I am writing this post 10 months after being diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. Today, I am mostly fine but not fully recovered yet. My hormones are still not back on track and my cycle is irregular. Furthermore, my sleeping pattern is not back to normal. The weight I gained due to hormonal imbalances won´t go away, no matter what I do. How do I feel about it? It is super annoying some days. But healing takes time. With adrenal fatigue it can take up to two years to fully recover. But what can I expect? I have been exploiting my body for too long.
What exactly is adrenal fatigue
In March 2020 I got the diagnosis adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a condition which involves your adrenal glands. Those are an important part of your hormonal system and form an axis with the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, also known as the HPA axis. Furthermore, the adrenals are closely related with your gonads (ovaries, testes).
Adrenal fatigue happens, when your adrenals stop working properly. Their main task is to supply cortisol in your body. Cortisol is our main „stress hormone“ which helps us deal with demanding situations. When you experience a stressful setting, your body releases cortisol. In short: if your adrenals are not working properly, they will disrupt your complete hormone system. Moreover, you are prone to stress related chronic diseases.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue
In retrospect, there were many symptoms which signaled that something was not going well. I was just too busy to listen to my body. It started with sleeping problems, palpitations, nervousness and anxiety. Later, I was not able to do anything, just walking to the fridge was almost too much. After a while, I saw a doctor and told her about my symptoms. She checked my blood but detected nothing unusual and sent me home.
Adrenal fatigue is a disease, which is not recognized by allopathic medicine. So your family doctor might have never heard of it. When my condition got worse, I went to see a naturopath. After I told her about my stressful job and my symptoms, she immediately mentioned adrenal fatigue. We did a saliva test and soon after there was the diagnosis. She prescribed several homeopathic and phyto medications. Additionally, I got some supplements.
The vicious cycle of chronic stress
Most people who suffer from adrenal fatigue end up in a vicious circle. You can´t sleep at night so you are extremely exhausted during the daytime. To cope with the pressure and daily tasks, you compensate with tons of coffee and other stimulants. Cortisol raises your blood sugar levels so they´re about to crash soon after. You crave carbs, fat and sugar. To deal with stress, our body needs high doses of micronutrients and vitamins. Unfortunately, most people who suffer from chronic stress are not eating super healthy. This leads to more stress and tiredness and so on.
How to heal adrenal fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is a precursor to burnout. After my diagnosis, I dived deep into the topic and read everything I could get my hands on. I was already eating super healthy which is very important to get all the nutrients your body needs. The medication started working quite well and after a few weeks I felt better. The most important thing though, is to change your lifestyle and ditch the bad habits. I would say it is almost impossible to heal, if you just go on with the life that made you sick.
“For me, the diagnosis adrenal fatigue was a wake up call. Realizing, I had been working my ass off for a job that was not truly fulfilling me anymore.”
In the end, was very lucky how everything worked out. Due to Covid I was on reduced working hours and had to stay at home. Since I was working for an international advertising festival, there was almost nothing to do. Therefore, I could take all the time I needed to recover. As a bonus, I was able to study naturopathy full-time.
After finishing my exam, I would love to specialize in healing chronic stress-related diseases like adrenal fatigue. During the last year I gained so much knowledge and tried almost everything. I really wish to help people who are going through the same process of curing adrenal fatigue.
In the next post I will share my strategies which helped me heal my adrenals. If you have questions in the meantime or would like to share your own story, please get in touch! 🙂