hormone imbalance

My struggle with adrenal fatigue...there I am lying on the bathroom floor...

my adrenal fatigue struggle.jpg

So there I am lying on my bathroom floor, tears streaming down my face as my dreams of being a mother crash down around me. I’m lying there, losing my baby...

I get you, you’re struggling. I know how you feel. It’s been very real for me.

Just 3 years ago, I was experiencing the worst health of my life. My health had been going downhill for several years at that point, but I was a pretty healthy person so I didn’t’ really understand what was going on. And from the outside I looked perfectly healthy. What was I complaining about? Was I a hypochondriac?

The truth is I was miserable every day and then my poor health lead to the most difficult experience of my life.  

Before I was diagnosed with stage 3 adrenal fatigue, for years I was waking up every morning exhausted, feeling like I didn’t even sleep, anxious constantly about eating because of my food sensitivities, and in pain and irritable from skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.

I was experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism and poor digestion, my vision of getting progressively worse and my allergies got really bad, to where I couldn’t taste, smell or breathe through my nose. I was always sick and my memory was declining, and I felt like no one understood me and some even thought I was crazy.

In those few years, I saw numerous doctors, traditional and alternative, various health specialists and none of them could figure out what was wrong with me, and every time I left an appointment, I felt hopeless and frustrated because I wasn’t getting ANY answers.

One doctor told me in order to manage my symptoms I was going to have to take several medications for the rest of my life and that terrified me.


I didn’t think it could get any worse and then it did...

The worst part of it all was I was too sick and in pain to even enjoy life, so I missed out. I was at the lowest point of my life. I imagine many of you here can relate. I didn't think it could get any worse and then it did...

It was 2012, my husband and I were desperately trying to get pregnant for over a year. Even though that wasn’t that long in the grand scheme of things we were starting to question if it was possible. Meanwhile, my health just kept declining. After a year of failed attempts, I realized that my health was so poor that it was best to take a break from trying. I needed to make my own health the priority. 

It was only acouple months later that we found out, we are in fact 8 weeks pregnant. Of course we are ecstatic after our struggle with infertility and starting the preparations to be parents. We spent the next couple of weeks, making doctors’ appointments and interviewing midwifes and doulas, we are imagining this little being in our lives. I was so nauseous, exhausted and ravenous. My breasts were achy, but it didn’t matter, because our dreams had finally come true.

 

the nightmare began 2 weeks after my 12 week ultrasound...

I remember this day like it was yesterday. There I am lying on my bathroom floor, tears streaming down my face as my dreams of being a mother crash down around me. I’m lying there, losing my baby. I’m in so much physical pain, but it’s nothing compared to the excruciating emotions I felt as I lay there, trying to digest this trauma of losing the child I will never know. As I look into my husband’s eyes, I feel shame, pure devastation and complete, utter heart break. In this moment I feel so powerless.

The next few days were a blur and I wasn’t sure how to move on. I was at the end of my rope. I had hit rock bottom.

It was in this dark place that I made a decision, a decision that would change my life forever.

I decided that I wouldn't live like this any longer.  I was going to take control of my health, once and for all, so I wouldn’t have to feel this powerless ever again.

I refused. I was going to get to the bottom of my health issues. And that was the day everything change. I spent the next few months researching like crazy, reading whatever I could get my hands on, learning as much as I could. After a few months of this,  I finally got real answers. 

I was diagnosed with stage 3 adrenal fatigue and with that diagnosis things FINALLY started making sense. Thank goodness!!

I got on a healing protocol and started working with a handful of different practitioners addressing not only my symptoms and my hormones, but the mental and emotional parts of myself. It was clear what had caused my adrenal fatigue, years of chronic stress without REAL joy and relaxation. So, I said goodbye to these old sabotaging patterns and started to make ME a priority. I started incorporting mindfulness practices and self-care in to my daily routine. I started working to change my mindset around my health. 

I made lots of mistakes along my recovery journey, but once I had an action plan that addressed all parts of myself; mind, body and spirit, I did heal from stage 3 adrenal fatigue very quickly and without drugs. 

My recovery taught me to believe and always keep fighting even when doctors tell you it’s hopeless. Through my roller-coaster of a journey, I finally became the person I've always desired to be healthy, balanced and most importantly happy. And even better,  I got pregnant soon after and had a very healthy baby boy. 

But my journey wasn't over. Unfortunately, I saw so many people in the Facebook groups I was a part of, struggling so much with adrenal fatigue. When I shared that I healed from stage 3, everyone kept asking me how I did it. So I shared my story and how I did it.

