VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Rose
Dr. Brogan: So, I am honored to be here today with Rose. We’re going to talk a little bit about her journey, which I know will be inspirational for anyone who is in the process of reconsidering medication treatment or curious about what a next chapter might look like.
I want to just start, Rose, by talking about what brought you to medication. When did you decide that you wanted to consider coming off it?
Rose: In 1992, I got terribly, terribly depressed. It was a very deep depression. I was super suicidal. I tried to not go on meds at first. And I basically was eventually pushed into the conventional medicine world.
And psych meds was just getting really popular then. Prozac was huge and I was like, “Fine! Let me try it.” But that was after two years of trying not to go on meds.
Dr. Brogan: And how would you summarize what it did for you, what medication treatment did for you?
Rose: They did not help at all. I got stuck in the cycle of trying new meds and just going on different therapies, different meds, all kinds of different self-help programs. And basically there’s something wrong with me, there’s something wrong with the chemical system and I need to keep trying new meds to figure it out.
Dr. Brogan: So how long were you treated before you began to consider coming off?
Rose: Twenty-five years. It’s a really long time. And that’s 25 years of trying to convince myself—I seriously convinced myself that the meds were helping even though I was suicidal every single day of taking medication. I tripped myself into some fantasy.
Dr. Brogan: So what point did you come to that you ultimately decided you wanted to come off?
Rose: I was 49 years old, going on 50, which is a big time for anyone’s life. And I thought to myself, “I’m on four medications. How long can I stay alive being on these four medications? And how many years are these medications taking off my life as a whole?”
“My life is pretty much more than half over. Do I want to continue this road of being depressed and suicidal every day or do I want to try something else?”
So, I went and saw a doctor and went on an elimination diet—not really with the intent of going off meds, but this started my thinking about, “Could I go off these meds?” It started the questioning inside me.
Unfortunately, that doctor prescribed me [Cipro] and I had a really severe reaction to the Cipro. I ended up in bed for four months, unable to walk. I was fluxed, as they say.
Dr. Brogan: Yes.
Rose: During that time when I was laying there, I realized I’m still taking my medicine, my anti-depressants and I looked at the bottle and thought, “Oh my god, what are these drugs doing to me? If Cipro, the […] antibiotic could do this, what are these drugs doing to me over time?”
It was a huge wakeup call. I read Anatomy of an Epidemic, and that was it!
Dr. Brogan: You’re ready.
Rose: That book, of course, it was a huge slap in the face.
Dr. Brogan: It changed my life. Yes.
Rose: It was actually probably the only book I’ve ever read that was that life-changing. It was incredible. I was blown away. So even before half of that book, before I finished half of it, I began tapering.
Dr. Brogan: When you tapered, what surprised you about that process?
Rose: The shock that it was just as horribly painful as coming off of any other street drug or alcohol or any drug that is deemed a bad, horribly addictive drug. Coming off of two anti-depressants and anti-anxiety (which I was only on a tiny bit of anti-anxiety for a few years at the end) was, I would have to say, 100 times worse than coming off of street drugs.
Dr. Brogan: It’s shocking. So you spent quite some time really struggling with disability around this taper process, right?
Rose: Yes. I basically was in bed for about 70% of the time for the first 15 months. That’s a lot. I would have little periods where I felt good enough to go outside, go for a hike.
And let me tell you, whatever I could do, I […] I’m like, “I’m going out into the woods and going for a walk” or “I’m going to go lay in the sun” or whatever. I needed to feel life.
Dr. Brogan: Yes. So there’s something that sustained you through a period of time where many people would consider giving up all hope, wondering how long this could last, “Am I permanently damaged? Is it possible for me to ever feel stable and vital again?”
So, something sustained you. What would you say that was?
Rose: I think I just hoped. I had a lot of hope. Even while I was medicated, I think that I always tried things. I just had hope that I wasn’t going to feel like this forever. I think I remembered something from when I was a kid, maybe a few weeks where I felt good. I grabbed on to that and I was like, “I could feel like that again.”
I think I’ve always been a dreamer. I think I would have this fantasy that I can dream that dream again. And just that, just that little tiny thing was enough for me to say, “There is no going back. I don’t care how crappy I feel. I am not going to take any pharmaceutical to make me feel better.”
And I was offered all kinds of stuff, Lyrica, whatever, Gabapentin, blah-blah-blah. I’m like, “There’s no way.”
Dr. Brogan: So you committed.
