Whole Foods and Depression, Tori’s Story. Part 2 of 2

Robyns Grandma-uncle

“Marilyn Peterson Openshaw, Robyn’s grandmother, in her early 20’s, with her second son Ronald”

This story is worth your time to read.

It made me cry, both when I first read it, and again when I sat down with it to craft it into a blog entry to share with you.

It moved me because, on its own, it’s a gorgeous story. It’s also very close to my heart, because both my paternal grandmother, and my paternal great grandmother, took their own lives at the same age, 33. My grandmother put a bullet in her brain. My great grandmother jumped off a bridge.

Because of this, I never had the chance to know them. I have seen only two photos of my grandmother. I have stared at them for hours. My face looks like hers, and I am built like her. Sharp facial features, thin but curvy. (This was helpful to know, as I’m built like no one else in my family.)

Robyns Dad
“Robert G. Openshaw, Robyn’s dad, as a young boy”

Depression robbed me, and my 15 paternal cousins and siblings, of ever meeting her. More importantly, it left my dad, who was standing in a crosswalk fulfilling his crossing-guard duties at the time Marilyn got the gun out, motherless at the tender age of my son Tennyson. Just 12. I don’t know what my dad was like at that age, but Tennyson still climbs in my lap, every single day.

Please enjoy Tori’s story. Most of it I have quoted in her own words (name changed to protect sensitive details).

mask depressionThree years ago, Tori was at a very low point in her life. She’s a beautiful, young, fit blonde woman who looks like she has life by the tail. She had been struggling with crippling depression, and for 5 years had been on an obscene amount of mood stabilizers and anti-depressants. The meds caused her headaches, grinding teeth, the sensation of her skin crawling, and feeling slow, unemotional, and unable to concentrate.

antidepressant2_090128_mnHer doctor helped her up the dosage, change the dosage, change brands. Tori calls it “an experiment from hell.” But like so many of the rest of us, she says, “I didn’t know what else to do.” She went to therapy. She’d have okay days. Then she’d have weeks or months where she was preoccupied with taking her own life, and she came dangerously close to suicide at least twice. She cut herself constantly.

She said to me, “I HATED ME.”

And Tori is a young mother of two small children.

She carried a photo of them with her, and that is the only thing, she said, that kept her alive: “I didn’t want to die and leave them motherless. But I wanted to give up because I thought nothing was ever going to change and that I would always feel this way. Miserable.”

“I was searching for alternatives when I found your blog. I read it with interest, but wasn’t sure I wanted to blend a salad and drink it. How could that really work? Your blog seemed to tell me it would help, though. Just my luck, I saw that you were coming to the Seattle area in a few months, so I put it on my calendar. I was eager to see you.

spinach stuck in teeth“In between that time, I did make myself a green smoothie in my crappy blender and choked down chunks of it, and my husband swore it was the worst thing ever. I didn’t blame him, as I witnessed spinach leaves attached to his teeth and watched him chew his smoothie. I wasn’t sure this was for me, and it didn’t help that my husband was scoffing at the cost of a Blendtec.”

“I invited some friends to your seminar—and that day, each one canceled. I was very sad and wasn’t sure I wanted to go alone. But I wanted out of the house, and I drove there.

“I was at rock bottom that day. As I was driving the freeway, I saw the embankments and thought to myself, ‘I wonder how fast I would need to go, to fly off that, and be dead rather than injured?’ I did not want to live anymore.

“As you spoke about your own family’s story, with your son, your own health, and your grandmother’s story, I was blown away by the positive effects this way of life could have on someone. I was slightly hopeful, but also overwhelmed at the thought of getting my family off the S.A.D. diet and onto what you were talking about. But I listened—I actually LAUGHED (!!!)—throughout your lecture. You made me smile and enjoy being there learning.

“I thought about buying the 12 Steps to Whole Foods program, but I wasn’t sure, and planned to look at it, at the end of class. You were giving prizes away all night, and a few came very close to my number. Then you came to the grand prize, the Blendtec, and I could see that everyone was smiling and sitting on the edge of their seats. I had very little hope of winning, as that kind of thing just doesn’t happen to me. Yet you slowly read the numbers and……

totalblender-200x300“IT WAS MINE! I WON THE BLENDER!

