Dr. Hotze and his special guest, Ciera Kizerian, discuss her journey from depression to living a happy life again. After her first child was born, Ciera experienced severe depression and intense self-loathing. Thanks to the staff at Hotze Health & Wellness Center, Ciera is now living a healthy, vibrant, productive life with her husband and 3 children, while helping others through her podcast called Light Through the Dark.
Stacey: Welcome to Dr. Hotze’s Wellness Revolution. I’m Stacey Bandfield here with Dr. Steven Hotze, founder of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center. As always, you can find our podcasts on hotzehwc.com. That’s H-O-T-Z-E-H-W-C.com.
Stacey: We have a really great inspirational story for you today. One of our guests, Ciera, is going to be talking about how she was pretty much at the very bottom and how she climbed her way back up to the top, and how she is helping other people find their way, as well. Here is Dr. Hotze and Ciera.
Dr. Hotze: Thank you, Stacey, and thank each one of you for joining us today on Dr. Hotze’s Wellness Revolution. You know, I believe that you and everybody needs a doctor and a staff of professionals who can coach you on the path of health and wellness naturally, so that you have a life-changing transforming health experience here at the Hotze Health & Wellness Center. That’s what we offer.
And the reason we do this is because we believe that as you age, you ought to be full of energy. You ought to have vitality in your life and be brimming with enthusiasm, no matter if you’re 30 or 70 or 80. You ought to have those qualities – energy, vitality, and enthusiasm. And so we do that here at the Hotze Health & Wellness Center. We help get you on that path. We coach you onto the path of health and wellness so you could have that life-changing experience, because my philosophy is this: I believe if you’re alive, you ought to feel alive, right? Why be part of the walking-wounded or half-dead? Enjoy life, be full of energy, and that’s what we help you do here at the Hotze Health & Wellness Center.
And I want to give you a great example of that. Most people think, “Well, you know, people don’t really start having problems until they get older and I don’t need to do anything about my problems. I’m young now. I’m 30 or 40 or 50, and I’ll wait until I have some problems.” An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s an old adage, thousands of years old. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
We have with us today a guest of ours who’s been a guest since 2017, Ciera Kizerian. Ciera is a, what, 27-year-old woman?
Ciera Kizerian: How old am I? I’m 28 now.
Dr. Hotze: 8, a young…
Ciera Kizerian: I shouldn’t…
Dr. Hotze: …woman. 28-years-old, came to see us when she was 26. So, Ciera, welcome to the program. Glad to have you…
Ciera Kizerian: Thank you.
Dr. Hotze: …on board here, dear.
Ciera Kizerian: Happy to be here.
Dr. Hotze: Glad to have you here. And you have such a wonderful and remarkable story. Why don’t you start and tell us where you’re from, where you grew up? Where are you from?
Ciera Kizerian: Yeah, I grew up in Dallas, Texas, and…
Dr. Hotze: That’s near Fort Worth, isn’t it?
Ciera Kizerian: Yeah.
Dr. Hotze: I like to tell Dallas people that.
Ciera Kizerian: Yeah.
Dr. Hotze: So you grew up in Dallas. And how did you end up down here in Houston?
Ciera Kizerian: My husband’s work brought us down here a couple of years ago.
Dr. Hotze: Okay. Now did you go off to school? You go to college?
Ciera Kizerian: I did, yeah. My husband and I met at Brigham Young University.
Dr. Hotze: Oh, that’s wonderful.
Ciera Kizerian: Yeah!
Dr. Hotze: I just came back, yesterday, from Salt Lake City.
Ciera Kizerian: Oh, awesome.
Dr. Hotze: Isn’t that great?
Ciera Kizerian: It’s beautiful.
Dr. Hotze: And I went up to…we went and saw the Salt Lake Tabernacle, where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang.
Ciera Kizerian: Yes. They are so talented.
Dr. Hotze: Yeah, and that was built in 1868, and it is…man, the acoustics in there are just…
Ciera Kizerian: Incredible.
Dr. Hotze: …phenomenal. And of course, the temple was across the street, and it was wonderful. It was a wonderful time, and Utah’s a…
Ciera Kizerian: Oh…
Dr. Hotze: …beautiful, beautiful state, and all around Salt Lake City, the mountains that are still covered with snow…
Ciera Kizerian: Oh…
Dr. Hotze: It was wonderful.