Rose: I was totally committed. And I had faith that it was going to get better. I mean it was going to pass. Even though I was doing this all by myself—
I haven’t met you yet. I didn’t have forums. I did not enter any group forums or anything. The only time I would look anything up is if a symptom was lasting too long. I would just quickly check the forums to make sure something terribly wasn’t wrong. Do I need to go to see a doctor or something? Am I dying? And I would see that okay, this is fine and I would just go off the forums because the forums bring me anxiety. They perpetuate it by fear and I try not to look at them. It was too much. I tried to distract myself from the sickness. So I threw myself into my […]
Dr. Brogan: Okay. So we’ve been speaking a little bit about the journey that took you to where you are today. I have always believed that our journey is our journey for a reason, and that we need sometimes to go through a “dark night of the soul” to come out into the light, so to speak.
I’ll start with how you feel today about life, about your body, about your potential.
Rose: Okay. When I was 25, I was put on meds, and basically, I believe that every single aspiration—and you have a lot of aspirations when you’re 25. You’re ready to go live life. Every single one was completely cut off and muted.
This past 25 years, I have been basically trying to get that back.
But you don’t put two and two together when you’re first depressed and then you go on these meds. Did the depression do it? Was it the meds? You don’t know because you are sick when you went on the meds. But coming off the meds, everything is being muted.
It’s taken a while. It’s like this life is like, “Wow!” It’s so beautiful. Some days, I’m just overwhelmed with just a simple sentence. My sister sent me an email that said, “I miss you so much” and I was ready to go into tears. It was so beautiful to have that connection. I did not feel that for 25 years. I was just completely detached from everything.
The littlest thing I feel connected to, it’s so amazing. I mean it’s just so cool. It really is.
Dr. Brogan: To feel alive.
Rose: Yeah, to feel that alive, it is.
Dr. Brogan: It’s beautiful.
Rose: It is.
Dr. Brogan: What were some of the instrumental tools in progressing from this state of disability after an abrupt medication taper to this feeling of vitality? What would you credit being the important tools in that transition?
Rose: Okay. First, it was just the no quit attitude. I mean that’s really important, I think. And I was like, “There’s no turning back. I don’t care. There’s no turning back. Just keep going.”
Dr. Brogan: Yes.
Rose: The second thing was the nutrition. When I stopped taking the meds, I could not take any supplements or anything for quite some time. So the nutrition, every single thing I ate was nutrient-dense. I did not put anything into my body that was not because I realized I was pretty sick. So there was a lot of rebuilding to do.
So, I went and did all the research. I figured out the most nutrient-dense foods. And that’s all outlined in your book, which wasn’t out at the time unfortunately, so I had to figure it out myself. But now it’s all written out for everybody to see.
That’s pretty much the diet I followed—the Paleo-based, plant-based, clean, super clean diet. No gluten or dairy, the whole list of everything.
And that I think was the reason why I did not have one single day of depression after I got off the meds—not a day, not one single day, which was amazing to me. I was like, “How was this possible?”
It’s pretty much the food. I’ve had a couple of slips. And when I slipped, oh, my God, it was so obvious. It’s like this sudden feeling of doom. Yes. The sugar, gluten combo is the worst—or the sugar, flour actually, wheat, flour, whatever it is, I don’t know. But I ate a cookie this last summer and you wouldn’t believe the effects from—
Dr. Brogan: State-altering.
Rose: Yes, it was state-altering.
So the diet, the second thing is the detox and that included the body brushing. I’m going to say this, your thing, it included coffee enemas.
Dr. Brogan: The notorious…
Rose: Yes. And that was really, really important.
I didn’t start those until about four months in into my withdrawal. And it helped with pain. It helped with movement of everything. You’re frozen with everything. You stop metabolizing. You can’t smell, you can’t taste, nothing. Everything is frozen. And it helped with just keeping things going.
Dr. Brogan: Yes.
Rose: It was very powerful. I’d say that was one of the single most healing things outside the nutrition.
I had really bad acne. I mean terrible rosacea, acne rosacea. I didn’t want to be seen in public. And the coffee enemas also helped with that.
Then I met you and you introduced to Kundalini meditation. And that has helped my mind. The problems I was having cognitively, Kundalini helped me with that. So the different exercises helped with different things like certain breath exercises helped with my cognitive functioning, I believe. And that’s been pretty amazing actually. It’s pretty mind-blowing because I actually thought I had brain damage before doing the Kundalini.
Dr. Brogan: So what would you say to someone who hears all the stuff you have to do—changing your diet, doing enemas and meditating, all these changes—who feels intimidated or overwhelmed, “I can’t possibly do that. I feel so terrible”?
