35 answers

Seeking Advice on Handling Depression and Weight Gain

I'm hardly sure where to begin, but I guess my goal in writing this request is to find out whether others have experienced anything similar, and if so, how did you pull yourself out...
I have been under what I would consider a significant amount of stress the past 3 years. I was always fairly fit and stayed at a healthy weight until my 2nd child was about 3 or 4 months old -- after which I ballooned up to 170 pounds (I'm 5'6") and I cannot seem to stop the pounds from coming on. In conjunction with the weight gain, I've experienced mild depression, horrible irritability, and extremely intense food cravings. I've managed to change my extreme eating behaviors (i.e. not binge eating anymore) and I manage to get in a couple of good work outs every week, but I'm still gaining weight. I was diagnosed with estrogen dominance and have noticed that my symptoms from that have gotten much better since I changed my diet and started exercising a little. BUT, as I've said, I'm still gaining weight and still very prone to feeling down and "freaky". My husband believes I'm down because I'm overweight, but I feel so out of control with my emotions -- I honestly don't feel like I can help my mood swings. I really feel that nobody truly understands, but surely others have experienced this. I took some saliva hormone tests that showed I have adrenal fatigue. Eliminating coffee has seemed to also really help. I honestly wonder whether I can ever lose the weight at this point. My family doctor wanted me to take paxil, and my gynecologist prescribed birth control pills. I'm not inclined to follow either of these paths. I am so leery of prescription drugs because the side effects are typically worse than the original symptoms. I thought I could "fix" this all by myself with good vitamin and mineral supplements, a good diet and exercise. I am beginning to wonder if a prescription is the way to go to save my marriage and save my kids from growing up with a freaky mother. There is so much more to this story, but it's probably not worth going any deeper. Does this sound really familiar to anyone? I just don't know how to get myself back.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I went through something similar after the birth of my son. I am 5'6 also and I got all the way up to 190. I was VERY depressed with the weight and with being a new mother. I went to Jenny Craig and really stuck with the diet. I also hit the gym hard. I found it hard to workout at the end of a long day so I actually got hired to teach aerobics. Now I HAVE to go because it is my job. A little over a year later I am 140 (still trying to lose)but proud of my self. I did however have to go on prescription antidepressants for a while to deal with the postpartum depression. I hope this helps--you are not alone! Good Luck!!

Do NOT take Paxil, it was the worst experience of my life. The side effects are terrible, the withrawl if awful. Please research it.

More Answers

Hi S.-
Sounds familiar . . .There are raw adrenal glandulars out there- try to get the ones from organically raised cows. I take two a day. Have a thyroid function test, and do take that prescription, if there is a deficiency. I would see an endocrinologist for that part, initially. Be careful of your sugar intake, and check for diabetes. Don't put up with anything you shouldn't- there's more to the story, you're saying- I think those things, whatever they are, may be the real problem, tho.

When you believe that you are putting up with so much that you can't deal with it anymore, you can lie on the floor on your stomach, put your face in a pillow, grab your ankles with your hands. Push with your legs, pull with your hands, and scream into your pillow as long as it takes. Don't let anybody watch; it's kind of scarey. You may have some 'moments of truth' about your life.

Calcium/magnesium supplementation helps smooth out the mood swings. Take two with a large glass of water every 20 minutes until you feel yourself 'drop'- those are the directions I was given, and it has worked a treat for a lot of years now. Don't take them within two hours of the thyroid supplemntation. You may wish to read up on fibromyalgia, etc. Make sure your vitamins are pre-natal, and take extra 'B' vitamimins (the stress b's).

In suggesting the birth control pills, tour Dr. is trying to balnce your hormones. They need to be balanced somehow, I think. A lot of things happen when some tiny thing is out of balance.

Sometimes we think that we have to do everything we used to do before the children, that the house has to be the same, and so forth. It doesn't work that way, and your health is the most important thing. Relax; it is OK. You might wish to take a nap when the kids do. Massages are good. Once a week, if you can afford it.

