Celeste Brinkerhoff has lived with mental health challenges her entire adult life.
After graduating high school early, Celeste moved to Salt Lake City for a promising future. She didn’t have pronounced mood symptoms at that time but had dabbled in different substance use since the age of 12. When she came back to walk for graduation, she recalls having a break from reality.
“Everything started to shift, and it was very spiritual for me but scary. Nobody could really understand. The doctors didn’t know what was happening,” Celeste explained.
The best explanation anyone could give her was that she must be experiencing a side effect from her drug usage. When a urine analysis revealed a little THC from mild marijuana usage, her doctors were stumped. Celeste began seeing a myriad of clinicians and mental health therapists.
“I would be catatonic one minute, thoughts racing the other minute, and paranoid another minute,” Celeste recalled.
Eventually, Celeste's family took her to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City via ambulance where she was diagnosed with bipolar I severe, with schizoaffective features and substance abuse disorder. Her prognosis was very limiting.
“They told me, 'Good luck with relationships, good luck with a job, good luck holding your life together. You’re going to need to take medication for the rest of your life. So, that was graduation for me.'”
Celeste found her diagnosis to be a “huge blow.” At just 18, she was ready to start her life, and now she was being labeled for life and never expected to bounce back.
“It was very disempowering. I was hurt. When I did discharge days later, I was catatonically depressed, reacting to the medications, and super crestfallen.”
Celeste started her first medication at age 18 and immediately began experiencing negative side effects. She was ultimately prescribed more medications to combat the side effects of the others, which quickly created a snowball effect. By her early 20s, Celeste says she was using additional substances like cocaine and marijuana to try to feel alive and counteract the numbing effects of all the pharmaceuticals. At age 23, Celeste was offered electroshock therapy, which she promptly turned down.
After feeling depressed, catatonic, and hopeless for too long, Celeste decided to move back in with her parents for some stability. Together, the family moved to Colorado for a fresh start.
As fate would have it, Celeste’s mother discovered psychiatrist Dr. Scott Shannon at the Wholeness Center in Fort Collins, Colorado.
“He did an integrative approach,” Celeste explained. “This was the first time anyone had approached me with a more holistic or gentle treatment option. I first started trying to unpack my psychiatric history with him and he said, 'Let’s feed your brain, and then see what you need to talk about.'
For the first time, Celeste was recommended a very simplistic approach to her treatment. Dr. Shannon provided Celeste with Hardy’s Daily Essential Nutrients, a clinical-strength micronutrient formula backed by a long list of university studies for mood and mental health and weekly acupuncture appointments. Dr. Shannon's methodology relied on the fact that too many patients experience mood and mental health disorders as a direct result of nutrient deficiencies or toxicity. Once the brain and body are able to detoxify and access sufficiency, they can begin to heal.
Per Dr. Shannon's recommendations, Celeste started taking the loading dose of 12 Daily Essential Nutrient capsules a day. After about a month and a half, the micronutrients started to provide a reprieve.
“I didn’t need a med. I was able to go ahead and take on three part-time jobs, get straight A’s in college, and feel like a normal 25-year-old.”
Unfortunately, that didn’t last. Celeste moved out of Colorado, had less money, and eventually stopped making Daily Essential Nutrients a priority, thinking she could manage by simply eating right. Shortly after, her old tendencies resurfaced, leading her to enter a toxic relationship and once again return home to her parents. She fell back into the Western model, where she was prescribed medications and dealt with difficult side-effects again.
“They said, 'We’ll do a mood stabilizer, an antidepressant, an anti-anxiety medication, and we’ll also do a stimulant so you can focus'. Not necessarily a simple approach!”
Despite trying, Celeste never found success with the heavily medicated approach. She unexpectedly got pregnant and had to abruptly taper off all of her psychiatric drugs. That resulted in a very tumultuous pregnancy full of violence, anger, mood cycling, and more. During her pregnancy, she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, but she thinks it was more likely her body crying out for more balance and sufficiency.
Things started to get desperate when Celeste tried building a business with her brother. She was eating out a lot, suffering stress, working too many hours; and the pressures were crippling her to the point that she wound up back in the hospital. She was given so many medications while hospitalized that she fell on the concrete floor and broke her jaw.
“I had to discharge, I was still manic and I was muzzled, it was very traumatic for myself and the kids. It became so apparent to me that what [doctors] were trying with me wasn’t working.”
After mending from her jaw injury, Celeste put herself in the hospital a few more times. Her family was afraid they were going to lose her.
“I wanted to give up. I wanted to just be on the street and stop having to try to integrate or explain myself. It was getting very difficult to join in this reality. Psychosis had become my new baseline. Then, I kind of had an epiphany—like wait—you had four good years, so that's possible!”
Celeste recalled seeing integrative psychiatrist Dr. Scott Shannon 13 years earlier and immediately went to find him online. She booked a comprehensive assessment at the Wholeness Center, where doctors spent three days with Celeste doing deep diagnostics. She learned breakthrough things that really changed the way she wanted to approach treatment.
Dr. Shannon revealed through a series of tests that Celeste’s body had been starving for key nutrients. Again, Celeste started taking Daily Essential Nutrients, and cleaned up her diet after finding out about 18 food allergies.
“So that would explain why when I was sitting in a psych ward eating their crap cafeteria food, I would be bloated, congested, gassy, constipated, and miserable!”
For the first time since she was 18 years old, Celeste felt empowered.
“I could change my diet, I could take some vitamins, I don’t have to trust that the scientists who made these powerful pharmaceuticals that are messing with my marbles know what they’re doing! It felt like a victory. Like he was saying ‘You aren’t crazy, you’re just starved.”
Now Celeste helps others find balance. Through her journey, she became passionate about health and getting down to the root issues of both her own body and the mental health system in our country. She is now a certified mental health coach as well as a peer support specialist and supports other people through their processes towards wellbeing.
Hardy’s Daily Essential Nutrients have been helping individuals like Celeste find balance for many years. Doctors like Dr. Scott Shannon recommend Daily Essential Nutrients to patients because it is the most research-backed supplement in the world for mood and mental health. It provides the body with every essential vitamin and mineral in clinical levels that provide therapeutic results.
To learn more about Daily Essential Nutrients, click here.