How Stacy Beat Post-Nursing Depression

Let me first start by saying, wow.

The response to this post was overwhelmingly supportive and amazing.

I admitted in that post to suffering from depression, which I attributed to post-nursing hormone changes.

For 7 years I was pregnant or nursing. My body was adjusted to an increased level of oxytocin and Wesley weaning earlier this year did quite a doozey on my body.

But, I’m thrilled to report that today, on my 31st birthday, the greatest gift I could have given myself was achieved.

I am no longer depressed.

So, how did I get here?

Denial, denial

Similar to my refusal to admit I needed supplements for digestive support after losing a gallbladder, I also was in denial of needing support for my depression. And as I played with foods, lowering and increasing carbs, sugar, fats and anything in between – the deeper my depression got. I felt like a failure for not being able to solve my problem with proper nutritional choices.

Meanwhile, my sleep and stress got worse and worse. Ultimately, I became so ridden with guilt about being depressed that it became a huge contributor to the depression itself. I felt like a complete and utter phoney to you all, having previously blogged about and spoken of increased levels of energy and joy from going paleo – yet there I was, exhausted by life and generally frustrated by everything. My patience was short with the kids, my marriage strained, my jobs overwhelming.

Fortunately for me, the friends and family in my life encouraged me to take care of myself. Diane and Hayley gave me advice on how to supplement for depression, while mostly giving me a big kick in the pants down the de-stressing path. I knew this already from my autoimmune protocol, which was fresh when I wrote the admission of depression post. But, when I was researching solutions and supplements for depression on Chris Kresser’s site, and his top 6 suggestions were all lifestyle related, I knew I needed to buckle down even more.

What did I actually DO

Tackled Fears:

  1. Going to a waterpark, being in a bathing suit for 2 days straight in public and riding tube slides with weight limits, reminded me how far I’d come, and what I should be proud of. Just a couple of years ago I couldn’t have gone to a waterpark – and now, I got to go and play with all of my boys!
  2. Took Cole on a camping trip, by myself, in monsoon-like rain (for his birthday) #spiderslikethewoods #justsayin’. I woke up the next morning full of exuberance. I had tackled a fear head-on and not only did I do OK, the boys and I had a fantastic time doing it. I felt so proud I was teary-eyed from joy.

Focused on self-therapy and making myself happy:

  1. I wrote this post, which ultimately helped me feel incredibly better about myself and released feelings of guilt.
  2. I looked back at photos of the family, in happy times, reliving those memories for hours on end.
  3. I updated and finished personal projects plaguing me as unfinished for the past year (like The Paleo View, our family scrapbook, website maintenance and organizing home cabinets).
  4. We took a family summer vacation and actually TOOK a vacation, without my head buried in my phone or computer.
  5. I went to bed when I was tired; without caffeine or sugar, this sometimes meant 8pm – no matter how embarrassing.

Kept my diet clean:

  1. Kept my diet low-sugar and completely autoimmune. I successfully added back cocoa, egg yolk, ghee and fruit to make it sustainable. If you’re curious about AI, listen to our Autoimmune Protocol here or ead more about my Egg-Free Saga and autoimmune protocol here.
  2. Increased “superfoods” like fermented CLO, wild fish, and bone broth.
  3. I avoided sweet foods after dinner, as the sugar rush would keep me awake longer than I should have been.

Found recipes that filled my “sweets” void, like:

  1. Creamy Dreamy Frozen Custard
  2. Banana Pumpkin Pucks
  3. Creamy Coconut Chocolate Chip Macaroons
  4. Berries & Cream Breakfast Cake by The Urban Poser
  5. Paleo Breakfast Cookies by Against All Grain
  6. I also reintroduced alcohol. No shame, I enjoy booze and a gin & soda water with lime a couple times a week goes a long way for a working mom of 3 active boys!

p.s. Because you’ll ask, and the trolls will arrive in the comments… I’m tired of hearing all the drama about sweets in the paleo world. We’ve said our peace here. I personally think deprivation of carbs and sugar was one of the causes of low serotonin for me, because I just can’t do a high fat/ketogenic diet without a gallbladder and you need one or the other IMO. So I’ve reintroduced foods that are sweetened naturally and am not giving it another thought. If your body reacts differently, then follow those cues.

