Another gap in writing… it’s been such a crazy week that I just haven’t found time.  Or rather, the energy.  By early evening I have been ready for bed almost every day recently.  This is in part because I had been fighting off a cold, which finally caught up.  I am now horribly sick with a head that feels like it is filled with cement.  I wanted to stay in bed as soon as I felt it coming on, but of course I had to get sick right when I had a very busy several days in a row and was unable to stop.  So now I am  much sicker and feeling just awful.  

The other reason I’m going to bed so early these days (besides the fact that it is dark by 5:30 and I’m in hibernation mode) is that I’m back on my “chronic fatigue” pills.  These prop me up during the day, and then as they wear off (around 6-7pm) I absolutely crash.  The pills are actually adrenal support supplements which contain various vitamins, herbs and adrenal extract to help support my faultering adrenal glands.  Ever since running out of funding last April and subsequently not being able to find a job, my stress levels have been going up, and up.  This past week put things over the top as my academic career nearly came to a halt.  Fortunately that crisis has been avoided and things are back on track, but the stress of it all just about did me in.  

As I realized just how stressed I was becoming, I opted to go back on the meds I had weaned myself off of about 2.5 years ago.  Feels like a big step backwards, but I decided that not going on them would cause me more harm than taking them.  I think they are palliative, rather than suppressive, although I’m not 100% sure.  

I suffered from very serious “chronic fatigue” for several years, which very much impacted my life.  It really is a miserable condition.  I was not just tired all the time, but was very apathetic towards life, not enjoying anything anymore.  I couldn’t keep up with my work, and couldn’t even keep up with very basic things like dishes or walking my dogs.  It was awful. I went to many doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with me, but after all tests came up “normal” they just told me it was all in my head and recommended that I go on anti-depressants and see a shrink.  

Fortunately I listened to my body, and my intuition, both of which were telling me that there was something physiologically wrong with me and that I needed to figure out what that was.  I went to a naturopath and she diagnosed me as suffering from “adrenal malfunction.”  This is a condition that is actually very common, but that doesn’t show up well in blood work or other standard tests, other than a 24 hour saliva test.  The test she did on me was very simple.  She took my blood pressure while I was lying down.  She then had me sit up and took it again as I was sitting up.  A healthy person will have their blood pressure go up while sitting up.  Mine dropped over 20 points!

The conventional treatment for adrenal malfunction is cortisol, but that is just not an option for me.  I took the vitamins and herbal supplements the naturopath gave me, as well as made major changes in my diet (cut way down on all stimulants such as sugar, caffein, and alcohol) and lifestyle (reduced stress as much as I could!).  Slowly I reclaimed my life.  After a year, I stopped taking the pills and started being treated homeopathically.  That is when I really started to improve.  

I had been feeling almost back to normal, well about 85% of what used to be my normal, until a couple of months ago.  The stress of the last few months obviously started to wear me down and my adrenal glands started going off-line again.  It is very, very frustrating, like having the carpet pulled out from under you every time you take a few steps.  I hate that I keep having days where I just can’t get anything done, and I feel like I am getting further and further behind in life again, just when I was finally getting caught up.  But it can’t be helped and ironically, worrying about it just compounds the problem!

Suffice it to say, I haven’t done much dog training in the last few days, although I did get out and work sheep a few times last week.  Generally it involved a lot of screaming and yelling and then me crying because I yelled at my dog and for being a horrible person who doesn’t deserve dogs.  Really, it was a miserable week!  Hopefully this one will be better…

For more on Chronic Fatigue or adrenal fatigue or adrenal malfunction (or nervous breakdowns), all of which are one and the same, read this.