The kind of supplementation I suggested above takes a while to kick in- the cal/mag is quick, but the adrenal and vitamin therapys are slower. You may wish to experiment with St. John's Wort for the depression. Takes a month. Otherwise, go with your Dr. When I finally gave in and took a tranquilizer, I was happier and calmer than I had been for many years. :-) S.

you may want to get your PCP to do a Thyroid test on you

S.:

You ought to check out a new company called Life Sculpting. Their website is www.lifesculpting.biz and if you have some time they have packages that can help get you and your life back on track. There is also a naturopathic physician Dr. Laura Weeshoff who would be able to meet with you and recommend some natural supplements to help you feel better and not so "freaky". Their phone number is ###-###-#### and good luck.

My heart goes out to meet you - I've been dealing with difficult to manage endocrine problems for years, after a particularly difficult birth. After years of feeling crazy, moody and unable to sleep more than 3 or 4 hours a night, a thyroid test finally showed up a little out of the normal range. Further testing revealed my thyroid gland is not functioning at all, but has a very large tumor (benign) that is causing hyperthyroidism. It's a big deal and a big mess, and as serious as it is, it still took years to get an accurate diagnosis. Thyroid problems can be like that, and the thyroid gland affects your body's metabolism. Low thyroid function is a possible reason you cannot lose weight.

I would suggest seeing a very skilled endocrinologist, especially since you have already diagnosed endocrine issues like the estrogen dominance and adrenal fatigue. In my experience, the endocrine system is delicately balanced, and though the problem may be one issue, it will affect the endocrine system as a whole. In my case my thyroid tumor caused adrenal fatigue and hypoglycemia, but neither of these two problems were the "real" problem.

I would eliminate all stimulants and depressants from your diet for a good long time (think months to years). Including caffeine, chocolate, sugar, and alcohol. In fact simplify your diet as much as possible, eating as many whole foods as you can, and eat less than you generally do. This is not a weight loss strategy, but rather a way to help your body eliminate toxins and excesses of the endocrine system. Although, it should help with the weight loss goals, too. I've had a lot of success modulating mood swings with a period of taking in very simple food (homemade chicken broth with brown rice, plain toast, yogurt) for a day or two to cleanse my system, and drinking a good amount of herbal tea made from a variety of roots, especially licorice, wild yam, burdock and dandelion roots. These roots have the properties of balancing out hormone production and toning the endocrine system, and they have been the best thing I've found for dealing with the mood swings. You may want to consult with a good herbalist, or a Chinese doctor, for an herbal blend that suits your particular situation.

All the best to you as you sort out this difficult situation. I agree with you that prescription meds like antidepressants are not the way to go. I tried these once, and it made my problems worse, and more difficult to sort out. Birth control pills will effect your endocrine system, and might be helpful or might not. They may cloud the real issue, and make it more difficult to get an accurate diagnosis. Work with a good endocrinologist and a good herbalist - insist that they do a thyroid function test, and any other testing that seems reasonable, plan on allowing some time for this to resolve, but don't give up!!

Warmly,

V.

Hey S.,

I've read all the responses to your post,and just wanted to support you. Get that thyroid checked, girl! And don't underestimate the everyday stresses you deal with. My kids are the same age as yours, and it is WORK. Plus, I see that you work professionally in your home, so I bet you don't get a whole lot of me time. My husband is a personal trainer, and I asked him about the adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is caused by stress. It's the fight or flight response in overdrive, and your body is whupped. So, tell your husband that the weight gain is indicative of your depression, not the overriding cause of it. By the way, I still haven't lost my weight, either, so I understand that part of it. It's hard to feel good, especially in this heat, when you aren't comfortable in your body. You are not a freak. You have just reached your limit and now it's time for some changes. And, lets face it, it is hard to make changes when your kids are this young. You have to enlist the aid of your husband. You need to be a priority right now and he's gonna have to pick up some slack so that you can focus on yourself. Keep up with your medical investigations. Get to the gym more than twice a week, even if it's just to sit in the sauna or the whirlpool. Yoga has always been a great centering exercise for me, because it focuses me not only on my physical being, but my spiritual being as well. You need some renewal. I also agree with the woman who encouraged you to have some girl time. Okay, I have to cut it short because my boy child is demanding some momma time. If you want to contact me to chat, I'd love that. Be proactive, my friend. You're worth it!

