A woman wrote to me who has had Addison's disease for 17 years. She is tired and frustrated because she can't seem to get better. I really do understand. I spent much of the last 40 years in my home unable to do much of anything. It took weeks and even months to get back on my feet after doing a small thing such as going out to dinner. I have even had to be wheeled around in a wheelchair because I couldn't walk. I always felt rotten like I had a flu - achy, nauseous, headache, dopey, confused, depressed, and exhausted.
That is the key - exhausted. I finally realized that I was simply exhausted. In the old days they might have said, "You broke your health", or "You had a nervous breakdown". Addison's disease is when the adrenal glands are worn out by too much stress and just can't keep up the high level of production of cortisone needed to cope with all the stress you are experiencing. Eventually, the glands quit, and then they say you have Addison's disease. It isn't something that just happens to you, or you catch; it is the consequence of being constantly over-stressed.
Many diabetics experience the same thing. They eat too many refined carbohydrates causing their pancreas to increase its production of insulin. Eventually, the pancreas becomes exhausted and can't produce enough insulin which is called Diabetes.
It isn't something most people are born with, it takes years of abusing your body to reach a point of where you exhaust your adrenal glands. You might rest a little and go back to your normal life, but if you become sick easily, recover slowly, tire quickly, sleep poorly, become upset easily, and enjoy little, you are headed for exhaustion.
As your adrenal glands become over stressed and fail, they are no longer able to adequately support your immune system so you get sick easily and heal slowly, and you may develop multiple allergies and chemical sensitivities. Which will stress you more and tire you. You may experience your blood pressure, blood sugar, and temperature fluctuating. In short, you feel sick.
I have found that most people I've known that have Addison's Disease have had many stresses within a short period of time, or maybe constant stress year after year. They try to bravely keep going, until they finally collapse. I did. (I'm not referring to those who are born with non-functioning glands or have had damage to their adrenal glands by a tumor or accident, but those who slowly go downhill. )
Healing your adrenal glands can be done. You have been in a downward spiral. Your failing adrenal glands, cause immune, blood sugar and blood pressure problems, which increases emotional stress which further stresses the adrenal glands. It takes work to turn things around, but it is worth it. I am still healing, but not longer need any medication. I am dancing and hiking again. It is wonderful!
Eliminate all the stress you can:
- Eat nutritious food; drink plenty or water; and get at least 8 hours sleep a night
- Eliminate any foods from your diet that you are allergic to - I started out with two natural food allergies and ended up only able to eat two foods - beans and squash! - be tested
- Eliminate any chemicals that bother you from your environment - common irritants - perfumes (and air fresheners), petrochemicals - plastics, gasoline, etc; paints, cleaning supplies; use no VOC paints, and get cleaning products from a health food store
- Check your clothes - try pure cotton; see if you feel more relaxed
- Check your schedule- are you trying to do more than you feel up to? Cut out all you can. Set priorities and goals; Delegate; Eliminate; Simplify
- Check your relationships - try to eliminate those that exhaust or depress you (I had several negative relationships which were draining me)
- Allow yourself time to do things you enjoy; I gave us doing things I enjoyed because I felt "too sick" ; It didn't help; Remember, slow down now while you can, or later your body will make you slow down or simply stop. I know. I did it.
- Do exercise you enjoy - something that is a chore will just make things worse; start small and slowly increase; this will help to use up the excess cortisone and adrenalin you are producing before it damages your insides
- Resolve emotional problems: let the anger go ( I found out that depression is anger turned inward. If I was depressed, frustrated, upset - that is anger); forgive; work out solutions; I dramatically perked up when I finally accepted that I was angry. Just recognizing and accepting my feelings helped tremendously.
- Relax - most things don't really need to be done this moment. I was amazed to find that the world went on when I was down. I didn't think it could, but it did! Being ill sure helps you realize what is really important in life. Relaxation can help you cope with the stresses you can't change such family illnesses.
- Have faith that you can get better. Having faith in God helped me heal.
- Work at it! Don't give up! It can be done. I did it!
Caution: Never drop your dose of Adrenal medication unless you are carefully being monitored by your doctor. I carefully cut my dose over a two month period under my doctors supervision.
Remember that if your adrenal glands have been severely over-stressed, they may not return to full functioning, but you should improve your quality of life if you cut the stress in your life.