Sunday, December 28, 2014

What Adrenal Fatigue Looks Like (for me)

This is a run-down of my symptoms as I've experienced adrenal fatigue. It's not what I usually talk about here on HaveMercy and if it bores you out of your gord, please skip this post. Lots of people ask me what it is and how I know I have it, so If you're curious, read on. 

  • Fatigue - Shocker, right? While I get adequate amounts of sleep at night, I feel tired all day. If I don't nap for an hour or two in the afternoon, I'm a zombie all evening. Often, I've barely begun my day when I feel like I need to sit down. The day I nodded off at the wheel after dropping the kids at school (a five minute drive at 8 am) was when I really got worried about myself. Showering and getting "pretty" exhausts me and instead of feeling energized by a workout, I'm wiped. 
  • Severe dry skin - I can't apply make-up with a sponge because my face will peel off. My arms, legs and stomach itched so much I'd take skin off with a hair brush, trying to get some relief. I know, gross! Also painful. Lately it's been better and I'm not sure if it's the hormone replacement or because I started dry brushing and coating myself in sesame oil before going to bed (once in a while). Either way, it's so much better
  • Cold hands and feet - I experience this even in the summer. Before I started treatment, I couldn't get warm after going to bed. I'd lie awake for an hour or more, waiting for my body temperature to rise enough to fall asleep. 
  • Fuzzy brain - Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to focus and make simple decisions. I feel baffled, overwhelmed and overstimulated. Brian and I often ask the kids to leave the room if I'm a part of deciding the evening's agenda. The quickest way to see the scary side of me is to have multiple people ask me questions at the same time. 
  • Naps to cope - as long as I can remember, laying down was my go-to if I'd had an emotionally stressful encounter. Even in junior high, if I had the option, I'd "sleep it off." 
  • Low blood sugar - Adrenal glands regulate blood sugar, so I've experienced some real lows. Most telling are the ones that would wake me up at 3 or 4 am with a growling stomach.
  • Tissues' inability to heal - I took longer than typical to heal from my c-section and twice as long as the doctor predicted to heal from an ingrown toenail surgery. 
  • Depression - I've been depressed (but happily medicated) since I delivered the kids and since that's when my adrenal fatigue got serious, it's likely a side-effect. 
  • Dizzy, lightheaded
  • Inability to lose weight  
To answer the question about how I know I have it, I had my saliva tested and confirmed that I have adrenal fatigue. As I was listing my symptoms, I noticed improvement in two areas: I no longer wake up hungry in the wee hours of morning and I don't struggle so much to warm up. This is exciting, friends. I thought I was two months in with no measurable change. Yay!

The slower pace will continue around here and I thank you for your patience. I'm looking forward to a new year and (eventually) having a bounce in my step again. 

P.S. A lot of people are affected by this and don't even know it. Feel free to share this so more people can get better! 

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