I have been absent for the past several weeks. I don’t know if you’ve noticed and truthfully, it’s ok if you didn’t. I don’t really have a high online profile anyway. (Yes, I am an introvert, lol. It’s one of the reasons that I chose writing over something like acting or politics.)
The reason that I’ve been gone was exhaustion. I had hit a wall, hard. It was to the point where I found it hard to get out of bed, but neither was I able to get any decent rest, no matter how much or how little I actually slept. I was run down, burnt out, and hiding from the world. I just couldn’t find the energy to care whether or not I was interacting with anyone or going anywhere. It was just easier to stay at home and try to make it through another day.
At the same time, I was utterly miserable. I was letting down everyone in my life, I wasn’t meeting my goals, why couldn’t I just shake this off? After all, everyone else manages to get up and push through the day, so why couldn’t I? I was lazy, a failure, a bad sister/daughter/friend because I couldn’t be there for those I loved. Every time I would go to write, I would just stare at the blank screen, nearly in tears because no matter how much I searched, I could not find any words or stories inside me.
My cup was empty. I had absolutely nothing left to give. No stories. No energy. Nothing of myself to offer my friends and family. It was like staring into a misty abyss in the mountains inside myself. I knew that there would most likely be something wonderful if I could just get rid of the fog.
But the truth is, this didn’t happen overnight. I wasn’t perfectly fine one day and totally empty the next. No, this was years and years of neglect on my part that led to this point. Our world values busy. The more items you have crammed into your schedule, the more items you can produce, that’s when you are considered a productive member of society. And so, we hit the ground running, day after day, not noticing that we’re destroying the most valuable thing we have, ourselves.
As everyone knows, these past two years have been, challenging, to put it lightly. Not only that, but living in the digital age and the constant stream of information at our finger tips and we’re under pressure 24/7 to process more and more and more. We don’t have sanctuaries or rest anymore. Many times, our homes are no longer our havens since people have started working remotely. There is no shift from work to the relaxation of home. No, now work is all the time at home because that’s where work is now. There is no division, no invisible boundary lines.
A few weeks ago, I got fed up with the brain fog and the lethargy. I got tired of not being able to perform and not being able to figure out why. I took care of myself, took my vitamins, ate fairly well, and tried to sleep at least six hours at night (I’m a night owl living with morning people, lol). So why was I unable to function? This kicked off some major research on my part.
And I discovered that I have adrenal fatigue. Now, this is a very controversial diagnosis. Many doctors do not believe in it. Also, it’s not a condition but a syndrome, something that happens because of something that’s happening in the body. To break it down as simply as possible, adrenals produce cortisol. Cortisol is what tells our body whether to fight or flight. It’s our stress response. However, when our bodies are under long term (chronic) stress without an actual event, the body starts getting confused about what to do with all the cortisol. After all, it’s only a short term solution. Cortisol gives you the energy/strength for survival and then after the event/danger is over, then you can go back to normal. But with chronic stress, there is nothing to signal an end to the situation for you body to return to business as usual.
So, I made some changes, took a social media/news fast, changed some of my diet, and started treating the adrenals directly so that they could stop over producing cortisol. And within 24 hours, the brain fog started to clear. Within a week, I started to engage with the world around me again. It’s been nearly a month now, and I’m finally getting my energy and creativity back. I feel like I’m slowly reclaiming my life and who I’m meant to be.
During this time, I’ve also been taking a hard look at my life, re-evaluating everything. Self care has become a lot more important to me, because I never should’ve allowed myself to reach this level of burnout in the first place, to where it became impossible for me to live my life ‘normally’. I’ve gotten rid of some of the busy work that was adding nothing of true value to my life. I reassessed my commitments, my goals, my dreams, everything.
I’m not going to lie, it’s going to take time to get myself back to what I consider optimal health, especially since life is not going to stop throwing challenges at me. But I’m going to start treating myself right, taking care of myself like I take care of those I love. I’m going to give myself more grace, laugh and live more instead of trying to keep up with the fast pace of this constantly moving world.
And don’t worry, I’m going to keep writing. I love to do it, it brings me such deep joy and commitment. But I’m going to stop trying to be that perfect author that does it all. Instead, I’m going to laugh and spin stories around a blazing campfire under a night sky blanketed with stars. I’m going to dance and sing and just enjoy the journey that my characters take me on. Because quite frankly, no one gets out of life alive, so I want to start enjoying the journey.
Wishing you an amazing week!
Curious if you have adrenal fatigue? Here is an easy way to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYfUCMCBYGE