In truth, I believe my adrenals were suffering for years before I figured it out.
One of my friends told me that she felt I was always complaining of being tired. This made me stop and think…yes, I was tired a lot. I remember feeling like I was more tired than most people. However, I do think being a highly sensitive person or empath plays a role in how tired we feel, and I definitely fit into those categories. I’m also an introvert, and studies have shown that introverts need more rest than extroverts.
So, with those tidbits firmly rooted in my mind, I brushed off my tiredness as just being a part of my personality. It wasn’t until July of 2015 that I really realized I had a problem.
My daughter and I were travelling from Washington State to Central Florida to visit family in the summer of 2015. There were many summer storms at every location we stopped at, it seemed. Our layover was in Houston, originally planned for about 2 hours I believe. Those 2 hours turned into 4, then 6, then 7. It was just me and my 4 year old daughter travelling alone.
Every 30 minutes the airline would bump our takeoff time another 3o minutes with little to no announcements. The 4 and 5 hour delays weren’t too bad, but when we got to hour 6 I really started to feel it. I was dizzy, exhausted, and in tears in the airport. We had run out of food that we brought from home, which only added to the stress (travelling with food allergies is a nightmare!).
Once they gave up trying to fix our plane and found another, a storm rolled in, which eventually pushed our time in the airport to just over 7 hours. It was hell.
We finally made it to Orlando around 4am, 7 hours later than anticipated. We went straight to bed, but I still felt terrible the next day. The dizziness was what worried me the most. It started in the airport as being rather mild, only when I looked down. By the next day I was dizzy all the time.
Instinctively I knew it was my adrenals.
I had listened to a talk during the Healthy Gut Summit earlier that year with Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum where he discussed the relationship between gut health and adrenal fatigue. I remembered his recommendation of the product Adrenal Stress End and went that very afternoon to buy some. It took about 2 days for the product to really kick and for me to stop feeling dizzy. I was also less tired, less irritable, and generally more pleasant to be around.
Not the best time to realize you’re adrenals have gone on strike! The rest of the vacation passed without further incident; I continued to take the supplement, took extra time to meditate, and spent as much time with bare feet on the earth as I good. It was a sobering experience.
Upon returning home I continued taking the medicine until the bottle ran out. I didn’t get more. It was very effective, but burned my stomach even when taken with food. Besides, I thought, I feel fine.
That was one of my biggest mistakes, thinking I was fine and could go on in the same way that I had before. I drank coffee when I was tried instead of napping. I stayed up too late. I ignored my body’s call for rest. I was tired, irritable, and short with my family.
I think I was able to go on like that for so long without any other recurrences with dizziness because I practiced yoga 5-6 times per week, meditated 3-5x per week, and regularly spent time outside in nature. All of these things are incredibly helpful when healing adrenal fatigue, but I was missing the other key component of healing – being mindful of what I ate and drank.
Fast forward to October of 2015 when we moved to Hawaii. Moving is stressful no matter what, but moving across the Pacific ocean with the military is especially so. Not only that, I never wanted to move to Hawaii. Yes, there was a part of me that was interested in a warmer climate, but HI was never on my list of places to visit, much less live. But, here we are.
It was around November that I started feeling dizzy again. Just off and on, but I knew what the problem was. This time I looked at Herb Pharm’s line of tinctures and found one that I liked – Adrenal Support. I had also finally given up 85% of the dairy I was eating (one of my trigger foods), but had not yet considered caffeine to be an issue.
I continued to take the Adrenal Support tincture for over a year. There were times when my husband was away for training that I upped my dosage just a bit to help handle the extra stress, but I was also increasing my coffee consumption. There were nights at school where I would feel like I got hit by a truck and the only thing that would make me feel better was a combination of sugar and caffeine. There it was, staring me right in the face, my adrenals were literally screaming for help.
I’m not sure if I just wasn’t in the place mentally to accept what was in front of me, or if it was genuine naivete.
Either way, I continued my heavier coffee consumption even after my husband returned home. I also lowered my daily tincture consumption back to it’s previous dosage. At least at this point I was giving in to naps and earlier bed times. Maybe that’s what allowed me to keep going for so long…I’ll never know for sure.
The Beginning of the End
I write that emboldened segment title with hope.
In January of this year something really clicked for me. I finally allowed myself to consider that maybe the caffeine really was that big of a deal. By then I had gone down to 1 cup per day in the mornings and as much as I hated to do it, I gave that up too. This was a struggle – a big one. In truth I went back and forth in my mind every single day whether or not to have a cup of coffee. Most days reason won out and I would skip it. Other days, I gave in.
I’m proud to say that I haven’t had a cup of caffeinated coffee since mid March, and starting at the end of February I was drinking half-caff only about twice per week. It was during this time that the idea of Conscious Caffeination occurred to me. See, we humans as a culture at large, widely abuse caffeine. Not only that, we do it without thinking about it or the impact that it’s having on our lives. This was where I knew I had to make a change. I started making notes about how caffeine made me feel, when I craved it, what time I had it, etc. I quickly noticed a pattern and that awareness is what eventually allowed me to let it go completely.
If you’re interested in more information about Conscious Caffeination, I have a whole section devoted to it in my upcoming eBook. More details on that below.
Besides giving up caffeine, I took more naps, went to bed earlier, and stopped doing a lot of stuff that I found stressful. Not only that I was more strict about staying away from dairy, sugar, and processed foods, which all have a huge impact on our energy levels.
Am I completely healed of adrenal fatigue? Probably not. Am I a lot better off than I was before? Definitely. Is it a possibility for me to slip back into the place I was before? Of course, but I’ll be doing my damnedest to make sure that doesn’t happen.
If any of this resonates with you, I encourage you to return next week and read more about the symptoms of adrenal fatigue to see if this may be a problem for you. Remember, our health is very complex and there is very rarely one answer to the whole equation. However, this may open a door for you that will lead you on a journey to true health and wellness, and that is my hope in sharing this.
I also want to announce that on Wednesday May 10th, my adrenal fatigue eBook, Stress Less: A Wholistic Approach to Healing Adrenal Fatigue, will be available for purchase in my Etsy shop.
This book has been a long time coming and I am so proud to share it with you. It includes tips and tricks that worked for me over the years and I hope will work for you as well. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to healing, but rather an empowering journey into yourself to take control of your life.
There are sections on exercise, nutrition, supplements, sleep, self care techniques, and empowering suggestions for infusing your daily life with awareness.
Again, the book goes live for purchase on Wednesday May 10th!
If you have any questions at all, please feel free to drop them into the comment section below, find me on Instagram, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, please come back next week for questions that may help you make better decisions about your health regarding adrenal fatigue.
Many Blessings Friends♥
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor pretend to be. This post and any information contained within my blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any illness from occurring or reoccurring. This post has not been sponsored in any way. I am simply sharing my experiences for informational purposes only. If you have any health concerns, please contact your qualified healthcare professional.