What would you tell them in terms of why they should consider it, what’s possible? And was there an early wind that you had that convinced you that you’re on the right track with all these commitments?
Rose: I actually researched […] a lot. And I was thinking to myself, “If this guy is curing cancer with this protocol…”—I know I wasn’t following it to the T, but I was following whatever I could based on everything I read by him. I was like, “If he has cured cancer with this protocol, then I can be cured.”
Dr. Brogan: That’s awesome.
Dr. Brogan: “It’s possible for me.”
Rose: Yes, it’s possible for me. I think that it’s a lot. Once you can make it a challenge—
And I know that a lot of people that are on the drugs and any other stuff, they’re motivated people. And they’re really smart. A lot of them are super creative and they’ve been muted by these drugs. I think you just make fun out of it.
I mean I went foraging. I started fermenting. I had to make it fun even though I was not feeling well. I’m like, “This is fun. I have a science project going on in my house.” I was crazy.
Dr. Brogan: “What do I have to lose?”
Rose: Yeah, what do I have to lose? And the thing I told myself all along—this was interesting—I was like, “I am my own science project.” That was my line. “I am my own science project. I am not a research specimen of some drug company or some doctor. I am my own science project and I’m going to create something beautiful.”
Dr. Brogan: I love that.
Rose: It kept me going. I’m saying, “I am my own science project. I’m my own test subject.”
Dr. Brogan: You have to learn yourself.
Rose: Yeah, totally.
Dr. Brogan: It’s a process.
Rose: Yeah. And everything you do, like when you set a jar of fermented vegetable, I never fermented anything. This was all fun and shocking to me. “Wow, it bubbles.”
I was like, “This is what’s going on in my body.” Every time I put one of these things in this miraculous…
Dr. Brogan: …cause and effect.
Rose: Yeah, this is going on.
Dr. Brogan: That’s how it is.
Rose: Yes, yes. And I was telling my sister I thought of myself as a little plant, a tiny little plant. If you stuck that little plant in the Hudson River here outside of New York, put it on the edge there, it would die and […] all that yucky God-only-knows.
But how do I keep this little plant alive? I don’t know why I didn’t think of a little animal or whatever. It was just this little tiny plant. I was going to put it in the sun and give it water and enrich its soil with all kinds of vitamins and minerals and whatever and watch this plant grow.
I always said that in my head. This little tiny plant, that was me. I was that little plant.
Dr. Brogan: I love that. And I have intuited that same analogy. And what I love about it is that the plant knows how to grow. It just use the elements.
Dr. Brogan: You and I share the deeply held belief that everyone has the potential to reclaim their experience and to self-heal. I think in so many ways, you’re a glorious example of that. And it’s not that you needed to work with a particular doctor. It’s not that you needed to have particular tests done, right?
Dr. Brogan: Would you say that it was just that you needed really some basic information and you need to commit and choose this next chapter?
Rose: At the end, when I was on those meds, I did not feel good at all. Every day was so hard. And it was physically hard. It was hard to get off those drugs. It really took a toll.
Dr. Brogan: And you probably believed that you are mentally ill for life?
Rose: Yes. I thought I had the mental illness, the whole thing, the disease of mental illness just like the disease of alcoholism, and that they’re the same. And I found out that first that it’s a farce, that it’s a made up thing that somebody pulled out of a book somewhere and somehow it became the main focus, “You have a mental illness.”
We live in a world where we’re brought up disconnected. And I think that’s part of the reason why people get depressed. And then when you start pouring these drugs on top of that already disconnected person, the drugs help you to become disconnected to yourself even further and everything else.
You’re looking out a window and it’s like you’re looking at a picture that you can’t touch. Like that building across the street is the picture and I can’t touch it. Of course, I can’t. There’s a window there.
Rose: Yes. And that’s how you feel toward yourself as well. And I would like everyone, especially from my generation, these older people that I know who have been on drugs for a really long time, to be able to see life before they die, to really be able to feel it.
Dr. Brogan: So, what would be your parting words of inspiration for someone who is deep in the process of suffering who’s trying to avoid medication or who’s maybe on medication as you were and also very symptomatic or who is in the tapering process and really feeling a degree of overwhelm and maybe even hopelessness?
What’s the helping hand you could leave them with, maybe even a mantra of some kind?
Rose: Well, if I could be there with them, I would hold their hand and just be there with them. Everything is going to be okay. You’re going to come out of this and you’re going to see the world in a whole new way. You’re going to be so blown away.
Dr. Brogan: Yeah, and you’re a living proof.
Rose: You are. Oh, thanks.
Dr. Brogan: Thank you. Thank you for this.