Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stress Can Kill and Wreak Havoc on Your Body

Stress CAN kill, but more likely it will just make you feel sick all the time with chronic issues. I know this first hand, and I want to tell you my story.

I don't know whether I just don't handle stress well, or that I just have an excessive amount of stress in my life with no downtime. From moving across country recently, working 12+ hours a day, every day, cooking homemade natural foods for my family, helping take care of my stepmom who has dementia, making homemade products, running errands and not being able to sleep at night, my daily life is anything but calm. Hectic, chaotic are more appropriate terms.

But the stressful events in my life started as a child: the death of my mother when I was 2, the remarriage of my dad to my stepmom (where I immediately had 2 new siblings) the deaths of my grandparents when I was 5, and certain abuse situations as I was growing up that I don't want to get into right now.

And during high school I had activities planned from 6am to 9pm EVERY DAY OF THE SCHOOL WEEK and then chores, homework, babysitting, church functions, etc every weekend. Basically, I had no time to relax.

And college was not much different. I worked full time (40-50 hours per week) while going to school full time (18 units a semester). And so it went on and on. Never a dull moment, but dull moments were what I craved. I dream about the perfect vacation for me: Hiding for a week straight in a dark cave (with a light of course) and a stack of books, with no one to bother me. Seriously. That is my dream vacation! Well, it could be a hotel room, as long as no one bothers me.

As an adult turning 38 this month, I look back on my life and can't think of any time when I was able to just relax and de-stress. And it has all been catching up to me.

Here are my symptoms:

  • Extreme fatigue -- the only thing that keeps me going is my sense of responsibility and knowing that thing won't get done if I don't do them.
  • Insomnia -- I can practically guarantee that between the hours of 1am and 4am I will be awake for at least an hour or two, not being able to get back to sleep. And, if I do fall back asleep, I will wake up around 5:30am and not be able to sleep in at all, even on weekends. Which is fine since I start work at 6:30am.
  • Weight Gain -- so this one is a bit iffy.. I am not overweight, but in the past 7 years I have NOT been able to get rid of the excess fat in my mid section, no matter what I do. impossible. Exercise, low carb dieting, HCG, etc. I have about 7-10 lbs that I want to get rid of to reach the ideal weight I feel comfortable with. I eat awesome -- my diet would make anyone on a whole foods diet proud. But even cutting out all sugar, I am not seeing results. 
It is extremely hard to have fatigue all day long, and have gone to doctors quite a few times complaining of this fatigue, after blood tests to rule out everything from CFS, FMS and Epstein Barr, and have them tell me I am depressed, and want me to take anti-depressants. (I am the least depressed person I know!).

I finally went to an integrative medicine doctor a few weeks back, who is also an MD. He ran some extremely thorough tests on me and diagnosed me with the following:

1. RT3 hypothyroidism
2. Moderate adrenal fatigue
3. Weakened immune system

All of these are related to the big jackpot test he gave me: EXCESSIVELY HIGH CORTISOL LEVELS DUE TO STRESS!

My cortisol levels skyrocket at night when they are supposed to be declining. No wonder I can't sleep. And no wonder my adrenals never get to rest and recuperate, because there is no time for them to. I am running on adrenaline all day long and at night I am unable to restore my energy. So now I am on pills to decrease those cortisol levels at night which is actually helping me sleep better. And I am taking other supplements to support my RT3 thyroid hormone, so that I CAN LOSE THAT DARN BELLY FAT! There HAD to be a reason, and I get so upset at all those other doctors who misdiagnosed me. I KNEW something was off kilter in my body.

Now I get to go through treatment -- I am able to sleep a bit more (after only a few weeks) and I am already seeing improvements. If I was able to accomplish all that I have been accomplishing, when I am not 100%, then imagine all I can accomplish when I AM 100%? Well, that is kind of a catch 22 though, because one of the ways I need to heal is to learn to relax and take it easy and ENJOY life. So with that extra energy I am starting to get -- I can do things I want to do, like walks and hikes with my dog, gardening, etc. Those hobbies can be fun again for me!

So the point of all of this? No matter how well you take care of yourself, there still can be things wrong with you, especially if you have a high stress life and no down time. So keep searching for the answers if you already are living healthy and eating good foods and not putting toxins in your body.

And of course, use my detox foot pads to help you get on your way to a healthy lifestyle!

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