Depression, a board of directors, and medication, these are all some of the things floating around in my brain that we’re going to talk about. Sit back and get comfy. Grab something to drink. This podcast might be a little bit longer than my typical podcast. You see, I have to set the stage for you to know where I’m coming from, so you can understand my filter on depression, and studies, and all the confusion in studies that are out there. Let me do a quick introduction.
My name is Kristen Bowen and I have struggled with depression since I was a young girl. Now, here’s the deal. When I say that to people they like to put it in my past.They feel more comfortable putting it in the past. Excuse me, I do. I do, I struggle with it. In the past, there was a definite reason for the depression. There was some abuse involved, and so there was a reason. I don’t have abuse happening in my life any more. In fact, I’m in a marriage that rocks my world. In my head, there should not be any more depression, but there is. I want to share with you some things that I’ve learned, some tools that I’ve put into place to help me through the hard points. I’m hoping you’ll celebrate with me like crazy because I just came out of a five–day low that came out of nowhere. It was one of the hardest I’ve ever had. I made it through. I am dancing. I know you can’t see me but I am literally dancing right now. It really snuck up on me.
First of all, let’s talk celiac and depression, and gluten and depression. Did you hear me pronounce that T? I did very well. I was raised in Southern Utah and they don’t pronounce their T’s there, so I’m very consciously working on pronouncing my T’s. That was a squirrel moment, sorry. Gluten, celiac, and depression. I am a diagnosed celiac. It’s an autoimmune disorder. Most celiacs do better once they go off of the gluten and the depression gets a little bit better. Now, does that mean that non-celiacs get better going off of gluten and having a lift in their depression? It depends. There are studies, in fact right before this podcast, I was devouring studies, and they were so contradictory. One said this, another one said that. I want to share with you, not from a study, but from my personal life and the thousands of people that I’ve worked with, and what their experiences are.
For me, personally, I needed to evaluate this last five-day hit. I wanted to know what prompted it. Was I not doing something? Was there something I could have done better? How could I have managed it better? In doing these, I call them loving evaluations, I’ve been able to really minimize the effect of my depression. Sorry, got a little teary because the effects are many. My family, I quit reaching out to them. If you know me, I love my family. For some reason when that depression hits, my filter is I’m alone, and I need to wait until I’m better to reach, which is such a lie. I need to reach out to get feeling better and to connect. I always do evaluations. Through those evaluations, I’ve learned what my triggers are. I’ve learned what little things come up before a big dive. That way I can see it when my thinking is still good, and clear. I can see it coming, and I can reach out for help before I get into that deep, I call it, a dark and twisty place. Sorry. I’ve got little sniffles going on from some tears that dropped.
This one, I didn’t get any little indicators. Boom, it hit me. Last night I was journaling. What did I eat? How has my sleep been? How has my supplement routine been? How has my exercise been? My water intake? Those are all things that make a difference in my depression. I realized what I’d done. Oh my gosh. Now, I’m not blaming this restaurant. It is totally 100% my responsibility. I have a hard time with canola oil, it flares up my arthritis. Since a lot of salad dressings have canola oil, I’ve learned I needed to keep some healthy alternatives in my car in case I get stuck and have to order something.
Going to Wendy’s, I had my salad dressing pack, and I got the Power Mediterranean salad. It was dark. I was tired. I was eating too late. I was kind of frustrated. Not kind of, I was. I was very frustrated with myself. I should have planned better. Sitting in my dark car, enjoying my salad. I was talking to one of my daughters as I was journaling. I said to her, “Have you tried the Mediterranean salad from Wendy’s?” She responded, “No, it has wheat in it. Cracked wheat mom.” I hadn’t realized I was eating wheat. This last round of depression I went through, was very much facilitated by an introduction of gluten in a salad.
Since we always want to find something to celebrate in.The thing I’m celebrating is, I have healed my intestines. Typically, in the past, if I would have gotten any type of wheat at that level, this was a whole serving of wheat, I would have had massive digestive issues and I didn’t. Which is amazing. Which means my gut is getting better and healing. I am over the moon about that. It still takes a toll on me and my neurotransmitters. Man oh man did it hit. It hit hard. It hit fast. It hit furious but I made it through. Yay.
If you’re not celiac, and you struggle with depression or anxiety, I want to know if you have gone off gluten go for a while? If you’ll give yourself a 45-day complete vacation from gluten, then evaluate if it made a difference for you with your depression and/or anxiety. Now, going gluten-free is like being pregnant. You either are or you’re not. I don’t mean just reducing the gluten, I mean completely going gluten-free. There are studies that will tell you it does make a difference. Journal of Psychology has a study that says 90% of people who are not diagnosed celiac, who go off of gluten, who experience anxiety and depression, experience an increase in mood and a decrease in symptoms, 90%. I mean that’s amazing. There was another study by the National Institute of Health that says it’s garbage, it doesn’t do anything. This is where you get to be your very own CEO of your body. If you struggle with anxiety or depression, try going gluten-free and seeing if it makes a difference for you. Do it for 45 days and do it 100%.
