50 Natural Cures for Depression

From snake oil to remedies, practices & cures- Join the movement, learn how to overcome depression naturally & return to a healthy, happy life. 

You or someone you know is probably depressed.  If so, I bet the following may apply to you:

  • This battle with depression has been lingering intermittently or chronically for years, and while pharmaceuticals have provided some relief, they have failed to provide a satisfactory cure.
  • This battle with depression is new and you have chosen to investigate natural remedies, practices and cures right from the get-go.
  • You’ve dealt with depression for years and are an old pro with natural treatments, but to date, none have provided the silver bullet you’ve longed for.

Let’s get right to the point: I bet you’re longing for a definitive cure and not a half measure.

Using the right combination of remedy and practice cures and the one definitive “silver bullet” cure – spiritual awakening- you can reclaim a healthy happy life.  There is a massive movement comprised of thousands of people who are using this method.  It is doable, possible and achievable.  I did it.  A lot of my friends and colleagues did it.  You can too.

Why “50 Natural Cures for Depression” should be on your required reading list today:

  • because the actionable advice and homework will have you well on your way  to reclaiming a healthy happy life
  • because the video exercises will provide you with relief and healing…right now.
  • because you need to know what type of depression you have in order to cure it; this article will help you find that out
  • because more than knowing about vitamins & supplements you need to know which to take
  • because more than knowing about meditation, yoga & mindfulness practices you need to know which is best for you
  • because if you aren’t aware of it you need to know about the one silver bullet natural depression cure – “spiritual awakening”
  • because to be aware of the over-prescribed drug dealing pharmaceutical industry is a smart thing
  • because there’s a massive positive movement going on and you need to hear inspirational stories from  folks who chose the natural cure and succeeded
  • because the article comes with an expanded free E-book version that will be of immense benefit to you
  • because the article comes with a  free ONLINE COURSE that will get you started in naturally reclaiming a depression free life

If you want the maximum results out of this article then:

  • Download the Natural Depression  First Aide Kit  containing  the E-Book version below  (its free)
  • The E-Book gives you instant access any place or time & contains 8 powerful Journal Entry & Q/A Progress Report Bonus Sections
  • Plus you’ll receive a ton more resources and advice (video course, author’s memoir book & weekly tips) to help defeat your depression naturally

 Download it now…and let’s get started:

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1-   Identify Your Depression & Defeat the Dragon
Chapter 2-  Drug Dealers: The Antidepressant Epidemic
Chapter 3-  Vitamins & Snake Oil: Depression Supplements A to Z
Chapter 410% Happier- Practices & Therapy
Chapter 5The Human Happiness Scale & The Cure Pyramid
Chapter 6Spiritual Awakening: The Silver Bullet Natural Depression Cure
Chapter 7Heroes in Your Hometown: Natural Depression Cure Case Studies
Chapter 8– The Flawed Superhero Action Plan

CHAPTER 1– Identify Your Depression & Defeat the Dragon

Table of Contents

In order to defeat the dragon, you have to know the dragon.  The natural cure for depression starts with taking a clear look at depression and recognizing it for what it is and isn’t.

Identifying it  is the first step in defeating it:  Stand back, be objective and, if you can, find a position that is above or beyond it (however slightly) and try not to lose yourself in the negative or debilitating conditions of the depression.

I recognize the difficulty of this proposition. But not immediately brushing aside your capability to do so is integral to the challenge of the natural cure.

Green Dragon by Sandara / Devianart

There are ten types of depression (listed below), 1 through 9 are commonly recognized and diagnosed by the medical and psychiatric communities. Number 10 is recognized by spiritual and religious communities.

While reading about the types of depression and recognizing your particular type it is also important to take into account severity and time.

Depression severity is divided into three categories: (I’ve labeled each of the ten depression types accordingly.)

  • Mild or Shallow- @ 50% of all depression
  • Moderate- @ 35% of all depression
  • Severe or Deep- @ 15% of all depression

Depression time falls into four rough categories and varies widely per person and depression type:  (I have not labeled the ten depression types by time)

  • Single Instance- a single instance of depression
  • Relapsing/Remitting- intervals of depression (a month or two) followed by intervals of non-depression (months to years)
  • Chronic- depressed for a very long time (usually years)
  • Treatment Resistant- failed two adequate trials (right dosage over the right time) of antidepressants

Identify Yours- The 10 Types of Depression:

Below is the list of the ten types of depression.  Read through it, (and per the homework action item at the end of this chapter) take notes and see if you recognize your particular depression type.  Also note your particular severity and time.

1. Major Depression or Major Depressive Disorder – Moderate

Major Depression or Major Depressive Disorder is generally diagnosed when five of the following symptoms occur for two weeks or longer:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Sleep trouble
  • Physically or mentally restless, agitated or sluggish
  • Tired and low energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts
2. Persistent Depressive Disorder – Moderate

Persistent Depressive Disorder is diagnosed when the following symptoms occur for two years or longer:

  • Appetite change – Not eating or over eating
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Lack of energy & general fatigue
  • Low self-esteem
  • Concentration problems
  • Hopelessness
 3. Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression- Severe or Deep

Bipolar Disorder is diagnosed when the symptoms of Major Depression occur for two weeks or longer accompanied by opposite “high or positive” mood swings:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Sleep trouble
  • Physically or mentally restless, agitated or sluggish
  • Tired and low energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts

VS.

  • Elation
  • High energy
  • Manic enthusiasm
  • Deluded optimism
  • Up feelings & moods
  • Delusions of grandeur
  • Emotional highs
  • Restless unbounded energy
  • Unbridled and unbalanced energy
4. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)- Mild or Shallow

Seasonal Affective Disorder is diagnosed when the symptoms of Major Depression occur for two weeks or longer during the winter months.

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Sleep trouble
  • Physically or mentally restless, agitated or sluggish
  • Tired and low energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts
5. Psychotic Depression – Severe or Deep

“Psychotic” comes from psychosis which is defined as follows: a serious mental illness marked by loss of or greatly lessoned ability to test whether what one is thinking and feeling about the real world is really true. Psychotic Depression is diagnosed when the symptoms of Major Depression occur for two weeks or longer accompanied by psychotic symptoms:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Sleep trouble
  • Physically or mentally restless, agitated or sluggish
  • Tired and low energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts

Accompanied by:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Fantasies
  • Disturbing thoughts or voices
  • Disturbance by illusions, dreams or passing fancy
6. Post-Partum Depression – Mild or Shallow

Post-Partum Depression is diagnosed when the symptoms of Major Depression occur for two weeks or longer after child birth.

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Sleep trouble
  • Physically or mentally restless, agitated or sluggish
  • Tired and low energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts
7. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder – Mild or Shallow

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is diagnosed when the following symptoms occur:

  • Low level depression or mood
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Overwhelm
8. Situational Depression or Stress Response Syndrome – Mild or Shallow

Situational Depression is diagnosed when the following symptoms occur along side a particular life event:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Sadness
  • Frequent Crying
  • Anxiety
  • Worry
  • Headaches
  • Stomachaches

Accompanied by:

  • Death in the family
  • Divorce
  • Loss of job
  • Developing a serious illness
  • Being a victim of a crime
  • Having an accident
  • Retirement
  • Giving birth
  • Living through a natural disaster such as fire, flood or hurricane
9. Atypical Depression- Mild or Shallow

Atypical Depression is diagnosed when the following symptoms occur:

  • Sleeping too much
  • Increased appetite or weight gain
  • Increased sensitivity to rejection or criticism
  • Having a feeling of being paralyzed, weighed down or leaden
10. Existential Depression- Moderate

Existential Depression is not diagnosed by the medical or psychiatric communities.  This is a term I coined as an alternative descriptor of numerous states used regularly by religious and/or spiritual communities: sin, separation, unhappiness, dark night of the soul, zen sickness, soul rot, “something is missing,”  “life is not good enough” and suffering.

What distinguishes existential depression from other types of depression is that the one burdened by it does not necessarily feel randomly or mysteriously victimized by it.  There is a clear objective capacity to see the depression as a positive part of personal growth or evolution. In doing so, there is an odd welcoming or noticing of the state (however depressing, bad, or horrific it may be) which accepts it as part of the medicine of true healing, growth and self-development. (In most cases this point of view takes time to develop)  Existential depression is viewed then as part of the cure to be met, accepted and embraced; not a disease to be pushed away, drugged or cut.

The symptoms of existential depression mirror many of the symptoms of the nine other types of depression and are as follows:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Sleep trouble
  • Physically or mentally restless, agitated or sluggish
  • Tired and low energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Feeling of un-love
  • General unhappiness
  • Despair
  • Anxiety
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Deep fear
  • Chills and horror
  • Feelings of imminent death
  • Having a feeling of being paralyzed, weighed down or leaden
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Sadness
  • Frequent Crying
  • Anxiety
  • Worry
  • Headaches
  • Stomachaches

Everyone Experiences Existential Depression

I theorize that there are shades of existential depression in all of the depression types. 

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with major, persistent, bipolar, situational, or seasonal depression, somewhere in you, to some varying degree, is a strand of existential depression- “One ring to rule them all” as Tolkien would say.

Depression and the one ring

Over time I personally came to see my own existential depression as an evolutionary invitation and not a flaw.  I could have easily visited a doctor described my symptoms and received a prescription for Prozac.  But I did not.  I was fortunate enough early on to view my depression through the lens of evolution and spirituality.

Evolution speaks to us all.  We all have moments of feeling that something is missing from our lives.  We all have moments where we doubt the rat race of consumption, survival and reproduction.  We all have moments of peering up to the stars or heavens and wondering if there is more.  We yearn.  We ache.  We long.  And for some of us this longing runs deep.

I came to believe this:  What a shame it is, that collectively we have decided to drug and numb this invitation, rather than meeting it and engaging it.  In my opinion, everyone is existentially depressed….and blessed to be so.  Whether your depression is a curse or blessing … is for you to decide.

 Calvin & Hobbes Night Gif @ Giphy

Are You Having Dangerous Symptoms?:

If you are experiencing major depression with suicidal thoughts, are severely bipolar, or are suffering from psychotic depression you need to seek out nearby professional help from a doctor, counselor or therapist. And while this article about the natural cure for depression can be of great benefit to you, please do not rely on it alone to navigate through the complexities of your situation.  I am not anti-western medicine.  I am not anti-therapy.  And nor am I a doctor.  Major depression with suicidal thoughts, severe bipolar disorder and psychotic depression all demand the greatest care, multiple points of view and, most importantly, a real world hand and heart to help you navigate through it.  Be smart. Be wary.  Be wise.  Get help.

 

 Chapter 1 – Homework Action Item:

50 Natural cures for depression homework

  1. Most important item here: Make a commitment for at least 60 days, starting now, to cure your depression naturally. Start by purchasing a note book or journal that you can takes notes in, write down your progress and keep a mood diary or journal.  (The E-Book version of this article, available below, has these note book journal pages built into it.)
  2. Identify your depression by first writing down all of the symptoms you experience.  Use only your own descriptions, words and ideas to describe your depression.
  3. Identify your depression time.  How long has your depression been occurring?  Does it come and go?  How long between bouts of depression?
  4. Match what you have written as closely as you can with one or two of the depression types.
  5. Ask yourself if any part of your depression is existential.  Sit with the big questions of life. Are you fulfilled?  Are you happy?  Is there meaning in your life?  See if you can notice the parts of your depression that are existential depression.  What percentage can you identify?
  6.  Get the E-Book version of this article which has convenient notes & journaling pages and many more beneficial extras below:


 

CHAPTER 2 – Drug Dealers: The Antidepressant Epidemic

Table of Contents

To be clear, I’m no fan of antidepressants and I often find myself a breath away from a polemical diatribe concerning the ethics and morals of the pharmaceutical industry.  I’m also biased. I suffered from existential depression for much of my adult life.  I never sought antidepressants.  I cured myself (100%- going on 7 years now) the natural way.  So my views are skewed and not objective.

