Wow 2014 was certainly an interesting year. Wish I could say interesting in a good way. The blog has been deafeningly silent and for that I apologize. Long story short – I have adrenal fatigue which basically resulted in a gradual slowing down into non-functioning survival mode. And at times, even that was questionable. Not good when you are a wife. And mom. And building a house. And trying to get a homestead up and running.
You can stop reading here unless you want the long version, I’ll let you know when my long windedness has passed.
The adrenal glads are little organs on top of the kidneys. When someone is under stress – like being chased by a saber tooth tiger – the adrenal glands kick in and trigger that Flight or Fright (or freeze) response. They control and regulate all the hormones and systems in the body – cortisol/stress response, glucose response, blood pressure, etc – to deal with the danger. When that saber tooth tiger becomes a constant source of stress, like we experience so often in the 21st century, the adrenal glands work constantly as well. Worked hard enough and long enough, it eventually leads to burn out. Interestingly, most people that have a thyroid issue actually have an underlying adrenal issue because the adrenal glands regulate the thyroid. Crazy right?! Anyway, there’s a lot of sciency and medically stuff but suffice it to say, when the adrenals mess up, you become a hot mess. And goodness was that me.
It started slowly, looking back over the last few years. But when it started crashing down, it crashed quickly. Within a couple of months, I couldn’t think straight, “brain fog” became thick and constant, complicating even the simplest communication or thinking, easy decisions such as meal planning for the next day became an hour long chore. Exhausted didn’t begin to describe it. I would get 10-12 hours of broken sleep at night, waking every couple of hours, by noon I was falling asleep and would sleep for 2 more hours just to try and get through the day. I couldn’t think about, let alone do anything homestead related, without going into a full blown panic attack. Needless to say, as much as I desperately wanted to blog, I decided it was a negotiable task that could be removed to lessen my pressure and stress. Besides, I was having a hard enough time trying to string 10 words together to form a coherent sentence let along an entire blog post. I had pretty much stopped doing anything that caused stressed.
At the worst point in November/early December, the adrenal fatigue was beginning to manifest in daily (often multiple every day) panic attacks, near constant anxiety, blood sugar and blood pressure regulating problems. In August, when I cut out my 20 year “only thing I ever drank besides sweet tea was Diet Coke habit” (thinking I would be helping the situation), I likely contributed to making it worse. Since my body was already going crazy not knowing how to regulate itself and then I had to go and take away the aspartame and caffeine it had relied on and grew up adjusting around, things spiraled pretty quick. I had to start taking naps after shopping trips – which progressed into needing to nap before going and again before leaving the parking lot. Then very drastic blood pressure drops, blood sugar drops and debilitating dizziness episodes that left us on the side of the road because I couldn’t see straight or stop shaking. There were quiet a few scary days and weeks in there but I was determined to figure out how to fix it.
Some of those possible fixes were major misses. Like when I went no carb… resulting in being a crying dizzy mess on the floor at the ladies Bible study who then called Mr at work to come get us because they didn’t think I was able to drive. And they were probably right. But some of them have been good. Like when I ignored the Dr’s prescription for not one, but two, anti-anxiety meds and was told to give it 3-6 months “until this season passes”. I thanked him for his diagnostic tests, got copies of the results and visited my midwife/herbalist. I was hoping for test results from the endocrinologist before starting the herbs, to have a medical record to show improvement. But when it was mid-December and I was given an appointment date for the very end of February, there was no way I was going to wait that long to start treatment!
****** End ramblings, you straight to the pointers can begin to read again. *******
I have been on a combination of herbal tonics and supplements for 7 weeks now. Wow what a difference. While I am nowhere close to being “back to normal” (or better than normal – how long has it been since I’ve been “good”?!) and I have a long road ahead, I am on the road to recovery. After a bit of trial and error, the diet part was mostly figured out and it has been about 5 weeks since my last blood sugar drop. I definitely feel the tonics are why it has been 4 weeks since my last panic attack and expect the anxiety to drastically lessen and/or go away in the next few weeks. The days go up and down, some being better than others. I’m still tired throughout the day, requiring a short rest most days, but for the most part I am no longer falling asleep at 7:30. I still get stressed easily and become very short tempered, which pretty much kills the day because it takes forever for the “fight or flight” response to go away but I am having more “good days” where I am able to manage it better. I was set back a bit when the whole family came down with the flu days after Christmas. It sure takes a lot out of a body to fight that off and care for others. So blessed to have Bigs that are willing and able to step up and take care of business!
So trying to keep a positive attitude. It will get better. I didn’t get here overnight, I won’t heal overnight. I can’t promise the blog will be regular but I feel I can start to add a little to my plate. Besides, winter is almost over which means lots of projects to blog about again! So excited to see what blessings this year will hold!!