What is Adrenal Fatigue? (In Layman’s Terms)

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Many of you have read about the day I stopped functioning and the years of my health struggles.  You remember the depression, the fatigue, and my inability to handle stress or make decisions that built over many years.  It was my midwife who was the first one to mention that I needed to check out my adrenals at some point.  That was the beginning of much research and learning about this little understood hidden illness.  I am not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be any type of professional.  I also am not going to give deep medical explanations about what adrenal fatigue is.  There are other sites for that.  I am going to give you in simple, layman terms some description of this misunderstood silent illness.

First, what do our adrenals do?  In short, our adrenals sit on top of our kidneys and are responsible for our “fight or fight response.”  When your body reacts to stress it is our adrenals that give the signal to our bodies to release cortisol to enable us to rise to the occasion of the stressful situation.  We have all heard of the superhuman moments people can have in an emergency.  A mother lifting a car to get her child out from under it.  A person ignoring searing pain to rescue someone.  This is all stemming from our adrenals.  Think of it like the gas petal on your car.  Our adrenals rev our engines and enable us to go.

The problem is that this adrenaline response is supposed to kick in and then relax again.  But, in our high stress society we don’t sit on the front porch anymore and kick our feet up and watch the sunset.  We move from busyness to busyness and before we know it we are entering a state of exhaustion.

If our adrenals begin to be in a constant state of stress then they can get stuck “on”. At that point you see things like insomnia kick in.  Panic attacks, anxiety, a feeling of not being able to relax. Our body begins to be a continual cortisol factory.  And guess what?  Cortisol steals progesterone.  Now as women we begin to experience hormone issues as all our hormones get out of kilter. Our monthlys may become abnormal.  We may develop a cortisol belly and cannot lose weight. Our adrenals control our blood sugar so we may begin to see pre-diabetic symptoms beginning.  All from these two tiny organs on top of our kidneys.

I have an especial burden for mamas like me who have had baby after baby for so many years.  We have been bearing babies and breastfeeding, giving to our children but not caring for ourselves.  Many of us homeschool and we are seeking to follow the Lord in the diligent raising of our families.  But, we are breaking down physically and finding it harder to function day by day.  As the fatigue increases, the inability to make decisions gets harder.  Now, small stressors begin to loom mountain like.  Non-stressful situations now become like blaring alarms in our system and we are on a continual loop of “emergency mode”.

Adrenal fatigue and all the ailments that go along with it can be very lonely.  We look fine to people around us.  And for a long time we can put a front on so that everything looks ok.  We smile outwardly but inwardly we are spiraling downhill.  The ability to get out of bed every morning gets harder and harder and making it through the day becomes a matter of survival.

At this point, we may begin to feel the guilt of the lack of joy we are feeling.  We may feel distant from God.  We chide ourselves, knowing we are so blessed how can we possibly feel depressed?  (Ask me how I know).  Our spiritual lives suffer.  We pray, cry out to God, we may even be memorizing scripture but our bodies are crying out for rest and help.

THIS is part of why I now have this strong burden to help other moms who have been struggling like I was.  Because the battle is real.  Satan would love to discourage us in our most important job of raising this next generation for Jesus.

But, I am here to tell you the health of our bodies distinctly can affect the health of our souls.

When Elijah was discouraged and asked the Lord to die.  Did the Lord chasten him for his lack of faith?  No, the Lord addressed his physical needs. God gave him sleep and food. Sleep and food.  Then after his body was refreshed the Lord encouraged his soul. So my sisters, in caring for our bodies we are following the example of the Lord Jesus.

There are different stages of adrenal fatigue ranging from mild to severe.  I was pretty severe before I began my journey of healing.  It is my hope that many will recognize the symptoms earlier on and begin to care for their bodies before they crash as low as I did.

Adrenal fatigue IS real.  While you did not hear of the term as often 50 years ago, Adrenal fatigue has always been and still is a very real condition.  In fact, our modern steroids that are commonly prescribed were origianally made from natural adrenal glandulars.  With the introduction of synthetic drugs the steroidal prescriptions like prednisone took it’s place. Many allopathic doctors do not recognize it unless you have reached complete adrenal failure (called Addisons’s disease). Your doctor might even tell you your physical weaknesses are simply because you have a large family. But more and more people are beginning to take seriously the reality and natural doctors have long seen the importance of paying attention to these little organs in our body.

If you can relate to what I have described, I would love to talk with you and share more about what my protocol is that has helped me so much. Email me sandjervin@gmail.com or find me on Facebook. I also have an adrenal fatigue support group that can be an immense source of encouragement.

Take heart!  There is hope!