I couldn't find a recent adrenal post, so I'm starting one. I need help. I've been feeling poorly for the last five years, crappy for the last two years, awful for the past year and now I just feel like I'm about to collapse. I started suspecting a thyroid problem two years ago, and finally started getting answers almost a year ago (Graves Disease, but I don't have hyper symptoms). I also have another set of antibodies (TBII) but I was feeling so hypo I kept trying. At the end of this summer, I got a new doctor who tested rT3 and my numbers were way high. My iron is also low too, but he didn't say anything about that. I'm working my way through trying to get iron to take. As I learned more about it, I insisted upon testing my adrenals. Low and behold, they are low.
Here are my results. The reference ranges are:
8am 0.025 - 0.6, noon <0.01 - 0.33, 4pm 0.01 - 0.2, midnight <0.01- 0.09
10:00 am 0.073
I converted them to nm/mL because that is how most people see them:
6 am 3.12
10 am 2.02
3:30 pm 2.4
9:35 pm .52
My DHEA-S was 63.8 ug/dL (ref range 98.8-304)
I went to my doctor and was given a list of supplements to buy. Then I shared the list with an online group and they didn't like the adrenal support - they said it was better not to get a formula with a lot of stuff because you never know what works and what doesn't. SO now, through my brain fog, anxiety and frustration, I need to figure out what to do.
The bigger issue is that I am totally overwhelmed. I'm a teacher who is lucky enough to have someone teaching with me most of the day. She is doing a lot of the work for me and I feel bad about it. This is my first year at the school and I am so disorganized and forgetful I know I am not pulling my own weight, and as the quarter comes to a close I'm having a hard time fulfilling my responsibilities like contacting parents about low grades and grading. At home, I am tired and frustrated and yelling and snipping all of the time. I feel like at any moment everything is going to collapse around me. I keep finding things I forgot to do or need to do and I get so stressed out! I really feel like I need a break and would like to figure out a way to apply to my school system's sick bank, but first I'd need to use up my sick days. This would leave me with none if my kids get sick, and my husband can't take off work some of the time (he is in sales and unless he is dying he can't miss appointments as they often are made weeks in advance). I was hoping my doctor would suggest it, but he didn't. I feel like if I say something it might mean I'm just trying to get out of work. I proposed the idea to my husband but he is against it, and I know other family members would react similarly.
Looking back, I went through a major depression in 11th grade and basically dropped out of school for awhile (with permission). I did work at home and after a few months I started feeling better and went back to school. This is similar in a way; I'm really overwhelmed now like I was then and since I've always been high strung and stressed out I would not be surprised if that was related to adrenals too.
I read your post and have also wondered about adrenal fatigue myself. But, consider that teaching is probably one of the most stressful jobs around (I am a teacher, speaking from personal and collective experience), one where there is little support, and few people outside of the profession understand. Couple that with being a mom, you are probably genuinely fatigued from stress. Brain fog, anxiety, depression all sound like like being stress induced. I am wishing you the best.
PS: It took me five schools to finally find one where I feel that teachers are respected as professionals- and this alone has been a huge factor in reducing my stress...perhaps it's not you, but your environment?
It is a horrible feeling to know you are putting all of your energy into bein in effective at your job and to have no energy left for the people at home. I know for a fact I'm making my husband and children miserable. It makes me so sad. I love them more than anything. I just have nothing left to give at the end of the day.
Thanks for the support. It amazes me when people think teaching is an easy job!
I'm going to give you some practical advice. I'm a mother, grandmother and a long time teacher. I've also dealt with adrenal fatigue.
First, I think you should take the formula for adrenal support as recommended from your doctor. While you may not know what is working for you in the formula, it is way more important that you start feeling better now and odds are something in the formula will give you some relief. You can figure out which ingredients are working best for you when you feel less overwhelmed.
You say you need break, and most teachers do. I take a mental health day when I feel I need it. I know it feel like you need an extended break right now, but let's start with someone doable.
