In My Recovery From Adrenal Fatigue, Part One, I detailed the “physical” things I did to help my recovery from adrenal fatigue. I would say that I had moderate adrenal fatigue teetering on the edge of severe at times, over a period of several years. I haven’t had further saliva testing to confirm my current state, I just go by how I feel.
I am now able to stay up late, get up early and have a busy day without a crash, but I do monitor myself for “adrenal feelings.” For me, when I feel adrenal-y, I feel a weakness inside my bones—that’s the only way I can describe it. I also feel very tired and emotionally “down.” At that point I know it’s time to add a second Plexus Slim in the afternoon, increase the Vitamin C dosage and get more rest for a few days.
However, I believe that for me personally, learning to deal with stress and my thoughts were the biggest key in healing from adrenal fatigue.
Working through this piece not only helped adrenal fatigue, it also greatly improved an autoimmune issue of a very low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). A normal platelet count is 150,000 to 400,000. Mine ran about 36,000 and dropped into the 20’s or lower on several occasions, resulting in petechia (red spots which are literally bleeding in the skin), easy bruising (such as from a purse on my arm), fatigue and feeling blue. Worst-case scenario is severe bleeding but I never got there.
I’ll remind you that I’m no scientist or doctor but I believe my body was destroying itself, literally eating its own platelets, because of self-hatred resulting from rejection issues. I didn’t like who I was and I didn’t think it was good to be me.
I won’t go into the reasons for this, other than to say that I survived a difficult childhood and some traumatic experiences as an adult. My deep issues of rejection and abandonment expressed themselves as feelings that I didn’t deserve anything good and that I was not good enough.
That translated into a tendency to avoid vulnerability or needing anything from anyone, which is common for someone who was wounded as a child. I am extremely grateful for my husband, who has patiently loved me across the years and coaxed me into a trusting, intimate relationship.
The non-scientific explanation of how our brain works is that it seeks to categorize experiences and exposure to new things. It searches through the “file cabinets” of previous experiences to see if it can organize the new experience and place it in the right drawer along with other similar files.
So when a new experience comes along, such as someone else’s words or actions, we pretty much associate it with a previous experience. Husband didn’t notice our new haircut? That feels an awful lot like when Mom didn’t notice our carefully gathered wildflowers. So we assume a motive and/or immediately jump to the rejection feeling.
Multiply that by twenty-five years. Adrenal fatigue often shows up in middle-aged women who have borne stress and ways of thinking for many years. Finally their adrenal glands (stress glands) just get exhausted. Throw in an especially demanding or stressful season and they go downhill in a hurry.
My journey of dealing with mindset issues began with T-Tapp, the exercise program I did to lose 100 pounds. Read more about that here. Eventually I became a T-Tapp Trainer, which led to an online business. Having a business forced me to deal with emotional issues stemming from fear of vulnerability and putting myself out there. This very article is a testament to how far I’ve come in getting past my stuff!
Please note that I’ve been a Christian for many years and definitely found help from God all along—I just didn’t really believe that God loved me or that I deserved His love. The antidote for rejection is the love of God but I didn’t accept it until the last few years.
I worked with mentors to identify where I was struggling and find new ways of thinking. I realized that I often created anxiety even when everything was handled because that was what felt normal to me all of my life. The Bible says “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Turn that around: You shall know lies and the lies shall enslave you. I finally began to believe and think the truth.
Of course this is just the short version, but I wanted to make sure that this part of my recovery from adrenal fatigue was included because in the end, it was (and still is) even more important than the physical things. I am very grateful for the healing I’ve experienced. The training, study and experience I’ve had with mindset issues not only improved my health, it is changing my work (more on that soon).
EDITED TO ADD: I realized I forgot something important. Another thing that helps is laughter! Yes, make sure you have fun and relax and LAUGH often! Watch a funny movie, watch a humorous video on YouTube, read something funny–you know what strikes you as funny, so see more of it. There is a certain humor author who makes me laugh until I cry, so I read a chapter or two from his books here and there. Listen to your children’s funny comments, spend time with fun friends. Laughter is healing. Many of us get overly serious about life and forget to intentionally smile and laugh.
Related to that is the need to relax. You need restoration time, without guilt. That will mean different things for different people. Some things that are relaxing and refreshing for me are window shopping, going to the library alone, going to a coffee shop, dates with my husband, private time in the bedroom with my husband (if you think of it that way rather than just another way someone needs you), regular lunches with girlfriends, bubble baths, reading, internet browsing not related to work, bookstores and time in my bedroom alone. Adapt your list to your life situation and preferences, but DO some of them. Being a Martyr Mom is not good for your health!
As always, your questions and comments are welcome.