Supplemented

And, I took a supplement.
What did I supplement with? Well, my research led me to ordering one of each of these.

But I started off with just the St. John’s Wort, which I take 1200mg of a day, and with everything else combined – it was all I needed! I’m still taking it, and plan to for another 2 months (for 3 months total) before I wean myself off. The amazing news, is that all of these supplements are totally affordable. Especially considering the price some other people are willing to pay for happiness!

Take Back Your Life

This is not a one-size fits all solution. This is not medical advice. What this is, is a declaration of happiness and joy.

I’ve woken up with tears of joy in my eyes the last month. I’ve been driving home from work so excited to get to hug my boys when I walked in the door that I was literally bouncing in the driver’s seat. I’ve been compelled to call people, tell them I love them. I’m texting friends, planning events and meet-ups, hosting parties and generally engaging with society again. These things are my normal again, and I wish them for everyone.

Get Help

No, this is not a prescription drug commercial. But, if you’re suffering from depression or any other health condition, don’t feel guiltDon’t let it go on, because it doesn’t have to.  Take your life back with controlling the illness that plagues you – both body and mind. Because just like the difference 30 days of clean eating makes, 30 days of mental recovery is just as powerful. Try it, you’ll be so thankful you did.

About Stacy

Stacy Toth has written 341 post in this blog.

Stacy is the matriarch of the Paleo Parents family. After beginning a paleo diet and founding PaleoParents.com in 2010, she lost 135 pounds and found health and happiness for the whole family. The following three years have been a progressive journey with a mission to educate people about nourishing their bodies by eating real foods. Stacy can be found on all forms of social media as @PaleoParents as well as the top-rated The Paleo View Podcast and her two cookbooks, Eat Like a Dinosaur and Beyond Bacon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=115800630 Tabitha Davidson

    I am SO ready to get past my depression! Just when I thought I had PPD beat, my daughter weaned and I was hit with depression again. Then, we moved halfway across the country (and I have no friends here) and we’ve had a few deaths around us (friends & family)… Now that we are finally getting settled into our new house, it’s time to take care of ME! I, like you, had my gallbladder removed, so I’m dealing with those issues as well. My parents (they have an herb/vitamin shop) just got involved with a new company, Solle Naturals, so I’m going to give it a try; my shipment should be here sometime this week. It’s supposed to have amazing results with balancing hormones, so we’ll see!

  • Jaclyn

    A million thanks for this post. I’m just coming off five years of straight pregnancy (3 of ‘em) and breastfeeding, and I’ve been feeling like a wreck. Thanks for giving me a place to start in looking for ways to help myself – which, of course, will be a huge help to my hubby and kids!

  • Jody

    Oh, my. First of all, Happy Birthday! Second of all, I am nearly in tears because you have put a name to something I didn’t even recognize was happening to me until just now. I stopped nursing this winter after nearly fourteen years of consecutive nursing. I have struggled with depression most of my life, but changing my diet had changed my life. This summer, though things got progressively worse, and I’m just now trying to get things turned back around. It is reassuring to me to realize that the struggle I’ve been facing is more than my own lack of willpower, etc. I didn’t know there was such a thing as post-nursing depression, but it certainly makes sense. Thank you.

