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Health Tip: 5HTP and Depression

5HTP is an advanced form of Tryptophan (oh yeah, that's the stuff that makes you really sleepy when you eat a big turkey dinner.) The nice thing about 5HTP is that it increases the levels of serotonin in your body. Now, I know you may be saying, "So what?"

Well, settle in and let me explain. The last 18 months of my life have been, shall we say, the roller coaster ride from hell. One psychological, emotional and physical trauma after another. Without going into detail, multiple deaths of close family members, near deaths and long weeks of recovery for others, surgeries, etc. were just a little of what happened in our lives. The day my father was told he had inoperable, terminal cancer and had only weeks to live was the straw that broke my camel's back.

I remember dissolving into tears that wouldn't stop. I couldn't think. I couldn't make decisions. I couldn't focus. There was no trace of the Candace Salima that I knew visible to me. I broke down and went to my family doctor. When Dr. Robert Taylor walked into the exam room, I was sitting on a chair, with my arm stretched across the exam table, my head resting on my arm, sound asleep. He woke me up, took one look at me and said I no longer had a choice. He was putting me on a mild antidepressant.

Here's a little something about me that you don't know. I am one of the most cautious people regarding the use of drugs, antidepressants, antibiotics and more. I don't go to the doctor unless I've tried everything I can, using natural means, to rectify the problem myself. This is how I came by the old-fashioned moniker "wise woman." I've spent a lifetime studying herbs, supplements, natural therapies and the benefits thereof. Dr. Taylor knew this. So he proceeded to tell me of the benefits of Lexapro, that it was very mild, non-narcotic, etc. I agreed to begin taking it and it was like the sun begin to shine once again.

A few weeks ago I decided I didn't want to take it anymore. I hate, I really hate, being dependent on any type of drug. Life seemed to have evened out. Family members were healthy and healing. Things were starting to look up. I wanted to stop taking the Lexapro. So I started doing research. Oh yeah, the Candace I knew was back. I started weaning myself off Lexapro.

Here's where we start talking about 5HTP. Serotonin is a chemical messenger in the brain that affects emotions, behavior, thought, weight and sleep patterns. Severe emotional and psychological stress, copious amounts of caffeine, ill health and depression cause the reduced production of serotonin. 5HTP triggers the production of serotonin in your body. This is a very, very good thing, obviously. Add a healthy diet and some exercise and you're in a whole new ballgame.

I became very ill about three weeks and found out I couldn't take simple cold medicine if I was on the Lexapro. So I stopped, cold turkey. (Respiratory flus really, really suck.) But I immediately began thinking: "What was the point of writing anymore books, no one is reading them anyway." (So, not true.) "Why should I work so hard, nothing ever, ever, happens." (Again, really not true.) But these were the thoughts I had. I don't have suicidal thoughts, I have thoughts about just quitting life, going into my garden with a book and a tall frosty lemonade and saying "To hell with the world." If you know me, that's is SOOOOOO unlike me. I have to save the world, it's hard-coded into my DNA. (Yeah, I know. Not doing such a great job. But what' s a girl to do?)

I found that 5HTP is the answer to my problems. I started taking it two weeks ago, and wahlah! I am a new woman. I woke up feeling good today, well except for that nasty bronchitis which is clinging to my sinuses with the last vestiges of desperation.

I feel like exercising today, which I will do as soon I am done blogging. I feel like cleaning my house (quick, call the doctor, there's something wrong.) I feel like getting things in order again, which is the only way I am happy.

Kerry Lynn Blair's Mt. Rushwritenomore has been crested and I am skiing down those slopes to the Valley of Literary Muse. That muse has sure been missing lately. Somebody needs to kick her butt for lying down on the job.

Anyway, so the health tip boils down to this. If you're struggling with depression, interrupted sleep patterns, and the like, talk to your doctor and decide if you'd like to give 5HTP a try. You can pick it up at your local herb store. Inexpensive, no side-effects and you can still take cold medicine.

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Here's another interest post from my days at www.families.com: Absalom, O Absalom

Health Tip: 5HTP and Depression Health Tip: 5HTP and Depression Reviewed by Candace Salima on Friday, August 24, 2007 Rating: 5