Update: I no longer follow this regimen as of May 2022.
Over the last year, I’ve been evaluating various ways to manage my major depressive disorder. Although I’ve been taking an antidepressant medication, it hasn’t been a “quick fix,” and I’ve had to explore other solutions.
Here’s the tricky thing: My depression isn’t explicable. There aren’t any life events — job loss, deaths, financial difficulties, instability — causing me to feel this way. Instead, I see my depression as a physiological problem. Something is wrong with my “meat sack,” or the biological vehicle I inhabit.
Troubleshooting and correcting the often inscrutable biological factors that govern our lives isn’t easy. But I think I’ve settled into a daily routine that has greatly elevated my mood. So, I thought I’d share it with you all.
11 PM – 7 AM: Sleep
Some rapper once said that he doesn’t sleep because “sleep is the cousin of death,” but that’s an egregious misunderstanding.
Sleep is one of the critical foundations of wellness: Depression or not, if you’re not sleeping well, you won’t be thinking and acting at your best. And because our bodies repair themselves while we’re asleep, I also see sleep as free health insurance.
Thankfully, I’ve never had difficulties sleeping, so practicing good sleep hygiene comes easily for me. Avoiding stimulants past noon and taking magnesium bisglycinate — an essential mineral with sedative properties — also helps.
7 AM: Morning Meds
- Pharmaceutical Antidepressant: Exact dose and drug are subject to change
- 0.5g Kratom Powder (strain varies): A psychoactive Southeast Asian plant with mood-boosting and pain-relieving properties
For reference, a moderately effective kratom dose is anywhere from 2.5-5g. So 0.5g is practically a microdose. This provides a subtle mood boost and offsets the stimulant-like qualities of my antidepressant. At this point, 15 hours have passed since my last kratom dose, so this microdose also mitigates any side effects associated with withdrawal.
8 AM: Breakfast & Breakfast Meds
- Meal — Usually a whey protein smoothie: Consists of whey protein, coconut milk, berries, and bananas
- 200mg Ibuprofen: Reduces general aches/pain and elevates mood (I suspect I have a chronic inflammatory condition, hence the effectiveness of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen)
- 550mg Ginger Powder Pill: Reduces stomach pain and nausea, especially after taking ibuprofen — a drug that can cause stomach upset and bleeding. I have chronic stomach pain. Drugs like pantoprazole are effective, but long-term use is unsustainable and carries nasty side effects like hormone disruption. Ginger is a suitable alternative and almost completely takes my mind off my stomach
I don’t have much of an appetite in the morning, so I keep breakfast light. A lighter meal is also advantageous because I’ll be exercising soon after (~2 hours later), and exercising that soon after a large meal can be nauseating.
10-11 AM: Exercise
- Weightlifting, moderate-to-heavy load
Along with sleep, exercise is critical to alleviating my depression. Over the past year, recovering from multiple bone fractures and surgeries reduced the scope and intensity of my workouts. However, I gradually ramped up the intensity and my exercise sessions now closely resemble what they were pre-accident.
Up until recently, I was exercising 3-4 times a week, but my mood would plummet on off-days. Thankfully, switching to daily weightlifting sessions has greatly improved and stabilized my mood.
11:30 AM -12 PM: Lunch
- Meal — Egg Sandwich: Consists of two over-hard eggs on multigrain bread with butter and 1 slice of processed cheese for flavour (basically my version of a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin)
- 550mg Ginger Powder Pill: Reduces stomach pain and nausea
I’ve been eating egg sandwiches daily for a few months now and still haven’t tired of them. Like breakfast, keeping the meal light helps stabilize my energy and focus levels.
12:30 PM: Soda/Other Form of Caffeine
- ~50mg Caffeine: Elevates mood and offsets the fatigue induced by eating lunch
The antidepressant I take in the morning is a stimulant-class drug, so taking it with caffeine seems to make me restless, anxious, and irritable. However, waiting 4-5 hours before ingesting a moderate caffeine dose like 50mg seems to greatly lessen those side effects.
I don’t really need caffeine at this point. If anything, it’s just an unfortunate and unavoidable component of my favourite sodas, which make for a nice mid-day treat.
1 PM: 2nd Kratom Dose
- 1g Kratom Powder (strain varies): For mood elevation and pain relief
1g of kratom is still a low dose, but this is when the plant’s effects become more noticeable. The opioid activity “loosens” up my body, relaxes my mind, and helps offset caffeine’s stimulant properties. For reference, a moderately effective kratom dose is anywhere from 2.5-5g.
3 PM: 3rd Kratom Dose
- 1g Kratom Powder (strain varies): For mood elevation and pain relief
This dose amplifies the effects of the second dose, further promoting relaxation, boosting mood, and easing pain. For reference, a moderately effective kratom dose is anywhere from 2.5-5g.
4 PM: 4th Kratom Dose
- 0.5-1g Kratom Powder (strain varies): For mood elevation and pain relief
This dose is optional but can help ensure I have an enjoyable evening ahead of me. For reference, a moderately effective kratom dose is anywhere from 2.5-5g.
5 PM: Dinner
- Meal — Usually a large portion of beef stew, or, on occasion, takeout
- 200mg Ibuprofen: Reduces general aches/pain and elevates mood. Ibuprofen is only effective for 4-6 hours, so by this point, my morning dose’s effects have worn off
- 550mg Ginger Powder Pill: Reduces stomach pain and nausea, especially after taking ibuprofen — a drug that can cause stomach upset and bleeding
- 2500mcg Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin): If I didn’t take B12 earlier, I’ll take it after dinner to boost energy and alleviate the fatigue associated with eating
By 5 PM, I’m usually “done with the day,” meaning I’m finished with work and no longer concerned about reducing my energy levels by eating. I also need to eat in a caloric surplus to induce anabolic repair of the muscles I damaged earlier while weightlifting. As a result, I pig out and usually eat somewhere between 1000-2000 calories, and possibly more with dessert or snacks.
8 PM: Pre-Bed Supplements
- 1 tsp Black Seed Oil: Natural plant oil with hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer effects (Source)
- 1 tsp Omega 3 Fish Oil: Natural oil that helps optimize cognition, balance Omega 3/6 levels, and reduce inflammation (Source)
- 400mg Magnesium Bisglycinate: Fortifies levels of magnesium, an essential mineral involved in hundreds of micro-processes within the body. Also prepares the body/mind for sleep by acting as a mild sedative (Source)
That’s my entire daily regimen — for now, anyway. It will likely change as I continue to discover and evaluate new drugs, foods, and supplements with beneficial properties.
I hope sharing it with you has been helpful in some way.
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