My Adrenal Fatigue Crash of ’14
Adrenal Fatigue… got me
Last week* I cried in a health food shop.
Not the pretty kind of ‘tear gently rolling off the edge of my eyelash’ tears, like in a rom-com. It was uncontrollable tears spilling out across both lids taking my mascara with it. Resulting in me becoming an ugly mess, crying in public no less. Not to mention having other ‘health food shop’ weirdo’s (you know who you are) looking at me in pity and confusion.
I blame one woman; Christine. I have known her for over a decade and she is a super-power-healer-whisperer, freakn amazing person. She has this gift of being able to see you. She knows exactly what is going on before you’ve even opened you mouth. It went like this;
I was back in my home town and dropped in to my old health shop to pick up supplies, and also secretly hoping to run into her for a chat. She saw me and did a double take. After we exchanged excited hello’s, hugs and kisses she stood back and said I looked different. I casually mentioned I had recently chopped my hair off. Nope, she bluntly replied – ‘You look like you, but not really you, like you’re tired or not quite ‘here’.
Dam her… I wasn’t quite there, to be honest I haven’t been here or there or anywhere for a while now.
‘You look exhausted….
‘Actually, it’s your adrenals….’
‘They are exhausted…’
Hmm. I kind of thought I have been burning it at both ends at bit. Then my steely emotional iron clad wall started to crack (shit – this type of thing doesn’t happen to Me. Like Ever) deep breath, hold it in…
Then she said; ‘Your adrenals are sad’.
Wholly shit. I don’t know what was worse; crying in public or 100% agreeing that I had sad adrenals. But at this point it didn’t matter, I was beyond caring. She got me a tissue and patted my head. After leaving and buying a billion dollars of stuff to help justify my tears, I got in my car and drove away. Only to have to pull over cos my mascara was stinging my eyes (mental note: purchase chemical free mascara).
So after the drama calmed down I realised that I’ve been so focused on external events and things working out that I’ve been completely neglecting basic life nourishment, stuff that’s just for me. In the past few months I’ve taken some hard hits. Things beyond my control like situations that have not worked out as I’ve hoped, coupled with the challenge of personally purposeful work. Add winter into the mix (a crazy stalker!), a limited supportive structure and for me that tallied up to sad and tired adrenals.
I had been mulling over what this means to me for a few days which has given me space to re trace my steps and figure out how I got to be a crying mess in a health food shop. Turns out I’ve been ignoring most of my basic needs and pushing through to try and ‘achieve’. Pure ego drive. And now all I can do is welcome my fatigue, accept my limits and begin to re-build and heal, because the thing about adrenal glands is they take time to repair. It’s a very slow road to full recovery. And there is no magic pill that you can take to solider on (fyi whoever came up with that marketing slogan has a lot to answer to). It’s a gradual process of slow build.
*This occurred 16 weeks ago…
I have been on a repair and re-build program that I feel like I’m truly on the other side of now. It involved surrendering to my limits. Accepting quite time and avoiding situations (and people) that aggravate my symptoms. Let me tell you this is really freakn hard. You basically take out all the things that you LOVE most and go on sabbatical… ok, maybe not that drastic – but its tough.
Things I removed:
- Coffee – to over stimulating and depleting for the adrenals
- Alcohol – depletes your ‘happy’ hormones and essentially lives you feeling sad-er than what drove you to it.
- Gluten – any grains which can upset gut = very upset girl
- Dairy – personal choice – think its messing with my hormones and figured while I was off everything else what’s one more thing.
- Foods that are processed i.e. in a packet/’ready to eat’.
- People – who make me feel like shit or guilty or not enough (this included a massive FB cull)
- Excessive socialising – too exhausting.
Things I added
- Sleep: I was needing up to 10+ hours
- Acupuncture : every 2 weeks – amazing results, even if I have no idea why she’s putting needles in my neck – I’m all ‘my adrenals aren’t in there…’
- Reflexology : alternating weeks
- Nights in: lots and lots of nights in – with cups of herbal tea (total rock and roll especially on Fri/Sat – I need to investigate Pay TV options)
- No weights: my body wasn’t recovering and I’d be sore and tired for up to 4-5 days later. Felt like I needed to sleep after a session.
- Remembering to breath out
- And lastly as much sun as possible.
Supplements (I don’t support or endorse any particular brands on this blog – however you get what you pay for so consider that when your shopping)
- Liquorice tea: super supportive for sad adrenals. It replaced coffee – NB it tastes NOTHING like coffee and it stinks up your cupboard or office out in my case.
- Adrenal supportive herbal supplement – 2 x day
- Magnesium – 2-3x day (one just before bed)
- Vitamin C 1000mg 3-4 a day
- Mulit B complex 2 x day
- Omega 3s high concentrate 2x day
- Greens – in almost every meal (Pressed Juice Co Greens 4 is my FAV for a morning rush!)
- Nothing to ‘cold’ or cooling esp. during winter – too hard for the body to re-heat from.
- Fermented vegetables – to assist digestion. Digesting food is extremely taxing and stressful on our bodies so the most assistance you can offer the better
- Salt – good quality mineral – I added it to everything (to taste – use your judgment)
- Bone broth – even though I don’t love it, I still included it. Please only make from bones that are organic.
- No skipping meals because of its impact blood sugar – when this happens your body will release cortisol as a stress response which in turn impacts on your adrenals.
This repair mode took a good 3 months and I slowly noticed a vast improvement in my general wellness. I was less tired and could stay up past 10pm (whoop whoop!). I was able include the occasional glass of wine and not be wiped out the next day and I slowly took back up a weight session once /twice a week.
Its now 4 months on from this crash and while I’m not fully ‘recovered’ my quality of life is unrecognizable from where I was back in August. I’m not sure if I’ll ever recover from this tendency to adrenal fatigue but I know how to manage it and more importantly I know when I’m pushing it. I’ve also switched to a very high fat, low(er) carb diet. Please note this is not labelled ‘Paleo’ it’s just a choice. I still eat meat, but not highly processed options. The fat in my diet mostly comes from coconut products, avocados, butter and cheese. I seem to be able to deal with this type of lower lactose dairy easily. I’ve added a few more supplements to the mix to support oxidation processes too.
What I’m driving to towards right now is Exceptional Wellness. Not just living, but thriving and looking darn good while I do it. Everything that I aspire to be I’m now working towards and I finally have the energy to get it.
I survived my ‘crash’ have you had similar?