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Keke Palmer Talks Anxiety, Depression & What Got Her Through

Lifestyle August 31, 2016

Depression is something that is getting so much attention today. People never really considered the issue in a way that would put it on the front page of newspapers until a couple decades ago, it seems, and coverage has not waned.

One person who recently spoke out about her own experience with depression, as well as anxiety associated with that experience, is Keke Palmer.

Happy Birthday to Keke! The Akeelah and the Bee star is all grown up and had to deal with serious grown-up issues.

“These are the words I was afraid to stand behind because I had too much anxiety and could not process my experiences and how they were separate from the spirit of who I was,” wrote Keke Palmer on the subject.

“I stopped trying all together because I allowed people to make me believe that being an artist meant having big budget music videos and big record producers backing you,” Palmer wrote. “When in reality, all being an artist means is to be fearless in your creative pursuits. My anxiety, caused by the habit of unconsciously holding my breath, coupled with the stress of my personal life at that time created a lot of hard years of depression for me.

“Believe in yourself because that’s the only thing stopping you! You must believe in the dark so when the light comes on everything is seen clearly.”

“For me, it became motivation simply because it’s not so much about looking nice but more about feeling good. It feels good when I work out. It makes me have energy. When I’m eating well, I’m able to deal with things better. When I started realizing the benefits to my body, health-wise, that’s really what motivated me. I don’t want to be limited by my body because I’m eating poorly or because I’m not exercising and I don’t have the energy. I want to be able to live life to the fullest and so my love for life is what motivates me to keep myself going.

“I definitely meditate and I’m always honest with myself about how I feel. My type of personality is that I like to be focused. I think I was blessed at a young age to find my passion and I realized how meditative that was within itself — having something you love that you can lose yourself in. I have a tattoo on my arm that says: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” I truly believe you are what you repeatedly do. You can change. You can become anything that you want to become because you are the one who chooses the habits that you do every day. You can make them all positive, or you can make them all negative.”

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Study Finds Babies 87% More Likely to Have Autism when Pregnant Mother Took Antidepressants

Health News January 7, 2016

Based on a dataset including 145,456 pregnancies, Université de Montréal scientists have found a significant relationship between mothers consuming antidepressants and autistic children

Université de Montréal scientists have found strong evidence of a link between antidepressants and autism in a large study that accounted for other known autism contributors such as genetic disposition, maternal age, depression, and poverty. After calculating for these other factors, taking antidepressants while pregnant was associated with an 87 percent increase in autistic babies.

The researchers believe the basis for the problem lies in the medical introduction of serotonin and other chemicals used in antidepressant medication.

The study dealt with the second and third trimesters of pregnancy specifically, and the researchers advised that although depression is a serious condition, pregnant women should be treated with other options during this critical period of fetal development. Pregnant women should avoid serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) especially, the researchers concluded.

“Our study is not out to scare women,” said study senior author Professor Anick Bérard, Université de Montréal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre. “It’s 2015 and women can make informed decisions, but they need to have evidence-based data. A discussion with their physician is warranted in order to fully consider all treatment options.”

The researchers did not want their conclusions to be misunderstood as advise to not treat depression, however:

“Don’t take from it … [t]hat, given the increased risk of many adverse pregnancy outcomes (including autism) that have been reported in the literature, we are advocating non-treatment of depression. Depression needs to be treated during pregnancy but with something other than antidepressants in the majority of cases.”

The report, “Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy and the Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children,” was completed by Drs. Takoua Boukhris, Odile Sheehy, Laurent Mottron, and Anick Bérard, and was published in JAMA Pedriatrics.

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