Over the years I’ve learned how to manage my depression without medication. It takes commitment and focus. It takes consistent exercise, healthy eating, regular sleep and avoiding caffeine at all costs!
Caffeine has been my weakness for as long as I can remember, because as a sleep-deprived mom of needy kids, it’s been the first thing I reach for “to get me through the day.” I never used to be dependent on it, but when I used it as a crutch during college years ago I became hooked. Ever since then it’s been an addiction I’ve been battling and somehow, it always wins.
I’ll go for months without it and then I find myself at rock bottom emotionally and start back up again. I’ll be driving somewhere and suddenly my brain takes the wheel and the next thing I know I’m pulling into a gas station to fill up a 64-ounce plastic cup of Mountain Dew. It’s happened so many times, more than I can remember.
I visualize all the things on the label that are bad for me as I suck in that first cool shot of bubbly soda–yellow number five, brominated vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup and think–I’m slowly killing myself. These additives are going to create cancer in my body and I’m going to wonder why I was such a weakling and gave in to a stupid soda craving. I always feel guilty afterward, because I know I’ve let myself down.
I know that within days I’ll turn into a foggy-brained, irritable and mean mom whose sole thought is when I can get my next fix.Why do I do this to myself, I think? But in times of stress, which have been more often than not, all of that does not matter in the moments leading up to the purchase. I have a FEAR of relapsing every time I quit…which was two weeks ago.
But in the 14 days I’ve been “clean” I’ve noticed a change in my mood, and a change in my waistline. I got on my bike yesterday for the first time since last summer and pushed myself to go farther than I had intended to. The cool morning air, sunny skies and Pandora’s Chillwave station helped me go eight miles.
I need to have alone time to find clarity and I need to be good to my body. This is the only way I can surface the dark pool of depression. I’ve been the happiest today than I’ve been in a while. When I go to a social function and I actually have a good time without trying to or wanting to escape, that’s when I know I feel normal. That’s when I have the most confidence in myself.
I pray I can stay committed to my health and treat my body like a temple from here on out.