Ciera Kizerian: Yeah, I love…
Dr. Hotze: And the flowers?
Ciera Kizerian: …Utah.
Dr. Hotze: Oh my goodness. Just incredible. So anyway, you went to Brigham Young, and then what kind of work is your husband in?
Ciera Kizerian: He is an entrepreneur. We call ourselves “serial entrepreneurs.”
Dr. Hotze: Well, what is he doing right now? What kind of work is he doing?
Ciera Kizerian: So we both, actually, are working on a project called “Light Through the Dark,” and it’s to help people that are dealing with anxiety and depression know how to come out of it and get the resources they need to get better. And then also it helps those who are the support system for those struggling to know what to do to help the person, and have it not be damaging, but to be helpful. So we’re building…I don’t know what you’d call it, an effort, right now, to try to help people dealing with that.
Dr. Hotze: That’s wonderful. And this, really, is an outshoot of what happened to you, in your life, and your coming through Hotze Health & Wellness Center. So tell us, you have three children now, right?
Ciera Kizerian: As of one month ago, I have three children, yes.
Dr. Hotze: That’s great. So tell us what your health experience was like growing up. Did you have health problems?
Ciera Kizerian: No. I mean, not any mental health problems at all. I had asthma growing up, but other than that, mentally, I’ve always been described as someone that was optimistic and happy, a go-getter. I definitely ran at a hundred-plus speed every day, and would…
Dr. Hotze: You were a live wire.
Ciera Kizerian: …be myself, yes. Live wire, exactly.
Dr. Hotze: And so when did that change?
Ciera Kizerian: So after my daughter was born in 2014, about six weeks later, I noticed that I just started feeling this oppressive heaviness. I had a really good relationship with my husband, but he said to me, “I literally can’t do anything right around you right now.” And I was like…
Dr. Hotze: Any guy ever felt that way before, huh?
Ciera Kizerian: And that keyed me in of, “Oh, you’re right, something’s off right now.” I was getting really irritable, I was starting to have a lot of brain fog. I just didn’t feel myself. And then I started having all these crazy symptoms and realized that I was developing depression really bad. And this wasn’t something I’d ever experienced beforehand. Again, these…
Dr. Hotze: And then you were how old? It was five years ago, so…
Ciera Kizerian: 24. I was 24.
Dr. Hotze: 24, okay.
Ciera Kizerian: Yeah, and…
Dr. Hotze: So what did you do about it?
Ciera Kizerian: So I went and talked to my OB at six weeks, and they put me on some antidepressants, and they said, “Oh, but it’ll take a while for it to kick in.” So that was a really hard winter. Everything was just so new to me, all these emotions, all these feelings that I never experienced before. And it was just a really, really dark and hard place for me.
It took a while for the medicine to kick in, and then I felt kind of felt up, not totally like I had before, but well enough where I was able to function. And then, a year later, it just flipped a switch, and, when I started my cycle again for the first time after having my daughter, and I hit a low that I didn’t know was possible.
And that’s when I first experienced suicidal ideation, and where I started just feeling like everyone would be better off without me. And really had intense self-loathing, which I had never, ever, ever experienced. And I couldn’t interact with anyone. If I went out, if I went to church, or wherever I was going, it was like I was watching the clock the entire time to be able to just leave, and escape, and go back to my closet where I could just get in that hole and just want to just be done with everything. It was not me at all. And it was very hard, and…
Dr. Hotze: And you were taking medication, antidepressant medication at that time, right?
Ciera Kizerian: Yup. And I saw a psychiatrist, and I got even more medication. They upped it to the highest amount that I could be on for the antidepressants. I got put on antipsychotic medication three times a day, anti-anxiety medication three times a day, and even with that, was still having these battles with…
Dr. Hotze: Does this sound familiar?
Ciera Kizerian: …fighting suicide.
Dr. Hotze: I have heard this story…if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it thousands of times. Now, the conventional doctors take an individual like Ciera, and I’m sure they did blood work on you before they started this, and said, “Well, your blood work’s normal,” right?
