Dr. Hyman's Story
Just as brain problems all stem from the same root causes, they all have the same solution – The UltraMind Solution.
I know this as both a doctor and a patient. My brain broke one beautiful late-August day in 1996. I became disoriented, terrified, and descended into a spiral of helplessness and hopelessness.
Let me tell you my story.
Learning, thinking, and speaking were always easy for me. My brain never failed me. In college I easily learned thousands of Chinese characters. In medical school the intricate patterns and names of our anatomy–the bones, muscles, organs, vessels, and nerves–mapped effortlessly onto my mind and the complex pathways of physiology and biochemistry were clear after one lecture and reading my notes.
I ran four miles every day to medical school. I took detailed notes in my classes, able to simultaneously listen to, remember, and write down nearly every word my professors spoke.
At the end of the day I ran back again to my apartment, did yoga for an hour, ate a whole-foods freshly prepared meal, and studied without distraction or loss of focus for three hours every night. Then I crawled into bed, fell peacefully asleep within five minutes, and slept deeply for seven hours.
The next day I got up and did it all over again.
That rhythmic life broke down, as it does for all physicians in training, when I entered the hospital and started pushing my body and mind beyond their limits with regular thirty-six-hour shifts on top of an occasional sixty-hour shift (Friday morning to Monday evening!).
When I went to practice as a small-town family doctor in Idaho, I worked a shortened schedule of only eighty hours a week, seeing thirty patients a day, delivering babies, and working in the emergency room.
From Idaho, I went to work in China for a year, breathing in the coal-soaked, mercury-laden air, before I landed back in the U.S. working a crazy schedule of shifts in an inner-city emergency room in Massachusetts.
Then suddenly (or so it appeared at the time), my brain broke (along with the rest of my body).
Sitting with patients I often couldn't remember what they had just said or where I was in eliciting their stories. I tried to take careful notes and keep track, but I couldn't focus on conversations, couldn't remember anyone's name. I started taking pictures and writing down personal details about my patients to serve as my peripheral memory so I wouldn't embarrass myself the next time I spoke to them.
During lectures I had to give as part of my job, I would get lost in the middle of a sentence and had to ask the audience what I had just said. When I read a book, I had to go over passages again and again just to glean any meaning. At night I read my children bedtime stories but had to robotically mouth the words, because I couldn't simultaneously read aloud and understand what I read.
Sleep eluded me. Exhausted and bone weary, I would lie down in bed at night and remain sleepless for hours. After finally drifting off, I would wake the next morning feeling as if I had never slept.
Depression and anxiety, which I had never known before, became constant companions.
At moments I felt I couldn't go on any longer. My capacity for pleasure and laughter faded into a distant memory.
The worse my body felt, the worse my brain functioned. If my stomach was bloated and swollen and I had diarrhea, I couldn't think or sleep. If my tongue was inflamed or my eyes swollen and red, I became depressed. If my muscles ached and twitched, I couldn't focus. If I felt bone-weary fatigue, I would forget what I was saying or why I had just walked into a room.
Some doctors said I was depressed and recommended antidepressants. Psychiatrists suggested anti-anxiety drugs. My family doctor prescribed sleeping medication. A neurologist told me I had ADD and I needed stimulants. Others said I had chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. All I knew was that my brain was broken, my focus gone, my mood depressed, my memory fleeting, and my body wasn't working.
All at once I couldn't focus, pay attention, remember, or experience joy and happiness. It was as if I had suddenly "contracted" three terrible diseases–attention deficit disorder, depression, and dementia. How could my brain fail me? The part of me that was strongest suddenly became my weakest link. What happened?
What I experienced was extreme and I hid it from the rest of the world, except for a very few close friends. I faked it and pulled myself through each day.
But after that summer day in August when my brain broke, weary and fighting brain fog, I began searching for answers.
Piece by piece, cell by cell, body system by body system, I discovered the source of my broken brain. By combing through the literature, consulting with dozens of scientists and doctors, and experimenting with my body and mind, I slowly put myself back together.
It wasn't one thing that broke my brain. It was everything piled higher and higher until my brain and body couldn't take any more. It seemed sudden but was the end of a long train of toxins, stress, and a sudden infection.
The trail led back to mercury poisoning from living in Beijing, China, breathing in raw coal used to heat homes for 10 million people, endless childhood tuna fish sandwiches, and a mouthful of "silver" or mercury fillings. I was also missing a key gene needed to detoxify all this mercury, compounding the problem.
Years of sleepless nights delivering babies and working in the emergency room destroyed my body's rhythms, which I tried to bolster with quadruple espressos, giant chocolate chip cookies, and mountains of Chunky Monkey ice cream (which I reasoned was healthy because of the bananas and walnuts!).
Then one late summer day in 1996 I ate or drank something up in a wilderness camp in Maine that infected my gut. That was the straw that broke the camel's back.
The UltraMind Solution is the story of my healing. It is also the story of the discoveries I made that hold the answer to our current epidemic of broken brains. It offers a solution to your suffering, just as it did to mine.
How many of you feel what I felt, at least to some degree?
- Maybe you fear losing your job because you're tired, unfocused, inattentive, and your memory is failing so you can't properly perform your tasks at work.
- Do you see your relationships breaking down because you are mentally and emotionally absent or numb?
- Perhaps you struggle to focus so you can help your children with their homework and guide them through life, but feel sure you aren't living up to your duties as a parent.
- Do you lie awake at night, tormented by the grief and pain of living half a life, and then worry about how you will find a way to wake up early in the morning just so you can get your kids to school?
- Do you forget to meet friends or go to appointments, and then can't figure out how in the world you forgot?
If so, you aren't alone. You are affected by the broken brain epidemic, a terrifying and life-threatening chronic illness that has been largely unaddressed by the medical community, leaving millions of people to suffer alone, trapped in their deteriorating minds.
You don't have to keep suffering. You can heal. See Dr. Hyman's new book, The UltraMind Solution, to learn how to heal your broken brain just as he healed his.
Copyright © 2009 UltraWellness LLC.