My name is Cassandra Posey and I am the founder of Cognitive Function. Cognitive Function was born out of necessity for sustainability/ regeneration for me. Let me backup and paint a picture for those of you reading this that don’t know much about me.
Around the age of 6 my mother and teachers realized my brain operated a bit differently than most of the other kiddos around me. Being of Chinese descent my mother has a deep connection to herbal medicine and energetic practices. We tried many different approaches to try and get me to sit still, focus, calm down and simply be but we came up short. Around the age of 7 I was diagnosed with ADHD/ ADD and dyslexia. For those of you who aren’t familiar it just means my brain operates a bit different than most in that I have difficulty focusing on specific tasks, I hyper focus on things that don’t need to be hyper focused on, I fall into deep paralysis of overwhelmed, I suffer from extreme anxiety, often impulsive and have a harder time staying on task and organized. ADHD is a disorder that affects the executive function center of the brain. I always thought it meant I had superpowers but the doctors explained to my mom that it would be much harder for me to have a “normal” life. By the age of 9 I was placed on medications. I can remember the feeling of confusion being that young and not necessarily understanding why these pills were so important but I was the first child in my family and I had a younger sister to set an example for. I would take my medication everyday and go to school and sit down and try and listen. Bubbling up with anger and rage by the end of the day, I would go to tutor to try and catch up, then to whichever sport was in season and try and tire myself out. My parents did an excellent job trying to keep a healthy structure and prepare me for everything they felt would come my way in this world.
Years passed by and the prescriptions kept building, with medications came side effects and with side effects came more diagnoses, I now had 4. By the age of 12 I was on meds for ADHD and Depression. Years went by and I added on another prescription for the crippling anxiety. When highschool rolled around I was in a bigger school with great funding that was able to offer more one-on-one teaching. I hated the meds with a burning passion and tried everything to get off of them. I knew deep down that food, environment and lifestyle were the only way to defeat the evil I was faced with everyday. Luckily for me my mom is a fantastic cook, she always helped me try out new diets and different approaches to food that I was interested in. She always encouraged me to stay active and be a part of any sports I felt interested in. It was nice to have a community of others interested in similar things. On and off meds, I made my way to college. I attended an art school in Los Angeles and in experiencing a new feeling of freedom, much of my depression dissipated. But having lost the support team I had back home and my mom, my ADHD and anxiety was really difficult to manage. I spent many years trying to figure out how to exist being my own support system and how to grow in a way that was productive to the world I wanted to belong to. I graduated college and went into a job selling shoes, I worked my way up to management and left for a job back in Seattle. I was struggling so hard trying to juggle everything on my own. I moved back in with my Mom and Dad for 6 months and I feel like I was able to even out a bit. I made a big jump to New York City where I worked in media and fashion for 4 years taking medications to get by. I never felt safe. I never felt like I belonged in the world. I constantly felt like I was struggling to keep up with everyone and everything around me, and I felt like even when I was close I was so far away. Everything seemed so much easier for everyone else. And frankly all I wanted to do was learn more about my body and focus on my cookbook and help my friends with their diets. I was on 2 Vyvance a day. A lot for me, I weighed about 120lb and was even tinier then as I was vegan. I would go to the gym every morning, then hit work from 8am until 9pm (if not later), we would go out and party, then I would do it all over again. Completely a vibe and definitely a moment I look back at but it was very unsustainable and I believe only something a 25 year old could pull off. I am grateful for the friends I had at that time in my life. A couple of them in particular always encouraged me to follow my passion for diet and nutrition. At the time, I thought I would go into nutrition consulting. I wanted to work in child development to help mothers similar to mine. I spent most of my off time reading and listening to podcasts all about the subject.
I was fired from my job in 2018. I don’t tell many people this because I felt so much shame around it for so long. I felt like I poured so much of myself into that job that being let go furthered the narrative that I wasn’t good enough and that I couldn’t do things as well as “normal” people. I was torn up for years. I left a place that felt like home and I was crushed.
In December of 2018, I was angry. I had it out for big pharma and for unsustainable work environments. I pulled myself off of my medications cold turkey.