But – if you’re considering antidepressants, and you research them (You will research  them right?)  before swallowing a cocktail of unknown foreign chemical compounds, you’re probably going to discover that antidepressants are not all they’re cracked up to be.  A little basic google research reveals a gaggle of antidepressant red flags.  Where to begin?  I think this chart says it all:

This timeline depicts pharmacy and drug store sales in the United States from 1992 to 2014. In 2014, U.S. pharmacy and drug store sales amounted to about $251.73 billion U.S. Dollars. 

Chart depicting antidepressant drug sales from 2011 to 2012.  The total is roughly $9 billion U.S. Dollars.  This was five years ago.

Aside from all the other damning statistics, evidence, research and analysis available about antidepressants I think these two charts say it all. Why is there a antidepressant epidemic?: Money.  Over-prescription. Doctors lining their pockets with big prescription percentages from the pharmaceutical industry. Corporate bottom lines meeting the demands of stock holders. CVS and Walgreens cashing in on little white pills.

depression drugs for money

Make no mistake however, everyone is implicit in this fiscal skullduggery- because it takes two to dance this dance.  American patients / consumers want instant gratification; a quick fix; a no-brainer, no-effort way of changing. Thus- viola’- pop a pill.  The only problem with this method is that by and large, it doesn’t work.  Take a look at these failures and side effects:

Pay Attention to These Antidepressant Research Red Flags:

Failure Rates:

Antidepressants only work about 15% of the time.  This is due to the fact that antidepressants are much less effective for patients with mild or moderate depression and 85% of all diagnosed depression is mild or moderate.  Even for the 15% of patients that antidepressants do work for the patients have to stay on them (usually shuffling through a myriad number of types and amounts) for continued effectiveness.

Relapse:
  • 30% of all patients on antidepressants relapse within the first year.
  • 50% of all adolescents who recover from first time depression with antidepressants relapse within five years.
  • After a 2nd or 3rd recovery the risk of relapse rises to 85%.
Placebo Effect:

Antidepressants are supposed to work by fixing a chemical imbalance, specifically, a lack of serotonin in the brain.  But analyses of the published data and the unpublished data reveals that most (if not all) of the benefits are due to the placebo effect. Some antidepressants increase serotonin levels, some decrease it, and some have no effect at all on serotonin. Nevertheless, they all show the same therapeutic benefit.  source

Tachyphylaxis or Prozac Poop-Out:

When depression symptoms improve after starting an antidepressant, many people need to continue taking medication long term to prevent symptoms from returning.  However, in some people, a particular antidepressant may simply stop working over time. Doctors don’t fully understand what causes the so-called “poop-out” effect or antidepressant tolerance — known as tachyphylaxis — or why it occurs in some people and not in others.  source

Suicide Risk:

In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a black-box warning on antidepressants, indicating that they were associated with an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in young people.   source

The Center for Disease Control reports that from 1999 to 2014 the suicide rate increased 24%, from 10.5 to 13.0 per 100,000 of the population. Despite the significant increases, the federal agency provides no insight into the possible cause of the rise in suicides, and although the data is publicly available, the CDC simply refuses to acknowledge the increased use of prescription psychiatric drugs coinciding with the rise in suicides.   source

Mania and Bipolar Symptoms:

Antidepressants called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been linked to a slightly increased risk of mania or bipolar disorder.  source

Bone Fractures

Research suggests taking an SSRI may double your risk of bone fractures.  source

Heart Disease and Stroke:

Research linked antidepressant use to thicker arteries, which could contribute to your risk of heart disease and stroke.   source

 

The antidepressant red flag list goes on and on.  It doesn’t take much research to gain a healthy amount of skepticism or at least reluctance before choosing to go this route to combat depression. But sadly, as this next list of statistics indicates, not too many people seem to be doing this research.  We cave and bow easily to the great throne of western pharmaceutical medicine and its promised pill popping solution to our heart and souls’ deepest troubles.

Depressing Antidepressant Statistics:

General Numbers:

41 million Americans (1 in 8) take at least one antidepressant.  That’s about 12.5% of the total U.S. Population.  source

41 Million Americans: Age Breakdown:

0-1 Years                   26,406

2-3 Years                   46,102

4-5 Years                   45,822

6-12 Years                 686,950

13-17 Years               1,444,422

18-24 Years               2,860,537

25-44 Years               12,400,129

45-64 Years               16,185,388

65 Year +                    8,566,579

Grand Total                 41,226,394    source

2nd Among all Prescription Medications

Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed class of medication other than antibiotics, taken by more than 1 in 10 Americans (and 1 in 4 among women aged 50 to 64). source

Children:

8 million American children between the ages of 0-17 were prescribed at least one psychiatric drug. The breakdown of child drugging (0-17 years)

ADHD Drugs               4,404,360
Antidepressants          2,165,279
Anti-anxiety                 2,132,625
Antipsychotics             830,836      source

Astonishing Rising Use:

According to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), from 1999 to 2012, the percentage of Americans on antidepressants had nearly doubled, increasing from 6.8% to 13%.

Globally:

350,000,000 people globally are affected by some form of depression. (5% of the population)

More Depression Statistics:
  • About 12% of men and 20% of women will suffer from major depression in their lifetimes
  • Each episode of depression increases the chances that the person will experience another episode by 16%.
  • 11% of adolescents will have a depressive disorder by the age of 18.
  • 70% of women are more likely than men to experience depression in their lifetime.
  • 30% of college students report feeling depressed, disrupting their ability to function in school.
  • $80,000,000,000- The estimated annual cost of depression in the U.S. due to lost productivity and health care.
  • 50% of Americans with major depression don’t seek treatment.

source

Depression pills

Types of Antidepressants:

Here’s a list of the three most common classes of antidepressants, along with brand names:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs are common drugs for depression. In fact, they are the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants. An imbalance of serotonin may play a role in depression. These drugs fight depression symptoms by decreasing serotonin reuptake in the brain. This effect leaves more serotonin available to work in your brain.

SSRIs include:
  • sertraline (Zoloft)
  • fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem)
  • citalopram (Celexa)
  • escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva, Brisdelle)
  • fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • trazodone (Oleptro)
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

SNRIs help improve serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain. This may reduce depression symptoms.

These drugs include:
  • desvenlafaxine (Pristiq, Khedezla)
  • duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • levomilnacipran (Fetzima)
  • venlafaxine (Effexor XR)
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)

TCAs are often prescribed when SSRIs or other antidepressants don’t work. It isn’t fully understood how these drugs work to treat depression.

TCAs include:

  • amitriptyline
  • amoxapine
  • clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • desipramine (Norpramin)
  • doxepin
  • imipramine (Tofranil)
  • nortriptyline (Pamelor)
  • protriptyline
  • trimipramine (Surmontil)

Getting off Antidepressants

I’m not a doctor, but I know enough about antidepressants from friends, relatives, students and research to know that abruptly stopping any course of antidepressants is not a good idea, especially if you’ve been taking them for a long time.  If you desire to discontinue taking antidepressants consult your doctor first …  and or get a new doctor that is open to alternative natural cures for depression and who can assist you with getting off them.  Don’t do this on your own.  Be smart. Be wary.  Be wise.  Get help.

Chapter 2 – Homework Action Item:
50 Natural cures for depression homework
1. Do your own research and google the following terms:
  • Antidepressant Epidemic
  • Antidepressant Failure Rate
  • Antidepressant Relapse Rate
  • Antidepressant Suicide Risk
  • Antidepressant Tachyphylaxis
  • Antidepressant Prozac Poop-Out
  • Antidepressant Placebo Effect
2. If you’re currently using antidepressants google your brand as follows:
  • (Your Brand) Failure Rate
  • (Your Brand) Relapse Rate
  • (Your Brand) Suicide Risk
  • (Your Brand) Tachyphylaxis
  • (Your Brand) Placebo Effect
3. I recommend reading the following books (all available on Amazon) :
  1. The Emperor’s New Drugs- Exploding the Antidepressant Myth by Irving Kirsch, Ph. D.
  2. Anatomy of an Epidemic- Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker
  3. The Depths- The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic by Jonathan Rottenberg
4.Get the E-Book version of this article, a free video course, weekly depression tips and much more by signing up below:



CHAPTER 3 – Vitamins & Snake Oil: Depression Supplements & Lifestyles A to Z

Table of Contents

Unlike antidepressants most vitamins, supplements and (included in this section) healthy lifestyle choices don’t have negative side effects, addictive properties or dangerous intimations of suicide.  At most you’ll blow a wallets worth of bills for a thirty day course of snake oil and feel absolutely nothing.

On the opposite end of this supplement scale is the possibility of receiving some short or long term benefits that control or mitigate your depression symptoms.  Will they cure you ? I’m not going to say that.  I will say that  the right combination of these things- for instance St. John’s Wort, Light Therapy (Vitamin D) and Exercise- will indeed make you feel much better. And feeling much better is a great platform to embark from in route to a complete natural cure, which will turn your life around and give you what you truly long for- a depression free happy life.

It’s a supplemental jungle out there. You can become depressed just sifting through all the possibilities and confusion.  I’ve tried to make this easier for you by creating a layman’s path through this jungle: I’ve taken 19 of these remedies and created a non-scientific efficacy rating chart based on five things:

  1. The number of books written about them
  2. The number of google/news articles written about them
  3. The number of google/all results about them
  4. The number of google/all depression efficacy search results indicating research done on them
  5. My personal bias, research and usage

Quick Chart

Let’s now describe each of the natural remedies that appear on this chart.  In this list you’ll find

  • Rating
  • Where from
  • How much to take
  • Purported benefits
  • General opinion

Vitamins & Supplements Efficacy Ratings:

natural depression pills

EPA Omega-3    

With one million four hundred thousand search results from “Omega 3 Depression” I think it’s safe to say that relative to happiness, mood and depression  something’s up with fish oil fatty acids.  Omega-3 is the number one selling natural supplement.  You can get it in pill form, from fish, walnuts, flaxseed, canola oil or soybean oil.

Let’s begin with this:  Eating cold-water fatty fish three to four times a week is better than any amount of Omega-3 supplements.  So if you’re already predisposed to eating fish, great- eat more.  Here’s a few to select from: Anchovies, Bluefish Herring, Mackerel, Salmon, Sardines, Sturgeon, Lake Trout and Tuna.  Of course, all the warnings say that most fish these days has trace elements of mercury and god knows what else from our poor polluted oceans.  So, if you can afford it purchase farm raised, organic, free range fish. (slightly joking here folks- read the labels and do the best you can)  Wild trout and salmon are the least polluted.

If you choose to take Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplements you need to take EPA, not DHA.  EPA is the form that effects mood.  Omega-3 is sold in a variety of forms by a huge amount of manufactures.  Research indicates that you should take  1000 mg of ‘unopposed EPA’ per day. The mg of EPA minus the mg of DHA is the unopposed EPA in your fish oil pill.  OmegaVia EPA 500 is an EPA-only formula designed just for this purpose. Two pills get you 1000 mg of unopposed EPA.

In areas where consumption of foods with omega-3 is high, (i.e., Japan) people tend to have lower rates of depression.

St. John’s Wort

I took St. John’s Wort during the early days of my depression (in the 1990’s when it was a big fad) and it did nothing for me.  Maybe I didn’t take the right dosage or kind,  over the right amount of time to gain any positive effects.  Despite my personal experience, research proves over and over that this small yellow flowered herbaceous plant can be effective in combating cases of mild to moderate depression.

St. John’s Wort contains hypercin.  Hypercin affects various neurotransmitters in a similar manner to serotonin reuptake inhibitors (such as Prozac, which raise serotonin levels in the brain.)  You can purchase St. John’s wort in capsule form. The normal dosage for an adult is 300 milligrams 3 times daily.

Be aware of mixing this drug with other medications.  St. John’s wort can diminish the effectiveness of other medications, including birth control pills, HIV drugs, blood thinners, and some anticancer treatments.  If you are on other medications I would consult a doctor first before taking St. John’s Wort.

Saffron

Many online natural treatment for depression  lists include saffron.  I don’t know why.  There is very little research or written material to indicate that saffron will do anything more than spice your food.  This is not to say that I totally discount it.  But life is short and given the serious nature and duration of most depression cases, experimenting with spices just isn’t smart. Saffron is snake oil, relative to curing your depression.

