I have a personal axe to grind with adrenal fatigue.
I spent two overwhelmingly stressful years of my life learning how to deal with it.
Despite the awful memories I have of that period, when I read through the articles on my blog it strikes me how much I’ve learned because of it.
Having come through that time, and with the benefit of hindsight (isn’t that a wonderful thing!) I see that not everything that happened to me during those two years was all bad. In fact, some of the lessons I learned have had a positive impact on the way I live my life today.
I’d like to share some of those insights with you, and let you in on the number one secret I learned from my adrenal fatigue.
Lesson Number 1: Listen to your body
Prajnaparadha … Isn’t that a lovely word?
We don’t have anything like it in the English language. It’s an ayurvedic term which roughly translated means “crimes against wisdom”. Simply put; stop doing the things that you know are hurting your body!
Wilfully ignoring your intuition about which habits are harmful to your health is one of the major causes of adrenal exhaustion. If you live life in the fast lane, eat junk food and burn the candle at both ends, no amount of therapy, herbs, or visits to the gym will cure you of your adrenal fatigue.
Knowing and doing however are two very different things. I soon realised this when I was juggling a demanding job whilst simultaneously bringing up my first child. It’s easy to be in denial when you have a busy life to lead. Your body can put up with a lot before it starts to push back.
One of the kindest things you can do for yourself (whether or not you have adrenal fatigue) is to listen when your body tells you it needs a little TLC. Need a day off? So be it! Need to sleep? Go to bed! The world isn’t going to end if you need to grab a nap or take a little time for yourself.
By ignoring your body’s needs you’re only causing more harm in the long run.
That leads me nicely onto lesson number 2…..
Quit the guilt
Despite what you may have seen in the media, superheroes don’t exist.
Those moms at the school gate with the perfectly behaved children? You bet they have battles over bedtimes and what they’re having for supper. The girl in the office with the manicured nails and the perfect hair? She still has to clean her refrigerator and take out the trash. Perfection is an illusion that we’d all like to believe exists. But guess what? Nobody’s perfect, not even you.
It took me a little while to get my head around this.
Not even a superhero can be a perfectly preened domestic godess, mother, wife AND entrepreneur all at the same time. If I’d asked for help when I needed it, I wouldn’t have been worn out to the point where I totally crashed and burned.
When it comes to asking for help we all have a tendency to go on the guilt trip. For many people with adrenal exhaustion, guilt is the number one reason they don’t ask for the help they need. Accept that perfection doesn’t exist and give yourself a break! Self-love isn’t self-ish. Take care of yourself, and you’ll have more energy for the things that really matter.
Eat real food
When I had adrenal exhaustion, I didn’t really eat as well as I should. It was only when I finally paid a visit to an integrative doctor who recognized my symptoms that I sat up and took notice of how I was neglecting to nourish my body.
One of the most important lessons I learned from living with this condition is how to shop for, and prepare really healthy food. In fact, one of my main pleasures in life is cooking for my family and creating dishes that are not only a joy to eat, but give my body the fuel it needs to function at optimum wellness.
Yes, it’s hard to be enthusiastic about cooking when your energy levels are flat on the floor. Here’s where I refer back to point number two.
Got kids? Rope them in and get them to help. You’ll be teaching them valuable skills and setting up healthy habits for life. Online grocery shopping makes it easier than ever to get those healthy ingredients delivered right to your door. With a little ingenuity (and dare I say it…help….) cooking doesn’t have to be another energy-sapping chore.
So there you have it. I’ve learned a lot. But what’s the number one lesson I’ve learned from all of this over the years?
Go easy on yourself. Give yourself a little bit of love.
Doing the opposite may very well be what got you here in the first place.
Your book seems to be about “Women’s” Fatigue. Since our bodies are different and I’m glad, how will your book help men who have adrenal fatigue ? Thanks and God bless. Jim
Fawne Hansen says
Actually the book addresses strategies that work for both men and women 🙂
Hi – I think I have adrenal fatigue,
I have reading up on it recently after reading that it ties in with hypothyroidism. I believe it started sometime in 2008 due to some added stress. One of my biggest frustrations has been terrible weight gain and allergies (not even sure if it it genuine allergies) and terrible sinus. I have been on medication for the allergies since 2008 (chronically).
I am South African and would like if you would recommend some other option for replacement of caffeine. I would also appreciate some assistance on control of my weight seeing I have the added disadvantage of the hypothyroidism. Would also appreciate a good diet plan – and how much exercise should i fit in????
