MENTAL HEALTH by DESIGN: How to Edit Your Mental Health Equation for Improved Mental Health

Updated April 29, 2021

Every person’s mental health equation, including yours, is uniquely different and yet every person’s mental health equation shares common denominators. The information that I share in this post is my personal option as the result of my health recovery and that of my clients.  Please read accordingly and share any changes that you plan to add to your healthcare with your regular healthcare provider.

THE MENTAL HEALTH CONTINUUM

According to Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury‘s Positive Psychology article What is the Mental Health Continuum, “The mental health continuum is a range having mental health and mental illness at the two extreme ends.  The shift between the distinct markers of healthy point, problem point and disorder point are determined by a person’s internal and external faculties.” Below if the image from Madhuleena’s article.  Please visit the link and read.

continuum

I have always been envious of people who appeared to be able to consistently stay at the healthy, happy end of the continuum, the always bubbly people.  After years of experiencing a range of mental health continuum points for a variety of reasons, and recovering from depression using a variety of strategies, I am able to stay close to the healthy, happy point of the mental health continuum most of the time. It is much easier to be resilient during times of stress when one is healthy and happy. Greater resilience during challenging times is my ongoing quest. To start a return to, and stabilization at the healthy, happy point of the mental health continuum; one needs to look at their mental health equation and the common denominators they share with others.

THE MENTAL HEALTH EQUATION

We are all unique creations with uniquely different, and yet uniquely similar physical, mental and emotional bodies and minds. A common denominator is a commonly similar or shared theme or trait.  You will no doubt have heard people speak about the common denominators for success in business, relationships and people who live to be healthy past 100.  A common denominator is also a common element in a mathematical equation. In math class you learn to rewrite your math equations to change the answer. When things are not adding up in your life you may be prompted to start subtracting out potential causes. Analyzing and rewriting your mental health equation by subtracting out contributing factors and adding in supports, can help you to restore and maintain better mental and emotional, as well as physical health.

Regardless of what symptoms you are experiencing in your body, that isolated symptom cannot and should not be taken ‘out of context’ of the whole body and whole person that you are. This is relevant in cases of mental, hormone, immune and overall health. Thank you Dr. Doidge for the excellent explanation below!

“It is not possible to understand a person with a brain illness by describing them in bits and pieces. They must be made whole again, and not simply because the whole is the sum of the parts, but because with human beings, the whole is always more than the sum of the parts”.

Norman Doidge, The Brain’s Way of Healing

THE PANDEMIC FACTOR

In the midst of the additional uncertainties and stressors added to our lives and the lives of the people around us due to the Covid-19 pandemic, adding in additional supports would be a good place to start to restore and maintain better mental health. These have been really challenging times for all of us, setbacks are not uncommon, especially in the ability to cope with stress and maintain resilience.  According to the Psychology Today article Pandemics and Psychoneuroimmunology, our mental state can be a determining factor in how significantly we are affected by the pandemic.

“Viruses use the same receptors as neuropeptides to enter into a cell, and depending on how much of the natural peptide for a particular receptor is around and available to bind, the virus that fits that receptor will have an easier or harder time getting into the cell. Because the molecules of emotion are involved in the process of a virus entering the cell, it seems logical to assume that the state of our emotions will affect whether or not we succumb to viral infection.” Dr. Candace B. Pert

“COVID-19 reminds us to include a discussion of psychological factors in being able to fight off the virus by maintaining optimal immune functions. Staying positive, remembering to laugh, and maintaining hope and optimism may be crucial to maintaining a strong immunity and our very survival. We must also grieve the tragic loss of so many who have fallen from this deadly virus.” James F. Zender, PhD, The New Normal 

There are many free mental health supports available, depending on where you live. I have listed several supports at the end of this post. Subtracting out some of the mental health challenging factors, like those I highlight below, may have to wait until a later time after isolation, when your regular healthcare provider and other qualified practitioners can guide you. You now have the time to do your research and planning, make diet changes, add in exercise and mind body strategies to help you in your quest to sustain a healthier, happier mental health state and ‘thrive in spite of everything’.

During times of Covid challenges I often think of Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful,  where “a father interprets the world for his young son upon their arrival in the bestial barracks of a Nazi concentration camp. In the horror of a concentration camp, the father’s task is impossible but simple: invent a story that will help him and his son survive”.

During a very dark mental health continuum point in my life, a caring family member suggested I read Man’s Search for Meaning. It seemed like a very depressing pick at the time. “In Man’s Search for Meaning, psychiatrist and neurologist Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) wrote about his ordeal as a concentration camp inmate during the Second World War. Interestingly, he found that those who survived longest in concentration camps were not those who were physically strong, but those who retained a sense of control over their environment.but turned out to be just what I needed.” I am so grateful for the recommendation.

