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"Meeting me today, most people would see a bright, hardworking, positive woman who puts her well-being, both mental and physical, first. I’m 53 years old but look like I’m in my 40’s. I have performed a one-woman show before sold-out crowds, ran a successful art gallery/performance space for many years, and am in a healthy relationship.
Turn back the clock just eight years, and I’m discussing electroshock therapy with one of the most highly respected psychiatrists on the West Coast—this because my liver is no longer tolerating the eight to ten pills I’m taking daily to keep myself from jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Turn back ten years, and I feel so emotionally deadened by the mood stabilizers that I start to tweak my pharmaceutical cocktail and end up almost losing the custody of my daughter because of the reckless decisions I'm making. Turn back 12 years, and I’m 5150’d, because I just can’t stand the weight gain, dulled affect, and the sense that I’m never going to get off of the emotional rollercoaster.
The child of a violent, psychotic father, my battle with depression started at a very early age—around the time I first starting hearing the thud of my mother’s body being thrown against the wall of my parent’s bedroom. I was taken to my first 12-step program, Alatot, at 8 years old. By 16 I had developed a full-blown eating disorder. I was a straight A student and a beauty queen, but when I looked in the mirror I saw a fat, ugly loser.
At 20, I had to let go of a full-paid scholarship to a prestigious college because I had lost my will to live. I was put on my first medications because the boy I loved more than anyone or anything in the world broke up with me because of my “emotional outbursts.” I wasn’t given the MAO inhibitors for the mood swings, but because the break up had me taking random buses just to keep myself from going home where I couldn’t stop going through the paces of killing myself. A few years later, and I had to let go of a full-paid scholarship to a prestigious college because I had lost my will to live. How to reconcile the healthy woman you might meet at a yoga class or at the farmers market today with the suicidal co-ed? the hysterical ex-wife? the young mother who can not make her 7 year old breakfast or take her to school because she is in a locked psych ward?
If this were an infomercial, an attractive, smiling woman with an alluring hairstyle worthy of a shampoo commercial would glowingly endorse a miracle product that instantly turned a tragic woman (cue violin music) into Mother of the Year (cue adorable child running in from the wings to smother her attractive mother with heartfelt kisses).
Reality didn’t exactly work that way. About eight years ago, I entered that highly respected (and expensive) psychiatrist’s office and told him that if he didn’t offer me an alternative to the medications that were both ruining my health and not particularly keeping me sane, I was going to kill myself. I told him I might not do it tomorrow or the day after, but that I could no longer go on like this.
It had been more than thirty years since my first visit to a mental health professional, more than twenty years since I had taken my first psycho-pharmaceutical. I had been hospitalized four times, twice having to attend full day outpatient treatment for more than 6 weeks. I had lost scores of friends, love relationships, educational opportunities and jobs—all this for the bright-eyed, straight-A student-beauty queen who had her own cable TV show when she was 16, was voted Most Likely to Succeed, and was accepted to UC Berkeley on a partial academic scholarship.
Remembering the desperate 45-year-old woman who simply didn’t want to try anymore, I’m filled with extreme sadness, but also a bitter resentment. It turns out that my world-renowned doctor had attended several conferences for a nutritional supplement which had proven to be extremely successful in eleviating mood disorders. Why hadn’t he told me about my alternatives earlier? I had come to him for years. He had taken my money—$125 for 20 minutes, all the while nodding his head and telling me, “I can hear that you are upset.” Then he’d write me a prescription for yet another medication.
Why hadn’t he told me about my alternatives earlier? He’s never been able to explain to me why it took my refusing electroshock therapy and telling him that I was going to kill myself before he admitted that I might benefit from a supplement product. I had tried mega doses of vitamin B years earlier, and while I did well for almost a year, my crash was so debilitating that I promised myself I’d never go for another health-food gimmick.
Several things were different this time. For one thing, my own psychiatrist admitted that he was working with the product developers and that he had seen a lot of promising data. For another, I had spent thirty years praying to a God I hardly believed in for just enough hope in a cure to keep me from killing myself. I was willing to give it a try.
I wish we could cut to that attractive woman being hugged by her daughter—both of them overjoyed by how fast the product worked. Sorry. It was not a miracle cure. First, I had to titrate down from my excessively high doses of more than six different medications. There were adverse interactions between my meds and the supplements, including bouts of disorientation and near psychosis which caused me to lose yet another relationship. Then there were the textbook withdrawal symptoms, especially with the host of antianxiety and sleeping medications I had been taking for nearly fifteen years to help me come down from the agitating anti-depressants.
