Surviving Adrenal Exhaustion: Three-Day Quotes Challenge

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I wanted to warmly thank Laura Sharp: Amazing Journey for nominating me for the three-day quotes challenge. I really love Laura’s blog so I do hope that you check out her writing. I am cheating a bit and merging my three quotes into one post and I have focussed on a recent part of my life that changed everything for me, namely, an early retirement due to adrenal exhaustion.

I am young to be retired and people often ask me ‘when I plan on going back to work’. Because few people know the terms ‘adrenal fatigue’ or ‘adrenal exhaustion’, I just tell them I had a ‘burnout’ and am retired as a result. Most are very polite and understanding. Very few can really ‘get’ it, unless they have been there themselves.

Interestingly, the more I read about it, the more I realise that my body must have been fighting adrenal fatigue for years. Every Christmas for most of my adult life, I found myself bed-ridden almost as soon as I came home from work for the holidays. One memorable year, I took the train to visit my parents and fell ill on the way. By the time I crawled off the train in my home town, all I had the energy for was to crawl into my old childhood bed for the remainder of my vacation. I often get infections – I have been on antibiotics so many times over the years that if there is ever a truly serious pandemic and I catch what is going around, I probably won’t stand a chance. The summer before my body finally gave out for good, I cried non-stop for the first two weeks of my vacation.

It’s funny how clear the warning signs are in retrospect.

The thing is, I now see the signs of adrenal fatigue in others all the time. There seems little point in warning them – they are not listening any more than I would have listened at the time. But bodies can and do break. And once you have damaged your health to the point that I damaged mine, you won’t ever be the way you were before.

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I was 53 when I was finally stopped in my tracks. I had been planning a long week-end with my husband – he had already moved to the home where we are living now – and, because I knew something was wrong, I had managed to squeeze in a lunch-hour visit with the chiropractor, hoping to ‘nip in the bud’ whatever was wrong with me. Alas, I quickly realised that I would not be able to return to work that afternoon. I went straight home, fell into bed with the flu and a throat so covered in a strep infection that there was no normal skin left – and woke up in the middle of the night to the worried eyes of my husband bending over me as I lay in bed, burning with fever. He had raced the five hour-trip to be with me when it was clear that I wouldn’t be going anywhere.

I never worked again. Under my husband’s loving supervision, I spent the next year sitting in an armchair watching television and filling one adult colouring book after another. In a deep depression and so tired I could barely move, I couldn’t go out; I barely bothered to get dressed in anything but my PJs. I cried like a baby for months on end.

Almost three years later, I am doing much better but even now, I tire very easily. I have learned that I can handle one ‘thing’ a day as long as it is not a physically taxing activity. Two events in one day and I am in a puddle for days afterward. Four activities a week are my absolute limit (two or three is best). Travelling anywhere takes its toll the fastest – I usually sleep for days after a trip to my mother’s.

That said, though, I would not change what happened to me for anything. Never have I been so at peace. Relinquishing all semblance of control over my life and my body has been the most freeing experience. I still have bouts of depression and anxiety and I am – simply put – always tired. But I have learned to say ‘no’. I have learned that my house does not have to be the cleanest house on the block. I have learned that my dog can still be healthy and loved even if his coat is not combed as if we were going to a dog show. I have learned that real friends always understand when I decline an invitation. I have learned that it is okay to take afternoon naps (every…single…day…). I have learned to count my blessings: I left with a much-reduced pension but: I left with a pension. I have learned the importance of stopping to watch the river run by my house. And the deer. And the eagles. I have learned to reach out my arms to hold babies: tired, busy mothers almost never say ‘no’ and babies have a way of keeping you in the moment. I have learned that I would rather write than run the vacuum. I have learned that dust – even my dog’s great and impressive dust bunnies – can and will wait. I have learned that I have worth and value far beyond what my resume says about me. I have learned that work and a profession do not define a person.

never be afraid to fall apart

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And most of all, I have learned that as much as I thought so at the time, when it comes to the workplace, absolutely everyone is replaceable. As great a job as I thought I was doing, the show definitely went on without me. The only places where being irreplaceable count for me now is as a Mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter and a friend.

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I am further cheating with the three-day quotes challenge by NOT nominating anyone in particular. Should you wish to participate, please do. NO pressure; just have fun and please, be in the moment…

Patti Moore Wilson © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com

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Author: Patti Moore Wilson, wednesdayschild2

I write what I feel. And I rarely know exactly what I feel until I write. I have lived long enough to have known many joys and many sorrows. I have made many mistakes; I have forgiven myself for a few… I have learned that there are lessons in every step of this journey, if we only take the time to pay attention… I hope you will feel free to pick and choose the stories that resonate for you…

23 thoughts on “Surviving Adrenal Exhaustion: Three-Day Quotes Challenge”

  1. Dearest Patti

    This particular blog made me so sad. When I Think about how many times I kept telling you to take care Of yourself. I wish I could have done more but as you said, it probably would not have done any good. I often wonder about how many people totally destroy their bodies before they have to listen This summer I am once again giving a workshop on how to prevent burnout -may I use this as part of my presentation? Love you to bits and I am glad to know that you are in a good place Ilze

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh Ilze, you sure can use it…it would thrill me to no end to know it made a difference to even one person. And no need to feel guilty: you were ALWAYS there for me. My years working with you (and the rest of our literacy gang) were my best. Still miss all those movies and great meals all over Montreal…😊❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. First of all…❤
    Secondly… “Relinquishing all semblance of control over my life and my body has been the most freeing experience. I still have bouts of depression and anxiety and I am – simply put – always tired. But I have learned to say ‘no’.” I’m so glad that you ended with this. It’s a lesson to anyone who tries to keep on going, to anyone being a martyr, trying to prove a point to nobody in particular.

    One of my favourite quotes is not a famous one. Seeing how much I was struggling with my 3 kids, how overwhelmed I was, constantly trying to be Supermum, my mum-in-law said to me. “The house’ll be there LONG after you’re gone, Allane. Spend this time with your kids”. Best advice I was ever given.

    It’s not selfish to look after yourself. It’s essential. X

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I love the quotes but I think I love learning more about you even more. I am glad that you decided to look after yourself and thanks for reminding me of what’s more important in life. Being a neat freak, I am constantly reminding myself to let go and spend more time with my family. Have a wonderful weekend and stay healthy.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much! And…I sure hope you read Allane’s previous comment… the house WILL outlive you… and having once been a bit of a neat freak myself, the older I get, the more I realize that neatness is highly overrated… 😊 A friend of mine puts it like this: “If you want to see my house, give me two days. If you want to see me, just come on over.”

      Liked by 2 people

  4. So good to read how you navigated this very hard change – we’re not really encouraged to look inside and take care of ourselves, are we? – and that you’re spending time doing what’s important. Glad you’re writing – it’s effortless reading your posts and you have things to say! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you SO much for the nomination!!! It is such a compliment to get recognition from a fellow blogger, especially when I so enjoy reading YOUR blog 😊 This time around, I think I will simply answer your questions directly on your post…that is always the part I enjoy the most 😊 Hope that’s okay…I will get to this ASAP 😊😊😊

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  5. I am horribly behind on my reading. I feel terrible that I have just now gotten around to reading this. Thank you so much for being so open and honest with your life. I think you are incredibly talented and brave. I completely get what you said about relinquishing your power to gain peace. We can only really ask for help when we know we can’t do it on our own. Love and blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

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