Category Archives: Adrenal Fatigue

only in solitude

Writing, for me, comes in times of stillness
The letters and words float into my head
and I ease them down to paper

I don’t sit down to write
The words find me when I am quiet
When I listen

Now that I am working again
and busy,
oh so busy,
my head is full up
No time for listening
No space for letters
Just do, do, do

It’s 4.30 am
An unplanned moment of solitude

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connection

My pain and fatigue stories are told and I wonder, what now for this blog?  I’m not ready for it to end yet.  I’ve had a taste and I like it.  It’s become a part of me.  A secret part that’s all mine.  Private and public at the same time.   A tiny piece of the innermost me stretching out across the world.  I’m hooked.

But now I am limited by the title: pain, fatigue and me.  I have no pain and I’ve finished with fatigue, yet I want to keep writing.

Am I a fraud, inviting you in with this title and now changing the rules?  I’ll understand if you decide to move on.

I don’t know what the new title might be, but I have some ideas about what I want to write.  When I stopped work last year, even though I was exhausted, I experienced a freedom I haven’t felt for years.  A liberation and renewed sense of wonder that engendered authentic connection with the world around me.  Stepping off the work treadmill and being confined to home curiously expanded my daily interaction with people and I began having random encounters with strangers.  I’ve already posted two: Not a Lazy Girl and Economic Cannibalism; and there’s a couple more to come.

From there, I don’t know?  Unchartered as yet.

the voice in my head

I’ve started a new job
I can’t talk about it much
It’s a rather public sort of place
How I got there is the interesting bit

When I went on sick leave last year
I sat on my couch, day after day
Knowing I could never go back into that job
Or any like it
How could I ever work in the world again?

The voice in my head knew:
There’s one place in this city you like
One place that feels as good as home
As safe, as calm, as loving, as right

Ah, yes, that’s right, there is

We replayed this conversation
For three months
Me and the voice in my head
Until finally I mustered the courage,
Can I come and talk to you?
Of course

I explained:
I’m finished with my old job, my old life
Too tired
Worn out
Disillusioned
But I have all these skills
And I don’t know why I’m telling you
Only the voice in my head said I should

Are you saying you’d like to work here?
Just this morning we had a new position approved
A new salaried position
That needs your skills
Just this morning

I sat there and cried
Then I went home and applied for this position
Now I am here
Where I should be
Thanks to the voice in my head.

fighting adrenal fatigue from all sides – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual

I’ve spent the last four months off work with what my doctor diagnosed as ‘adrenal fatigue’.  My symptoms being: exhaustion, low blood pressure, fainting, anxiety, insomnia, night sweats, brain fog, reduced resilience, poor memory, extreme coldness and extremely low B12 levels.

These last four months have been a gift.  My understanding now is that adrenal fatigue is an exercise in unconditional love; firstly for the self, then outwards to the world.  Where chronic pain can be seen as a physical representation of [repressed] rage (I discuss this here), I think adrenal fatigue is the physical manifestation of self-neglect.

It was easy to push my body into this state. I worked in an environment that made me anxious and stressed, without any let-up; I rushed everywhere, oh so busy; I used foods that gave me a ‘hit’ to keep pushing on (chocolate and sugar being my biggest offenders, but coffee and alcohol are equally effective); I ignored how tired I was and stayed up late at night, too busy to go to bed; I never let my mind stop churning, even in my sleep; and I forced myself to go to a personal trainer, where I felt sick after every session.

What I see now is that none of this was an expression of love for my body or myself.

So I made a lot of changes.  I stopped all sugar (including for a while, fruit) and became dairy and gluten-free.  No coffee, no chocolate, no alcohol.  I still eat meat and eggs, as my body asks for them.  I started taking supplements: magnesium, vitamin C, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin B12, iodine, fish oil, evening primrose oil, probiotics and herbs.  I did a parasite cleanse, a liver cleanse and a heavy metals cleanse.  I bought a filter jug for our tap water and I grow my own organic veges.  I start the day with lemon, salt and ginger in hot water, followed by a green smoothie.  I have a carrot, ginger, celery and beetroot juice every afternoon.  This is about feeding my body only foods that nourish it (not foods that my mind craves at my body’s expense).  Listening to what it needs, and adjusting accordingly.

But it’s more than diet and supplements.  I stopped work, I stopped a lot of other things, and I certainly stopped the personal trainer.  I rested, I listened to what my body needed and I didn’t tire myself with social activities or obligations.  I took a ’time-out’ from the world (I had to, I was burnt out) and I listened and meditated.

I monitored my thoughts, noticing how often I spoke unkindly to myself.  I outlawed these hurtful thoughts and I stopped my mind from fixating on illness.  I knew I had to or else it would scare me by telling me how sick I was, and then how could I get better?

I did yin yoga off YouTube – gentle and grounding and you don’t need to leave the house.  I read inspiring books.  I pottered in my garden, barefoot on the grass.  I lay on the grass watching the clouds.  I watched the birds and the insects and I breathed.  I slowed down and gave thanks.  I listened and listened.  I waited.

The first answer I received was to start a blog.  I wrote about that here and how important it’s been to me here.  Self-expression – the opposite of self-neglect.  The next big response I heard is coming up on my next blog post.

I learnt to ask for guidance in all things, not just the big ones.  I found that by handing over decisions in this way, the brain fog cleared.  I don’t have to know all the answers, I just have to ask and listen.

Over months, my old world faded away.  The worries, anxieties, pressures and pace, the ambitions and insecurities, the striving and racing and speed, and the fears, especially the fears, all lost their hold over me.

My body sighed with relief and began to heal.

resignation

Tomorrow I will hand in my resignation.  Much as I shudder at the thought of remaining in this job, I am still sad to leave.  I have invested so much of myself here – in this place, in the work and in the people.

Everyone in this team is wide awake, brains whirring, all systems go.
You have to be awake here; the pace is too fast to slacken, even for a minute.

I’ve watched as others have dropped off by the wayside.  I’m one of them now.  It’s my turn for a rest.  For a gentler environment.  A more natural and sustainable pace.  Back down to earth.

But I will miss the closeness and trust that comes with working so intensely with good people.

I know I will cry.  Inappropriately emotional to the end.

incubating

I have been off work for 4 months now.

Friends, family and colleagues all ask me,
But what do you do all day?
Very little, I tell them.  Very little.

I think that’s the point of this
To stop ‘doing’
For one time in my life
What a privilege.

I know the doing will be back
I feel it creeping closer
And, you know,
When it comes down to it,
I’m good at doing.

But right now
Just this minute
I don’t have to ‘do’

I can breathe instead.

not a lazy girl

There’s a knock at the door while I’m getting out of the shower.  I dither trying to decide whether to answer it or not.

I put my head around the door wrapped in a towel.  It’s a real estate agent wanting to do an appraisal.

I dither again then decide, out of curiosity, to let her in.  She looks around while I get dressed.

When I come into the lounge she is waiting at the table.
You look after your house well, she tells me.  You are not a lazy girl.