Take care,

Al

Hi S.,
When I was nursing my daughter, I lost 20 pounds and was back to my pre-motherhood weight. After three kids, I was feeling great. But after I stopped breastfeeding, I gained all the weight back and I was still eating right and going to the gym. My cousin introduced me to Advocare. They are a company that specializes in natural weight loss, and physical fitness. And they do it all with natural vitamins and minerals and protiens that your body needs to function at its best. Their products consist of weight loss, muscle gain, mood stabilizers, ect. and they are tailored for your specific goals; whether it be fitness, weight loss, maintaining your weight, active lifestyle, ect. They are all developed through a science/medical advisory board so they're products are safe and proven through dr's. I invite you to browse the website and click on the products so you can see what they are made of and how they can help you feel and look your best. I also encourage you to incorporate these supplements even if your dr. recommends medical treatment. These products are so safe, they are recommended for use in pregnancy to help the expectant mom maintain her own levels of nourishment while nourishing the growing fetus.
http://www.advocare.com/0708565

I have had success with using bio-identical natural progesterone cream. I had the estrogen dominence and I was also prescribed birth control pills. I did use them and it did work. For one month. I then found the cream, and it has been working for me for one month now.

I have read the books by John Lee, MD, and they have helped me. He also has a website (johnleemd.com).

I hope it helps and you are able to feel better soon.

K. D.

it sounds to me like you could use a good detox and internal cleanse - if you are interested in some excellent SAFE all-natural herbal products that will help reverse ALL your symptoms - including the weight-gain/food cravings and depression/mood swings - feel free to contact me

S., Take a deep breath and know that "YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!" This is much more common than you think! Have you had your thyroid checked? With Adrenal Fatigue, are you taking something for that? You are wise to stop drinking the coffee. Cafine will Aggravate Mood swings in a serious way. In my opinion, I would advice anyone to Go completely OFF Cafine and to limit dairly products, sugars and flour. Get back to the Basics... FRESH Fruits and Veggies, a little meat is fine, fish is great. Small portions 4-5-6 meals a day "SMALL IS THE KEY". Drink Lots of water. If you are used to cafine in your daily diet, it will take weeks posibly a couple months to really kick it, as the cravings for it might be hard ~ head aches etc. You could look into doing a Detox of somekind. Also, I would look into Naturaly Medicine before prescription drugs. I found it to be a huge help. You could also go to an Allergist. Avoid Prescription drugs if you can ~ sometimes they are necessary but I would say: Exhaust your resources first so if you need to get on something like Paxil, you can do it with Confindence and feel good about the decision. I believe Diet is KEY. I heard of a good web site: "crazysexylife.com" might be worth a peek. THERE ARE SOLUTIONS SO HOLD YOU HEAD HIGH AND KNOW YOU ARE GOING TO BE ALRIGHT!!!

I think you are wise to avoid drugs (esp for long-term use)...but also wise to seek conventional diagnosis...can you find a holistic or even better ...complementary integrative medicine physician? They could try to get you into optimal physical health...which should lead to better emotional and mental health. Biochemical imbalances can wreak havoc on the body and mind.
I truly think that we women have harder time, since pregnancy and menopause shift the body chemically within our lifetimes...so what worked before then does not work.
The weight...try whatever you can to take in fewer calories than you use up...be it metabolic boosting (many methods) or calorie restriction, or both. I like the idea of a longer life with calorie restriction, but once you start that, you need to keep it up, and eat really nutritious food all the time. I do not even know if I have enough self-discipline...so I'd probably stress burning energy. There are newer workouts that vary the workout intensity for greater health effect, yet the workout does not last very long. Our time is precious!