HOW DO YOU REWRITE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH EQUATION?   

mentalhealthequationYou can start to rewrite your mental health equation by subtracting out or cancelling your well-being challenging contributing factors (where possible) and adding in strategies to help eliminate your depression and other mental challenges. The combined approach strives to ‘right the wrongs’ that may be a part of your depression/mental health equation; allowing your body’s natural healing mechanisms to heal your brain and restore your brain chemistry and function to normal. It took me years of research and trial and error strategies, while also working on my multiple physical health equations to achieve the improved health results I have. This post focuses on the mental health equation factors that I and my clients have addressed to achieve improved mental health.  Obviously genetic predispositions, brain damage and past trauma are additional factors that will need to be addressed with additional medical and psychological supports. This is a process that will take time. It is not as simple as the equation image below.

lifemath

I suffered from depression at various times in my life.  My understanding and definition of what was possible about being depression free were limited due to everything I was told and read. My father had suffered from depression and I was told once I had two episodes of depression in my life I would probably need to be on medication for the rest of my life for it. I changed my definition of what I believed was possible, call it my paradigm shift; I am a bit of a rebel; and then looked for ways to make it happen. I analyzed my depression equation, started researching and then started editing my depression equation, subtracting out potential causes and adding in supports. I am now 100% depression free and have been for many years. I do not take medication or regular supplements for depression, although lecithin supplementation what a significant recovery support after detox.  You can read more about that at my recent post LECITHIN: Brain and Brain Chemistry Protection & Support. I have been able to maintain feeling upbeat, happy and blessed most of the time. I am finally at my envied, happier end of the mental health continuum. My quest now is becoming more resilient using strategies to be better prepared to cope with the unexpected challenges that will come my way, like pandemics and life!

IS A PARADIGM SHIFT REQUIRED?

You may need to rewrite your definition of what is possible in terms of becoming depression free, so that your brain and body are on the same page. This may require a paradigm shift. Every person may not be able to stop taking medications, but you may be able to reduce your medications under your health care providers supervision, and improve your mental health by editing your mental health equation.

Do not reduce or stop taking your prescribed medications or start editing your depression equation without the supervision of your regular healthcare provider.

“According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way that a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway. Because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible.”[1]

Dr. Norman Doidge’s books have been crucial to my paradigm shifts and recovery. Thank you Dr. Doidge:

“THE BRAIN CAN CHANGE ITSELF. It is a plastic, living organ that can actually change its own structure and function, even into old age. Arguably the most important breakthrough in neuroscience since scientists first sketched out the brain’s basic anatomy, this revolutionary discovery, called neuroplasticity, promises to overthrow the centuries-old notion that the brain is fixed and unchanging. The brain is not, as was thought, like a machine, or “hardwired” like a computer. Neuroplasticity not only gives hope to those with mental limitations, or what was thought to be incurable brain damage, but expands our understanding of the healthy brain and the resilience of human nature.”

NEUROGENESIS AND NEUROPLASTICITY

“Neuroplasticity refers to the lifelong capacity of the brain to change and rewire itself in response to the stimulation of learning and experience. Neurogenesis is the ability to create new neurons and connections between neurons throughout a lifetime. It is the one brain’s ability that allows recovery.”[17]

Neurogenesis can be promoted through exercise, stress management, diet, mental activities and social interactions, extremely important as our brains age.

GENETIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

Although you may have a family history of depression or mental illness, it does not mean that you will have or continue to suffer mentally.  Genetic predispositions are inherited but do not always become expressed, allowing for a condition, unless they are turned on by environmental factors. Although you cannot subtract out genetic factors, you can prevent genetic predispositions from activating due to environmental influences, preventing the related health challenge.

Environmental factors or external factors, like your lifestyle, including work and life balance, diet, exercise, pollution and physical, mental, emotional and spiritual stressors can affect your brain chemistry and brain function, mood, resilience, ability to cope and stay positive. You have control over most of these factors and for those out of your control, there are supports that you can add in to cancel out or minimize their negative impact.

Your general health, diet, nurture, supports, medications and habits can affect your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. This is an area where you may have to make some hard and radical decisions, which should only be considered and implemented under the care of qualified health practitioners.

“After completing an enormous study, scientists have dismissed claims that single gene variants, or even a small group of them, can dictate susceptibility to depression. Instead, they suggest that any genetic risk for depression likely arises from very large numbers of variants, each contributing a small effect.”

“In an American Journal of Psychiatry paper, the team concludes that early theories about ‘depression candidate genes’ are wrong and that studies identifying them have likely done no more than produce ‘false positives’.”[2]

“A genetic predisposition (sometimes also called genetic susceptibility) is an increased likelihood of developing a particular disease based on a person’s genetic makeup. A genetic predisposition results from specific genetic variations that are often inherited from a parent. These genetic changes contribute to the development of a disease but do not directly cause it. Some people with a predisposing genetic variation will never get the disease while others will, even within the same family.”[3]

“However, it appears that even with a genetic predisposition to mental illness during birth, resistance to mental illness is possible. Resilience is heightened because of a favorable nurturing environment after birth or perhaps due to exercise. People should create enriched environments where they help and support each other, exercise actively, and gain resistance to stress.”[4]

Environmental pollutants can become a part of your body pollution and mental health equation. As a teenager I pumped leaded gasoline at my father’s gas station. The combination of toxic gas ingredients negatively affected my brain. My puberty hormone change, may also have been a contributing factor.  I started to suffer from depression at that time.

