Can Testosterone Be Used to Treat Depression?

When my partner casually mentioned to me the other night that he’d heard of instances where testosterone has been used, successfully, to treat depression, my ears perked up.

Depression is a pretty sneaky demon. Did you know: scientists haven’t actually yet nailed down why people get depressed.

I’ve always been one to believe that depression is multi-causational. I’m not of the opinion that any one thing causes depression. I’ve come to think of it like this: depression is really just your body’s way of screaming “SOMETHING IS WRONG!”

What if for some people that ‘thing’ happens to be low testosterone?

Once you realize how low testosterone can effect a person, you realize how reasonable an idea this idea really is. In fact, one of the main symptoms of of low testosterone is depressed mood, and some other symptoms that could look like, well, depression.

 

Take a look:

Symptoms of (1)

 

What I was really interested in finding after our conversation was some anecdotal evidence. That’s when I came across this article by Jon Nelson documenting his journey with depression, which (spoiler alert) lead him to begin taking testosterone illegally to treat it. And guess what? It’s worked for him.

Anecdotal evidence aside, where is the science at? One study on middle aged men, with similar depression and testosterone levels, showed that between a control and treatment group, the treatment group showed significant improvement in their depressive symptoms.

Another meta-analysis aimed to compile evidence from controlled clinical trials to analyze the effect that introducing testosterone to the body could have on mood. The meta-analysis concluded that exogenous testosterone helped improve symptoms of depression in men, especially so when the depression was mild but long lasting, rather than severe and acute.

Evidence on this subject is really lacking for women – possibly because introducing testosterone into a women’s body can have more potentially life-altering side effects. It could also be because the subject of low testosterone being a potential player in depression is still a new subject. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Now, I’m not advocating by any means that any of you should begin taking testosterone, legally or illegally, to treat your depression. However, this is another really valid avenue to explore with your doctor if you’ve been struggling with depression and have yet to find answers.

You deserve those answers – exhaust all options – and as always, advocate for yourself!

outro

3 Ways to Naturally Increase Dopamine

Have you ever just woken up one morning and thought:

Where did my gusto go? My get out of bed and go? Why do I feel so unmotivated?

A lack of dopamine could be the culprit!

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for pleasure, reward, and motivation. Yep, it sure makes you feel good.

And when you don’t have enough of it, lack of dopamine symptoms can range from annoying to serious including:

  • lack of motivation
  • mood issues
  • addiction issues
  • fatigue
  • depression

 

So what causes a dopamine deficiency? Drugs, including caffeine, can have a negative effect. So can alcohol, sugar, stress, and low stomach acid.

Given that many of us are over-caffeinated, totally stressed, and consuming quite a bit of sugar, it’s not hard to believe that this could be a deficiency so many of us are dealing with it.

Now for the fun part: here’s what you can do about it.

1. Supplement with l-tyrosine. Tyrosine is a precursor to the dopamine neurotransmitter. Think of it as an important building block. Supplementing with this may help your body produce more dopamine! Of course, check with your doctor first if you are on any medication.

2. Get moving! Increased exercise can also increase dopamine levels. This is because your body is smart, and wants to let you know that exercise is good. Take a walk, hit up a fitness class, or check in at the nearest gym!

3. Relax. I know this one is easier said than done, but you’re adrenal glands are responsible for making dopamine. If your adrenals are fatigued, it may get in the way of dopamine production. I suggest a bath, a good nights rest, and an adaptogenic smoothie.

Use these tips to help you boost your dopamine naturally!

 

If you love health and wellness like I do, lets connect!

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Moving Forward (onward and upward)

I’ve made my share of mistakes in life. I’ve said the wrong thing, done the wrong thing. I’ve acted selfishly. I’ve had one too many drinks before and thanked the lord I woke up safely in my home. I’ve blown up in anger, I’ve missed opportunities, I have been stubborn once or twice in my past.

I have embarrassed myself like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve tripped, I’ve fallen, I’ve realized I’ve said too much when it was too late to take it back. I’ve had panic attacks in public, and I have cried in a chair all by my lonesome in a nearly packed Starbucks.

I have been hurt. I’ve trusted the wrong people. I’ve been absolutely crushed by people I invested in. I’ve spent hours trying to understand how any decent human being could treat me in such a way.

But to be honest, I haven’t thought about any of that in a very, very, long time.

Why?

