FAQ With The Author

Why did you write this book?
When I suddenly became aware that something was wrong with me physically, there were not many places to turn because so many traditional doctors thought it was psychological. My purpose is for others who are suffering with the syndromes of adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia, to know there are solutions and that there is someone who understands.

There are so many adrenal fatigue suffers who have been misdiagnosed and/or undiagnosed. Many are considered to have a psychological condition and often feel like the dismissed, hopeless patient. I wrote this book to offer them hope and show them that, with persistence, you can get the symptoms under control and get your life back. If I could have had a book like All in My Mind? on my nightstand during those dark days, I would have read and reread it repeatedly. This book is about my journey, my research, my frustration, and my triumph. Yet even more, it is about my understanding that just because something is not easily diagnosed, does not mean it is a psychological problem.

What is adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is considered a syndrome, or group of symptoms, that results from low adrenal gland function. Adrenal fatigue is the result of the adrenal glands being overstressed to the point they are no longer able to meet the daily demands of stress and crisis. Overwhelming fatigue is the primary symptom, and it is the kind of fatigue that is never relieved by sleep. There are also many secondary symptoms such as anxiety, nausea and body pain. Adrenal fatigue syndrome is not easy to diagnose, although it affects millions in the U.S. and around the world, because conventional medicine does not yet recognize it as a distinct syndrome.

How do you know if you have adrenal fatigue?
Many of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue are very similar to conditions such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and hypothyroidism. However, extreme fatigue, nonrefreshing sleep, unrelenting anxiety and fearfulness, heart palpitations, body pain, nausea, brain fog and hollow, sunken eyes are just a few of the symptoms specific to adrenal fatigue. In All In My Mind? I have created a Symptom Matrix, which lists over fifty different symptoms and compares these symptoms to those of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.

However, it is difficult get a diagnosis because of the very fact the medical community frequently denies, or perhaps even disdains, this diagnosis along with the diagnoses of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Doctors have been trained to consider these types of conditions as phantom or “all in your mind” problems. Many doctors immediately assume it is a mental issue and proceed with prescribing medications prior to even attempting to diagnose a physical issue. There are several simple tests that can be performed, and one would be saliva testing. This test is convenient and you can test several times in a day to determine cortisol patterns which reveal how the adrenals are functioning. A quick assessment you can do at home is to test your own blood pressure in a resting and then standing position. The blood pressure readings will reveal the condition, and a more advanced explanation is in the book.

What is it like to live with this syndrome?
Living with adrenal fatigue syndrome is lonely, even in the midst of people, because no one understands what you are really going through. The syndrome is painful and takes a toll, both physically and emotionally. There are a multitude of symptoms, but obviously the debilitating fatigue is the number one issue. You do not have the energy to maintain relationships, have any kind of social interactions, or even adequately care for your family or yourself. It is grueling as you suffer day after day while those around you become weary of your problems and
can even label you a hypochondriac.

In your book you mention a metabolic threshold; can you explain what that is and why it is important?
The “metabolic threshold” is a term that I use to refer to a point or a stage, (one which will be different for each person), when an adrenal fatigue patient has been exposed to overstimulation of the adrenal glands from stress for an extended period of time. This unrelenting stress places a person in peril. This is of great importance because disregarding adrenal fatigue and its symptoms can lead, according to some specialists, to death, and it is certainly debilitating as the adrenal glands are one the body’s main control centers and are responsible for the “fight and flight” reactions. They also produce and regulate a number of vital hormones that affect us both physically and emotionally.

Tell me a little bit more about the emotional stressors that can affect adrenal patients.
Our bodies react to stressful situations by releasing adrenalin, but excessive amounts of stress drain the glands until they are unable to function. In today’s world we are not running for our lives as the cavemen did, but the stress does not end. Stress at work, at home, from certain people in our lives – the body responds the same way as if you were running, but the stress does not end resulting in an overreaction of the adrenal glands. Over time, stressors can be cumulative and leave a person partially or completely unable to function normally.

I have found people’s personality traits to play a strong role as an emotional stressor in many adrenal patients. Some people, even family members and friends, can be what I call “energy vampires.” This means they are a constant source of drama and chaos and can quickly drain what little energy an adrenal fatigue sufferer has. In my book, I have developed a list of personalities that I found to most prevalently affect adrenal patients. These toxic personalities can range from the “Master Manipulator” to the “Never Ending Vacuum” and many other specific personality types in between.

What advice do you offer for those who are suffering with this issue?
I would like to tell them to have hope, because there are solutions. You can learn to successfully live with this syndrome, but it does take research and investigation on your part to understand how your body reacts to particular stressors. As long as you keep searching for help, you will find it and no one will be as strong an advocate for your health as you are. It can be very daunting to set out on the journey, but I can also say it is very rewarding to have much more control over your own energy level and be able to choose to have a life again.