A new client came into my office recently, complaining of bipolar depression and other related emotional and physical symptoms she said had troubled her for over a decade. I asked what she had already done to try to heal her relentless fatigue, brain fog, inability to focus on her work, failing memory (hich she said had previously been photographic and now a struggle), the mounting anxiety and resultant depression.
She described over ten years’ worth of visiting various doctors, being diagnosed with depression by some and bipolar by others. Wiping away tears, she listed the multiple medications she had been prescribed, and explained how none had seemed to bring back her once vibrant sense of self. Her thirties were almost past. No longer on medication, she was now ready to try the more holistic and integrative approach to healing. Her marriage was effected, other relationships were strained, and her career as an executive was in jeopardy. As she stopped speaking, her eyes looked deeply into mine, as if I were her last hope.
I began to further assess her nutrition, inquiring as to how much sunlight and/or vitamin D3 she was receiving, how many healthy foods and/or supplements she was taking.
It sounded like she was eating, quite frankly, better than the average American. We talked about the role of various vitamins and minerals in treating depression, anxiety and bipolar. She listened as I went on and on about the importance of supplementing with liquid D3 in combination with calcium, and the role of D3 in making the body’s biochemicals; the significance of omega 3s, B6 and B12 particularly for the nervous system, brain fog, memory and concentration; and the benefits of at least a whole food multivitamin. Clearly motivated to heal, she appeared focused as we discussed the hazards of sugar, the need for healthy plant proteins like beans and legumes, and the role of cinnamon in balancing blood sugar. Glancing over the handouts I had given her (one on anxiety, another on depression, a third on improved sleep), she agreed to have her doctor test her for deficiencies and insufficiencies, and to approve dosages and combinations.
The following week she called me to reschedule her appointment to a different day. Before we hung up, she excitedly told me how she and her husband had gone out immediately after our last session to buy a liquid-based whole foods multivitamin with vitamin D3. Two days after taking it, her spouse mentioned how much better he was feeling after starting supplementation, no more brain fog for him, and he wondered if she too was already noticing a shift. She indeed had, but wondered, could it be possible she was feeling this much better after only two days?
When we met, she further explained how much better she felt. Except for anger. She vented at how not a single doctor had ever talked to her about nutrition. She was amazed at how her brain fog had lifted, she was able to concentrate on her work, she no longer felt irritable or moody, and felt like her old self. Did she even need more therapy?
We discussed how there were still things she may need to work on. Nutrition therapy had made her feel like her old self again. But her spirit was still longing to shift careers, to set better boundaries with work and family, to worry less about pleasing others, and do more listening to her inner self. Had she decided to stop therapy after one session, she may have felt the anxiety and depression return shortly. She still seemed to need the key skills we humans require for balance in life.
Let’s face it, our society demands many things of us that lead us into chronic stress and overwhelm, and away from hearing our inner voice. No wonder our anxiety can turn into depression, a sense of helplessness and hopelessness that we will ever regain our inner power and authentic self expression. In fact, I define depression as the state of the soul de-pressed.
Integrative counseling helps us hear and follow our deepest and highest yearnings, and return to emotional wellbeing and intellectual inspiration. And as a start, it makes sure we feel physically and emotionally strong enough to even get back to our spiritual path.