Because that’s all in the past, and I don’t live there. What purpose would it serve me to think of it, to revisit it over and over again?

I’ve learned from every mistake, every hurt, every failure. I carry the lesson with me, not the pain.

So often lately I find myself in contact with people who are very much stuck in the past. They just can’t get over that one, or sometimes the many events that have been negative experiences for them. The friend who lied, the boyfriend who left them, the opportunity they missed. They can’t let it go.

In order to move forward, you have to be facing that direction. No one walks down the sidewalk with their head turned around backwards. Why would you operate in such a way in your mind?

The past can be such a distraction from what really matters, which is the here and now. That’s all we really have. And if you are too busy dwelling on things that have already happened, you are bound to miss the precious seconds passing by. Moments meant to be cherished and appreciated. You will miss that if you’re stuck.

I think a lot of people get stuck in their past because they are still looking for answers. If only it were so easy. Those black-and-white answers are not so readily available in life, and you may never find the one you are looking for.

But don’t be discouraged, because there is one thing you can always find: Meaning. What you have been through, the hurt and the pain and the agony, can mean something. But that’s up to you, to attach a purpose to those negative experiences. You might never be able to say “This happened because…” , but maybe you could say “because of this the positive change I made was…” . That’s your meaning right there.

I know it’s easier said than done, I know this. That is the rule for most things. These are the emotional growing pains, even positive change can be a painful process. But you have every right to live a happy life.

You deserve to move on.
Onward and upward !

 

Being Selfish vs. Setting Boundaries 

The other weekend I had to bail out of a friend’s birthday party.

Okay, to be fair, I didn’t bail. I actually did not confirm that I would go, but promised to let her know the day of. And that day, I told her I couldn’t make it.

A lot of people from the outside looking in are going to see that as selfish. A lot of people would question why I was unable to put my own needs aside for my friend for just one night.

But that’s a question that almost answers itself: because these are my needs. 

The week prior to this party I was exceptionally busy ( and yes, it’s the Calgary lifestyle, we are all “always busy!”). I hadn’t slept much; adequate rest and nutrition were definitely lacking. I really needed that evening to get back on my feet.

As a person prone to anxiety, these are just things that I normally keep in check. If I’m not my best self, what can I possibly give to anyone else?

I think when it comes to deciding if you are making a selfish decision or setting boundaries, intention is everything. Are you making this decision out of fear, or out of love? Are you making this decision from your ego, or your soul?

We all have to set healthy boundaries, in both our relationships with other people and also with ourselves.

Luckily I have the most beautiful and understanding friends in the world. This one in particular didn’t hold it against me, and we enjoyed a belated birthday brunch the following weekend.

All decisions made from love require no explanation or justification. But I wanted to share with you guys this example to highlight the difference between being selfish and setting boundaries.

A selfish decision would be cancelling because you don’t know anyone at the party. Or out of past resentment towards the friend. Or even going simply because you feel obligated.

Practice good self care, always. These decisions are for you to know and decide.

The Monster

We all have a dark side – but not all of us are willing to admit it. There’s darkness, but there’s also light. Every one of us represents both sides of the coin; the light and the dark, the good and the bad, the right and the left.

I do believe that there is a sort of “monster” inside of all of us. It’s that side which represents the hidden in our lives. It’s everything we struggle with. It’s anger, it’s depression, it’s anxiety. It’s frustration, it’s loneliness, it’s shame. It’s our deepest darkest secrets. And we spend an incredible amount of time running from that monster. Or hiding from that monster. Or worst of all, numbing the monster. But guess what? The monster always comes back. Hungrier. Angrier. More desperate.

My point is this: you can’t simply ignore it. It’s always going to be there. It’s as much a part of you as the good. The two of you are intertwined.

So stop running.

Stop running and deal with it.

Acknowledge the monster. The monster only exists as a hidden part of you. What becomes acknowledged can no longer be hidden anymore.

The sooner that you realize what you are dealing with, the sooner you can figure out how you are going to deal with it. You may not have realized this before, but it is possible to deal with this in a constructive and healthy way.

The first problem is acknowledging the monster. The second issue is figuring out which methods of dealing with it works for you.

For me, it’s been a journey learning how to channel that inner monster in the gym. I take all the pain, all the frustration, all the disappointment in my life, and I let it loose in there. I work until I have exhausted the monster and it has nothing more to give.

