And remember to take your meds! Stopping cold turkey is NOT a good idea, as I learned last week! If you do decide to go off of them talk to your doctor about the best way to ween yourself off them, and follow his or her advice.

Above all else, love yourself! Treat yourself the way you are meant to be treated - with patience, love and kindness.