I went through something similar after the birth of my son. I am 5'6 also and I got all the way up to 190. I was VERY depressed with the weight and with being a new mother. I went to Jenny Craig and really stuck with the diet. I also hit the gym hard. I found it hard to workout at the end of a long day so I actually got hired to teach aerobics. Now I HAVE to go because it is my job. A little over a year later I am 140 (still trying to lose)but proud of my self. I did however have to go on prescription antidepressants for a while to deal with the postpartum depression. I hope this helps--you are not alone! Good Luck!!

Okay, I don't know much about your medical history, but I am a nurse and I really believe you need to get your thyroid levels checked if you have not already done so. Ask your doctor to do a complete thyroid panel on you, T3, T4, TSH, T7. Several women experience thyroid dysfunction after pregnancy which can cause weight gain, increased appetite, lack of energy or motivation (you may be depressed due to this!). It is worth a shot. I had thyroid issues after my daughter was born and it took me over a year to get my body back and lose 50 pounds, talk about being depressed as I too was physically fit. Good luck to you, let me know who it turns out.
C.

I experienced similar issues over the past 10-15 yrs. I eventually weighed as much as 278 pounds. I finally found a doctor who listened and did the right tests to help me find out what was going on...adrenal fatigue and insulin resistance, low progesterone...etc. That led me to research on my own what to do about it as the meds they wanted me on made my body freak out. I found a website... www.womentowomen.com that had TONS of information on it and a program that was affordable and made sense to me. Very healthy and balanced. I have been on it since April and have lost 40 pounds (it is not a weightloss program by the way), and finally feel well for the first time in years. I would highly recommend reading the articles on their site as they are very informative even if you choose not to use their program. However, they are very supportive, offering nurse support, and I feel their supplements and eating program have made a huge difference for me. Anyway, don't give up! Keep looking and asking until you find what is right for you. You deserve to feel well and be as healthy as you are able. I would also suggest some St John's Wort for the depression. It works for many people without the side effects of medication. There is something else for depression (H5 something something, I can't remember right now), that the womentowomen nurse recommended, but I haven't tried that. If I remember what it is, I will send it to you. Take care and if you ever need support, I am willing... You are fighting for your life, and you deserve for it to be a happy, healthy one!

L.
____@____.com

Hi!
You sound almost identical to my situation, as I'm sure
many have experinced. I had my thyroid checked and I found it was not normal. I have come to find out it is very common in women in their mid 30's and is worse when they have babies. I am not big on meds either but my doctor gave me a low dose of thyroid med and I lost 8 pounds in 3 weeks and feel less depressed and irritable. Thyroid is really a common problem and effects all that you mentioned. I would ask your doctor about it. Good luck!

MJM

Do NOT take Paxil, it was the worst experience of my life. The side effects are terrible, the withrawl if awful. Please research it.

Hi S.!

Sorrry your going through this. But I have gone through the same thing. Here is a wonderful doctor that will help you and he works with natural medicines. His name is Joel Morgan and his office number is ###-###-####. He is wonderful. Do not let anyone tell you that these symptoms are in your mind. You know your body something is just not right medically. This man can help you. He has helped me. Good Luck

DP

Hi S. -

Getting your hormones balanced will help relieve the up and down feelings. If you are interested in herbal therapies, my first suggestion would be Vitex (Chaste berry). Vitex has the ability to balance both estrogen & progesterone and return them to where they are supposed to be. There is also an assortment of vitamin & mineral packed herbs, herbs that help with weight/metabolism balance, and herbs for cleansing and restoring your organs to proper working order. I can't give you more specifics without knowing your medical history and what, if any, medications you are taking. If you are interested in persuing this line of therapy, I am available at Chakra Botanika in Payson, AZ. I work most days except Thursday and Sunday.

Let me know if I can be of help.

