Why aren’t you thinking about your brain?

brain_health2

I’ve felt, for some time, that nutrition and exercise play a vital part in mental health.
I remember first saying that I wanted to kill myself when I was 6 or 7 years old.
I’m not sure I knew exactly what that meant, but I remember my aunt saying it, and she got a lot of attention, and the seed was planted.

It wasn’t until I was 13 years old, that I actually wanted to kill myself.

And this time… not for attention at all.
I just wanted to disappear.

I struggled for many years in a cycle of depression and I was hospitalized for it, at age 15.
I tried all the usual medications (Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro, Lithium…) but the side effects or complete lack of motivation I had on them, always seemed just as bad as the feelings I wanted to avoid.

I began college and started to have panic attacks, nearly every night in bed, while falling asleep. It got to the point where I never wanted to go to bed and I would get in the truck and just drive and drive around town, until I was so tired, I would fall asleep in the truck.

It was around then, that I saw a nutritionist to discuss my bulimia. (I had also been making myself throw up for a good 5+ years)

Out of desperation, I did exactly what she told me: EAT. Eat every 3 hours. Have protein.

Things started to shift for me.
My body got tighter.
My mind was clearer.
I had more motivation to workout and the more I worked out, I was less anxious and depressed.
I stopped all medication and I felt amazing for a number of years.

This discovery led me into massive research about nutrition and exercise and how it affected the body. I earned my bachelors and then a masters in Exercise Science and Health Promotion.

Somewhere along the lines, I let the mental health part slip.
I knew I had found pieces to the puzzle, but some were still missing.

I especially realized this, as I slipped into adrenal fatigue and my bulimia, depression and anxiety came back full force. As I started to heal my body with supplements, the behaviors and thoughts, slipped away again

In early 2015, out of nowhere, I began having major suicidal thoughts again.

This time, I didn’t get it! My life was amazing! My husband was amazing, I lived the coolest life… and yet, whenever I drove the car, I wanted to yank the wheel into oncoming traffic.

One day while driving, I had a “download”, a thought… that wasn’t in my voice: “You need to talk about mental health.”

I started BAWLING.
“Why?! No! I don’t want to! This is awful, embarrassing. Why me?”

I ended up going back on medication in March 2015 after the suicidal thoughts became so scary, that my husband insisted I see a doctor.
It looked as if the thoughts were hormone related.
Turned out that every month for 1-2 weeks before my cycle was when I was “the craziest.”
This didn’t make it any easier to accept, however, but taking the zoloft was a godsend, for myself (and my husband).

Ironically, in the next few months, signs about brain and mental health started to pop up in my life.

In April 2015 I learned that my network marketing company partnered with a Princeton Lab to release a brain supplement.
I wasn’t too impressed, because I thought, “No one cares about their brain health.”

Then in July 2105 I moved to Utah, to live with my grandma, and within a few weeks, it became very apparent that something was “wrong” with her.
I started to google her symptoms and behaviors and it sounded a LOT like dementia and Alzheimers.

In September 2015, I was at a conference for my company and Dr. Amen, a top physician and psychiatrist and author of Change Your Brain Change your Life, presented. He started to talk about brain health and mental health.
He showed pictures of an Alzheimer’s brain

dr-amen

The Alzheimer’s brain was full of holes.
What was more disturbing to me, was that the people who suffered with depression, ADD, ADHD, OCD, addictions and/or diabetes also had these “holes” in their brain.
Every single one of the above listed disorders, can contribute and are risk factors for Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Needless to say, I was scared to death. My grandmothers behavior was so awful and terrifying at times, I felt as if I was doomed.

The end of Dr. Amen’s speech gave me hope.
He said that there are things we can do, to help our brains, not only to slow decline but also REVERSE it, and many of these things are the same things we already do (and eat) for a healthy body (THE MISSING LINK)

BRAIN

Some things are “obvious”

  • Healthy Diet
  • Exercise
  • Brain Games
  • cut sugar
  • cut alcohol

If you are suffering from any mood disorders, often medications just treat serotonin, but that isn’t the only neurotransmitter that effects mood. Check out this link for neurotransmitter testing and here is a quiz to see if you will want to do a lab test and to help you find the best supplements.

