Depression and Hormonal Imbalance Connection + 3 Depression Self-Help Strategies

Many adrenal fatigue sufferers also suffer with depression. Is there a connection? 


In today's blog, we want to share about this connection. We feel this connection is often left out of the depression conservation and shouldn’t be.


I will also be giving you 3 self-help strategies for depression.


Whether you've been dealing with depression your whole life, taking medications or not, or just beginning to see that depression might be an issue for you, I am certain what I have to share today will be supportive.



THE REALITY OF DEPRESSION WORLDWIDE


Depression is a serious condition that can greatly affect your relationships, your livelihood, your health and your quality of life. The reality is 1 in 5 people globally have a mental health disorder of some kind. And depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. 


Why are so many people suffering from depression? Is life just harder than it's ever been? Is there more stress than ever? Or is it something else?


Well of course there isn’t just one reason and I know we could talk about this all day. Today, for simplicity sake, I'm just focusing on the depression and the hormonal imbalance connection. 


We often think of depression as being all in our head, a cascade of things that get out of control. What if it wasn't actually “in your head”? What if it was actually “in your hormones”? Or shall I say, what if your hormones are at the root of all of it?

It is often said that mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. 

WHAT ARE THESE CHEMICALS THAT CREATE AN IMBALANCE?

A chemical imbalance in the brain is said to occur when there’s either too much or too little of certain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, in the brain. Neurotransmitters are natural chemicals that help facilitate communication between your nerve cells. Two common ones include norepinephrine and serotonin, which please note, are also hormones. 

There is quite a bit of controversy surrounding this theory (that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain) and actually it’s been largely refuted by the medical community. Click here to read more about that. 

Can we go back to serotonin for a moment? It’s important for this conversation to mention that serotonin is mostly found in your digestive system, interesting right? So if you have gut issues, couldn’t that throw off your serotonin levels and lead to symptoms of depression? 

And for the sake of being thorough, another theory or cause of depression is abnormal activity in your neural circuits. We know the brain, hormones and the gut are largely connected, so it’s not crazy to hypothesize that gut issues and/or hormonal imbalance could impact our neural circuits, right? I think many of us can say from personal experience that, they do!

Are you starting to see a connection?

KEY POINT: What if your sadness, anxiety, anger, irritability, loss of interest in life wasn't you going "crazy" or whatever else you've labeled it as? What if depression was just a symptom, a symptom of hormonal imbalance or gut issues? And if that's the case, it’s something you could possible move past, with some support.


WHAT IF GETTING YOUR DEPRESSION UNDER CONTROL WAS EASIER THAN YOU THOUGHT?


My point of sharing this connection today is give you 


  • Another explanation that maybe hasn’t been presented to you yet. An explanation that might feel MORE TRUE for you than any other diagnosis or explanation you've gotten from any other doctor. 


  • Or to help lessen the judgement you might have around this condition and/or judgement you might have of yourself.


(For me, the idea that I wasn't crazy and there was a root cause or a reason for my anxiety or depression, helped me so much when I was battling, my story a bit later).


DISCLAIMER:

Please understand I'm not a doctor. I'm not a hormone specialist by any means, but I do work alongside them. I’m also an adrenal fatigue survivor, who has now worked in the adrenal fatigue healing space for half a decade. I'm also human, with hormones and a woman who's been through 4 pregnancies… so I know a few things about the power of hormones and their imbalances. I know hormone’s ability to wreak havoc on the body and the mind if out of balance. 


Maybe you've been dealing with depression your whole life. Maybe you’re a mom and it came post kids or maybe it’s a recent thing and it seemed to come out of nowhere.


If you have adrenal fatigue most likely your hormones are out of balance in some way. And depression can be a symptom of this hormonal imbalance.


SIDE NOTE OF COMPASSION: With all respect to those that are dealing with this condition on a daily basis, you might not completely agree with what I have to share today and I get that, it’s okay. I do understand that there are many levels, types and degrees of depression and very severe cases. This information might not resonate with you.

However, my intention with this blog is to provide another perspective that is necessary to bring to the table, as well as new insights and a few powerful self-help tools for even the most severe cases out there. And one more thing, I'm TRULY sorry for what you're going through.

