Morning Depression? Probably not.
I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but morning depression may not be what it seems.
We wake up feeling groggy, tired and heavy, with a reluctance to get up and a general lack-lustre feeling. Oftentimes, these symptoms are mistaken for depression but may be something else entirely. However, it’s very difficult for a depressed person to tell the difference between being over-tired or undernourished and the actual emotional disorder.
In my own experience I have become to see with great clarity that diet is probably the number one factor in whether I feel “depressed” or not.
Sure, there are general mindsets that help us process the world in a more emotionally beneficial way, but our general emotional state is created by our neurotransmitters (which include our feel-good chemicals like serotonin, oxytocin, etc)—the vast majority of which is produced in the gut by our microbiome. And since the health of our microbiome is directly related to our diet, what we eat and drink affects how we feel and how well we sleep.
If I eat pizza and ice-cream less than 4 hours before bed, I’m likely to have disrupted sleep. Not only is my body busy digesting when it should be resting, but it’s also dealing with a chemical disruption that affects serotonin production.
I’m not an expert, so I won’t try to explain any of that in detail. But the proof is in the pudding as they say (or, more accurately, the proof is when you DON’T eat the pudding! haha). When I predominantly eat a variety of fresh vegetables and other feel-good foods, and avoid sugars, alcohol, stimulants and processed foods, and exercise a little, I generally feel good. When I don’t… well, I definitely don’t feel good—I have all the “symptoms” of depression (including morning depression) in ever-increasing levels. And this is coming from someone who experienced over a decade of manic depression and tried many traditional approaches.
Unfortunately, our food industries are not helping. Cheap, lifeless, processed foods are making people sick and sad—there’s much scientific proof, but it’s buried by the companies who seek to gain from our ignorance. We’re blindsided by “health ratings” and “added nutrients” into thinking that this junk is real food, but it’s not. And, in particular, processed sugar is literally a poison (for your microbiome, your brain and your body)… and we’re unknowingly ingesting a truckload of this stuff in processed foods every day.
For more on the topic of “morning depression”, please check out this post.
If you’ve read this and still feel that you’re having a real depressive episode, please take a look at this article to get some ideas that should help.