Take Time for Healing


You may have noticed that my posts haven’t been exactly chipper this week. For some reason, this just hasn’t been the best week. Nothing bad happened, nothing that really warrants this kind of feeling, but I’ve just been in a funk this week. It’s a familiar feeling.

About a year ago, I found myself in a doctor’s office complaining about this feeling, and after some really fun blood tests, we realized that I was experiencing the classic symptoms of adrenal fatigue. I felt like I was dragging through life, I never felt rested after time off or a good night’s sleep, tiny things seemed like monumental tasks, and I was struggling with depression and anxiety. On top of that, we found out that I was allergic to dairy, that my blood sugar was dangerously low, and I had several nutritional deficiencies that perpetuate and are caused by adrenal insufficiency. All effects of chronic stress.

That was a wake-up call for a major life overhaul, which helped a lot. I felt great last summer. My energy came back, I lost a lot of weight, I reconnected with my creativity, and the anxiety and depression I’d struggled with for years seemed to evaporate.

Now I’m not feeling so hot. It’s nothing like it was last year, mostly because my attitude adjustment and healthier perspective keeps me more or less level headed, but I’m noticing that my energy is dragging again, even if I get a lot of sleep. Seemingly normal tasks often overwhelm me. I’ve been feeling a little of that anxiety and depression lately. My dairy allergy is back and I feel that familiar brain fog that comes with chronically low blood sugar. The weird part is, nothing overly stressful has happened. Sure, we had some financially tight weeks and I went back to work full time, but these things seemed to affect me more than they should have. I’m not guilt tripping myself for being weak or anything, I’m just noticing.

I don’t think that my little glands had sufficient time to heal. This isn’t happening again, but still. I might just be noticing it more because I’ve always had trouble in the winter, and that may be contributing. Either way, my body needs to heal. Adrenal insufficiency can take years to heal, so if I have any hope of functioning at my best in the future, I need to take my self-care seriously. I need time for physical and emotional healing.

I think a lot of us try push ourselves to live harder than what we can handle. We expect so much our ourselves, we cling to deadlines and to-do lists, we try to use our time as efficiently as possible, we fill our schedules with so much good stuff so we can feel like we’re accomplishing something. Then we burn out. We might even try to push through that.

Is pushing toward burnout faster a good use of our time, or would be be better off moving slowly, caring for our bodies and spirits along the way so they’ll last longer? Is everything really so important that we must run ourselves into the ground?

Conserve your energy. Refill your well. Understand that you are a human being who has limits, and that using “logic” to plan your life doesn’t always work, because logic doesn’t anticipate for human needs. We are not machines.

Take time to heal if you need to, and take time to maintain if you are healthy.

I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to push myself, but now I realize that I need to take recovery seriously. This means rest. This means feeding myself well, because this kind of condition tends to suck minerals out of your body. This also requires a serious examination of priorities. This might not be the best time for time-consuming, energy-zapping pursuits or overly ambitious goals.

Right now, the goal is healing. If I have to choose between much needed rest and something that I “should” be doing, I choose rest. I choose to give myself what I truly need and not what I think I should need. It’s ok to let some things go undone.

Do you need some extra care right now?

Posted on March 2, 2012, in Natural health, Stress and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I was battling some seasonal affective disorder earlier in the semester. It’s leveled out, but I could use a serious break. My energy level tends to be nonexistent under normal circumstances. Adding a bit of depression to the mix doesn’t help at all. A vacation would be supremely awesome. Hope you feel better soon.

  2. i know i do.
    thank you.
    take care of yourself –
    praying for you, dear.

    – s

  3. I hope you feel better soon.

  4. I just found your blog. As someone with Adrenal Insufficiency who has done a lot of research, primary adrenal insufficiency can not be healed. It is a destruction of the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands do not regenerate.

    Have you ever had an ACTH stimulation test? An ACTH stim test is a way to determine the adrenal’s capacity to respond to stress. How are your other adrenal hormones? DHEA-S? Aldosterone? Progesterone? Testosterone (yes, important for girls too!)?d

    Feel free to contact me.

    Dusty Hardman

    • Thanks for the info Dusty! As far as I understand it, the adrenal glads can heal unless one reaches the point of adrenal failure or Addison’s Disease, but I could be wrong. I haven’t had my hormones tested, but I am experiencing the symptoms consistent with adrenal insufficiency such as fatigue, food intolerances, hypoglycemia, inability to withstand stress, etc. I wasn’t actually diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency because it’s difficult to diagnose, but my doctor, who is also a naturopath, agrees that my symtoms point to that condition. Right now I’m generally taking the best care of myself that I can while focusing on rest, changing thought patterns, closing nutritional deficiencies, and a few targeted supplements recommended by my doctors. If you have any other advice, I’d love to hear it!

  5. Mckella,

    The ONLY way to determine if the adrenals are working or not is to have a dynamic endocrine test (ACTH stimulation test or ITT). Linked is a great article about the types of adrenal inefficiencies, causes and testing. http://www.addisonssupport.com/Documentation/adrenal-insufficiency-2003.pdf

    I’ve done extensive research on Adrenal Insufficiency and have only found that primary autoimmune adrenal insufficiency is irreversible. However if adrenal insufficiency is induced through a doctor giving you high doses of steroids and an improper taper, the HPA axis can be brought back on line.

    If you’re interested in reaching out and asking questions, I have a great AI forum. http://www.addisonssupport.com

    Does recovery of adrenal function occur in patients with autoimmune Addison’s disease?
    Lisanne C. C. J. Smans, Pierre M. J. Zelissen
    Article first published online: 7 MAR 2011

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2010.03944.x

    © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
    Clinical Endocrinology
    Volume 74, Issue 4, pages 434–437, April 2011
    Additional Information(Show All)
    How to CiteAuthor InformationPublication History

    Objective  We earlier discovered partial recovery in a patient with autoimmune Addison’s disease. The aim of this study was to assess the occurrence of adrenocortical recovery in patients with autoimmune adrenalitis.

    Design  Cross-sectional study.

    Patients  Twenty-seven adult patients with autoimmune Addison’s disease on stable glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid replacement therapy (RT) attending the Department of Endocrinology of a university teaching hospital were included in this study.

    Methods  Adrenocortical function was assessed by performing an adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) (250 μg Synacthen) stimulation test (SST) after interruption of current glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid RT. A normal adrenal response was defined as a serum cortisol concentration ≥500 nm 30 or 60 min after stimulation. Partial recovery was defined as a cortisol concentration ≥100 and ≤500 nm after stimulation.

    Results  In 17 patients (63%), serum cortisol concentrations remained undetectable 30 and 60 min after the administration of ACTH. None of the remaining 10 participants had a normal response. Only one patient reached a cortisol concentration of 100 nm after 60 min, but this could not be confirmed during a second SST.

    Conclusions  In this cross-sectional study among 27 patients with autoimmune adrenalitis, no new cases of adrenocortical recovery were found.

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