Depression and fatigue were once ever present realities in my life. If I wasn’t in the depths of depression, I was worrying about my next mood or energy crash. Getting out of bed to face each day was a struggle. Lack of sunshine was one of many contributing factors leading to my bouts of depression, so I kept moving further south until I ended up in Florida for 12 years. This helped but didn’t fix everything. I felt stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted and lived in fear of being anywhere that had more than a few dark days in a row. Then I learned about Traditional Chinese Medicine and other holistic modalities that effectively treated the underlying causes of my depression and fatigue, and I realized, “I can live anyplace I want!” I moved to the Oregon Coast, and lived there for ten years, a place with far less sun than Ashland, and it wasn’t a problem. I learned to address the other aspects of depression and fatigue and finally felt I had control over my life, energy, and moods.
Depression is not ‘All in Your Head.’ It is a physical reality caused by the body’s inability to function as it should. If the body is physically depressed then it will be emotionally depressed. Once underlying issues are resolved the symptoms of depression disappear.
We are each biochemically individual so each person typically has different combinations of problems that create depression. Therefore each patient receives different treatments and supplements for their specific issues.
Depression that comes with a wound up feeling, irritability or anger, insomnia when the mind is too active to sleep, and/or waking between 1 and 3 AM, can all have a common cause. Depression with lethargy, sweet or starch cravings, joint aches and pains, foggy thinking, and short-term memory problems usually derive from other issues. And bouts of explosive anger, with or without depression, have still other origins. Mood swings throughout the day can stem from additional issues. Then there is depression accompanied by PMS or menopausal symptoms, which have their own set of causes. Often there are various combinations of all of these patterns that contribute to depression.
Fatigue can be a stand alone issue or one that accompanies depression. Like depression there are many underlying causes for various types of fatigue. Waking first thing in the morning without feeling rested, when exercise makes you more tired, is a different cause than the type of fatigue that comes with peaks and crashes throughout the day, or just the afternoon slump. Lethargy that is improved if you can drag yourself up and exercise is evidence of another root cause. A bone weary, ‘someone pulled the rug out from under my feet’ fatigue indicates additional origins. And just being tired and not having the energy you’d like to have isn’t simply a sign of aging. There are reasons for being tired, and ways to overcome it.
When treating depression and fatigue I look at a patient’s symptoms: all of them. Observing everything that’s going on with their bodies reveals patterns that determine the origins of depression and fatigue, while addressing all other health issues at the same time.
Pain can be a contributing factor to fatigue and depression, so I also treat the root causes of any pain issues in each treatment.
Acupuncture makes patients feel better physically and emotionally.
Kinesiology (muscle testing) helps me fine tune which supplements each person’s body will best respond to for the quickest results.
Nutritional counseling is an important tool I provide for my patients. Certain foods can help or hinder specific health problems. And making sure patients are breaking down and assimilating their food is imperative to physically support energy and emotions.
Unless you have dealt with depression and debilitating fatigue, there is no way to truly understand it. How do you explain why you feel like crying when there is really nothing wrong, why you just want to be alone because you don’t want to impose your mood on anyone else, why you wake up and don’t even want to get out of bed because what is the point anyway, or you just don’t have the energy? How do you explain how even the smallest tasks take monumental effort, or you are just too tired to move more than absolutely necessary? How can you explain any of this, or countless other related questions, when you don’t understand it yourself? But there are answers. There are treatments. There is hope for breaking free of that black cloud hanging over your head, or fatigue weighing you down. There are ways to regain your energy and vitality to enjoy life.
Nancy Burton L.Ac.
534 Washington St.