I lost my son when he was in 3rd grade, but I finally have him back 25 years later.When we adopted Ben in 1984, we were elated at the arrival of our sweet, happy, alert baby. From the moment he arrived, he was full of energy, loved constant interaction, and was bright and athletic. My husband and I were continually stunned by how he perceived things, what he talked about, and what he learned at a young age.
Ben sang in the Colorado Children’s Chorale, played tennis, soccer, and baseball, and was commended for being a team player. He excelled in school, beloved by his teachers and classmates for his energy, his heart and his compassion.
We were thrilled to be parents of this delightful child. He was every dream come true.
By 2nd grade, as school required more time sitting at a desk, Ben’s activity level began to cause problems and he was constantly reprimanded for behavioral issues. The learning he once loved became a source of pain and anxiety and he stopped progressing academically. Ben also started to have angry outbursts at home, often exuding his bright personality around others but then falling apart when alone with us, his parents.
As a parent, these changes were heartbreaking. We took him from doctor to doctor, getting test after test, spending all our time and resources on finding an answer. The only meaningful thing we heard was that he was not ADD or ADHD, but seemed to have an anxiety that caused him not to focus. We had no real answers, and no real solutions.
At fourteen, a psychiatrist diagnosed Ben with bipolar disease.
We knew very little about this illness and were concerned about the effects of starting psychiatric medications so young, but didn’t know of any other options and reluctantly moved forward.
The medications never resolved the behavioral issues, only sedated Ben or caused hallucinations and clouded thinking. Our energetic, lively Ben slipped further away. We continued searching for answers, working with a series of psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, and naturopaths; Ben even participated in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and a year of mindfulness training, but nothing worked.
I’d always noticed a strong correlation between his behavior and the foods he ate – sugar, MSG or food coloring would almost instantly shift Ben’s behavior dramatically, making him extremely active, agitated and unable to sleep.
Ben was also very sensitive to metals and would get rashes and blisters from anything containing nickel and aluminum. Doctors disregarded the trends I saw, but as I saw Ben slipping away, I started to take a stronger interest in how foods and nutrients affected the body and behavior and we took great care to avoid the foods we knew he was sensitive to.
At eighteen, Ben had his first psychotic break and our bright, happy child was completely gone. From that point on, he struggled to live in this world.
At times he was taking up to six different medications, but those drugs caused drowsiness, hallucinations and tics, and never eliminated his symptoms so that he could drive a car, go to school or live independently. Social gatherings and crowds made him uncomfortable, and he was no longer able to join family events and activities.
We were at a dead end with psychiatric medications, so I sought more answers in nutrition and naturopathic medicine. Unfortunately, we didn’t work with the right practitioners: one prescribed a compound that exacerbated Ben’s psychosis, the next prescribed nutrients that made his anxiety worse.
Generalized nutrient recommendations for mental health did not work for Ben, but I knew there had to be a better way to use nutrition to heal my son.
I decided to pursue the field of nutrition professionally
I decided to pursue the field of nutrition professionally, training at Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver, Colorado, to be a Master Nutrition Therapist. I studied body systems and how they can malfunction due to genetics and epigenetics, and learned how laboratory tests can determine processing issues in the body that can be address with nutrient therapy.
A colleague suggested I look into the work of Dr. William Walsh, whose approach uses individually-tailored nutrients to correct imbalances.
Ben was able to get an appointment at Dr. Walsh’s October 2014 clinic, where his blood and urine tests were analyzed to determine which systems were not functioning optimally and an individually-tailored nutrient protocol was designed.
The Walsh protocol was the keystone to my son’s healing, supported by a whole foods diet and avoiding certain foods, lifestyle adjustments including adequate sleep, daily exercise, mind-body and energy healing techniques.
As Ben’s body came into balance, his personality re-emerged and his true spark returned!
Now, 2 years later, he can handle the logistics of life – living independently, making phone calls without anxiety, traveling across the country to visit his sister. Ben now has his first job, working as a peer support specialist for youth with mental illness who have recently had their first psychotic break. Ben can finally explore and develop his individual gifts.
Ben’s symptoms weren’t willful- they weren’t a sign of weak character, immaturity, or unwillingness to change. They were due to severe biochemical imbalances causing body processes to function improperly. While he was sick, he wasn’t capable of searching for solutions or self-motivating to navigate through challenges and setbacks. He didn’t need to reach a low point to finally “get it” and get himself well. He needed nutrient therapy and advocates to assist along the way. I wish I’d known this 25 years ago, but I am grateful to have Ben back.
I want to make this journey easier for you.
Now that I have studied, researched and navigated this path with my son, I know the steps to take and how to coach and support you through them. After a review of symptoms and laboratory testing, I will recommend individually tailored supplementation, nutrition and lifestyle adjustments to address the root causes and resolve behavioral issues.
We will work together to implement these changes to improve your or your loved one’s well being.