My Decade of 24/7 Depression

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I am a 60 year old female who has been experiencing severe depression with anhedonia for over a decade. I often feel oxygen and energy deprivation in my head more often when I lie down. I have a lot of short term memory problems and executive functioning issues that began around age 50. Sometimes I feel the earth move under my feet and I am occasionally dizzy and have double vision. If I look intently at things, it appears as though they are moving. I also have some visual tracking issues. This is partly do being blind focally in one eye and floaters in both, but I suspect there is more too it. I have endured restless leg syndrome for years, which has been significantly less for the last few weeks after beginning thiamine, as have some of my other symptoms, but the depression, anhedonia and general loss of motivation and lack of joy remains. I have begun using a variety of supplements but feel as though I am still missing something. I am sharing my story in the hopes that someone can offer some help.

Childhood Through Early Adulthood

Since childhood, I have felt physically crappy. I was never able to breathe through my nose. I had asthma and constant, intense itching in my ears, nose, throat, head, and eyes. Insomnia plagued me as a child due to anxiety, along with the inability to breathe and the intense itching in my head. Regularly, and especially at night, I fantasized of putting an icepick into my ear to scratch the horrible itch in the center of my head. All day, everyday, I choked on the constant snot that continuously poured out of my nose and clogged my throat. I choked often on my food being a total mouth breather. I needed a box of Kleenex’s to get through a day. Despite it constantly running, I could not breathe through my nose at all. Encumbering as all this was, I still managed to feel somewhat hopeful, played outdoors, had friends, and attended school most days.

I chose to leave home quite young (at 15 years old) because of family dysfunction. By 16, I stopped consuming liquid dairy, thus leading to a nose-breathing liberation. I still was plagued with sinus issues but could breathe occasionally through my nose to some degree for the first time ever.

As a youth, I experimented with drugs, but never really took anything regularly as the hangovers were horrible and weakening for me. I did a fair amount of drinking in twenties as well but paid the price health wise, and since have not had a drink in many years.

In my twenties, I became aware of sugar causing severe hypoglycemia in me, caused huge mood swings and vision loss. I also self-diagnosed myself with hypothyroidism. I went to see doctors assuming this was causing my miscarriages but the doctors invalidated me at every turn, insisting I was fine. So my Hashimoto’s went untreated for many years until I discovered I could treat it with over-the-counter desiccated thyroid.

Even with all of this going on, I just kept dragging myself along through life on what felt like sheer willpower alone. During this time (my 20’s), I ate more vegetables (fresh organic) and less meat, I had a lot of stomach pain that plagued me on top of everything else, even though my diet was quite good and full of organic vegetables grown nearby. I wasn’t a trying to be a vegetarian, I always thought of myself a bit more of a carnivore, but being that I lived among vegetarians I didn’t eat meat on a daily basis. I noticed that when I did eat meat, I felt a little better. I wish I had taken it more seriously then, but I was still in my optimistic youth, and every day was a new day where I thought I was going to magically feel better.

Lifelong Anxiety and Stage Fright

Prior to the depression, I was a violinist, but one who suffered from lifelong, crippling stage fright. As a child I couldn’t sleep at all for days prior to an audition or performance, which was often. This continued my whole life. Nevertheless, I was able to push through and have performed and recorded many pieces with many different people through the years. Over time though, I began to avoid auditions, and mostly, only performed solo for strangers like at weddings and parties where there weren’t high expectations. Many times, I convinced myself to get over this anxiety, I just had to do it, to get out there and perform. This never worked. I never got over it. Oddly enough, no one realized what I was going through while I played.

I took immediate release Adderall 40-60mg 2-4 x a week for about 5 years in my late 40s to early 50s. It was prescribed for ADHD and for stage fright during violin performances. It also helped with motivation. I have always had a pretty scattered ADHD type personality and felt that I was a high functioning autistic person.

I take trazodone to help sleep when I can afford to get it, but it doesn’t always work. So lately I have been taking a break. Sometimes I will take an over the counter antihistamine/cold medicine like Tylenol when I am desperate to sleep, like when I’m caring for mother. It is a last resort though. I prefer not take anything being it makes me a little nauseous and I worry about liver damage.

