Depression: Causes or Effects?

Sometimes I get depressed; I imagine almost all of us do from time to time.  The past few weeks were one of those times (hence the lack of blog posts) and, now that I’m feeling a little better, I think I might explore some of the reasons why depression happens.

The thing is, though, that a lot of the causes of depression could also be the result of it, and vice versa.  I don’t know if these things are a feedback loop, and everything is a cause and an effect, or if some of them caused my recent malaise and others were a result of it.

  • Diet – I have not been eating very well, and I’m not young enough anymore that I can blow it off like it doesn’t matter.  I just eat a lot of frozen waffles, bagels, and potato chips.  However, when I get depressed, I am even less likely to eat well – I end up not wanting to cook anything at all so I just eat junk food and cheap fast food.  So did my poor diet make me depressed or did my depression make me eat poorly?
  • World of Warcraft – I started playing again.  I don’t play as often as I used to, only a few hours about four days a week, but it is very easy to lose yourself in the game and forget about all your troubles.  I started playing around the time that things got bleak.  Coincidence?  I can’t tell.
  • Loneliness – I kind of wanted to call this category “anti-social tendencies” but the two kind of go hand-in-hand.  When I’m depressed, I get whiny, and whininess tends to push people away (especially the ladies).  Loneliness seems like it must be a factor in my depression, if only since most of the people I was close to once are now gone, and that fact may just now be catching up to me.
  • Poor Health – About two to four weeks ago I came down with a pretty annoying cold or flu or something, and that’s when I started feeling bad.  In the fall I tend to get stick and stay sick for a few weeks until I finally break down and get some antibiotics, that happened this time.  The antibiotics play some havoc with my system, especially with digestion, and I don’t feel better for a long time afterward.
  • Work Stress – It’s rare that big projects and important deadlines come up at work, but when they do things can get pretty stressful – the last time I was this stressed out was when they moved my work location for about 9 months.  That time I at least had someone to come home to after the long day.  The days right now aren’t long and the work isn’t even particularly hard but I find it difficult to get through the day.  Again, depression causes this, but it’s also triggered by stress.

It’s hard when all of these things are going on to tell what I should try to fix, and hard to get motivated to fix it when things are going poorly.  Luckily, I’m feeling a little better thanks to a few things:

  • My parents came by to help me fix up the house a little bit, make it more livable and nicer to look.  My mom especially took it upon herself to do some interior decorating.
  • My parents and brother in general.
  • I might be getting a housemate; coming home to an empty house is among the most depressing things you can do.
  • I have a bunch of social things coming up in the next week; the past two weeks have been pretty parched socially.
  • The changing seasons are helpful; Christmas is coming and the fall is very beautiful.  Snow will help as well, I’m sure.

I hope the good things continue and I hope I can figure out which of the bad things to try to minimize so I can feel better.  Hopefully there will be more blogging than there has been.

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So much for eating healthy…

I ate a whole box of gummy bears at the movies yesterday.

Oh well.

The Gregkins Diet

I have been a (pesco-)vegetarian for 3 years.

I am a vegetarian for a number of reasons that all add up together.

First, I think it’s healthier.  After a somewhat serious kidney ailment when I was younger, I was left with only 50% functionality in each of my kidneys.  Because of this, I’m supposed to cut down on the amount of protein I eat.  It’s also easier to avoid fast food that’s terrible for me as a vegetarian, as there’s very little I can eat at most fast food restaurants.

Second, it’s better for the environment.  It takes much less land to grow enough vegetables to live on than it does to grow food for other animals.  That makes for more land that could be opened up for conservation or other uses.  Animal waste also has a habit of mucking up habitats.

Third, it’s a moral thing.  I don’t think I could kill the animals I would be eating, and I don’t think it’s right to ask someone else to do it for me.  I’ve (luckily) never seen the inside of a slaughterhouse but I have heard descriptions.  This last bit was reinforced for me from one of the weirdest places – I was watching a reality TV show about living like they did in the 1800s, and in the final episode they are having a party.  The mother in one of the families decides they are going to kill a pig to have at the party, and her son can’t take it.  He’s taken care of the pig for so long and he just breaks down crying.

Now, lately I have been saying that the weirdest things have been affecting me emotionally.  Well, this was 3 or 4 years ago, and it affected me.  I resolved not to eat meat anymore.

Eventually I broke down and decided that I could probably kill a fish, or some shrimp, so I do eat seafood.

Okay, so that’s vegetarianism.  I also gave up soda about 3 years ago.  It’s not good for you, it’s made by evil corporations, and it doesn’t even taste that good!  Whatever you get used to drinking, that’s what will taste good to you.  So now I only drink juice, milk, and water.  Every now and then I’ll have a soda if it meets only one of the three criteria above, but it’s rare.  And it’s healthier!

When I really think about being as moral as I can possibly be, I think that the only think you should eat, if you don’t want to kill, are fruits and dairy products.  Now, these happen to also be my favorite foods, so last week I basically tried a fruit and dairy diet.  My typical day went like this:

  • Breakfast – glass of orange juice, vitamin
  • Lunch – skim milk, apple, banana
  • Dinner – orange juice, skim milk, and some cheese.

Now, this is not a lot of food.  Which is okay, because I would like to lose some weight, and being that I barely move and that probably won’t change, my diet would probably be the best place to start.  After a week of that stuff, I ate out with Melissa a couple times in a row, and I could barely eat anything without feeling full.

So, do people think a diet like that is a good idea?  Fruititarian + dairy?  I don’t know if I will go back to it when I am single, but I was pretty happy with it.  At this point, I am just rambling on, but I thought everyone might like to know what I eat and why.