“I was shocked and speechless, and I think I tried to throw a ‘yippee!’ out there, so you would know how thankful I was, but I’m sure it wasn’t loud enough. I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned.

“By the time I got through the crowd at the end of your talk, your 12 Steps program was sold out. But I ordered it online that night, and it was to arrive soon. I did purchase The Green Smoothies Diet, as well as The Adventures of Junk Food Dude. My kids LOVE that book, and can I tell you how many times they have selected that book to bring in for Show-N-Tell, or write a book report on, or “Bring a Book to School Day?”

“When I got home, I showed my husband what I won, but he thought I’d stopped and bought it at Costco! I told him it was true, I really WON it, and that I was going to make him a REAL smoothie in the morning. It was a simple first effort. But it was smooth, frothy, and delicious! He was so impressed that he asked me to put them in Mason jars so he could take them to work.

“I went off and bought greens I’d never used before and didn’t know what to do with. Kale, swiss chard, and…..what the heck, dandelion greens?!

“In the following months, I was still working with my doctor on meds, and still in therapy. But I also started adding in green smoothies. I love vegetables, but getting ‘in the habit’ with my busy day was a challenge. So I committed to 3 days a week. After the first month, it became 4 days a week, then 5, and now we are up to 6+ days a week drinking the amount of green smoothie you suggest.

“I started educating myself. Went to a naturopath and talked to her about diet and mood. She helped me with a full checkup and some supplement tweaks.

“Slowly I went off my medications. Each time I’d try before, it was a terrible experience. Dizziness, nausea, deepening depression, restlessness. I never wanted to go through that again.

“After a few experiments with natural supplements, I found a combo that worked. And all the while, I was still just drinking green smoothies. Of course my naturopath supported this!

happy chalkboard face“With a healthy breakfast in my belly, I started to WANT to eat a healthy lunch and then a healthy dinner. I lost 15 lbs without trying. I got a dog and walked more. My energy improved. I started to actually sleep, rather than toss and turn for hours. My joints stopped hurting. I felt smarter and could concentrate. I smiled more. I realized I WAS BECOMING HAPPIER!

“About 10 months ago, I completely went off the supplements from my naturopath to see how I’d do. They weren’t bad for me, but I didn’t want to feel tied to them. I’m drug-free to this day. I still have days when I feel down, but it’s never been that dark, dark hole that I was in for a very long time. I have learned how to manage these moods in a more mindful and positive way.

“I know green smoothies aren’t the cure-all to depression. But I really believe it was the kick start. I attribute the green smoothie to better health and well being. I feel BALANCED now!

images-6“I love not only my morning green smoothie, but also your Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie, and lots of things my kids and I create in the Blendtec. I don’t eat completely raw or plant based, but I have made steps, and I will continue to take more. We got rid of cow’s milk, almost all processed foods, and we have 3 nights a week that are meatless. Small steps are getting me there.

“I make soups, salad dressings, hummus, almond butter, ice cream, and of course smoothies in my blender. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your lentil soup recipe, which is a savior for me getting through the dark Seattle fall, winter, and spring. Our meals have never looked so pretty and colorful!

hope“That night in Seattle was a turning point for me, and I believe someone was watching over me that night. Yes, I walked out the door with the blender. But what I later came to realize was that I walked out that evening with the gift of HOPE. The gift of LIFE. The chance to be the wife, mom, friend, daughter, and sister that I deserve to be.

“I truly believe if I didn’t go that evening, I wouldn’t be here anymore. Robyn, you gave me a new way of looking at life. One green smoothie every morning. To start. It was something I began to look forward to. It helped me fight through the day, to make it to that next morning, when I could continue my commitment to my family. At last, I was doing something good for me. I was nourishing my body and pampering my soul.

“Thank you, Robyn, for the gifts you give to so many who attend your seminars!! You really are a blessing to me, and I am so grateful I came to meet you. You have a gift and I appreciate you sharing years of knowledge with us so we can stop this unhealthy way of life and give our children a chance.”