Mental Health, Project, Research, Wellness Journey

Using Technology to Escape My Depression 1: The Context

Depression got the best of me for a few days this week, so I used my trusty Facebook vaguebooking skills to post statuses asking for help. My friends and family sent messages to remind me I am cared for, and that helped me get through my latest bout that got so bad my brain felt like it was on fire (yes, that happens in extreme depression and it is so very, very unpleasant).

like this, but less funny

After reading a bit about what causes the “brain on fire” symptom (inflammation of the brain), I realized that *MAYBE* eating my feelings and not drinking enough water wasn’t exactly helping myself feel any better….

Ugh I really want an Aunt Annie’s pretzel now

What I liked best about this article though, is that Dr. Robert Hedaya actually suggests steps a person can take to reduce the inflammation of the brain:

  1. Clean up your diet by eliminating food common allergies:
    • breads
    • gluten
    • milk and dairy products
    • eggs
    • sugar
  2. Balance your diet
    • Try the Barry Sear’s “Zone” diet
    • one of the diets in “The Anti-depressant Survival Guide”
  3. Keep exercise moderate
  4. Make sure your air is clean
    • No mold, or things you are allergic to-such as dust mites
  5. Reduce your stress so your adrenal glands can recover their anti-inflammatory function
  6. Clear up all gut issues
    • 70% of inflammation comes from the gut-such as bloating, gassiness, diarrhea, constipation and reflux.
  7. Be sure you do not have any hidden infections.
  8. Drink lots of water
  9. Eat lots of anti-oxidant rich foods
    • Lots of organic colorful veggies, with a bit of fruit

I will admit it all seems to be common sense advice, but I have found without plans and schedules I struggle to adapt even the smallest of lifestyle change. Ask my wife if you don’t believe me….

❤️ my wife is the best ❤️

And while schedules and plans are overwhelming to some people, I actually enjoy having my life mapped out to track goals. In fact, from 2011 – 2017 I used goal planning to increase my financial, mental, and physical health.

Yes, this was all done in Excel because OF COURSE IT WAS

Thanks to goal tracking, I climbed out of financial ruin and discovered Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, leading to some of the happiest years of my life.

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I miss being choked by these people

But in 2015 I had my first major surgery that took me away from BJJ and my happy place. I had ankle ligament reconstruction from an injury prior to joining the gym. It was a rough recovery, but I stayed as positive as I could and was back on the mats by the end of the year.

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Just as I was recovering mentally, I had a miscarriage at the beginning of 2016 and suffered a painful wrist injury in April. As the year went on, my mental health deteriorated and the pain in my wrist kept increasing.

After a particularly horrible depressive episode, I agreed to start seeing a therapist and go on medication . While those have helped me, they are not miracle cures by any means. In my case, living a healthy lifestyle is critical to remaining free of depression, and my goal tracker was my tool to keep me focused on that.

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Unfortunately, I stopped goal tracking a few months into 2017 as my time and energy went towards a rapid succession of major life events that threw me into chaos: wrist ligament surgery, divorce, loss of a friend by suicide, bullying, knee surgery, marriage, wrist tendon surgery.

Yeah, it’s been kinda rough

I’ve got one more wrist surgery remaining, and then other than that life is starting to calm down. Plus, I’m married to a WONDERFUL woman who is healthy and supportive, and with her help I know I can accomplish anything. ❤️

But it’s time for me to stop relying on the support of others to carry me through, and to become an active participant in my own life again. It’s time to resurrect goal tracking and revamp it in a sustainable way!

Next post I’ll go right into the details of my various requirements and technology and tools I’ll be using to accomplish them. For now, I am hopeful this will lead me into a healthy and sustainable lifestyle once again.

Image may contain: Christina Blake
And hopefully get back to being able to jog around Old San Juan like I could in February 2015, before my first surgery

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