Benzene, toluene, and xylene; and the additives ethanol, methanol, and methyl tertiary butyl ether are efficiently absorbed through the lungs so living, working and commuting in polluted environments can add to your toxic load.

Reported in the Meet the Neurotoxins: The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains post “Leading scientists recently identified a dozen chemicals as being responsible for widespread behavioral and cognitive problems. But the scope of the chemical dangers in our environment is likely even greater. Why children and the poor are most susceptible to neurotoxic exposure that may be costing the U.S. billions of dollars and immeasurable peace of mind.”

While investigating my depression equation later in life, when I once again suffered from depression after off gassing of a new house, I made the environmental pollution connection and implemented whole body detoxification, a two step detox; through natural strategies to deal with my accumulated body pollution.

From Architectural Digest – What You Need to Know About Off-Gassing: Even after an install, a project’s furnishings and finishes can leach harmful chemicals into the air for years through a process called off-gassing. Here’s how you can combat it.

To fully understand the impact of dangerous off gassing check out Harmful Toxins in Living Environments and their Hazardous Chemical Impact.

“There are nearly 1000 substances which have been identified as having, or possibly having, neurotoxic effects. Exposure to sufficient amounts of these chemicals, either in the work place or elsewhere, can cause neurological and brain problems. Likewise chronic exposure (long term, lower level exposure) can also have damaging effects.” Toxic Exposures – Brain Injury

THE BLOOD BRAIN BARRIER FACTOR

I knew that my brain had been negatively affected by many toxins, adding to my brain and body pollution, and compromising my brain function. At some point in my exposure history my blood brain barrier became compromised, allowing later toxins to easily enter my brain. Do you know what your body pollution looks like? Read my blog post on body pollution to find out.  A combination of whole body detoxification and BodyFeedback Interview and Therapy treatment for a client, eliminated a disabling 50+ year caterpillar phobia. After understanding that my compromised blood brain barrier allowed toxins to readily enter my brain, nervous system and body I learned the importance of protecting it. Read more at my blog post: NATURAL CURES: Protecting and Repairing Your Blood Brain Barrier to Restore Mental Health. If you are having mental health issues, your blood brain barrier may be allowing toxins to pass through into your brain and affecting your overall health.

According to The Brain’s Way of Healing by Dr. Norman Doidge, reporting on a NASA “self training” technique to prevent epilepsy, “astronauts were getting epilepsy from their exposure to rocket fuel”.

“A cocktail of harmful toxic chemicals has been detected in every person tested in a cross Canada study of pollution in people.”[5]

“In this sample of young adults with low levels of lead exposure, higher blood lead was associated with increased odds of major depression and panic disorder. Exposure to lead at levels generally considered safe could result in adverse mental health outcomes.”[6]

“Lead exposure in childhood appears to have long-lasting negative effects on mental health and personality in adulthood, according to a study of people who grew up in the era of leaded gasoline. The findings reveal that the higher a person’s blood lead levels at age 11, the more likely they are to show signs of mental illness and difficult personality traits by age 38.”[7]

“Vert and colleagues in Barcelona identified significantly increasing rates of depression among those exposed to a range of air pollutants, with doubling odds of depression”

“Emergency department attendance for depressive episodes were significantly higher for particular combinations of air pollutants at certain times”[8]

THE NUTRITION FACTOR

What we eat effects not only our physical, but also mental health. Although you may not have been advised to look at your diet when presenting at your doctor’s office with symptoms of depression, anxiety or stress; research has shown that diet is a key factor in brain health.  I was eating a fairly healthy but limited diet during my major period of depression due to food allergies.  Study through a Nutritional Consulting course provided me with an in depth knowledge of nutrition, detoxification pathways and health recovery.

“Few people are aware of the connection between nutrition and depression while they easily understand the connection between nutritional deficiencies and physical illness. Depression is more typically thought of as strictly biochemical-based or emotionally-rooted. On the contrary, nutrition can play a key role in the onset as well as severity and duration of depression. Many of the easily noticeable food patterns that precede depression are the same as those that occur during depression. These may include poor appetite, skipping meals, and a dominant desire for sweet foods. Nutritional neuroscience is an emerging discipline shedding light on the fact that nutritional factors are intertwined with human cognition, behavior, and emotions.”[9]

“Studies have compared ‘traditional’ diets, like the Mediterranean diet and the traditional Japanese diet, to a typical ‘Western’ diet and have shown that the risk of depression is 25% to 35% lower in those who eat a traditional diet. Scientists account for this difference because these traditional diets tend to be high in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, and fish and seafood, and to contain only modest amounts of lean meats and dairy. They are also void of processed and refined foods and sugars, which are staples of the ‘Western’ dietary pattern. In addition, many of these unprocessed foods are fermented, and therefore act as natural probiotics.”[10]

