Sunday, September 15, 2013


"Thank-you for sharing your story"
"Its comforting to know there is someone else out there who knows what I am going through"
"You are so knowledgeable".

Just some of the messages I get in my inbox and comments that I find comforting myself. Exciting. And kind of humorous.

Comforting because I also feel so much better knowing that their are others out there like me. EveryMom's just trying to make every day better than the next and struggling with all the ups and downs of trying to balance health, work, family, relationships and faith. And willing to admit that they aren't perfect, that sometimes things are hard.

Exciting because there is an unbelievable thrill in feeling like you are helping someone. Being an auditor by day, most of my clients aren't generally too excited to see me - even the ones that really like me. It just goes with the territory.

I have a huge soft spot for anyone that has gone through or is going through adrenal fatigue and all that comes with it. My wish for anyone that has had the struggles I have had with their adrenals is that they will KNOW and have HOPE that they can get better.  It takes work but these things can be overcome. When I was at my worst three years ago with barely functioning adrenals and chronic shoulder, neck and throat pain I had determination. I didn't give up or give in but I was losing hope. And it is scary to lose hope. To not know what else to do.

But I got through it. And I'm better for it. So if I've helped even one person by sharing my story to not give up hope for one minute, hour or day then I am beyond excited. Someone asked me this week if I thought you could ever get over adrenal fatigue. I reserve the right to change my answer to yes from "um-um-um I don't know". You can get better. I am anxiety free. So yes. Could it come back if I don't take care of myself. Yes. Is my personality hard-wired to be more susceptible to it than others. Yes (more on that below). Is it worth it to change my lifestyle indefinitely if it means it never comes back. Yes.

And humorous. Not that so many others share my story - I wish no one did. But that they find me knowledgeable on the subject. Yes - I have learned a ton in this past year. But there is a world of information out there and sometimes I feel like I've just see the tip of the iceberg. Plus I'm an accountant that until less than one year ago ate a diet of Chinese food and chocolate. So its ironic and humbling that anyone feels I'm knowledgeable on these subjects. I'm just a geeky chick that likes to take pictures of her food and share her health journal and recipes with whomever stumbles upon my blog.

Why I'm talking about this today. Because I'm reflecting on my week. And my week began with a chat with someone that connected with me over my blog. A fairly quick chat in which we made an instant connection. Like two soldiers fighting the same battle. We spoke the "same language".

And this person taught me something in a very short time that I had missed. They made me have an AH-HA moment. What's funny is that they were thanking me. But now I need to thank them.

To back up at bit.

My "philosophy" (which is totally based on personal experience with absolutely no scientific backing) was that my mood swings, anxiety and emotional lows were a result of my BODY being out of balance. That all the stuff happening in my brain was a result of all the stuff taxing my body (food sensitivities, pregnancy, breastfeeding, Candida, diet, etc).  A by-product of a body that was seriously out of balance. My view, for instance, was that my anxiety was not starting in my head, it was starting in my gut/adrenals/liver/whatever and ending up in my brain (and consequently in my shoulder).

That's why I got so frustrated when doctor's offered up anti-depressants so easily. I wasn't depressed. I was freaking tired. To the bone tired. So of course I didn't feel too spunky. Of course I felt flat. But it wasn't depression. I wanted someone to fix my body. Not my head. Some people might end up or be in depression if it goes on too long. But luckily, I did get help before it went there so that wasn't me.

Anyway, based on this philosophy and my determination to keep my body in balance, this year I have completely focused on my EATING and FITNESS. When I decided to change my lifestyle, those were the areas I really put all my energy into. Because I believe(d) that if only I kept my body in balance then my mind would be fine.

And maybe that was okay in a year when I had very little stress. I was on maternity leave last year. Things were going pretty awesome. I was enjoying life. I had the pressures of mothering in a household of five and dealing with a poorly sleeping baby but I was finding it manageable. And enjoyable.

But I think I missed a piece of the puzzle this year when I only focused on eating clean and exercising. What I think I didn't address is the fact that one of the reasons my body got out of balance in the first place was STRESS. Some of the stress might have been from food, toxins, etc. Yes. But a lot of the stress was mental stress. Stress from work. Stress from home. Stress from life.

But most importantly, stress from myself. The stress I bring into my own life because of my Type A personality. But having extremely high expectations of myself. By seeking perfection. By not knowing how to relax/shut-off.

What have I really done about that this year? My year of going clean. How am I going to do things differently going forward? Do I really think that if I eat a salad and work out I won't get adrenal fatigue if I get myself into a high pressure situation. And deal with it in the ways I used too.

So my ah-ha moment was the realization that, yeah - there are a lot of mental symptoms of gut dysbosis and adrenal fatigue that don't need to be treated as a mental condition, but I probably need to work on the mind part of the mind-body connection if I really think I'm going to avoid adrenal fatigue in the future. My lifestyle has changed, but not my personality.

Don't get me wrong, I have done and continue to do things to reduce my stress. I've gone back to work part-time. I have more care for my children so I get a break. I have a house-cleaner.  And I'm trying not to let GUILT about doing these things eat me up. Not to feel disappointed in myself for not being able to do it all.

But its a constant internal struggle. And I just don't think I have spent enough time thinking about, educating myself, putting in place strategies to help me deal with this deep seeded tendency towards stressing myself out.

And thus my anti-adrenal fatigue maintenance plan was a bit flawed.

I have a new section of the library to hit up.......................and some new websites to start visiting. And maybe some hot yoga classes to start going to. Maybe some meditation.

I'll let you know what I learn.

So thanks to all of you who constantly share with me what YOU have learned. It is comforting, inspirational and it is helping me along my own journey!

If you are someone struggling with adrenal fatigue, find another soldier you can talk openly to about your battle. Maybe you don't need to share your story with the whole world. But sharing your story with someone else that speaks your language can do you a world of good. Or leave me a comment - I'm hear to listen not just talk.

As my friend R would sign off......

Sharing and caring - Chantel

PS - I'm not going to quadruple check my grammar this on this post. So if you find mistakes - its okay - I walked away from the computer to spend a few minutes with my husband. And I'm not feeling guilty about it.

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