I tried Wellbutrin for depression for several months about a year and a half ago, but felt nothing. I tried Prozac for four weeks in my 40s and also felt nothing.

Mumps and Loss of Vision in One Eye

I got the mumps in my forties. This was the closest I ever felt to death in my life. I subsequently lost vision in my right eye. When I lost my vision, it was assumed that I had ocular histoplasmosis but a few years prior to that I had lost vision in one eye for a few months to an unusual eye condition called MEWDS, (multiple evanescent white dot syndrome). MEWDS can be induced by a virus, perhaps having the mumps virus had something to do with it. I also wonder if I was actually type 2 diabetic off and on in my life, or at least borderline, and if that cost me my eye.

Debilitating Depression

After a lifetime of feeling crappy, multiple miscarriages, carpal tunnel, loss of vision in one eye, foot, back, and joint pains, continuous often intense neck pain that has been there since my twenties, along with severe insomnia and allergies, I arrived at 50 years old and began a quick descent into an abyss of deep and unexpected depression and anhedonia. I have been stuck here and have wanted to die 24/7 for 10 years, but haven’t because I do not want to hurt my grown son, and I am sharing the out of state caretaking of my mother and stepfather with dementia with my brother. I have been desperately trying for the last decade to recover my health. To that end, I have taken many supplements but none have really noticeably worked.

Attempts to Recover

Seven years ago, I took to injecting B12 after self-diagnosed pernicious anemia, but never felt a noticeable difference. I was extremely fatigued. I also injected a B complex regularly for several weeks or more without noticing a difference. I still feel a lot of fatigue but with the loss of motivation I think it is possibly more mental than physical.

Ten months ago, I began a strictly carnivore diet. Carnivore has helped inflammation. My bowels are way better and my lifelong mouth ulcers stopped immediately. There have been many other small wins. Unfortunately though, it means  next to nothing to me because it has not fixed my depression, my enjoyment, or will to live. These are the core symptoms that I need to fix. I don’t understand why others get over their depression and insomnia and I cannot seem too. I also still loose lots of hair, but this has been going on for about 7 years. This is traumatic for me (constantly).

About three months ago, I experienced tachycardia plus dizzy spells for several days. The doctors said my iron was fine but I upped my heme iron and b12 and I think it helped. I eat a lot of liver/meat so it surprises me that I would ever be low in b12 or iron. I still feel a little floaty at times, but my heart rates are more normalized.

Recently, I discovered the literature and videos on high dose thiamine. I was very excited, and finally, once again hopeful.

I have taken both TTFD and benfotiamine for a couple weeks now and am not really noticing any changes paradoxically or feeling better. I recently added the HCL too. I have tried upping my doses significantly to where I was taking over 2000mg of Benfotiamine, 400mmg of TTFD and 400mg of thiamine HCL for several weeks. But I have since lowered it considerably. I also take magnesium (100mg), glutathione, riboflavin (100mg) the other B vitamins via yeast, B12 with intrinsic factor (500mg), and electrolytes, and I eat head to tail carnivore including bone broth. I take a substantial amount of more than 400mg of desiccated thyroid as well for the Hashimoto’s disease.

I started taking high dose niacin, perhaps a week ago and I think it kind of helped the thiamine. I felt a certain weight in my head lessen. It was not so much emotionally noticeable but like a bunch of swelling must have loosened. Then two nights ago, my body, legs, and some in arms, swelled up horribly. It was very itchy, painful and lumpy; like I had gained 20 pounds overnight. I haven’t had a history of noticeable edema. This scared me and I decided it was lymphedema, so I began doing lymph draining exercises. I finally felt it was not expanding any longer and perhaps even subsiding a day and half later. I felt hopeful that the brain inflammation FINALLY made a breakthrough, and my body was dealing with the toxicity that had been stuck in there, but I’m not sure what caused the sudden swelling. I also noticed during the swelling that I was urinating less, no matter my fluid intake. Perhaps my body was trying to dilute the toxicity and thus the necessary accumulation. I didn’t take the niacin or thiamine for the next two days. Then yesterday, I took a 1 gram niacin dose and felt a decline in the swelling, and later, around 3 am, I took another niacin, which somehow helped my body hurt less and I could relax. Now a few weeks later, the swelling has decreased considerably. I think it’s going to take some time to feel the results of brain regeneration and habitual behavior, but I don’t feel that feeling of a huge lump of coal stuck in my head anymore. I am currently taking 300mg of benfotiamine, 100 thiamine HCL and 100 allithiamine along with my minerals, electrolytes and vitamins. I also added oregano oil protocol that I heard could help with Hashimoto’s.

