It was a fresh new year of 2013 and the thought of quitting my job of almost 12 years, weighed heavy on my shoulders. I was consumed with it and obsessed with the idea everyday. I even talked to my Supervisor about it to see if I would have her blessing. She was very supportive and I appreciated her for that.
I had just finished dealing with my children’s school giving us a week’s notice of the school shutting down and having to find another school for them. But then one day my husband called me to tell me he was being put in an ambulance for messing up his back at the gym. I had just about lost it. I went into my Supervisor’s office and the very second my butt touched the chair, I cried. I didn’t even say one word and all I could do was cry. I swear I became the biggest cry baby. I cried over everything and every small thing was like the end of the world to me. I told my Supervisor what happened and she was very sympathetic and compassionate with my situation. While I was driving to get to my husband, I cried as I was in deep thought about my life and with what was going on with my health. I felt like I was being pulled in every direction, I felt like I was walking on thin ice and hanging from a limb. Don’t get me wrong, I usually loved all that, but just in the recent years, I wasn’t handling anything well at all.
So my husband and I decided that I should try to go on a leave. I wanted to go on a medical leave due to stress but I needed to be declared temporarily disabled for that so I started to take the steps to figure out what exactly I needed to do to just stop working for a while. So I started seeing a psychologist to see if he did in fact agree that I should go on a leave due to stress. Each time I went in to see him, I cried. I always answered their questionnaire that they gave me to fill out and each time I would always circle “most of the time” or “everyday” when asked questions in regards to feeling sad, depressed or hopeless. Work became more and more difficult for me because it was really hard for me concentrate since I kept going back and forth on whether or not I really was going to quit my job or just go on a short leave.
In the midst of that I had to really let go of the whole IVF thing because obviously I had to deal strictly with my health and what was going on with me. So I had to figure out what we were going to do with all the money we set aside in our flexible spending accounts. I didn’t want to go hunting for another holistic doctor so I remembered the doctor I went to for the laser fat reduction and scheduled an appointment with him. I had to stop working with the other holistic/energy woman because she didn’t accept flexible spending accounts and I felt that if I was going to be with this new doctor, it had to be all or nothing. Our consultation appointment was pretty long. It was about 45 minutes or so and he was very detailed with his questions. The first thing on my agenda was taking a saliva adrenal test. If I can remember, I remember spitting in a tube a few times at certain times of the day. Then I ended up having to take a stool test at some point, which was pretty disgusting.
I continued seeing the psychologist and he had said that I was suffering from major depression and well, I forgot what he said it was but it had something to do with me not being able cope with major changes in my life. I had a difficult time discussing with him the reasons why I didn’t want to leave my job, what I thought being a stay at home mom meant to me and not being able to do the IVF anymore. I could tell he was trying to teach me coping skills and how to move on from something else if it couldn’t be changed, rather than dwell on it, but it didn’t take away the sadness I had inside of me. I didn’t want to leave my job. I felt like that was my one thing that I could call my own. The one thing that I was in control of and could run to. I didn’t want to let that part of me go and discover this new part of me. Then there was the part of me becoming a stay at home mom. What would my Mom think? Would she think I was lazy? Or a quitter? Would other people think that I was pathetic and couldn’t handle working and taking care of kids? What would my relatives say about me? To my Mom about me? But worst of all, this whole thing brought out feelings of me tying my tubes and having to let go of this IVF dream once and for all. Geez, why wouldn’t I be depressed? So my psychologist agreed to take me off work for a month. If I wanted to be out of work longer, I would have to start taking prescription drugs and go to group therapy classes and I didn’t want to take the drugs and I couldn’t attend the group therapy classes even if I wanted to since no one would be able to watch the kids.
My adrenal test came back and I was shocked with the results. I had stage 3 adrenal fatigue. I am posting an example of test results just to give you an idea of how low mine were. I can’t remember my exact values but I just wanted to give you an idea of how low they looked. I’m not even sure if those are the correct reference ranges but all I can remember is my doctor telling me that when I wake up in the morning, I wake up tired, get even more tired throughout the day and by the time the end of the day came, I was like the walking dead.
MY RESULTS REFERENCE RANGE
Cortisol – Morning (6 – 8 AM) 1.5 13.0 – 24.0
Cortisol – Noon (12 – 1 PM) 1 5.0 – 8.0
Cortisol – Afternoon (4 – 5 PM) 1 4.0 – 7.0
Cortisol – Nighttime (10 PM – 12 AM) .5 1.0 – 3.0
He was surprised that I could even function during the day and understood why I was having such bad brain fog and forgetting things. He had also told me that I had the hormones of a 70 year old woman which would explain the really bad mood swings and other womanly issues. The only one I had to wait for next was the stool test.
I continued to work until my leave started and was still seeing the psychologist and then I received some supplements that the doctor sent me and I was excited because I had faith that this time around, my health would improve. These supplements were going to work on my hormones and adrenals. I thought I was taking a lot of pills with the other doctor but I was taking even more with this one, along with some sublingual drops. I eventually received my stool results and was surprised to find out I had a gut infection with enterobacter and a leaky gut. So this meant I had to go on a gut detox protocal which meant even more pills!
As far as work went, I found out that I couldn’t go on medical leave because more than likely the Director would deny it. I was advised to just take a personal leave. Personal leaves could go up to 6 months but in my situation and with how things were going at my job, I didn’t think I would get approved for that, so my note from my psychologist got me a month of personal leave. In my heart though, I knew I wasn’t coming back to my job and I felt so heartbroken. No one really knew that I was going on leave or really for what, shoot, I didn’t even know myself I think. I started taking things home from my cubicle and tying up all the odds and ends of cases as much as I could. But I felt jipped. Everyone else got goodbye party’s and what not but I didn’t get that. I had two co-workers offer me lunch on two different days which was really nice but I missed my old “family” at the other office and the rest of us were all separated in different parts of the building. My home of 12 years felt empty to me and in a sense I felt unappreciated for all the years I spent there. Naturally, it was my choice to keep things quiet because I just didn’t know what was going on with me, but I just knew I wasn’t coming back. I guess there was a part of me that hoped that I would miraculously feel better during my leave and want to go back to work. But it didn’t change the fact that our taxes would still be messed up if I continued working, that all my paycheck would go to daycare and that I would still be exhausted coming home from work and still having to care for the kids. Most importantly, I still wasn’t better.