Sincerely,

M. M. Ernsberger
Certified Clinical Herbalist
Certified Hypnotherapist
Certified Life Coach

HI S.,
I hear you loud and clear!! I would have these "freaking out" spells and literally could not help it. I saw Dr. Susan Wilder at Life Scape Med. She figured out that I did not have enough seritonin. She gave me somethings that really made a difference. After about 3 months I feel normal again. I immediately felt better within a couple of days. They were all natural products, no meds and I have to take nothing now but my vitamins. Now about your weight gain, have you had your thyroid checked. Hypothyroidism can cause all the symptoms. What about joining weight watchers? Sometimes we don't understand how many calories we are eating without a little help. Provides a good support too. Just throwing out some ideas. I have been in a similar situation after my second child. Good luck I hope these things help.

Dear S.~
I hear you loud & clear. Just from what you describe on here how you feel, I can relate to just about all of it.
You would be shocked if you knew how much harmful effects to your body that just **streess alone** can cause. As well, as how much your mood AND mood changes effect the way & the amount of food you eat. Some choose to go a different route & are 97 pounds & think they are fat.
Just so it is said, I am not a doctor nor do I claim nor think I should/will be one. I am just suggesting supportive suggestions that seem similiar to what I have personally gone through & can relate to. =) THERE IS NO CURE ALL TAKE A PILL & YOU WILL BE BACK TO NORMAL. That was hard for me to accept. I also had to give the pills a chance to do their job correctly as prescribed to feel the most effects. I learned that maybe, I do need something more than all that I have tried on my own & have yet to have succeeded in. I figured it really could be something I can not fix on my own. Then I thought, I AM on blood pressure pills & I could not lower my blood pressure without them either. (about 5 years of very high blood pressure refusing to "take meds" & finally got over my denial..LOL)
Consider googling for personal growth & education any of the following: anxiety, bi-polar, bi-polar mania, hormone related depression, (related to your estrogen dominance), hormone imbalance symptoms. You may find something relative or could lead you in that direction.
If you do decide to get on a prescribed anti-depressant from the doctor. IMHO- Paxil is a very reputable & has a long history of more good than bad results & is very commonly used
everywhere. I think you might prefer a pill that has "been out on the market" for a longtime & alot of doctors prescribe it & have alot of good results rather than a pill that has just been released & alot of patients do not have alot of opinions & side effects & not with a lot of history to back that pill up. (Fen/Phen for an example) Other pills for anti-depressants for you to look into that I have had and/or others I know that had good results for them are Zoloft, Wellbutrin or WellbutrinSR & Paxil & I may be missing 1..lol..If I remember 1, I will pm you again. =P
You may find that a prescribed pill will help you & your family. They will notice more than you had realized it did & benefits of it can be immediate. The way it was described to me (about any depression) was that there are tiny spaces or tiny gaps in the brain & that they are missing that "dopamine" (sp?) & when you get that pill that can help provide a bridge for the gap to fill there & that is when you will already start feeling better within the 1st 2 weeks(alot of people say sooner) & more stronger results at 60days when the medicine has fully got in your bloodstream & have you feel its full effects. Alot symptoms go away after your body gets used to it in your blood. Trial & error you may find. Higher lower doses before you get the right amount you need & are feeling. Try hard to be patient & open with all suggestions (not having to follow thru with all suggested LOL) just open =D, EDUCATE yourself as much as you can(internet research & "googling" & talking to others on what has worked for them etc etc), you will feel better about the self help you can receive & further narrow your search for what works for you & what works for you & your family. Creating a journal can be 1 way of helping you. Just writing a few sentences whenever you need to "vent" or to just get out of your brain & on paper & keeping it private to read later can really make some self realization & self help therapy.
I have gone on too long...sorry for the long response but I hope all or just some may help you & your growth. Good Luck & God Bless. You may reply & further discuss anything further at anytime.=')

