• Rhyena Halpern

If your Depression was a symptom and not a root cause, would you stop your meds?



I began using anti-depressants when my first marriage unceremoniously exploded. I couldn’t eat or sleep or concentrate and this went on for months, until I got a prescription for an anti-depressant. Thus the internal floor of my mind began to raise up just a little to re-enter the land of the living.


Several years later, sleep-deprived with newborn, premature twins (and yes, with a new partner), I found I still needed them, albeit at a low dose. It was my only chance to stay sane during those precious but tortured months of them feeding every 45 minutes only to change my babies’s diapers every hour and a half, before it all started again.


For the next few years, every time I stopped the meds for a few weeks, I felt that floor lower again. After about 15 years, I assumed that my biochemistry had adjusted and now I needed a low dose anti-depressant to keep myself on an even keel.


Then, after years of encroaching symptoms like severe headaches, brain fog, sinus congestion, chronic sore throat, insomnia, joint and muscle pain, bladder problems, hormonal imbalances and severe, oh so severe, inability to lose weight, I finally was diagnosed correctly with Hashimoto’s- autoimmune thyroiditis- and working with a functional medicine doctor, completely eliminated gluten, detoxed and cleansed away, and ultimately dropped about 40 lbs on the hCG protocol (more on that in another story!).


One morning before taking my thyroid pill and antidepressants, I realized that I no longer had headaches or joint and muscle pain. So I stopped taking the antidepressants and lo and behold, the floor stayed even! It took me a few months to sit with the notion that my depression was a symptom of thyroid disease. Then it took me a few more months to truly believe it.


That was about six years ago and I have never felt the need for antidepressants again. I have been through really difficult times, trust me, but just the floor remained solid.


I have also read a lot about depression as a symptom of many autoimmune diseases, estrogen dominance, candida, lyme disease, intestinal permeability and more. Depression is linked to inflammation. When your body is inflamed, you feel awful, including emotionally. Its that simple. How freeing it is to not be defined by an assumed internal messed up wiring.


Along with autoimmune diseases, the rates of depression are at epidemic levels. I am here to say that there is a connection between inflammation and depression! Its not you, its the inflammation!


Almost everyone is depressed and anxious these days. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs are prescribed like candy. Many patients report that their antidepressants don’t really work. There is a reason for that. They are not getting at the cause!


Can you allow for the possibility that feelings of sorrow and helplessness might be a symptom and not the problem? What if the SAD (standard American diet) was to blame, and toxins, pollutants, chemicals?


I read regularly online about depression and inflammation and know we will be finding out more and more about the connection between depression and inflammation. My hunch is that the rate of depression will go down, corresponding to nutritional, environmental and healthy lifestyle change. I am betting on it. I know it to be true for myself and dozens of peers, and hundreds of patients of functional medicine.


What if you could be free of depression? Who would you be if you were not depressed? I am betting on you.

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Third Act Coaching

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office: San Francisco Bay Area       rhyhalpern@thirdactcoaching.org

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