Hey there! I’m Daina and I’m a holistic nutrition consultant based in Calgary Alberta Canada. One of the reasons that I started working in holistic nutrition was to help eliminate my exhaustion and finally figure out how to have energy. I was sick of always turning down friends’ invites and never signing up for classes or taking part in hobbies.
This is my story…
The Night I Knew Something Was Really Wrong
I woke up one night and had to pee. But I couldn’t move. It was like my muscles had disappeared – no amount of effort could get me out of that bed. My vision was tunneling…you know that thing when you start to see black around the periphery? Yeah, that’s what was happening. But I had to pee so I had to get up!
I guess luckily for me, my boyfriend was sleeping beside me so I nudged him awake. He didn’t get what was wrong, what my problem was. I started to cry – I was scared, I had to pee, and I was confused. The crying must have jolted him because he finally, grumbling the whole time, got out of bed, helped me up to my feet and practically carried me to the bathroom.
By the time I was done, I could at least walk, but it was a staggering, old lady walk back to bed. Where I promptly fell into a coma.
The alarm went off for work the next morning and I, for once, said “I can’t do this!”
You see, I had been burning my candle at both ends for a couple of weeks, working 2 jobs and trying to finish off a class at university before the fall semester began. A lot of students were doing this without any issue, so why was I having such a hard time? I could barely function and these ‘episodes’, where I couldn’t move or I would get in the shower and just start shaking SO badly that I had to lay down, would happen.
Confused Doesn’t Begin To Explain How I Felt
And I had no idea why. Yeah, I knew I was tired but I was managing to sleep 8 hours a night, pretty good sleep too. Doctors couldn’t help me…if the episode didn’t happen in front of their eyes in their offices, it, apparently, hadn’t happened at all and it was all in my head.
This was when I was about 20 years old. I had lived with chronic fatigue since I was 12 by this point, so I did know some of my limits. But I was sick of these limits, I was sick of saying “no” to friends who wanted to go out at 10 PM because I was too dang exhausted.
By this point, I’d read a lot about how to improve my energy and sleep better because I was very sick of feeling, well, sick and tired all the friggin’ time! I was in my early 20s and I literally felt like an 80-year-old. I fell into a depression 6-7 times a year and had conversations with myself that went something like this:
“Is this really how my life is going to be? I’m never going to be able to do anything, how am I going to work AND still enjoy life? I can’t even go out with my friends now, how will I survive? And, do I have to feel this shitty for the next 70 years?!?! Cause I don’t want that…”
And no one could help me. I tried to make some random changes in my life to help. I tried to exercise more (which just made me more tired). I tried going to bed earlier or later…nothing worked.
Flash forward about 15 years…
By now, I’d figured out how to live, how to survive, and get through work and some social situations. Getting to bed at the same time every night was (and still is) my #1 priority and taking a lot of time to relax and rest is more common than me going out. It worked but…
I was still so tired ALL the time. I had a hard time finding energy or motivation to do anything, so everything was a struggle. I would literally feel like having a nap after a work task that involved more than 10 minutes of concentration or research. Talking a co-worker through a problem on the phone had me almost in tears most days simply because I was so tired and frustrated with my exhaustion afterwards.
Each morning, I rolled out of bed, groaned and wished I could just stay home and sleep. I avoided social outings with friends because they would interfere with bedtime. I stayed home alone, with my cats, more Friday nights than a healthy single girl should.
And, if I’m totally honest, I feel like I’ve missed out on so much. I feel like my exhaustion made me miss out on parties, travel experiences, dates, dancing with friends, just anything that sounded fun but I just knew would put me out of commission for weeks afterward.
I was still sick and tired…and totally confused over my health symptoms. Besides the exhaustion, I was gaining weight, I was depressed and often felt overwhelmed and anxious. I was freezing all the time, no matter what the temperature. My head felt like it was full of cotton – I couldn’t think let alone concentrate.
I was sick of this, so I decided to take things into my own hands. I had always been interested in anatomy and physiology and my newfound love of exercise led me to become way more interested in nutrition. So, I took my holistic nutrition program and suddenly was exposed to this whole new amazing world of functional foods and supplements and promises that they’d help me feel better! Yay!
And, true to my nature, I started experimenting. I changed my diet to ditch some common foods that made me exhausted, things like dairy and wheat. I learned how other health problems, like inflammation, would make improving my energy impossible if I didn’t reduce inflammation first.
And I began to understand how immunity and stress played a huge role in this new concept – to me anyway – of adrenal fatigue. I had a health concern called adrenal fatigue and now I could actually start to do something about it!
While I’m by no means cured of this adrenal fatigue, I’ve learned so many amazing things about how to eat, which foods help, and which herbs and supplements all reduce my confusing array of health symptoms. I know what to eat when I feel overwhelmed. I know what to take at night to help improve sleep. And, best of all, I am able to eat a wide variety of yummy foods that support my adrenals and other hormones to boost energy without having to rely on sugar or caffeine.
Improving adrenal function is SO important for so many health concerns, but overcoming adrenal fatigue is an especially exciting journey that my client, Jasmine, is enjoying. So stay tuned for her story soon!