Ciera Kizerian: Yeah.
Dr. Hotze: “Your blood work’s normal, so you must be depressed.” You are, and they put her on all these antidepressant medications, anti-anxiety medication, antipsychotic medication, and you didn’t get better, and they kept bumping it up.
Ciera Kizerian: Yeah.
Dr. Hotze: Frankly, I just think that’s criminal. And these ought to be banned, and these doctors should be reported to the medical board, and their license should be removed, because they destroy people’s lives. I feel really strongly about this. I’ve seen so many people like Ciera, and we’re not going to talk about what happened.
And this is so simple to resolve. I’ve written books about it. You know, all these psychiatrists ought to read my books, and figure out what to do to help women when they start coming in…and men, too, when they begin to have these sort of problems.
So you ended up having another baby. Were you on antidepressants at the time when you did?
Ciera Kizerian: No, so that’s my miracle baby. I was on all that medication starting in two thousand and…
Dr. Hotze: Fourteen.
Ciera Kizerian: Well, the antidepressants, but then when I saw…that was what the OB put me on.
Dr. Hotze: Right.
Ciera Kizerian: Then the psychiatrist on all the other stuff in…it was three years ago, so 2016. Like, May 2016. So then I came to the Hotze Health & Wellness Center in May 2017, and did the yeast-free diet, and was feeling really good, and started coming off of the…not everything, because I wanted to have another baby, but again, there’s no way I could’ve.
Dr. Hotze: Before you come…I’m looking right here. It’s your first appointment, and we have the reasons for the appointment: “anxiety, panic attacks, low moods. Wants to be able to get off the medication, have another baby, low energy, brain fog, lightheadedness, hoarseness, severe constipation.” These are some classical features that we see in people that have hypothyroidism. Were you having difficulty with weight, too?
Ciera Kizerian: t that point, I was so depressed I just wasn’t eating, really, at all. And so my mother-…
Dr. Hotze: You did…
Ciera Kizerian: …in-law came out just to see me, ’cause she said, “Ciera, you are getting way too thin, and we’re going to lose you.”
Dr. Hotze: But you had problems, then, with brain fog, with poor sleep, and…
Ciera Kizerian: Yeah, I mean, I never had my phone on me. My grandparents were calling my parents and saying, “Can you please tell Ciera to answer her phone? They were getting offended and upset with me, and it was causing family problems ’cause I could never find my phone. And I would leave my wallet and my purse just on the driveway, and I would walk into a room be like, “Why am I here?”
And I hear my grandma telling me that, “Oh, I’m just…I forget my purse everywhere.” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m right there with you, grandma.” Except we have a big age gap, and I shouldn’t be feeling like a grandma in my mid-twenties. Nuts, and…
Dr. Hotze: So you came into the Health & Wellness Center.. How did you find out about us, by the way?
Ciera Kizerian: A friend referred me, and told me. Actually, she told me about it in the fall, but I was just too bad to really help myself, and she then told my husband about six months later, and he’s the one that got the ball…
Dr. Hotze: Encouraged you to get here, right.
Ciera Kizerian: …and helped me come here, yeah.
Dr. Hotze: So when you came in, you saw Dr. Ellsworth, and he put you on the yeast-free eating program, and he put you on some thyroid medication. He also gave you some natural female hormones, progesterone, to help you with your menstrual cycles, because it was obvious that your problems were hormonal, because it happened after childbirth.
This is not uncommon at all. A woman will feel fine, have her first baby, and then all of a sudden they crash, and their hormones don’t kick back in right. Remember, during pregnancy, the hormones that a woman has in her body are made by the placenta, which belongs to the baby. And so, when the baby’s delivered, and the placenta follows, there’s a dramatic fall in the naturally-occurring hormones of pregnancy, and her ovaries have been shut off, and they have to turn back on.
And if they don’t turn back on right, and she doesn’t have adequate amount of female hormones, and they don’t balance out, she’s going to have a host of symptoms. I mean, there are all these symptoms that we talked about. The fatigue, low body temperature, can’t think clearly, poor sleep, constipation…Oftentimes women have problems with weight gain. She didn’t because she was so depressed she didn’t even want to eat, and if you don’t eat, you’re not going to gain weight, obviously. So what happens to these women, then they end up going to see your conventional doctor, like Ciera did, and what do they do? Immediately slap them on some SSRI antidepressant. That’s a…SSRI is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It inhibits the uptake, in your brain, of a neurotransmitter called serotonin.
