Adrenal Fatigue, a Long Road

When I was first diagnosed with adrenal fatigue by the naturopath I was also diagnosed with food allergies. I was so focused on what to eat I didn’t realize the seriousness of the adrenal fatigue part. It wasn’t until almost two months later in a discussion with the naturopath that the light bulb went off. Me being me, I immediately went to do some research on adrenal fatigue to figure out exactly what it means. I found this book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, at the library and immediately borrowed it. I found it so helpful I ended up purchasing it, too.

The naturopath gave me some supplements to take. Because my cortisol levels were backwards (low in the morning when they should be high and high in the evening when they should be low) she gave me Cortrex to take in the morning to boost my levels and Relora in the evening to decrease my levels. She also gave me a multi vitamin, calcium/magnesium and some fish oil, too for general health. After six months had passed we took another test and my cortisol levels did seem to level out but I would feel like they were never the same again. It would seem that any time I overdid it I would feel fatigued.

If I woke up in the morning feeling like I hadn’t slept then it would be because of one of two reasons. Either I had eaten something that I was sensitive to or I had overdone it. Overdoing it could mean not getting enough sleep but more likely it was not getting enough down time in relation to how busy I was. I simply cannot go, go, go anymore without paying for it. I would become fatigued and I would need to take a step back and go in recovery mode. If I didn’t go in recovery mode it would just take that much longer for me to bounce back. Recovery mode generally means I need to make sure I am eating super well and none of the foods I am sensitive to. (Often I can get away with eating these foods here and there as long as it isn’t too much, too close together but not when I am fatigued). It also means I need to rest as much as possible. Getting to sleep before 10 p.m. is very important. If I did all these things I would be able to function much more quickly.

As much as I try to keep a balanced life so that I don’t overdo it, often life happens and there isn’t much I can do about it. Over the next few years I would leave a job that caused me too much stress, explore new career options, sell my car and townhouse to fund my explorations and a big move to a new city, get a new job, reconnect with my high school sweetheart and the father of the son we gave up for adoption, reconnect with the son we gave up for adoption, move back to be with my high school sweetheart, get engaged, get pregnant, get another new job, and get married among other things. Those are some big things that create a lot of stress and don’t necessarily fit the prescription of taking it easy to heal adrenal fatigue.

However, during that time I did get better. I know I did because then I got worse which made me realize how much better I had been. I got worse after I moved to the new city and was adjusting to my new job. And then I got better. And then I got worse again after I had the baby and had to return to work. My husband worked Monday to Thursday and I worked Friday to Monday. I thought this was great because we didn’t need childcare. My body said otherwise. Eventually, the anxiety attacks increased back to the point where I couldn’t ignore them any longer. Dealing with anxiety attacks while caring for a baby is not fun. Being adrenal fatigue exhausted while caring for a baby is not fun, either.

For a while I didn’t even connect that my adrenal fatigue was back. When you have a baby everyone focuses so much on post partum depression and baby related issues it’s easy to forget about other issues. I had to stop working. I applied for and was denied short term disability. And then one day a light bulb suddenly went off. I pulled my adrenal fatigue book off the shelf and sure enough there my symptoms were listed. And I suddenly recalled that this was exactly how it was before. How had I not realized it?

When I  stopped working my husband just started to work more. Therefore, I didn’t have really any support to help me out with the baby. This doesn’t bode well when adrenal fatigue requires rest and eating really well but your job is to provide for your baby first and foremost every day, all day. It’s a far different story coping with adrenal fatigue when you are single than when you are a wife and a mom and have other’s needs to take into consideration. It’s funny because when I was single I thought it would be easier if I had someone to help me.

My naturopath couldn’t give me the supplements for adrenal fatigue she had previously given me because I was breastfeeding and it was very important for me to do so. She did suggest vitamin B12 injections but needles cause me to become super anxious. Really, the anticipation of them causes me such stress that it wipes me right out. I did decide to try one just because my fatigue and anxiety attacks were having such a big effect on caring for my daughter and my relationship with my husband. By the time I got to the appointment I was shaking and in tears. That kind of stress with adrenal fatigue was obviously not a good combination. I had the shot and was hoping I would have renewed energy.  Instead I felt nauseous for a week. That was the end of that.

Luckily, the subject of reiki kept appearing on my radar. I wasn’t sure what it was but I was willing to try anything. I finally did a google search for reiki practioners in my area and stumbled upon Mari Okazaki’s website. I had no idea at the time that meeting Mari would have such a positive impact on my healing journey. Mari introduced me to Jikiden Reiki, Fortune Delight and also to Sharon Richlark, a fabulous homeopath. Each of these would have a tremendous positive impact on my health but I will save those details for future posts.

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