Michelle’s very unscientific and inconclusive vitamin D experiment

Spring finally rolled out in my area. It’s warmer (sometimes). It isn’t pitch black outside at 5pm. This is good news for sufferers of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also sometimes called ‘winter depression’. I’ve never been diagnosed with SAD, but I have noticed that I often feel more depressed in winter. I wanted to try to combat this last winter.

Now, let me try to explain my thinking:

  • Some research suggests there could be a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression (Just check out these Google Scholar results for the search ‘vitamin D depression’).
  • I experience increased symptoms of depression in winter.
  • I am probably vitamin D deficient in winter.
    • I come to this conclusion because the main source of vitamin D is sunlight. I live above the 37th parallel, which makes it more or less impossible to get enough vitamin D from sunlight in the winter (I’ll let Harvard Health Publications explain this one.)
  • Therefore, vitamin D deficiency might be linked to my increased symptoms of depression.
  • Therefore, increasing my intake of vitamin D might help combat those increased symptoms of depression.

That makes sense, right?

It’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from diet alone, so I decided to take supplements. Eat Right Ontario suggested that 600-4000iu was both safe and good for me, so ignoring some allegations that we might actually need far more vitamin D, I always took between 1000iu and 2000iu.

I’ll jump ahead and give you the “results” right now: taking vitamin D didn’t seem to do a damn thing for me. I tracked my mood throughout the winter, asking myself at the end of the day ‘How did I feel today?‘…the answer was usually ‘Blah!

But here were the problems with my experiment:

  • I did not take the supplements every day.
  • I varied the amount of vitamin D I was taking (and my amounts may have been too low).
  • I did not use a very rigorous mood and symptom tracking questionnaire.

This makes for bad science (not even touching the fact that I’m just one trial!). Any of those problems could skew the results of my very unscientific experiment.

So, unfortunately, I can’t really come to any solid conclusions. I might try this experiment again next winter, but with stricter guidelines. Until then, I’ll just enjoy the sunshine.

Notes: I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on T.V. I did not do this with a doctor’s permission or under a doctor’s supervision. If you are curious about what supplementing vitamin D could do for you, talking to a real doctor is almost certainly a good idea. Stay safe, stay well, friends 🙂

 

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The Impact of Suicide (on someone with depression)

Warning: This post talks about suicide. If that will be upsetting or triggering for you, I do suggest skipping this post. Please keep yourself well!


Someone I knew killed himself. (more…)

Off meds

Hi! I’m not dead! Quick update: I’ve graduated university (woo!), am enrolled in a college program (woo!), am currently off all medication (woo?), and have been living at home for the summer (no woo).

For now, I’m just going to talk about being off meds.

It’s kind of wild.

It took eight days of me being completely med-free before the suicidal ideation began. I spend time thinking about how nice it might be to simply not exist, but don’t spend my time planning how I might make this happen, so I think I’m okay. It didn’t surprise me that those thoughts came about (I was never entirely free of them when I was on medications, anyhow).

What did throw me for a loop was emotions! I guess I kinda, sorta forgot I had them or something? Without medications I feel emotions much more strongly, and I hadn’t realized what a dampening effect the medication had.

Case and point: I cried over a television show about a beaver. It was either one of the most pathetic moments of my life, or the most Canadian (I’m going with the latter.). I also cried over another show about an elephant. I rewatched Les Mis and cried so hard I made myself laugh! Honestly, I’m pretty amused by the whole business. It annoys me a bit, but once the crying is over, it’s funny how easily I cry now.

I get angrier now, too. Sometimes it feels pretty good to get angry.

On the downside, I’m more easily overwhelmed, and it’s much harder to feel happy, especially for any sustained period of time. I think once I’m settled into a new school year, this will get a bit better, since life is a bit rocky at the moment (what with the living at home and an upcoming move and whatnot).

Overall, I have mixed feelings about being off medication. Medication was definitely helpful to me for both my depression and my anxiety. However, it is nice to not worry about taking the meds, and filling prescriptions, finding a new doctor, the cost, etc.. At the moment, things are okay without meds, but I worry that I won’t always be able to handle things without them. I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes, I suppose!

Curl Up In Bed and Never Leave

I’ve neglected to take my meds for a few days in a row. This has occurred because of the horrible sleep habits (read: lack thereof) I’ve had recently. Luckily, I’ve not gone through withdrawal (been there before; I get the shakes like an epileptic). However, it has allowed me to see what I’m like without my meds, and I’m not certain I like that.

(more…)

Creepin’ the Ex: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

There are some stupid things you shouldn’t do after breaking up (or so I have been lead to believe [not really my area of expertise]). Unfortunately, I’m kind of stupid sometimes, so I ignore such advice and common sense. I creeped her blog. Bad idea. Yet strangely comforting.

(more…)

Compliment Yourself!

I believe that I have received more criticism in my life than I have praise. So if nobody else is going to praise me, I might as well! It really lifted my mood to write this list, and I highly recommend this activity to others.

(more…)

Out of Sorts

This will just be a quick, little check-in.

First off, I’d like to thank everybody for their support about my last post on my break up. I’ve not been able to really talk about the break up with anybody yet, so it was nice to have that outlet and to get other people’s responses.

So today, I should be writing a paper. No fear, the paper will get done, but I’m having a hell of a time concentrating. I have my book open, I know what I’m writing on, but I just can’t sit here and write it! I’m thinking maybe I just need to make a cup of tea, put on some music (for some strange reason, dubstep is good work/study music for me), and have at it. Good thing this isn’t a very important essay!

Also, while I feel as though I’ve been doing fairly well so far with the break up, today I really missed her. I’m stopping myself from contacting her, not because it would be hard on me (it is more hard for me to not talk to her at all, than to talk to her platonically), but because I want to give her the time and the space. I suppose it isn’t much different from missing my mum when I first went off to school; when you’re used to talking to somebody basically every day, it is hard on you when you cannot.

I guess I’m just a bit lonely or something, so if anybody wants to leave a comment and say ‘hi’, that would be sweet 🙂

Michelle

I Have a Broken Heart

Back to blogging when I’m sad, I guess, and I am very sad. It’s such a stereotypical reason to be sad, and that sort of annoys me, but at the same time, it makes me understand other people a little better. I’m fresh out of a break up, and dying inside.

(more…)

Sometimes I Worry My Voice Won’t Work

Sometimes I worry that my voice won’t work. Now, this hasn’t happened just recently, but i remember this concerning me quite often during my first year of university. Why? Because my social anxiety was at an all-time high, and I spent most of my time in my room without anybody to talk to. On weekends when my roommate(s) went home, the only people I talked to were the catering/cafeteria service workers, and i’d often have a moment of worry that upon reaching the cashier, I might find that my voice had disappeared from not using it. Luckily, it never happened. however, i find myself in a similar state now: spending all my time in my room, sad, alone, not speaking to anybody. Socially, I had done well this school year, so where did it go wrong?

(more…)

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