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In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen continue to discuss some of the concepts from Dr. Amen’s upcoming PBS special, “Change Your Brain, Heal Your Mind.” Dr. Amen introduces the concept of the evil ruler and the good ruler to look at some of the strategies our society uses to create either health or illness, and how you can adopt the strategies that help you, rather than hurt you.
Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years, using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainMD.com.
Welcome back. We are talking about The End of Mental Illness, and just how proud I am of you after the taping of the show. It was so awesome, so much fun.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, thank you.
Tana Amen: And how you hijacked my nieces.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, our nieces were in the audience. And change your brain, heal your minds is the name of the show, but it's based on my book, The End of Mental Illness, and people go, "That's a huge promise," so let me tell you why it's called The End of Mental Illness. About three and a half years ago, we got a call from Child Protective Services saying that our two nieces were taken into foster care.
Tana Amen: So can I back up and tell the the prelude to that, the call I got from my sister, driving down? I got a crazy call from my sister driving down. She was driving from out of state, and it was a scary call. I actually tried to get her to pull over and go to a hospital. She was terrified of something. I didn't know if she was on substances or not, but she was very, very scared. She was driving in a state she shouldn't have been driving ... a mental state she shouldn't have been driving in. And she knew that-
Dr Daniel Amen: That was California? Or ...
Tana Amen: No. A mental ... Yes. Yes, exactly.
Dr Daniel Amen: Sorry.
Tana Amen: And so I think she knew that Child Protective Services was ... they were going to come take the kids, and so she shouldn't have been driving. She was so upset. I couldn't even understand her, it was that bad. And you shouldn't be driving when you're like that.
And the next call we get was that they had taken the kids. They actually came from Oregon to California, which they are not supposed to do, but they came and they took the kids, after she was in a stable environment. And so it was terrifying. It was awful. And we didn't know ... We couldn't get a hold of them. We couldn't talk to them. For weeks, we couldn't actually speak to them.
Dr Daniel Amen: And Alice actually had tried to contact you.
Tana Amen: Right. And I didn't know it because it went into like-
Dr Daniel Amen: Yeah. So at the time, the kids were, what, six and 11, and they are completely terrified. And as we understand the story, these children are loaded for mental illness. They have a genetic family history of suicides, multiple suicides, schizophrenia, drug abuse, anxiety, depression, criminal behavior, addiction.
But you know, as we've often said on this show, genes only load the gun. It's what happens to us that pulls the trigger, and that's not good for them either. They were raised in chaos-
Tana Amen: Chaos.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... with parents who struggled with addiction, depression, domestic violence. The kids had multiple moves, multiple schools. Life was unpredictable and very stressful, to say the least. And then they're taken by Child Protective Services where yet more traumas occurred.
Tana Amen: That was awful.
Dr Daniel Amen: And at the time, you and your sister were estranged from each other because of her-
Tana Amen: Because of all the chaos from the addiction. Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... because of the addiction. And we'd actually never met the little one.
Tana Amen: I saw her when she was a few months old.
Dr Daniel Amen: I had never met her. And we knew we must act at the time. And so our choices were, we could have excluded the parents and just taken in the children.
But what we decided, because we were thinking long-term, is we would wrap services around the mother, get involved with Child Protective Service in their case, and through scanning mom, finding out she had the Irlen Syndrome, she'd actually been in 19 car accidents, getting a handle ... helping her get a handle on her addiction. Six months later on Mother's Day, 2017, she got the kids back.
And the whole idea behind The End of Mental Illness is, how do I end it in them? How do you and I, because it takes a family for sure.
Tana Amen: It takes a village.
Dr Daniel Amen: Yeah. How do we end mental illness in these girls? And just as importantly, how do we end it in their babies, and their grandbabies? And that's what the show is about. That's what The End of Mental Illness is about. So when I see it that way, I don't have a problem at all with the title, because it's a huge aspirational goal. And I have a plan for it that I share about in the book, and it's basically what we tell you every week in the Brain Warrior's Way.
And with the program, the girls are happy, A students, social, no longer addicted to Hot Cheetos. You should have seen that first grocery trip we went on with them, where we took them to the store and we went, "We don't spend money on food that will hurt you."
Tana Amen: I have to tell you. There's one story that is so funny. These girls are used to being scrappy and surviving, right? So, when there were times they were living pretty lean, let's put it that way, I'll just leave it at that, so they've figured out ways to survive. So the older one went to school, she would take the little bit of money she had, which was very little, she would take whatever a little bit of lunch money she had, she would buy a bag of Cheetos out of the vending machine and sell it for twice as much as she bought it for, go buy two more, sell them for twice as much as she bought them for. And she was making money doing this. I'm like, "You're a drug dealer. What are you doing?" So, we had to nip that.
Dr Daniel Amen: I was impressed at her entrepreneurial response.
Tana Amen: Yeah, she's very much an entrepreneur. It's hilarious.
Dr Daniel Amen: So, we were putting their bodies in a healing environment.
What issues run in your family? I want you to think about that. Plenty of anxiety in my family, and I was a pretty anxious kid. Looking back on it, there are big issues in your family with addiction and depression, and a grandmother that really struggled, we think, probably with PTSD-
Tana Amen: Yeah, I'm sure of it.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... from what she grew up in. And then forced menopause when she was young, where they just didn't take her uterus-
Tana Amen: Full hysterectomy.
Dr Daniel Amen: They had a full-
Tana Amen: And didn't-
Dr Daniel Amen: A total hysterectomy.
Tana Amen: ... give any replacement.
Dr Daniel Amen: Right. So in the show, I basically talk about six practical steps to end mental illness.
But before we get to those, there's this concept that you're going to hear me talk about a lot for the next 10 years. If I was an evil ruler, how would I create mental illness in America? Because if we know how they're created, we can develop strategies to prevent them. Or, if I was a good ruler, and here for the show, we used an image of Tana as a superhero, because mothers-
Tana Amen: I have a cape and everything.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... mothers are the superheroes in our families. I mean, they're clearly the health leaders, and we see that with the Brain Warrior's Way. They're the brain warrior generals, if you will, which is why men who are married live longer than men who aren't married, but women who are married do not live as long-
Tana Amen: Because we are stressed out.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... because they're dealing with the men.
Tana Amen: Unless you're married to one like you.
Dr Daniel Amen: For example, a good ruler strategy would be to create a nation-wide brain health campaign, because the end of mental illness begins with brain health. An evil ruler's strategy is continue with the creation of addictive social media apps that make everyone else's life look amazing, and yours looks terrible by comparison. It's this terrible comparison society that we're in.
So step number one, eliminate the term mental illness, and call these things what they really are, brain health issues that steal your mind. Mental illness, it just stains everyone diagnosed, making them less likely to seek help when these ... Our brain imaging work clearly said, "These are brain health issues that steal your mind." When we come back, we're going to talk about two through six.
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