Well, guess what? And this was Lexapro you were on, but there are other SSRI antidepressants, like Prozac and Effexor and Paxil, just to name a few, Cymbalta and others. And these are all SSRI, or they’re reuptake inhibitors, with the idea that if we don’t let the body reuptake the serotonin in the brain, and it just floats around, you’re going to feel better, which is not the case.
The case, in your case, in fact, it made you worse, and they gave you more drugs. And you just got drugged up, and what it does is it flattens the entire affect. It takes away who you are so you don’t have any feelings anymore. You don’t feel sad, you don’t feel good, you don’t cry…
Ciera Kizerian: Apathetic.
Dr. Hotze: You’re apathetic about life.
Ciera Kizerian: Numbness, you feel this…
Dr. Hotze: Right.
Ciera Kizerian: …total numbness. Like, I would love to feel happy right now, I would love to just feel anything right now, but you just feel empty inside.
Dr. Hotze: The SSRI antidepressants are a knock off of cocaine. Cocaine is a reuptake inhibitor. It blocks the reuptake of serotonin and of dopamine. It’s a neurotransmitter reuptake inhibitor. If you look at the molecular structure of the SSRI antidepressants, they’re almost identical to cocaine. They’re highly addictive, it’s hard to get off of them, there are terrible withdrawal symptoms, and it’s a way, basically, that drug companies get people to be addicts and take the drugs the rest of their lives.
Nobody has depression because they have low levels of antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication in their body. Nobody. If you’re having problems with moods that are roller coaster moods, they’re up and down, or you’re depressed, or you’re having anxiety attacks or panic attacks, that’s not caused because you lacked some pharmaceutical drug. It is primarily going to be a result, and almost 90% of the cases, it’s going to be a result of hormone decline and imbalance, which can be easily corrected.
So I know that Dr. Ellsworth put you on some thyroid medication, right? He put you on some female hormones, natural progesterone, got you eating right, put you on some vitamins and minerals. And how long did it take you to begin to notice any difference?
Ciera Kizerian: Oh, I wanted to cry when I started feeling…it was, I think, within two weeks of taking those that I was feeling up and feeling myself. I was able to…I’m a photographer, and I was able to go on a trip by myself for a photo shoot in Greece. Just, like, in August of that year, which…
Dr. Hotze: And you came in when?
Ciera Kizerian: In May. So within…
Dr. Hotze: So within two or three months, you were…
Ciera Kizerian: I was able to…whereas before, I’m stuck in my closet, I can’t interact with anyone. Within a couple months, I’m getting on a place by myself, I’m flying across the ocean first time by myself. I’m exploring Greece. Like, wow, that’s a huge difference…
Dr. Hotze: Sure.
Ciera Kizerian: And I remember, when I was there in Greece, I was on this catamaran, and we’re snorkeling, and I was swimming, and I was in the ocean, and I remember just having the water flow through my hair, and I just thanked God that I could enjoy life again. It was a moment for me where I was like, “Wow, this is worth living. I don’t feel what I’ve felt for years of just wanting to be gone, because it was just too painful to be alive.”
Where, with depression, when you have really severe depression, you feel so low that death seems up, it seems like a welcomed option because of how horrible you feel. And for me to be there, and to just love that moment, and love how I felt, it was priceless.
Dr. Hotze: That’s wonderful.
Ciera Kizerian: Thanks.
Dr. Hotze: A wonderful story, all that. So how long did it take you to get off the antidepressants?
Ciera Kizerian: So I am…I started trying to get off November of 2017, and it took me about three months. Dr. Ellsworth was really good at helping me get off of it, and helping me to understand the withdrawal symptoms, and that whole process. And helped me find this great book that he recommended, “The Antidepressant Solution.”
Dr. Hotze: …Solution.”
Ciera Kizerian: Wow, that book is…I’m like, “This is the bible for anyone that has been on antidepressants.”