Fawne Hansen says
Yes, there is a strong connection between low adrenal function and hypothyroidism. We explain that in greater detail in the book. As for coffee, have you tried options like decaf or chicory coffee? Green tea is a lower caffeine option that can help to reduce stress levels in some cases. And seeing as you’re in South Africa, what about Rooibos?
There are some basic instructions for your diet here. As for exercise, you should be doing enough to make you feel energized, not drained. Again, we go into much more detail in the book, but I hope that helps!
I have severe adrenal fatigue since an idiot dr gave me a depo-medrol injection which suppressed my adrenal glands and my immune system. 9 months on, I do not feel like I’m recovering. Do you have any advice?
Fawne Hansen says
It really depends why you were given the depo-medrol. Do you have an underlying health problem or condition that is still making you tired? If so, can you make some healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle to help with that? Without addressing the existing condition first, it might not be possible to get your energy levels back.
I was given the depo-medrol for allergies. I had to move house and I developed allergies to dust. I was under stress with university exams, moving house and being unwell with allergies. After the depo-medrol shot I crashed and burned in a big way. I was not able to sleep for days at a time and had to go on medication for sleep which probably just makes my fatigue worse. My diet is very good. I could probably still make minor changes to my diet. I have not given up coffee. I have 2 coffees a day. Without this I doubt I would have the energy to get out of bed. I have a lot of vegetables. I have chocolate and take aways a couple of times a week. Other than that my diet is very good. I take a LOT of supplements. I am now sleeping quite well but this is only because of the medication I am taking. I feel like all my energy goes into cleaning the house and university study so I am not exercising at the moment because I feel too fatigued to do so. I feel like the only way I could put more into exercise and being social and doing more enjoyable things is if I withdraw from study but I don’t know if that is the best idea or not. Does your ebook come in a hard copy? I have read Dr Wilson’s book on adrenal fatigue but I have not read yours yet. I plan to read yours. If it does not come in a hard copy I will buy the ebook. Thank you for your reply.
Fawne Hansen says
Hi Ange, your allergies may well have been caused by stress, which weakens your immune system and affects the way that you deal with inflammation. Consider cutting out the takeaways and switching to a healthier diet. Develop a consistent sleep routine to help you get enough sleep without medication. Think about cutting back on the number of supplements that you take – chances are that most of them aren’t helping you. Sit down and write out a schedule that allows you to fit in both your study and your chores. There are ways to reduce the amount of housework that you do. For example, taking your shoes off at the door will go a long way to reducing the amount of vacuuming, and buying a stack of paper plates can eliminate much of the dishwashing! Also consider speaking to your tutors and arranging a less taxing schedule, or talking to the school counsellor about your stress.
I hope that gives you a few ideas! The book comes in PDF form if you want to check it out. Its a bit more detailed than Dr Wilson’s, and will help you to understand what is going on with your body. Also consider speaking to an integrative doctor if you can afford it!
The main issue I’m having since the depo-medrol injection is with sleep. At the moment it will take me ages to get to sleep then I will sleep for 4 hours and wake up again and not be able to get back to sleep. This is while taking medication for sleep too which I wouldn’t cope without. The situation with insomnia and fatigue is so bad that I’ve decided to have a break from my studies. Can you give me any tips specifically for sleep. Allowing enough time to get enough rest is not the answer as I already do this and still can’t sleep. I’m currently reading your ebook and finding it to be very informative. Thank you for your reply.
Fawne Hansen says
Sure! Here is a guide to sleep hygiene which should give you a few tips
I struggled with the same thing Angie has after being given Predinisone for an anaphylactic reaction to a CAT scan. I could not do as much as Angie is doing and also read Dr. Wilson’s book in bits because exhaustion was so bad.
I COMPLETELY dropped chocolate & coffee and went gluten free. But prayer gave me this answer…. the last 3 (out of 11) years have shown major improvement by doing regular NAET treatments. It GETS RID OF ALLERGIES and causes the body to absorb nutrients again. (Because allergies to nutrients can develop.) We do a lot of work on the endocrine system which helps the body to recognize its own glands/organs again. Search for NAET. It’s the main thing in addition to diet and positive attitude as mentioned by Fawne that has brought results by getting to the root of my adrenal fatigue. If I can recover from Predinisone and other doctor errors, you can too! There is hope! NAET
Thank you for your reply Connie. You have given me hope which is severely lacking for me at the moment given what I have been through. I have never heard of NAET. I will look into it. Is it expensive? One reason I’m struggling with recovery is that I can’t afford expensive treatments and naturopaths etc. How long did it take you to recover after the Predinisone?