Take two days off from school. These are mental health days for you and you alone so send your children to school and don't schedule anything else those days. I recommend a Thursday and a Friday so you will have a four day break from school. The purpose of the two days off is to REST and do NOTHING so your mind/body can decompress. Sleep, nap, go for walk, read a magazine, watch a mindless movie. Avoid using the phone or computer... Give yourself permission to rest and not think of solutions to all of your concerns. Allow your mind and body to be quiet until your children and husband come home. Do NOT use these two days to "caught up". Do not correct papers, fold clothes, clean house, grocery shop or anything else you think you need to do while you are home 'sick'. If you are having a difficult time resting in your house, leave and go to a coffee shop, a public library, or a park. On Saturday, you should feel a bit better and gently resume the normal responsibilities of mothering/life.
My last bit of advice has to do with school. No matter what grade, subject or school at which you teach, there is always the demand to do more. The nature of the job is that there is no limit to the expectations that come from the students, administrators, parents, colleagues, and ourselves. So, you need to set and accept your own limits. For this year, work with your partner and determine what your teams' baseline expectations are and do that. Let all other expectations for this school year go. Until you take care of your health, you cannot take on more as a teacher, mother, wife, friend.
Give yourself permission to take care of yourself. Make that your primary focus until you feel better.
My concern is that I feel like I have been doing the bare minimum for the past two years at school, especially this year, and I'm still exhausted. I could probably grade a few less papers per quarter, but not much. Since it is my first year teaching this curriculum I have a lot of planning I have to do - you know how things go better when you plan - and I think if I did less it would be mayhem, even with two teachers in the room. I'm not a super conteoll freak, so im not overplanning, just deciding what we will di each day. Plus, we have IEP kids in 4 out of my 5 classes and we need to modify for them in advance. I don't know how I could do less.
I have decided to try the supplement recommended. I just have to wait out this hurricane so I can go buy it! Unfortunately it is almost $30 for 15-20 days. In a way I hope it doesn't work because even buying the big bottle and shopping around it will be nearly $50/month plus the other suggestions (licorice root, magnesium, Vit c plus more). I can't believe how expensive everything is!
I hope you have eliminated Grave's Disease as this is not related to AF at all.
An incorrect T3 bar (or incorrect TSH asctuallu) needs to be measured by an Integrative EDndocrinologist, who knows about 'the holistic approach' to hyper/hypothyroidism.
If you are not losing masses of weight, nor have bulging eyes, it is most unlikely that you have Grave's from you pic anyway.
Grave's disease is not related to AF at all.
Having said that, should your lifestyle be declining, your work load be over-loading you, your chores @ home be overwhelming,
depresion setting in again, with low DHEA, you may have FIBROMYALGIA WHICH DOES ADJOIN TO AF + if YOU HAVE PAIN AS WELL, or have, if you have ever had EPSTEINE BARRE, COXACCIE VIRUS, ROTA VIRUS, LYME DISEASE/TIC BITE FEVER ,
you may too have ME/CFS.
Perhaps you will go to my website for more assistance and get back to me?
I have occasional pains (my back has been hurting for a week and my long bones sometimes hurt) but nothing debilitating. My most concerning symptoms are the fatigue and brain fog. They are what is keeping me from being able to do everything I need and want to do. I have had Lyme, about 15 yrs ago. It was treated with antibiotics and I haven't had any known issues since then.
I have most of the symptoms on your website, except the pain ones. I am extremely stiff in the am and throughout the day.
Hi Mary-Evelyn- excellent advice on all fronts- I needed to hear it too! As teachers we are "on" all of the time, and then we are "on" again at home taking care of our families...we have to intentionally work to create the balance of non-doing with doing...so hard to do in today's world...C
Been dealing with all of the above for YEARS. Very frustrating journey. Do you have access to a holistically minded MD who knows about bioidentical hormones? I tried many different adrenal support "formulas". My experience if that none of them brought up my cortisol levels significantly. I finally found an MD who specializes in bioidentical hormones. I also have thyroid issues that were denied for YEARS by many docs. I am now on Armour thyroid, Cortef (bioidentical cortisol) and DHEA. (and iron). I feel SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better.
If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson.
I don't think my doc treats with bioidentical hormones; they prefer to use herbs first. I'm open to a new doc, but I don't have the extra $ to pay someone out of pocket :/ Insurance is the only reason I can treat now! Sometimes a rx sounds good because it will be a lot cheaper than the supplements I have now, but I do want what will make me feel better. Sadly, so many people have such different advice and my brain is not at it's best - certainly not enough to be able to figure out what I should do! Mostly, I just want to lay down all of the time - I know I can't sleep, but just laying down is good!