After much excitement yesterday of my first blog post I had a distracted sleep. I was distracted by the many topics whirling around in my head that I wanted to include in my writings. Still entirely unsure how I would like to organise my page, I thought today I would jump in at the deep end with the challenge I’m currently facing, which is adrenal fatigue.
I’ve learned so much about adrenal fatigue in the past month or so from my own experiences, as well as speaking to a fellow sufferer, complimentary therapists, GP, and doing lots and lots of research on the internet.
The sad fact about adrenal fatigue is that it affects everyone differently and the treatment varies person to person. I’m not a doctor and my post is in no way attempting to give advice to fellow sufferers. I only wish to share my experiences because one of the things I found is that support and sharing is a huge benefit in getting back to good health.
In fact, no matter what challenges in life we face, whether it’s bereavement or illness or losing one’s job, a great factor in getting back to a place where we feel “normal” (whatever normal is as it varies person to person) is getting support. And through sharing with others I find it gives me support as I feel I’m not alone.
I can’t say I’ve always been an energetic person. I was never one for running marathons or keeping so super busy I had no time to breathe. But there were times in my life I juggled many things, from looking after a home, to working, to studying, as well as having hobbies and interests.
In recent years my main focus has been on work. Not because I have a high powered career, because I don’t have one. I have a mid level role in an accounts department. It’s one of the best places I’ve ever worked so I really like the place, the people, and the role. I won’t lie, it is a very busy role. Extremely busy. But I’m not alone as many of the people I work closely with are just as busy as me.
But busyness creeps up on you and before you know it you’re working through lunch. Then you’re staying late a few evenings. Then you’re staying late every evening. Then you’re doing a few tasks on the weekends. Before you know it you’re working an extra 10-20 hours a week. I wasn’t asked to do it but I enjoy my job so to “go that extra mile” was part of my job satisfaction. It gave me a sense of accomplishment.
Work makes me feel needed. And we all like to feel that in our lives. In fact sometimes I would struggle on weekends because I was left to my own devices. Sure I had jobs to do around the home and garden, but no one really needed me. I found that weekends could sometimes be pretty dark for me.
I think one of the reasons I threw myself into work was to forget about not having a life. Sad but true.
So in the end I managed to use up every ounce of energy I had working that I had nothing left for anything else. At first it meant my weekends consisted of resting or sleeping so I could still function during the week. Next I found I would crash as soon as I got home from work during the week. Finally I started to struggle to make it through an entire day without feeling an overwhelming tiredness. I’m not normally a big caffeine drinker but by early afternoon I’d be knocking back teas and eating biscuits to get an energy push to get me through until the end of the day (and beyond, remember I always worked late).
Then it happened….I couldn’t do any more. There was nothing left in me. I went to my GP who signed me off work for two weeks due to exhaustion. I thought this would give me enough time to catch my breath. I knew I needed to address my stress. I wanted to use this time to learn a few simple yoga poses and meditation. I thought it would help give me balance when things get stressful in the future. The first week I spent mostly sleeping or resting interspersed with crying. Lots of crying. Lots and lots of crying. Even when I tried to do something positive like yoga or meditation I’d end up in floods of tears. This was my body’s way of letting go of all the built up stress. The grief needed to come out in order to let the peace come in.
After a few more days I started to feel a bit more settled. I tackled a few jobs around the house, got into reading again, and watched a few films on DVD. I thought I had turned a corner. But no…..my body had other plans. I might have felt a little calmer but stress was only seconds away. It didn’t take much to be back in that exhaustive state again. After two weeks I spoke to my GP who signed me off for a third week.
I spent the next week relaxing and take care not to overdo it with any household jobs. I sought out complimentary therapies that I knew helped to stimulate my body to function better. I still knew I wasn’t really feeling any further ahead than I had been when I was signed off work.
So why wasn’t all this rest helping me?
The answer was simple: it wasn’t enough.