Adrenal Fatigue – A Survivor’s Story, Part 2


Adrenal fatigue is not real. That’s the opinion of the so-called experts at WebMD.

According to the adrenal fatigue theory, if your life is too stressful, your adrenal glands may not pump out enough hormones, leading to a wide variety of symptoms. But there's no evidence to support this theory. - WebMD

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome:

My Symptoms Must Mean Something, But What?

Years ago, Snickers advertised their candy bars as the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. The “afternoon fade” is one of the most common symptoms of adrenal fatigue. So common, in fact, that the Snickers people could spend millions of dollars marketing a candy bar to fight it.

Still, the “medical experts” at the AMA insist that adrenal fatigue syndrome is not real.

Do millions of people suffer from a mass delusion? Or do the pharmaceutical companies just not have a drug that works well enough to mask all the symptoms?

Prior to discovering that my adrenals were exhausted, I ate lots of Snickers bars and drank buckets of coffee in the late afternoon. Not until I was diagnosed and treated for adrenal fatigue was I able to whip that afternoon energy drop – and the myriad other symptoms from which I suffered.

Your family doctor or primary care physician has been taught that adrenal fatigue doesn’t exist. So don’t expect them to be able to recognize it or diagnose it, let alone treat it. (We humans have an astonishing ability to not see things which we believe can’t exist.)

You doctor is prone to do what the same thing my doctor did: prescribe drugs to mask your symptoms.

(Wanna know a secret? The drugs will make you sicker.)

That’s ok, though. Your health is your responsibility. Today would be a good day to start taking it back.

My Memo of Misery

I am not a doctor, so I am not qualified to diagnose adrenal fatigue. I lived through adrenal fatigue syndrome though, and I know it’s real. This was my experience and my symptoms. Perhaps you recognize yourself – or someone you love - in this list.

I lived a high-stress lifestyle and experienced several of the “major stressors” one after another. When the symptoms began to appear, they were minor and infrequent. Then they got more frequent, more intense and more numerous. Eventually, I had all of these happening at the same time.

  • I woke up exhausted every day instead of energized. Before, I used to bounce out of bed just before sunrise ready to seize the day.

  • Even though I often stayed in bed for hours longer than “normal”, I never felt like I slept deeply or ever got enough sleep.

  • In the late afternoon, I got so sleepy I could barely keep my eyes open, let alone concentrate on work. On many occasions, I felt so tired between 3:30 and 5:30 pm, I literally could not stay awake.

  • I drank gallons of water, but was constantly thirsty.

  • I packed on the weight. I have always been slender-to-fit, but suddenly I started getting fat. At my worst, I was 30 pounds overweight. On a slim frame, that’s a lot.

  • Salt. I craved salt. Anything salty. Potato chips, pretzels, beef jerky. I even put salt in my water. The saltier the better. Yet I could never satisfy the craving.

  • Even though I used to be able to concentrate for hours at a time, I had difficulty concentrating even for minutes.

  • My emotions were exceptionally volatile. I cried at commercials. Cheesy, stupid commercials.

  • Everyday tasks would sap my energy to the point that I had nothing extra left. I used to be able to work, exercise and socialize every day. But just getting my work done became almost more than I could handle. Socializing and exercising was out of the question.

  • Non-stop acid reflux and horribly painful gas throughout my intestinal tract kept me in a constant state of discomfort. I ate Tums like candy just to be able to function.

  • My energy would finally kick in around 8:00 at night after being almost non-existent all day. Yet when I finally went to be - even if I was exhausted - I struggled to go to sleep.

  • Night sweats struck nearly every night. I would wake up with my bed, pillow and night clothes drenched in sweat. (I am a man – this was not menopause!)

  • I constantly struggled with low blood pressure. How did I know? If I stood up too fast, I would almost black out. Nearly every time. I had spots swimming before my eyes

  • I was constantly fighting dehydration in spite of the massive amounts of salt and water I was consuming.

  • My sex drive nearly disappeared

  • Your Experience is Real, No Matter What a Doctor Says

I felt like my life was a merry-go-round of lousy sleep, no energy, dragging myself thru the day at work just to keep the paychecks coming, collapsing in bed and starting all over again the next day. Weekends were for sleeping, sleeping, and more sleeping. And yet nothing I did seemed to restore my mojo.

The problem with adrenal fatigue syndrome is that it is not a single identifiable problem like – say – cancer.

“Oh, look at the x-ray. There’s a giant tumor in your brain. That’s why you have a headache.”

Adrenal fatigue is a collection of symptoms, none of them particularly noteworthy. But piled one on top of another, it becomes debilitating. Untreated, it can be deadly.

My suffering went on for months. Finally, brutal acid reflux - combined with a nasty sinus infection I couldn’t seem to beat - drove me to seek help.

As I discovered, the symptoms will generally be resolved once the adrenal glands are restored to health.

But there is no pill to do that.

Recovering from adrenal fatigue syndrome takes time, competent care, commitment and patience.

It’s a long path to recovery.

As my naturopath told me, “you didn’t get into this mess overnight, and you won’t get out overnight either.”

It took me almost two years to recover to anything like “normal.”

Yes, it was a long time. And no, it wasn’t hard. Being desperately sick was hard. Having hope and plan made it easy to do the work required to get well.

Heartburn was a nuclear-grade cauldron boiling in my gut. Week after week of intestinal agony. Nothing I did helped. Nothing.

I waited till I could wait no longer. I broke down and made an appointment with a doctor.

He was the last M.D. I’d ever see. I’ll tell you why in a moment. First though, a little background.

My marriage had recently ended in a nasty divorce. The ex-wife suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder, and she inflicted her misery on those closest to her.

I lacked the emotional skills to cope with her unique brand of psychological torture.

Professionally, my road warrior lifestyle brutalized me. I’d spent the last 11 years on the road. Four days a week, 40 weeks a year I lived out of a suitcase, slept in hotels and ate restaurant food.

My physical, mental, emotional and psychological stress was mostly self-inflicted. That didn’t matter though; it had broken me down.

Our bodies won’t endure stress forever. At some point, they will get our attention – one way or another. Debilitating heartburn was my body’s way of screaming at me, “stop this madness!”

Your Experience is Real, No Matter What a Doctor Says

I felt like my life was a merry-go-round of lousy sleep, no energy, dragging myself thru the day at work just to keep the paychecks coming, collapsing in bed and starting all over again the next day. Weekends were for sleeping, sleeping, and more sleeping. And yet nothing I did seemed to restore my mojo.

The problem with adrenal fatigue syndrome is that it is not a single identifiable problem like – say – cancer.

“Oh, look at the x-ray. There’s a giant tumor in your brain. That’s why you have a headache.”

Adrenal fatigue is a collection of symptoms, none of them particularly noteworthy. But piled one on top of another, it becomes debilitating. Untreated, it can be deadly.

My suffering went on for months. Finally, brutal acid reflux - combined with a nasty sinus infection I couldn’t seem to beat - drove me to seek help.

As I discovered, the symptoms will generally be resolved once the adrenal glands are restored to health.

But there is no pill to do that.

Recovering from adrenal fatigue syndrome takes time, competent care, commitment and patience.

It’s a long path to recovery.

As my naturopath told me, “you didn’t get into this mess overnight, and you won’t get out overnight either.”

It took me almost two years to recover to anything like “normal.”

Yes, it was a long time. And no, it wasn’t hard. Being desperately sick was hard. Having hope and plan made it easy to do the work required to get well.

Part 1: Read about my struggle to find help

#survivor #adrenalfatiguesyndrome

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