Please Help

I used to be highly creative and performed violin for a living, whereas now I cannot find any hope or inspiration to play or do anything and haven’t in years. I desperately want to clear the fog from my brain and regain my will. It is as if I am overwhelmed and underwhelmed at that same time. It is difficult to describe, except that I am miserable. What am I missing? Please any advice appreciated. Thank you!

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32 Comments

  1. I’m 52 in menopause and have suffered with IBS, fibromyalgia depression and migraines since my early 20’s. I don’t know for certain but I think it was antibiotics that caused it all. I first had scarlet fever as young child. And I was very sick in my 20’s between taking antibiotics for acne, wisdom tooth infection, sinus infections, and UTI I believe it destroyed my gut therefore causing all those issues. I’ve tried it all ! I’ve just started taking methylene blue and taking allithiamine with cofactor. The methylene blue really helps me with brain fog and depression.

  2. Jen, I’m so sorry you have had to deal with this for so long. There are no quick and easy answers. I have some questions, as I have struggled myself over the years and been witness to countless others. There are root causes for things. What comes to mind based on your symptoms are 1) Dental work, stealth infections in the mouth, like root canals, cavitations, etc. A cone beam and a good dentist would be able to give you answers. 2) Other stealth infections from the collar up, like sinus infections that do not give symptoms. A good CIRS trained doctor can test for MARCONS. 3) Mold. Exposure to water damaged buildings causes symptoms such as yours. Again, a CIRS-trained doctor would help with this. All my best wishes for you!

    • L Thanks, I have had dental work done in the last few years which has stopped gum disease aand no more mercury fillings. I’ll check out what cone beam is and marcons. Mold is so complex I guess I need to pull my head out of the sand?
      Thanks for all your suggestions!

    • Hi, Jen: You sound a bit like me. Very similar feelings. I, like you, eat clean; I do not eat processed foods of any kind, and haven’t for 6 years. It was really working well UNTIL a year ago, when I suffered an extremely emotionally devastating event; and my once great health and mental health took a nose dive and this last year has been a nightmare; I have feverishly been trying to find out why and what’s the remedy?!? I felt my life has no point, hopeless, and no drive, and debilitating depression, EVEN THOUGH I exercise, lift weights, eat fabulously well. I’ve been able to pinpoint it to my nervous system and childhood trauma. It’s a long rabbit hole, but I completely believe my autonomic nervous system, and vagus nerve, is shot. Look into the work of Dr. Sarno, who discovered the Mind Body Syndrome. Also, I sincerely believe if the Lord Jesus Christ wasn’t my savior, I’d have killed myself by now. He is guiding me. He is showing me that my abusive childhood, at the hands of BOTH parents, and the lasting scars have created the mindset I have now. I am discovering He loves me with an everlasting love, and I matter to Him.

      Along with doing the GAPS diet to fix my leaky gut caused by the extreme stress a year ago, (which did seal my gut, btw, and I no longer have histamine intolerance) I am embarking on a “fix my head & nervous system” journey this week. This will include long daily walks in the forest; EFT tapping to release trauma (this has worked so well I am now sleeping again-I went almost a year with horrible sleep) journaling, positive affirmations which include biblical truths, infrared sauna (I have one at home!!) laughing, finding ways to enjoy life, trying new things, and giving myself permission to enjoy my life. Listen to Dr. Gabor Mate–he’s been very helpful in identifying why I feel the way I do. I 100% believe my problem is childhood trauma and it very well may be yours, too. I do wish you well. You are not alone!

  3. Mold exposure…without a doubt based on my experience and what I’ve heard and seen others go through. You even had symptoms as a child! I have done b12 injections for decades…but mold illness was keeping me sick and not allowing me to heal even with all the correct vitamins and diet.

