Self-advocacy is something we are very big on here in Ketovangelist Land. Don’t get me wrong, as I have said many times before, there is absolutely a place for traditional medicine in the world, and we try to refrain from “hating on” doctors and health practitioners as much as is possible; we know too many good people, who truly care for their patients, to universally poo-poo the profession. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that, outside of true medical emergencies (think bone breaks, heart attacks, and other serious trauma), most health practitioners are trained to treat symptoms, mainly with pills. Finding one who is brave enough to really dig deep- maybe even go outside of the normal guidelines- to get to root causes and treat them is rare, indeed.
Luckily, we are blessed every day with more and more health practitioners who are taking their tentative first steps outside of the traditional medicine box, and branching out into alternative therapies that are meant to get to the meat of a problem and heal us from the inside out. In our own community, keto doctors like Dr. Berry or Dr. Limansky are pioneers in a new dietary frontier. These doctors are leading the way for their fellows, setting a bold example for their peers by loudly telling the world that many of the “diseases of society” can be reversed, or prevented entirely, by giving due consideration to the entire body and all its interconnected systems, and adhering to the kind of diet human beings ate as we evolved.
Even though those voices are there, however, we unfortunately still live in a time where the majority opinion is that if you have an illness, you just have to live with it. Sure, you’ll get some drugs- maybe even some therapy- to help you manage the symptoms and the crippling repercussions to your quality of life, but at the end of the day you’re simply stuck with your diseases forever, and the mainstream health community just expects you to deal.
We here at Ketovangelist very firmly believe you don’t have to live a diminished life; you do not have to settle for sickness and pain. And if there is one voice on our team that is the loudest- that will literally scream this message from the mountaintops if she has to- it is Carrie Brown.
Carrie is a classically trained, world class pastry chef, who has traveled the globe making awesome food. She’s cooked for monarchs, y’all. Carrie is also the heart and soul of our own Ketovangelist Kitchen, is co-author of the Kick Ass Keto start up guide, and author of a whole pile of fabulous cookbooks. Her ice cream is the best in the known universe, and her desserts are without peer.
It is with great pride that I call this multi-talented, world-traveling purveyor of delicacies, my friend. And it is with great consternation that I consider the fact that, had things gone differently, I might never have known her.
Carrie is a Ketogenic Success story, but not in the “traditional” manner. She didn’t lose a lot of weight, get ripped, or send diabetes into remission. Keto can help with all of those things, but we in the community tend to focus so hard on fitness and insulin resistance that we can sometimes forget that keto doesn’t only help with those things.
Carrie’s story is different because she came to keto for different reasons. You see, she spent most of her life suffering from severe depression, stemming from Bipolar II disorder. She shared her story with us at KetoCon2017, of how she used a Ketogenic protocol to help manage her Bipolar disorder and send it into remission, and again this year, with some further elaboration, at KetoCon2018, which you can watch below.
I think the most stunning part of Carrie’s story, to me, is the general bewilderment of her medical team. Yes, they had pills and prescriptions they handed her, but overall she was largely just expected to accept the fact that she was Bipolar, depressed, and would have to live with that forever. Just deal with it, and all that jazz. It seems to have never occurred to these folks- most of whom, I’m positive, genuinely believed they were helping- to put two-and-two together: that the sheer number of prescriptions, ever increasing in kind and dosage, were not helping at all, and her mental health was continuing to deteriorate despite traditional pharmaceutical intervention.
As a student of psychology, I get some of it: it’s comonly believed and taught that Bipolar disorders (and most mental disorders, generally) are incurable. The best any good psychologist can do is to manage the condition. That their patient, however, continued to live in severe depression, regularly contemplated suicide, and came very close to it on more than one occasion, is a fairly clear indication that another approach is probably needed. It took Carrie getting fed up with it all, canning the entire team, and doing her own research to begin the process of actual healing.
Carrie, very simply, had to become her own advocate, because none of her doctors were going to do it for her. Her search led her to genetic testing to identify some anomalies that might be underlying her mental health struggles, and then on to massive dietary changes and an intensive supplement protocol to try and correct for nutritional deficiencies she’d been experiencing all of her life that no doctor ever managed to catch. While there have been ups and downs and all manner of bumps and hiccups along the way, because she didn’t ultimately accept that she should just have to live in internal misery, because she got fed up and pissed off enough to kick her traditional practitioners to the curb and started trying to get to the bottom of what might be causing her woes to begin with, Carrie is alive and well and thriving today.
On a personal note, Carrie’s story is hard for me to hear, even after knowing her and about her struggles for years now. As I said, she is my friend, and I consider her a very dear one. Knowing that this person I love- whom I know to be such a generous, kind, and loving soul- felt so hopeless, and believed she was worthless and that the world would be a better place without her just kills me inside. I find it unimaginable to contemplate how on earth she lived with those thoughts and feelings for so long, and it’s why this piece has been so long in coming. The idea that this vibrant, passionate woman, with whom I’ve been in pretty constant contact for the past two years, wanted to die and might have done had circumstances been every so slightly different, tears me up inside.
This is a person I love very deeply, and she might never have been in my life at all. How does one even begin to write about that?
I thank God regularly for my friend Carrie Brown. I am grateful that she had enough courage and fight left in her to get up, throw off convention, and go out and advocate for herself. And I’m ecstatic that she’s so willing to step outside of her comfort zone, in spite of her introversion, in order to get the message out: You don’t have to live this way.
If you’re hurting, inside or out, there is hope. You are worth the effort. You are worth the risk. You are worthy of a healthy mind and body. Don’t settle. Do your own research. Be your own advocate, and don’t ever, ever take “just deal with it” for an answer.