Now I have to tell you that the people I’ve worked with, the majority of them feel better. Some of them don’t though. However, after going gluten free for 45 days you can determine, you don’t have to rely on the study. You can basically find whatever study you want that supports your belief system. They’re both from credible places. One says no, one says 90% yes. That way you understand your body’s chemistry and if you’re going to feel better. For me, it hits within about 12 hours. Now I didn’t even realize I had gotten gluten this time so I didn’t understand what was happening as the black abyss encompassed my soul, my heart, and my thinking. As I did my evaluation after the black abyss had passed, talking to a daughter, I realized, oh, I got hit with a full serving of wheat that salad because I didn’t pay enough attention. I was busy. I was so busy. A Mediterranean salad. To me, a Mediterranean salad has some feta cheese, maybe some Greek olives, some peppers, that kind of thing. I need to take 100% accountability to check the ingredients.
Typically, I always wonder, is it in my head, am I making it up? Am I just assuming that’s going to happen so that’s what I experience? This one was really interesting in that I didn’t know that I had gotten it and I really got hit 12 hours afterwards.
Now the next little piece of the puzzle is the studies. Some people really get overwhelmed by studies. You can find a study that basically supports eating tons of meat, eating little meat, being vegetarian, eating gluten, not eating gluten, sugar is okay, sugar is not … You can find a study that supports just about anything. Test it out on yourself. Determine what fits for you. My husband was actually in a study for his eyes. We saw the holes in the study. They were missing some of the questions and some of the criteria. They’re now making massive medical decisions off of this eye study that my husband was in. After that experience, I always look at those studies and think, “I wonder what they were missing.”
When you’re wanting to figure it out for yourself, because you are the CEO of your body and your life. You change one thing at a time. Then determine, did it make a difference? Here’s what I see happening, especially with women, you’ll become an up-cycler, and you’ll get feeling a little bit better but you’ll just put more on your plate to do. You don’t notice that you feel better. That, my friend, is when a board of directors kicks in and is a beautiful fit.
I have a board of directors. Those I invite, people on my board that I trust, that have my back, and that are willing to give me the feedback even if it’s hard feedback. Now, one of the people on my board of directors is my husband. Some of the people on my board of directors are paid help coaches. Some of the people on my board of directors are my naturopath. You have to put together a board of directors that fits your needs. For example, and I’ve told this story a lot, but I love it. My oldest son is a thinker. He’s linear and a thinker. He is on my board of directors.
Now, if I put him on my board of directors, and I went to him, and I said, “What … When I do video work, I plan my outfits. Will this look good on camera? Will it wash me out?” That kind of thing. If I went to my oldest son who is a financial investor and said, “Hey Bren,” his name is Brennon, but I call him Bren. “Hey Bren, do you think these shoes will look okay on camera? What do you think of this color? Does it bring out the read in my skin?” He would not even look up from the numbers he’s working with and say, “Yeah, it looks fine.” Style not his strength. That’s not his zone of genius. He just doesn’t even care about the shoes. The only thing he wants to know is, were they the cheapest that I could find so that my financial in numbers are good. That’s how he thinks.
When you’re building your board of directors it is so important that you choose people for areas that they’re strong in. Now, if I went to a daughter. I don’t mean that in a sexist way, it is just how my kids are. You can go to men or women. In my case, if I went to a daughter, she would respond to my questions with, “Oh mom, you know that pink probably isn’t the best thing on camera because the wall color behind you and you’ll kind of wash away into it.” You have to determine your board of directors. For example, if I went to my son to talk about warehouse procedures, weights and measurements for lotion, he wouldn’t have anything to give me. If I went to my daughter for warehouse procedures, cost of goods involved, milliliters, ounces, all that kind of thing, she would be all over that. That’s her zone of genius.
As you build your board of directors, make sure you put people in an area that they’re passionate about. When it comes to investing in 401Ks, that’s the conversation that I have with my son Brennon. You have to make sure that those are matched up. My board of directors has some people that are paid, I pay them to be on my board of directors. Some people are there because they love me, and they have my back. They want to make sure that I make it through when that dark and twisty abyss surrounds my heart, soul, and thoughts. Building a board of directors doesn’t happen overnight, but oh my goodness is it worth it to start building. Because my board of directors saw that my depression had kicked in. They started reaching out to me, talking to me, making sure I was okay. It is a natural safety net that I have to make it through, when that dark and twisty days comes up.