In a new study published in the July 15, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, study author Ka He, M.D., Sc.D., of Columbia University in New York states “Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to fight inflammation and maintain brain structure in aging brains. They have also been found to reduce brain damage caused by neurotoxins like lead and mercury. So we explored if omega-3 fatty acids have a protective effect against another neurotoxin, the fine particulate matter found in air pollution.”  When my brain was extremely challenged after the off gassing of our second new build I searched relentlessly for solutions and found someone (not medical or scientific) who claimed that the Omega 3 resolved their depression so I started taking large doses of non GMO unbleached lecithin and after some time noticed improvement.  I now understand why it helped, having read this research.  I recommend that my clients take Omega 3 daily for improved mental health. For more on the steps I took to depression free read  my how to guide, The Whole Person Well-being Equation.

Dr. Emily Deans, in her Psychology Today article, reports that randomized controlled trials show that the right diet can improve depression.[11]

THE HORMONE FACTOR

Changes in hormones produced in the body and endocrine disrupting chemicals that mimic, block, or interfere with hormones in the body’s endocrine system, and become a part of our body pollution, can be a significant contributing factor to depression for some people. Puberty and post partum are two significant life cycle periods where hormone levels change drastically.  “The research published in The Journal of Affective Diseases reported that physical development during mid-puberty predicted the increase in depression rates more than other any factor that was studied.”[14] “The age of onset of breast development was associated with high risk of the presence of depression. Whether these findings are indicators of the effects of hormones or transient effects of social pressures remain to be determined.”[15] “Endocrine-disrupting chemicals may influence hormonal shifts during pregnancy as well as contribute to postpartum depression, according to a small study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.”[16]

BRAIN CHEMISTRY DISRUPTION

The bottom line with depression and many mental health challenges is often a disruption to normal healthy and balanced brain chemistry and function. Knowing what ‘knocks’ our brain chemistry or function off is as relevant as what knocks our blood sugar off.  Intuition is an important detection tool when it comes to investigating the factors that knock your brain chemistry and function off. Sleep disruption is one factor that I know knocks mine off, and I am very careful to protect my sleep from disruptions. I teach clients to use their body’s responses to determine what foods cause them distress or ‘knock off’, including blood sugar knock off and food allergies.  Using your body responses to identify challenges can provide physical as well as mental and emotional protections. Learn more at my blog post. 

Mood or emotion regulation, the ability to exert control over one’s own emotional state can be affected by changes in brain chemistry and function. Gaining an understanding of How Our Brain Works provides a greater ability to control the way we feel.

THE STRESS FACTOR

Stress, stress idling and stress sensitization can be contributing factors to depression, anxiety, compromised coping and resilience; factors in the mental health equation. Achieving a strong resilience and ability to cope with what life presents takes a lot of work, I am still a work in progress. Do not lose hope! These qualities are key to improving your mental health equation. Implementing ongoing stress management strategies throughout your life is important to living depression free and enjoying  good, consistent mental health and ability to cope and roll with life’s challenges. Hopefully stress management will be the first ‘go to’, as well as diet changes and exercise that doctors prescribe to people presenting with anxiety, depression and stress symptoms; not just a suggestion or after thought. You can read more about the impact of stress in my blog post on stress title STRESS IDLING & SENSITIVITY: A Modern Day Health Challenge.

“If the stress is continued or prolonged, it can leave adverse effects on body’s immune, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and central nervous systems. When chronic stress goes untreated it can result into serious disabilities like insomnia, weakened immune system, high blood pressure, anxiety and muscle pain. It can also play a role in developing major disorders like depression, heart disease and obesity.”[12]

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go!” – Rumi

Sometimes past stress, trauma, memories and history are unable to release from the brain or body, resulting in ongoing unwanted symptoms or triggering. For one client, a 50+ year debilitating caterpillar phobia was dislodged using a combination of whole body detoxification and energy tapping to break the connection. Body scan visualizations and energy tapping can be combined to encourage the body to dislodge past stressors, traumatic events, memory and history, eliminating symptoms.  Find out how to customize and practice body scan visualizations in my book. Visualization is just one of the body’s amazing abilities.

 Visit my blog post BACK TO ‘BALANCE’: Body, Mind & Spirit Life Balancing Self-Care Strategies to see my Body, Mind & Spirit Balance Board. While a vision board provides you with an opportunity to visualize what you want in life, a ‘body, mind and spirit’ life balance vision board workshop will help you to identify your personal body, mind, spirit and life balance disruptors. The ‘body, mind and spirit’ life balance board (and accompanying instruction booklet) is an assessment tool and working planning chart prompting you to make required changes to achieve and maintain body, mind, spirit and life balance.

