Hello and thank you for visiting. You are currently reading the second part of a post called How I’m Physically Preparing for an Economic 9/11.
You can read the first part to this post here.
Physical, mental and spiritual health is important to all of us and it’s especially important during times of crises or change. As the saying goes “dig the well before you’re thirsty,” I’m trying to get my health in order before I feel the more drastic affects of economic and social upheaval that may or may not be coming.
This post is specifically about Adrenal Fatigue; what it is and how you get it. Part 3 will be outline how I’m curing myself from this “21st Century Stress Syndrome” so I can effectively deal with the changes ahead.
My Battle with Adrenal Fatigue
I’ve recently been able to confirm that I am experiencing something called Non-Addison’s Hypoadrenia, also known as Adrenal Fatigue.
Your adrenals are responsible for helping your body cope with stresses and survival (basically a gland you would want operating at its peak performance during any time of physical, psychological, or emotional stress). The size of walnuts, these glands sit on top of your kidneys and direct powerful hormones that effect every tissue, organ and gland in your body. They also greatly affect the way you think and feel.
Adrenal fatigue is a collection of symptoms- called a syndrome- that a person experiences when their adrenal glands are functioning below the necessary levels.
Some of the symptoms include:
- difficulty getting up in the morning
- chronic fatigue not relieved by sleep
- lack of energy
- increased effort to complete everyday, normal tasks
- decreased ability to handle stress
- increased time to recover from illness, injury, or trauma
- less enjoyment and happiness with life
- difficulty concentrating
- decreased productivity
- decreased tolerance
- feelings of anxiety, fear, and confusion
I have personally experienced all these plus additional symptoms for the majority of my life and while they’re not life-threatening, they are horrible realities to live with day after day, month after month, year after year.
Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
Poor adrenal function can be caused by a multitude of factors and can take years to develop.
The three main contributors to my adrenal fatigue were: the typical western lifestyle, the Standard American Diet, and genetics.
The typical western lifestyle -in which most of us live by- can be characterized by: hectic, busy schedules; staying up late; lack of quality sleep; “keeping up the Joneses;” striving for perfection; lack of rejuvenating activities; stressful work environments; unhappy marriages; repeated chemical exposure (including pesticides, pollutants, and drug and alcohol abuse); and frequent crises at work or home.
For most my life, I also subsisted on the Standard American Diet (SAD for short). My dad did the best he could feeding us nutritious meals but being both a single parent and a reluctant Martha Stewart, I had more than my share of Ramen Noodles, Tuna Helper, Yoo-Hoo’s, Coke Slurpee’s, Pizza Hut, boxed cereals, and all the rest of it.
As if all this isn’t enough, I suspect I was born with weak adrenals from the start. It was not until I was diagnosed with a severe level of adrenal fatigue did I realize my mother has all the symptoms and worse. If a woman is experiencing adrenal fatigue and becomes pregnant, the child will be prone to low adrenal function throughout their own lives.
Other causes of adrenal fatigue:
- sugar and while flour products
- environmental toxins
- emotional stress (divorce, death of a loved one, etc.)
- psychological stress
- negative attitudes and beliefs
- lack of quality sleep
- use of prescription and non-prescription drugs
- lack of relaxation
- financial pressures
- acute or chronic infection
- repeated stresses
Conventional Medicine Failed Me
It’s difficult for someone with adrenal fatigue to realize they actually have it. The chief symptom of adrenal fatigue is…fatigue. But the problem is that fatigue occurs in so many other conditions it’s a challenge to diagnose.
I remember groggily waking up around 10 am one morning to hear my 1 and half year old enjoying full rein of the house. I go to get out of bed only to find that I cannot physically move my body. I literally felt like a 1000 lbs. I remember it took every ounce of energy I could muster just to slide my leg off the bed and on to the floor. I was 28 at the time and I had just had a full night of sleep.
At that point I knew something was wrong.
Desperate, I made an appointment with a doctor “in my network.”
The visit with my “primary care physician” went something like this:
Doc: What’s the problem, Stephanie?
Me: I’m tired all the time Doctor, I mean all the time. I wake up tired, I go to bed tired, I’m tired all day. I just can’t take it anymore. I think it’s something with my hormones but I don’t know what. What’s wrong with me?
Doc: Well, your blood work came back and everything looks normal- do you have allergies?
Me: Um, allergies? No, no, I don’t have allergies. I mean, sometimes I sneeze but I don’t think it’s allergies?
Doc: Well, it’s springtime and there’so much in the air, it’s probably allergies and they can make you feel fatigued. Here, I’ll write you a prescription for Zyrtec.
Way to go Conventional Medicine- you’re freaking awesome!
My disdain for western medicine increased 10-fold after that visit and I knew it was no longer worth my time or money.
Please stay tuned for Part 3 where I’ll tell you how alternative medicine, whole foods, and lifestyle changes are healing my adrenal fatigue.