What exactly is Adrenal fatigue and what are the solution?
James L. Wilson, PhD, who coined the term adrenal fatigue in his book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Syndrome, describes the adrenals as “two little glands that sit over your kidneys and are about the size of two large grapes and weigh about five-to-eight grams.”
What is adrenal fatigue really?
I was recently diagnosed with adrenal fatigue but had to ask the question, what exactly is it and how do you go about treating it? I never take a diagnoses as the ultimate truth, I believe all illness has underlying issues that can be cured in one way or another.
For me, I know I had some personal things that were stressful but not anything completely out of the normal. I had an injury that has gone unaddressed in terms of back and neck pain that could be leading to ongoing physical and thus mental and emotional stress and while I have been searching for answers to help myself recover fully, I beg the question to what is adrenal fatigue exactly and with a diagnosis like that, what would be the way to recovery? What we each deem stressful is different from person to person but with injuries, poor diet and a variety of social systems fluctuating it can make anyone stressed, not to mention the crazy amount of toxins in our food, cleaners and household goods. How is anyone even functioning at all you might ask.
When I was first diagnosed with adrenal fatigue is was at the same time that I found out my back was completely out of line from my snowboarding accident last year that left me with a severe concussion. Although I was doing my best to rest my concussion I didn’t consider the spine when I was looking for help in my recovery. Seven months later and I was paying for it mentally, physically and emotionally. Unlike other kinds of stress, physical pain can cause so many different reactions that at times it can be hard to determine the original cause. Even unresolved emotional pain can be as severe as physical injuries that your body endures and if you don’t take the time to heal “right” ( in terms of alignment physically. ) like having your bones lined up for proper healing. If not put back in order then pain will continue to grow until one day your body and mind just says NOPE, I’m not going to do anything or let you do anything productive until you tend to this issue, whatever the issue may be. I also want to mention this can be emotional or spiritual pain points. ( You will find a future blog on this)
Like I said before, emotional pain can be the same type of damage that produces all kinds of physical imbalances like hormones being off, digestive problems, headaches, tossing and turning through the night resulting in sore muscles and fatigue. The way I see it is you get adrenal fatigue by putting off recovery or unresolved underlying issues. Some natural practitioners have given this name to help people feel validated for their very real symptoms but in some cases I don’t think that’s a very good idea.
The reason I worry about this is that some people don’t really know what normal or healthy really is, they haven’t experienced it so they don’t know what to do to get back to healthy many people just get back to normal but “normal” for some is whatever they grew up with and for many people “normal” isn’t healthy at all. Like people that grew up with alcoholic parents, “normal” may be not to talk about your feelings, sweep it under the rug and just have a drink to feel better. That isn’t healthy mentally, emotionally and certainly not physically so it can be tricky leading people towards a healthy long term result if they aren’t willing to adjust their view and take a real look at the body, mind and spirit as they are usually all connected.
It’s super important to have a base line understanding of what healthy is and what it looks like before jumping on any one remedy or another.
Many practitioners use this diagnosis to proscribe supplements that the client may or may not need or worse will keep them from truly getting to the bottom of the issue and that will create the long term success for managing stress. Worse is some of these supplements may even be harmful if you don’t know what to look for.
Some of the ways people avoid dealing with underlying issues be it emotional or physical pain is by self medicating via alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sugar, salty comfort foods, obsessive gaming, causal sex, or sex with yourself, or social media scrolling, or over working ( adding more to their plate so they can stay distracted and unresolved) to numb themselves rather than find a solution to the underlying hurt. They avoid hard conversations or the realignment process because it may cause pain, thus never really getting better. This is huge in terms of relational pain points.
The same goes for if you broke your arm and didn’t set it properly and just started taking pain killers, how well do you think your arm would work in the future? Would it just adjust itself? Pain and suffering doesn’t have to last but you need to find out what the underlying issue is, get help for that and then heal right and get back on track. You may have a broken arm or broken heart and it may hurt to re-break it to set it right but once you confront the issue you will be better off to move forward.
This is why I am not completely convinced that adrenal fatigue actually exists in terms of just a term to be tossed around. I do think it’s a nice way for health practitioners to diagnose and give you a direction to start to make the adjustments to recover but you need to be able to be honest with yourself to truly be diagnosed and helped. Sometimes we just need to be acknowledged that something is wrong and that we aren’t crazy but you have to be ready to do the digging to figure out what’s really going on.
Be prepared because at some point disaster hits us all.
When we are stressed or injured it can be very hard to see the end of the issue. Sometimes we simply can’t take care of ourselves right at the moment. I know when I had my concussion I was out of it but luckily I was in the care of a friend that was no stranger to natural health and healing and she helped me get what I needed. I also knew that I could recover because I believe and trust in God to provide all I need in times of trouble and He did ( the healing wasn’t and isn’t instant though). I prayed and heard clearly what to do step by step and currently in process. At the start of my recovery I cut coffee because coffee can excite the brain, I needed calm to heal and then I started taking supplementing with natural healing foods and green juices that would help calm and keep me in healing mode.
