A Hockey Legend's Depression Fight: Natural Remedies and Expert Tips
7 minute read
Depression is a real threat to health and life. Many people do not realize that mental health issues like depression are just as dangerous as more physical ailments, like cancer and heart disease.
Your brain controls your body, and, when it gets sick, everything is affected. NHL Legend Theo Fleury understands the real weight depression puts on you, and the impact it can have on your life.
With mental health awareness dangerously low and openness about mental health problems still sometimes stigmatized, his story helps to improve our response and treatment of this serious condition.
Mental illness has long been given a negative image because people have difficulty accepting something is wrong with them. When you get an infection, the virus or bacteria is to blame. But when your mental health fades, it is deemed by society to be a flaw or weakness.
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Most cases of depression can be linked to biological functions within your body, so in reality they are just as physical as colds and cancer.
Theo Fleury was at the top of his career when depression took over his life. In society’s eyes his Hall-of-Fame-worthy career in the NHL was ended because of alcohol and drugs.
This was the scapegoat because, at the time, nobody understood the true reason that lay deep within him. The sexual abuse he suffered as a child haunted his adult life in the form of anxiety and depression and fueled his addictive behaviors.
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Fleury may have been short in stature, but he more than made up for that on the ice. His fiery and scrappy nature made him a force to be reckoned with. On the outside he was a champion and a real fighter.
People never realized that he was also fighting internal battles, especially while the team was still winning. Depression changes your mental and physical state. Without help, it can not only destroy your life, it can end it.
The Power of the Mind
The key to success in overcoming or living with depression is acknowledging it and removing the stigma. Understanding the disease and symptoms can help you identify it, so you can seek professional help.
With medications, therapy and natural supplements, depression can be treated. With popular icons like Fleury sharing their story, more people feel comfortable addressing depression and seeking help.
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in this country. Although it is classified as a mental disorder, the physical impact can be severe.
Feeling sad and anxious at times in your life is normal. However, prolonged and continued feelings of worthlessness, sadness, and a loss of interest in loved activities is clinical depression.
The physical impact your body can suffer through depression is great. On top of the constant feelings of loneliness, despair, and sadness, your body goes through several changes.
♦ Insomnia, as your mind continues to worry and cannot seem to find a quiet place for rest
♦ Serious risk of suicide and increased suicidal thoughts
♦ Your brain experiences memory troubles and a lack of concentration
♦ Alcoholism and drug use, which increase your risk for serious illnesses
♦ Overeating, leading to weight gain and obesity
♦ Increase in pain sensitivity
♦ Mental fatigue from chronic anxiety, which can be compounded by insomnia
♦ Higher blood pressure due to stress, increasing risk of heart disease
♦ Lower sex drive
♦ Weakened immune system, leaving you defenseless against common viruses and bacteria, making infections and sickness a stronger possibility
Battling the Beast
When it comes to treating depression, therapy and antidepressants are the common solution, as was the case for Fleury. However, with studies recently discovering that some anti-depressants can make things worse and the possible adverse side effects, people are seeking more natural options.
Often with a more natural approach, the need for medications disappears, and you can continue living your life. Although these actions should only be taken as part of the advice given by your physician.
Setting a routine and focusing on activities to do each day will help you battle depression. It is also important to get enough sleep, so your body can heal from the day before.
Getting outdoors and exercising also triggers hormone changes and promotes a feel-good feeling, which is the best ally for beating the blues. Changing to a well-balanced diet and moving away from processed and sugar-laden foods will ensure that you stay physically healthy, as you mentally heal.
In addition to this, recent discoveries have found that a small friend from the sea can also help in a big way.
Krill oil contains essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. These help by controlling the inflammation and oxidative damage that can trigger chemical changes known to be linked with depression.
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Studies have shown that low levels of omega-3s are strongly correlated with depressive symptoms, so these need to be a part of your regular diet.
While you can get these naturally through fresh fish, nuts, chia seeds, spinach, and eggs, you can also get all that you need from a quality krill oil supplement. Not only does this support brain function, but it protects you from depressive symptoms.
The Bottom Line
Opening up about his struggle and sharing his story brought recognition and improved understanding to the reality of depression. Fleury’s story shows us that even the strongest can get depression and illustrates the importance of understanding this mental disease.
Depression can be treated with therapy or the use of natural supplements, but it is essential to speak out. Struggling alone is what weakens us and when a real hero like Fleury steps up and shares, we can all win.