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Have you ever suffered with depression, stress or any kind of mood disorder? Have you ever wished for more clarity and brain fitness? Do you, or someone you love, suffer from bipolar disease or other debilitating mental challenge?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, or if life is just getting you down, then the discovery made by an LDS father, Tony Stephan may surprise and astonish you. His situation was desperate because depression, anxiety and bipolar disease racked his family—and he decided he had to do something about it.
In seeking to help the ones he loved, he found a natural remedy for the broad range of mental challenges and mood disorders that face so many in this tense society.
Micronutrients can significantly reduce and even eliminate depression and a host of other mood disorders. Many journalists, doctors and scientists have called it a breakthrough in the treatment of mental health. Here is his story.
A Tormented Family
Tony had been married to Debbie for 23 years. She was his beloved, but deeply troubled. Years earlier she had been diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder. She experienced extreme mood shifts and explosive behavior. “It was not something she brought upon herself,” said Tony, “but the family felt her pain.”
Then one day, she went into the woods, hooked up a tube to the car and killed herself by carbon monoxide poisoning. “Already, we had buried my father-in-law to death by suicide, and now my sweetheart,” Tony said. Yet the threat went further. Two of his children, Joseph and Autumn, had been diagnosed with the same bipolar disease.
Joseph, 16, was on a toxic dose of lithium, and Autumn was on five different medications, each with its own side effects. Sadly, nothing was working and Tony could see that his daughter was following her mother’s dark choice and also planning suicide. At 23, she was married, but was in a constant volley in and out of psychiatric hospitals and her husband was about to give up on their marriage.
For his part, Joseph was 240 pounds of fury, large, violent and out of control. All of the children in the family were afraid of him. Tony said, “I was going to school every second or third day because of his emotional meltdowns.” He had to be careful how he awoke him in the morning because he would be in the darkest depression and by the afternoon he would be in a raging mania. Joseph stockpiled weapons and threatened to burn the house down while his family slept.
When Tony remarried his wife’s best friend, Barbara, she said it was like moving into an asylum. Though they had been to several doctors to try and help Joseph, nothing was happening. Medications did not help. At last, after months of waiting, they got an appointment with a well-known psychiatrist.
Tony said he sat down with the psychiatrist and began to spell out his story. The doctor answered, “Spare me the details. After working with thousands of patients, I already know them. So many families are living with this same nightmare.”
“There has to be an answer,” Tony pled. “Tens of millions of dollars are going into research.” Seeing his agony, the psychiatrist asked Joseph and Barbara to leave the room, and then she laid it out straight for him.
“Mr. Stephan, you need a wake-up call. You need to understand that what you see is what you get. It’s not going to get better. Do you see what it says here? This disorder becomes more chronic with age. As he gets older he’s going to become less functional. It is also a recurrent disorder. That means there is no cure for it. Sadly, I need to tell you this. There is a high chance that he is going to take his life.”
Tony said, “If I have ever experienced a loss of hope it was right there and then. She shattered any hope that I had that somehow these medications would bring him around, that he would become like the 5-year-old boy he used to be so compassionate and sharing. When he hit puberty, bipolar disease just what came upon him.
“That three-hour ride home was the longest trip of my life. We all have dreams,” he said. “We dream of our child going to college, marrying and having children, having a career, living with happiness. Now every dream was drying up.
“I’m not going to get an answer here,” he said, “But I thought, there had to be an answer. I didn’t believe that God would send his children into a world where there was no freedom of choice for them, where they had to exist like this.”
Tony began searching for answers, asking everybody under the sun if they knew anybody who was bipolar and what they did for help. He heard story after story. “It was all tragedy, everywhere I looked,” he said. People told him tragic stories—spouses who locked themselves in their bedrooms and refused to come out of the house. Early deaths by self-inflicted wounds. Yet he felt that somewhere there had to be something that could bring his son around. He was on a quest.
Then one day he was walking down the hall at work and started talking to a man named David Hardy, telling him how bad this thing had been. David said, “I don’t know a whole lot about mental disorders. We’ve never experienced it in our home, so I don’t understand, but I spent 20 years formulating feed for the livestock industry.”
“I’m thinking, where is he going with this?” said Tony.
The man explained, “I looked after hundreds of thousands of hogs and we often saw a symptom called ear and tail-biting syndrome, where the animals became aggressive and hyper-irritable. We learned that if you didn’t pen the animals away from each other, you had a fatality. We also learned that we could nutrate away this disorder.”
“When he told me, I came to know what an epiphany was,” said Tony. “I don’t think there was a cell that wasn’t lit up in my body. I absolutely knew that was the answer.”
If you could change the mental disorders of pigs with vitamins and minerals, would it be possible to do something similar for people? Was nutrient deficiency part of the reason why so many suffered with mood disorders? It certainly wasn’t the usual solution for these problems from the medical profession, but for Tony’s family, nothing else had worked.