Sometimes rx drugs have chemicals, so it can be scary. But so does many of the foods we eat and things we use on our hair and skin. Give yourself a chance to see if medication works in your desparate situation. Even if it affected your life span (worse case senario)-- a happier life is worth the risk. Maybe combining birth control with an anti-depressant would be a bit much? Can you get some other professional opionions? Suffering depression for long periods can be damaging and when you hit those really bad "lows", they get lower and lower each time until you can figure out how to pull yourself out in the earlier stages of depression onset. Sometimes you can't do it alone and you need help from others and especially modern medicine. Taking chemicals to cure depression is not a modern thing. People have been doing it for ages, and the technology keeps getting better and safer. Everything we take into our bodies has a consequence, just like coffee had it's consequences. It is good to be skeptical of pharmaceuticals, but nowadays, it is almost a trend to be too skeptical of everything. Sometimes you can't listen to people talk so much about "dangers", and just give something a try (the FDA is pretty cautious too). As long as you are in tune with the effects it has on your body, and keep in communication with your doctor, you might find great releif. Sometimes you have to try different varieties to find a med that works for you. You are already taking good measures to be healthy physically, so give your mental state a boost by trying it out. Weight gain and depression are definetly correlated. Spiritually invest your life. Get closer to God. He is the only one that TRULY understands our pains, and can help give us answers to our life directives when we focus more on our soul, in prayer. A counselor is always great too (if you can find one you really jive with--that takes time too). This site could help you find a good one. I'm sure everyone reading your post, including me, have you in our prayers.

HI S.,
I just read your request and many of the responses. While I don't have much more to add than has what already has been stated I strongly encourage you to try medication. I haven't personally dealt with chronic depression/anxiety, but my husband and many friends have and they have all found great relief in medication. Of course the first drug they tried wasn't always the perfect match, but with time many friends and family members have found relief through psychotropic meds. I also know many people with thyroid disease and have seen how proper management of their thyroid has really helped them emotionally and physically. I think reaching out for help takes a lot of courage so kudos to you. Another approach I might suggest is reading Eckhart Tolle's book, A New Earth. It has helped my own anxiety level as I try to manage working 3/4 time, finishing graduate school, and raising my daughter - which I never though anything could help. I have also heard that the book has helped people stop smoking and lose weight through merely raising awareness. I wish you all the luck in the world. Motherhood is hard enough without your emotions out of whack! You are not a freaky mother - just a mother going through a difficult time - like so many of us. Best, N.

Hi S.-
It sounds like your thyroid could be underactive. Have it checked asap!! After giving birth your hormones start going crazy which can cause thyroid levels to go out of whack. That same thing happend to me. They put me on a great natural medication that makes me feel normal again! Good luck!!

I can completely relate. My son is 9 1/2 years old and I have had a total hysterectomy. I lost about 40 lbs 4 years ago over an 8 month period, but have gained it all back. I have the mood swings and irratability as you do and although I work out and eat right, the pounds seem to stay. It is a toll on my marriage as my husband is fit and wants to see me back to how I was 4 years ago. I want nothing more than to be there too, but I guess it will take time. My advise it to stick with it and maybe seek help with you weight issues by joining Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig (someone you have to answer to every week)or find an online weight-loss support group. I can't say that it gets any easier to lose the weight at our age.

Hi S.,
It's so strange that I read this today, as I have an appt with my doctor in a few hours. I'm 37 and went through surgical menopause 3 years ago. I'm (finally) on hormones that actually work - a balance of estrogen and testosterone - and now feel my "menopause symptoms" have subsided, but not the depression or the weight. I'm 5'4" and 195 lbs. It's been 2 years of steady weight gain, with no medical reason I've been told. So I'm sure my depression is very much related to the weight gain, but also to my way-too-stressful life.

Just wanted you to know that you are not alone, and I truly feel for you! My family is very hard-headed about being strong. I have not even told them I am going to the doc today, as that would be admitting weakness in their eyes. I sincerely hope you have a good support network, such as girlfriends, family, neighbors, etc.

You are in my prayers,
D.

I agree with the possibility of thyroid disease. I had an overactive thyroid and lost a ton of weight along with a multitude of symptoms. I never wanted to be on meds let alone for the rest of my life! Unfortunately that's the only way to really keep it in control. After treatments, my thyroid went underactive and the weight came back and then some! UGH! That was a bit depressing. But now my thyroid is in good working order :) and with regular check-ups my meds are adjusted as needed. With excercise and healthy eating the weight is finally coming off....not to say it isn't hard but persistence is the key....and I feel good again. You would be surprised to know how much your thyroid controls your body.

