I've been unwell for the past 4 years maybe even more but I really noticed a massive decrease in my ability to function properly around 4 years ago when starting a new job.
Symptoms - After reading up about adrenal fatigue these symptoms seem to fit; If you don't want to read all the details just read the first bit in capitals
1. Constant fatigue and lack of energy - everything even brushing my teeth seems like a challenge.
2. Intolerance to stress - Everything seems stressful, the smallest argument or mildly stressful task will make me feel like I have " crashed" I get a feeling of an adrenaline rush, go red in the face, sometimes get itchy all over and feel very anxious followed by a state of even less energy.
3. Bad anxiety - in general about everything and also social anxiety. I feel anxiety being out in public, like something bad is going to happen. I feel like I want to get out of there and go home. After a while I adjust a bit but it is very bad. Having a conversation with someone - even someone I know produces anxiety.
4. Depression - I don't enjoy things I used to, I feel like I need alcohol, sex etc.. to feel good (but often avoid these things now.) I feel apathetic and num to pleasure, I feel as though I can only feel negative emotions. I occasionally feel really depressed and hopeless and like I want everything to end.
5. Reliance on stimulants - sugar, caffeine etc..
I often need about 4 teaspoons of coffee a day to function enough to do basic things. I have slowly quit before but feel more depressed, have less energy and feel indescribably bad sometimes.
6. Loss of libido - I'm a 23 year old guy.
8. Digestive problems - similar to IBS, constipation, gas/bloating, stomach pains.
9. Muscle and joint aches and pains - for no reason. Can get worse if I do too much exercise and I have slow recovery.
10. Loss of confidence and loss of self esteem - Has been gradually broken down after years of feeling like this
11. Symptoms of OCD - about health and appearance, far too self-concious and worry about everything
12. Widespread pain- similar to mild fibromyalgia - random pains and increased pain sensitivity. Get worse the worse I sleep.
13. Greatly increased sensitivity to cold and heat -
especially to the cold.
16. Look very tired, droopy eyes, dark circles, look a bit puffy in the face
17. Prostatitis symptoms and increased urination frequency - always had some prostate issues though - most likely chronic tension prostatitis - but made worse by stress
18. Bizarre symptoms such as;
- feeling ithcy randomly
- difficulty and discomfort when swallowing food and water
- Heart palpitations, chest pains
- energy crashes after big meals and feeling faint
- carpal tunnel and nerve pains
19. Sleep issues - difficulty getting to sleep, sometimes wake up during night - more frequent when stressed.
20. Feeling unrefreshed after sleep
21. Feel like death if I get less then 6 hours sleep - all symtpoms get worse - especially lack of energy and fibroymalgia.
I could probably drag the list on but that covers the bulk of symptoms I have been experiencing over the past 4 years - some of them longer such as fatigue and anxiety.
A couple of things;
1. I have had a blood test and there was nothing unusual except somewhat elevated white blood cells
2.I got told I had hypothyroidism - my tsh was 6 at it's worse
I wasn't tested for t3. t4 etc..
However - I have been taking thyroxine for a while, my tsh is now around 2 if not lower now and I have felt no improvement.
I have done three tests for adrenal fatigue;
1. Sergent's Adrenal White Line - the white line turned red almost straight away - although I have heard this is only present in 40% of people with adrenal fatigue
2. Iris Contraction Test - my pupils stayed contracted a little bit and then kept dilating and contracting repeatedly
3.Postural Hypotension. This is the one that really confuses me. I feel dizzy and light headed when standing up but when measuring with a blood pressure monitor on the upper arm at home, I find that my blood pressure usually elevates by 10-15 systolic. My blood pressure in general seems random being as high as 140/70 on occasions and as low as 105/57 at other times.
I wonder if caffeine has any impact on this? As it causes your adrenal glands to work harder.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS:
On a couple of occasions I have managed to get really good quality sleep ( when less stressed) - 10 hours or more - very early at night - 9pm onwards and when I've managed to do this for a week or so consistently and cut out caffeine, I feel almost back to normal - lots more energy, litte anxiety, euphoria etc.. However I know I am still not 100%.
This leads to me to think sleep deprivation is the problem as I know the adrenals take a long time to recover back to this sort of level.
However I really feel as though adrenal fatigue describes me perfectly and I know that sleep helps repair the adrenal glands and reduce stress - but it is very difficult to get good quality sleep with adrenal fatigue.
I also know that adrenal fatigue can cause secondary hypothryoidism which is what I believe is going on.