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When Dr. Amen Met Tana

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

A brain health love story for the ages, the fateful encounter between Dr. Daniel and Tana Amen sparked the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the brain health revolution. In this week of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen examine some of the lessons and anecdotes from Tana’s highly anticipated new book “The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child”. This episode reveals how the two met, and how bumpy beginnings eventually led to happily ever after.

For more information on Tana’s new book, “The Reluctant Courage of a Scared Child”., visit relentlesscourage.com

For info on Tana Amen’s upcoming free live virtual event, visit tanaamen.com/event

Read Full Transcript

Daniel Amen, MD:

Welcome to the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

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.

Daniel Amen, MD:

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, BSN RN:

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.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Welcome back everyone. We are so excited to be on this continuing journey through The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child. And this week everything changes, Tana meets me and then tortures me for about the first 18 months of our relationship. And we have so many great reviews. There’s reviews from Australia and from London, but I want to read a review that is actually one of our winners. So Susan from Denver, this podcast is full of insightful wisdom for a variety of aspects that you may not connect to brain health, so refreshing to know they’re looking into new ways to diagnose and treat various brain issues. I love it.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Awesome Susan. So Susan gets either The End of Mental Illness or my new book, we’ll sign those. So you can have The Relentless Courage of the Scared Child or you can have the cookbook. Your choice, so let us know.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Well, we’re always grateful and whatever you learn, if you write it down, take a picture of it, post it on any of your social media sites and then leave us a review at brainwarriorswaypodcast.com. We’ll enter you into a drawing to win one of our books. We are so grateful. So the year is 2005. At the end of 2005, we meet each other on-line.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Right. Well, we left off with sort of a cliffhanger story and life was a little crazy. We’re not going to go into all of that. Lots happens in the book between the Playboy cancer story and me meeting you and it’s not all good. Some of it’s very good, but there’s a lot of ups and downs during that time. And then I meet you. Yes.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And then you make me, and our first formal date was January 1st, 2006. We sort of think of that as our anniversary and we actually forget our real anniversary.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I know it’s terrible, we both forget our real anniversary.

Daniel Amen, MD:

A lot.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I mean, January 1st is easy to remember.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So we remember that. And so 15 years ago-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah, I totally didn’t trust you.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And I was really excited-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah, I almost canceled my first date.

Daniel Amen, MD:

To meet you. I’d been divorced six years and had a couple of relationships that were fine, but they weren’t awesome. And then I meet you and you are beautiful, you’re smart, you’re funny. My heart goes pitter-patter and then you keep pushing me away, pushing me away, pushing me away.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Well, you kept trying to marry me like you just fell-

Daniel Amen, MD:

I didn’t ask you to marry me-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

You did pretty quick.

Daniel Amen, MD:

For 10 months.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Pretty serious, pretty quick. You were so nice and I didn’t trust it. It’s like I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall. There’s no way I trusted that you were that nice. Now in my experience-

Daniel Amen, MD:

Yeah, I should have been way more anxious than I was about you.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah, I tried to tell you I was helping you. I tried to tell you, I am doing you a favor. Did I not?

Daniel Amen, MD:

You did and you were wrong, because ultimately being married to you is the best decision I’ve made.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Me too.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So I sort of had a sense that you were the one and then you kept going away. But there are a couple of really pivotal parts after we met because this is just how I am, I scanned you. Like two-and-a-half weeks later I’m like, you haven’t seen the clinic, don’t you want to see the clinic?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And I’m like and you want to see my naked brain? I did give you credit for most original line. Yeah. I’d heard a lot of lines and that one was very original.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And during our first date, I sort of thought you had ADD.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I did not have ADD.

Daniel Amen, MD:

You totally had ADD your whole life. Your mother has ADD from hell- [crosstalk [00:05:09]

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I thought ADD was total nonsense, an excuse to fail, not try.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And when I sort of just ask questions-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Oh yeah. You’re like, Oh, but you drink two pots of coffee every day and in your words, you get up at four o’clock in the morning to do a hard two-hour workout so you can “clear the cobwebs.” And I’m like yeah so, and you work in a trauma unit where it’s like the most intense unit in the hospital.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And a lot of trauma doctors are ADD, because they just thrive on the dopamine hit. And so when I scanned you, you showed yes, indeed you did have a little bit, but then your brain had been hurt.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah, which I also thought was crazy.

Daniel Amen, MD:

But I’m like well have you ever had a brain injury? Now, she works in a neurosurgical ICU unit, so she thinks you have to have a broken skull.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

That means you crack your skull open, you’ve got [crosstalk [00:06:04] in your brain.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Except when I asked her-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

You’re in a coma.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And she said no. And then I asked her again and she said, well I was 25 and my sister fell asleep at the wheel and we were going 75 miles an hour and she fell asleep and the car flipped three times and the roof-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

We almost got hit by a motor-home.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Of the car was smashed in and you lived only because you were reclined.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I was reclined, yeah. I walked away so I guess I was just so grateful that I walked away from it. May remember being jostled back and forth. So, but I think I hit my head on the-

Daniel Amen, MD:

But if you just think of your brain is soft, your skull is hard, your skull has sharp, bony ridges. Those forces [inaudible [00:06:51] your brain spinning and then stop it.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Well it makes sense, I mean as a nurse we arrest people for shaking babies syndrome for a reason. But up until then that never made sense to me because I’m thinking brain injury means you’re in a coma. So those types of things.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And you were not and I could see evidence on the scan.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah, I could see a little dent. I’m like, what the heck is that?

