Being in Florida and getting that vitamin D from the sun helped me feel a bit better. I started the kitchen life and met some cool people. It seemed I was on the road to recovering from the “great depression”. I’m a very versatile character and prior to living in Florida I lived in 5 different countries. I quickly adapted to life in South Beach. Who wouldn’t! The sun was shining, the water was warm and the weed was good. In hopes of learning quicker and making some money, chef put me on a rough schedule that consisted of morning and night shifts. Morning shifts were prep and lunch service. It was the more relaxed time. Night shift was different. The pace, the stress, and the clean up followed by closing. I didn’t mind either of the two as long as I got payed. I was just keen to be as good as I could be so I could make my life easier. I’m a quick learner and I seriously am passionate about food. I learned new tricks and new ways of doing things. It was like a school, except I was getting payed for it. The time spent in the kitchen was fun because the people that worked there were chill too. I remember Eugene the dishwasher who always talked about black girls with fat asses in every damn break. Another friend was this cool lesbian chick named Keesha. Big pothead. The sous chef John. I’ve never met anyone more passionate about food. That man was made for the kitchen life. I admired his work ethic and energy. After working a 12 hour shift he would go home and take care of his disabled mother.
Even in the midst of my depression, I still knew how amazing my life was and what a blessed person I was. I knew there were people far worse off than I am. Which was pissing me off even more because knowing these things and still feeling like shit was unacceptable. You know the wrongs, you know how happy you can be, yet can’t help but feel the way you do. It’s like being in a prison of thoughts and feelings without common sense or hope.
There wasn’t a switch for me to turn and just be “okay”. I kept wondering what it was going to take. How long it was going to take. I was always waiting for the next morning. So maybe I can wake up and I wouldn’t feel the way I do. Many mornings would pass without any motivation to get out of bed. I would wake up, realize the feeling was still there and want to fall right back to sleep. Having a job didn’t give me an option. Even though I had no energy, no motivation, no drive to live the day, I had to get up and do what I had to do. As always, some days were better than others. I would get a brief moment of rush that made me believe everything was going to be okay, but then it would disappear like a fart in the wind. I thought moving to Florida, seeing the sun, getting into some sort of routine and rhythm would immediately get me out of my depression. Although it made me feel better, I was still very much depressed. Still contemplating suicide. I would sit and think about ways to end my life, even though I knew how stupid it was. I wanted to jump from the nearest building and drown myself in every ocean. I would just smoke weed and try to forget. But that was all a temporary solution to my problems. I knew I couldn’t smoke my way out of this.
Slowly realizing what I hoped would be my remedy wasn’t working, I began to fade out. I was waiting for the day, the moment I would snap and have the shameful courage of taking my own life. Once again, the thought of my parents always put me a hold. I decided I had to keep fighting this. This thing was either gonna kill me, or make me unbreakable. I made it a mission to make myself better and not fall before kingdom come. I knew deep down that my time wasn’t up. It wasn’t time for me to leave this world. Yet. I felt as if there were so many things I still needed to live, things I needed to experience, accomplish and help. I always kept faith in God, and I believed that he gave me this life for a reason. I couldn’t just throw it all away.
But I didn’t care. I just wanted to end this shitty hopeless feeling that kept me from living. I wanted to stop it any way I could. I hoped that God would forgive me. I sort of started liking the idea of having death as an option. Knowing I had a way out if it ever got too much put me at ease. I figured eventually if this went on that I would end it one day or another. It seemed that nothing I tried was working. I would go to work, then go hang with friends, come home and not wanna live through another day. Hopeless and desperate, I decided to give in to anti-depressants and mood stabilizers. It seemed like my last option. I was afraid though. Not afraid to take them, but that it wouldn’t help.
I was prepared for the side effects i’ve been hearing and reading about. I was prepared to take them for the rest of my life. As long as it made me feel better. I was never optimistic. I never thought a magic pill could just like that help me be okay. Except for ecstacy. That shit is awesome! I was skeptical before and that never really changed. I was just out of options. I remember driving one day and talking to my mom. Don’t talk on the phone while you drive. I had bluetooth. I remember telling her I was afraid of myself. That I wasn’t feeling better. That I had no option but to give the anti-depressants a try. I told her that I was ready for them. I suddenly thought of something. Something that made me think maybe, just maybe that this idea was just crazy enough to work. I told her that I would try one last thing before I call the doctor. If this one last try of mine didn’t work, I will go for the pills. You see, i’m a Personal Trainer. If a client came to me complaining about joint pains or had a hormonal imbalance, I would know which supplements to recommend to maybe help them feel better. What if I could do the same for myself? What if I could somehow make myself feel better through a cocktail of natural supplements? What if? Was I crazy? Crazy enough.
Bipolar disorder is caused by the electrical pulse receptors in the brain not picking up the lithium released by the body. Not only the receptors fail engage with the lithium, but not enough lithium is being produced by the body itself. It would produce a very minimal amount and whatever it produced wouldn’t go where it needed to go. It is the reason why the serotonin levels in the body stay at extreme low levels. Serotonin is the feel good hormone that helps us stay motivated to live life and enjoy the things we like to enjoy. Once that goes away, so does joy.