  • HeatherK Watts

    Happy Birthday and what an amazing and beautiful post!! Awesome that you are celebrating life and family!! And you are like superwoman to me 2 days hanging out in a bathing suit I don’t know if I could do that one… that freaks me out more than spiders!! There are alot of campaigns for women right now about being happy with your body. I think there are so many women who are just not comfortable in there skin….If only we could all just eat healthy be active and live happy, Love our families….maybe there we would find that contentment and release the guilt of not measuring up to whatever standard got trapped in that head of ours and be able to say Life is Good!! ~May you be blessed to celebrate many more in good health with your family ~Love Heather

  • Staci

    Happy Birthday!!
    This is definitely a read I needed today. After having lots of random weird dizzy spells and other health ailments, extreme lethargy and stomach problems despite my year and a half long efforts at a Paleo diet I was getting discouraged and worried, and these feelings were heightened this morning. This read was the kick in the pants I needed. I’m so glad I stumbled upon it on my FB feed. I love keeping up with your stories. I too am a mother who recently lost a lot of weight (85lbs over the past 5 years, woot!), and have been pregnant or nursing for close to the past 6 years! Now with a kindergartener and an almost 2 year old I find myself more exhausted and leaving less time for ME, which is adding to my problems. I really need to buckle down for the next month and find what my body really needs. Thank you so much, you’re such an inspiration!

  • Adri

    Happy Birthday Stacey! So glad to hear that you are starting to feel better. Great advice: find whatever works and do it! After 17 years of pregnancy and breastfeeding (yep, 17, that’s 7 pregnancies, 6 babies and 2-3 years of breastfeeding each one of them), my youngest weaned 3 weeks into my new paleo lifestyle. I do think that it slowed down my initial progress, but I stuck it out and it was probably good timing in the long run. Feeling great now, and wishing I had done this before I had my babies.

  • Lady Grok

    Happy Birthday to you: you are an inspiration! After going through a few interesting rounds of hormonal highs and lows, I am convinced that hormones are the devil. If they’re off, YOU’RE off, in a big way. I love seeing someone else’s corroboration of this fact, as well as your splendid “recipe” for what you did to chisel through to the other side. Cheers!

  • Brandy

    Happy Birthday Stacy! I needed this post today so thank you! I have been struggling with post partum depression and really not wanted to take the prescription that my doctor just gave me. I want to feel happy and excited about life again too. You are an inspiration, and thank you for being open and helping people realize that they are not alone.

  • Rebekka

    Aarrgghh. I’ve been so down since weaning my daughter, even though we did it gradually. I thought it was stress from going back to work and my daughter starting at daycare – which it probably is, too – but… Why doesn’t anyone talk about this?! I had no idea. Now I regret letting my doctor talk me into increasing the dosage of my antidepressants. :-(

  • Candy in Wonderland

    Another very inspiring post, just like the one about loosing 135 lb. Wishing you lots of happy moments :) .
    Candy

  • Lauren

    Happy birthday, gorgeous!

  • Jody

    The Creamy, Dreamy Custard link links to the Autoimmune Protocol, unless I am just not seeing it somewhere on that page?
    Thanks!

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Fixed!

  • ZooeyClarke

    I am totally in the same boat. It feels refreshing hearing my thoughts from another person. I am young,but recovering from cancer. Bills are like crazy huge, I work full-time from home, home-school, and cook paleo at least three times a day not including all the kid snacks.I am weaning my almost 2 year old so the hormones are nuts, life is overwhelming and another birthday is approaching. I feel like I need to cut something or somethings out but I feel they all are equally important I am going to look into the supplements but I love your self therapy approach. Time to take care of me instead of feeling guilty for being less than perfect… thanks for the inspiration!

  • Angela

    this is the first time I’ve heard of post-nursing depression and i am thankful to you for writing this post. I too was pregnant and/or nursing for 6 years and I have not yet full recovered even though my youngest is 2 1/2. My depression is gone but my body is still not working as it should. I can’t loose all the baby weight no matter what I do and I get agitated very easily. I know by various physical signs that my hormones are off. I’ve been really hard on myself this last year for not getting back to the way I was after my last pregnancy but after reading this post I realize that I need to take it easier on myself and continue looking for solutions. Every time I fail in my weightloss goals I blame myself for laziness or lack of discipline but it’s probably something physical/hormonal that I haven’t solved yet. Thanks for the honesty, I appreciate it so much!