I couldn’t come up to a truly therapeutic dose of the supplements until I was completely off the medications. In truth, I’ve never gotten off of all of the medications for sleep, having not slept a night without taking a pill for most of my adult life—my body had forgotten how to go to sleep naturally.As I was transitioning to the supplements, the same psychiatrist finally started to believe some of my stories from my childhood. Because he was a drug dispensing doctor and not a therapist, we seldom talked about trauma or why I wanted to kill myself whenever I was rejected in a relationship. As the micronutrients started to lift me out of my medication induced stupor, I forced the doctor to hear me out about my childhood experiences. He then recommended a specialist—a therapist who worked with PTSD. He later admitted that he didn’t make the recommendation earlier because I had always come in so hysterical. “Claims of PTSD are greatly exaggerated,” he explained.
While on medication, it was virtually impossible for me to be taken seriously when it came to discussions about what I had endured when I was in my father’s house. Once I was basically off of the meds and fairly stable on the supplements, which my doctor called a “medical food supplement,” I was better able to talk about the past. I told this doctor that I had seen my father hold a gun to my mother’s head because I had stayed out too late, that my father almost killed the entire family in a Denny’s. That my mother had run away from the home for her own safety, only to leave me with my father--defenseless with no where else to turn. Therein laid the heart of my abandonment issues.
While the supplements made it possible for me to believe I could heal, it was addressing my PTSD that lead to my actual recovery. The specialist told me that mine was one of the worst stories of childhood trauma she had ever heard. Being listened to by a caring mother figure was a huge step in healing my abandonment issues.
Again, it would be great just to cut to the infomercial, but it took years of specialized PTSD treatment (movement therapy, EMDR, DBT, and other therapeutic techniques) to lead me to a state of being able to love myself enough to really get well. I discovered meditation, yoga, a healthy diet, and the ability to fully embrace whatever life throws (or threw) me. Radical Acceptance was my mantra. Loving and caring for myself eventually became far more familiar to me than wanting to throw myself under a bus.
Over time, Daily Essential Nutrients became a better and more potent product. They came out with a powder so I didn’t need to ingest so much gelatin and shorty after they came out with a vegetarian capsule. Each capsule became more potent (so I didn’t have to take so many). Over the years, my liver probably healed, and my healthy lifestyle and positive attitude brought me more career opportunities, a great relationship with my family, and eventually a healthy romantic relationship with a wonderful man.
Again, we could flash to the infomercial, only now my daughter is 20 years old and I’m in my mid-50’s. While my mental health has gotten better, I’m now dealing with some challenging physical health issues, my elderly mother’s dementia, having to start a new career after years of working for myself, and living in a world with daily headlines which threaten to trigger my childhood trauma. Am I happy all of the time? No. Am I always grateful to be on this planet? Nope. Do I look like I just walked off of the runway? I am writing this from in my pajamas. The answer to the question, "Is my life perfect after discovering Hardy products?" is a definite “no.”
One of the hardest parts of having a mood disorder is that it’s so hard to trust that happiness is not just the gateway to mania; that sadness is not necessarily a swing into the exaggerated darkness of depression. But taking this time to review my life, I can honestly say that I only wish I had heard about Daily Essential Nutrients earlier. I can't blame anyone for the years I didn't know it was developed, except for the doctors who are too busy writing prescriptions to tell their patients, especially those who are not responding to medications, that there is actually another way.
My own brother refuses to try these supplements, even knowing what I went through, because his psychiatrist insists that it is a placebo effect. Seven years of improved mental physical health, and my brother’s doctor insists it’s all in my head. Meanwhile, my brother is on a full spectrum of psych meds, is dangerously overweight, and still fluctuates between depression and mania.
I know that the transition from medications to micronutrients can be brutal, and I know that when you are deep in a depression or mood disorder it’s almost impossible to summon one’s inner resources. I’ve been there. It’s actually difficult for me to believe I had the stamina and positivity to let go of years—15 years—of taking traditional medications and embrace the great unknown called micronutrients. But I need to remind myself that I didn’t have too many other options. While I had spent years of my life thinking about killing myself, I had also spent just as much time trying to figure out how to live, or, perhaps more accurately, how to reach a state of mental health that made life worth living.
I am forever grateful for the ways Daily Essential Nutrients has helped me, and I hope and pray my own example can provide others with the courage to try again."
L.S., San Francisco, CaliforniaReal Hardy Nutritionals® Customer
*Important Note from Hardy Nutritionals®: If you are planning to transition from psychoactive medications to Daily Essential Nutrients, there are important factors to consider:
Review: How To Successfully Transition to Daily Essential Nutrients.