This is probably the most important post I’ve even written. But it comes with a WARNING: only read this if you’re wondering what might be preventing you from losing weight.
It’s a bad day today … the return of my adrenal fatigue was confirmed with my urine test results showing my body is producing 263 nanomole/day of U-F-Cortisol – that’s over twice times the normal maximum of <110. Not high enough to be Cushing’s Disease or a tumour on my adrenal or pituitary glands (that requires of 1,000nmol/d), but high enough to know something’s off whack – likely PTSD from the childhood sexual abuse.
A while back when discussing an recurring day-mare I had as a child with my counsellor, Emily, and it’s recent return at nights she posed the question of whether the traumatic event as a 6 year old, the one that caused me to put on all my weight in the first place, actually had never been ‘cured’. And that even when I shed the 70kgs (150lbs) I was not cured, but rather I channelled the ‘fight or flight’ I suffered daily into other avenues: being a high performing individual whilst running 13kms (>8miles) a day.
In my book “Half The Woman I Was” (see link in bio if you’re curious) I talk about how I crave carbohydrates (that’s the adrenal glands at work producing all the extra cortisol) and even that I was officially a carbohydrate addict. My desire for sugar is sometimes so overwhelming that I can do nothing, and think of nothing else, until I get my fix. I explained how I often used sugar to trigger my sugar coma so I was able to zone out and wind down. But what I haven’t realised until very recently was quite how intrinsically trauma, AF, sugar, adrenals and cortisol are all linked.
I’ve Dr Googled extensively and sought advice and consult from all manner of health professionals, and my journey is still ongoing. Next week I see an endocrinologist to see what the next steps are in this journey to heal, to get well once and for all. I’ll keep you posted there.
Sadly for me the last few months have seen some rapid weight gain, muscle weakness, mood swings, anxiety and depression, impaired cognitive function (fuzzy brain), blood sugar imbalances, poor sleep, lowered immune function and slow wound healing. All symptoms of high cortisol production. And when just one of these happens, it’s a cascading trigger for the others to soon follow suit. Put on weight, get depressed, eat, can’t concentrate (or work), feel lethargic, have a mood swing, eat, put on weight … so the cycle continues.
In an effort to understand what’s driving this and to seek some solace and comfort in community I started reading Roxanne Gay’s “Hunger”, a book recommended to me by my dear friend Aubrey. It’s probably the most challenging and confronting book I’ve ever read … because so much of it is exactly how I feel. I applaud Roxanne for the courage to write, to share. It’s the sort of book that helps to lift the lid on how childhood trauma, specifically sexual abuse, can affect your size and shape for the rest of your life … without any ability to control it.
Today is not a good day. I’m in pain, constantly tired, overwhelmingly lethargic … and craving sugar. I want to hibernate, escape … time travel to another world where I’m thinner and healthier. I’m holding off on the sugar as long as I can, knowing that every grain causes additional pain in my joints. Knowing consciously it’s not the solution. And knowing I need, for my sanity, for my body, for my life, I need to find and resolve ‘the cause’. Subconsciously my desires are not rational, they’re not logical, they’re chemical.
I think that’s what most people, including many in the medical profession, simply don’t understand. I have a chemical imbalance in my body, caused by trauma, which causes me to suffer these symptoms. It is not my choice. It is not my desire. It is not my cause. But it’s my reality …. for now.
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