I listed my woes on the previous thread so won't do so again, but suffice it to say I was probably depressed as a teenager, an insomniac from 17 onwards until late 20s, then depression hit me again early 30s after my dad died. Also suffered from intermittent panic attacks early 30s too (now late 30s). I've dabbled in mental health with my job - spent time with soldiers with PTSD, evaluated the efficacy of alternative medicines, and researched sleep patterns. So, a thread close to my heart. Just knowing there are others to talk through about this stuff is therapeutic in itself as previous posters have said. Thumbs up to RARS for relaunching this type of thread.
A lot of these problems are both behavioural and biochemical and it's hard to break the cycle - one can reinforce the other, the classic being increasing alcohol consumption, which can crowd out exercise, which can decrease mental wellbeing, which leads to more drinking as a way of self-medicating. To break that cycle, it is not always easy to know where to begin - so, exercise, absolutely the first place to start for general depression symptoms, but sustaining exercise in and of itself is no easy task. Always best done by playing a sport which involves being around others, but as some have pointed out, just getting motivated to spend time with others can be difficult. Sometimes we do need to give our minds and bodies a nudge, and I have found certain OTC treatments to be effective (and supported by trials):
5-htp (never ever ever use with antidepressants!) - sleep aid and serotonin precursor (happy chemical). Only to be used for low mood; depression requires something stronger.
Vit D - should take between September and April; we are all deficient and can adversely affect energy levels and ability to fight off infections
L-Theanine - basically a massive whack of green tea minus the caffeine; I just came back from the US with about 500 tablets; it works really well as a relaxant if feeling anxious (it's a GABA precursor; GABA produces feelings of calmness)
Magnesium - combine with L-Theanine if suffering from anxiety and/or sleep issues
L-Tyrosine - dopamine pre-cursor; can give a short little burst of mood improvement and energy. I have used as an afternoon pick me up or pre-exercise pick me up (you can try broad spectrum amino-acid tabs, available in Holland and B)
Zinc - becomes more important as you get older as our T-levels drop; so precursor for Testosterone levels.
If you try any of these, always buy the expensive brands, i.e. not from supermarkets - the absorption rates are markedly different. And if you do try, would be great to hear how you get on. Apologies in advance if they don't work, but there is some science and evidence behind the above, honest!
I'd also strongly recommend getting blood work checked for antibodies - the dairy and yeast I was consuming made me feel really down. And I mean really down. The consumption of dairy during my teenage years messed up my mood and skin. The York Test is decent and can be ordered online.
For non-specific feelings of 'meh', not necessarily depression but a sense of emptiness and futility, which is what I battle with now, I found that is more to do with deep-seated issues of not really living my life to the full. More general psychology rather than a medical issue. The problem is I didn't quite know how to live my life to the full recently. Ostensibly, my life is good, but there are some dots I am clearly not joining to feel happy and enthused by life. And it was pissing me off until I started taking piano lessons and got involved with a blues band. Being creative, as well as being physically active, has been important for me. I am a great believer in recapturing hobbies that were done in childhood, but I know that sounds wanky. It seems to work for me though, so I am happy to be wanky.
Oh, and excessive ****ing will only cause your T levels to plummet. Maybe even self-esteem too
Keep talking/posting fellas.