8.31.2020

Mental Health Map

I was asked by Carusele to participate in the #Genomind campaign, sponsored by Genomind.  Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.

As I have shared many times, our family has been dealing with some issues that have brought up the conversation of mental health again and again.  As someone who has dealt with some level of anxiety since having our second child I understand how much information and insight and tools bring peace of mind.  With the cancer journey our family is on plus the mental health issues my son has experienced the last couple of years we talk about it a lot.  I have said time and time again that mental health should be something people feel comfortable discussing and I really feel like our family has made progress in this area but I still see it as more of a stigma in society.  I will never stop sharing my personal experiences in the hopes that it helps one or more of you speak up, ask for help, or just share with another how you are feeling.  Mental health is definitely part of our overall health and deserves the same conversations the rest would receive.  If it had not been an open conversation in our home things could be oh so different

About a month ago I was contacted to try out Genomind® Mental Health Map™.  I was curious and did a lot of reading and after a discussion with our son's medical team we decided to say yes to the opportunity.  I wanted to make sure before I said yes I got the approval of both my son and his team, since this would be about him, not me.  He was all in, as I was, to learn more about his predispositions and genetic mental health capabilities.  Any information is so helpful as it provides more tools in the toolbox. 

Before I go any further let me share that this post is sponsored, but also completely written from a mother's perspective with my son's complete stamp of approval.  I am open to share my story of his medical journey and never share anything that he is not open to the public about.  I love how he is willing to share parts of his story with the hopes of helping others.  It gives me such hope.  The parts of the testing and results I will share will be with his complete consent and completely one hundred percent my honest opinion of the testing and result journey. 

Our middle son was born with a duplicated 22nd chromosome and we had his genes mapped when he was very young by a Emory Genetics team.  Just like that experience this testing was vital to providing information for us as a family and for his medical history.  If you stop reading now let me share with you that I am so very thankful we chose to do the Genomind® Mental Health Map™ test as it, too, has given us some amazing information in the journey to discover all we can about his genetic makeup and gain tools to help him in any and all ways possible. 


As it was described to me the Mental Health Map™ tests 7 core genetic mental health capabilities.  These exist in the areas of Sleep, Eating Behavior, Mood, Stress + Anxiety, Focus + Memory, Social Behavior, and Habits + Substance Abuse.  When people see a doctor and receive a mental health diagnosis it is simply them being diagnosed from their symptoms and placed in a buckets.  For me I fit in the anxiety bucket, our son is in the anxiety bucket and also the depression bucket.  Although that is very helpful and necessary for successful treatment, this test does not give you that information or expand on those diagnoses. This health map gives genetic insight into the small variations on our genetic map that changes the pathways on that map.  Each gene codes for proteins that have been associated with an implication for one or more of the 7 core capabilities. If there is a change in those proteins, due to a genetic variation, then there is a change in how they function,resulting in a change in how they affect these seven areas of mental wellness.

I know that is a lot to process and I will give you a specific example.  In the area of sleep the map decodes information in the areas of Sleep Cycle, Falling Asleep, Sleeping Behavior, and Daytime Energy.  As you can imagine how you sleep and how well you sleep affects your mental health and behavior.  Our son has a lot of normal results in this area but is predisposed to be a Night Owl.  Not only is this spot on for his behavior, but also affects how he wakes up and functions early in the morning.  He also has no issue falling asleep but does have issues staying asleep because worry will wake him and keep him up for hours at a time.  All of this was confirmed by the mental map.  We learned two things, one he is predisposed to not be able to properly absorb magnesium and for poor utilization of vitamin B9.  Both affect how we sleep, how much we worry, and how well we stay asleep.  

I find this all so fascinating. His results were spot on for all the issues we see as his parents.  I can't tell you how many times I will wake up and hear him up at 3 am worried about who knows what.  As a parent it is heartbreaking, but know I have an area I can pursue with his medical team. 

How does it all work?  It is so simple.  After you purchase your test it arrives in the mail to you.  You simply swab your cheek and mail it back in a pre-stamped box provided in the kit.  After a few days (mine was a week) I got an email letting me know my test was received.  Then a few days later I got another email with our report and a request to set up a call with one of their advisors to break down the information and to answer any and all of my questions.  I was able to speak to one of their trained advisors who was so helpful and answered all of my questions.  He gave me so much information that I was writing as fast as he spoke. He had flagged two areas to chat with me about ... the sleep issue and the vitamin B9 deficiency in the area of mood.  I walked about with actionable advice that can directly help him sleep better and can assist in a more regular mood during the day.  (Don't read that as he is upset all the time, but he can be moody) Once again, spot on for who he is. 

I think the most fascinating part is learning about how our genes can directly affect our mental health.  Once again ... just like our physical health, there are things we are predisposed towards from a mental health perspective that have zero to do with our experiences.  Recognizing a genetic predisposition allows us to understand things about ourselves and develop tools that make us stronger.  My sweet-hearted son deserves all the tools he can have, and I am thrilled we have information that can help him. 

I cannot say it enough, I am so thankful we took the Genomind® Mental Health Map™ and have the information we do.  I have so much respect for our brains and our bodies and how much they can tell us if we have the pathway to learn the information.  

I hope this discussion helps anyone confronting issues they don't fully understand. I know physical and mental health can be a scary place. In our family's journey over the last few years, we have learned opening ourselves up to the difficult conversation and being receptive to information and assistance alleviates the fear which, after all, arises out of uncertainty.  Understanding what is in front of you is the first step in the journey. I cannot recommend it enough. For us this Mental Health Map™ is so welcomed.

3 comments:

  1. I am a longtime follower who happens to be 31/2 years into my own cancer journey. One of my meds lowers my magnesium to dangerous levels but I have difficulty with most mag supplements on the market. After much research, I found Dr.Carolyn Dean and a product called ReMag liquid magnesium supplement that is highly absorbed with no laxative side effects. This product has really helped get my mag levels normalized. Check out www.rnareset.com for product information. God bless you and your family on your journey.

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  2. Bravo! Your courage in taking the leap to share this is a testament to your trust & faith. You walk the walk my friend. This knowledge is powerful stuff for sure, daunting and overwhelming stuff that can shed light on so many lives. Bless your heart!

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  3. I have never heard of Genomind. This is very interesting, and I will be passing this information along to my family, as we have mental illness in our family too. I am so glad it was helpful for your precious son. Thank you, Paige, for always being forthcoming, no matter how difficult.

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