Dr. Hotze: It’s by Dr. Glenmullen, “The…
Ciera Kizerian: Incredible.
Dr. Hotze: …Antidepressant Solution.”
Ciera Kizerian: Yeah, that really helped me a lot, to just know what I was coming up against, and what to expect, and how to come down, and I had to come down really slowly. But I had this goal of, “I want to have another baby.” I just, when we first got married, I was like, “We’re having six kids. Here we go.” But once this depression kicked in, it really changed a lot of things in our life of what reality would actually look like.
But I did still want to have one more. And so we came…about three months, the withdrawal reactions were miserable, like you said, and I was coming down so slowly. It was a really rough time for our family, trying to go through that, but then I was able to get off of it in, probably March, I was totally done with them, and it had been…
Dr. Hotze: March of ’18.
Ciera Kizerian: …some time. March, 2018.
Dr. Hotze: Right.
Ciera Kizerian: And then I got pregnant in July of 2018, which is like nothing short of a miracle. I had been looking into adoption and all these other things of how I could somehow still have this baby, knowing I might never be able to get off this medication. I might not ever be able to feel better, like way before, but then coming here and then learning about all this stuff, it made me feel like I could not only come off of it, but be able to be a good mom, which is not what I had felt beforehand, at all.
Dr. Hotze: Well, this is really, really remarkable. And wonderful. And first, I want to congratulate you for doing a 180 and taking charge of your health, and not just resigning yourself to being on drugs the rest of your life. And you can imagine what that would’ve done for your husband. I know you’re a woman of faith, and your husband is, too, and thank God, it’s to your husband’s credit that he stood by you.
Ciera Kizerian: Oh, he has said, and I have said, this could have resulted, for so many people, in divorces…
Dr. Hotze: In divorce. Oh, this happens all the time.
Ciera Kizerian: …or your kids having a lot of issues with you long-term. All these things, like…I’m so grateful that we had fought for me, because if we had just said, “This is just our new normal, this is just how things are going to be,” we never would have tried to get in that hustle and literally fight. And it was a fight every day, because you have to fight to eat the right way, you have to fight to make the changes that are needed.
And I talked to him, and now with the Light Through the Dark stuff, and talked to people now that are like, “Yeah, my kids don’t have a good relationship with me, and our family is estranged, because when they were younger I dealt with these things, and I never addressed it. And I thought that this was just my normal, and just accepted that this is my MO for life.”
Or they get divorces. I have another friend who, he’s like, “I didn’t realize I was dealing with depression and anxiety all these years.” And yet he would have these big blowups with his spouse, and she’s couldn’t…she was like, “I don’t want my kids in that environment.” Really, it was he needed more support and more help with his mental health to be able to not have these triggers set off the irritability, and the panic.
Dr. Hotze: And so this is…your new business venture is entitled what?
Ciera Kizerian: Light Through the Dark.
Dr. Hotze: Light Through the Dark. And so how can somebody look at the podcast that you’re doing, and the YouTube videos, how do they do that?
Ciera Kizerian: You can just look up “Light Through the Dark” on YouTube, or whatever. And the main goal of it is really…
Dr. Hotze: So type in YouTube, ‘light through the dark.’ And how about on podcasts, what do they do?
Ciera Kizerian: Yeah, same thing. It’s called Light Through the Dark.
Dr. Hotze: Light Through the Dark on a podcast, and you can hear Ciera, she talks about these various issues that people have with mental depression, and anxiety, and panic attacks, and these things that are affecting them…she helps individuals that are having those problems. And then she interviews other people that have had problems, and as a matter of fact, we’re going to do an interview…later today, I’m going to do a podcast for Ciera, and we’ll talk about these things. Well, Ciera, this is a wonderful story…
Ciera Kizerian: Thank you.
Dr. Hotze: Now let me ask you, on a scale of zero to ten, ten being “brimming with energy,” when you first came in, what was your energy level?
Ciera Kizerian: Oh! Zero? Like, I just…I had no energy.
Dr. Hotze: At 26 years old. No energy.