The trick is getting there. The hard part is not allowing the monster to keep me from taming it. Of course there are going to be times when our challenges do their best to prevent us from moving forward in life. That’s when you have to fight.

What works for me may not work for you. There are so many other avenues you can explore. Yoga. Painting. Running. Find that area where you can safely channel your monster energy.

That’s how you use the monster to your advantage.

Take that energy and use it to create something beautiful and positive. Take the lessons that the monster has to teach and use it to grow, physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

Until those parts of you are hidden no more, and the monster is nothing but a whisper that fades and disappears.

“I Have Anxiety Too”

Yesterday, a man and I began talking about protein.

He told me : “I can’t take that powder because it triggers my anxiety”, and was quick to apologize with, “sorry, is that too much information?”

I could have said no and brushed it off. But I was intrigued. Intrigued because I know exactly what it’s like to have your anxiety triggered by certain foods.

“No, I get it”, I explained, “I have anxiety too”. 

I sensed he was a little relieved.

“It’s so interesting; the relationship that food has with our bodies. It matters more than people think. Especially for people with anxiety. Why doesn’t anyone talk about this more?”

He agreed, and said he knew what I meant.

Our conversation went on. I was comforted to meet someone like me.

Someone whose body is, for lack of a better word, finicky. There are just certain things my body doesn’t process well. It’s complicated.

“Cake makes me crazy!”, I told this complete stranger.

“Oh, don’t even get me started on fast food!” he said.

We chuckled in agreement.

A day or two of eating junk, a week or two of too much sugar, and it feels like I am basically signing my life away. Like I’ve signed some kind of agreement to feel physically and emotionally drained.

Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes I want to be… what do they call it… oh – normal.

At the end of the day, I know that I have these struggles for a reason. I’m here to figure it out, and fix it. The relationship between food and anxiety. The relationship between fitness and anxiety. Lifestyle and anxiety.

This conversation made me realize I’m not alone. And if you’ve ever been through this, you are not alone either.

For anyone out their with anxiety, I would love for you to share your triggers! I’m always intrigued to help you solve the mystery.

Stay strong, and keep fighting for your health!

Get out of the Everyday Monotony

Its what we do.

We eat breakfast, we go to work, we’re polite and we follow the norms. We make a reasonable dinner and get everything ready for tomorrow, because tomorrow we must do it all again.

In this routine we get stuck in, there’s no joy. There’s no fulfillment. There’s no heart racing, air gasping, mind blowing happiness. Because out of life we only get what we expect, and we expect the same thing over and over again.

Today, I want to encourage you to break the mold. Do something different. Do something crazy. Challenge yourself. Liberate yourself!

This can be as simple as changing your routine in some small way. Like lunch. Or the route you take to work.

Or it could be as big as purposefully acting in kindness. Buy a stranger a coffee. Dance in your kitchen. Forget dinner, it’s pancakes tonight. Jump on a trampoline for the first time in ten years. Just. Fucking. Do it.


I think we need, as a society, to stop pretending that being ‘normal’ makes us happy. Or fitting in makes us happy. Or slaving away at our 9-5 jobs just to make a buck makes us happy. We do those things to get by.

But what about feeling alive?

What do you do to feel that incredible sense of aliveness?

Here’s what you should do:

Make a list of things that make you feel a sense of peace, purpose, and utter joy:

  • Travelling
  • Laughing until your tummy hurts
  • Cooking something new
  • Acting like a kid again (building snow men, making forts, etc)

Do said things. Do them all. 

Remind yourself that you are not here to perpetuate the every day monotony. You are here to feel, to know joy, to sense the blood rushing through your veins.

No more living one day to the next to the next.

I care for you all, stranger or not, and I hope you find that thing that makes you feel alive and embrace it.

10 Ways to Relieve Stress that AREN’T Total Bullsh*t

This is not your cookie-cutter stress relief list; you know, the one that said take a bath and smell some fresh lavender and all your problems will go away?

This list came from the need to see something more realistic. I’ve looked up natural remedies for stress on the internet and I’m tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. I’m stressed out ok? Maybe I don’t have the wherewith-all to practice any of those obvious self-care techniques.

So I guess this list was also made out of a need to just simply see something different.