As far as expense, it will depend on your Practioner and location. My friend who used it to recover from Lymes lives in a smaller town and pays less. Some insurances may cover acupuncture.
I struggled with diet and supplementation from Wilson’s book for 7 years before finding NAET.
But here’s what I learned…
Prednisone is a synthetic steroid and my body became confused and would no longer utilize it’s own steroid although producing it.
NAET helped my body to recognize everything again so my body knew to detox the synthetic and use it’s own cortisol and hydrocortisone again. First, you’ll go through the basics such as nutrients so your body will utilize them. No point in taking a bunch of B or C vitamins if your body doesn’t know what to do with them. Then they can move into treating any of the glands which have lost connection. Such as the adrenals, liver, kidneys for detoxing. But the cool thing… This treatment can even clear medications that you’re no longer on. When we treated my body for Prednisone, a light went on in my understanding about what had happened.
You’ll be retraining the body and it’s a process.
Wilson’s book helped me to understand how the body was supposed to be working and it sounds like Fawn’s book would be interesting and helpful since it’s more detailed.
Once we figured out about Prednisone and began to retrain, it’s taken 3 years. That’s shorter and great improvement compared to the previous 7 years of diet and supplementation only going no where.
Treating the foundational nutrients, glands such as adrenals and liver then eliminating the medication will begin the healing. Then following care guidelines in Fawn’s book will be very useful.
It is a process and commitment. I can honestly say I can tell an improvement now because I’m doing more! Read about it and talk to a NAET Practioner. And use the great info in books on adrenal care. Don’t give up.
Thanks for your reply Connie. I have contacted someone about NAET. The closest business that does this is 2 hours drive away. I doubt I’ll be able to afford it but am going to get more info. Can you please let me know a little about what is involved in NAET treatment. Is it acupuncture, pills or something else?
So it has taken you 10 years to get to this point in your recovery? wow that’s scary. I seriously wonder if I will ever recover after what that dr did to me. Thank you for your reply. It gives me some hope. Ange
Yes, it’s taken 10 years but the first seven were from searching what to do. The last three came after finding what worked for me.
It does involve either accupuncture or acupressure. Some may supplement with herbs to help organs work. Not all NAET practitioners are listed on the site so perhaps those who are two hours away may know someone in your area. If you can’t find one consider a Chinese Doctor who does just traditional accupuncture. Fawn has a good point about not taking too many supplements. Muscle testing can help you know which ones to take. Some chiropractors can do that.
Western medicine is good for emergencies while Eastern will help you get to the root of the problem. The adrenal glands have become confused from the steroid, but don’t give up hope. You can still work on lifestyle changes in the meantime. Dealing and releasing anger will help the adrenals. We need to forgive those doctors. It’s our responsibility to make wise decisions moving forward. I have a list of things I’m thankful for. Every day make a list of 10 things and think on these things. I’m sure the book lists more. Don’t give up hope.
Keep in mind, your Creator wants you well and will help you find the best path for you. You are important and can get well. I love you, Ange!
I really appreciate your replies and guidance. The general lack of support, understanding and help I have received over the last year has probably been harder to deal with than the steroid/illness itself. To receive this from a complete stranger means a lot to me so thank you for that.
I am in Tasmania, Australia so I doubt there is anyone closer than 2 hours away who does this treatment. I’m surprised there is even one business in the state who does it. What part of America are you in? I can only presume you are in America as most people who understand adrenal fatigue are in America.
I am very doubtful about Western medicine. Western medicine caused an emergency, not solved one. I am much more like to believe in natural/Eastern treatments at this point in my life. If I am to find an answer it will be likely to come from a natural form of therapy or Eastern treatment. Like you said, they get to the root cause of the issue.
I have felt stuck in moving forward because I believe that doctor needs to take responsibility for what happened instead of saying ‘steroids have no side effects’. Clearly they do, if a year later I’m still ruined. I do hear what you are saying about forgiveness. I’m just not ready yet. I will probably still be putting in a complaint about that DR.
If you would like to continue to communicate you can email me at email@example.com.
I appreciate you taking the time to give me advice and support.
Thank you so much.
I will be looking into NAET as well as other options.