Most of my patients have been suffering from Adrenal Fatigue for years and sometimes even decades before finding my office. They all share the common desire to get their life back by healing Adrenal Fatigue and its symptoms as fast as possible.
We have been promised quick-fix solutions through clever marketing campaigns. However, many patients have learned through experimentation that quick fixes aren’t successful long term solutions. I wish there were a trick that would turn years’ worth of wear and tear around overnight. It takes time to attain lasting healing, though.
My predecessor Dr. Poesnecker would say, “Our patients want miracles; we give them miracles, just slow ones.” The healing process is incremental and gradual…and best yet, completely possible!
Avoiding these 6 common obstacles to healing helps patients get on track and stay on track.
#1 Slow Down the Hurry-up-and-Heal Cycle
New patients are often eager to dive straight into healing and who could blame them? After years of seeking answers, it’s exciting to have restored hope and a step-by-step roadmap to healing. This excitement can easily turn into feeling like a complete life overhaul has to be done immediately. That’s simply not the case.
In my twenty years of clinical experience, I have yet to find a patient with this condition that isn’t sensitive. Because of this sensitivity, making simple, single changes are key. My first rule: start low and go slow. It may sound counterintuitive, but it is more efficient than adding too much too fast, having a reaction, backing off, and starting over again.
Being a bit scientific as you move through this process helps. Research scientists work to control as many variables as possible to pinpoint cause and effect. So must we while healing.
This brings me to my next rule: make one change at a time. Too many changes at once, and you don’t know what works and what doesn’t. This is true for any change, including dietary, sleep, movement, supplements, vitamins, and exercise. Slowing down is encouraged in order to speed up healing Adrenal Fatigue.
#2 Shake Off Worrying About Healing Adrenal Fatigue
Telling a person who has Adrenal Fatigue not to worry is like telling a person with tuberculosis not to cough. It is inherent in the condition.
Over time, Adrenal Fatigue patients become wired to worry. Our fight or flight physiology becomes trigger happy and stuck in the “on” position. This is meant to be a form of protection, but it is a protective response that has gone haywire.
The physiological reason for the excessive fear and worry by most Adrenal Fatigue patients is due to too much stress hormone. In order to bring the physiology back into balance, we need to effectively rewire the stress response system. This can eventually stop the vicious worry cycle in its tracks. More worry leads to more stress hormone which leads to more worry.
One of the many facets of my healing protocol is to stop this cycle. I teach my patients how to rewire their limbic system and calm their stress response. These four measures can be easily incorporated into an everyday routine:
1) Reassess worries, write them down, and let go of whatever is out of your control
2) Get out of your head as much as possible
3) Disconnect and reconnect with nature:go for a walk, go to a park or a beach
4) Grounding exercises: get your feet in the dirt!
When done consistently, these small simple steps can reap huge benefits for healing Adrenal Fatigue.
#3 Stop Chasing and Treating Only Symptoms
Years of treatment by well-intentioned yet misinformed practitioners, as well as all the opinions on the internet, have created healing setbacks for many of my patients. The internet can be a wonderful research tool, but it can also become an echo chamber for ill advice.
My patients have wasted years chasing after individual symptoms because they have been told repeatedly that the symptoms are the problem. Thyroid disorders, digestive issues (malabsorption, leaky gut, or candida overgrowth), immune issues (allergies, EBV, chronic Lyme), insomnia, and hormonal imbalances are not the root cause of all your problems. These dysfunctions and symptoms are simply the product of a deeper issue.
Out of desperation to heal, many of my patients have become researchers and been on the merry-go-round of specialists. That has led them to experiment with cleanses, detoxes, supplements, diets, and various healing therapies. While some of these recommendations do give transient relief, they keep the focus on healing symptoms. They will never fully resolve if the root cause of the symptoms is not addressed.
By shifting our physiology back into balance, this cascade of symptoms will naturally dissipate without having to treat each one of them separately.
#4 Don’t Use Energy That’s Fleeting
At the first glimpse of returned energy, it is human nature for patients to push their boundaries and want to make up for lost time. This can often result in a crash. A crash is discouraging, but with the right amount of pacing, crashes can be avoided. I tell all my patients, whether they’re feeling good or bad at the moment, not to get used to it. It’s bound to change.
Eventually, patients develop a reserve of reliable energy. Until then, I ask them to resist the urge to do more or live more during the moments when they feel better. I know this is not an easy request. If they can accomplish this, however, they build up an energetic bank account. That gives them an eventual surplus from which to build a healthy life. As healing continues the good days will outweigh the bad ones as they are incrementally phased out.
#5 Release the Idea of Perfection
The majority of my patients are cut from the same cloth, sharing similar personality traits. I call these traits because these qualities can be controlled. Being overly caring, sensitive, overachieving, and a perfectionist are common. Fortunately, being perfect isn’t necessary for healing. In some cases, the need to tackle everything perfectly can even hinder healing.
Let go of perfection. Leave the dishes in the sink. Ask for help. Say “no,” even if you think it makes you look “bad” or “lazy,” which brings me to…
#6 Ignore Other People’s Opinions About Healing
Sharing your pain, discomfort, and mental anguish to friends or family is a double-edged sword. You want them to understand and help. Instead, they often just aggravate the situation with unsolicited advice about healing Adrenal Fatigue. They like to chime in, telling you how to eat, which medication to take, the path you should choose, or how to think. They say “Be positive!” or “You need to exercise!”
Well-intentioned advice does not mean well-informed advice. Everyone has a bias based on their experience. This bias creates opinions, and in turn advice.
My bias is based on my medical education, naturopathic philosophy, varying levels of experience with these issues both personally and with patients, and also my continued research.
People may ask my patients, “Are you better yet?” All my patients need to believe is that I’m leading them on the path to lasting health using my Trilateral Healing Approach. Knowing this is their power and strength.