And I promise you this list is different.

endofstresszone

 

10 Ways to relieve stress that aren’t total bullsh*t! 

  1. Destroy something. It doesn’t have to be anything valuable, it can be something as simple as a cardboard box. Take it outside into your back alley and destroy it. Stomp on it, punch it, crush it. I’m not advocating violence here: do NOT, I repeat, do NOT use the techniques on a person. Make sure it’s a non-living object; one you won’t miss. Get rid of all that pent up negative energy. Obliterate the thing.
  2. Watch funny videos on youtube. Distraction is actually an amazing technique when it comes to stress and depression. Is this video of harmless pranks going to cure your problems? Nope. Are you going to forget them for a minute or two and have a laugh? Yep.
  3. Cry. Give yourself 100% freedom to go ahead and have one big giant sloppy cryfest. Maybe you’ve been holding those tears in for too long. That’s probably not good for you! It’s okay to let it out.
  4. Waffles. Eat some waffles. Scientific studies show that it’s impossible to be sad while eating buttery, syrup soaked waffles (studies were self-administered).
  5. Sing at the top of your lungs. Remember that album by that band that you really loved in high school and still believe is pure gold? Well the first chance you get to have the house to yourself, play it loud. Sing your heart out! Go to that place the music takes you. And in that moment, nothing matters more than putting on a good show for your non-existent audience.
  6. Hug someone who is a really good hugger. We all have that one person in our lives who has that extraordinary hugging power. Find them and allow them to put their skills to good use.
  7. Watch your guilty-pleasure movie. You know, that one that is so bad it’s kinda good? I always go back to the same movie when I’m going through a rough time, mine is “Dirty Love“, it’s fantastically horrible and ridiculous. It takes about 0% brain power to watch – that’s the kind of movie that you need at a time like this.
  8. Make a list of all the things you are going to do. You don’t even actually have to do anything on the list. No, you’ve accomplished enough today by simply making the list. Time to relax.
  9. Look at travel destinations. This will make it a lot easier to pretend that you’re not even actually where you are. Maybe you’re in the Bahamas, maybe you’re in Laos! Maybe you’ll make secret plans to run away so you don’t have to deal with your problems. Sometimes even just knowing that’s an option makes people feel better. Plus, pictures of beaches and oceans are awesome.
  10. Go in the mirror and smile and laugh at how ridiculously overwhelmed you are. Like, dear god, is this some kind of sick joke?! It must be and I get it because Im laughing now! In all seriousness, you either laugh or you cry sometimes. I prefer to laugh like a madwoman at those times. And thats okay.

Whatever gets you through those tough times is okay. And these solutions don’t have to be “fixes”, you know why? Because your storm will pass. You will have made it through one teeny-tiny step at a time. And like me, you won’t bother googling stress relief ideas until the wave comes over you again.

Take care everyone!

20 Things You Can Do to Cope (the Healthy Way)

Hey you guys! I hope everyone had a wonderful week.

But just so you know, this post is more so for those who didn’t have such a wonderful week. I’m talking about the strugglers; the bad-day-ers, the self-sabotagers.

Sometimes when we’re hurting we want to escape, and we all have different vices. Some drink, some get high, some overeat, and some self-harm. But when you get down to it, these are all just the strategies we habitually run to when we want a way out of feeling the way that we do.

It takes a while to realize that these activities actually don’t make us feel better; they bury our pain. And it’s temporary. It will rise to the surface again, and the cycle will repeat itself until we learn to actually deal with our feelings in a healthy and constructive way.

 

 

Today, I’m making a list of all the things you can do besides engaging in any unhealthy coping activities. I suggest trying at least 5 – 10 in any given situation, because hey sometimes one just isn’t quite enough.

  1. Call a friend
  2. Get outside
  3. Hug an animal
  4. Watch funny videos on Youtube
  5. Organize your closet
  6. Cocoon yourself in a blanket
  7. Tell someone you love them
  8. Light some candles
  9. Yoga
  10. Watch a cartoon
  11. Deep breaths in and out
  12. Go for a workout
  13. SING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS
  14. Take a nap
  15. Look in the mirror and say ” I love you “
  16. Look up travel pictures
  17. Draw/ Color a picture
  18. Find support for what you’re going through (counselor/friend/support group)
  19. Take a bath
  20. Dance (whether someone is watching or not)

I know these seem like simple things, and that’s because they are. Who wants complicated in the heat of a difficult moment? I hope you’ll consider some of these options the next time you’re in a bind!

Keep your head up, strong babes!

“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it”