Welcome to the first “meeting” of the Healthy Blogger Book Club!!!
I can’t tell you excited I am to open the discussion of the book my co-host Stephanie and I selected, A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives by Kelly Brogan, M.D.
I want to start off by saying that depression hurts everyone involved and it’s one reason why I’m so interested in health and wellness. I don’t take depression lightly or the issues around diagnosing or treating it.
And, actually, this book club discussion is less about agreeing on an answer or a solution to the problem, but more about sharing thoughts about the concepts that Dr. Brogan brings up in the book.
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional and this post is not intended to diagnose, treat, or recommend treatment for any health condition. You must work with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your treatment plan, especially if you are currently undergoing care for a mental health issue.
When I think about some of the health problems that I’ve had in my life including chronic anxiety, panic attacks, migraines, low self-esteem, autoimmune disease, cancer, eating disorders, and depression (although I was never formally diagnosed or offered treatment for the depression), I know for a fact that there were exposures, deficiencies, and pharmaceuticals (for me, hormonal contraception) that led to those physical manifestations.
I won’t try to hold back my enthusiasm for how powerful reading Dr. Brogan’s book was for me. I bought it before it was even released as soon as I read her blog post about the increasing incidence of bipolar disorder. Something about the challenge to the mainstream rhetoric that people with mental problems are broken and need a pill to be fixed spoke to me so deeply to my very core. I also listened to an interview she did with the Ultimate Health podcast that resonated so very much with me.
Another thought-provoking idea that Dr. Brogan writes about is the evolutionary benefits of depression. That sounds weird, right? Why would humans develop to feel sad in non-sad conditions? I used to feel confused as to why I felt so anxious I couldn’t sit still for 15 minutes, even after I had worked so hard to create an environment around me that was calm and orderly.
As Dr. Brogan proposes and I now agree with, the collection of symptoms that we call depression could be interpreted as a way of our bodies telling us LISTEN. SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT. The “something” could be resulting from food intolerances, lack of sleep, hurtful relationships, gut problems, feeling overwhelmed, being in the wrong career path, or many, many other reasons, but the way to fix it at its very root is less about pharmaceuticals, and more about making lifestyle interventions.
You guys: this is a sensitive topic. Depression affects many of us and change is hard or even impossible in some cases. I’m not recommending in any way, shape, or form that anyone’s chosen form of treatment is wrong or needs changing. But, it is my belief that for those of us who want to make lifestyle changes as the first line of defense, the information in Dr. Brogan’s book makes sense to me and, in many ways, feels like it supports a lot of what I’ve learned on my circuitous, imperfect journey:
I’m still learning and experimenting, and I picked up so many ideas about lifestyle practice, supplements, and food choices from this book. My personal experience is that a lot of my health problems stem back to inflammation which I have been addressing primarily through diet. I love that Dr. Brogan gives very specific recommendations from her experience for ways to get started.
I can see now that my biggest area of improvement for the future will be my spiritual practice. Dr. Brogan promotes a kundalini style of yoga to help with that, and I think yoga is likely my entry point for deepening my relationship with the universe.
I have a feeling that this will be a lifelong journey in every respect, but it’s such an exciting time because now there are options other than being handed a prescription that might actually lead to more problems (Dr. Brogan recently wrote a blog post called “Saying No to Antidepressants” that can give you an idea of her thought process).
I probably should have mentioned this before, but Dr. Brogan is a medical doctor who is board-certified in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, and integrative holistic medicine (you can read more about her here):
Be well, friends, and thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts on such an important, yet personal, topic.