What I’m saying is that you will have what you need to heal if you dig in with prayer and ask for wisdom you will be directed to wholeness body, mind and spirit when you trust God.
Natural remedies that may help you cope with stress and calm you
Start your day off with lemon and cucumber water. Add some tea bags of lemon balm or mint.
Have a bath with epsom salts and soak
Make time for stretching, prayer and breathing exercises.
Check your sleeping arrangements and pillow alignment. Make sure it’s the right height and firmness for your shoulder and head position.
Healing foods and supplements
- Holy Basil
- Lemon Balm
- B Vitamin complex
- Lemon Balm
- Coenzyme Q10
- Licorice Root
- Vitamin C
- Fish oils
- Vitamin D
These are just a few that have helped me get through during high times of stress until I could get back in a regular healthy routine including prayer, sleep, proper whole food diet and exercise.
Always look at the basics first
The biggest thing that I believe that makes a difference when feeling stressed beyond normal is to take care of your diet, exercise and sleep. This is obvious but for many reasons this can be impossible at the start. The problem with this answer is that many people that are in stressful situations for long periods of time are in that situation without a way to change it or so it would seem. It’s kind of like looking at a homeless person and telling them to get a job and all their problems will go away. First, you are not aware of the level of mental capacity it takes to create a healthy routine if you are already not well and if you don’t have anyone to help you get back on track and help promote a healthy lifestyle including some of the basics, such as food and shelter then how are they going to have the capacity to reduce their stress? Obviously this is one of the reasons we should all support homeless shelters and places that help people heal, it could happen to anyone at any point. I know so many people that were injured, then prescribed oxicodine then became addicted and now are homeless. This why it’s so important to pray for discernment about the health care you receive and be diligent to look for underlying issues including emotional wounds that go undetected, sometimes for decades.
My concluding thoughts
If you have been diagnosed with this you are likely suffering because of a variety of situations out of your control and until you can take better care of those situations in your life you will likely feel the burn. This is why medical health care not only doesn’t cover it, but it doesn’t recognize it as a real thing. Yes, stress is real and not following your gut in terms of things in your life will cause discomfort if gone unchecked you can make a change now.
Prayer leads to answers so that’s where you start if you can’t change anything else and wait for your next instructions. They will be given to you. Just like for me each step of the healing process came with a time an instruction a realignment and a recovery time. Then as I got better in one area the next was revealed and the steps continue to help me move forward. The only thing is I don’t get to skip any steps, I have to painfully go through all of them if I want a full recovery.
It takes courage to say that you are suffering and it takes courage and humility to pray and ask for help. If your life isn’t blessed or you don’t feel joy in your life pray and ask why and ask for help to resolve the issue. God is the true healer and He will direct your steps. Take a chance on that, it works and He will help you. Sometimes He directs you to blogs like this and sometimes He sends you to a doctor that will help but either way if you trust Him He will lead the way.
Remember, we are here to help each other but it’s also important to double check with yourself about the help you are getting. Not everyone wants to help you, some just want to benefit financially from your pain. I’ll tell you from experience that not all supplements or “healer” help is right or good for you but if you ask God to help you in your situation he will lead you to what you need and ask for wisdom to know what is right and what isn’t. Most of the time God has lead me to healing it was free or just a change in attitude, perspective, or diet change and He always provided a way to do it on my budget whatever that was. You should never being going broke to get well.
Finding a coach, doctor, therapist or someone close that you can trust can help walk you through a healthy routine and help guide you back to health is a good idea but again with discernment. Sometimes it can be hard to hear through the noise in your mind while you recover. Especially if there has been an injury, addiction or trauma of sorts. They should be just saying out loud what your gut and instincts are already telling you. Having accountability is also an important part of living a healthy life. We all need help to stay healthy in body, mind and spirit and so it’s important to get connected to other healthy people. When one is up another one may be down but as we walk this life out together we can stay balanced if we do not isolate.
On that last note, make sure that you are not isolated at this time. If you feel you have lost some people in your life because of what the evil agenda is doing to divide people. Please don’t wait, reach out to me or to someone else and make sure you can feel safe to talk to people. Not everyone is going to be safe right now because people are dealing with a lot of spiritual warfare ( mental breakdowns and attacks on body and emotions alike a prevalent right now) Pray and stand strong and if you are losing it, remember it won’t last. Check in on people when you are well and if you aren’t pray someone checks in on you. God won’t leave you alone for long.
I am also praying for you if you are suffering in some way. Answers are coming soon, in Jesus name Amen!