In early 2014, tired of feeling so many of the side effects of my medication and so few of what had once been the benefits, I decided to titrate myself off one of the compounds I’d been taking for four years. A few months later, in June, I took myself off the second one.I knew it might be risky; that is, I knew I might end up back in the quicksand. But I yearned to find some Other Way—some way that didn’t involve psychotropic help. I wanted to see if Being Me again would be tolerable. Or even doable.
I’d been off all medication for only a few days when a friend reached out to me with samples of EMPowerplus Q96. She told me that this supplement had transformed the life of her son, who had suffered a brain injury several years before. It had brought him back to himself, she said. And the idea of coming back to myself—perhaps my better self?—prompted me to agree to try the product. I was hopeful. And, hey: I was off meds and feeling merely adequate. I hadn’t crashed yet. But I hadn’t reconnected with the formerly healthy me, either. Getting a micronutrient boost seemed preferable to waiting for the illness to leech the color from my life again.
Within forty-eight hours of starting the Q96, I did indeed feel something. A curtain parted, my mood lifted, the sticky mist that had settled in my head dissipated, and I. Felt. Good.
Really good. I called my friend and told her how well I felt—how light, how normal, how at ease in my being. I hadn’t felt this good in a long time, I told her. And it was true.
Miraculously, the feeling of wellness persisted. The mental clarity I had missed so dearly returned, and as the months moved along, that clarity intensified. The anxiety that had so often accompanied even the most basic of daily tasks dissolved, replaced by a certainty that I could manage life’s details in a way I’d never been fit to do before.
Perhaps the oddest thing was remembering exactly how my lived experience of anxiety and depression had felt. Yet at the same time, I’d stepped into a new life, or, more accurately, a new self—a self no longer tethered to that former anguish.
To me, being well means more than just relief from acute fear, worry, and even mood cycling. And it means more than being liberated from the brutal self-criticism that so often accompanies anxiety in particular. I no longer feel like the earth’s gravitational pull is stronger on me than on other people. On the contrary, I feel like I have shed layers of sackcloth, even layers of old, itchy skin. I have slid free of the me that obsessed and ruminated; the me that awoke from night terrors with tears leaking from the corners of her eyes.
That a simple mineral-vitamin micronutrient could have fixed my brain seems almost laughable. Except that it’s not. In a state of mental wellness, I now am free to exercise the gifts I always knew were mine but didn’t always have access to. I now am free to parent my four children in the way I consistently wished to historically but so often could not because I lacked both the will and the traction.
But when you’re well, you can be who you want to be. You can do what you were born to do, regardless of which kinds of muscles the effort requires—physical, mental, emotional. And you can love the way you want to love, whenever the urge strikes you, and in whatever way feels most natural.
I like to think of Q96 as a kind of re-messaging mechanism, bringing my brain back online in a way that allowed me not only to reclaim my gifts, but to be my best self.