Living on the Autism Spectrum Depression
Living on the Autism Spectrum Depression: an update. More research is being done to see if depression and CTE are linked. Looking into a history that may have included an head injury or trauma is very important.
Living on the Autism Spectrum Depression is a familiar and not so easy to overcome. We are easily overwhelmed, lacking the tools others instinctively use to bounce back from depression: change of activity or environment, extra sleep or diet change. For us, it takes all of these, and more. This is my experience.
Depression eased with Change of Activity or Environment
Change of activity or environment is probably the number one thing I choose to lessen depression because it is the quickest. These feelings are heavy on the heart, mind and body, so when I begin to feel them coming on I now recognize them for what they are and immediately change to something that brings me happiness. This is as simple as smelling one of my favorite aromas, Bamboo Willow, or stepping outdoors to listen to the birds. I know these sound simple, but the important point here is they are immediately effective. If the depression is lasting a day or more than I change my diet and sleep patterns immediately.
Depression is controlled with Proper Diet
Changing my diet is simple: no sugar, no caffeine (coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate), or alcohol. Many experts have suggest those of us with ADD-ADHD-Dyslexia adhere to a no sugar/no caffeine diet anyway, but we sometimes fail to see when they slip into our diets without realizing it. This happens most often in prepared foods – so eliminating them (anything that comes in a box, can or bottle) will keep you safe. I use the word “safe” here because this is probably the most important tip I can share with ADD-ADHD-Dyslexia Autism Spectrum learners. Sugar is hidden in all processed food. Beware of foods with ingredients ending with “ose:” fructose, sucrose, etc. along with honey, artificial sweeteners, agave, corn syrup. And do not forget the foods that metabolize into sugars the quickest: white rice, white potatoes, white bread, corn (including corn chips). Often over-whelming, once you fall into a completely sugar-free eating plan, you will feel the difference in as little as seven days.
Dr. Lisa Rankin is one of my favorite experts on eating to allow our bodies to heal themselves. She also has a number of YouTube videos that explain her research and findings as well.
Dr. Rangan Chatterjee discusses how a poor diet combined with sleep loss leads to depression. He also has a number of YouTube videos on the subject.
Depression is Less Frequent with Enough Sleep
You cannot pick up a magazine or newspaper without some reference to the importance of sleep. Sleep is a healer. Sleep is a problem solver. Sleep is a calorie burner. Sleep can rejuvenate the body. Sleep is a natural sedative. We need sleep, even more so as we get older, but it is crucial for people with learning differences. This is so much clearer to me while watching my elderly dog as he gets closer to the end.
Animals always know how to heal themselves. I am lucky I am working from home to watch over and help my elderly dog. Several times within the past six months we expected to wake and find him gone. He is often so weak we had to put his bed next to his food, water and papers all within a 3 x 3 limited area. This can go on for as long as thirty-six hours when he rarely eats, drinks water or poops. But by gosh, after whatever time he needs, he perks up, eats, drinks, eliminates normally and bounces around like a new puppy! This cycle has happened four times within the last six months! The bottom line: animals know what to do to heal themselves, and so do we. But for some reason we ignore the natural instincts we are born with.
Living on the Autism Spectrum invites bouts of Depression because of our broken learning differences. Therefore, I want to just add a couple of things I have found so important in dealing with my Depressions. First, and most importantly, exercise can save our lives. I can hear every one of you moan. But hear me out. It is so simple to just do a few of the following throughout the day:
- jump rope (with or without an actual rope),
- pull ups,
- use 5 pound, hand-held weights while stretching
- end each day with six of your favorite Yoga positions.
I place something in each room of the house so I can do a few minutes of exercise as I go about my day, or during a commercial on t.v. if I am watching a program. There are five commercials during an hour show! At the end of my day, before I shower, I hold the Pilates Plank position for at least a count of sixty before moving into several Yoga positions. These have become so important to my sleep that skipping them causes me to have a restless night. And lastly, once in bed, I take out my Daily Journal (an actual one, not online) and write out three things for which I am grateful for that day. So simple, but so powerful — no Woo-Woo stuff – just things that works for me I wanted to share.
Another Blogger that I follow, Jeff Cann, just wrote about his own battle with a period of Depression. He also wrote about a Blogger he follows and how her story touched and motivated him to write his Blog. The more conversations and the more comfortable we become with both depression and anxiety attacks the closer we come to understanding and solutions. Sufferers are everywhere. We are all walking wounded.
Unfortunately, we are still forgetting that the homeless and incarcerated, along with many “disgruntled” co-workers, are all probably dealing with lifelong, un-diagnosed learning differences. When we focus on that simple possibility, we can actually understand why there seems to be so many people who suddenly “snap” and cause some horrible disaster or violence against others.
“The growing interest in Buddhism is not a change of religion,
rather a change of mind.
People want a change from something they think is old.”
Please let me know how these ideas work for you, or write me your ideas. This is a Blog for sharing.
Today on CNN News there is an interesting article about a program launched at UCLA for screening in-coming students for Depression. College can be so over-whelming, especially for first year freshmen. I remember being so intimidated by the size of the university campus, numbers of students, teacher presentations, my roommate, navigating the cafeteria — basically everything! I am so amazed everyday how dealing with learning differences and depression are receiving so much more media attention.
Recommended Reading: Wishful Drinking, by Carrie Fisher
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