Ciera Kizerian: Yeah, no, I’d wake up and feel exhausted, and I would be so tired I needed to take a nap, but I knew that if I, for whatever reason, I’d wake up and just have gripping anxiety. So bad it felt like someone had chains and cords around me, and I would just be stuck in that anxiety for at least an hour, where I couldn’t get up, because it was so gripping and so bad. And couldn’t talk to anyone, couldn’t reach out and be like, “Help me get out of bed.” And then, it was just multiple naps during the day. Never feeling…
Dr. Hotze: So…
Ciera Kizerian: Yeah.
Dr. Hotze: How would you describe your energy level now, your overall moods, on a scale of zero to ten? Now you just had a baby, here, six weeks ago, didn’t you?
Ciera Kizerian: I just had a baby, and I mean, I need a nap a day, but sometimes…and that’s usually because I stayed up too late watching Netflix with my husband and then was up with the baby again in the night, but on the days when I’m not watching a show, it’s not anything outside of what I felt as a teenager. Or, actually, I feel like I feel better. I keep telling everyone, like, “Wow, I feel like I should be having a much harder time with having a newborn than I actually am,” but I actually do have a lot more energy right now than I did with everything before…even though I should not have as much, having a newborn.
Dr. Hotze: Right.
Ciera Kizerian: I don’t know if that’s making sense, but…
Dr. Hotze: And I know this is important, and I talked to you about it, and I asked you if you had started on progesterone, and you just started on it yesterday. This is six weeks after the birth. If I had of known about you having…that you’re pregnant, I would have made sure, like I did with my five daughters, the day after they had their baby, they were on progesterone. And none of our daughters, out of our five daughters and we have 23 grandkids, none of them even had the baby blues. They never had any depression.
But that’s because progesterone levels dropped dramatically. They’re very, very high at the end of pregnancy. The placenta makes huge amounts of progesterone, they’re many times what you would normally experience. And when the placenta’s delivered, there’s a precipitous drop in progesterone, and that’s what leads to the problems with depression.
Also, low thyroid can lead to the problem with depression, also. Thyroid can be adversely affected when the hormones fall, that puts you in a state of estrogen dominance, and that adversely affects the thyroid, so now that we have you on progesterone, you’re going to be feeling back, just on top of your game again.
Ciera Kizerian: Well, I’m really grateful that this pregnancy, I had the bioidentical hormone therapy, because as soon as I found out I was pregnant, that morning I called the nurses here, and they said, “Okay, well, let’s have you have this much progesterone, so we can protect the pregnancy.”
Dr. Hotze: Right.
Ciera Kizerian: And went through that until I was, like, 14 weeks pregnant. And that was really helpful for me, because I had had miscarriages before, and obviously had worked so hard to get pregnant…
Dr. Hotze: How many miscarriages had you had?
Ciera Kizerian: Sorry, I had had one before my daughter. And my mom had a history of miscarriages, and…
Dr. Hotze: Which is a classical feature of hypothyroidism. Infertility and miscarriages are classical features of low thyroid that doesn’t show up in your blood. It’s not how much thyroid you have in your blood, it’s how much thyroid you have in your cells, and that can only be diagnosed by a clinical history.
So I believe that everybody that has the clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism, no matter what their blood test shows, deserves a therapeutic trial of thyroid hormones to see how they do. And it usually does remarkable for them.
Well, Ciera, congratulations on your success, and I wish you every success as you work on Light Through the Dark, this effort to help individuals overcome their depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Thank you for joining us, and…
Ciera Kizerian: Thank you.
Dr. Hotze: Thank each one of you for joining us today, on Dr. Hotze’s Wellness Revolution. You remember, this is what I believe. I believe that while liberals are getting high, conservatives should get healthy so we can make America great again. If you want to get yourself on a path to health and wellness, if you’ve experienced symptoms that Ciera has , if you’re a young woman, you don’t have to wait till you’re 50 to come in and suffer on antidepressants on 20 to 30 years in your life, you can get yourself on a path to health and wellness now, by taking charge of your life, doing a 180.
Dr. Hotze: Give us a call at Hotze Health & Wellness Center at (281) 698-8698, and we’ll be glad to set up a complimentary consultation for you, and partner with you so that you can get you on a path to health and wellness and help you have a life-changing health transformation, so you have energy, you have vitality, and you have enthusiasm again for your life.
Thanks for joining us today. God bless you.
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