A few months ago, as I was browsing Facebook, I saw a post from someone that mentioned a book on depression. I’ve read a lot of material written about depression. I’ve researched it and taken more quizzes and questionnaires than I care to try to give a number to. When I was diagnosed three years ago with MS, my time spent researching switched focus to that disease. I believe both have the power to end my life; I just didn’t know much about MS and felt that I needed to be armed with information. I found there was a great amount of information written about the correlation between diet and MS. Some well meaning friends sent me articles about how I needed to stop drinking diet soda and all my MS symptoms would disappear. Some sent me diet plans that they read had cured others from this dreaded disease. Through all of this, I watched a friend suffer as someone in his family continued to lose ground to this dreaded disease, eventually passing away from it. I concluded that if diet really could cure MS, just as some say diet can cure cancer, than no one would have MS (or cancer or thyroid issues or diabetes or any other ailment). As I read the aforementioned Facebook post, my inquiring antennae went up. This post mentioned a book written about depression. The title of the book is, “A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Lives”. Its author is Kelly Brogan.
I won’t go into the bio of the author. Google her if you want to know more, but suffice it to say that she is a psychiatrist who has an active practice in New York City. The premise of the book is two-fold. In the first part, she lays out why antidepressants are not helpful, and in fact are most often dangerous, in the treatment of depression. This alone had my curiosity piqued as, most of you probably know by now, I have been on and off these drugs for twenty years or so. I can’t even remember all the names of the drugs I have taken over the years. The second part of the book is dedicated to a lifestyle diet that rids the body of inflammation–the basis, Dr. Brogan believes–for depression (and many other ailments for which doctors throw prescriptions at us). I clicked the link to be taken to her website where I could read the first chapter of the book. I was hooked. I knew I needed to own this book, sit and read it–devour it–and see if maybe there was some merit to what she proposed. Amazon Prime to the rescue! Two days later, I had the book in my hands.
As I worked my way through the first chapter, I felt an anger rising within me. It held a very similar vibe to the anger I felt after seeing the Vaxxed movie last month. It appears, just as in the case of vaccines, that pharmaceutical companies have been lying to the public about the safety and effectiveness of antidepressants. Dr. Brogan establishes just how little science knows about the human brain. It is a complex system that, I believe, will never be entirely understood by a finite man. Only an intelligent creator could design, and therefore completely know, such a complex system. I actually don’t think Dr. Brogan writes from a creationist viewpoint, so this is not a book that people can say, “Oh, you Christians think God relates back to everything.” What she does, and does well, is make a case for how little medical science does indeed know about our brains, and therefore, why it is dangerous to be playing around with drugs that can have permanent, and most likely unwanted, changes to them. One of the most obvious, yet most overlooked, aspect of medicine is cause. Doesn’t it make sense to desire to know the cause behind why something is happening? When my children were young and came home from outdoor play with tears, cries of pain, and swollen arms/wrists (yes, this happened many times in our home), I, as their loving parent, suspected they had broken a bone. That warranted a trip to a doctor–usually an emergency room since these things seldom happened between 8 and 5 on weekdays. I expected the doctor there to order x-rays to actually see the affected bone. Those x-rays more often than not showed the bone was indeed broken. It was only then that splinting and subsequent casting could take place. The doctor did not look at my children and say, “Well, it could be broken. We’ll throw a cast on it for 6-12 weeks and see if it feels better at the end of that time. If not, we’ll just add another cast.” Dr. Brogan states,
“The best approach to root cause resolution of symptoms comes from an understanding of the reasons why the body is responding in the way that it is.”