Daniel Amen, MD:

Yeah, and sometimes that can go with mood instability, irritability, not that anyone would ever notice that.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

As long as I’m not in line, I can’t be in line, I hate being in line. And I don’t like when construction is late on my house.

Daniel Amen, MD:

But even despite that you had a beautiful brain, and one of the first things I said is, “I hope they didn’t put you on Prozac.”

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah. And I literally, my jaw hit the [inaudible [00:07:39]. I’m like why? And he said there are probably medications that would have helped you but that wouldn’t be one I would suspect did. He said, you said you were depressed, did they put you on Prozac? And I’m like they did and it almost ruined my life. Imagine some crazy stuff on Prozac. I’m just lucky that whether it was the grace of God or I still had some semblance of control left enough to just not totally ruin my life, but it could have ruined my life. And I’m like why would you not put me on Prozac? And then you sort of show me my brain scan. And you’re like this part of your brain is sleepy your frontal lobes.

And what Prozac does is it increases serotonin, it’s a serotonin re-uptake inhibitor. So it increases the available serotonin, which drops your frontal lobes, but yours are already sleepy. So if you put someone on something that drops their frontal lobes and their frontal lobes are already sleepy, that increases impulsivity and it affects their judgment and it’s the executive center of their brain. And I’m like, ding, ding, ding, ding, my whole life made sense. That whole period of time where I was like, why do I just keep doing stupid things? And I don’t care. Like the weird part was doing stupid things wasn’t even the craziest part. It was the not caring because that’s not like me, I’m an anxious person. Like you know me, I’m a very anxious person.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Yes, she’s preparing for the end of the world.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I prepare for everything. Like in school everything had to be turned in way early.

So all of a sudden, I just didn’t care. And when I went off Prozac, it went away. And so I was like, Oh my God, that makes so much sense. And I remember thinking that psychiatrist that put me on that and he had doubled my dose when I complained that I didn’t feel right. Like he should’ve been arrested for not actually like paying attention.

Daniel Amen, MD:

He’s taught not to listen.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Okay. Well, he shouldn’t have been taught that. I’m sorry, I’m a patient. That from a patient’s perspective.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So the judgmental dragon roaring his head again.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yes, absolutely. When it ruins your life, yes I get to say that. Yes, I do. Anybody out there feel this way. Anybody else out there experience this, please leave a comment. I want to know, because I know I’m not the only one.

Daniel Amen, MD:

You are not.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yes.

Daniel Amen, MD:

So lots of insights. And another thing you told me was since the age of four, you had upper and lower GIs. And I’m like, well what happened at four? And nothing?

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

My standard response was nothing. Everything was fine.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And then I learned your uncle was murdered [crosstalk [00:10:25].

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

You’re really sneaky. Like you’re super sneaky.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Oh no, I have a book called-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah, don’t date a shrink.

Daniel Amen, MD:

The Brain in Love that I actually wrote when we were dating. The Brain in Love, and there’s chapter six, it’s called Seeing the Dead Animals Around the Oasis of Love. It’s actually, if you’re dating-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And you didn’t run when you met me?

Daniel Amen, MD:

It’s actually when you’re dating, how to screen people for brain health, emotional health issues, are they going to be a good partner or not? Well, for me, I have this rescue thing, which you hate. [crosstalk [00:11:03]

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

I hate because I don’t think of myself as a victim either.

Daniel Amen, MD:

You’re not a victim.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Yeah.

Daniel Amen, MD:

But I thought-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

That’s why I kept pushing you.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Because I cared about you that I could be helpful to you. And so when I learned the stories in The Relentless Courage-

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Like I said, you’re sneaky about getting information.

Daniel Amen, MD:

That with help, you could just be even more amazing than I already thought you were. And one of my first gifts to you was EMDR.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Well let’s go back to the story because you’re like, what happened at four? You were having upper and lower GIs, that doesn’t make sense. Then you found out that my uncle was murdered and there was other stuff going on.

Daniel Amen, MD:

And you thought it was all nonsense.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

And my dad was coming and going and doing drugs and whatever. There was a lot of stuff that was… and that’s how I said it to him, “just what happens to everybody, right?” It’s garden variety dysfunctional. You got that look right there and you’re like no. You’re like so two weeks after this incident where your uncle was murdered and there’s screaming and chaos and craziness in your house and you get pushed away and you feel sort of rejected. You started having these GI issues and I was sick all the time. I was always on antibiotics.

Daniel Amen, MD:

Well, and most people don’t know serotonin that helps you feel normal is wildly important to your gut. And it gives you a sense of safety that you can eat these foods or you can digest these foods. So think serotonin and safety and you had no safety at the time.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

Mm-mm (negative). No, I did not.

Daniel Amen, MD:

You had no safety. So when we come back, we’re going to talk about how important trauma therapy is to being well. Did you learn anything, besides don’t marry a Psychiatrist?

Write it down, post it on any of your social media sites, leave us a comment, question, or a review at brainwarriorswaypodcast.com. Stay with us.

Tana Amen, BSN RN:

If you’re enjoying the Brain Warrior’s Way podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll always know when there’s a new episode and while you’re at it, feel free to give us a review or five-star rating as that helps others find the podcast.

Daniel Amen, MD:

If you’re considering coming to Amen Clinics or trying some of the brain healthy supplements from BrainMD, you can use the code podcast 10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at amenclinics.com or a 10% discount on all supplements at brainmdhealth.com. For more information, give us a call at 855-978-1363.