My walking pneumonia was over with, but I continued to decline internally. I could even tell just by how I felt I was changing at work. I no longer liked chit chatting with co-workers because I hated the fact that I had to concentrate so hard on their mouth’s to retain what they were talking to me about. I felt like I looked like a complete idiot, with this lost and dazed look on my face, waiting for my brain to catch up to the conversation I was having with someone. I didn’t even dress up at work anymore. Sweats and a sweatshirt or a zip up hoodie sweatshirt soon became my daily staple. I dressed how I felt. Sloppy, lazy, boring and just a hot mess. Even my face looked sick. I didn’t look or feel like myself. I was breaking out a lot and you all know how it feels when you have a break out. You start to do whatever you can to try and cover up your acne, thinking if you stack on the make up, somehow your face will look like you have perfect skin. Instead, your face feels heavy and caked on with make up and it feels oily and disgusting, so therefore, it makes you feel even more disgusting and crusty. I even asked my Supervisor if she could help relieve some of my stress by reducing my work load a little and she willingly did. She was very supportive and even suggested that I look into hiring a nanny because it could be cheaper for us to do that, rather than paying for two children in daycare. The reduction in work seemed to help a little bit, but it didn’t change that I was still overwhelmed and stressed out over my caseload. Everyone else at work felt the same way, so why should I be any special right? But I began noticing that the silly little mistakes that I made, became more silly mistakes and sometimes turned into bigger mistakes because I had become so forgetful. When did I become such a complete idiot? I used to pride myself on how well I did my work, how organized and on top of my stuff I was and here I was turning into this forgetful, stressed out, frazzled and ill looking County worker. Even when I interviewed my clients, I didn’t even like to look at their faces or make eye contact because I had to really concentrate on what they were sharing with me and had to make sure I took really good notes.
Things on the home front were difficult for me. My health started to take a toll on my relationship with my kids and my husband and I hated it. I felt like I was one person on the inside but another on the outside. The person on the outside was winning and the one on the inside, was slowly drifting away, trying desperately to fight back, but was too weak. Each day after I got off of work, I would pick up my daughter, then race through horrible traffic to get to my son. By the time we got home, I would be too tired to do anything. I didn’t want to cook, I didn’t want to do dishes, homework, showers, nothing. I just wanted to go straight to the couch and lay there. But I couldn’t do that. So because I had to do all those things and my motivation to do so, was non existent, I did it with anger and frustration. My poor little babies could see it too. But I couldn’t stop it. I felt like I had a dark side to me, that would come out whenever I was tired, but to an extreme. I yelled at my kids over everything and it was horrible. I couldn’t wait for them to get to bed because then, at least the silence would decrease my feelings of loopiness and brain fog. Even with my husband, I became this non energetic, lazy, unmotivated, undetermined lump on a log. I was depressed all the time, I felt anxious and paranoid. There was a constant twisting in my chest as if I was always waiting for something bad to happen. Because of that, I felt anxious and nervous. Soon a new symptom arose and it was heart palpitations. I tried to ignore it because I experienced heart palpitations before and they would stop, but with all the other things I was feeling, I knew it wasn’t something I should ignore. So I decided to go to the doctor again.
This was the appointment that I was putting off for as long as I could, hoping that I would’ve figured out what was going on with me within the last few years, but it seemed like things had just gotten worse. So I asked for a referral to a neurologist because I was literally driving myself crazy and I figured I might as well go and get checked out, because if it was something, at least I caught it early enough. So I went to my appointment and the doctor did all the basic tests that a neurologist would do and I passed all the basics with flying colors. He offered for me to get checked out even further but didn’t recommend it because he saw nothing wrong with me at all. Once again, I felt accepting of that answer and thought that perhaps once I embraced it mentally, somehow all these symptoms would stop, because everyone kept telling me it was just stress. Of course it didn’t, because things only got worse.