I went online and started searching for anything that would help the body boost it’s lithium production naturally. Lithium is found in the body, so when you take anti-depressants it’s like injecting your body with lithium from an outside source. Once that happens, the body shuts down it’s natural production because it knows it’s being provided with enough of it. Kinda like how testosterone works. When meatheads inject themselves with steroids (testosterone) the body shuts down it’s natural source of testosterone production center. (the balls). Hence why when they stop taking steroids they deflate like a balloon and their nuts shrink down to the size of peas. I went online and started researching things that help the body create more lithium. After staying up all night and hours of reading, I got names of a bunch of amino acids, vitamins, herbs, minerals, foods, that were proven with studies to help create lithium and boost serotonin levels in the body.
I headed to GNC first thing next morning. I got everything I had on my list. All together about 8 different types of natural supplements. I couldn’t wait to get started with them. I was realistic though. I knew I had to give it time to see if there were any significant changes and in the back of my mind I knew that this may not even work at all. I started taking the pills that morning. I took 8 pills in the morning and 5 right before bed. I know that may seem like a whole lot of pills, but these were all natural things like Omega-3, L-tyrosine, zinc, magnesium, HTP, L-tryptophan, green tea extract, vitamin b6, B12, and a couple of others. I’ve always liked experimenting with new things when it came to fitness and my body. I’ve always liked taking different supplements to see what kind of reaction they have on the body. I’ve seen my friends taking 20+ pills at once during competition period in Sweden. Mind you, these people are all drug tested so no doping was ever allowed. So to me 8 pills wasn’t much. Besides i’d rather take 8 natural supplements than 2 synthetic chemicals. I had no idea how my mind or body would react. I was taking a shot in the dark. I woke up the next day feeling no different. I was just optimistic and hopeful. I had my mind set though. I was ready to give it time. If this didn’t work, I would give in to the chemical pills. If that didn’t work then, fuck.
Most of us go to our graves with music still inside of us. I had plenty of melody left. I was just singing out of tune. The third morning I woke up, opened my eyes and saw the sunshine through the window. There was something different. I felt different. Like someone had just splashed a bucket of ice cold water on to my heart. I thought the same old feeling would come back in a few minutes once my body was up and running. So I just wanted to lay in bed and not move, so i could feel the way I felt just a little longer. Normal. I got up to go to the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and for the first time in a long time, I smiled. Once I realized I was smiling, I smiled some more. Then I smiled harder. I took a shower, and after my shower I was still smiling. I went to have some food, with a smile on my face. I was cautious though. I was worried that this was a brief, temporary feel good moment that would eventually fade. I was shit scared of going back to the way I felt. Mind you, there was nothing different about my life. Nothing positive or negative had happened for my mood to be affected. There were no changes besides the fact that I had started taking these supplements. Could that have been it? Had I found a way around the anti-depressants?
It was hard for me to give all the credit to the supplements, as it had only been 3 days since I started them. Six cycles all together. Three mornings, and three nights. That same day, I went out for a drive with my 1981 Chevy Malibu. That’s when I got a call from the Chef saying that it wasn’t really working out with me in the kitchen and that he was letting me go. This was a big shock to me as I felt I was doing good, learning and getting along with everyone in the kitchen. I wanted a reason as to why he decided to let me go. He wouldn’t say. All he kept saying was that I didn’t belong in the kitchen. I kept asking why, and what it is that I did wrong. He would just not give me a straight answer. I hate when people do that shit. I want to know my mistakes, so I can learn from them and not do them in my next job. His answer was, “I got nothing to say”. I said, “Well that’s bullshit, go fuck yourself then.”
Surprisingly getting fired didn’t bring me down. I hung up the phone, turned up the music and kept singing along to Coldplay. My attitude even surprised me. The way I saw it was as if this was a new opportunity to begin something new. Everything happens for a reason. Right? When a door closes another door opens right? That was the level of thinking I was at. Whereas if this had happened two days earlier, I probably would have felt as a complete failure without any hope. All I could think about was the probability that I may have just conquered my depression. I even thought for a moment that God had bestowed this feeling upon me for one day just so that I can have a tiny break. So I would have it in me to be fine with what just happened. I was thankful for that day. At least I had felt that I wasn’t alone, that he was listening, that he was there all along. Suddenly, I felt fine again. I felt blessed.
The following morning, I woke up with the same smile on my face. The day after, I smiled. I smiled again. I smiled the next day, and the next day after that, and the next days after that. I kept taking my supplements. Everyday that went by I was more convinced that it was the supplements than anything. It couldn’t have been mental because then something would have changed when I moved to Miami, got some sun, made some friends, got a job, made money and lived alone. It was definitely the supplements. I had found a way around and defied my depression through my own methods and ways. It’s been almost 10 months since I started taking the supplements and I have been okay ever since. A couple of months ago, I decided to stop taking my supplements for a month. Just to see what changes I would see or feel, and to give my body a rest from everything. I stopped taking protein shakes, I stopped eating any refined carbs, just complete detox. I shit you not by the end of the month, I started slipping back into a depressive state. I couldn’t believe it. I started my supplements again immediately, and within a few days it was okay again. I can’t tell you how blessed I am, how lucky I am that these supplements actually worked. Not because it was a last ditch chance or a one final hope, but because something worked. I really had a feeling that I may never be able to enjoy another moment, another breath, or another sunrise. I couldn’t see the beauty in the world, even when I knew it was there. I’m so glad and happy not to follow in the footsteps of millions and give in to anti-depressants. I stood up against all the doctors, my family and my friends who told me to go on them. In the end, I did it my way and defied my depression.