What Everyone with Adrenal Fatigue Wants Their Friends to Know

The thing about living with adrenal fatigue/insufficiency (if that word is foreign to you listen to the truecast) is I look fine when you see me, so it often feels like I am lying when I say, I am sick. Sometimes I wonder why my body just can't do the job it was built to. Why I didn't know any better when I was younger and take better care to manage stress, stop living off of caffeine and adrenalin and get assessed for food sensitivities sooner. All of these things could've meant we would have avoided this, maybe.

Nowadays if I achieve the task of getting out of the house or inviting people over then I know that in those few hours I can survive, I can genuinely enjoy the time with you and I have the energy to be present with the people we adore. This is the quality of health you know me as.

It isn't until a while after you leave, and before you arrived, I was experiencing something far different. The fatigue that makes it difficult to think straight or keep my eyes open. The brain fog that when I try and run errands in this state I spend most of the shopping trip trying to keep the cart from bumping into aisles because I cannot seem to keep it rolling straight. The bed that calls my name more often than it calls my own children to sleep. The idea that my body is failing me. Those of us living with this, we want to be involved, we want to pour into our children's and friend's lives, and when we muster up the energy and strength to do so, we do it with flying colors. It reminds us of our old selves. We love every minute. We do this so well in fact, no one knows we're unwell.  

You see when you live with adrenal insufficiency/fatigue your body only has so much juice to power it up. So when you burn it all at a playdate, or a work function, you have very little to go on for the rest of the day or even sometimes, the rest of the week. You save up for the moments that mean the most, the ones you just have to participate in to maintain your level of sanity. 

The hard part is, maybe you knew me before this condition started. So you are perplexed. It can also look a lot like postpartum depression, or anxiety or a really horrible ability to handle stress. This can set on seemingly overnight but really over years and years of time has slowly been crowding in until one day it just snaps and your adrenal glands stop. When the juice runs out in me I also snap. You haven't seen this. You've never witnessed rage, or sadness, or me talking as if I were drunk when I am not. Only my family has. Because when I see you I make sure I am healthy, for the time being. I save up my self to spend time with you because you matter to me.

When my child too has this, sure he looks great when he is awake and sticks to his schedule so that he does not get over tired. But when he is off his schedule, when he skips a nap or pushes one off for too long, my friend, you aren't home to see him and I crying at night, all night because his body doesn't know how to calm itself down. It can't calm down so he starts scratching himself until he bleeds. He looks happy and healthy and growing. But inside, his organs are just surviving. His brain is a fog and the way he walks one could argue is developmental but one could also see he is so tired his legs wobble. He has enough juice to run until he doesn't. 

So when I stop calling, or stop showing up, or keep being that annoying person who refuses to hang out during nap time, I feel awful. I wonder when will this stop being so hard? But then I remember all of the things that with my first child were hard or for my friends are hard.

Hard is hard, regardless which kind of hard it is. If it weren't this kind of hard this time, it'd be a different hard. What we do in response to hard is what counts. We choose to seek out help in all sorts of ways, to learn, to make our pain our purpose, or we don't. I choose to get better. But this takes time, who knows when I will feel like myself 100% again if ever. This frustrates me more than you can imagine, or that my behavior may ever frustrate you. 

So instead of feeling guilty for being a less than consistent friend, I am trying to embrace that I have some more peace and quiet than I used to forced upon me to keep my body going. I am learning so much about how to heal the body and figure out where exactly things are going haywire. I am passionate about spreading awareness of adrenal fatigue/insufficiency for mothers and professional athletes particularly because many of them think their depression stems from their brain and when the meds don't work they give up. They just aren't looking at the right organ. I am learning that everyone is doing their best. I may not know why that is their best, but trust that it is, just like I hope you trust that I am doing my best too.

When the Fairytale Doesn't Always Include a Husband-Unexpected Joy in a Life You Never Hoped For

Story submitted by Sarah Evans 

This is my story, finding peace in a life I never dreamed of, when the opposite path then planned is the one I was catapulted to. How I came into unfathomable joy through mending a broken heart and dreams shattered.