YOUR INNER DOCTOR

The human body was created with many amazing abilities, often referred to as ‘the doctor within’. Understanding and utilizing those often misunderstood and mostly forgotten powers is crucial to well-being and eliminating depression. Exploring ways to continually develop and maintain strength of mind and body will enable you to better endure the demands of life with grace and confidence; ultimately allowing you to stay focused on the pursuit of meaningful goals. Change and fortitude often start with a healthy dose of fear. Sometimes fear comes through a ‘wake up call, something is really wrong’, like the debilitating symptoms of depression.

“Mind-body interventions (MBIs) such as meditation, yoga and Tai Chi don’t simply relax us; they can ‘reverse’ the molecular reactions in our DNA which cause ill-health and depression, according to a study by the universities of Coventry and Radboud.”[13]

You can find the summarized strategies that I used to edit my physical and mental health equations to improve my health, eliminating depression, toxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT), multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), stress sensitization and multiple food allergies; in my book The Whole Person Well-being Equation. You can also find out about the additional supports that I use through my blog posts and social media pages which are listed at the end of this post.

PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER

If you are not one of the lucky people who finds themselves at the happy end of the mental health continuum daily, with superior resilience; do not despair. Many people find themselves regularly sliding back and forth to different points on the mental health continuum during challenging times. Set backs happen when it comes to dealing with anxiety, depression, coping with stress and achieving resilience. The goal, obviously, is to stay closer to the healthy, happy end of the continuum all the time.

“Today is the first day of the rest of your beautiful life”! Today is an opportunity to restart or start over in your quest for ‘a healthier you’. You may already tried many conventional and non conventional strategies in your quest for health recovery. Regardless of how many times you have started again, today can be a new opportunity for greater health allowing you to get on with living your beautiful life and the pursuit of meaningful goals.

I have had many hard and dark days in my past.  With the isolation and much of my family provinces away, there have been many hard reality days. When I feel paralyzed in those hard days, a voice often pops into my head from somewhere (maybe my mother) and whispers ‘one foot in front of the other’.  When I hear that whisper I know that if I can get up and take one step, then I will be able to take another, the start to ‘escaping the hard day’. I borrowed these lyrics from:

Put One Foot in Front of the Other

“If you want to change your direction
If your time of life is at hand
Well don’t be the rule, be the exception
A good way to start is to stand
Put one foot in front of the other”

(Put One Foot in Front of the Other is a song featured in the 1970 Rankin/Bass Christmas special Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town)

The strategies, information and resources I have provided can help you with that goal, they have helped my clients reach their mental and physical health goals. Success in an endeavour is about consistent commitment.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other when you feel despair, keep moving forward, even if only by baby steps. You can do this!

There are going to be many hard days in life. I have had many and know life will continue to come with challenges and hard days. Consider creating a mantra to help you on the hard days that feel mentally and hope challenging.  Check out my mantra in my blog post SURVIVAL MANTRA: Words to get you through the hard times

flores-no-ceu-azulpdthriving

Follow my road map to help you edit your mental and physical health equations, restoring your health so that you can get on with your life and the pursuit of meaningful goals and relationships. Find alternate mood protecting and enhancing supports at My Green Medicine Cabinet. Consult your regular healthcare provider before stopping medications or adding in alternative supports. 

Consider escaping to a farmacy, garden, green space or botanical experience

‘for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual ails’

escapetothefarmacy2

Escaping to, immersing in and eating from nature and botanical experiences brings so many body, mind and spirit benefits!

Using distractions, healthy escapes, as therapy has been one of my ongoing tools for coping with life’s challenging days. Although I no longer suffer from depression and my brain functions better than it has in year, I still use distraction therapy on days when life’s challenges mount, like those that present from the multiplier effect of having a large family and the present day challenges presented by the pandemic. There are many mind immersing ‘distraction therapy’ tools available. Follow my posts where I share some of my favourites.

These are very difficult times and existing mental health and addiction challenges can be magnified. If you have people in your life who are exhibiting threatening mental health behaviours towards themselves or others, it is important to take action through setting boundaries and incident reporting.  Failure to take note and action could result in serious consequences for you or other people, including your loved ones. The recent events in Nova Scotia highlights the seriousness of radical changes in a person’s mental state that led to the death of so many innocent people. Utilize and recommend the mental health supports that are readily available during the pandemic, through governments and community services. Check out the resource list below.

I started researching for my book and writing while I was recovering. My brain and some of my body are still ‘a work in progress’.

Every brain, body and mental health symptom should be investigated as a part of the whole person. From the ‘reverse engineering’ of my nervous and immune system crash after moving into a new home many decades ago, I know that I would have been spared many years of suffering had my symptoms been investigated in the context of my whole body, person and health. Fast forward to today and I am symptom free and feel healthy and blessed.  I have taken my recovered health ‘reverse engineering’ information and combined it with my research on natural strategies to write The Whole Person Well-being Equation. If you are suffering from any symptoms, consider a ‘whole person’ approach to investigating and eliminating your symptoms. You are after all, ‘the sum of your parts’.