I found myself at work, in the middle of summer, having my heater on all day underneath my desk. I literally had my feet up against the heater all the time. When I say up against my heater, I meant I had my shoes off and planted my feet on top the heater! My hands were always cold too, so I always wore jackets in the office or I would place my hands underneath my butt so they would warm up. I actually made myself believe that it was the air conditioning in the office, since it was on a lot and I sat directly underneath a vent. After having chinese food for lunch one day, my left foot started to feel swollen or heavy. It was the weirdest thing. I had complained of tingling and heaviness in my right arm and leg before but that particular day it was only my left foot. I took my shoe and sock off to look at my foot to see if it was in fact swollen, but it wasn’t. It looked normal. But when I put my shoe and sock back on, it still felt swollen. I remembered when I was pregnant with my son, I had gained 7 lbs in a week and my doctor scolded me for eating so much chinese food a few days before that, because of how much sodium is in it. I figured, because I had chinese food for lunch that day, that explained why my left foot felt that way. So that had to be it! It was because I was retaining water from the chinese food I ate! But only in my left foot! I know, I know…I was really searching for any answer that made sense. It didn’t matter if it was true or not, I just wanted to hear something that fit.
The littlest things started to drain all of my energy everyday. I would wake up feeling as if I hadn’t slept in days and it was difficult getting myself and two children ready in the mornings and then having to commute. Washing dishes became a difficult task for me. Loading and unloading the washing machine and dryer made me feel out of breath, as if I had been running a marathon. Each time I would get out of the shower, I felt like I could collapse and just fall asleep. But I fought through it all. I had to make myself believe that it was all in my head, that my kids would eventually get older and if I just held on just a bit longer, then eventually, I would be able to catch up on my rest. One night as I was putting my kids to sleep, my son said to me, “Mama, if we promise to be good tomorrow, will you stop yelling at us?” At that moment, my heart broke into a million pieces. The amount of guilt and pain I felt was overwhelming and I had an immediate rush of hatred for myself. I felt like I was losing the battle. I was allowing whatever it was I was going through, to take over me and it was now trickling over to my children. I mean, I knew it was affecting them and my husband, but I didn’t know to what extent. To hear my son, who is so pure and innocent, ask his Mommy that question, was the last straw. I had to do something about this. I had to take things a step further and try to find out what was wrong with me. I was disgusted with how all of these doctors were telling me that I was fine and that it was stress or how it was all in my head.
Because I went to an acupuncturist for fertility before and eventually becoming pregnant with my son, I figured why wouldn’t she be able to help me with this issue. So I scheduled an appointment near my lunch hour and my acupuncturist was explaining to me that I had a weak heart system and that I wasn’t getting enough oxygen to my brain, which is why I was getting these “brain jolts”. It made sense to me and after my first appointment, I felt like a different person when I got back to the office. My brain fog and loopiness lifted and I actually felt normal at work that day. I continued going and I started to feel a little better but in my heart, I felt that once I stopped the acupuncture, my symptoms would return. I felt that I needed to still figure out the root of why I was feeling this way. So I had to stop the acupuncture appointments because although they were affordable, I knew they would eventually get expensive because I would have to continue going.
So, in desperation, I finally looked up adrenal fatigue like my chiropractor had told me to, and I wish I had looked into it a year ago like she had mentioned, because every single symptom it described, was me! I know that a range of symptoms can be misinterpreted to be part of a number of different diseases, but this adrenal fatigue thing felt spot on with me. So I decided to look for a book on it. I stumbled upon “Adrenal Fatigue, The 21st Century Stress Syndrome” by James Wilson on Amazon and ordered it. As soon as I received it, I read it that very night. That was the first time in years where I finally felt comfort. Reading other people’s stories made me feel safe and not so alone in what I was going through. It also made me realize just how long of a journey I had ahead of me and how disheartening it was for me to feel that I had to go the holistic route in order to be “cured” of this adrenal fatigue. We didn’t have that kind of money to shell out, so I felt discouraged again, but not completely. This little speck of hope, gave me just enough drive and motivation to start researching my options. It was time to take control of my own health because no one else was going to do it.