This week I’m grateful for newfound hope.
People comment a lot about my “amazing energy,” and yes, I do have a lot of energy, but the truth is, for a long time I’ve also suffered from unexplained, sporadic and persistent fatigue. Many mornings I wake up feeling beyond exhausted, almost as if I hadn’t slept at all, even after eight or nine hours.
An extreme sleepiness sometimes clings all day long, but sleeping more doesn’t help.
And it’s not just sleepiness; it’s a weird, thick feeling in my head and eyes that’s hard to describe.
I call it my “sludgy” feeling.
This has been a random, sporadic issue in my life since I had a bad case of “first year blues” the year I taught nursery school when I was 23. I caught every bug the kids brought in that year, and was sick so much that I developed an autoimmune disorder.
Gradually my health improved, and over the years, as I realized my self-concept was stuck on “weak and sickly,” I intentionally busted that self-installed glass ceiling and replaced it with a self-concept of “strong, healthy and energetic.”
But there were still those occasional “sludgy” days, which, mysteriously, have seemed to become more common lately.
It was seriously distressing.
Was I just getting old? Or was I harboring some terrible disease? Or…?
(These are the kinds of corners my mind gets stuck in late at night…)
Why I’m hopeful this week is that I just discovered that my symptoms may have a name — adrenal fatigue — and more importantly, a cure.
I’ve been reading the book Adrenal Fatigue, by James L. Wilson, ND, DC, PhD, and am finally motivated to make some de-stressing/quality-of-life lifestyle changes that I’ve known were needed, but haven’t had the commitment to follow through on until now…
…like getting back to an earlier bedtime schedule (goal: to be in bed and headed toward sleep by 10:30)
…and getting off my computer at night
…and planning ahead better, so I’m not always rushrushrushing when I go somewhere (guilty as charged…)
(It kind of tickles me that the written exercises that Dr. Wilson recommends in order to suss out what needs to change in your life are pretty similar to some of the worksheets I use in workshops and with clients. Coach, heal thyself! ;))
Oh, Yeah… Science!
I also remembered (doh!) that I’d had an Elisa food sensitivity blood test back in 2004 (I can’t remember exactly why)… which I’d promptly filed away and forgotten about.
I dug it up a few days ago and discovered — whoah! — that I’ve been practically OD’ing on some of the foods that my blood serum reacted to.
The bad news: the broccoli pancakes that have been a staple for MB and me for months are out! Turns out I’m sensitive to broccoli (and all cruciferous veggies, in fact), and egg, and wheat.
And yeast. And I seriously love my breadstuffs….
(I also tested sensitive to cow’s milk and goat’s milk — but miraculously NOT to hard cheeses, praised be! — and brewer’s yeast. Plus, rather randomly, amaranth, kidney beans, and lamb.)
Sheesh! No wonder my system’s been out of whack!
I’ve been overloading my body with foods that trigger an immune reaction!
Not to mention my tendency to overwork myself… (Ahem…)
The good news: the last couple of days, since avoiding the fourteen foods I tested as sensitive to, I’ve definitely felt better. Not 100%, mind you, not even close, but better. Enough to notice a real difference.
And as my ex-boyfriend (the one before MB) used to say, “Better is better!”
This could, of course, be a coincidence. But I’m hopeful that with my new diet and lifestyle changes I’ll be back to my regular, full-energy self eventually.
Support In Becoming a Well-Nourished Woman
My recent discoveries could not be more serendipitous, because on Tuesday I start Sue Ann Gleason’s Well-Nourished Woman Inner Circle.
Sue Ann is a culinary nutritionist and nourishment counselor, and I’m sure she’ll have lots of wisdom to share about how to regain my full health and energy.
(If you’re a subscriber to my insiders’ newsletter, watch your inbox for a way to join me in Sue Ann’s program for a special insiders’-only price — today only.)
I’m very glad I’ll have a supportive community to share my experiences in, because not everyone I’ve talked to about adrenal fatigue is very receptive or supportive. The medical industry, chained as it is to the insurance industry and Big Pharma, does not give credence to the idea that adrenal fatigue is an actual thing.
“It’s all in your head,” is a common retort from patients seeking help from their regular doctors. That and a prescription for antidepressants.
Sigh… Well, I’ve had decades of experience with alternative modalities, when “traditional western medicine” has failed me in the past. I’m learning who I can talk to about such things, and who is better for me to keep mum about adrenal fatigue with.
Whatever issue you’re struggling with in your life, it always behooves you to identify true allies, and those whom you’d think would be supportive, but for whatever reason are more likely to undermine you in your quest.
Surround yourself with the former, and be very, very careful among the latter (avoid entirely if necessary).
That’s what I’m doing.
Meanwhile, I downloaded an app to help me track my symptoms, and everything I put in my mouth, to see if I can suss out some patterns.
And I’m finally feeling hopeful about this sludgy thing.
Life is good.
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!
Gwendolyn Grace says
I am so happy to hear your new plan to get more sleep! Hip Hip Hooray. So many people do not know that the computer light kicks up the adrenaline and keeps us awake even if we are tired.Hope you make a zooming quick energy boost, talented lady!
Melissa Dinwiddie says
Thanks, Gwen! Avoiding the foods I tested sensitive to has made a 1000% difference, and getting to bed early is HUGE in my rejuvenated push for quality of life.
I sure notice a difference when I take good care of myself! 🙂
powering possible says
Very glad to read this 🙂 Hope it helps.
Melissa Dinwiddie says
Thanks, Susan. 🙂
Teresa S. Atkins says
Please share the app that you track your food intake and reactions to. A couple of years ago I tested and I am sensitive if not allergic to just about everything. Thank you for reminding me that that could be the reason that I feel so bad right now. My husband calls me a hypochondriac, but I know my symptoms are real. It’s so hard to change a diet that you have been accustomed to for over 60 years, I seem to constantly be asking what CAN I eat? It probably is resulting in the depression that I’m going through right now also.
Melissa Dinwiddie says
I’m currently using an app called Cara. I can’t remember the app I was using when I wrote this article. Cara allows you to track all sorts of things—not only foods. And it’s free!
Another note: I’ve recently learned that ELISA tests are not very reliable—they are prone to false positives. I’m about to have another type of food sensitivity test called an MRT test. You may want to look into that. My sludgy symptoms have largely disappeared, but now I’m suffering from terrible eczema, triggered by natural chemicals in foods (salicylates and amines), so I’m down to being able to eat only about 11 things (!!!) I recently started working with a nutritionist and will be getting three different tests (blood and stool) this week to figure out what we need to do to heal my gut, because everything boils down to the gut.
I wish you the best in your own healing journey!