There is more editing and healing to do, in terms of my 100% brain function goals. The good news is my brain is plastic (neuroplasticity) and can change. One of my left over quirks/deficiencies from my past traumatic chemical brain damage, which happens seldom now, is that while having a conversation a word will occasionally come out in a sentence that is not the word I intended.  Not sure where that comes from. My brain sometimes substitutes an alternate, unrelated word for the word that I intended. People tend to be a bit confused at times, as well as me.  Sometimes adds a bit of humour! It isn’t always easy to laugh at oneself when one malfunctions, physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. You will find many blog posts that I have written throughout my health recovery from physical and mental challenges on my blog.  At the very end of this post I have listed several blog posts about brain challenges, so scroll to the bottom of this post to read more.

Wishing you whole person well-being!

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, http://www.mybodycanhealitself.ca/

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Must Read Books for mental health recovery:

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[1] http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bee_Movie

[2] Scientists quash claims about single ‘depression genes’, Medical News Today, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324884

[3] What does it mean to have a genetic predisposition to a disease? US National Library of Medicine, https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/mutationsanddisorders/predisposition

[4] Involvement of Genetic and Environmental Factors in the Onset of Depression, US National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3897684/

[5] Pollution in People, Toxic Chemical Profiles of 11 families and 5 adults across Canada, https://environmentaldefence.ca/report/report-pollution-in-people-toxic-chemical-profiles-of-11-adults-and-5-families-across-canada/

[6] Blood lead levels and major depressive disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder in U.S. young adults, US National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917196/

[7] Childhood lead exposure linked to poor adult mental health, Science Daily, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190123112330.htm

[8] Air pollution, mental health, and implications for urban design: a review, Journal of Urban Design and Mental Health, https://www.urbandesignmentalhealth.com/journal-4—air-pollution-and-mental-health.html

[9] Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses, Indian Journal of Psychiatry, US National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2738337/

[10] Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food. Dr. Eva Selhub, Harvard Health Blog, March 26, 2020, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626

[11] A Dietary Treatment for Depression: A Randomized controlled trial shows the right diet can improve depression. Dr. Emily Deans, Psychology Today, March 17, 2017

[12] Chronic Stress Leads to Anxiety and Depression, Annals of Psychiatry and Mental Health, https://www.jscimedcentral.com/Psychiatry/psychiatry-5-1091.pdf

[13] Meditation and yoga can ‘reverse’ DNA reactions which cause stress, new study suggests, Science Daily, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170615213301.htm

[14] Puberty onset of gender differences in rates of depression: A developmental, epidemiologic and neuroendocrine perspective. Journal of Affective Disorders. 1993;29:145-158. doi:10.1016/0165-0327(93)90029-j, Angold A. Worthman CW

[15] . Age at onset of puberty and adolescent depression: “Children of 1997” birth cohortPediatrics. 2016;137(6):e20153231 to e20153231. doi:10.1542/peds.2015-3231

[16] Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals may increase likelihood of postpartum depression, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210401/Exposure-to-endocrine-disrupting-chemicals-may-increase-likelihood-of-postpartum-depression.aspx

[17] Neuroplasticity: the potential for lifelong brain development, https://sharpbrains.com/resources/1-brain-fitness-fundamentals/neuroplasticity-the-potential-for-lifelong-brain-development/#:~:text=Neuroplasticity%20refers%20to%20the%20lifelong,between%20neurons%20throughout%20a%20lifetime.&text=It%20is%20the%20one%20brain’s%20ability%20that%20allows%20recovery.

Resources:

Check with your local and national government websites to find supports for your region and country.

Mental Health Commission of Canada – https://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/English/external-covid-19-resources-general-public

Taking Care of your Mental Health During COVID-19, Government of Canada, https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/mental-health.html

Canadian Mental Health Association – https://cmha.ca/news/covid-19-and-mental-health

Diet quality and depression risk: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studiesJournal of Affective Disorders, January 15, 2018.

Diet and Depression. Dr. Monique Tello, Harvard Health Blog, January 29, 2020.

Dietary patterns and depression risk: A meta-analysis. Psychiatry Research, July 2017.

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More of my blog posts to help you edit your mental health equation:

THE POWER OF MIND BODY HEALING TO BECOME SYMPTOM FREE – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/the-power-of-mind-body-healing-to-become-symptom-free/

BACK TO ‘BALANCE’: Body, Mind & Spirit Life Balancing Self-Care Strategies – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/back-to-balance-body-mind-life-balancing-self-care-strategies/

YOUR BODY’S INTERNAL COMMUNICATION SYSTEM: Improving crucial messaging for better health – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/your-bodys-internal-communication-system-improving-crucial-messaging-for-better-health/

SELF-TALK REPROGRAMMING: How to Change How Your Body & Brain Response ‘for a healthier you’ – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/self-talk-reprogramming-how-to-change-how-your-body-brain-respond-for-a-healthier-you/