If you already have it in your kitchen cabinet- great.  But don’t waste your time or money buying it in bulk from your local organic grocer and then expect it to cure anything other than a bland menu.

S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine or SAM-e

S-adenosyl-L-Methionine, or SAMe, is a supplement thought to be involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain.  I’ll get right to the punchline with this stuff:  Don’t waste your time hanging your depression cure hopes on SAM-e.  It shows up on all sorts of natural cure lists but what isn’t mentioned is that it’s ultra expensive and has had very little clinical research.

SAM-e is made by our bodies, but to produce it, you need B-vitamins and methionine. Methionine is an amino acid found in meat.  Apparantly there are just a few manufactures of this stuff and most of them get their raw material from an Italian supplier.  All this wierdness adds up to snake oil in my book.  Again, time relative to depression is precious- don’t waste it here.

My research also indicates that if you are taking it- no harm, no foul.  It won’t hurt you.  If you must, the recommended dosage is 400 to 800 mg taken twice a day.  And be sure to take it with a multi-vitamin for better absorption.

Green Tea

I’m a coffee addict and it pained me greatly the day I realized that I needed to part ways with caffeine in order to reduce the amount of daily migraines I was having.   After the caffeine divorce my rebound drink was and continues to be green tea.  The headaches all went away.

What does any of this have to do with depression?  For me, nothing at all, as this occurred long after I permanently healed my own depression.  My research does indicate however that green tea contains L-theanine. L-theanine works with caffeine to boost mood, reduce stress and increase dopamine.  Of course green tea also contains anti-oxidants which are also beneficial in many ways.

Will green tea help your depression? No, I think the evidence here is indirect, circumstantial and anecdotal.  It can’t hurt however and because it provides so many other benefits I’d recommend drinking it while on the road to the full natural cure for depression.

If you’re depressed, I would also kick the coffee habit.  Coffee is a happy drug for thirty minutes and then you crash. Being exhausted, wired and over-caffeinated doesn’t do anything good for the chemicals that regulate mood, and can affect serotonin synthesis in the brain.

Chamomile Tea

There are quite a few articles purporting that chamomile helps with depression.  Well, sort of.  There’s a flavonoid in chamomile that helps you sleep.  Getting enough high quality sleep will help to reduce your depression.  Don’t confuse matters here however.  Chamomile tea will not cure your depression and sleep will merely aid in your fight against depression.  A lot of people who are depressed do a lot of sleeping.  So in the end, there has to be more to curing your depression than a good night’s rest or an herb that helps you to do so.  Simple logic here.

Vitamin B

There are lots of studies that link B-vitamin deficiencies to mood imbalance and depression. Folate, B6 and B12 help create the happy chemicals dopamine, epinephrine and serotonin.  You’ll find B12 naturally occurring in clams, oysters, liver, mackerel, swiss cheese, egg yolks, spinach, bell peppers and turkey.

If you’re a vegetarian or simply don’t get enough of these foods there are a variety of supplements to choose from. My research indicates that most multivitamins and drug-store variety B-complex contain small amounts of the cheap form of B12 called cyanocobalamin.  Look for the better methylcobalamin form of B12 instead.  Jigsaw Health sells it here.

Will Vitamin B cure your depression?  If you have major, bipolar, psychotic or existential depression- probably not.  If however, you suffer from  mild or moderate depression, getting the right amount and type of B12 can’t hurt and I’d recommend it.

Magnesium

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body that is supplemented through diet. It regulates over three hundred biomechanical functions. Magnesium produces energy, synthesizes DNA /RNA, regulates the heartbeat, and balances the chemicals in the brain.  It does its’  best work however between brain synapses, where it keeps a damper on overexcited neurons, reducing tension and anxiety.  Without it you’ll tend to be stressed, anxious and yes… depressed.

Oddly enough however, our body doesn’t produce it and our foods only have it in trace amounts, so a supplement is required.  Leafy green veggies and nuts are adequate sources of magnesium, but taking a magnesium “chill pill” is recommended.

Don’t purchase the bad stuff: Most drug-store magnesium pills are made of magnesium oxide. Magnesium oxide is not easily absorbed and is like swallowing a rock. Magnesium malate and bisglycinate are two well-absorbed forms of magnesium.

Will magnesium cure your depression?  If you have major, bipolar, psychotic or existential depression- probably not.  If you suffer from  mild or moderate depression, getting the right amount and type of magnesium is recommended.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds is another supplement that shows up on the occasional Natural  Depression Treatment lists.  Indeed pumpkin seeds contain healthy fats (Omega-3)  and magnesium. They also contain L-tryptophan, an amino acid that is involved in the production of serotonin.  They certainly will do you no harm.  But as a direct remedy or cure for depression I think there are better routes you can go and better food groups to add to your diet.

Once a year I like to eat the pumpkin seeds harvested from our Halloween pumpkins.  But eating a cup of these bland, chewy, stringy things every day, as some of the authors I researched indicated, sounds a little too creepy and spooky for my tastes.  I’ll pass and so should you if you’re depressed.

Probiotics

Psycho-biotic (head and stomach) research confirms an important head-gut connection and its relevance to anxiety and depression.  The bacteria in your tummy talk to your brain through the vagus nerve.  These bacteria also affect the metabolism of mood-regulating minerals like zinc and magnesium. Neurotransmitters are made in your tummy.  A lot goes on in your stomach which impacts your mood balance.  If there is an imbalance, you’re going to know it, and ultimately it can cause stress, anxiety and depression.  So yes, taking probiotics is a good idea.

Will probiotics cure your depression?  Same thing here: If you have major, bipolar, psychotic or existential depression- probably not.  If you suffer from mild or moderate depression, getting the right head-stomach balance is recommended.  Probiotics can do this.

Zinc

My research indicates that a zinc deficiency will indeed make you feel depressed. And zinc levels are often used to gauge how depressed you may be.  I’m a little skeptical of the gauging part however.  I’m not sure how accurately one can really gauge depression measured against trace elements of a certain compound in the body.  Depression stretches beyond the body, through the emotions, into the mind and, in my opinion, into your heart and soul.  So merely taking zinc supplements probably won’t cure most depression.  But certainly, if you are deficient, adding zinc can help to normalize a healthy body.

Your body has no way of storing zinc.  You have to eat zinc-rich foods (grass fed beef, yogurt, lamb, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, cashews, cocoa powder, chicken) or take a supplement regularly. If you choose the supplement option, do it a couple of times a week, not every day. Choose a gluconate or an amino acid chelate form.

Vitamin D- Pill Form

I’ve given the pill form of vitamin D snake oil status because there’s a much better way to get all the vitamin D you’d ever need for free:  Go outside and get 10-15 minutes of  bodily exposure  to the sun. (The more skin exposure the better) Don’t use sunscreen, it blocks D3 production. And don’t use sunglasses- the bright light will help reset your circadian rhythms and increase your positive mood.  Free happiness courtesy of the sun.

If it’s the winter time or you live in a low sunlight environment (Siberia, Northern Canada or an underground bunker) then taking supplements is fine.  For most people, ideal dosage is somewhere between 1000 IU and 5000 IU per day depending on where you live and how much sun you get.  (Talk to a doctor about getting the amount that’s right for you)

I found research indicating that combining Prozac (if you must) with Vitamin D is much better at treating depression than Prozac alone.  So yes, a little sunshine (or sunshine pill ) can go a long way.

 

Healthy Lifestyles:

healthy diet plus exercise helps depression

Exercise

During the two adult decades that I was depressed- I exercised- not always regularly or via the same methods, but I did exercise: gym workouts, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, racquetball, tennis, in-line skating and kayaking.  It helped.  No doctor told me to do this. No therapist told me to do this.  I just intuitively knew that exercise was a good thing for both my mental and physical health.

Now, was this the thing that I would ascribe my eventual freedom from depression to? No – But exercise gave me a temporary relief. It gave me a certain peace of mind, knowing that my depression was (as best as I could tell) not due to poor exercise or bad eating habits.  (We’ll talk about diet here soon)  Exercise got my heart pumping, my blood moving , my pores sweating and my muscles aching.

During my depression I was also experiencing heavy anxiety attacks (a few a year).  My ability to withstand these frightening heart pounding anxious moments was aided and tempered by my exercise activity.  I knew I wasn’t going to have a heart attack- I was in good physical shape.  So am I a believer that exercise can help with your depression?  An emphatic yes.

Seventy four million seven hundred thousand google search results for the term “exercise depression” don’t lie.  There’s a ton of data, proof, evidence, research and testing that proves the correlation between exercise and depression.  Having a healthy fit body contributes to having a healthy happy mood.  Period.

If you’re resisting exercise due to being overweight or out of shape don’t sweat it– even a fifteen minute walk through the neighborhood does wonders. A small start is better than no start.   If you’re resisting exercise due to the double bind of being too depressed to exercise, you’re going to have to force yourself out of the bind: Buy a puppy- dogs always need to go outside and exercise and you’ll have to join in.  Buy a year-long gym membership- You’ll be wasting your money if you don’t go.  Tell a friend or relative that you plan on exercising X number of times per week and ask them to provide accountability.  Do what it takes.

Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, and endorphins are what make us feel good and happy.  Before you pop one more new pill, do yourself a favor- exercise however you can.  You won’t regret it.

Vitamin D- Via Light Therapy

Many natural remedies for depression blogs advocate some form of light therapy.  I’ve already written about the importance of vitamin-D in the previous section: Sure, you can take a pill, but obtaining actual real sunlight is better.  Tons of research and written evidence supports the case for light therapy and depression. Okay great, but what if you live in a gloomy, wintery place and you don’t wish to take pills?  Here’s what you do:

Google or amazon search “light therapy lamp” and you’ll get a million results and ways to get a hold of what essentially amounts to a happy lightbulb.  By mimicking the sun’s bright outdoor light these units can give you the right dosage and time of sunlight.

If you’re suffering from the seasonal affective disorder (SAD) type of depression, this is a no brainer.  Buy a light therapy lamp and get in a routine with it. Therapy generally starts with daily sessions of about 15 minutes and can increase up to two hours daily.

Light therapy may work to elevate mood by activating the brains “circadian pacemaker” which regulates sleep cycles. Depression is closely linked to sleep troubles, so there’s a correlation here. I don’t think light therapy will cure your depression, but it will ease the symptoms, and probably within a few days.

light therapy for depression

Mood Journal

Keeping a mood diary or journaling about your depression is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it worked wonders for me.  I have a two foot stack of notebooks that I used as journals during my own years of depression.  I still refer back to them (in relief) to remember just how bad things were.  Without a doubt journaling was one of the methods that helped me to overcome depression naturally.

Journaling is cathartic, increases awareness, improves mindfulness and encourages one’s overall sensitivity to blossom and strengthen.  The benefits of journaling are endless. I teach it. Journaling is step seven in the Blue Collar Enlightenment course that I offer as part of the spiritual awakening solution to overcoming depression.

How to journal?  First thing is to go out and get a dedicated notebook.  The second thing to do is to get a ball point pen that rolls, moves and glides easily – This allows for a more stream of consciousness type of journaling, which is important.  Next thing to do is write-  no holds bar, no rules, no grammar, no punctuation, no polite demure prose. Let it rip.  If depression has been robbing you of joy for years now and you’re fucking angry about it- then express that anger in your journal.

Acupuncture

I’m not a fan of acupuncture.  My chiropractor convinced me a few times to utilize some basic acupuncture as a means of relieving some pain in my back.  I acquiesced and regretted it both times.  I can’t stand the claustrophobic feeling of not being able to move because there are needles protruding from my body.  It gives me the shivers just thinking about it now.  But this is just me.  I know people, of course, who swear by it.  But I’m not one of those people.

I did some research regarding acupuncture’s ability to cure depression and was not impressed by these results either.  I’m giving it a snake oil rating for two reasons: 1. Generally speaking it’s pricey to purchase ongoing acupuncture treatments and 2. I believe one can spend an inordinate amount of time practicing this technique for a relatively low return.  If you have mild or moderate depression it can’t hurt.  But if you have major, bipolar, psychotic or existential depression- forget it.

