My Adrenal Fatigue Recovery Story (twice!)

Adrenal Fatigue Holistic Health

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Wondering if true adrenal fatigue recovery is even possible? Totally is, my friend! Here’s my story of recovering from Adrenal Fatigue– twice!

Have you heard adrenal fatigue recovery stories and just wished it could be you? Wondering if it’s really possible to have adrenal fatigue recovery and have energy again? Or just feel like yourself?

My friend, I have walked this road… twice. And, as an integrative medicine physician assistant, I’ve helped tons of patients down this road, too.

Here’s my crazy adrenal fatigue recovery story, including the signs and symptoms, the different causes and related conditions, and how I found adrenal fatigue recovery with different treatments both times.

Wondering if you’ve got adrenal fatigue? Check out my big ole Ultimate Guide to Adrenal Fatigue where I spill all the details.

Looking for easy ways to get healthy every day… and learn the 5 things that I, a holistic healthcare provider, actually do for my health every day (these things are SO good for your adrenals!)?









My Adrenal Fatigue Recovery Stories

Right off the bat, you need to know that Adrenal Fatigue isn’t a totally accurate term for what’s going on.

The better term is HPA Axis Dysregulation (that’s what you’ll find in the medical literature), and it addresses the body’s stress response mechanisms.

But most people are more familiar with the term Adrenal Fatigue, so you’ll hear me use that, too.

Some things are easier to talk about than write about, so here’s a quick video covering my story with notes below regarding each episode of adrenal fatigue recovery.

My First Adrenal Fatigue Recovery

I was working in a hospital in Haiti when the earthquake happened in Jan 2010. I was taking daily antibiotics for malaria prophylaxis and got typhoid and malaria, leading to more antibiotic use.

With the outbreak of cholera, I ate a lot of nutritionally poor, canned foods.

I also developed PTSD from some of the circumstances surrounding that time:

  • disaster relief medical care
  • getting stuck in a building during the largest aftershock when just 1 mile away from the epicenter
  • walking through a riot to get to my hospital
  • attempted break ins at my home

Both the gut issues and PTSD played a large role in my adrenal fatigue the first time.

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms and Signs:

  • reactive hypoglycemia
  • orthostatic hypotension (got lightheaded when standing up too quickly)
  • easily angered
  • low exercise tolerance
  • snoozed every am, trouble getting out of bed in the mornings but better when I got up and moving
  • salty food cravings (from the AF) and sugar cravings (from the leaky gut and yeast overgrowth)
  • food allergies and signs of leaky gut
  • low stress tolerance, easily overwhelmed
  • “tired and wired” at bedtime, worse if I went to bed after 11pm

Adrenal Fatigue Tests:

I did a 4 point saliva test, where my levels of cortisol and other hormones (like DHEA) were evaluated through the day to see what was happening with my cortisol levels.

You can check this at home through EverlyWell if you’re concerned this is you (SOOO much cheaper than in the office).

I also did stool analysis for leaky gut and IgG food allergy testing (also an indicaiton of leaky gut and can be done at home cheaper through EverlyWell).

Adrenal Fatigue Recovery Plan:

Supplements: An adrenal fatigue combo supplement (main ingredient was ashawaganda, an adaptogenic that naturally improves both high and low cortisol levels) and leaky gut supplements

Diet:

  • food allergy avoidance (avoided my biggest triggers of coffee, eggs, and milk for 6 months, 2-4 months for smaller triggers; surprisingly, no gluten sensitivity noted at that time)
  • fermented foods like yogurt, kefir
  • antiinflammatory foods, like pineapple (for the bromelain) and turmeric (for the curcumin)

Lifestyle:

  • in bed before 11pm
  • decreased stress levels (including a job change)
  • practicing gratefulness and thankfulness
  • deep breathing exercising and meditating on Bible verses

My Second Adrenal Fatigue Recovery

In 2018 after the birth of my second baby, we had some stressful events occur back to back, and I developed postpartum depression, which triggered my old PTSD.

The PPD got a ton better with St. John’s Wort supplementation (it works like an SSRI medication, such as Prozac or Zoloft). The PTSD responded to 3 sessions of EMDR therapy with a counselor. I’ll share more about this in another post if you’re curious. 🙂

Similar to the first episode, I developed Adrenal Fatigue and Leaky Gut from the PTSD.

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms and Signs:

  • secondary insomnia (feel asleep okay but then woke up and was up for hours)
  • reactive hypoglycemia
  • decreased exercise tolerance
  • stubborn postpartum weight, especially around my belly and thighs; I just could NOT lose those 20 pounds of baby weight
  • sensitivity to caffeine (i.e., getting hives after drinking coffee and the return of my food allergies)
  • difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, better energy after moving around

Adrenal Fatigue Recovery Plan:

  • EMDR therapy for the PTSD to work on the root cause of my adrenal fatigue
  • Dietary Changes: foods to heal up my leaky gut, fermented foods for the probiotics, and bone broth at bedtime
  • Singing Canary Drink taken every afternoon (during the “afternoon slump” time)- a drink designed to support the adrenals; here’s the main recipe that I use, but I use MCT oil powder and add 1 Tbl of baobab (for extra energy and a big dose of vitamin C) and and I add 1-2 drops of food grade lemon essential oil
  • Lifestyle Changes:
    • going to bed early (before 10 pm)
    • 2 daily breaks to practice being thankful and present in that moment and take deep breaths
    • I know that I’m going to feel tired when my alarm goes off in the morning, so I get up and get moving anyways and start to feel better
    • easy, gentle exercise

Share Your Adrenal Fatigue Recovery Story

What’s your story with adrenal fatigue? I’d love to hear it!! Drop me a line in the comments or send me an email!

And if you’re still in the messy middle of adrenal fatigue recovery, know that there is hope and you will get better, friend!

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