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depression can be fun

Take time to smell the flowers. Whatever ails you, take a break from the worries of your life and let in nature’s cure.

Your Questions About Depression Answered


depression at time of the month

hi, I get depression at a certain time of the month, I assume its related to my period, but I don’t really understand why it would happen. can u shed any light on this matter?
many thanks lorna


Dear Lorna,
Women with premenstrual depression are normally intolerant to the
progesterone that is secreted from the ovary after ovulation.  That is
the cause and the treatment is to suppress ovulation and suppress the
cyclical hormonal changes which produce the cyclical symptoms of PMS.

With best wishes


Professor of Gynaecology



Addicted to shopping

I am interested in receiving the same kind of treatment as Helen because I have an lifelong addiction to shopping that I can’t control. I am spending more than I bring in and I see no sign of it stopping. I am in debt and have been for years. I’m frightened that my child will end up the same way and I desperately want to break the cycle. Thanks Fiona


Hi Fiona

I am sure I can help you just as effectively as I helped Helen

you can call me on 0207 371 9367 but i wont be available until wednesday or you can email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I can offer you a session in person or on Skype or sone css, downloads or my book all of which will help

very best


Marisa Peer
Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist, coach and behavioural expert
Author of ‘Ultimate Confidence’ and’ You Can Be Thin’ ‘You Can Be Younger’



I have had anxiety and depression on and off for over 10 years. While the anxiety is under control along with the depression thanks to medication, Steraline. I am suffering from anahdonia.  While I understand that anti depressants can cause numbness my symptoms started long before the medication. It started back in 2007 and has been with me ever since. Currently I feel no enjoyment from things that I would normally enjoy; spending time with wife and daughter, going on days out, going on holiday. I don’t feel any enjoyment! How. An I overcome this symptom? I have had 6 sessions of counselling and I am currently waiting on CBT via the NHS. I am also taking fish oils, vit b12, d3 and magnesium just in case they can help my symptoms. I have had blood checks done to eliminate thyroid issues, all negative.

Any advice our recommendations would be greatly received.



Thank you for your question.  This is a tricky one to answer via email - as whilst you say say that your anxiety is under control with medication and that you have had depression on and off for over 10 years, anahdonia is one of the symptoms of depression and used as part of the DSM IV for clinical diagnosis of depression.
It sounds like you are doing all the right things, by looking at your diet and taking supplements and getting checked out for thyroid issues.  I would suggest visiting your doc again as there maybe a different anti-depressant that would work better for you and would deal with the symptoms of anahdonia as well as the anxiety.
So, going back to the things that you used to obtain joy or happiness from - can you close your eyes and imagine (or pretend) or remember how that used to feel?  If so, I would say practise doing that at least once per day - so that you are starting to “sort” for positive memories and feelings of enjoyment.  I realise that at first this may feel like you are faking it - but in time you may notice that you are no longer “trying” to recreate the happy feelings - that they are actually there.  It could be that those feelings of enjoyment are buried deep - and it may take some weeks of continued practise to almost “reactivate or awaken” them again. 
A few other things you may want to consider - maybe try some new things to see if you can activate your pleasure feeling responses in your mind.  What is a favourite food - let’s say it is chocolate - mine is!!!  So if so, take a square of chocolate - and close your eyes and take some time smelling the chocolate - - at least 2 to 5 minutes - notice how the smell changes - does it smell different from the left to the right nostril for example.  Then just open your lips and place the chocolate between your lips (but not liking or biting!!) - notice the sensations - then continue with just the tip of your tongue on the chocolate - then finally allow the chocolate square to come into your mouth and breath deeply - can you still smell it from inside your mouth - as you run your tongue around it - what sensations do you experience, do you notice you are salivating?  Then when you can resist no longer - slowly and mindfully allow yourself to bite into the chocolate - masticate it in your mouth, push it around your mouth and stay noticing any sensations until you have swallowed every last trace of chocolate.  What did you notice - you will probably notice your senses were aroused and expecting a pleasurable experience?  If so, continue with this daily so that your mind gets used to pleasurable experiences.
What new things could you start that you perhaps haven’t done before?  Is there a yoga class local to you that you can join,  In yoga, we get in touch with our body and work to get the union between mind, body and breath - certain poses in yoga will open through your chest, your hips, your shoulders, places where you maybe in a physical holding pattern of depression and you can allow it to slowly release with bodily movements, and by staying present in your breath - noticing any sensations in your body.
Maybe a walk outside in nature - by the sea is brilliant if practical and close enough - or through woods and nature.
Is there one new thing you can do each day?  It doesn’t have to be something big - but just something new - a walk, baking a cake, a massage, kneading dough or making pottery, taking a class in something you have never done before?  Maybe thinking about some of the things you used to do as a child that made you feel good - sometimes these simple pleasures can activate the pleasure in our mind - for example - flying a kite on a windy day, riding a bike downhill (safely) and taking feet off the pedals and going weeeee….....
As I said earlier - please do also revisit your doc - as it could be that your medication is working on the anxiety and there maybe another medication that could work on both.  In the meantime - continue with what you are doing, try to get outside every day - and try some new things and the mindful eating exercise.
Kindest Regards
Allison Kelsey,
Therapist, Coach, Trainer