I wouldn’t stop someone from getting this type of treatment.  Maybe you’ll enjoy it and derive the benefits that I never did.  But I think in terms of applying a reasonable approach to a natural cure for depression, acupuncture is not your best bet.

Diet

Google search “diet and depression” and fifty one million, one hundred thousand results appear.  So yes, diet plays a part in your mental health.  Most of the vitamins and supplements mentioned in the earlier sections above are nutrients that your body needs.  So it goes without saying that diet is vital to living a depression free life.  Most of the items mentioned in the above section have a pill form and a corresponding natural food form.  Stick to a diet that conforms to the food form list and you’ll go a long way in reducing the symptoms of your depression, and if wisely combined with other remedies, curing it.

Personally I’ve always had a pretty decent diet.  I always knew to stay away from the center aisles of the grocery store- all the healthy, fresh, natural foods are kept to the outer edges.  I always knew not to drink too much alcohol; not to eat too much sugar; and of course not to make a habit out of eating fast food.  Everything in moderation.

Diet didn’t cure my depression, but having a good diet gave me the strength, stamina and constitution to explore other more radical and profound methods of defeating depression.  Today I’m depression free, but I notice I get low energy or “moody” if I eat crappy foods for any length of time.

Don’t be, what one teacher of mine called, “lunch righteous.”  We’ve all experienced this and it’s no fun- a friend or relative neurotically preaches the benefits of his or her oddball diet, whether it be vegetarian, gluten-free or macrobiotic.  Let your diet be your diet.  We’re all different and all have different food tolerances.  If you’re existentially depressed I guarantee you no amount of vegetable matter is going to make you happier, and preaching to your friends about your new psycho-spiritual diet won’t make you (or them) any happier either.

Social Connection

For those who are depressed a common symptom is to withdraw from social engagement.  There is a fine line here.  I would even call it, to quote Somerset Vaughn “a razor’s edge.”

While pursuing a natural cure for depression you need time, solitude and quiet in order to listen to your body, emotions, heart and soul – yet, too much of this, and you become an isolated, withdrawn and closed-off narcissist. Not good.

Withdrawing is a natural response to any illness.  The body does this naturally.  It’s an adaptive response to the stress of illness in the body.  But excessively repeat this while depressed and you’ll simply spiral into more depression.

You are biologically predisposed, ala breathing, eating, defecating and mating –  to socializing.  This does not mean you need to be the life of the party or have your social calendar booked five days a week.  But it does mean, especially if depressed, that you need to get out in the world and engage socially on a semi-regular basis.  Even better, attend a social engagement such as a support group, meditation class or yoga class where you can talk openly and freely about your depression.  This will do you a world of good.

Your cell phone, twitter and face book accounts are probably not helping.  If you spend all day in front of a computer and all weekend glued to your smart phone, you need to change this bad social habit.  You need real people.

Will social engagement cure your depression?  No.  It didn’t cure mine.  But through wisely selected specific social engagement you can ascertain and navigate a path out of your depression.  Use it as a tool, a ladder and a guide and social engagement will have endless benefits

social connection is good fro depression

Sleep

Sleep relative to depression is a subject that demands its’ own entire mega-blog post.  The veracity of this statement can be confirmed by the seventy million, five hundred thousand search results for the term “sleep and depression”

Bad sleep and depression go hand in hand.  It’s often a case of the chicken or the egg- which comes first?  You’re depressed because you aren’t getting enough sleep. You aren’t getting enough sleep because you’re depressed.  It can quickly turn into a pharmaceutical nightmare where sleeping pills and antidepressants are both prescribed.

I’ve said my peace about pharmaceuticals in the previous section, so it goes without saying that I am no fan of man-made sleeping pills either.  It’s a slope that once you go down prevents you from sleeping without the sleeping pills.  Pharmaceutical sleeping pills are a bad idea, unless you are in dire straits.

Here’s what naturally occurs in your brain and body when you go to sleep:  Tryptophan, and essential amino acid, that you need to get from an outside source, starts the process.  Tryptophan is converted to 5-HTP, which is then converted into serotonin. The serotonin converts to melatonin, which tells your body that you’re sleepy and also tells your body when to wake up.  Melatonin is released in higher amounts the darker it is, while the amount lessens with more light. So it starts with tryptophan, goes to serotonin and then finally to melatonin. You need all three for good sleeping and waking

Sleeping is the last item on this list for a good reason.  Many of the previously mentioned vitamins, supplements and lifestyle choices promote better sleep: exercise, diet, vitamin-D, zinc, probiotics, magnesium, vitamin-B, chamomile, and omega-3- if taken, all will promote better sleep.  Without writing another entire book (or mega-blog post like this one) here are a few more natural ingredients which promote the sleep process:

  • Tart Cherry Juice
  • Valerian
  • Melatonin
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender Sleep Bag
  • Cereal or bread

Here are a few good sleeping habits that promote better sleep:

  • Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule
  • Get into bright light soon after waking in the morning
  • Get some form of exercise every day
  • Avoid afternoon naps if you have nighttime insomnia
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol

Will a consistent full night’s sleep cure your depression?  If it’s major, bipolar, psychotic or existential, probably not.  If it’s mild or moderate, a good night’s sleep will certainly help

 

Chapter 3- Homework Action Item:

50 Natural cures for depression homework

  1. Pick one (1) item from the vitamin and supplement section and give it a try for at least 60 days.
  2. Pick one (1) item from the healthy lifestyle section and give it a try for at least 60 days.
  3. Keep a journal regarding your 60 day results. . Don’t despair if you don’t see any results in this time, simply move onto another item.  We’re all different. Keep trying.  You’ll find something that works for you.
  4. Lastly keep a journal regarding your depression. (I highly recommend it)  I can teach you how to do it effectively in a few videos that are in the first aide kit. Sign up below.


CHAPTER 410% Happier: Practices & Therapy

Table of Contents

There’s a New York Times #1 selling book by ABC news correspondent and Good Morning America co-anchor Dan Harris, called 10% Happier- How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works- A True Story.

It’s a great book and its’ title really hits the nail on the head.  Dan suffered from stress, anxiety, depression and substance abuse during his life and career, which eventually led to a live televised on air anxiety attack.  He then went through hell and high water searching for a natural cure to his problems.  Dan eventually discovered meditation and mindfulness practices.  When asked by friends and family what he was up to, he described the program and told them that it made him ten percent happier.

dan harris 10 percent happier

Dan Harris / News anchor and author of “10% Happier…”

Ten percent happier is a great benchmark to achieve.  I’m sure a lot of depression sufferers out there would gladly take ten percent away from their depression symptoms.  In this chapter I’d like to cover a host of natural practices, which in my opinion, will indeed make you ten (if not more) percent happier.  Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy
  • Therapy or Psychotherapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Yoga

My own experience with these techniques (mindfulness, meditation and yoga) resulted in a ten percent happier outcome.  Let’s see if any of the ten percent happier techniques listed here appeal to you. I’m not rating these practices but I have included a small pros and cons section after each.  Let’s investigate:

Therapies

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

As the title suggests Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) combines mindfulness practices such as meditation, relaxation, breathing, awareness, movement, emotional intelligence and resiliency strengthening with cognitive behavioral therapy.  Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the belief that negative thought patterns and distortions and maladaptive behaviors play a role in the development and maintenance of psychological disorders (such as depression).

There are three things one usually does while undergoing this therapy:

  1. Attend an eight week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (or similar) course
  2. Attend weekly one on one therapy sessions with a therapist
  3. Complete nightly “homework” assignments such as meditation practices, body scans or relaxation techniques.

Does it work?  

MBCT is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as an effective treatment for people who suffer from recurrent episodes of depression. Evidence shows that MBCT can, on average, reduce the risk of relapse of recurrent depression by 43% (Mark et al, 2014).   source

MBCT helps participants learn how to recognize their sense of being and see themselves as separate from their thoughts and moods. This disconnect can allow people to become liberated from thought patterns in which the same negative messages may be replayed over and over. After developing an awareness of the separation between thoughts, emotions, and the self, people in treatment may find that while the self and the emotions may exist simultaneously, they do not have to exist within the same dimension. This insight can contribute to healing by helping individuals learn to interject positive thoughts into negative moods in order to disarm those negative moods.  source

My experience:

I don’t have first-hand experience with the practice of MBCT. I do however have first-hand experience with practicing and teaching mindfulness and with taking several Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction courses.  I also provide what essentially amounts to therapy (through Nonduality, Zen and Advaita Vedanta practices) to individuals seeking natural cures to depression and unhappiness So I’m giving MBCT two very big thumbs up.  Mindfulness meditation and therapy will no doubt help you with your depression- and may offer a net happiness result higher than ten percent, especially if combined with proper vitamins, diet, exercise, sleep, etc.

Pros

  • Very effective practice for getting to the root causes of recurring depression.
  • Offers a healing personal growth approach as opposed to a fix the deficiency approach
  • Group assistance and “therapy” in the MBSR 8 week course Individual assistance and therapy by a counselor
  • Homework assignments used to strengthen all practices and make one self-reliant

Cons

  • A rare course/practice to find
  • Price
  • Commitment
General Therapy or Psychotherapy

I have no personal experience, relative to my own years of depression, with individual or group psychotherapy, conducted by a licensed mental health professional.  That being said, many of the spiritual teachers I did work with, in their own unique way provided therapy…both in group and individual formats.  In these sessions I experienced a wide range of emotional and mental responses and gestalts: excitement, hope, respect, love, care, anger, tears, laughter, boredom, disgust and astonishment to name a few.  These sessions, without a doubt, aided my battle with depression. So two very big thumbs up and yes indeed, therapy works … but

There are literally over a thousand different types of therapy techniques.  So weeding your way through them could be a gigantic, daunting and depressing endeavor.  What to do here?  There’s no way I can present to you an objective opinion about which therapy to choose, how much to have or whom to trust.  We can only make some presumptions and then proceed from there:  So here’s what we’ll presume:

Criteria List for Seeking Therapy:

  • You’re looking for a natural cure to your depression
  • You don’t want another antidepressant prescription
  • You don’t want to spend the next years or the rest of your life going to therapy sessions
  • You don’t want to address your depression based on a “deficiency model”- i.e. there’s something fundamentally wrong with you that needs to be drugged or cut.
  • You don’t want to get on a therapy treadmill where you bring up and rehash old emotional scars or wounds over and over again with no end in sight.
  • You don’t want to receive therapy by someone who isn’t happy, normally adjusted or mentally healthy themselves.
  • You don’t have thousands of dollars at your disposal or insurance that covers endless therapy.

Okay, that ought to eliminate a good 85% of the list and if you’re in alignment with these presumptions, print this section out: You can use them as criteria to find a therapist that’s right for you.  Here’s a list of the general types of therapy available:

group therapy for depression
Person-Centered Therapy

Also known as client-centered, focuses on the therapist showing openness, empathy and “unconditional positive regard”, to help clients express and develop their own self

Gestalt Therapy

Originally called “concentration therapy”, is an existential/experiential form that facilitates awareness in the various contexts of life, by moving from talking about relatively remote situations to action and direct current experience.

Classic Freudian Insight Therapy

Psychoanalysis is the oldest and most intensive form and encourages the verbalization of all the patient’s thoughts, including free associations, fantasies, and dreams, from which the analyst formulates the nature of the past and present unconscious conflicts which are causing the patient’s symptoms and character problems.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Uses behavioral techniques, including applied behavior analysis to change maladaptive patterns of behavior to improve emotional responses, cognitions, and interactions with others.

Systemic Therapy

Seeks to address people not just individually, as is often the focus of other forms of therapy, but in relationship, dealing with the interactions of groups, their patterns and dynamics (includes family therapy and marriage counseling).

Expressive Therapy

Any form of therapy that utilizes artistic expression as its core means of treating clients. Expressive therapists use the different disciplines of the creative arts as therapeutic interventions. This includes the modalities dance therapy, drama therapy, art therapy, music therapy, writing therapy, among others.

