I wanted to share something personal about myself and something I've discovered that has changed the course of my future.
At the last seminar, I discussed (and not at great length) about how years ago I was diagnosed as being bi-polar. Typically with bi-polar, one feels both depressed and super happy (elated) except that I feel mostly the depressed side of things. This is, of course, a daily battle for me.
When my mom passed away in July 2005 (yes, it's quickly coming up on 10 years now), I was so crestfallen and beyond despondent that I started taking any type of numbing prescription medication to numb the pain of her suddenly and unexpectedly departing from my life (long before her time, in my opinion). However, I found that most of these drugs put me in a semi-comatose state.
One particular drug for anxiety that I was taking (called Lexapro) stopped working. However, when I tried getting off the drug, I was reduced to lying in a fetal position in a dark corner, shaking, and sick to my stomach. This is when I fully understood (and could empathize) with what it was like to be a drug addict. Many don't take the drugs to get high anymore; they take the drugs so they don't get deathly ill.
I was very lucky when I got pregnant with my daughter in late 2007. My doctor told me that I had to get off of everything. I feared the result of having to try getting off Lexapro again but found that I was lucky to get a "system reboot," if you will. With the raised hormonal levels in my body, I was able to seamlessly get off the Lexapro without any withdrawal symptoms. (Call it a miracle because that's how I look at it.)
Since then, I've been off every type of prescription medication. I still battle depression but I do it with all-natural remedies. I take a complicated cocktail of herbs and vitamins each morning with a "greens" veggie-based shake. I've found that most of it doesn't really do much for depression. Yes, I take Omega-3, St. John's Wort, SAMe, B-Complex (changing it out with B-12 every so often), and some other base vitamins (including a colon cleanse capsule).
But...I noticed a significant change when I started taking this liquid Vitamin D3 oil. You're only supposed to take one drop per day (which is equal to 4,000 IUs). However, studies have been done where people have curtailed many types of diseases by consuming an "overdose" amount between 50,000 and 100,000 IUs per day. This has also known to help with depression as well. (Even the Mayo Clinic has recommended "overdosing" amounts for a listing of several diseases at this link: http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/vitamin-d/dosing/hrb-20060400.)
Even then, my moods were still "tempermental" and uncontrollable at best. I would basically have to throw a dart at a dartboard each day to see whether I'd feel happy or bitchy. And I hate having that lack of control over my own health and mental well-being.
Then I read something that changed everything. Literally everything!
First, I sort of stumbled on this health "secret" by accident. A couple of years ago I spent a fortune putting an outdoor balcony off my master bedroom that...I never used. And in January of this year I'm like WTF? Why am I not using this awesome balcony where I have a full set of outdoor furniture and a beautiful view of the mountains.
So, as a relaxation tool (mostly), I started sitting outside for at least 30 minutes. I'd have a cold bottle of water and sit there with my sunglasses on. After doing this for a few days, I noticed a major 180-degree in my moods the following day (after spending time in the sun). I felt happy, content, blessed, gracious, and really freaking awesome!
Of course, I thought it was a fluke. It must be my imagination, after all. Right?
This is when I started reading some things on what I'll coin as the Sun-Depression Connection. There is clinical proof and evidence that when the body gets sun, it gives the body 10,000 IUs per 20-30 minutes of sun.
Hell, I didn't need the oily D3 drops (that sometimes hurts my kidneys and liver with dull pains) when I could just sit in the sun for a day full of happiness the next day.
Of course, I had to sit in the sun for a minimum of 30 minutes for it to have any affect. Anything less didn't cut it. And if I could swing an hour, I was home free the next day. I felt like I was on Cloud 9 all the next day if I could get that hour in the day before.
I always tell Ron that I can't survive in Michigan. In California there are a minimum of 330 sunny days per year (minimum...of course, no rain either, which is clearly a problem) but each time I'm in Michigan I'm lucky to see a sliver of the sun for minutes at a time before it disappears.
After a week I start looking at bridges and thinking about what it would be like to jump off...that's how depressed I get sometimes.
If you don't have depression, it's very hard to understand that it's a very real disease. It's not like you can "snap out of it" and stop thinking despondent thoughts. Rather it can consume its victims, especially when the devil on their shoulder starts whispering such awful things (usually in the middle of the night)...I believe this is what happened to Robin Williams. Again, it's a very real disease that is hard to pin down.
Unfortunately, more and more people are starting to feel depressed as we become more disconnected with one another while the pressures of such a fast-paced lifestyle begin to get the better of us. Because of this fact, we need to take time to take better care of ourselves; we need to take time out for ourselves.
If you know anyone who is depressed, tell them to get a minimum of 30 solid minutes in the sun per day. They'll notice the uplifting attitude changes almost immediately. I try to stick to my daily regimen but sometimes working too many hours gets in the way. The next day, of course, everyone has to pay the consequences for my lack of sunshine the day before. And that just sucks for everyone. So when I sit in the sun, I know it's not just for me. It's for my daughter, my staff, and my students, too. It's so that I stop turning into Ms. Hyde.
If you're not depressed, you can probably benefit from this bit of advice even more. If you're already a happy person with a bouncing positive attitude then you'll rule the world with rays of sunshine and happiness if you try this 30-minute daily sun routine.
And if not, worst case, you'll get a bit of a tan.
See you at the top!