The ER doctor, once a break was confirmed, could then treat the break as well as the swelling that accompanied it. Yet, most doctors, upon suspecting a person is depressed, simply hand them a prescription for an antidepressant and tell them to come back in eight weeks for reevaluation. If, after a time, the depression is still present, the doctor will recommend adding a second antidepressant since the first one may need a boost. Seriously? What is causing the depression in the first place? Note: if you believe it is “low serotonin”, you need to read this book to find out why that explanation is bogus. The short version of that reason is that there is NO medical test out there to measure serotonin. Blood sugar can be measured. Cholesterol can be measured. White blood cells can be measured. Serotonin cannot be measured. The low serotonin crap paved the way for pharmaceutical companies to manufacture a variety of drugs to “treat” the low level of serotonin that was never measured to be low…yeah. I’d trust that. In fact, pharmaceutical companies finance more than 70% of FDA drug trials. Did you catch that? 70%! This sounds very similar to vaccine manufacturers funding vaccine studies as shown in the Vaxxed movie. It’s outrageous. It’s deceptive. And it’s angering. These pharmaceutical companies don’t tell you that once you start taking antidepressants, that there is a very strong likelihood that you will never be able to stop taking them. And each time you stop and start, it increases that chance of dependency even more. For someone like me, who has lived more than half her life already and has been on and off antidepressants for half of the years lived, it doesn’t look good to ever be free from the side effects suffered at the hands of antidepressants.
Unless one just gets tired of it all and says, “The hell with these pills. I am done with them.” Which is exactly the point I have reached. Without the advice of a doctor, and let’s be honest, none would recommend this since most receive some benefit from prescribing these drugs if nothing more than they keep patients coming back, I have stopped taking antidepressants after reading the first half of this book.
What is one to do then, you may wonder, if depression is a very real affliction?
That’s where the second part of the book comes in. To say it concisely, Dr. Brogan believes that depression is caused by inflammation in the body, specifically in the gut. More and more research is being done on the gut-brain connection. The typical American diet is full of highly inflammatory foods, including but not limited to grains, dairy, sugar, processed crap, fast food filled with chemicals we can’t even pronounce, food manufactured in a factory that is marketed as healthy and good for us. We fill our bodies with this pseudo-food and then wonder why we don’t feel well and experience disease. Dr. Brogan lays out a diet that she believes works to relieve inflammation which causes many health conditions to disappear. She is a psychiatrist so she mainly speaks to mental health conditions, but she does cite many cases where a patient has followed her diet and has found relief not only from mental health issues but also various physical health issues.
To be honest, I am finding this part of the book to be more difficult. In fact, as I sit here typing this, I have a diet coke on ice next to me. As humans, we like what we like and we want what we want. In addition, studies have shown that processed foods and sugar are highly addictive. I read somewhere that sugar is more addictive than heroin! Couple that addictive potential with our own selfishness and lack of self discipline, and you have a recipe for disaster. In order to “cure” my depression, according to this book, I need to cure the inflammation that is causing it. Inflammation is cured through diet; however, the yummy foods I love so much like pizza and ice cream, are not going to cure the inflammation I know is present. (I had a test done that measured inflammation and my number came back more than triple the normal range so I know inflammation is present in my body) It sounds so easy, yet it is ridiculously difficult. I love salads and proteins and fruits, but I also love bread and diet coke. I struggle so much with this concept that I have not been able to get through the chapters on diet yet.
Now, lest you think that I am no longer able to think straight, I will say that I believe disease will always be a part of life on earth. It’s part of living in a fallen world. There is a possibility that, even if I am able to stick to the diet plan recommended in this book, I will still be crushed under the weight of depression. If that is the case, then I question how much longer I will be on this earth, for the weight of this now is almost too much to bear. But, what if it is as “simple” as making different food choices? What if all I ate came only from the earth–plants, animals pasture raised and not hormone feed raised, seeds, fruits, and nuts? Could this be the answer to years of bouncing from one antidepressant to another with no benefit? It almost seems too easy.
No. It isn’t too easy. Eating clean is difficult. I am human and I want to feed my desire to be happy. Bread makes me happy. Pizza makes me happy. Diet Coke makes me happy. Alcohol makes me happy. Ice cream makes me happy. Carrot sticks? Not so much. I do know one thing, though–something has to change soon or I may not have the opportunity to try it and see if it works.