Postmodernist

Also known as post-structuralist or constructivist. Narrative therapy gives attention to each person’s “dominant story” by means of therapeutic conversations, which also may involve exploring unhelpful ideas and how they came to prominence.

Transpersonal Psychology

Addresses the client in the context of a spiritual understanding of consciousness.

Hypnotherapy

Is undertaken while a subject is in a state of hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is often applied in order to modify a subject’s behavior, emotional content, and attitudes, as well as a wide range of conditions including: dysfunctional habits, anxiety, stress-related illness, pain management, and personal development.

Body Psychotherapy

Part of the field of somatic psychology, focuses on the link between the mind and the body and tries to access deeper levels of the psyche through greater awareness of the physical body and emotions.

Integrative Psychotherapy

Is an attempt to combine ideas and strategies from more than one theoretical approach.[89] These approaches include mixing core beliefs and combining proven techniques.

My experience:

As I stated above I received unorthodox spirituality based therapy for my depression/unhappiness and over time it worked wonders.  My criteria for a therapist was very much in alignment with the criteria list above.  If you’re suffering from depression and you wish for a natural cure I don’t think it matters what type of therapy you receive as long as it’s in alignment with what you want and expect.  Trust your instincts.  Do your homework.  Ask the right questions. Get references.  Do all of this and therapy can be a big part of naturally curing your depression.

Pros

  • Having an objective opinion about your depression is invaluable
  • Available everywhere
  • Easily accomplished
  • Available in person or online
  • Proven effectiveness

Cons

  • Can be expensive
  • The treadmill trap (it never ends)
  • Not being in alignment with your therapist
  • Overwhelming number of therapy choices and techniques

Personal Practices

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is easy to learn, ubiquitously taught, relatively inexpensive (if taking a course) and very effective in alleviating depression symptoms.

What is mindfulness?  Mindfulness is the ability to remain connected to a state of non-judgmental awareness amidst all life circumstances.  It’s the ability to be aware of awareness itself.  It’s the recognition or realization that before your body, emotions and mind there is something else quite significant present and available- something you’ve been missing.

If you’re depressed, mindfulness isn’t just the doorway to making you ten percent happier, it’s the doorway to making you one hundred percent happier. For now, as a starting point however, let’s explore some details of the mindfulness that will make you ten percent happier.  (We’ll explore how it can take you further in chapter 6)

There’s no doubt about it- mindfulness takes practice.  There is a logic, system and method to it.  Just like going to the gym to develop your muscles, you need to go to the gym to develop your capacity for mindfulness.  This is not a metaphor.   Neuroscience has proven that the human brain, just like a muscle, can grow, develop and change your whole life (not just during youth)  Here are three neuroscientific terms that support the case for mindfulness:

Neuroplasticity: Your brain has the life-long ability to grow and reorganize itself by forming new neural connections and structures, dependent upon what flows through your mind.

Neurogenesis: Neurogenesis is the brain’s method of giving birth to new neurons, which research and clinical trials have proven, is supported and enhanced by stress-relieving activities such as exercise, yoga, meditation and mindfulness.

Mirror neurons:  Mirror neurons perform a task called perception/action coupling. These neurons fire, grow and change dependent upon what they mirror. So, participating in a yoga set or watching a yoga set makes no difference to your mirror neurons; monkey see, monkey do. They will fire, grow and change in either circumstance. This means that simply being in a room with a teacher and students has an immense impact on your brain- whether you actively participate or not.

Most mindfulness practices are composed of multiple techniques: Noticing, Allowing, Relaxing, Meditating, Breathing, Moving, Accepting and Loving are some popular ones.  Most mindfulness courses teach you how to do these things amidst ordinary life.  Exercises oriented around eating, driving, talking, breathing and moving are very common in mindfulness classes.

Most courses teach mindfulness as it is related to your body, mind and emotions.   None of these are difficult to learn, but they do require commitment and courage.  And – if you do the work, if you go to the gym consistently, you will learn how to access an extraordinary part of yourself which has probably, heretofore gone unnoticed.

There are numerous ways of to explore these methods.  I teach a 5 step system in the Blue Collar Enlightenment Breakthrough course that teaches a gradual exploration of mindfulness through noticing and finding Attention, Awareness, Mindful Awareness, Ego & Mind and Awake Awareness.  As I stated earlier, learning mindfulness is a system and process with its’ own set of rules and laws, which if you follow, will net you the happiness results you are looking for.

 

My Experience

Being mindful was the greatest single source of strength I had during my decades-long fight with depression and anxiety.  I highly recommend to anyone suffering from depression to investigate mindfulness.  It’s a no brainer, which will alleviate the “no-no-no” from your brain.

Pros

  • Mindfulness courses are available everywhere including online
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to learn
  • Effective in combating symptoms of most depression types
  • Effective in getting to the root cause of most depression types

Cons

  • Not instant gratification
  • Takes at least 6 to 8 weeks of regular practice and commitment to see results
  • Takes self-discipline
 Yoga

I believe that yoga can deliver you a solid “ten percent happier”, but adjust your expectations accordingly.  If you’re depression is major, bipolar, psychotic or existential I doubt yoga will make much of a dent.  If your depression is mild, moderate or has its roots in little to no exercise, I bet yoga of any kind will do you a world of good.

There has been a lot of study and research indicating that yoga reduces stress, hostility, anxiety, and depression, and improves energy, sleep quality, and well-being.  Here are some common forms of yoga, which I divided up into four categories for you:

1.Physically Challenging

 

Ashtanga Yoga

A nonstop series of yoga poses with breathing techniques to help focus the mind and control the flow of breath through the body.

Bikram Yoga

A sequence of 26 yoga poses (same every class) in a hot room, above 100 degrees.  Check with your doctor if you have any medical condition, before starting this “hot” style of yoga.

Vinyasa / Power Yoga

Based on the sequence of poses in Ashtanga yoga, power yoga builds upper-body strength as well as flexibility and balance.  Power yoga doesn’t stick to the same sequence of poses each time like ashtanga does, so the style varies depending on the teacher.

2.Gentle 

yoga meditation women beach

Hatha Yoga

The best beginners yoga class, usually oriented around simple gentle physical poses opposed to breathing, meditation or other techniques.

Iyengar Yoga

Detail-oriented and slow-paced, Iyengar yoga is also good for beginners.  Props such as belts, blocks, and pillow-like bolsters, to get into poses with correct alignment are used.

Anusara

Anusara is meant to be heartfelt and accepting. Instead of trying to fit everyone into standard cookie-cutter positions, students are guided to express themselves through the poses to their fullest ability.

Kripalu Yoga

Kripalu yoga begins with slow movements that barely cause a sweat, and progresses through three levels of deeper mind-body awareness.

Sivananda Yoga

You do 13 poses and lie down in between the poses. Sivananda yoga is easily adaptable to people of different physical abilities.

Viniyoga

The long, deep stretches of this style of yoga are ideal for beginners and people who want to focus on flexibility, recovery from injury, body awareness, and relaxation.

3.Spiritual 

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini yoga is both physically challenging and more spiritual and philosophical in its approach.  Kundalini yoga classes include meditation, breathing techniques, and chanting as well as yoga postures.

Yin / Taoist

A quiet, meditative yoga practice, Yin poses are long and passive, meaning you’re supposed to relax muscles and let gravity do the work.

Jivamukti

Another physically challenging and spiritually traditional yoga.  Classes have a theme, Sanskrit chanting, and references to Vedic scripture.

Restorative

A yoga aimed at deep relaxation, through the use of several simple poses and props such as pillows and blankets.

4.Other 

prenatal yoga

Prenatal

Prenatal yoga is tailored to help women in all stages of pregnancy to stay in shape- before and after birth

Tantra Yoga

A practice used to expand the connection and awareness between a couple.  Yoga poses, meditation, breath and sexual intercourse are combined to create a deeper sense of the unity between self and other.

My Experience

During the early years of my depression I regularly went to a type of yoga class called kundalini yoga.  (I practiced it for about four years) I loved it.  Yoga delivered a great workout, developed my stamina, strengthened my health and even broadened my psychic sense of myself, but it did zero for my depression.  I would even go as far as to say that it deepened my depression.

The promise of the organization who developed and taught my yoga classes was “healthy, happy and holy.”  I was definitely healthier, and maybe holier, but happier?…eh,, not so much.  So my expectations of yoga just made the depression that much worse.  I know this sounds like a bad thing, but it wasn’t.  In the grand scheme of my natural healing of depression I learned to accept this disappointment and pivoted it to my advantage.

Pros

  • Available everywhere
  • Usually inexpensive
  • Excellent physical workout
  • Proven stress, anxiety and depression reduction

Cons

  • Can be a trap that promises more than it really delivers
  • Yoga fanatics and cultists abound
Chapter 4- Homework Action Item:

50 Natural cures for depression homework

  1. Read Dan Harris’s book: 10% Happier- How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works- A True Story. Go Here
  1. Select one practice from this chapter (yoga, therapy or mindfulness) and give it a try over the next 60 days.
  2.  Sign up below and get a free 35 video course which includes quite a few mindfulness exercise videos


CHAPTER 5- The Human Happiness Scale & The Cure Pyramid

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Let’s now segue into my biased passion: Providing you with a “100% Happier” cure to depression.

It can be tricky talking about happiness, peace, satisfaction, sadness, depression , unhappiness and the entire mood spectrum. Many of these words mean different things to different people.

So let’s do this – I’ve created two charts that will help us with definitions: The Human Happiness Scale & The Cure Pyramid.    As an example,  “100% Happier “ means that you are free of depression but not free from a normal healthy ego that experiences sadness or low energy.

 

 

I’ll briefly explain the scale:

  • Green is “spiritual awakening” and free of depression
  • Blue is the average depressed person
  • Below 50% is depression and above 50% is free of depression.
  • If you are depressed, you can certainly seek out remedies or practices that will orient you above the 50% line, but there is no guarantee that you won’t dip below the 50% line back into depression again.
  • If you are depressed and you long to live a depression free life above the 50% line the only natural cure I know that guarantees this permanently is spiritual awakening or blue collar enlightenment.

If you no longer wish be depressed (below 50% on the scale) and you want a 100% natural cure to depression, then what you are looking for is spiritual awakening.  I arrived to a depression free “awakened” life (100%, no relapses) in 2010.  Since then, I have not once dipped below the 50% mark on the human happiness scale- not once have I experienced the pain of existential depression, deep unhappiness or separation.  Cured. Period.

An aside: The trick to the spiritual awakening cure is to no longer view your depression as something which needs to be drugged, cut or rooted out.  The trick is to redefine and reorient your depression into “existential depression”, see it as an ally that is part of the cure and work with it, not against it.  (I know what I said here was a mouthful. Don’t worry- the complete details of this process are discussed in chapter 6 ”Spiritual Awakening”

Let’s now take a look at The Cure Pyramid:

 

The Cure Pyramid is my unabashed, biased opinion about the full spectrum of “Natural Cures for Depression.” 

  • Remedies are great, but hit or miss in the long run.
  • Practices are highly recommended, but usually provide only a “10% happiness” return on the investment.
  • Spiritual awakening was only cure that worked for me (100%, with zero relapses and no further maintenance, efforts or energy required )
Making a Decision

I created The Happiness Scale and The Cure Pyramid to help you with a big decision:  What do you want?  Really?  Ultimately?   I have found that having a clearly defined goal while exploring natural cures for depression helps tremendously.

  • Do you want a remedy? What will the happiness scale result of a remedy be?
  • Do you need a practice? What will the happiness scale result of a practice be?
  • Or do you want a complete cure? If so, what will this look and feel like and how will seeking and acquiring it impact your life?
  • Or do you need some combination of all three?

I often forget what a radical decision it was for me to determine that I wanted to be cured; and even more radical to determine that I wanted to achieve it through  “spiritual awakening.”  Would it work? How long would it take? What would my friends and family think?  Was I crazy?  I did not come to this decision quickly or without hesitation.  In the end however I just kept listening to my heart, body and mind-  really listening.  And slowly, but surely, the answer became a loud clarion call- YES, YES, YES.  I want a cure; others have cured themselves this way; if they can do it I can too.

