How To Conquer Depression Without Drugs

how to conquer depression without medicationI sat there nervously every single day of my life.

My palms were always slightly damp.  I was always on edge for fear of social interaction.

Every time I gave a presentation, I was filled with fear for a month before the event.

When I gave a presentation, my face would go beet red and a couple times I was so nervous I couldn’t even finish my speech.

Every day was filled with extreme fear and self-hatred.

That’s how my life used to be (keep reading to see a video of me speaking to a large group).

I’m always surprised now when people say, “You look so confident while speaking.”

Truth is, I still get nervous before I speak.  I usually stay nervous while speaking as well.

But it is more excitement than nervousness now.

I don’t lose sleep for weeks before.  And I don’t hate myself for every little mistake.

My depression and anxiety was caused by real physical issues.  Now that I’ve gotten those issues handled, I’m able to push myself, and do things like speak at public libraries.

How To Conquer Depression And Anxiety

In the presentation, you will learn not only how to conquer severe depression, but also:

  • The Surprising #1 Question I’m Asked That You Must Believe In The Right Answer To Beat Depression
  • How This Isn’t Your Fault (And A Word About Antidepressants)
  • What Could Be Your Root Cause?
  • Ways To Start Healing Today

Watch the video to learn how to overcome depression for good by realizing depression isn’t a thing, it is a symptom.

Feel free to download the powerpoint slides I used while presenting to follow along:

I gave a speech at a city library with a mix of people I knew and strangers I’ve never met.  I’d personally rather give a speech to just strangers, so the mix was interesting.  Some people knew me back when I had severe depression, others had known only the “new me.”

In this video, I first go over my individual story.  How I was told I had a disease and would be depressed for the rest of my life, how writing a suicide letter to myself led to my recovery, and the two points where hitting rock bottom brought awareness to my depression problem.

The first 30 minutes is the actual presentation, the last 30 minutes is Q&A.

How To Conquer Depression Without Medication

how to conquer depression without medication

If your brain isn’t working on a physical level,  you’ll feel depressed

If you want to skim the main points of the speech and watch it later, I’ll detail a few key points below.

The thing is, a lot of people are confused as to whether or not you can really conquer depression without drugs.

The truth is, you can.

The reality of depression is that there are a million different reasons for depression.  You cannot just magically snap out of it by being grateful or counting your blessings.  If you have had depression for any length of time, you will know that the correct answer for how to conquer depression for good is not to hope that tomorrow will be a better day or to use positive thoughts to combat it.

Never beat yourself up for not being able to think your way out of it.

I Discovered How To Conquer Depression Out Of Necessity

I learned all that I know about depression not because I wanted to grow up and be a therapist one day as a kid, but because it became my passion after working so hard at it for years and finally beating it myself.

I have a range of experiences and work history:

  • Worked At A Clinical Research Facility
  • Was On The DSAMH Committee For Youth
  • Worked For NAMI As A Mentor
  • Spoke In Front Of Doctors And Professionals About My Experience
  • Degree In Psychology
how to conquer depression without medication

I worked for NAMI, but realized they don’t offer much in terms of a drug free approach

The truth is, none of that led me to the answer.  None of those experiences ultimately led me to the solution, but they gave me a wide grasp of different concepts and what didn’t work.

After skydiving and feeling nothing, losing years and years of my life to isolation and crippling depression to the point of even hearing voices in my head, to finally receiving my wake up call in life, I had written a suicide note to myself to beat depression in one year or die.

My first attempt was taking medications.  My experience with Celexa failed miserably after the increased dosage caused a manic episode.  When I realized I was depressed and dependent on medication, it took a serious effort to get off antidepressants.  Learning how to get off antidepressants ultimately led me to the right answer.

Find Your Root Cause

I healed my depression by discovering what my root causes were.

I had:

  • Vitamin D and magnesium deficiences
  • Food allergies to gluten and dairy
  • Sugar sensitivity
  • Slight adrenal fatigue

I also used supplements like l-tryptophan and l-phenylalanine to heal my brain, get my neurotransmitter levels back, and get off antidepressants.