The next thing I want to talk about with depression is medication. A lot of people, when I talk about my depression, they always think it’s in the past. Like I don’t experience that anymore. Sometimes I want to say, “Today, it’s consuming me. It’s all I can do to stand here and even move.” You can tell, personally, on me, the muscles in my face quit moving, and I become kind of monotone. Sometimes I just want to say, “No, it’s today.” There isn’t a face to depression. Sometimes we think of a person that struggles with depression and they’re always crying, and they’re always sad, and you can tell, oh, they have depression. There’s not a face to depression. I really wanted to dispel the myth that my depression is in the past. Because a lot of times people will compare their journey to mine and they think I’ve totally conquered it. I haven’t conquered the depression, I’ve just built up a support system and tools to help me to get through the depression.
Now let’s go to prescriptions. A lot of people assume that I would never use a prescription for depression. That’s not the truth. Now, for me personally, there are different families of medications that do different things when it comes to depression. There are six actually. I have tried each of the families of medications to see if it’s a good fit for me, to help me, and I’ll tell you, if any of them have worked, I’d be on it. I would just be doing things to support my liver and make sure that I was getting optimal nutrition since medications will pull different layers of nutrition from your body, and strip them. If there was one that worked, that helped my journey to be a little bit easier when it came to that dark and twisty depression, I would be on it. I personally never found the benefits. I only got the side effects.
Now I have people around me that I love very much that also struggle with depression. They found one that was a good fit, that it really made a difference. Really determine … I see so many people that say, “No, I want to do it naturally.” They walk away from a tool that could benefit them. I know there’s a lot of publicity that the negative side effects of medications, and I’m with you on that, I’m very, very conservative. However, don’t push it away as this horrible thing without doing some investigating to see if there’s something that could benefit you. I look at it as leaving no stone unturned. Now I’ve looked at all of those stones, I experienced those stones, none of them worked for me. I moved on and figured out what would help me. For me, water intake is crucial, hydration. Staying gluten-free. Did you hear that T again? Staying gluten-free. Exercise is important. Being outside in the sunshine, being connected to people, and my sleep schedule is crucial.
Another thing for me, I have this thing for murder shows, and murder mysteries, blows my husband’s mind, but I do. If I get too into those and start doing that a lot, it kicks in. It triggers. I just start to feel hopeless like there’s no goodness left in the world. I have to make sure the visual images, and the sounds that I put into my body, are really uplifting and lift me to that place where I want to be.
I hope if you struggle with depression and anxiety that you remember today, you are not alone. Please realize, my depression is not in the past. It’s something that I still deal with. I just came out of a dark place. Celebrate with me. I’m going to celebrate for you too, that you and I are connecting here today because it’s something that I still experience. If you are ever feeling alone, remember, that’s a lie, you are not alone. There are others, we are out here, and we are walking that journey right along with you. It’s a matter of sharing and connecting, that helps our journey to become a beautiful place instead of a lonely, dark and twisty place.
Leave a comment. Talk to me. I’d love to know what have you tried and what works for you? Another podcast that might be really good to do is supplementation for depression. I think that would be a super interesting one. I’m making a note of that right now. Supplementation for depression, because there are some really good supplements out there. That’s for another podcast. This one has gone a little bit longer.
My name is Kristen Bowen. I’m the founder of Living the Good Life Naturally. If you’d like to learn more about the tools that I put into place, specifically for my depression, come and join us on February 8th, 9th, and 10th. It’s my three-day class, building a strong foundation. It’s called Stop Starting Over. I share those tools, those foundational pieces I used to help bring me out of that depression and to help me maintain, and experience fewer dips, and more happy spots. If you are interested, go check that out at livingthegoodlifenaturally.com. February 8th, 9th, and 10th. I’d love to have you be a part of that. It happens in beautiful Logan. We have people flying in from all over. There are beautiful hotels here. We’re about 90 minutes from the Salt Lake International Airport. Cost of the class? $97. I don’t want anyone not to be able to take this class because of the cost. I can’t wait to connect with you there.
Hey, it’s Kristen here. Two favors. If you enjoyed that podcast. Go ahead and like the podcast wherever you are listening in from. Want more info and updates about free classes, paid classes, or products? Go to livingthegoodlifenaturally.com. Enter your email in for the email newsletter and that is where I send all of the updates about all of the amazing things that are happening at Living the Good Life Naturally. Remember, you are the CEO of your life. Today is the day to create health and live the good life naturally.
The content of this program is for information purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This program is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Individual health conditions may vary. Always seek competent medical advice from your medical or holistic health provider before starting any new health protocols.