My Journey with Adrenal Insufficiency

I grew up in an alcoholic home which affected me more than I realized.  I was in a constant state of fear and unhappiness, always looking for a way to make myself feel better.  I assumed that it was only emotional, but found out differently later on.  My search led me to many different healing disciplines:  counseling, birth control pills (hormones), anti-depressants (which made me suicidal), astrology, Lifespring, hypnotherapy, biofeedback, meditation (very unsuccessful – I couldn’t sit still for long), self help books.  Exercise was the best thing I found to help me when things got really bad.  I found Reasonance Repatterning in the 90’s and it really appealed to me because of the idea that one thing does not work for everyone.  It offered one stop shopping for many disciplines with explanations on how they work, in addition to muscle testing, which allows you to determine what you need.

In 2004, after several years of major life changing events (death of sister and mother, ending of long term relationship, job change and pay cut, purchase of 1st house with husband to be, going through decades of accumulated stuff), I was physically worn down and stressed out.  I had a chronic ear infection and my doctor gave me a 12 day pack of prednisone after the usual antibiotics and ear drops did not work.  I didn’t know at the time that steroids will reduce adrenal function for up to a year and I also didn’t know that my adrenals were already shot, so those steroids basically finished me off.  I became very weak. I had no energy at all, like I had been unplugged.  My blood sugar was extremely unstable, putting me on a roller coaster of being weak and shaky from low blood sugar or feeling ill and crashing from high blood sugar.  I felt horrible every minute of every day.  My adrenals would run out of gas about every three weeks, putting me in bed for a day or so (the only way to recharge your adrenals is sleep).  This also put me in menopause.  I would have hot flashes so severe they would make me nauseous.  I was in fight or flight most of the time.  The smallest things would trigger it and I would feel shaky and scared for a long time afterwards.  Normally, your body releases chemicals to turn off the fight or flight response, but mine didn’t work.

It took me about a year to figure out what was actually wrong with me (adrenal insufficiency brought on by steroids) and even then, traditional medicine didn’t have much to offer me in the way of help.  Luckily I have a good medical doctor who put me on Neuroscience targeted amino acid therapy which changes your brain chemistry to bring it back to normal levels (instead of fight or flight). I also have the trio of my acupuncturist, my chiropractor and my massage therapist (I get reflexology).  They give me information about what is going on with my body and they support and verify my perceptions.  While trying to figure out how to cope with my chronic health issue, I realized that I had been stuck in fight or flight most of my life.  By growing up in a high stress environment, my neurotransmitters had become stuck at this high stress setting.  I also realized that this causes a victim mentality.  When your body is in fight or flight, your brain looks for the threat and tries to decide to flee or fight.  However, if you are stuck in fight or flight, you have not really been threatened.  Your brain is still looking for the thing that turned on your fight or flight response.  You blame your job, your boss, your friends, your family, your city/location, etc, anything but yourself because your brain expects it to be external.  When I finally realized that it was my body that was stuck, that there was no outside threat, it was a huge relief.  I realized that my fear was a physical thing and that it was fixable.  So, one of the worst things that has ever happened to me also brought the gift of curing my constant fear and unhappiness that I have lived with for most of my life.  I believe that this is a rampant malady these days because I see this behavior in people all around me in varying degrees.  Most people are very functional, like I was before my bout with prednisone.  It’s very hard to describe to someone else how differently I experience life these days, now that I am not in constant fear.

However, this didn’t happen overnight and I am still healing.  I’ve had to learn ways to cope when my body is out of balance.  This is where the healing modalities became invaluable to me.  I do RR sessions on myself when I feel really stuck, but the most helpful thing is having something that I can do in the moment, wherever I am.  I use Jin Shin Jyutsu, holding my fingers in meetings when I am feeling bad or having a hard time paying attention.  I do zip-ups walking down the hall (one day a co-worker asked me if I was cussing someone out in Italian!).  I set intentions and do a healing modality when I am having trouble concentrating or to get myself back on track at work.  When something happens that puts me in fight or flight, I thump my thymus.  It calms me down immediately.  I have a routine of modalities that I do in the morning – I can tell it makes a difference because I tend to skip it on the weekend and I definitely feel better during the week!  I am very Thankful to Chloe for sharing this information with us and making it so accessible.  I have a wonderful tool box to pick from whenever I need it.

I am in my seventh year of taking the Neuroscience supplements and my neurotransmitters are almost normal.  The trick is to wean myself off of the supplements and keep my brain chemistry at the new baseline.  I’m not 100% fixed and might not ever be, but I feel more like an adult and can make decisions based on clear reasoning, not just safety and survival.  I very rarely crash these days but I do still have to watch what I eat to keep my blood sugar stable.  I have tools that I can use every day to help myself cope with whatever I am dealing with at the moment, physically or mentally.  I believe that health is a constantly changing state of balance and that we can help ourselves by being aware of what we need in the moment and staying conscious of our daily choices concerning food and activities.  Health care professionals are an important source of information, but I know my body best and I am ultimately responsible for its daily care.  The body will tell us what it needs if we only listen.  I share my story with the hope that I can help others help themselves with these simple and wonderful tools.

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4 thoughts on “My Journey with Adrenal Insufficiency”

  1. excellent article and down to earth story on healing oneself with the help of many modalities including RR. Great job, Missy. I look forward to how you share your knowledge in the future.

  2. Hey which supplements and medications were you on/are on? You mentioned some amino acids that have been helping to rebalance your neurotransmitters. Could you share the info with me?

    Mandy

    1. Mandy, I take Neuroscience supplements which are determined by a urine test that you use in your own home and mail to Neuroscience labs. They will send the results to your doctor. The results will tell you if your neurotransmitters are normal or not and if not, which supplements and dosages to take to normalize them. I believe there is at least one other company besides Neuroscience that provides Targeted Amino Acid Therapy Supplements, but you can go to Neurorelief.com and read up on Neuroscience. This is not the cheapest thing to do, but I could not find anything else to help myself, much less get a diagnosis about what was wrong with me, so I was very Thankful that my doctor offered this to me. You may have to find a doctor or practitioner that will work with you. Good luck and please let me know if you decide to try it!

      Thanks, Missy

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