  4. I’m pretty convinced that I have Oxalate toxicity. I also became deeply depressed about 10 years ago. I had gone on a plant based diet after only really eating the SAD my entire life. I started off keto but once everything else I was dealing with healed, I started juicing plants and then just blended thinking it would be even healthier. I ate giant salads with moderate protein and lots of fat, dark chocolate and almonds like they were going out of style, and then eventually after several years of research, decided that we are carnivores with the ability to survive on plants but there’s just no denying that they are toxic. After feeling good for a while, I started what they refer to as dumping oxalate and it’s been hell ever since. I recommend reading Sally Nortons book, “Toxic Superfoods.” It gave me hope again and I’m trying to push thru but it’s tough. Hope you find a fix because I know that personally, this is just no way to live.

    • Hi Troy, are you eating a carnivore diet, if so how long? I’ve been for near 11 months now and metabolically things are looking good, but I’m still not feeling that zest that supposedly goes with metabolic health.

  5. I use hydroxycobalamin, I’ve tried other types but it made no difference so I stick with this as it’s easy to obtain. The big difference lately for me has been the extra B2 and B1. it sounds like you’re switched on and know what you’re doing and haven’t given up trying, despite feeling so bad, which is amazing. I’ve almost given up many times, I never thought I’d get to this point. Again I wish you all the best

    • Thanks Marie How much do b12 you inject? I cannot even remember how much I used. I used methylcobalamin. I also injected regular b vitamins to support it. The regular b vitamins injected burn like hell. Today I did extra b2 and other b vitamins upped my b1 dosage a little.
      You’re just taking the other b vitamins by mouth?

  6. Something I did leave out was losing my love of my life a week prior to my 50th bday. His memorial was on my 50th bday. I’m not over it either. It feels like I lost my heart and can’t get it back. But I’ve had 10 years and am not opposed to moving forward. I’ve tried some different therapies, survival guilt perhaps nothing hits home. I feel him with me and thus I feel I miss him more. Maybe I’m shut off in some way an unconscious defiance?
    Anyway I just try to stick with the physical fixes now-supplements, diet etc.. any thoughts welcome.

    • Yes, I have pretty much the exact same story. Losing my husband, completely devastated me emotionally and physically and several years later Still grieving. I believe the emotional problems are the key to changing your physical health. It has for me. It is a slow process. I decided to use flower essences for grief to help support me emotionally and while I am still grieving, which I intend to do the rest of my life, I feel like I can still live and be happy. You know that’s a big change. So definitely check out flower essences for grief and see which one matches your symptoms the most. This won’t solve your physical problems but your nervous system has to be healed first. Also, I really highly suggest some lab work to see where you are at. Get a full thyroid panel and especially in iron panel with ferritin. Ferritin needs to be over 100. I think your symptoms sound mostly like iron deficiency.

  7. Hi Jen,

    My heart goes out to you. I think you are on the right track and I believe that your answer(s) will come. Keep up what you’ve already implemented and don’t give up too soon.

    Something you may want to consider is your toxic load— heavy metals, viruses, potential parasites, etc. You may want to consider taking FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth (DE)— read through the reviews on these products (some use it for external pest control, others take it orally). I read one review of someone who suffered from alopecia for 7 years had all of their hair grow back (over maybe a few months? I don’t fully remember) from taking DE. It also binds to heavy metals and can get rid of parasites. It’s high in silica which is very important for connective tissue. I started taking it 4 days ago and am currently experiencing flu-like symptoms, which is a sign my body is detoxing. Start slow (~1 tsp. In water per day) and gradually build up to 2 tablespoons per day (over a period of a few months). (Also, don’t breathe it in. It is dangerous for the lungs).

    If you want another way to get rid of some parasites, Pyrantel Pamoate (pinworm medicine) is cheap and only requires one dose. I took it two days ago and had pinworms in my stool (that I was likely dealing with for a year+, unknowingly).

    It seems like you have most things in place for your INPUT (lots of nutrients), but perhaps your body needs some OUTPUT (i.e., detoxing).

    Another thing, which may or may not help you, is kefir. Whenever I feel depressed I drink 1/2 bottle of plain (unsweetened) kefir for a day or two (you can do every day if you want), and it helps me a lot. This may not be THE answer, but maybe it could help (beneficial gut bacteria).

    Sending you love.