So let's get back to hormones, shall we?


BUT YOU’VE BEEN TOLD...YOUR HORMONAL LEVELS ARE FINE

We hear this from sufferers in our recovery community, EVERY DAY. They get their hormones tested by a traditional doctor and they are told their hormones levels are normal.

Before you believe everything your MD says please understand those tests often don't tell the whole story. More often than not they don’t. Let me share a brief personal story, that sounds almost identical to hundreds of other stories from people in our community. 

I got my hormone levels tested from my OB, after struggling to get pregnant for over a year. She told me my hormone levels were fine.  

I knew there was more to the story, so I went to an Acupuncturist who studied functional medicine. I did the common 4-point cortisol saliva test. I learned I had very low cortisol, my cortisol daily curve was off, I was barely making any DHEA anymore and I had low levels of pregnenolone, a precursor to progesterone. These test results happened to be the start of my own personal adrenal fatigue (AF) journey. This was over 15 years ago and I’d never heard of AF before that.

When I finally got that diagnosis, I finally got answers. I started a supplement, diet and lifestyle protocol and my recovery was JUST months away. And on top of that, I got pregnant within 3 months...after trying for over a year. Interesting right? Thank goodness I didn’t just settle for what my OB said. I could have easily gone down the intense path of infertility interventions and treatments.

So trust yourself and don't settle if deep down you know something isn't right. Or a doctor’s diagnosis doesn’t resonate with you.

In regards to depression, it might not be genetic or “in your head”, like they might tell you. It could be “in your hormones”. 

CONSIDER GETTING TESTED

Yes, testing is an investment, but it's the best investment you will make. Doing a lot of trial and error with supplements can slow down the recovery process, lead to nasty side effects, waste your money, waste your time and add way more stress and frustration, overloading your tired adrenals even more.

SO BACK TO DEPRESSION AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

I promised to give you 3 self-help strategies for depression. As a mindset coach, this is absolutely my favorite thing to do and I’ve had quite a bit of success with it too. I've had so many of my adrenal fatigue clients who have been in therapy for years… have powerful breakthrough from just one coaching session with me and using the strategies I'm about to share with you.

Often, when intense emotions, feelings and/or thoughts arise with depression, we are prone to do a few things:

1. We judge the thought, feeling, or emotion as bad or wrong and/or we judge ourselves as bad or wrong, or maybe even “crazy”

2. We try to push those feelings or thoughts away because they don’t feel that great, right?

3. We begin to label ourselves as depressed and lock that into our bodies as WHO WE ARE.

Any of that sound familiar?

WHAT IF FROM NOW ON YOU COULD TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT?


Would you be willing to experiment with something that even therapists don’t talk about? Experiment with a new way of doing things that has the potential to change your life?


DEPRESSION SELF-HELP STRATEGY #1 


INSTEAD OF JUDGING THE INTENSE EMOTION OR DEPRESSED THOUGHT, DO THIS...

Make an observation and even say it out loud if it helps. Something like "Okay, I'm having an intense feeling or thought right now." Practicing the art of not judging it will change the energy. 


What if the intense thought or emotion was just simply an awareness or, in other words, a message from your body, and not a wrongness? The body and mind is always trying to talk to us, but we often don’t listen.  


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE JUDGE 

When we judge ourselves, our emotions, our thoughts... it cuts ourselves off from our power, our essence, the energy of the universe and higher powers. (okay this maybe too woo-woo for you, but I'd love for you to hear me out). I could do a blog or a whole term paper on this topic, but to keep it simple...here’s my key point.


KEY POINT: It's the JUDGEMENT you have of the thought or feeling that starts the depressed thoughts into a perpetual, ongoing cycle and locks them into your body, NOT THE THOUGHT or FEELING ITSELF. Does that make sense?

Before I share my other 2 depression self-help strategies, I’d like to share my story.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH DEPRESSION

At the end of 2017, I had just given birth to my daughter who I knew wasn't going to survive birth. We learned at 24 weeks of pregnancy she had a lethal diagnosis and she couldn't live outside my body for longer than a few moments. As you can imagine, the last trimester of pregnancy was a challenging time, filled with lots of intense thoughts and emotions. I was preparing for my daughter’s birth and death, at the same time. I had the tools I'm sharing with you today, to help me get through this challenging time, thank goodness. But you know what was the hardest time? 

