I tend to blog more about lighthearted, not-so-personal issues… but I am making an exception with the hope that I might be a help.
Since my mid-twenties I have struggled with some severe anxiety issues. I was diagnosed with GAD – generalized anxiety disorder, and I was having panic attacks weekly with a constant sense of fear and worry. It was scary. I was afraid to travel and afraid to eat out for fear I would get sick. I spent several years working with a counselor, and that has helped me tremendously. I worry much less than I used to, and my panic attacks are all but gone. I got to root of much of my fear, and was empowered by understanding more about what was happening in my mind and body. I found out I was not crazy or alone in my struggle.
But it seems that my mind still has not been able to connect with my body on this issue. I am still “wired” most of the time, and have a hard time sitting still and focusing. My body does not want to go to sleep at night or get out of bed in the morning.
I ride a roller coaster of having lots of energy some moments and huge waves of fatigue most of the time. The fatigue is the worst, as it can be severe and debilitating. It feels like someone is sitting on my chest and a cloud has fogged my brain.
I continue to try all kinds of things to try and ward off the fatigue… I have altered my diet radically… I mostly eat organic fruits, vegetables and meats. I am now trying to eliminate processed sugars and eat less wheat. I exercise regularly. I have also tried (and still trying) anxiety meds. They do help – I sleep better – but they seem to make me more fatigued, less focused, and mess up my metabolism (I gained a bunch of weight for no apparent reason. It sucks.) Now, I am exploring different herbal supplements that can help. I also want to check into some relaxation and stress management techniques.
Last year I went to an integrated medicine specialist to try and make some sense of this fatigue. I went through some very expensive testing and was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. The doctor told me that I was overproducing cortisol, and that my adrenal glands were worn out, making me tired all the time. The symptoms definitely fit, but the doctor wanted to put me on a steroid to help balance me out… after some research, I declined. I am really trying to exhaust natural remedies before putting more meds in my body (especially ones that will make me swell up or gain more weight!) I am also finding that non-traditional medical routes are very expensive… so this slows the process as I try to “pay as I go”. Not good for someone who lacks patience!
I am not trying to be a complainer… I have a good life… and a great family. I love life, and I have so much to be grateful for. But I am often robbed of the energy needed to be able to live in the moment.
Why do I share all of this with you?
Not for you to feel bad for me. Really. Two reasons…
1. This is part of my healing. Talking about my struggle helps me to feel connected to others and not so alone. It helps me to remember where I’ve been. I see that I am being proactive and don’t get as discouraged.
2. I hope it is part of someone elses healing… maybe it is you.. and it will help you to not feel alone and less frusterated with your battle against anxiety and fatigue. Maybe it will start a dialog where we can help and encourage one another.