Health, Personal Growth

My New Hero: Kelly Brogan Talking About Depression in Women

Last night looking for some inspiration, I came across a short interview of Kelly Brogan. She was exactly who I needed to be introduced to!

I was so excited to discover Kelly Brogan last night I just had to share her with you too! Let me preface by saying that a handful of years ago, I got into holistic nutrition because I wanted to heal myself. I was suffering from incredible amounts of stress and anxiety from my job (it was during the financial crisis of 2007-2008), my stomach was constantly a mess, and I had IBS that was no joke. I had also just suffered a miscarriage that started as an ectopic pregnancy,  after which lead to a year of postpartum depression and grief. I enrolled myself into the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where I was immersed in hundreds of food theories that focused on how food combined with exercise and meditation, can be our best medicine.

As a Manhattan-based holistic women’s health psychiatrist, this what Kelly is teaching us while bringing this idea to the forefront of her field of medical practice. She reminded me of why I got into holistic nutrition in the first place. I too believed that you could heal yourself with food and not stick a band-aid on the issues with medication. I was also able to gain clarity at some issues occurring currently in my life now. I had to ask myself, how did I steer so far off my path?

I’m sharing the video here so you too can be introduced to Kelly Brogan. Wanting to hear more from Kelly, I also created a playlist on YouTube which I’m happy to share with you. But before you run off, here were my take-aways from my last night viewing.

Depression is a gift that we should ‘Thank’ our body’s for giving us those signals.

Seeing Depression As a Gift

Kelly says that depression is a gift from our body to signal to us that something is wrong. Modern medicine has us pumping ourselves with pills to mask this (guilty!). When anything happens within our body’s from a sore throat to hysteria, it’s our body’s way of signaling to us that there is a problem and we need to fix it. And fixing it means finding the cause and then moving through the experience, not slapping a pill band-aid on it.

Her studies have shown her that mental illness is not a “chemical imbalance” but instead there is an underlying issue that needs your attention. She also promotes moving through the experience of depression or anxiety, as a vehicle to start a new chapter in your life vs “opting out” of the journey by masking the pain with medicines. Many cultures honor pain and suffering as a growing experience where our society has been taught to sweep it under the carpet, get a quick fix, and get back to work. We life in a world where we want the quick fix back to normal. Her observation with today’s society is we have little tolerance for when things in our life get “messy” and so we stifle our own evolution process.

She also stresses that depression is not what we typically think, the idea that we are sitting around crying all the time. That in fact it can come in forms of irritability, anxiety, brain fogginess, flatness, etc.

We’ve reached a point in our evolution when our health has been outpaced by our lifestyles and how we were biologically designed to live.

Contributing Factors Toward Why We Get Depressed

I loved her acknowledgement to how our lifestyles are a contributing factor.

  • We’re idle when our body’s want to move (sitting at a desk for the entire day).
  • We eat unrecognizable (processed) foods.
  • We expose ourselves to environments that assault our cells (cell phones, laptops, etc).

Our evolution is mismatched with how we were biologically designed to function. To begin to fix ourselves we should look at returning to the basics.

  • Honoring our sleep cycles
  • Getting plenty of sun exposure
  • Moving our bodies
  • Working with food as bridge to our environment
  • (For women) Relating better to the cycle of our hormonal system

For me, I was validated because I have been at work, sinking into a depression. My job changed recently and I sit for 8-hours never leaving the office during that time. When I watched Kelly, I was able to make that connection and developed a plan for myself to alleviate this issue in my life.

Kelly’s Recommendations

Kelly recommends we honor the process of our pain and learn to listen to our bodies to discover what ails us. Then fix it. Most often it leads back to our diets, the simple over the counter medications we take, and the lifestyle we live. Her goal is to truly cure all of her patients so they can live a life free of needing her services.  She puts a lot of emphasis on the gut-brain connection. No one will argue that the brain will send signals to the gut (example: stress shows up as diarrhea), and so it works in the other direction to. She recommends starting with your diet and then lifestyle. The three things we can all do today is:

  1. Start with breakfast. Get a balance healthy meal in of whole foods, fruits, veggies, and good fats.
  2. Exercise. She recommends to her patients 20-minutes of high intensity intervals of 30-seconds 90% intensity (really break a sweat!) with 30-seconds of rest done in 8 cycles.
  3. Meditation. Her meditation of choice is Kundalini Yoga, but any guided meditation you can google for free on the internet will work. She tells her patients to start with 3-minutes each morning and increase it from there.

In Conclusion

I was able to step back and take a new look at the elements of my life I need to work on. Kelly has a book called A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Minds, which of course I ran out and got first thing this morning!

I hope that watching her videos or reading her book, you too are inspired to look differently at depression and anxiety. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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