Remember when you were a little girl dreaming of a fairytale life.  A prince. A hot one too of course. To which together you create many heirs to the thrown. Right?! And if those plans were to happen it would make you so happy?

My fairytale totally happened. My dreams from a little seven-year-old came true. I always dreamed of marrying my best friend, someone romantic, having a family with four kids. Being a stay at home mom in a house I called home.

When I was 23 years old this fairytale dream started to be a reality. I married my best friend, romantic and a navy sailor (come on close enough to a prince). It was one of the happiest days of my life. It was the most beautiful wedding, everything I ever dreamed of. Gosh, it was perfect!

Being committed with that crazy amazing love. With out hesitation I'd do anything for him.  Move across country, uproot my life, anything because I loved him so deeply. "Home" for me was anywhere he was. We made a life together, encouraged each others dreams and had life dreams together.  We were silly and had fun together. He was the person I could be raw and completely my self around. He was so romantic, knew how to melt my core. He engaged in my interests and I in his, with his love for guitar and music.

He had my whole heart.  The same excited feeling I had when we were engaged and he drove 8 hours for a surprise visit, continued into marriage. As a military family, the giddiness I felt when I knew he was coming home was incredible. Even though I was independent, my heart was never whole when he was out at sea when duty called. We were seen as a power house couple, on military deployments we had flawless communication. It was my fairytale, he my prince.

People always thought we'd last forever, and I 110% knew we would. We had a solid friendship of a foundation, great support system, had some really tough stuff come our way and should of broken us but it didn't. Nothing would, nothing could break us. The love. Commitment.

Three years into the marriage, as planned we tried for a baby and got pregnant with our precious boy! We were going to be a family! Dreams to raise that boy to be the best Packer fan ever (for real though, Title town home grown girl right here). We had family vacations we dreamed of doing. Our parenting approaches, values and beliefs were in agreement.  My life was going according to "plan" and 'nearing perfection' was my thought. With being married to my best friend, and now starting our little family.

Reality was, behind closed doors stuff was really rough. I refused to see the negatives. I knew we'd make it through, work through it all. Faith being a big part in my life, I turned to God during this time. I started seeing a counselor for encouragement during this period of the marriage.

A Marriage was forever in my mind and there was never another option. I loved him fully with my whole heart! My best friend, confidant, my soulmate. Something like we had with an amazing foundation would be able to be the root that we'd bring ourselves back to after a really rough time even, right?

I had convinced myself of the perfect picture, all while being in denial because my fairytale having a family, having my best friend, who I loved forever was fading fast. Too fast. And I was terrified. Terrified to do life with out him. To raise a child as a single mom. Facing the fact he didn't love me anymore seemed too painful to ever over come. I convinced my self things were so much better then what they were. To cope. Attempting to focus on the positives and not loose hope. Not let my days be driven by the chaos of negativity unfolding.

I never thought I'd go through the life hurricane I was in. The physical pain felt when a spouse says they don't love you anymore. questioning my worth, importance, physical appearance. Never thought I'd be "that" girl in a marriage who allows the negativity to penetrate her core, emotionally second guessing her self, confidence being destroyed. But that was me. Oh God I was a mess, I had lost my spunk, the light in my eyes when I smiled. I had lost every part of who I had been.

I gripped so tight to not loosing that man. The farytale, my dreams. Our dreams, ripping apart and my grip loosening with each tear. I begged, pleaded, for the love to stay, my family to be together, forever! "Not me, it's not me that will have a story that ends this way.... I thought. I need him, my heart can't handle this."

It sucked. Okay, take the positive spin off, I'll be real... It nearly crushed me. Pain from words, feeling abandoned, was on levels I didn't know existed. The death of a dream is heavy. The changes to come almost paralyzing to think of. The stages of grief, is no joke. Court process brutal. Oh gosh, humiliating even though there was nothing humiliating that I did. My life wide open for all to see.