It was 2 months postpartum, shortly after the pain and intensity of keeping my breast milk from coming in, it was that shift in my hormones that things started to get really hard. It was those darn hormones again, right? 

Those intense and heavy emotions came with breathing complications, what many refer to as anxiety attacks. It was scary and even though I was able to calm myself down many times during those months, it did land me in the emergency room twice.

See the point I’m trying to make here?

So far through the 3rd trimester, even her birth and death I somehow was able to cope, work through and process the emotions, the devastation, the heartbreak. The emotions of learning that I was never going to be able to take my baby girl home, or be able to see my baby smile or watch her grow. I woke up everyday and took care of myself, my family and my son. 

It was in some way doable... I guess you would say with lots of support and tools, until a powerful hormonal shift and then I was really tested. It changed everything for me. It was SOOO heavy, feelings I’d NEVER felt before. I felt in some way I could finally relate to all my friends and family members who have struggled with depression.

Because of the knowledge I had about hormones that I'm sharing with you today, I trusted it was just a result of hormones shifting, it was a process I just had to work through. I knew deep down I would get through it. That belief made all the difference. 

I practiced not judging the thoughts and feelings, or claiming it as mine (don’t worry that’s coming). I trusted that it was going to pass and guess what, after about 4 months it did. 

KEY POINT: DON'T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER THAT HORMONES CAN HAVE ON YOUR MIND.


Okay so back to the self-help strategies... 

DEPRESSION SELF-HELP STRATEGY #2

INSTEAD OF PUSHING THE THOUGHTS OR EMOTIONs AWAY, DO THIS...


Honor them! Take a moment to be with it. (Here's a little motivation. Do this because if you don't, it will keep coming back to haunt you, OVER AND OVER AGAIN.)


Ask if there is a message underneath the thought and emotion (but don't THINK too much or try to figure it out). Instead, let it come to you, that's where the TRUTH is. Don't expect the answer to come right away, it often doesn't. Just ask and trust it will show up.



DEPRESSION SELF-HELP STRATEGY #3

INSTEAD OF LABELING YOURSELF AS DEPRESSED OR HAVING DEPRESSION, DO THIS..

 

Ask yourself a series of questions..

Why ask questions, you ask? Sounds silly, right?. Well, it’s helpful to understand that most of our thoughts are conclusions and conclusions lock things into place in our lives, our minds and our bodies. When we ask the right kinds of questions, it can lighten up our world and create a different possibility. 

Here are a few questions to play with: (I’m warning you this is different, so be ready!)

QUESTION 1: Is this depression, these intense emotions or thoughts even mine?

I know it sounds crazy, but if it makes you feel lighter after asking that question, then it wasn't ever yours. What? Let me explain. Many of the thoughts, beliefs, and emotions we have everyday aren’t truly ours. They have been adopted from others or projected onto us by others (often people closest to us during our younger, formative years). We have bought them as ours. Many of us play out those same patterns in our lives, that our parents or siblings did. I also see this with couples.

What many of us don't realize or have never been told just how receptive we are. We are like radio receivers, we can feel and pick up the emotions from people all around us.


KEY POINT: We can misidentify these intense emotions, thoughts, beliefs as ours when they are ACTUALLY not ours.

If after you ask the question, “are these thoughts, feeling and emotions or this depression I’ve been experiencing, even mine?” and you 100% feel that they didn’t come from anyone else, they are truly yours, then you can ask this…

QUESTION 2: “What would it take to shift this heavy emotion or feeling? (again the answer might not come to you right away, but just asking the question allows a different energy or feeling to arise.)

As far as what you need to shift the emotion, feeling, or energy (as I like to call it) is different for everyone and can change at any moment. Because you’re just beginning to practice these new ideas, I’m going to leave you with some ideas that my clients enjoy to shift intense energy, thoughts and emotions. Until you learn what your OWN body and mind needs, you can play with these:

1. Go for a 5 minute walk around the block.

2. Ask a roommate or partner for a hug.

3. Sit and journal about what's coming up. You might finally have a breakthrough that could shift everything.

4. Do 5 rounds of box breathing. Box breathing goes like this...Inhale for 4 second count, hold breath in for 4, exhale for 4, hold breath out for 4.

