Okay, so maybe it’s not new to you. Maybe this is what people have been trying to tell me for years. Maybe the evidence has been all around me, and I’ve chosen to ignore it. But I don’t think so.
This blog post might strike a nerve… the realizations certainly did for me. I promise, though, it has a happy ending.
I first met Lynn Sumida in June of 2009. I had lived with depression and anxiety for a number of years, since coming out in 1999. I was in pretty bad shape… suicidal, in fact. I wrote an email to six of my closest friends, asking for their help (read: intervention), and five of those six people emailed me back, all suggesting I get in touch with Lynn. That was a pretty clear message.
I began Prime Potential as a client in July of that year, and from the very first session the symptoms of depression lifted and I felt incredible relief. After we finished the process in September, I saw my family doctor who almost didn’t recognize me as the same guy who’d visited his office so many times in tears. He saw the significant shifts in me, and took me off the medication that I’d been taking. I’d never felt so free in all my life.
I think that many people have felt what it’s like to be depressed, anxiety ridden or filled with panic in response to some situation or perceived threat. The challenge is when this state of being become the norm, and to one degree or another ever-present.
A couple of weeks ago, while waiting for a friend at Starbucks, I had a few minutes to kill, and as is common for most of us when we have time on our hands, I pulled out my smartphone to occupy myself until she arrived.
I began reading a Kindle book that I’d purchased some months before, but never got too far into. I know that no one else ever buys a book, and then never really reads it, but I did. In Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brainfor Life, author Dr. David Perlmutter talks about the impact of how the health (or sad, sorry state) of our microbiome significantly impacts a variety of neurological diseases and mood disorders (including depression, anxiety and panic disorders). In view of the fact that many of our clients struggle with precisely these issues (as did I), he finally had my attention.
In the half hour or so of waiting time that I had on my hands, I learned that a significant factor in mood disorders was the food which we consume, and the excess weight we carry. I quickly began to realize from what I was reading that every time I consumed some over-processed, fast food sorry excuse for a meal, I was was effectively poisoning my own system. There are compelling statistical correlations between obesity and mood disorders! Now, before you start… I totally understand the devastation that obesity is on a physical level. I know that the excess weight I carry around with me is the result of years of poor eating habits. I understand that. No gilding of the lily necessary.
What I was realizing, though, is that really bad eating habits have also been essentially “pickling” my brain… pickling our brains! A big part of what so many experience emotionally has been seriously contributed to by the (poor imitation) food that we’ve been eating. As the reality of this began to sink in, a wave of “holy crap, what have we been doing to ourselves” flooded over me.
Now, I’m not going to try and reiterate all the research and case studies that Perlmutter cites; you can go get the book and read it for yourself.
Here’s the point… the “ah ha!” if you will.
We truly are, fully integrated and “whole” beings. It’s never just one thing. Even with all the work that Lynn and I do with clients, it’s important to see the whole picture and to know that our guts can have a significant impact on the mental and emotional health of our clients. Personally, over the years I have experienced some amazing things, and achieved great growth… and relief from our work. But, even with significant encouragement from those close to me, I have pretty much flat out refused to look at the issue of weight with any degree of seriousness. The truth is, that the fat that I carry (that’s as plainly as I can say it) is a direct contributor to my emotional suffering, and every time I pick up a Big Mac, I’m fueling the mood disorders that threaten to take me out. The bottom line is that I’m killing myself, not only physically but emotionally, too.
Good learning for me… I get it now. And I’m doing something about it. Making sure I feed my system what it needs to be healthy and well, I’m already beginning to feel the difference. Probiotics, good quality vitamins and minerals, and much better, more thought out food choices are all much more attractive protocols than anti-depressant or anti-psychotic medications.
Good learning for me to pass onto my clients, as well. Depressed, anxious or panic stricken? Yes, Prime Potential can definitely help you… you need to do it, and you’re going to notice a HUGE shift and difference in your life. But, in addition to that we want to ensure that you feed yourself well, get some exercise, and look after yourself physically. It’s not just one thing… you’re a whole, integrated being—body, mind, and spirit.
So, that’s the first “learning.” There are others, and I’ll share them with you. Next time.