Fight or Flight - An Update....
FIGHT OR FLIGHT?
An Update on MY Alarming Personal Experience.
(June 2015 to May 2016)
When I shared my situation in March—Adrenal Fatigue—I mentioned that, looking back, I could see it had started the previous year, around June; it had taken a long time for me to understand what was going on. In that first message (click here to review), I outlined that Coach Tonda had identified the adrenal fatigue, and outlined how we set about addressing it.
In today’s message, I’ll provide a brief update of my progress, and turn the rest over to Coach Tonda so that she can share more about this powerful player in our system.
First, a quick back to basics: Adrenal is Latin—ad renes—which means near the kidney. We each have two adrenal glands, which are not symmetrical (one is triangular and one is kind of like a half moon). They have a strong influence on kidney function and are vital to well-being, producing the hormones we need during times of stress.
Since March, when Tonda and I customized support for my situation, I’ve gently worked to become the poster child for recovery from adrenal fatigue.
I’ve reduced stress in my life by: easing off caffeine, never missing my adrenal supplements, and starting to participate in gentle Yoga three times a week. Walking with my dog, Mishka, for an hour a day brings me bliss and is an integral part of my healing. Please know, I did not do all of the above at once. I set a relaxed pace so as to find the right balance for me.
While my mood has improved, and I’ve made more social connections (I’d become a bit distant if you remember my confiding), my appetite continues to be sporadic and sleep is still a challenge—one thousand browser tabs deep. Sometimes I sleep right away, but wake before I’ve had a fully restful experience.
To offset the sleep issue, I’ve been taking periods of rest during which I make no demands of myself to ‘sleep’.
Are there lessons to be learned in this for me? Of course. Do I anticipate being able to do more—as in workouts and perhaps even a 5k? Absolutely. And do I know it is a slow process where, little by little, I will heal (and report on that healing, therefore learning from my experience and sharing it with others on their journey with adrenal fatigue)? You betcha!
It's been difficult to separate my ego's desire to hit the gym, reshape my body, lift heavy again, and train hard like I used to. Instead, I choose to take the time to honor and listen to my body. I am genuinely tired after a simply one hour walk with my dog. So for now, I rest. I will return to training hard, when my body is healed. I am on my way to a lean, fit, health and strong body once again!
So with that short update I thank you for all your support and kind thoughts, and I’ll turn it over to Coach Tonda.
I witness Andrea holding space for others every day. Like many of us who are deeply passionate about serving others, there can be times when we get so caught up in that service that we misplace our sense of self-prioritization—seeming to forget that, in order to take care of others, we have to take care of ourselves.
Good thing our bodies are great Post-its®. They are also great responders to treatment, sending thank yous via calmer thoughts, deeper rest, and healthier appetites.
As Andrea continues on her customized supplement plan, it seems she is accomplishing a lot. Funny how that works, isn’t it? When we regroup we often accomplish more. The body works on that kind of efficiency schedule too. Put goodness of all kinds into it, and it performs.
I wanted to comment on a significant issue that affects the lives of many women: The Adrenal-Thyroid Connection.
If you’re having difficulty losing weight, especially around the abdominal area, it may be a result of adrenal gland dysfunction and its disruption of the thyroid function.
Adrenals are responsible for producing sex hormones and stress hormones—the latter responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ reaction, and those, for the most part, are adrenaline and cortisol.
When we constantly experience low-grade stress—face it, most of us do—cortisol becomes particularly problematical. For middle-aged women, those of us in or after menopause, we may see storage of fat described as an ‘apron’ on the front of the torso.
This layer of fat is particularly difficult to get rid of as long as the stress continues.
Cortisol and other stress hormones can block the uptake of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) by the thyroid. Subsequently the thyroid doesn’t get what it needs to function correctly. It’s difficult to diagnose by blood tests, because the test is for the presence of TSH, not whether it’s being accessed by the thyroid.
Adaptogenic herbs such as schizandra, rhodiola, and ashwaganda can help to balance the hormonal production of the adrenal glands and allow them to adapt quickly to changes in stress levels once they are balanced. Extra vitamin C, and vitamin B5 support adrenal function. Magnesium and B6 are peripheral helpers by supporting healthy nerve function.
A good-quality multi-vitamin/mineral is also helpful as the platform for other supplements to work from. It provides a cross-section of all nutrients to satisfy the basic requirements so that specific formulas can do their job properly.
If you think of adrenal function as a pendulum that is stuck on the upswing, imagine next that adaptogens ‘unstick’ the pendulum. What happens then is that the unstuck pendulum will, first, swing in the opposite direction.
Sometimes when we begin to take a supplement with these herbs we may experience extreme tiredness. That’s the unstuck pendulum swinging too far the other way—in other words: your body saying ‘you really need to rest now.’ However, that isn’t always feasible as we have our lives to conduct in the process. If this happens, reduced dosages allow the adaptation to happen more slowly, and then dosages can be again increased as necessary.
Once the adrenals have balanced, the adaptogens, at a smaller, regular dose, can help to adjust function to day-to-day stress levels quickly. For example, when I started taking an adrenal supplement, I had to start slowly, then increased to the full dosage. Now, years later, I still take the formula as part of my daily supplement regimen, but a minimal dosage. However, if I experience sleep disruption, I increase until my pattern normalizes.
Women live stressful lives—although men are by no means immune. A woman’s role in society does not resemble that of a few generations ago. I’m old enough to remember that my mother was the first generation of women in her bloodline to work outside of the home; that makes me the second.
It’s not that caregiving to children, a traditional role, was easy, but today women are often expected to provide frontline parenting and perform myriad other functions. Quite simply, biologically, some of our systems are not caught up to that level of super-performance.
Adeeva Nutritionals (www.adeeva.com) has an excellent adrenal support supplement called ADRENAL Support Complex. Combined with their All-In-One Multi as the platform, and possibly their Thyro-Support Formula if there is marginally low thyroid suspected or experienced, you can get back on track.
I chose products for Andrea for adrenal support and a sleep supplement called Sleep E Naturals (Not appropriate for those taking SSRIs).
Formulated by Dr. James Meschino, a chiropractor and naturopath from Toronto, with whom I had the great pleasure to work with for five years—I even had a hand in the formulation of the Adrenal product—this supplement line is superior. Designed for professionals, the composition is based on amounts used in clinical studies on humans, and published in peer-reviewed journals. That’s why I recommend them; I KNOW they work.
Their products can be ordered online and because I still have a great relationship with the company, I make sure I always have a discount code to pass along for a first order: TON025 will give you 25% off your initial order online. Learn more product information and place your order here.