5. Ask some questions…

“What would it take for me to step beyond this depression I’m experiencing? or

“What else is possible for my life beyond depression?” ‘

Just asking the question can break the vicious neural pathways that have been established. And more than just asking the question, you have to tap into what it would feel like to already have what you’re asking for. This will involve raising your energetic vibration. What? you say.

If you’re anything like I was years ago, you’re skeptical, thinking all this couldn’t be that easy. You’re not really sure what raising your energetic vibration even means. But what if deep down you did. You’re an amazing being, just think about all the things your body is doing right now to function and stay live, pretty amazing riight? So just ask the questions, feel into the energy of having what you want and see what happens. DON”T TRY, JUST DO IT. Yes, it will feel funny at first, but if it worked and started to change your life, wouldn’t it be worth it?

Enjoy exploring these strategies and remember you have nothing to lose by trying something new like this. No nasty side effects here.

In conclusion, if you've been dealing with symptoms of adrenal fatigue and depression, but haven't had your hormones and mineral levels checked by a Naturopathic or Functional Medicine Doctor, we highly you consider you get tested. What if underneath your depression and anxiety was just some imbalances that can be fixed. Imagine having that clarity so you can target all the right things and finally step beyond the fatigue, the anxiety or depression and start to experience a whole new life. Take the guesswork out of your recovery. What else is possible for you?!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What are your thoughts on all this, ahas, judgements, whatever, all is welcome here.

All my love, 

Angela

Are Supplements Holding You Back From Recovering from Adrenal Fatigue?

Are Supplements Holding You Back From Recovering from Adrenal Fatigue?

Are the supplements you’re taking working for you or are they burning a hole in your wallet?
This blog post explores the most common errors we see in our adrenal fatigue community when it comes to choosing supplements to EFFECTIVELY support you adrenal fatigue recovery.

Intermittent Fasting and Adrenal Fatigue

Intermittent Fasting and Adrenal Fatigue

We get asked questions about fasting and adrenal fatigue all the time.
Is it safe? Will it help us recover? What about my blood sugar issues?

On today’s blog we are sharing our thoughts on time restricted eating or intermittent fasting and how to do it effectively so that it supports your adrenal fatigue recovery instead of doing the opposite.

You can’t balance your hormones, if you won’t balance your life. But is balance even possible?

You can’t balance your hormones, if you won’t balance your life. We find ourselves saying a version of this to our clients almost every day.

But is balance even possible?

The truth is, for most of us, our hormones didn’t just one day poop out on us. Our bodies are way too resilient for that. This imbalance was created over time. Years or decades of too much stress, not enough play, poor sleep habits, etc.

I was totally guilty and honestly I’m still striving to create more and more balance in my life. Every!  Single! Day! It’s a practice. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it will change your life and your body in a powerful way, if you let it.

I only know one person who has created TRUE BALANCE in their life. I think that’s actually a lot. It’s so rare these days.

I don’t know about you, but I was never taught this. And society definitely doesn’t foster balance either. Instead, we are taught…


No pain, no gain!


Sleep when you’re dead!

Hard work pays off!  But does it or does it leave you exhausted, sick, burn-out and unhappy?


What if laughing and joy was actually the KEY?


So, what is a balanced life? And is it actually possible to create?


I believe a balanced life is totally possible? If you’re skeptical, can you at least admit you probably could take care of YOU, on the inside, a bit more right now…am I right?


How would your life be different if you if...

  • You laughed as much as you cried?

  • You felt joy as much as sadness?

  • You trusted yourself/the universe/higher power as much as you worried about things?

  • You played as much as you worked?

  • You smiled as much as you were angry or frustrated?

Balance will look different for Every. Single. Person.

I want to help you make A BALANCED LIFE easy to create.


So let me backup a minute…


What is a balanced life anyways?


I like to define a balanced life as... taking care of yourself equally on all levels; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.


So let’s break it down.