THE GIFT of a Healthy Brain: Strategies to Protect and Restore Optimum Brain Function – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/the-gift-of-a-healthy-brain-strategies-to-protect-and-restore-optimum-brain-function/

INDOOR AIR QUALITY: A Potential for Compromised Brain, Nervous System and Overall Health – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/indoor-air-quality-a-potential-for-compromised-brain-nervous-system-and-overall-health/

BRAIN & NERVOUS SYSTEM FUNCTION RECOVERY: More is Possible! – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/brain-nervous-system-function-recovery-more-is-possible/

HEAVY METALS: Dangerous To Your Brain – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/heavy-metals-dangerous-to-your-brain/

BRAIN INJURY: Natural Strategies for Recovery – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/brain-injury-natural-strategies-for-recovery/

BRAIN INJURY: Natural Strategies for Recovery

WHAT-COULD-POSSIBLY-GO-WRONG

As a holistic wellness practitioner I work with clients with many health challenges, one serious issue is brain injury and compromised brain function.  Many of the clients that come to me with these issues have been reviewed by traditional medical doctors and many have been told they have early dementia or Alzheimer’s. One client’s brain challenges were determined to be the cause of a virus. Some people who come to me have been diagnosed with a variety of mental health challenges including chronic depression. Many come because they are in search of recover that they have been unable to achieve through traditional medical offerings. If you are considering using any of the strategies in my blog posts or books or website; discuss them with your regular healthcare practitioner first.  It is important that you are monitored as you add strategies, especially if you are taking medications.  DO NOT STOP TAKING YOUR MEDICATIONS.

My brain challenges were originally diagnosed as ‘a break down’, later to be revealed to be brain injury from ‘off gassing’ of toxic chemicals after moving into a new house. The damage to my brain and blood brain barrier left me with toxicant induced loss of tolerance (TILT), depression, multiple food allergies and other health challenges. My earlier ‘toxicant induced loss of tolerance’ came as the result of pumping leaded gasoline at my father’s service station as a teenager.  I have had two additional ‘toxicant induced loss of tolerance’ challenges with moves into two earlier new house with accompanying off gassings – long before anyone had ever heard of it.

Claudia Miller, a tenured Professor in Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Vice Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has studied this condition and treats it medically.  You can read about her work in TILT at http://drclaudiamiller.com/. She has written a booklet entitled Protect Yourself – “TILT – A New Class of Diseases: How Exposures to Chemicals Are Undermining Our Mental and Physical Health,” which describes chemical intolerance, Toxicant-induced Loss of Tolerance, and the dangers of certain chemicals in the environment. You can find it here  https://issuu.com/elisco/docs/tilt_ebook

INVESTIGATING THE CAUSES OF BRAIN INJURY

There can be multiple possible cause for brain injury or compromised brain function.  Often there are a combination of contributing factors. Initial injury often leaves the blood brain barrier vulnerable to other factors that would normally not have been a brain challenge in the past.

UnderstandingtheBodysChemicalEquation

Stress is often a big contributing factor in brain injury.  Chronic pumping of stress hormones can chew away at the protective myelin coating in the brain and damage the blood brain barrier leaving the brain vulnerable to harmful chemicals found in air pollution, workplaces and homes.

stress meter 2

Stress: It’s Worse Than You Think by John Carpihttps://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199601/stress-its-worse-you-think

STRESS IDLING: A Modern Day Health Challenge – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=1115

HOW STRESS CHANGES THE BRAIN: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/18/brain-stress_n_6148470.html

Blood brain barrier damage is another factor that can cause brain injury and malfunction.

bbb1

NATURAL CURES: Protecting and Repairing Your Blood Brain Barrier to Restore Mental Healthhttp://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=639

Viruses and bacteria are also culprits when it comes to brain injury.

Viral infection leading to brain dysfunction: more prevalent than appreciated? US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782954/

Bacterial Meningitis – While most people with meningitis recover, permanent disabilities such as brain damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities can result from the infection. Centers for Disease Control and Preventionhttp://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html

Physical injury like concussion are also relevant when discussing compromised brain function. HARD KNOCKS: The Science of Concussionshttp://www.brainfacts.org/diseases-disorders/injury/articles/2012/hard-knocks-the-science-of-concussions/

THERAPIES FOR BRAIN INJURY RECOVERY

In this segment I am going to discuss the strategies that I have found most helpful for repairing my brain injury and those of my clients. You can find these strategies in more detail in my holistic protocol in my workbook THE WHOLE PERSON WELL-BEING EQUATION.  It guides you through the steps for health recovery. At this link you can also read testimonies from people with various health challenges who have recovered using my holistic protocol.

Addressing Body Pollution

Addressing your body pollution and detoxifying is an important first step for any health condition. This was in extremely important step for me in my recovery.  Detoxification is a two step process:  one – stop adding to your body pollution my cleaning up (greening) your personal care products, diet and environments; and two – remove your existing body pollution (we all have some). It took me a lot of trial and error to come up with the best detoxification method which I now recommend to my clients with great results. The complete instructions and recipe for the herbal detoxification baths that I used to recover from my health issues including my TILT can be found in my book THE WHOLE PERSON WELL-BEING EQUATION. Get started today on whole body detoxification the right way.