letting my family down

hi, i have been suffering depression & anxiety for a year now, i feel so silly for feeling like this but nothing i do makes me feel better. i make excuses not to go & see friends, my children miss out on play dates as i sometimes feel so anxious as soon as i leave the house my heart starts pounding & i feel like im going to pass out. its a real struggle to take them to school everyday but i force myself then im exhausted when i get home. how can i get over this anxiety?


Sorry you are feeling so bad and sorry to hear that you feel you are letting your family down.  Of course you are not doing that - I think any parent will agree that at times (or even at many times) we feel we could do better for our children - maybe that is part of being a parent for many - but all we can really do is to do our best!
You haven’t said if you have been struggling along alone or if you have been to the doctor and have any medication or have had any counselling or CBT to help with the depression and anxiety.  If you haven’t please do make and appointment for Monday morning and get some professional face to face advice.  As Helen said, if you had broken your leg you would seek medical advice and not try to deal with it yourself or tell yourself you shouldn’t be feeling the pain.  So it is the same with depression and anxiety.
A few things that may help - buy a small book and write in each day the small things that you have achieved - don’t think about or write down what you didn’t manage to do but write down the small things that you did achieve each day.  Look back over this list each night and feel proud of what you have achieved.  If you feel you would like to - maybe write down one small thing that you are going to do the following day.  Remember start with small baby steps and congratulate and reward yourself with what you do achieve.
As hard as it maybe to get out - once your children are at school, is there something that you could join or take part in for you?  maybe join a gym, go to a yoga class, try out Zumba, go swimming…..doing something physical helps with depression and anxiety and if you can do something that is in a group with others then do so.
How could you treat / reward yourself each day?  Could it be taking time to have a cappuccino, or browsing through your favourite shop, meeting with a friend for a chat?

With best wishes - and please do go and consult a professional face to face as soon as you can!

Allison Kelsey,
Therapist, Coach, Trainer


Can you take over the counter diuretics with lithium?

Can you take over the counter diuretics with extended release modified lithium?  It’s just that I am finding I have swollen hands (as my rings have all become tight) and I am bloated slightly around my face and feet and it feels like water retention? Or am I best to not buy and take these in case I upset my lithium balance and lose too much water?  Thanks for your help.


Dear …

I think that you’re correct in saying that these preparations could upset your lithium balance. Many diuretics reduce the excretion of lithium by the kidney, even herbal preparations. Diuretics may cause lithium toxicity, (e.g. nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle weakness, drowsiness, confusion). Lithium toxicity can be life threatening. Therefore, diuretics should be avoided if possible and if they must be used, the dose of lithium should be reduced and blood levels closely monitored by your doctor.

Blood lithium levels should be checked every three months at a minimum. Kidney function and thyroid function should be checked every six months.

Fluid retention (oedema) may occur with higher doses of lithium; however it is also possible that your symptoms may not be due to some other physical cause (e.g. kidney problems). I would recommend that you see ideally your treating psychiatrist or your General Practitioner. Side-effects with lithium are usually dose related and your doctor may decide after excluding any physical cause, to reduce your lithium dose. However one has to weigh up the risk of side-effects versus risk of relapse. You can only do this by having an informed discussion with your treating doctor. Remember many over the counter medications, including herbal remedies can interact with prescribed medications, especially lithium and before taking any of these you need to let your treating doctor know.

I hope this helps.

Dr Rhinds, BM (Soton), BA, BSc (Hons), M.Med.Sc., MRCPsych. Consultant Psychiatrist