Catching Big Fish

My advice of course is to go for it.  One of my passions is fly fishing.  When I go fly fishing I don’t go out prepared, hoping and thinking that I’m going to catch small fish.  I go out with the intention of catching the biggest fish I possibly can- every time.  There are always small fish to be caught and because the effort is nearly the same why not go all the way?

The same can be said regarding the natural cure for depression.  The amount of effort for remedies, practices and a cure is about the same- so you might as well head out to the river with the biggest fly in your box intending to catch the biggest fish you possibly can.  What have you got to lose?  Go for the cure.

I’m a big believer in spiritual awakening.  We’ll explore what this is and how to approach it in the Chapter 6.  In Chapter 7 we’ll hear from some of my awakened friends and colleagues who also chose this “big fish” cure.

 

Chapter 5 Homework Action Item:

50 Natural cures for depression homework

  1. Study, reflect and meditate on The Human Happiness Scale and The Cure Pyramid and ask yourself what you want. What do you truly, honestly, authentically want?  The answer may not come immediately, but if asked genuinely, it will come.
  2.  Check in every day with the question and see if you can get clearer on the answer.  Give it a few days or weeks even.
  3. Hint: You’ll feel it in your heart and body when the answer comes.
  4.  Listening, feeling and intuiting with the heart and body can be challenging – yes?.  Try a few video exercises in the free course offered below to help you do this.

 

CHAPTER 6- Spiritual Awakening: The Silver Bullet Natural Depression Cure

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I don’t know about you but I had no intention of becoming spiritual or saintly or religious in order to combat my depression.  I just wanted to feel better.

It took some time for me to realize that spiritual awakening was the silver bullet I was looking for.  Basically this happened to me by a process of elimination.  I tried all sorts of remedies and practices that at best made me 10% happier.

One day I was left holding my last option- spiritual awakening , so I just stuck with it.  And then after some time- lo and behold- it worked. 100%. No relapses.  A psychologically healthy and happy life regained. (It’s been seven years now)

silver bullet cure for depession

You too can do this and I’m going to share with you how:  85% of the process is a logical, step-by step method where you do A and get B.  The last 15% gets a little strange and paradoxical but it’s nothing, by the time you get there, that you can’t handle.

No saints required: I healed my life-long struggle with depression through spiritual awakening.  I consider myself to be spiritually awake.  And … I did all this without becoming a spiritual wacko, a religious zealot or a new age mountain hippy.  I’m married, have a son, live in the suburbs, like to go fly fishing, drink the occasional beer and pay a mortgage.

Here’s the quick  list of what’s required:

The logical 85% Part:

  • Defining all or part of your depression as “existential” – which means you view it as a positive tool of evolution as opposed to a negative character flaw
  • A normal healthy diet and exercise routine
  • Find a contemplative practice that works for you- yoga, tai-chi, meditation or mindfulness
  • Listening, watching and/or hanging out with individuals who are already awake
  • Reading and educating yourself about spiritual awakening
  • Practicing mindfulness exercises (relaxation, meditation, observation) and becoming proficient at it.
  • Setting aside a reasonable amount of time and resources (money/energy) dedicated to all this

The paradoxical 15% Part:

  • Understanding how your mind and ego operates
  • Intimate therapeutic dialogue and interaction with a group or teacher
  • Acceptance, compassion and awareness of your flaws- including the depression
  • Exploring shadow (the hidden knots, blocks and walls that contain your depression)
  • Coming to terms with the fact that the “you” or “I” is not really you or I.
  • Experiencing awakening moments, glimpses and peaks and letting them go
  • Entering the paradox: Losing it all before gaining it all back

Yes, it’s an investment, but so was high school or college, right?  You didn’t give up on those did you?  No, you just took one day at a time, knowing that someday you would graduate.

It’s the same thing here.  As a matter of fact, you’re already doing a lot of it right now: reading, investigating, observing, listening and watching.  Don’t let your depression tell you otherwise. You got this.  No need to be a genius, monk or saint.  Just let your heart lead.  Take a deep breath. Put one foot in front of the other. Walk slowly.  Enjoy the view. Enjoy the ride.  Know that many people, just like you, have embarked upon this path and succeeded.

spiritual awakening graduation

If you would like to get a real taste for spiritual awakening I would take the free Blue Collar Enlightenment course offered below.  I can describe the taste of ice cream to you until you’re blue in the face or…you can simply eat some icecream:

Let’s now take a closer, more in depth look at the spiritual awakening requirements:

Spiritual Awakening Requirements in Detail-The Logical 85% Part:

Defining all or part of your depression as “existential”  – which means you view it as a positive tool of evolution as opposed to a negative character flaw.

This is the key that makes the spiritual awakening cure to depression work.  Being a victim, blaming yourself, or blaming others for your depression doesn’t work.  Blame evolution or existence instead.  Being depressed is much like being a butterfly still trapped in chrysalis- it’s cramped, hot, uncomfortable, dark and depressing in there…and you want out!  Evolution does this-when we need to change, evolve or grow it makes life uncomfortable until we do something about it.  Your depression is the highest part of you calling for a change. It’s your heart shouting…or if you’re partial to spiritual vocabulary … it’s your soul or god shouting.  Listen to that shout.  You’ve simply been selected to evolve. Congratulations, and yeah it can suck.

the evolution of depression

A normal healthy diet and exercise routine

Spiritual awakening is a whole body, emotion, mind, spirit process and it begins with your body.  It’s good practice to eat right and exercise even if you’re not depressed.  If your depressed, a healthy diet and exercise routine helps tremendously.  If you’re caught in the depression catch 22  (depressed so you eat poorly and eating poorly makes you depressed) break out of the cycle by joining a group that will hold you accountable or find an individual that will hold you accountable.

Find a contemplative practice that works for you- yoga, tai-chi, meditation or mindfulness

Aside from the physical health benefits of such practices, you need to exercise your capacity for awareness.  Understanding, seeing and recognizing the full potential of awareness is the true gift of practices like meditation, yoga or tai chi.  Invest in a local class.  A side benefit is that you’ll meet new people, get out of the house and have a guaranteed depression free couple of hours.

Listening, watching and/or hanging out with individuals who are already awake

Without going into all the details about transference, resonance, neuroscience and mirror neurons, this is about one simple process: Monkey See Monkey Do.  Yeah, it’s that simple.  The more you hang out with individuals who are already awake, the more you will consciously and unconsciously begin to realize what it means and feels like for you to be awake.  This is something I can’t stress enough.  You can do this in person or online.  The process works regardless of actual physical proximity.  Way cool

awakening resonance teacher and student

Reading and educating yourself about spiritual awakening

There are now hundreds of books written about the subject of spiritual awakening.  I became involved with spiritual awakening long before the internet and the proliferation of teachers, teachings and books.  Reading was a life-changing, inspiring and invaluable resource.  Reading about awakening from an author who is already awake has a magical quality which, ironically, is hard to put into words.

I’m going to be completely biased and plug my own book: 21 Days: A Guide for Spiritual Beginners  You can buy it here on Amazon.  Or even better sign up for the Blue Collar Enlightenment course offered at the end of this chapter and get it for free.  Reading about awakening is an excellent source of water when you are feeling lost in the desert of depression.

Practicing mindfulness exercises (relaxation, meditation, observation) and becoming proficient at it.

I bet you’ve noticed that there is a part of you, that no matter how old you get, remains the same.  That’s the part that mindfulness and spiritual awakening are interested in.  That’s the part that through the practice of mindfulness (sometimes called self-inquiry) grows “larger”, clearer and more and more available to you as a resource of freedom, peace, confidence and happiness.  Noticing this part- this empty free aware part- drives a dagger into the heart of your depression and wakes you up into the life you were meant to live.  Mindfulness is like a muscle that you exercise at the gym.   All of the Blue Collar Enlightenment courses have large amounts of dedicated mindfulness training in them.  Take a class.  Do the homework.  It’s not that hard. You won’t regret it. Mindfulness is the absolutely necessary fuel that propels the spiritual awakening rocket

Setting aside a reasonable amount of time and resources (money/energy) dedicated to all this

If you don’t have skin in the game, you’re probably not going to care.  Making a commitment of time, money and energy is invaluable.  I know I’m this way with any new thing I wish to learn.  If I sign up and pay for a class- you better believe I’m going to attend and learn.  (That’s my hard earned dollar.)  By making this type of commitment all sorts of things begin to align and take shape that probably wouldn’t have without it.  Show your depression that you are serious.  Demonstrate to your depression that you are committed.  Be selfish in a completely positive way and invest in yourself.  Empower yourself  through time, money and energy to evolve.  You can afford it.  There is always a way.

 

Spiritual Awakening Requirements in Detail-The Paradoxical 15% Part:

the paradox of enlightenment
Understanding how your mind and ego operates

Understanding and dismantling ego and mind dismantles depression.  You aren’t going to like what you discover here.  No one does.  But not liking something doesn’t make it go away.  What makes the unruly mind and ego go away is loving it, understanding it, seeing it, accepting it and embracing it.  And even then the machinations of ego and mind never completely go away.  They just take a back seat.  But, to get them into the back seat takes some effort and courage.  Any good spiritual awakening teacher or course will reveal your own ego and mind, and help you to find the depression free zone beyond it.

Intimate therapeutic dialogue and interaction with a group or teacher

There is great value in revealing your depression to others.  My experience with this process was with both individual teachers and groups.  Doing this takes time, trust and respect.  Just like a friendship or relationship you have to meet the right teacher or group for you, get to know them and then eventually open yourself up.  The cathartic, healing nature of this endeavor is beyond measure.  A side benefit to doing this, is that quite often you will gain lifelong friends from your willingness to be vulnerable.   I consider this a fundamental part of the spiritual awakening natural depression cure.

tecaher spiritual awakening dialogue

Acceptance, compassion and awareness of your flaws- including the depression

At some point in your battle to cure depression you’re going to have to take an assessment of your flaws and instead of denying, pushing away or defying them …  you’re going to have to allow them in.  What happens in this process is that slowly over time a space widens between the real you and these flaws.  It’s in this space that you develop an acceptance and compassion for the flaws and ultimately heal them.  In doing so of course you heal your depression.

Exploring shadow (the hidden knots, blocks and walls that contain your depression)

I often use the analogy of a melting block of ice to seeing our shadow.  Seeing and revealing the shadow can be both a slow gradual process and a quick revolutionary moment.  Sometimes ice melts slowly and small bits and pieces fall away. Other times huge blocks fall off and shake your world.  Seeing the shadow- where the deepest part of your depression – anxiety – fear – unhappiness lives is a profound part of the process of healing depression naturally , because you are getting to the existential core of your existential depression.

shadow of self awareness

Coming to terms with the fact that the “you” or “I” is not really you or I.

This is a core part of the paradox of awakening.  Who you think you are (what is commonly called ego or mind and what I call the “I’- dentity personality project) is not in fact who you truly are.   Discovering that you are not the “you” or the “I” but are instead something much bigger and more fundamental is a world shattering and profound realization.  It’s in this realization that the core root of your depression melts away.

the false mask of depression and self

spiritual awakening removes all false masks and the depression caused by them.

mask of self universe

Experiencing awakening moments, glimpses and peaks

In the latter stages of the awakening process having temporary insights, glimpses and peaks of awakening bliss is very common.  They come and they go.  What is also very common is to  assume then that awakening is defined by these peak experiences.  It is not.  There is nothing wrong with these experiences, but they do not characterize the true essence of awakening. Nothing does- and there lies the paradox.  The true backbone of awakening is an aware,  free empty state of consciousness, which also happens to be…depression free.

enlightenment peak experience

Entering the paradox:  Losing it all before gaining it all back

When embarking upon this adventure it appears as though you are headed to the top of a great spectacular mountain peak.  What you discover in the end however is that there is no mountain or peak- you lose the whole damn thing.  After losing it, you wake up and see that in fact you and everything around you is the mountain peak.  It always was and always will be.  Trying to intellectually understand this is a pointless endeavor.  All you need to know is that when you arrive here, all of your existential depression symptoms will have vanished, completely and forever.

