Adrenal Fatigue: What is it and Why I think I have It

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caution_tired_mother_edited-13I am tired. All the time. You would think that would be obvious since I have three small kids but I’m not just tired. I am TIRED. And even when I’m so exhausted I’m passing out on the couch watching TV at night, once I get in bed, it’s like I get a whole new burst of [unwanted] energy and I toss and turn for hours. The problem though is that it’s not a burst of energy like I’m ready to fold laundry or go for a jog. It’s the worst kind of energy. It’s sleepy energy. Energy that keeps your brain going but not your body.

Then I finally fall asleep somewhere around midnight only to be awoken for no apparent reason around 3 a.m. and it’s like I’m up for the day. I thought for a long time that my body just decided this was normal after having to wake up to feed the twins for 15 months but I’m not so sure anymore.

I’ve been dealing with this insomnia/tired/exhaustion combination since I was pregnant with the twins. I think it goes without saying (if you’ve been reading my birth story) that my pregnancy was stressful. I knew the stress wasn’t very good for my body but I never really imagined it was anything more. Post-delivery, I dealt with anxiety and depression. I managed to get what I feel like is a good handle on the two things and life seems to be slowing down. So why is it that my mind is still stressed?

A friend of mine shared an article with me about the adrenal glands being connected to these 3 a.m. wake ups. I tried a few [horrible tasting] solutions to this wake up issue and got mixed results. This prompted me to do a bit more research though. And the information I found out was shocking, nearly brought me to tears because it so deeply connected with things I’ve been experiencing the last several years with no explanation and no doctors believing me or wanting to help me. I have adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue is not commonly recognized by the medical community. To be clear, severe adrenal disease (more widely known as Addison’s Disease) is not the same thing. To the best of my research capabilities tells me, adrenal fatigue is the result of 15% of less decreased function of the adrenal glands. So when presented to a doctor or specialist, they run a blood panel to rule out Addison’s Disease and find less alarming numbers than they were looking for so they say it’s nothing. (Read more on the misdiagnosis of adrenal fatigue.)

It’s not “nothing” though. Just because it’s not the worst thing that could be wrong with the adrenal glands does not mean there’s nothing at all wrong. In fact, less that 37% of cases in adrenal fatigue ever get diagnosed and many take more than 12 months of testing. The average patient sees 6 doctors before a proper diagnosis is given. There’s no magic pill or medicine to cure it unfortunately. So instead I’m left with no doctors on my side and having to ponder what to do next. I’ll be studying up and checking out some books from the library to see what diet and vitamin changes I can make to get the adrenal fatigue better in control.

For a full list of symptoms I’m experiencing because of the adrenal disease, check out my post on AmateurParenting.com

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About Heather Campbell

I'd like to say I'm fun and interesting, but that all depends on who you talk to. I have everything I've ever wanted. I've been married, mostly happily since 2006. Together we have a spunky redhead and giggly identical twins. I am a mom/homemaker, doula-in-training and a freelance writer. Our story is magical. Our life is chaos.

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  7. Found your blog by googling “adrenal fatigue and twins.” I have 18 m.o. twins as well as 3 other kids 10 and under. I am a stay at home mom. Thought I was losing my mind. I read about adrenal fatigue and it described my life. Just wanted to say hello and I am feeling it, too. Wonder if being a mom of multiples has anything to do with it?!

    • Oh I’m betting it has a LOT to do with it. Twins are exhausting! Sorry to hear you are suffering too. If it helps, things have been steadily improving for me since erasing triggers and stimulants from my diet. As my girls get older, I am getting more sleep which also helps 🙂

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