When I went to the doctor back when I was depressed, I was never once asked about:

  • My sleep
  • My diet
  • My digestion
  • My vitamin and mineral levels
  • Hormonal imbalances

I was simply handed a pill and told to take it.  That is the perfect example of treating the smoke, not the fire.

how to conquer depression without medication

I wish I would have gotten testing done much earlier in my journey rather than just taking antidepressants

What’s funny is how there is this negative stigma towards the word “natural.”  People in our society instantly distrust anything that remotely resembles natural healing.

Taking magnesium, vitamin d, fixing my adrenals, and eating right sounds a lot more sane than taking a random antidepressant, doesn’t it?

We are bombarded with messages that depression is something you need to take medication for.  However, we have to remember that taking antidepressants isn’t as simple as just taking some harmless pill.  They come with side effects, dependency, and severe withdrawals if you aren’t careful.

Here are some common physical causes for depression to look out for:

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Omega-3 to Omega-6 imbalance
  • Thyroid issues
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Pyroluria
  • Inflammation

Remember, you want to ask what is causing your depression.  Reacting negatively to an unhealthy environment or problems is a natural/normal response.  No wonder I was depressed, I was deficient in nutrients, had food allergies, and suffering from slight burnout!

Believe You Can Beat Depression

One of the top questions I am asked usually happens like this:

“Hey TJ, I know you beat your depression and cite other success stories.  But really.  Can you actually beat depression?”

The answer is yes.  You can beat depression.  If you want more information, make sure to read my article specifically targeting this question, Is It Possible To Beat Depression?

Start Healing Today

how to conquer depression without medication

This brain of yours is nearly 60% fat

Start eating real food.  Start eating more healthy fats.  The brain is nearly 60% fat.  Don’t believe the “low-fat” marketing hype.  If you aren’t including avocados, fish, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, butter from healthy cows, etc. you are diminishing your brain’s ability to make you feel good.

Aim to eat a portion of high quality protein with every meal.  Protein contains amino acids which are the building blocks for neurotransmitters.  Grass fed beef, lentils, eggs, whey protein powder, etc.

Instead of eating frosted Cheerios everyday, start eating healthy carb sources.  If you are sensitive to sugar, aim to eat slower digesting carbs.  Start eating quinoa, sweet potatoes, and lots and lots of vegetables!

Be careful with caffeine, as it depletes B Vitamins and inhibits serotonin and melatonin production.

Quit eating processed meats.  This means bacon with nitrates, cold cuts, deli meats, hot dogs, salami, sausage, etc.  The artificial ingredients and preservatives will bring your mood down.

Start cutting out vegetable oils.  They contain high amounts of omega-6 fats which can tilt your fatty acid balance in the wrong direction.  Vegetable oils typically are unstable and oxidize easily.  Scandinavians can have a genetic inability to manufacture chemicals from gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is found in vegetable oils, into prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) which is associated with depression.

Nutrition is the foundation for mental health! You must get this handled.  This is what I believe about people who don’t see the light when it comes to eating healthy:

If you are unwilling to change your eating habits, either you don’t know how good you can feel or you don’t feel enough pain from depression to want to change.

How To Conquer Depression Without Drugs And Stay Relapse Free

Start attacking your root causes.  Find out what is making you depressed, and fix it.

Get all the support that you can.  Join support groups.  Reach out to people who you know can help you.  Make it a burning commitment to solve depression no matter what.

Read The Mood Cure by Julia Ross or Depression-Free, Naturally by Joan Mathews Larson.  Read up on nutrition.  Look up Chris Kresser.

Sign up for my free email list and get daily emails for little actions you can take to start moving forwards to a depression free life.

Do whatever it takes, and it is only a matter of time that you find relief from depression.

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  • Lushi

    Hello
    I wanted to ask if you know anything related to adrenal fatigue and how that leads to depression ?

    • TJ Nelson

      Hi Lushi,

      I actually have had slight adrenal fatigue myself. I need to create a post on it, as it can hinder people’s recovery unless you handle it. Is that what you are experiencing?

      • Bruce

        Please leave a link if and when you make your post on this. Thanks.