He also gave a list of supplements that can help and some are also supplements I was taking while I was in fitness and while healing my adrenal fatigue.

  1. Healthy Omega Fats – your brain is mostly made of…. fat! Healthy Oils and fats can help brain function. You can also use natural coconut oils or olive oils in your salads and meals, or eat avocados to get some of these fats in your diet. Healthy Omega 3’s are also great for inflammation and heart health.
  2. B-Vitamins –  in particular, especially folate (B9, aka folic acid in its synthetic form) and vitamins B6 and B12, have made headlines for their powerful role in preventing cognitive decline and more serious dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. Mental fogginess and problems with memory are actually two of the top warning signs that you have vitamin B12 deficiency, indicating its importance for brain health. (from Dr. Mercola)
  3. Probiotics – they say the gut is the second brain. So many of our neurotransmitters that help us stay calm, centered, and feel good are in the gut. This partially explains why with bulimia, my anxiety and depression was out of control. Taking probiotics has helped my skin too!
  4. EHT – this is the molecule that the Princeton Scientists at Signum labs created to help repair the tau protein structures in the brain. It also contains B Vitamins, Lipoic Acid, and Huperzine-A which are great for memory and focus, so I don’t purchase additional B Vitamins. I started taking two a day after grandma, and I’ve had more focus in reading than I have in over 15 years. eht-ing
  5. Phosphatidylcholine & Phosphatidyl Serine – (another great product is ALPHA BRAIN by Onnit ) benefits are derived from the fact that it is a source of choline which is an essential nutrient for brain function. It actually makes up a large part of the volume of your brain cells and is incorporated into all of your neuron cell membranes. (source: Nootriment)

ALpha

The good news is there is HOPE.
Your brain health IS important for your MENTAL HEALTH.

Let’s keep talking about these things and #endthestigma

Also find out more in this book:
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DISCLAIMER: NONE of these things are meant to treat disease or mental illness. I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. Please ask for help from a physician or psychiatrist if you are having suicidal thoughts. People need you and love you. Please use these things in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle and under doctors supervision if you are currently taking medications.

** I may receive compensation in the form of product or commissions when using some links above. I will always be 100% honest and recommend things I have tried or feel safe having my family or myself use. When you use any affiliate links, you help me continue to provide amazing content and research for you.

 

 

 

6 Comments

  • Kayleigh Yeakley

    Reply Reply May 25, 2016

    Thank you for your honesty! I am a mental health case manager at a non-profit facility in Oklahoma and I see everyday the positive changes that can occur with medication management. I hate the stigma surrounding mental health! Thank you for being so transparent with your followers and letting them see that even those they admire and think are “normal” struggle with those same mental health issues.

    • Danny-J

      Reply Reply December 16, 2016

      thank you! I plan on doing a lot more on these issues over the next year

  • Lori Quiring

    Reply Reply May 25, 2016

    Great information, Thank you! I knew a little about you now I know more! You’ve come a long way baby!!

  • J.Loren Simpson

    Reply Reply November 18, 2016

    So,what should I do ? My Father,early 70s, ate right,was extremely fit,but always got little sleep. Now he’s in 1st stage of Dementia.
    Myself, I look way younger than what I am. I’m physically fit,quit smoking ciggs,and quit drinking alcohol all together 8 years ago. I have an Autoimmune Disease (not AIDS ! ), and my beautiful coal black hair,fell out. It all fell out after 2 bad accidents I was in. The last accident, I broke my C-2 Vertebrate in my neck. And all my hair,fell out afterwards. I believe my Nerves,have played a role. I give all the Glory to Jesus Christ,for not being paralyzed, and being alive. But all the havoc I’ve had in my life,has taken a toll on my brain. I don’t have any wrinkles,so things haven’t showed on my face. I’m trying to eat plenty of fruits & vegetables. I hunt & fish,so get plenty proteins,there. I might have celiacs disease,too. Anyways, should I be taking this Brain Pill ? And what else do you recommend me doing/taking ? Thanks and GOD Bless you.

    • Danny-J

      Reply Reply December 16, 2016

      wow honey! well I’m not a dr and wouldn’t give you specifics and it might help to see a naturopath (sussmanholistic.com I highly recommend) but fish oils and curucmin help with inflammation and might be a great one for you and def some brain stuff as preventative can never hurt!

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