Dr. Michael Karlfeldt, ND, PhD talks with Aspen Morrow about mental illness, its impact on our population, and how it affects us economically, socially and emotionally. She explains how our physical health is affected as well, including symptoms and the nutrients that support our well-being.
Dr. Karlfeldt: With me I have Aspen Morrow, and we are going to be chatting about mental illness and specifically bipolar disorder. An interesting fact she brought to my attention is that mental illness is actually the number one cost in the U.S. And it’s a big issue and something we really need to look into.
Aspen, you’ve had quite a journey. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are diagnosed with and what’s going on?
Aspen Morrow: I was a senior in college and majoring in public relations. And started having a manic episode where I couldn’t sleep for days, and days turned into weeks. And found myself in a little place they call the “psyche ward”.
Dr. K: So you were actually in the psyche ward?
AM: was committed in 1999 for two weeks to get over that episode. Not a very recommended hotel stay. Very expensive, not five stars. The most memorable thing about that was when I got out. I went to a psychiatrist in Pocatello. He tried to tell me what I’d be facing with my diagnosis. He said, “you’ll be on medications the rest of my life.” I was told I was Type I, which is considered severe to have had a hospitalization at that age.
Dr. K: This is bipolar disorder?
AW: Yes, bipolar disorder, Type I. He said I should consider not having children. If you decide to take your medication as prescribed, you may or may not be hospitalized. But you most likely will have repeated hospitalizations. And if you can’t afford your medications, disability will be there for you. I followed that route for several years. And the medications were worse than the disorder. At one time I was on Zyprexa, Depakote, Paxil.
Dr. K: What kind of side effects were you experiencing from the medications?
AW: Depakote drained the color out of the world. Literally. It turned color to .. everything was sepia. It was gray or black and white, or just didn’t have much color. It took your emotions away. Any real feeling, there was no happiness, no sadness. When I got engaged, it was just going through the motions.
Dr. K: Everything was just monotone, just flat lined.
AW: What was difficult with that was that you couldn’t trust how you were feeling. So around the time you would get married, you didn’t even know if you loved someone. Because you didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. It completely changed my personality.
Dr. K: From that state, what made you think in another direction? Because you shifted. You wanted to take an alternate route.
AW: I was praying for something different. I found out about a micronutrient, a nutraceutical grade micro nutrient formula. I started taking that in 2002. And thankfully at the time, I had been unmedicated for awhile. I don’t recommend medications for everyone, but I certainly don’t recommend the unmedicated route.
Dr. K: So you went off medication, and while you were off medication you were noticing symptoms, and then you found something else.
AW: So I got on the micronutrient formula. And then about 8 years ago, I started reading Nourishing Traditions, the Weston A. Price, Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation. And the Maker’s Diet, Jordan Ruban. I didn’t change my diet for a long time. I did supplements and Ramen and Pepsi.
Dr. K: So kill yourself over here and then nourish yourself over here.
Dr. K: So you’re talking about the Maker’s Diet. So what changes did you make?
AW: If God didn’t make it, don’t eat it.
Dr. K: Okay, so simple.
AW: Yes, simple. He recommends a few things like fish or pork that you don’t eat. My health went to another level when I started dietary changes. And then I added in salt. Bipolar is found to be depleted in salt.
Dr. K: So what are some of the nutrients you would recommend, if you would list them all, what would you recommend?
AW: A very good multi-vitamin. Pharmaceutical grade. Vitamins and minerals. The minerals are very key the brain.
The other thing I take is a good probiotic. Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride talks about the gut. About 70% of people with mental illness have digestive issues. So a good probiotic.
And a good Omega. Most people are familiar with the brain Omega connection.
And inositol. It makes people nice.
Dr. K: We like nice people! Well thank you very much Aspen. It’s been wonderful having you!