I don’t really like to talk about my personal issues, but I’ve been suffering from various mood disorders and the like for much of my life. I’ve had some problems before, but I think things turned really bad around the time I reached puberty at the age of 12. I was always moody, anxious, and irritable no matter what. There weren’t many days that I actually felt happy or just content. I hated everything and everyone, I was terribly shy, I was so paranoid that I checked my room for hidden cameras, I was unfocused and constantly daydreaming, I suffered from poor sleep and had frequent insomnia, I was always tired as I had no energy, and I was not motivated to do anything meaningful with my life. I was just a complete wreck as a youth and I didn’t even know why—I just suffered it all alone.
I first sought professional help when I was in high school. The doctor examined me and prescribed me medication for anxiety. I took the medication for a month and didn’t continue because my mother was annoyed with having to buy me drugs. She made me stop, but she didn’t care to ask why I was even taking them in the first place.
I had more freedom and independence by the time I reached university, and I was more determined to “solve” the problem of my mood. I tried more medications and started seeing a counselor, but I didn’t notice much change and I wasn’t even serious in my efforts to get better. My life was a mess and I numbed myself with entertainment instead of trying to get to the root of my problem.
It was only when I graduated from university that I started taking the issue more seriously as I wanted to turn my life around for good. After not being happy with the numerous medications I used, I started experimenting with many different supplements. I also started exercising and eating healthier; read self-help books as well as books on Buddhism and stoic philosophy; spent tons of money on therapy and hypnosis which I deeply regret; and I even started practicing meditation and yoga. But no matter what I did, my mood was still a huge problem. If anything, I was feeling even worse as I was becoming increasingly unstable and self-destructive.
Even as recently as few months ago, I was still feeling the same looming hopelessness, rage and irritability, and the persistent insomnia that would not let me have a bit of rest. More than a decade of effort and I still suffered. But no matter what, I kept trying. I had to; I just had to keep looking for a way.
Couple of months ago, I discovered Tryptophan by chance while I was looking for 5-HTP in hopes of alleviating my insomnia. Upon doing a bit of research, I found out that I most likely suffer from Tryptophan deficiency as I had all of the major symptoms: depression, anxiety, moodiness, hostility, irritability, insomnia, difficulty focusing, lack of motivation, inability to enjoy things, and unwillingness to be socially engaged. It all made sense as Tryptophan is a precursor to Melatonin (for sleep) and Serotonin (for mood). You can be sure that I was excited to discover this supplement that somehow remained hidden while I was searching for the cure all these years.
I bought a bottle and took 200mg the first night, which was nothing compared to the 2-5 grams that was recommended in the article I had read. Nevertheless, the result was instant as I had my first good sleep in months. I was confident that I had, at last, found the miracle cure for all my cerebral misery. The positive effects in the following weeks, however, was rather mixed. I was definitely sleeping better than usual and my mood was much better, but the effects were inconsistent. I have upped my dosage since and I think it still is rather unpredictable. But when it is working as expected, it is a life-changer. It puts me in a good mood for no reason, I’ve started to enjoy socializing more, and I now see the world in a more positive light. I just don’t feel as dark and hopeless anymore. It really makes me wonder why I’ve been so angry and bitter for most of my life.
As much as it helped, I still consider myself in the experimental phase. I’ll have to wait and see to make a conclusion as to whether it is really working or not, but it’s been very promising thus far. Also, as effective as it may be, no one should get the idea that it is the ultimate solution to all his life problems. It is still vital to maintain a healthy lifestyle, have the right attitude towards life (although Tryptophan makes it much easier to do), and to have fulfilling social connections. And not everything I tried prior to my discovery of this supplement were useless; I still meditate and try be healthy as I can be. And last, as great as Trytophan is, it only helps you feel normal so that you can go on with your life; it will not do everything for you. It will not answer existential questions nor will it free you from the cage that we call society. Instead, it will give you just enough nudge so that you can escape the emotional rut that you’re stuck in.
Why isn’t Tryptophan More Widely Used?
The great number of benefits have made me wonder why Tryptophan isn’t better known to the public. The only explanation I can think of is that it would wreck the multi-billion dollar business the Big Pharma has set up to exploit people’s misery. I mean, we’re talking about a supplement that is cheap and readily available without the need for prescription. Tryptophan is just as—if not much more—effective than the expensive antidepressants and sleeping pills and comes without all the nasty side-effects that accompany the corporate drugs (for example, popular medications such as Prozac has been shown to increase the impulse to commit suicide).
I wonder just how many miserable people, easily numbering millions, are futilely trying to fight their depression, anxiety, and insomnia by taking corporate drugs prescribed by clueless doctors or by spending up to hundreds of dollars an hour for psychotherapy. I obviously don’t think Tryptophan will solve all of their problems, and it may not even work for some people, but I think it would be a much better place to start than dishing out their hard-earned money on false hope. I’ve seen many of these individuals who are still suffering in spite the drug(s) they may be taking—and I was there too. The problem is that they’re just too afraid to stop taking whatever medication they’ve been hooked on out of fear.
I write this article in hopes that it does reach some people who may be going through the same difficulties that I had been going through, and that they may be helped as well through their own experimentation.