LOCAL NEWS

Popular Mommy Blogger ‘Dies 10 Times To Live’

May 13, 2019, 7:03 PM | Updated: 7:06 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The woman behind “Dooce,” one of the first and most popular mommy blogs, has been very open about her struggle with depression. It got so bad, she recently turned to an extreme experimental treatment.

“I wanted to be dead,” said Heather Armstrong, an author and blogger who lives in Salt Lake City.

As she prepared for her book signing at the King’s English Bookshop, rock bottom seemed far away. But it wasn’t that long ago that Heather Armstrong was at the darkest time in her life.

“I had just gotten to the point that I was so sad but I thought that I would just feel this way forever,” she said.

Doctors at University Neuropsychiatric Institute administered Propofol 10 times, an average of three times a week, to take Heather Armstrong’s brain to a flat line on the EEG.

On the surface, she seemed to have it all: training for a marathon, raising two kids alone and working full time.

But the stress triggered something in her brain.

“I call it the hamster wheel I couldn’t get off of,” Armstrong said.

When nothing seemed to work, her psychiatrist recommended she take part in an extreme experimental treatment. “He looked at me and he said, ‘Yah, you might die, but you’re not. It’s going to be fine.’”

Armstrong was so desperate to get well, she agreed.

Dr. Brian Mickey, associate professor of psychiatry at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute said, “I think ‘brain dead’ is probably not the best term for it, but it does have a certain flair.”

Doctors used Propofol to put her into a state deeper than general anesthesia- 10 times.
A state so deep, the brain shows a flat line on the EEG, a test used to evaluate the electrical activity in the brain, for 15 minutes, interrupted by short bursts of brain activity. This is called “burst-suppression.” Even given the extremity, Mickey said it wasn’t hard finding people who wanted to participate in the study.

Like millions of Americans, Heather’s depression was treatment-resistant. Nothing she had tried was getting her out of severe depression.

But doctors were hopeful this new treatment could lead to a breakthrough. “We’re probably triggering the brain into sort of reorganize, or triggering the plasticity in the brain,” Mickey said.

Mommy blogger and author Heather Armstrong and family. Photo Credit: Angie Monson Mommy blogger and author Heather Armstrong and family. Photo Credit: Angie Monson Heather Armstrong, mommy blogger and author, gets her makeup done before her book signing at The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City. She wrote about her experimental treatment for depression.

So far, they’ve only tested this technique on 10 people.

After the first few treatments, which they did on average three times a week, Armstrong didn’t feel any different. “I felt like this is a waste of everyone’s time. ‘Why am I doing this again?’ I’m even more of a burden,’” Armstrong said.

But then, she began seeing improvement with everyday tasks, like showering and putting on makeup. After the 5th time, “It was the day everything changed for me,” she said, “I came home and I wasn’t tired. I felt completely rejuvenated and energized. I felt the fullness of what it meant to be human and alive, and happy.”

She wrote a book about her experience called, The Valedictorian of Being Dead: The true Story of Dying Ten Times to Live. It’s resonating with readers, who packed the house at her book signing.

Heather Armstrong addresses the packed house at her book signing. Her book takes readers inside an experimental treatment that took her deeper than general anesthesia 10 times.

She still gets treatment for depression, including medication and therapy, and says she knows it still won’t be easy. “It gave me the ability to recognize those triggers and that is the true gift of this treatment,” Armstrong said.

Now, it’s hard to even remember that dark place. “Did I ever really feel like I wanted to be dead? Did I feel that?” she said.

Heather is one of six people in the small study who saw success. The treatment is still experimental, and doctors are seeking federal funding for more research.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Homeowner Mark Shea tells KSL’s Matt Gephardt he paid someone to build a deck who abandoned the j...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Homeowners ask why authorities can’t shut down an unlicensed contractor

Two Salt Lake County homeowners hired and paid someone to build decks for their homes but say he left the jobs unfinished. Turns out, he’s been cited by the state for not having a contractor’s license before.

1 hour ago

Tony Arriaga, owner of Beehive Gloves, creating and relacing baseball gloves at his work desk....

Brianna Chavez

West Valley City business asking for used gloves to repurpose and donate

A West Valley City business is hoping to give back to the community by giving new life to old baseball and softball gloves.

2 hours ago

Jodi Hildebrandt and Ruby Franke on an advertisement for the ConneXions program....

Shelby Lofton

Life coaching regulations under consideration following Hildebrandt case

A bill regulating life coaching programs in Utah is on hold to give the Utah Division of Professional Licensing more time to study the profession.

3 hours ago

CORRECTS SENTENCE TO UP TO 30 YEARS, NOT 60 YEARS - Defendant Ruby Franke looks on during court Tue...

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Ruby Franke’s parents, brother say Franke was brainwashed

Ruby Franke's parents asked a judge to show "as much mercy" as possible ahead of her sentencing this week for child abuse, saying their daughter had been brainwashed.

3 hours ago

Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, and Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, react to a reporter’s qu...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox, KSL TV

‘More secrecy’: Utah lawmakers advance bills targeting government transparency

Several bills would chip away at government transparency in Utah, including one proposal that’s a direct response to KSL’s fight for public records. A First Amendment attorney says he’s alarmed.

4 hours ago

The scene of the fatal crash near 12300 S. State Street....

Michael Houck

Driver dead after experiencing a medical emergency, Draper police say

A person has died after experiencing a medical issue while driving Thursday night in Draper.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Popular Mommy Blogger ‘Dies 10 Times To Live’