But, people wanted more. They were craving a plan, a system. 

I was hearing heart-breaking story after heartbreaking story, wishing I could do something else to help.

I didn't want so many people to have to go through what I did or worse.

But who was I to do anything?

After months of wondering what to do and how to help, I realized something...

I could in fact help.

This inspired me to create the healyouradrenalfatigue.com community with lots of free resources. I spent countless hours, despite having a newborn, recording many how-to videos of what I had learned for my YouTube channel "Adrenal Fatigue TV". And over the past few years, I brought together a team of experts to develop an AF recovery program.

So even though my struggle was painful, devastating, heart-breaking it seems worth it in a way because now I can help thousands around the world who are also struggling with adrenal fatigue and having similar experiences with their health like infertility, miscarriage and so much more. 

If you're reading this and can relate in some shape or form, please share a comment below. Your share could be just what someone else needs to hear.

Holidays with Adrenal Fatigue: 5 Tips to Survive and Thrive

Why is it that when we are supposed to be celebrating tradition and spending quality time with family and friends we find ourselves ridiculously busy, stress and on the verge of burnout? The holidays can be a challenging time even for the healthiest of people. When you have adrenal fatigue the added stress that the holiday season brings can lead to major adrenal burnout and flare-ups. Here are 5 secrets to surviving the holidays with adrenal fatigue (and make sure you stay till the end, we want to give you a special holiday gift. It's a lifesaver).

Tip #1 byof

Bring Your Own Food. The holidays are filled with get-togethers focused around food. If you are suffering from food intolerances or allergies as a result of your adrenal fatigue, you most likely have had to give some foods up along the way. If so, you know how frustrating it can be to go to these gatherings. Bringing your own food means that you can still enjoy food and you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out the entire time.

If you’ve been following me for a while you know that on my adrenal fatigue healing journey I gave up many foods. Actually, the only thing I never gave up eating is vegetables. I gave up dairy, meat, sugar, gluten, grains, you name it I tried it. Not just for a couple weeks, but for months and sometimes even years at a time. And just for the record I am not suggesting that or believe you need to give up a bunch of foods in order to heal your adrenal fatigue. But I get what you’re going through and that’s why I always bring food with me, wherever I go.

I am not suggesting that or believe you need to give up a bunch of foods in order to heal your adrenal fatigue. But I get what you’re going through. That’s why I always bring food with me, wherever I go.

What are your favorite alternative food choices that you don’t want to live without during the holidays? Do you have a good or funny story about sharing your specialty foods with your loved ones?

Tip #2 Boost Your Immune System

During the holiday we do more traveling to the mall, to the supermarket, to events and get-togethers which all bring opportunities to come into contact with germs and other icky bugs that might be lurking around. And because as adrenal fatigue sufferers we already have compromised immune systems, we might be more susceptible and find ourselves constantly “under the weather” at this time of year.  Not good! Getting sick would put a huge damper on our capacity to celebrate.

Be pro-active about your health this season.  Keep yourself healthy by doing a few things to boost the immune system. Go to sleep just a bit earlier than usual each night. Cut down on the sugar intake when you aren’t out celebrating and (this is one of my favorites) use essential oils to protect yourself. Personally, I use the Doterra Oil called Onguard. This oil can be used internally to support the immune and respiratory system and can also be used externally as a non-toxic cleaner to protect against environmental threats. I use it at the first sign of the sniffles or as a preventive by diffusing it in the house or adding a few drops of distilled water and spraying down germ-infested areas like the airplane seat or grocery cart. I am not saying to walk around being a germaphobe to the point where you create anxiety for yourself or others, but simply being prepared can reduce your risk AND make you feel more in control and empowered.

My other favorite immune boosting ritual is drinking Echinacea tea or taking an Echinacea extract, which you can find at a health food store. Some people like Emergen-C or Airborne which are also great options. What essential vitamins and supplements support your immune system? Make sure you don’t forget to take them.

 

Tip #3 Don’t Fall Into the Crazy Trap

When everyone around you is running around like a crazy person trying to get everything done it’s easy to feel like that is what you are supposed to do too. Just because our society buys into the belief that this time of year has to be crazy, doesn’t mean that it’s true, or that it has to be true for you—no matter what the people around you are doing.   I am telling you that it is possible to avoid that trap. What if you could be that person in line at the supermarket or at the mall while everyone else is huffing and puffing, saying rude things to the checker or just acting annoyed, who is stays cool, calm and collected? You can be an example of what else is possible. And as Gandhi would say “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

Tip # 4 Do Your Shopping Online

We have such a luxury now that didn’t exist even 10 –years-ago where you can pretty much buy anything online that you need. So unless you enjoy being out and about this time of year or you have a great deal of patience consider doing all your shopping this year from the convenience of your own cozy couch. Get yourself a cup of your favorite tea, put on some calming music and shop away.  There are lots of options for online shopping these days—it’s not Amazon or nothing. So if you like to shop small or local, check to see if your favorite physical shops have websites…these days you’d be surprised at how many do!