    • Thanks Torrill,
      I have done a fair amount of diatomaceous earth regularly in the past few years. I’d put in in my water, just didn’t seem to help. I’ve done some serious parasitic cleanses and experienced what was (probably) die off ( I read somewhere that it’s really stripping our intestinal lining eeek! I don’t know what to believe!
      I have made my own kefir for a good amount of time had so many grains I’d eat them too. I really love kefir. After starting carnivore I decided that backing off on the dairy might help. I also did the long fermentation yogurt with great strains of probiotics. I did this a few weeks into my carnivore diet. When I stopped I don’t recall feeling any different, perhaps just better stomach wise. I miss the tartness of kefir and yogurt but sadly I think I am better off without.
      Thanks for your thought!

      • Hi Jen,

        I know, now I’ve been reading more about DE and am nervous about the potential downsides.. who knows, really. Some people swear by it! I guess it’s just something I’ll have to experiment with!

        Knowing you’ve already tried so much, I might suggest trying mushrooms… I have personally never tried them and do have a large amount of hesitancy in even considering them, but there are many people who have been able to get out of depression from these. Of course, it’s illegal, so I can’t officially recommend. But I think it has a similar (but different) effect to ketamine, which was once illegal but is now used clinically to help people especially with anxiety. Something with re-wiring pathways in the brain.

        Of course, try things at your own discretion, legally, in a safe environment with someone you trust beside you.

        And for what it’s worth, I am praying for you. Even if that just means good vibes, they’re heading your way.

  8. I’m very sorry to hear about your suffering. Many of us share some of those experiences. If you’re able to, I would get a urine organic acid test. It’s a simple collection, contains many data points and cost effective. That’s where I’d start.

      • you’re welcome. I lost about 6 or 7 years going down endless rabbit holes. hormones, infections, stress etc etc. I wish I had learned to focus earlier on how my body was producing energy and just focus on repleting minerals and vitamins and actually test. yes this involves critical b vitamins and specific minerals as a foundation. the OAT (Great Plains) will tell you how your energy production cascade is actually working, not guessing. it is not the only thing, but it is foundational to recovery. if you decide to get the OAT, drop a message here and I”ll check back occasionally and suggest something from there

  9. I too have had years of poor health, pain, exhaustion, gut issues, neuropathy, eye pain, dizziness, poor sleep the list goes on, the symptoms became more severe 6 years ago, I have tried absolutely everything with small changes and some relief but I never really got anywhere near feeling normal. For 4 years I injected B12 every other day, I took folate, B comolex and magnesium and ate a diet rich in potassium, this did help a little and was better than nothing. Then I tried high dose B1 which seemed to help, some days, but not others, I then increased the B2 which really helped. About 6 weeks ago I tried a double dose of my usual B complex, 4 x 100 mg of B2 and 4 x 100 mg of B1 plus B12 injection, I did this daily and after 1 week felt so good! I’ve continued with this cocktail and I’m still feeling incredibly well. I think I needed extra B1 and B2 to support the B12, although it’s always been in the B complex I take, I don’t think it’s been enough to support the B12 injections. I thought I’d share what has worked for me as I was in pretty bad shape needing to lie down for many hours of every day and when I did manage to find the strength to do anything I felt like I couldn’t think straight, see straight and was going to fall over. I can’t quite believe how well I feel after what has been a lifetime of poor health, diagnosed over 34 years ago with ME, then Fibromyalgia, and finally 6 years ago with CFS . There is always hope, I never thought I’d feel well, I wish you well and hope very soon you get some relief from the way you are feeling

    • I’ll give this a shot Marie, fingers crossed. Guess I should also inject b12 again.
      What dosage and type of b12 are u using?

    • Hello, so today I doubled my b2 and b complex. The amount of b12 is 2500 that I take pill form. I just can’t bring myself to inject again yet. Maybe this will be enough coupled with the B1 and meat rich in b12. I’ll give it some time.

    • Val, thanks I just worry that even after I do buy ‘the Dutch test’ I won’t afford the hormone replacement required.
      I do have supplements such as Dhea, pregnelolone, red clover tea, glutathione and progesterone, whereas I’ve tried the individually and some together and haven’t felt anything different. I was hoping I could get lucky I guess:(. Thanks for the motivation to test.. it just is scary- scared to not find the answer.

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