"Think of a car that is running low on gas, has a steering wheel problem, a sticky gas pedal that continues to accelerate at will, and a brake pedal that malfunctions intermittently. In other words, many of the systems that ensure a smoothly running vehicle are broken. The car is no longer under control, and unable to get you where you want to go. It is also a sure recipe for an accident." Now imagine the car is your body. That description (from DrLam.com) is probably the best metaphor I've read so far for adrenal fatigue. He goes on to break down a little more...
"In addition to having low energy, the body suffers from hypoglycemia (too little gasoline in the gas tank), feelings of being "wired" (sticky gas pedal that stays down), foggy thinking (driver who texts while driving), and depression (brake pedal is burned out). The internal thermostat of the body is broken and it is no wonder that the adrenals crash with each little stressor.
YES! I could not have said it any better myself. And thank God I'm not crazy. If you know me personally or read some of my other blogs, you know that I've been battling some weird health issues for almost 2 years now. Basically, it felt like my whole body just fell apart at once and everything stopped working the way it should. NO energy, difficulty sleeping, GI issues, headaches, anxiety/depression, brain fog, blood sugar issues, acne, and on and on and on. I saw my regular doc, a gastroenterologist, an endocrinologist and a cardiologist. They sent me for a million stupid tests and everything came back "normal." And they all sent me on my way (with a prescription for antidepressants) of course.
CAN I TAKE A MOMENT HERE TO EXPRESS MY COMPLETE DISAPPOINTMENT AND FRUSTRATION WITH "TRADITIONAL" MEDICINE?
Okay. After seeing a naturopath just one time, I realized... Hey! I'm not crazy. All of my symptoms are real and guess what... they're all related! Imagine that!! I've been working with him for just about a year now and slowly but surely (since finances make things go a little slower), we are chipping away at the problems. And yes, there are problemS plural. But guess what... they are all related. And shocker of all shockers, the biggest problem is probably my adrenal glands. They can cause you have to have blood sugar issues (check), immune disorders (check)... this probably caused my leaky gut syndrome/GI issues, debilitating fatigue (check), brain fog (check) and anxiety/depression (check). In fact, many people with adrenal fatigue are almost bedridden! For months, I said I felt like everything was connected. For months, I said I felt terrible. For months, I said that it felt out of my control. And no one believed me. Well, other than a few friends and my mom that is. All the regular doctors wanted to do was feed me pills. But enough about them.
What I do know now...
YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you don't feel right, if you know you're not functioning like you should... keep going. It will be the most exhausting, frustrating and honestly sometimes depressing time of your life, but you have to keep going. I had friends stop inviting me to do stuff (because they thought I'd cancel or thought I'd be a "downer"), doctors galore tell me I needed antidepressants and my own inner voice tell me I was never going to get better. But despite all of that, I just KNEW this could not be "normal." Now I wish I could tell you I sit here writing this saying, "I'm all better! I'm like a new person!" but that is not the case. Healing adrenal fatigue (and all the subsequent problems it has caused) is a long process. It will be months before I feel a real difference. BUT I am soooooooooooooooooooooo happy (did I mention I'm happy?) that I know I'm on the right track FINALLY. I know why I feel this way and I know that it doesn't have to stay like this. I know that I DO have control in the matter. And I realize just how blind I have been about a lot of stuff in the past.
I sometimes feel like there are two types of people in our society when it comes to health/nutrition stuff. 1) Those that are interested in it at least enough to consider it and 2) Those that don't want to hear a word about it and adamantly will turn their heads away from you, rolling their eyes all the way. I don't know why that is but that just seems to be the case. Now similar to my experience with becoming a Christian, I will be the first to say that when it comes to health stuff... in the past, I also was a head turner. I wasn't put off by it or angered by it, I could just care less. And I had a sweet tooth that reached epic proportions. So I didn't exercise, ate "convenience foods" and a whole lotta cupcakes. Once all this stuff happened, I started looking into alternative medicine and healthy eating, and honey, you will not BELIEVE what you find out if you just look. It's not like this stuff is hidden in the catacombs, I mean do one quick google search and it's all there. The unbelievable damage sugar can have on you, what chemicals are in our food and toiletry products and basically a lot of stuff that makes sense if you just stop to think about it. Like, hey, maybe we should only eat stuff in it's natural state as it was meant to grow in nature. Huh, imagine that. Now I know that's a lot easier said then done, but if I can go from eating all of my meals in boxes/bags washed down with multitudes of sugar, to where I am now... anyone can do it. And once you do... ohmygoodness will your body thank you for it. Even though I have to still work on repairing the damage that's been done, I can tell the difference in how I feel eating fresh fruits and veggies as opposed to processed food. It's like a breath of fresh air for my body.
Speaking of which... take a minute to go look at the ingredients in your face wash or shampoo. No really, go ahead and look. I'll wait. Surprising isn't it? Here I had been good all these months eating gluten-free and when I finally flipped my moisturizer over, it had wheat in it. Awesome. Not to mention the fillers, binders, preservatives, colors, fragrances and other lovely assorted additives that are in our make-up, cleaning products and paper products. It's ridiculous when you actually pay attention to it. I'm not sure why we're so surprised at the staggering numbers of diseases that we all have when we have the diets/lifestyles that we do. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out the connection. But I guess for a lot of us, ignorance is bliss. I know that's how I was until I personally started having health issues that forced me to look into all of it. That's a shame though that that's how it usually happens. Because of course, now I want to shout it to everyone from the rooftops! "Put down that bread! Eat an avocado! Drop the sugar!" But alas, I can't.
All I can do I guess is keep sharing my journey and hope that maybe others might learn something from it as I have learned from others along the way. Remember, it's your body, people. You only get one of them. So you may as well do everything you can to take good care of it.