 

 

Chapter 6- Homework Action Item:
50 Natural cures for depression homework
  1. Take the free Blue Collar Enlightenment Inspiration Course included in the first aide kit and experience for yourself what the process of spiritual awakening is like.  Also included here is my book 21 Days: A Guide for Spiritual Beginners.


CHAPTER 7 – Heroes in Your Hometown: Natural Depression Cure Case Studies

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I emailed some of my awakened friends and colleagues about their experiences with depression/unhappiness/dissatisfaction and awakening.  Below are their answers.  They overcame depression/unhappiness/dissatisfaction through awakening. I did the same. I bet you can too.

 

Erin Reese

erin reese blue collar enlightenment depression article

Age ?  46

Occupation ? Astro-Intuitive, Spiritual Counselor, Teacher  and Author  www.erinreese.com

Marital Status / Kids? Single, no kids

Were you depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied-with-life, on a deep level, before awakening?

YES

Post awakening, on a deep level, are you still depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied with life?

NO

Post awakening, how are you in general?

Deeply at peace, experience pain and pleasure as it arises. Experience fear and sadness as they arise along with all other human emotions – happiness, joy, anger, even hatred may arise and pass away. No problem, no suffering.

Did you try antidepressants or therapy before awakening? 

No meds. Lots of therapy.

Did they help?

Therapy did help but only on the surface and only temporarily, and never cut to the core of the existential depression and misery.

Did you do any practices like meditation, yoga or mindfulness before awakening?

Yes, all three – and loads of it.

Did they help?

Yes, just like #5 above. Like therapy, all of these practices were in service to health of the body-mind and continue to be. Yet it was only awakening that relieved the bondage of suffering with the end of the belief in a separate doer with separate volition.

Did you take any vitamins, supplements before awakening?

Yes, loads.

Did they help?

Yes, just like #5 and 7 above.

Did you practice good diet, exercise and sleep habits before awakening?

Yes, all three for the most part. Above average health and good lifestyle habits.

What is your assessment of those?

They were all supportive of the body-mind in terms of living one’s daily life. But they still did not cut to the core of the existential depression and self-hatred, a miserable “me” that needed fixing. Even now, I live my life in duality, with apparent cause and effect, so diet, exercise, sleep makes a difference in the body-mind’s experience of pain or pleasure.

How has spiritual awakening improved your life?

I could write a book on this! At the same time, there are no words! Let me see if I can sum it up here…

No suffering, no existential depression, no seeking.

No angst about an elusive future or what is supposed to happen.

No identification or fixed belief in any cause, effect, or concept.

Unwavering inner peace at the core, seated in the Self, no matter what is arising and passing away in duality.

 

Fiona Robertson

fiona robertson living inquiries blue collar enlightenment

Age?  56

Occupation ?   Author/Living Inquiries facilitator     www.livinginquiries.com     www.beyondourbeliefs.org

Marital Status / Kids? Single/one adult son living at home                                                                                                                        .

We’re you depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied-with-life, on a deep level, before awakening?

Yes. I never described myself as depressed but I was anxious, anguished and in a lot of emotional pain.

Post awakening, on a deep level, are you still depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied with life?

No, on a deep level not at all. I can still have feelings, emotions and so on, but they don’t ‘stick’ in the same way.

Post awakening, how are you in general?

I’d say in general that life just works much better than it did before. Even if I don’t feel great on a particular day, life seems to work out and there’s a deep sense of it all being okay, even when it doesn’t feel okay.

Did you try antidepressants or therapy before awakening?

No anti-depressants, lots of therapy.

Did they help?

Some of the therapy helped, yes. It gave me a space in which to be able to feel and make sense of my experiences, at least to some extent. It wasn’t until I started doing the Living Inquiries that I began to see deeper shifts. I’ve had a gradual awakening over some years, although in 2013 there was a more substantial experience.

Did you do any practices like meditation, yoga or mindfulness before awakening?

I did try all of those.

Did they help?

Yoga didn’t suit me at all. I found meditation and mindfulness also very difficult. I think I was too anxious and traumatized for them to be effective.

Did you take any vitamins, supplements before awakening?

Yes, all of those plus homeopathic remedies.

Did they help?

I found some of the supplements useful – I have an underactive thyroid and still take them now. The homeopathic process was also helpful.

Did you practice good diet, exercise and sleep habits before awakening?

Sometimes I did, to varying degrees.

What is your assessment of those?

I think they all make good sense physiologically – we’re bound to struggle if our diet is poor, we have no exercise and are not getting enough sleep.

How has spiritual awakening improved your life?

In many immeasurable ways, and it continues. A deep surrender to whatever is here in the moment. A different relationship with myself and those around me. A falling away of a lot of the baggage that I was carrying.

 

 

David Conedera

Age ? 65

Occupation ?  Retired with a part-time job

Marital Status / Kids  ?   Single with one grown offspring

We’re you depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied-with-life, on a deep level, before awakening?

I was somewhat dissatisfied with life. I tried to find meaning in romantic relationships.

Post awakening, on a deep level, are you still depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied with life?

No

Post awakening, how are you in general?

Content and excited about each day’s activities. A deep sense of peace fills each moment. Discovering new ways to interact and share love.

Did you try antidepressants or therapy before awakening? 

No

Did they help?

NA

Did you do any practices like meditation, yoga or mindfulness before awakening?

Yes. I practiced Nichiren Buddhism for many years, a daily practice of chanting. I also read spiritual books and scriptures, and listened to spiritual CDs.

Did they help?

Definitely. Chanting in the morning creates positive energy, taps a wellspring of happiness and helps clear the mind. Teachers such as Daisaku Ikeda and Adyashanti were instrumental in my awakening.

Did you take any vitamins, supplements before awakening?

No

Did they help?

NA

Did you practice good diet, exercise and sleep habits before awakening?

The diet part I’m still fine-tuning, but I exercised and slept well. Still do.

What is your assessment of those?

Important aspects of self-respect.

 

Brad Blanton

author brad blanton

Age?  76

Occupation? Writer, psychotherapist, Activist  www.radicalhonesty.com

Marital Status / Kids?  Divorced, 5 Kids

We’re you depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied-with-life, on a deep level, before awakening?

Occasionally.

Post awakening, on a deep level, are you still depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied with life?

Not as much.

Post awakening, how are you in general?

Pretty happy with my life and work and love relationships.

Did you try antidepressants or therapy before awakening? 

Many years of therapy. Some drugs. Not any anti depressants.

Did they help?

Yes. Therapy helped. LSD helped. Pot helped. Mushrooms helped. Therapy groups helped.Learning how to get angry and get over it helped me lose my mind and come to my senses…so I could center my life in noticing rather than thinking, and use thinking as a sometimes useful though unreliable tool.

Did you do any practices like meditation, yoga or mindfulness before awakening?

Yes.

Did they help?

Yes. Awakening recurs and recedes. Meditation and Yoga cause my noticing to improve and my centeredness in being to be restored.

Did you take any vitamins, supplements before awakening?

Yes.

Did they help?

Yes. They kept me healthy. I still take them.

Did you practice good diet, exercise and sleep habits before awakening?

Medium good.

What is your assessment of those?

Necessary but not sufficient.

How has spiritual awakening improved your life?

I can employ my mind in service to my being instead of employing my being in service to my mind. A mind is a terrible thing. Waste it. We have a T shirt at the No Mind Festival in Sweden. It says on the front. “Somewhere around here I lost my mind. If you find it you can keep it.”

 

Greg Conroe

Age?  49

Occupation?  vocational counselor

Marital Status / Kids?   yep- 2 kids                                                                                                        .

We’re you depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied-with-life, on a deep level, before awakening?

Yes—although it seemed to get better over time w/practice and intention w/in my spiritual practices

Post awakening, on a deep level, are you still depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied with life? 

No—I think the best description is I am at deep ease

Post awakening, how are you in general?

Deep ease—of course there are good days and bad days but not day utterly removes me from a bedrock certainty

Did you try antidepressants or therapy before awakening? 

Yes—but much earlier (probably 13 years ago)

Did they help?

No—some temporary help w/some mixture of antidepressants but it was very temporary

Did you do any practices like meditation, yoga or mindfulness before awakening?

Yes. meditation and yoga

Did they help?

Yes and no. Practices that target happiness miss the mark—happiness is the circumstance of practice not its goal.

Did you take any vitamins, supplements before awakening?

Yes.

Did they help?

They made me healthy!

Did you practice good diet, exercise and sleep habits before awakening?

Sometimes, but sometimes I was addicted to Raisinets! Overall I think I eat (and have eaten a fairly balanced diet)

What is your assessment of those?

These things can be helpful as supports—if you are miserable because you eat crap and are out of shape it adds complexity to the conscious  process. Its not for nothing that traditional nonduality recommends sattvic foods and a balanced lifestyle. Of course there is no absolute recommendations and all of these elements can become part of lunch righteous style—but a healthful diet and basic exercise I think is sane and smart foundation for awakening process.

How has spiritual awakening/realization/enlightenment/ improved your life?

There is still variation in life in all of its aspects, but nothing completely demolishes me. There is an underlying ease and flow.

Of course the philosophical challenge  in awakening is the tension between inherent, always-already condition and the difference it makes in your life. If there is only difference and changes in one’s state, awakening is empty of its ontological ground, becomes merely another condition or possibility and leads to endless seeking for a permanent change in state.  On the other hand, a more popular position (particularly in neo-Advaita) is that awakening has nothing to do w/life whatsoever. Since it is inherent, it has no effect on life. The problem with that position is that it reduces awakening to a meaningless proposition. Meaning always entails difference–without difference, there is no life, no significance, no meaning.  This dilemma is not resolved philosophically, but only in awakening itself.

My experience is that awakening is both inherent, and difference making. It is an unsolvable mystery–the happiness of the ease of self-contraction by, through and in the prior awakening of who I am.  What a beautiful mystery that form can meet formlessness. How wonderful that our embodied life is empty, free and filled w/the starlight of joy.

So simply: ease and flow–but w/all the other shit of life😁😁😁

 

Chuck Hillig

chuck hillig enlightenment author

Age?   77

Occupation?    Happily retired (editors note: Chuck is / was an author / therapist) www.chuckhillig.com

Marital Status / Kids?    Divorced;  three kids and four grandkids                                                                                                 .

We’re you any or all – depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied-with-life, seeking something more. feeling separate- on a deep level, before awakening/realization?

After having been a practicing Catholic for the first 22 years of my life, I began to realize that it was no longer satisfying my soul.  I fell into a kind of spiritual wasteland for several years until I discovered eastern philosophy in my mid-20’s.

Post awakening, on a deep level, are you still depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied with life, feeling separate, still seeking, etc.?

No.  Not at all.  I’ve called off “the Search.”

Post awakening, how are you in general?

Happy.   Peaceful.  Lighter.

Did you try antidepressants or therapy before awakening? 

No.

Did they help?

N/A

Did you do any practices like meditation, yoga, self-inquiry or mindfulness before awakening?

No.   However, I read everything I could find on Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism and Zen.

Did they help?

Yes.   They were all pointing to another reality that I had not considered but, somehow, seemed very familiar to me.

Did you take any vitamins, supplements before awakening?

No.

Did they help?

N/A

Did you practice good diet, exercise and sleep habits before awakening?

No, not especially.  The only thing that was really different was isolating, writing and focusing on what the books were pointing at.

What is your assessment of those?

I’m sure that it’s helpful to prepare the body for awakening, but there has to be a reasonable limit.    Too much attention to its health and well-being might actually impede a realization because it reinforces the belief “I am the body.”

How has spiritual awakening/realization/enlightenment/ improved your life?