Good Luck!

S.-
I am so there with you on this. I am 5'7" and approaching 190. I work out 3 days a week and eat pretty healthy- I was down to 160 doing weight watchers after my 2nd child and just could not go to meetings anymore cause I always had my kids in tow. I strongly believe in WW and will be going back. Just need to find the time w/o my kids to attend meetings.
I also found myself very stressed- or anxiety ridden- yelling at my kids for no apparent reason- angry for doing it- just not myself. I turned to my OB and he prescribed Zoloft- a very small dosage and within a few weeks, I felt so much better- I could control my waves of anger, my stress level, etc.
I hope you find the answer you are looking for....for me, medication was teh answer and in time I will loss the weight.

HI S., If you'll do one more blood test do a Thryoid Panel. Check out www.thryoidpower.com and see if the self test sounds like what you are going through. I have been on Synthroid (NOT the generic) for three years and am soooo much better. I am not one to take just any prescription medicine handed to me and cried when I found out I was going to be on Thyroid meds probably for life, but it turned my health around and I have had no side effects only positive results. Maybe it's not your Thryoid but it wouldn't hurt to find out first before taking a med you're not that comfortable with. Good luck.

I would like to tell what my 20 y/o daughter just discovered a month ago. She has suffered from depression since she was 14 and has been on several types of anti-depressants over the years. She has also been in counseling off and on. Recently, she spent a month at an organic farm that specialized in herbal medicine and holistic lifestyles. She read a book called "The Places That Scare You" by Pema Chodron. She experienced a breakthrough in her depressive attitude. She told me that it drastically changed her thoughts. Both my husband and older daughter and I have seen a wonderful change in her. She still takes an anti depressant but is being weaned off it. She practices the techniques when old thought patterns come up. Check out the book and see if it talks to you. Good luck in all.
K.

S. - Have you seen an endocrinologist and been tested for Hypothyroidism ? I am a 36-year old mother of a almost 6 year old daughter. My symptoms (fatigue, sluggishness, feeling down, not able to lose weight, cold hands/feet, no sex drive, memory loss, etc.) started right before my pregnancy. After I delivered my daughter, when she was around 6-8 months my symptoms just got out of control. I was unable to lose the weight I gained throughout the pregnancy, even with working out 6 days a week. I was depressed and felt like a zombie. I saw numerous doctors who checked my T3 and T4 levels and told me my symptoms where in my head, were a result of being a new mother etc. Finally when my daughter was 2years old I woke up one morning and felt swelling in my throat. I immediately saw a doctor who said he felt they were thyroid nodules and did a "titer" test and diagnosed me with Hashimoto's Disease resulting in Hypothyroidism. He then referred me to an endocrinologist I have been on medication for about 4 years now and am a different person. In fact, if I forget my medication for one day, I notice my symptoms coming back. I stress to you to see an endocrinologist because family physicians are not usually familiar with this disease and it is very often missed and misdiagnosed. If with "normal" T3 and T4 levels, you can still have and suffer from the disease. For years, they failed to do the right tests on me, even though I had all the symptoms, and I went for 3 years undiagnosed. It was awful. I just remember feeling so physically and emotionally bad and tired and none of the doctors would listen to me. I am just so thankful that they finally correctly diagnosed it.
Maybe you could do some research online. I would suggest going to www.thyroid.org which is the American Thyroid Association. I would also be more than happy to offer you a referral of an endocrinologist. I have seen the same one for about 4 years now and am very happy with him. Also, this disease tends to run in the family and my mother was also diagnosed with the same thing about a year ago.
I really hope this helps you.
C.

Have you had your thyroid tested? That can cause weight gain and emotions all over the place. As far as not wanting to take prescriptions-I understand! I never wanted to either, but finally came to the conclusion that for my family's sake and mine I had too. It's hard to accept. On the brighter side prescriptions tend to cost less than all the vitamins, minerals, and homeopathic stuff(unfortunetly).

