Shauna, a member of the Vital Mind Reset beta group, gave me early confirmation that this protocol could be life changing even without a one-on-one consultation. Her story is nothing short of deep, real inspiration.
My Identity: Mentally Ill
I’ve struggled with mental health symptoms for most of my life. I decided to try medication several years ago because the depression had finally worn me down. It was presented as the solution I had been looking for, and I honestly didn’t see the harm in taking it. As things progressed and one medication became a cocktail of several, I was basically told that I would have a quiet existence and wouldn’t accomplish much in my life. I wouldn’t be able to handle anything stressful. They told me I was sick and would have to be on medication forever. I was even told that I shouldn’t have children because I risked passing my mental illness onto them. As the effects of multiple medications took hold, I became a zombie. I was no longer able to work, and I lived in my bed for the next several years. It was a struggle to get up for a glass of water or to even stand long enough to take a shower. I didn’t feel human anymore.
When My Heart Said No
Then slowly inside of me something began to wake up. My survival instinct started screaming at me, and I knew in my heart there had to be a better way. I couldn’t continue living like that. It wasn’t even really living; I was barely surviving. I began discussing tapering off of my medications with my psychiatrist. He recommended the best order in which to tackle them, and one by one I discontinued them. One of the tapers was very easy, and I didn’t notice any reaction to coming off of the medication. Some of the withdrawals were uncomfortable, but manageable. A couple of the tapers were excruciating, and the effects lasted long after I had taken the last dose. Looking back on it, I wish I had known what to do to prepare myself for discontinuing my medications. My doctor and I didn’t really have a discussion about how to support myself through that process. I think had I known then what I do now, some of the tapers might not have been as difficult as they were.
Waking Up and Finding Truth
During this time I began doing research online, looking for others who had chosen the same path. I found support forums of other people struggling with medication withdrawals and got a lot of practical advice about how to ease some of my pain and discomfort. I realized that some of my tapers were not nearly slow enough, and I had to balance that with my desire to just be done with it all. I discovered online summits during this time – a wealth of information through expert interviews. When I watched Sean Croxton’s interview with Dr. Brogan on The Depression Sessions, any illusions about my health that I still held at that point began to crack. It wouldn’t be long before that old way of thinking would shatter completely. Not only were there others out there who believed there was a better way, but there was actual science to support what I knew in my heart to be true. I began to feel hope for the first time since I had gotten sick. If she had been able to help so many patients successfully come off of medications, I knew recovery had to be within my reach.
I dove into Dr. Brogan’s work with full abandon. I heard her mention some of the dietary changes she recommends for her patients, and I started making those changes. When she released A Mind of Your Own, I had it in my hot little hands the day it came out. I had lost the ability to read while I was on medications, but had been practicing since completing my tapers. A Mind of Your Own was the first book I read all the way through in years. I finished it the day after it came out, and I started the reset the next day. I was steadily seeing improvements in my mood and energy levels. I started getting out and doing more. I felt like I was coming back to life. Then I had the opportunity to take part in the beta group of Vital Mind Reset, and that program added the components I felt had been missing from my recovery.
My efforts up to that point had focused mainly on diet. While I realized food was a huge factor, some of the other pillars of the program were equally important. I surprised myself by really getting into meditation. I wasn’t familiar with kundalini yoga, but I immediately felt how powerful it can be. Detoxing both my environment and my body also created huge shifts. I was just as skeptical as anyone about coffee enemas, but I now do them daily because I see how much they help me. One of the greatest gifts this program has given me is access to a wonderful community of like-minded people. Throughout this journey, connecting with other people going through similar experiences has helped keep me afloat when I felt like I was drowning. The private Facebook group for Vital Mind Reset has been like an oasis. There is so much love, support, and wisdom in that group. I felt so alone during the years I couldn’t get out of bed. I don’t have to walk this path alone though, and no one should have to.
More Than I Hoped For
I think when I began this journey I would have been content to just not be depressed every day. I didn’t feel like that was asking for too much. The changes that have happened for me have been so much more than that though, and I’m no longer going to settle for simply not being depressed. I deserve to be happy, and I deserve to have the experiences in my life that are truly going to make me feel fulfilled. My life doesn’t have to be quiet and limited. I’m not broken, and I am creating for myself the life I have always wanted. I never imagined I would feel so confident in myself or look at my life the way I do now. I never imagined getting out of bed would not be a struggle or that I would look forward to having responsibilities. I’m not afraid of life anymore. I’m not afraid of my body or my mind feeling out of control. I didn’t even think it was possible to feel this way when I started, but now I realize this is only the beginning. Healing is absolutely possible, and I’m so glad I trusted that voice inside of me telling me I deserved more. This has been such a long road, but every step along the way has been worth it to get me to this point. And I can’t wait to see where I go from here.