No fear of death.   Lots of laughter and fun.   “IN” life but not really “OF” it.   NON-attachment as opposed to attachment.  The Actor no longer “is” the role that he is playing.  Recognizing that even the Screen can enjoy the Movie.  🙂

 

Prajna Ginty

prajna ginty spiritual awakening teacher and author

Age ?  57

Occupation ?   Teacher, Therapist, Curandera  www.prajnalivingawake.org

Marital Status / Kids  ?  Single, 3

We’re you depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied-with-life, on a deep level, before awakening?

I was a spiritual seeker from day one with a deep yearning to know the mystery, I came in and out of knowing, when I was in a spiritual environment, ashram, convent, seminary I felt I was making progress, ha and this made me “feel good” under it I had all sorts of issues stirring,

Post awakening, on a deep level, are you still depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied with life?

Not at all

Post awakening, how are you in general?

Content, open, continuously changing and growing in many areas, the awakening continues to open other areas of potential and seeing.

Did you try antidepressants or therapy before awakening?

No

Did they help?

NA

Did you do any practices like meditation, yoga or mindfulness before awakening?

Yes, prayer, service, yoga, devotion, more service, study, meditation, therapy, yes tons of stuff

Did they help?

YES, I had a few amazing teachers, friends, all of it helped, and lead to more

Did you take any vitamins, supplements before awakening?

Yes

Did they help?

Not sure, my diet has always been fairly clean

Did you practice good diet, exercise and sleep habits before awakening?

Mostly, yet in the ashram for three years I became very thin and imbalanced with all the yoga, and was trying to purify myself via service, practice etc, when I left it swung to the other side and eventually balance came. the eating thing fell away, now I just enjoy food!

What is your assessment of those?

Well, it was my interpretation that came out of Catholic upbringing and being in a female body- of not good enough, flawed, so I worked hard to improve, HA!

How has spiritual awakening improved your  life?

Oh boy, you must read my book. My life is not at all my own, there is no separation, a beautiful flow of acceptance, deep care and love. AND still growing in infinite potential i.e., in relationships with men, it’s all beautiful and more I could ever imagine. I am just as ordinary and ancient and fresh as ever!

 

Bill Caldwell

Age ?  50s

Occupation ?   Government worker

Marital Status / Kids? -Married 29 Years No Children

We’re you any or all – depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied-with-life, seeking something more. feeling separate- on a deep level, before awakening/realization?

No.  Which may be the most unusual thing about it so I was not seeking anything or even thinking or aware I was unhappy.  I was not spiritually motivated in anything, even at the time before my spiritual intervention I felt like these people these organizations were very weak and demented people who had no purpose looking for some direction or some one to tell them what to do I was very  opinionated. I was the guy in the movie airplane.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4CizzE-zZo

Post awakening, on a deep level, are you still depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied with life, feeling separate, still seeking, etc.?

What’s in your book and still true to me now every day is Christmas I’ve never been  depressed since I have this knowing inside me that is hard to explain I have never been happier and more content from that one moment that happened over 3 ½ years ago after.

Post awakening, how are you in general?

How can I say this to show others how to understand what truly this is the only thing I can say is I wish it happen sooner in my life.  My life is enriched beyond expectations in the most simplest of things. I see things from such a different point of view from compassion  empathy-love-so much gratitude-so humble-so privileged and honored to be here to experience this with this new awareness.  It’s as though I see things as a child now with no opinions no labels no views no conclusions take things as they are not what I want them to be. I don’t ever call this enlightenment it’s I woke from myself somehow back to myself to now live life to its fullest and to experience the present moment in ways that before I could not understand.

Did you try antidepressants or therapy before awakening? 

No

Did they help?

NA

Did you do any practices like meditation, yoga, self-inquiry or mindfulness before awakening?

No

Did they help?

NA

Did you take any vitamins, supplements before awakening?

No

Did they help?

NA

Did you practice good diet, exercise and sleep habits before awakening?

Yes-went to the gym a lot,  very conscious of what I ate, tried to stay healthy, never had a problem sleeping at that time.

What is your assessment of those?

NA

How has spiritual awakening/realization/enlightenment/ improved your life?

To start with my senses are enhanced-my intuition I rely on – a greater inner peace – an unbelievable awareness of every moment-smile on my face more laughter- spontaneous reactions without thinking but truly being myself-being a positive force-a happiness that is always there-love more deeply give more freely-gratitude-gratitude-gratitude for this existence this experience.

 

James Eaton

james eaton teacher nondual

Age ?  Just had my 44th Bday 🙂

Occupation ?  Talking about non duality    www.jameseaton.org

Marital Status / Kids  ?  Yes two boys aged 4 and 6 with my partner (unmarried)

We’re you depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied-with-life, on a deep level, before awakening?

Yes yes yes. All of the above. That’s why my seeking was so intense.

Post awakening, on a deep level, are you still depressed, unhappy, not-satisfied with life?

No. Frustration, sadness etc all still happen from time to time, but there is not the same density to it as there was in the past. It has no power to seemingly block out the wonder of being, and tends to move through fairly quickly. Just to qualify, for me awakening is an ongoing process so I wouldn’t use the word ‘post’. However I do acknowledge there is a huge shift that takes place.

Post awakening, how are you in general?

Better and better :))))

Did you try antidepressants or therapy before awakening? 

No

Did they help?

Not applicable

Did you do any practices like meditation, yoga or mindfulness before awakening?

Yes. I did yoga and meditation.

Did they help?

Yes in terms of finding some peace and enjoying freeing up the physical body. But no in terms of dissolving my existential crisis and the deep longing to open up to life, to be fully seen, fully expressed.

Did you take any vitamins, supplements before awakening?

No

Did they help?

Not applicable

Did you practice good diet, exercise and sleep habits before awakening?

Yes

What is your assessment of those?

Again, helpful for general well-being but ultimately the deep longing remained.

How has spiritual awakening improved your life?

Immeasurably. I could write a book on the benefits! In summary, it has opened me up to a dimension of feeling and aliveness that I could never conceive of let alone believe might be possible. This has infused every aspect of my life experiencing and continues to do so in ever deeper ways.

 

 

Chapter 7- Homework Action Item:
50 Natural cures for depression homework
  1. Do you know any awakened individuals?  Maybe there are some in your hometown ?  Do some google research.  Investigate. Find out and contact them.  Hanging out with and getting to know awakened others is one of the best tools you can use to fight depression.  You’d be surprised how willing they are to help.
  2.  If you can’t find one…I’m available.  Sign up below and then email me about skype sessions.  I’m happy to help.

 

CHAPTER 8 – The Flawed Superhero Action Plan

Table of Contents

Regardless of how you do it, when you do it or how much of it you do- the real key here is simply to do something… anything…  Depression has a stubborn way of sticking around.  It’s only when you begin to empower yourself (like a flawed superhero) with the right actions that the tide of depression begins to recede.  Take enough of these right actions and you’ll rise to the occasion and defeat the bad guy. No more depression.  I promise.

flawed superhero enlightenment

This last chapter is dedicated to the actions you should take to cure your depression naturally.  I’ve grabbed all of the homework action items, listed them out, and placed them here in one convenient location for you to use.  You can cut and paste this list and then print it out.  Or-  you can download the Natural Depression Cure First Aide Kit below which contains a PDF version of this list.

  1. Most important item here: Make a commitment for at least 60 days, starting now, to cure your depression naturally. Start by purchasing a note book or journal that you can takes notes in, write down your progress and keep a mood diary or journal. (The E-Book version of this article, available below, has these note book journal pages built into it.)
  1. Identify your depression by first writing down all of the symptoms you experience. Use only your own descriptions, words and ideas to describe your depression.
  1. Identify your depression time. How long has your depression been occurring?  Does it come and go?  How long between bouts of depression?
  1. Match what you have written as closely as you can with one or two of the depression types.
  1. Ask yourself if any part of your depression is existential. Sit with the big questions of life. Are you fulfilled?  Are you happy?  Is there meaning in your life?  See if you can notice the parts of your depression that are existential depression.  What percentage can you identify?
  1. Get the E-Book version of this article which has convenient notes & journaling pages and many more beneficial extras.

    action changes things 2

  1. Do your own research and google the following terms:
Antidepressant Epidemic
Antidepressant Failure Rate
 Antidepressant Relapse Rate
Antidepressant Suicide Risk
Antidepressant Tachyphylaxis
Antidepressant Prozac Poop-Out
Antidepressant Placebo Effect
  1. If you’re currently using antidepressants google your brand as follows:
(Your Brand) Failure Rate
 (Your Brand) Relapse Rate
(Your Brand) Suicide Risk
 (Your Brand) Tachyphylaxis
 (Your Brand) Placebo Effect
  1. I recommend reading the following books (all available on Amazon):
The Emperor’s New Drugs- Exploding the Antidepressant Myth by Irving Kirsch, Ph. D.
Anatomy of an Epidemic- Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker
The Depths- The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic by Jonathan Rottenberg

jump off the cliff of awakening

  1. Pick one (1) item from the vitamin and supplement section and give it a try for at least 60 days.
EPA Omega-3   
St. John’s Wort
Green Tea
Vitamin B
Magnesium
Probiotics
Zinc
  1. Pick one (1) item from the healthy lifestyle section and give it a try for at least 60 days.
Exercise
Vitamin D- Via Light Therapy
Mood Journal
Diet
Social Connection
Sleep
  1. Keep a journal regarding your 60 day results. . Don’t despair if you don’t see any results in this time, simply move onto another item. We’re all different. Keep trying. You’ll find something that works for you.
  1. Lastly keep a journal regarding your depression. (I highly recommend it) I can teach you how to do it effectively in a few videos that are in the first aide kit.
  1. Read Dan Harris’s book: 10% Happier– How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works- A True Story.
  2. Select one practice from the list below and give it a try over the next 60 days.
Yoga Class
Mindfulness Class
Therapy
  1. Study, reflect and meditate on The Human Happiness Scale and The Cure Pyramid and ask yourself what you want. What do you truly, honestly, authentically want? The answer may not come immediately, but if asked genuinely, it will come.
  1. Check in every day with the question and see if you can get clearer on the answer. Give it a few days or weeks even.
  1. Take the free Blue Collar Enlightenment Inspiration Course included in the first aide kit and experience for yourself what the process of spiritual awakening is like. Also included here is my book 21 Days: A Guide for Spiritual Beginners.
  1. Do you know any awakened individuals? Maybe there are some in your hometown ? Do some google research.  Find out and contact them.  Hanging out with and getting to know awakened others is one of the best tools you can use to fight depression.  You’d be surprised how willing they are to help.
  1. If you can’t find one…I’m available. Sign up below and then email me about skype sessions.  I’m happy to help.

    begin it now blue collar enlightenment

I was depressed too.  It sucked.  I am now very happy to report about this depression using the past tense.  The natural cure for me was spiritual awakening, combined with mindfulness and a healthy lifestyle.    With the resources in this article I hope you can find the cure  that works for you.  I sincerely hope that this article has been helpful, inspirational and motivational.

Now it’s time for you to take some action:  Download the Natural Depression Cure First Aide Kit.  Do some research, investigation and homework. Try some new supplements. Pick up a new exercise routine.  Change your eating habits.  Meet an awakened person.  Read a book.  Free your heart, your mind and your soul.  Wake up and into …blue collar enlightenment.

Peace & Laughter

J. Stewart Dixon

Chapter 8- Homework Action Item:
50 Natural cures for depression homework
  1.  I hope my persistence here in getting you to try the Blue Collar Enlightenment course contained in the Natural Depression Cure First Aide Kit has been inspiring.  You’ll need a little persistence of your own to acheive results with any natural cure you try.  Here’s the sign up box one last time…

 

About J. Stewart Dixon / www.bluecollarenlightenment.com

J. Stewart Dixon is an unorthodox nondual-advaita-zen spiritual awakening teacher and founder of Blue Collar Enlightenment. Born in 1969 J. Stewart began his spiritual search at the age of eighteen, urged on by a general sense of unhappiness, depression and an impulse that something was missing from his life. He passionately and actively continued searching (via numerous paths and dozens of teachers) until the age of forty-one, when while reading a nondual awakening article online, he fell into what is commonly reported as awakening and his search ended. Shortly thereafter he began writing and teaching.

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