Body Pollution page 2

DETOXIFICATION: The Benefits of Getting It Right – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=2834.  From personal and client experiences there is no more important ‘first strategy’ to brain health recovery than detoxification.

DETOXIFICATION: A Natural Body Process That May Need Some Helphttp://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=51

Water

Your drinking water is a big factor in helping your body to be able to remove harmful substances and making sure you are not adding them.

watercontaminants2

YOUR DRINKING WATER: Is It Compromising Your Health?http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=830

YOUR DRINKING WATER: A possible connection to Alzheimers and Dementia – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=1

Tai Chi for Health Recovery– I can not say enough about the impact this had on my brain recovery. I would never have believed it could make such a difference. I recommend tai chi to all of my clients.

The health benefits of tai chi – Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School – The health benefits of tai chi – http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-health-benefits-of-tai-chi

Diet

Diet is of course very important for overall health as well as recovery from brain injury. Eat foods that are as close to nature as possible.  Eat healthy fats. Avoid GMOs, artificial additives (including colours) and preservatives which have been shown to have a negative impact on the brain.

Lecithin

According to the Institute of Medicine (1998), lecithin provides a great source of choline– essential to every cell in the body, for it is one of the main components of cell membrane. It builds brain cells and improves cardiovascular function. Lecithin that contains phosphatidyl choline is produced mainly from vegetable sources, although it may also be found in animal and microbial sources. Its role is to breakdown the fats in your body. Lecithin is naturally found in the foods that most of us eat, especially rich foods, such as egg yolks, soybeans, grains, wheat germ, liver, cauliflower, fish, legumes, yeast, and peanuts.

After my brain injury I did a lot of research looking for strategies to repair the damage and malfunction.  Based on the information in the research I added lecithin rich foods and decided to take  soy lecithin supplements.  I took the supplements three times a day for an extended period of time and that provided me with great improvements in reducing the depression.  I know that there is a lot of controversy over soy products and health.  Since I use neuromuscularbiofeedback testing on all my foods and supplements before consumption I was sure it was not harmful to me.  I test clients on both sunflower seed and soy lecithin and usually soy is still the winner.  Make sure that it is pure, unbleached, non GMO. Lecithin also protects your liver important in toxic environments, for people taking medications and for overall body health.

Nutrition expert Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, author of Brain Longevity, says “Lecithin is practically a wonder drug as far as cognitive impairment is concerned.”

Frank Orthoefer, Ph.D., promotes the benefits of lecithin, including improving memory, nerve and brain functioning, in his book Lecithin and Health. Orthoefer has researched lecithin for over 25 years, and is a leading authority on the subject.

Positive Effects of Soy Lecithin-Derived Phosphatidylserine plus Phosphatidic Acid on Memory, Cognition, Daily Functioning, and Mood in Elderly Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4271139/

Lecithin Extract Counters Brain Aging – http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2006/5/cover_brain/Page-01

Lecithin used to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzeihmers, Parkinson, dementia, brain injury  http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/choline

STRESS MANAGEMENT

This is a must for brain injury or malfunction to help reduce the pumping of ‘chewing’ stress hormones on the blood brain barrier, myelin sheath and brain.

Stress: It’s Worse Than You Think by John Carpi – https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199601/stress-its-worse-you-think

STRESS IDLING: A Modern Day Health Challenge – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=1115

Essential Oil Therapy

I was not aware of essential oil therapy for brain injury at the time of my injury but I now recommend it to my clients presenting with any type of brain challenges.  The results have been amazing.

I have one client who had a viral brain infection and was unable to put words together in a sentence initially.  I started her on some essential oils in a diffuser and to use topically. Her brain is now mostly healed and she recently did a radio interview on essential oils and the impact on her recovery.  You can listen to her story here – https://app.box.com/s/55pf0cxx5a74mj3edasxtsiuzneqej4e. Amazing!

I have other clients that have had severe memory and cognitive challenges and I have recommended various essential oils which have improved both. I am ‘over the moon’ with the results I have seen in my clients and they are pretty quick to see results.

Contact me for your customized brain health recovery regime today at elisabethlhines@gmail.com. Learn more about my approach to natural health recovery!.

Emotional aromatherapy can improve mental and emotional health.  Get started today feeling more like the true you! Contact me for a customized aromatherapy program.

Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca

Practitioner, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca, elisabethlhines@gmail.com

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Copyright © 2013, Elisabeth Hines

All rights reserved. No portion of this post may be copied and distributed in any manner without the written permission of the author or publisher and associates.

Copyright © 2013, Elisabeth Hines

All rights reserved. No portion of this post may be copied and distributed in any manner without the written permission of the author or publisher and associates.