Physical Balance


This includes the basic routines you most likely already have in place such as

  1. Good hygiene

  2. Eating well

  3. Moving the body

  4. Getting quality sleep

But also includes routines for

5. Nourishing your body (which tend to be forgotten)

Start honoring your amazing body and fill it up daily.

This might be a weekly massage or body work, but there are many other ways you can do these nourishing practices for free. Here are some of my daily nurturing faves…

loofa massage.jpg
  1. Epsom salt baths

  2. Coconut oil self-massage to move lymph (morning time)

  3. Oil pulling


Check out a few more including thymus thump, ear massage, and third eye gaze.


Mental Balance


How we choose to interact with ourselves, all day, everyday should not be underestimated. It’s the difference between us feeling fulfilled, healthy,  happy vs. empty, alone, sick, and tired.


As a mindset teacher I talk about this a lot. So what would mental balance look like and how do you create more of it.


For me, true mental balance would be staying as much in the present moment, as possible. Not running my life on autopilot, the thoughts of my past as well as worrying about the future.


The first step is the awareness. Being aware that your thoughts create your reality, not the other way around. Your negative, limiting and sabotaging thoughts that you’ve been functioning from day after day for maybe your whole life, are creating the life you live right now.


So if you want transformation it has to start with your mind. I repeat. If you want transformation in your body, if you want to heal it has to start in your mind. If you’re not willing to change your constant worrying or thinking negatively about people or yourself or everything, being sarcastic and pessimistic, nothing will change.  



Emotional Balance


Your hormones and your emotions are connected. Your internal emotions have a direct impact on your health. If you are not honoring your emotions on a daily basis or holding onto old stuff/grudges and/or haven’t grieved a loss (of any kind) in a healthy way, it will affect your physical health.


If you are feeling stressed, angry, anxious, or fear, you need to make personal reflection and emotional release a part of your daily routine.


My favorite practices for self reflection and honoring emotions are…


  1. Journaling


Doing daily self check-ins through the practice of journaling is a great way to get real with how you’re feeling on a regular basis and process it in a healthy way.

When you feel an emotion good or bad, don’t ignore it, look at it. If it’s happy, enjoy it, be grateful for it. If it’s heavy, intense, negative, is it something you can let go of? What can you do to shift it? Is there someone you can forgive, no matter how hard it might be? Can you do something to lessen the intensity? Does that emotion or situation have to keep running your life?


2. Meditation and Prayer


I talk more about this in the next section.




Spiritual Balance


I want to define spirituality for a moment. The definition I found was being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. And honestly that looks different for every single person on this planet. It’s such a personal thing.


For me it is connecting with something greater than myself, that includes me, that IS ME.

A connection to my truest self and what I’m meant to contribute to the world. This focus can be a great thing when life gets hard.


For some it’s religion, for some it is not.


This is what this looks like for me.


  1. a Meditation practice Learn more here


2. Prayer

Prayer can be with meditation or separate….learn how to use the power of prayer for healing




In conclusion

Creating more balance in your life is crucial for balancing your hormones. And yes, sometimes it feels like these practices are just one more thing to add to your to-do list. But, I’m not asking you to do all the things, right away. As I always say, the success is in the baby steps. But you have to start somewhere. So incorporate one new practice this month that sounds fun, intriguing and see how it goes. And next month, try another. See what sticks.


These practices will begin to nourish you from the inside. They will allow you to feel like the king or queen of your world. And when you feel full, honored and that you are enough… you will create more ease in your world and in your body. You will treat yourself better and others. And most importantly you will be happier and healthier too!


After awhile you will notice how these practices make you feel inside and you won’t want to live without them. When you know your worth, you realize you’re worth it, it makes it easier to create space for more balance in your life.

Lots of love,

Angela


Supplement Hacks for Common Adrenal Fatigue Complaints

Supplement Hacks for Common Adrenal Fatigue Complaints

Some of the symptoms are often so common that we come to see them as normal— fatigue, feeling tired in the morning, anxiety, sleep issues, etc. While others are less common and a bit more worrying.

Today, I want to address some of the most common complaints we hear about in our Adrenal Fatigue Community on Facebook and give you a few supplement tips that you can use to help with them.