I couldn’t get out of bed for 7 days. My adrenals were totally shot . My body was going through complete shock. My anxiety was so terrible that all I wanted to do was try and sleep the pain away and my brain was so fried that basic functions seemed like climbing a mountain.
I had a plan. It just took a moment to get there. I had been vegan for about 7 years and my plan involved doing something that went against that. I had recently learned about Natasha Campbell McBride’s work and her book on the GAPS diet. This led me down a Weston A. Price rabbit-hole that ultimately led to learning about healthy fats and whole animal usage.
For 19 days I drank celery juice in the morning followed by 6oz of lemon water and 2T of sea salt and Cordyceps, throughout the day I drank bone broth that featured these fat mixtures I made with different mushrooms in them. These fats are now known as Brain Lube, Adrenal Boost and Cordyceps Ghee. I started taking a shot of Cordyceps Flame Cider for digestion and to help with my energy and I switched out all of my sugar for Reishi Honey. Towards the end of the 19 days, I started incorporating steamed veggies in the evening and eventually fish and then red meat. I don’t eat bird, it’s not my thing (energetically it’s too flighty for me but if that’s your jam live it up). I don’t recommend anyone do this diet without consultation first. It was gnarly and there are aspects that I am leaving out of here because you should have support when doing something as aggressive as this.
A little back story on the way the products started to materialize…
I was obsessed and will forever be obsessed with cute little healthy grocery stores. This is important because I spend much of my time inside of them looking at new products that come into the market space and intently reading their ingredient lists. Being on pharmaceuticals for so long, I have a deep want to know exactly what is going into my body. Because of this I started learning about what was really going on in the functional mushroom world. There were many fast companies in the space popping up all over the place with ingredients that I didn’t understand. I set out for answers and didn’t like what I found. So I started making my own and sourcing them with mushrooms that I procured from U.S. cultivators that I stalked on the internet (they’re all good friends now haha).
At this time in NY my apartment was a place for everyone to gather everyday. People would swing in and out all day long eating food I would make, learning about what I was reading and continuing to inspire me and give me insight to different body types. It was a dream come true. All I wanted was to be able to help others heal and continue to learn.
Many details have been left out around my education in herbal medicine and TCM but let me remind you that I have ADHD. Traditional schooling was never my forte. The thing is, ADHD is a superpower, I am able to learn and retain information like a sponge if I am interested and passionate about it.
As my obsession grew, I found myself completely thrown into all things mushrooms and specifically all things Cordyceps. I spent time in North Carolina focused on cultivating Cordyceps and learning all about mushrooms, algae and nut trees among other things. As my life started a new cycle, I moved to Pennsylvania and homesteaded and grew many beautiful mushrooms and made all sorts of beautiful medicine. I traveled the country and met so many inspiring humans and shared my work. I planned festivals and events around permaculture/ mushrooms and helped with the Cordyceps Cultivation Handbook V.2. I focused on turning Cognitive Function into a company that supports mental health and is a pillar in the health and wellness space for being a company of true transparency. I want parents and caregivers all over the world to be able to pick up CF’s products and feel safe and proud to share them with their children.
I aimed to set my business up for the days when all I have the energy to do is lay in bed in a pit of my depression. Or the days when my brain is having a hard time, and I want to do is pick up something new and fascinating that excites me. I no longer feel shackled by the pills (I have been off them for 5 years now!), by the feeling of societal failure or by not being enough in a world that was not made for me. I’ve made it my own. The goal in my life has been mental and physical freedom for me and all who wish to be a part of this journey with me. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and thank you for your support. I still continue to make all of the products by hand, ship them out and run all of the back end work for Cognitive Function. ADHD-ers can truly have it all.
The beginning of my story might seem sad but it’s one many children endure. I want to say that I love and respect my parents for all of their hard work and endless amounts of continued education they spent over the years on these topics. Throughout all of their research my dad found out he also struggles with ADHD. I like to believe that people do the best they can with what they’ve got and I owe everything to my mom for opening my eyes to alternative and western medicine to be able to fuel me through my journey of self discovery. Without which, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. Struggle makes you stronger and wiser, use it to the best of your ability. Big shout out to guides I’ve had along the way and all of the special people throughout my life that have treasured me for the brain I have and the way I use it. You mean the world to me.