Tip #5 Emotionally Prepare for Your Loved Ones

No matter how close we are to our loved ones or how much we love seeing them during the holidays, it doesn’t negate the fact that family has the ability to bring up a lot of our old “stuff” including limiting beliefs about ourselves, insecurities, failures, etc.

Prepare yourself emotionally by taking some time before you see them to center yourself. Say positive affirmations to yourself. Remind yourself how amazing you are and that your old choices no longer define who you are. Get plenty of sleep and visualize yourself having positive and loving interactions with these people.

I have just given you 5 easy tips to surviving the holidays with adrenal fatigue.

Now I’d love to hear from you. What things do you do to guarantee more fun and less stress during the holidays? How do you avoid flair up during the holidays? What has been the most helpful piece of information shared here?

Please share this blog with friends, family and/or colleagues you feel could benefit from this information.

All my best,

Angela

Avoid Adrenal Burnout & Flare-ups This Holiday Season

How Adrenal Fatigue Changed My Life

My struggle with adrenal fatigue was a big wake up call for me, one that I needed so desperately. Adrenal fatigue saved me from the mediocre and unconscious life I was living. By saying this, I don’t mean to undermine the struggle that you are going through right now; because, I get it. It sucks! I remember the sleepless nights, the debilitating exhaustion, the fear that I wouldn’t get better, the digestion issues, the food sensitivities, the mood swings, the dry skin, not being able to eat anything but vegetables, having to pee every 20 minutes…

But I also know my suffering was a true awakening for me. Without this illness I would not have gotten so low and hit rock bottom. It was hitting rock bottom that really made it clear that I had two choices; I could let this condition take over my body and my life or I could choose to keep fighting and believe in my healing.

I didn’t exactly like life I was leading before adrenal fatigue or the person I was becoming.

Let me give you a glimpse of my old life. Ever since I can remember I loved getting things done. I loved accomplishing things and as a result I learned at an early age to never slowed down. I started working when I was 14 and never stopped. I was putting myself through college working 2 jobs with a full load of classes. When I wasn’t working or going to school I was filling my time with working out, trying to finish my to-do list, trying to do everything and be everywhere. This incessant doing followed me into adulthood and I continued this same pattern. I would never take time out for lunch breaks, self-care and always chose to fill my free time with busy-ness.

I know now that me, my A-type personality and addiction to incessant doing is what got me sick in the first place. And all the things I was doing to be “happy” wasn’t making me happy at all infact, I was miserable. Even when I was doing something I should “enjoy”, I was constantly focused on the next thing really missing out on being in the moment and being “in joy”. I didn’t want to keep living that existence.

So once I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, it all started to make sense. The root cause of my condition was my chronic stress and addictive to incessant doing. It made me really stop and think about the choices I had made. I realized that if I kept on living like this, I would miss out on my life completely. Does this sound familiar? If so, I want to give you a great tool that helped me break the vicious cycle of busyness so I could finally LIVE more and heal my adrenals for good.

I didn’t get this realization overnight, but it was a process.

I started to work with a spiritual mentor. With her guidance, I started incorporating a simple gratitude exercise which little did I know at the time was going to transform my life.

Every night before bed I would write down 3 things I was grateful for from the day. It didn’t take long for me to recognize that this simple practice was not only changing my perspective, but had a positive impact on my body’s ability to heal as well. This practice quickly started to trickle into more of my day. I started to think about gratitude more often, not just at night.

I began to recognize in the moment when something magical happened, even something really small and felt grateful. Also, with this shift in perspective, I started to notice I had more energy throughout the day. I started to look at life through a more positive and healthy lens.

So for me it was such an important lesson in life, that my health crisis was an opportunity for me to make a have more awareness, fill my life with gratitude and that all I needed to do was choose healing and happiness. I chose to believe in my healing and trust my process and my body.

So now you know my story and how adrenal fatigue changes my life -  for the better.

 

Now we'd love to hear from you in the comments below. How has your struggle with adrenal fatigue shaped your life? What are the biggest lessons you have learned? You are part of our healing community and your comments could be just what someone else needs to hear. So take a moment to drop us a line below.

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