All posts by shugarts@comporium.net

A Mid-Life Crisis? continued …

I spent the next couple of years trying various remedies. Melatonin, tons of herbal concoctions, teas, essential oils, acupuncture, just to name a few. In the meantime, my health and quality of life was deteriorating fast. It was all I could do to drag myself out of bed in the morning and deal with whatever the day would bring. During this time, our house was on the market, the economy had tanked, my husband was traveling a lot, and I was homeschooling our kids. Stress was my middle name and I was barely making it.

Much of my research during this time confirmed what I’ve always suspected. Our health is directly tied to our emotional well-being; we cannot isolate that important fact from other areas of our health. One aspect of Western medicine that confounds me is how the body is separated from the mind and emotions during treatment of chronic illnesses, hormonal issues (both men and women), arthritis, etc. This may sound existential, but we are clearly not one dimensional people. This was an area I did not want to face.

Fear is a powerful motivator. For as long as I can remember, fear has been a part of my life. There are many psychological and practical reasons for this, but that is not the purpose of this blog. Only in the past few years have I realized what a hold fear has on me. For this Christ follower, it’s a bitter pill to swallow. I am redeemed, yet enslaved to my thoughts. Trust me, when you’re lying awake in the middle of the night, the fear is palpable. How can I reconcile my fears with my spiritual life? I felt like a constant failure because my desire to live humbly and peaceably deeply contrasted with my reality. I was broken by life, relationships and heartache. Where do I go from here?

While a huge part of my struggle was spiritual, there were also physiological aspects contributing to the slippery slope. A gut imbalance from years of antibiotics, a hormonal imbalance, neurotransmitter issues, adrenal fatigue, and, I suspected, a gluten intolerance.  I was overwhelmed with all of it. My precious family was suffering, I was suffering and I could not see a way out of it.

“Fear not; I am with you; do not despair; I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my righteous right hand” – Isaiah 41:10. 

 

A Mid-Life Crisis?

It was almost a year ago to date when I lost it. Completely exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, I didn’t have the energy to care anymore. It was just too much work. I was 42 years old and done.

Let me back up. I have struggled with chronic insomnia since the birth of my last child in 2005. I had bouts of insomnia while pregnant with all of my children, but the first two times, it resolved after birth. The third time, it didn’t. Although the severity fluctuated, waking up refreshed was a distant memory, even when my baby was sleeping through the night and weaned. There were times I would fall right to sleep, only to wake up two hours later, wired, and unable to fall back asleep. Other times, I would collapse into bed, only to amp up as soon as my head hit the pillow. Three hours later, I would still be awake. I distinctly remember several times of being awake all night, unable to sleep, and spent the night baking muffins or cleaning out and organizing so my tossing and turning didn’t wake my husband. At least breakfast was easy for a while with all those muffins in the freezer!

In 2007, desperate for relief, and experiencing some other hormonal symptoms, I saw my OB/GYN. He had been my doctor for years, through my single days, all my pregnancies and performed the c-section that delivered my last baby. I trusted him, even though I didn’t always follow his recommendations because they clashed with my granola tendencies. My experience that day ended our professional relationship. I am not here to bash him or the medical community, so no details on that. I just knew from that moment on, that I would not seek out allopathic medicine. I called a trusted friend who referred me to a naturopathic doctor, specializing in female issues.  Saliva testing revealed that I was estrogen dominant, had almost no progesterone, no serotonin, a whole host of food sensitivities, adrenal issues and needed quite a bit of work. Great. But it was a start.

I followed the protocol for around 6 months and definitely experienced improvement! However, natural remedies are not covered by insurance, and my supplements and the monthly testing were adding up. My husband worked on commission and things weren’t going great at that time. That’s how it is in sales. Feast or famine. We were used to it, but I had to discontinue the treatment.

A couple of years went by and I’m doing okay. Not great, but definitely not where I was. When I began to experience the same symptoms again, I contacted the naturopath to initiate another protocol. This one didn’t take. Three months in and no relief; no change. I felt so guilty spending money on something that wasn’t working. Wife  and/or mom guilt is a powerful thing so I stopped after my supplements ran out.

For several years, I researched the heck out of insomnia, hormone issues, bought my own supplements, spent who knows how much money trying various things to just feel normal! Why wasn’t any of this working? Some things worked for a while, but then would stop. I am a firm believer that God has given us, even in this fallen world, so many beneficial things for our health and well-being. Plants, herbs, essential oils – I used all of these on my family with great success! Why wasn’t it working for me?