Fast forward... 2.5 my divorce was finalized Jan 2016. That man, who I called my best friend, isn't my husband, or best friend anymore. My home isn't wherever he is, he's not where I find my belonging anymore. The dreams of being by his side forever as a team, traveling places, the adventurous life plans we had, having more kids...have adjusted and changed. The family dynamic I envisioned and valued of both mom and dad raising children together as a family, playing together, laughingand crying together, is no more. The ability to identify as a wife, relate and partake in couple like outings, is gone.

I'm thriving! I was determined to grow from this, it wasn't going to break me. I was a fighter. I fought for the marriage, and I wasn't going to not fight for my self too. I was determined to come out of this pain with strength and not just survive through it but thrive! Not only for my son, but for my self most importantly.

Through the loss of love, and dreams, I have found love and a joy. Love for myself, who I am, my abilities, weaknesses and strengths. A love that is not effected by another humans feelings. I found my place in a family, the family of my close friendships. The beautiful dynamic of friendships as they carried me through tough moments. I've found myself worth again. My true identity, not tainted or dependent on the acceptance of others. A new found confidence. That I am more capable then I thought on many levels. Confidence to be brave, and stand up for my self. Liberating. My passion for things I used to enjoy such as Broadway's, have been reignited. Then the joy and peace, oh my gosh, can't explain it. It's overwhelming, this joy that can't be contained. When I smile, my eyes sparkle again as the smile stems from my soul, not from an attempt try and mask pain.

At furthest from my dreams and desires I'm my happiest I've ever been in life! THAT feels good! I'm not a married, stay at home mom with 3 kids, and a house. I'm single as all get out, with an only child, renting a beautiful apartment. I desire love and companionship but I'm thriving without.  My dreams have changed, yet grown out of a desire to share love with everyone. I'm traveling, creating memories, living fully, engaging in parenthood through the special bond my son and I have. This time just him and I; I view as a gift. I treasure it! He's my travel buddy now and it's a blast.  I love life now in ways I couldn't before heart break and loss. I live daily with out being consumed by uncertainties. Being free to embrace every aspect of the journey with out a need to know what's next. Because today is enough!

The possibilities are endless of where life might take me, and I'm so excited! But I've realized where ever I go in life there's a Plan. My own plans might fail, what I thought would be the best outcome might not be that. I've been reminded that, the ultimate purpose filled plan that I can't always see, never fails me!

If life is not where you wanted it to be, just know you're not alone. Whatever life has brought you, I encourage you with this: you are important and valued. Circumstances can fail us. But this is not the end, there is always sun on the other side of the storm. When that sun comes out, bask in it. It's a beautiful, warm, happy place to choose to be. If that sunny place is different then what you originally thought it would look like, that's okay.  Bask in the goodness and breath freely letting go of the old and embrace the new.

Always thrive, not just in the moment that the sun comes out after the storm. But thrive in the storm, as the sun is slowly rising again. Even in the dark times there is still ray's of light trying to reach you, for you to bask in. You just need to reach for it!

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Being Still IS Worthwhile WORK

I have fully embraced this concept of just sitting or laying in silence.

Really, it has changed me, and my ability to help others.

Call it whatever you like, meditation, quiet time, or staring into space. I wholeheartedly believe being STILL and QUIET is THE most productive thing one can do. Feel overwhelmed? Think there are too many things on your to do list? Tired? Confused? ... the remedy is this.

We all have multiple facets to our lives, we all have a billion things to keep track of and to push forward with our goals, but knowing WHAT and WHEN to pour energy into WHICH is MAJORLY important.

I found my mind wandering and that feeling of "eh I'll put that off till tomorrow" settling in. 10 minutes of laying still and being quiet and the right question entered my mind for the day, "where does your energy need to go next?" and so did the answers, now I have clarity.

A dear friend of mine introduced me at a speaking engagement the other week as "she can somehow complete 48 hours of stuff in just 24 hours every day". Friends, I am telling you, this is how. By being still, by intentionally taking time every day to be quiet, to figure out where to direct my ship and who to ask to jump on it.

If the FEELING and the PEACE OF MIND wasn't enough, this video popped up on my newsfeed days after I wrote this on my facebook page. I had no idea that Oprah had shared this sentiment with people as well. So if you don't take it from me, that is ok, take it from her.