I've been there and stress definitely tears you up in so many ways. Stick with the diet and exercise as much as you can. You need to do more than a few times a week. It's tough but consistency is the key.

I would consider a prescription (antidepressant) even if it's only for a little while. Just because you get on something to help you cope doesn't mean you have to do it forever. I went on meds for about 9 months and I've never needed them again. It gave me enough to get me over the hump til things got a little better. You really should hook up with a reproductive endocrinologist that specializes in this and can treat ALL of your issues, including the emotional.

Most important, balance out your spiritual side. I don't know your background or anything but this is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. You need to make time to recharge your spirit so you can keep going. Plug into the people that care about you the most.

Holler if you need more info.
-Carey

I used to have issues with binge eating, social anxiety disorder and depression and I was like you and did not want to use meds, but after I had done all I could for myself, adding exercise, doing yoga, meditation, changing my diet and working on my reaction to things, I decided to take the meds. I took them for only one year, had barely noticeable side effects, and I have been well ever since going on 6 years. Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Medications "set it right". You can keep up all of your hard work and get a little help from the meds. I would not focus on the weight right now, but on being well with eating, exercise, and stress management. I grew up with a mother that never treated her depression until recently and I know how hard that can be on a family. I hope this helps. Good luck!

Hi S.,

I would recommend getting your thyroid checked. Hypothyroidism can lead to intense and rapid weight gain, exhaustion, depression etc. Hang in there, you will find the help you need and will feel better soon.

L.

I highly recommend trying the Paxil. It has helped many people I know in a variety of situations. I have problems with depression and weight gain and hormone related migraines. The weight and the depression feel like a vicious cycle. I am on antidepressants, starting to get back to exercising regularly, getting my eating back on track - many of the things you described. I also (reluctantly) went back on the pill for hormone regulation and that seems to be helping too.

Just keep in mind that you may not need the Paxil forever and as you said for your husband, kids, and especially yourself, it's worth a try. You deserve to feel good and enjoy your life and your children. Some kind of counseling may help too - I know it does for me. Good luck and God bless.

Bewtween the birth of my 3rd and 4th children I was diagnosed as Insulin Resistant and with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. However, if you've been diagnosed estrogen dominent it doesn't sound like that would be your case as PCOS usually indicates higher levels of testosterone.

BUT, your symptoms sound very familiar. I had intense food cravings, major bouts of listlessness and depression, mood swings, irritability, lots of belly fat weight and the inability to loose weight despite calorie reductuion and excercise. The depression became a terrible self-fulfilling circle. I was depressed because I was fat and depressed and nothing I did seemed to change it.

Finally I took my doctors advise and went on Paxil. It took about 3 weeks before I felt the effects but the depression lifted. I also started a daliy dose of Metformin to treat the insulin resistance (again another 3 weeks before I noticed a change). But that helped to start the weight loss and stop my cravings. The side effects of the Metformin were terrible but subsided after 3 weeks.

You shouldn't rule out just the impact of dealing with everday life as a factor as well. You are taking care of two little kids all day, your husband doesn't sound all that supportive if he thinks you feel this way just because you are overweight, and you implied that there was so much more to the story and the stress you've been under for 3 years. Perhaps you need some talk therapy with a specialist or just good old fashioned "girl time" with friends. Medication and "girl time" helped me...

One sure fire way to pull yourself out of a depression is to focus on others instead of yourself. I am not saying that it is easy, especially when your own emotions seem like the end all and be all. But if you wake up each day and say to yourself "How can I make life great for my husband and kids today?" or "What can I do for someone else today?" it really and truly helps. When your emotions are out of wack for whatever reason you sometimes have to let the behavior lead the emotion instead of the other way around.

In other words if you wait to feel happy before you act cheerful it might never come. But if you behave as if you feel cheerful and happy (even when you are not) you'll find the emotion generally follows. This tactic might help you feel better about the way you are behaving with your husband and children even when you feel "freaky".

My heart goes out to you! Best of luck with this! Let me know if you need a friend for "girl time".

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