The past six weeks have been a time of joyful but relentless activity for me. I attended celebrations in ten different cities, with literally hundreds of wonderful people. At times, it was like taking a refreshing shower… under Niagara Falls. Everything must be done in moderation, as a wise friend once told me — including moderation. So occasionally, I schedule periods of extreme activity into my schedule. This time I think I went just a touch too far.
A few years ago I landed in the hospital. No, correction: I actually landed on the floor of the Phoenix airport, en route to giving a speech in Texas. It was bizarre and embarrassing to lose control of my muscles and fall down in public. Physically, it felt like being bashed in the jaw while sparring in karate class; there was just no way to stay on my feet. At the hospital, doctors loaded me with fluid and electrolytes, then had me rest for several hours on one side of an emergency room, divided from the other side by a thin curtain. On the other side, I could hear a parade of patients answering questions like (this is a real quote), “So, where did he shoot you the first time?” Then they diagnosed me with adrenal fatigue and sent me home to rest. And rest. And rest.
If you have any of these symptoms, and I’m being serious here — please stop and give your body, particularly those stressed-out adrenal glands, time to rest. Cancel things, even things that seem important, to get more sleep. Go online and Google adrenal fatigue, or better yet, order the book Tired Of Being Tired, by Jesse Lynn Hanley, which became my Bible as I recovered from that low point on the airport floor. Whenever I get symptoms of adrenal fatigue, I go back on Hanley’s program.
This time, as always, it’s been hard to make myself cancel appointments and rest. People are cranky with me. Doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I walk my talk and take care of my body, no matter what social pressures I may face. The same goes for you. If you’re the one who keeps the home fires burning, consider what will happen to your loved ones, and your life, if your light goes out. Sometimes moderation should give way to extreme rest and recuperation, for a while. If that time has come for you, I’ll see you in dreamland. Sleep well.
The moral of this story is simple: A lot of people, especially in these times of ever-accelerating demands, media-based stress, and economic insecurity, are getting beyond tired and into TIRED. Since that day in the emergency room, I know the red-flag symptoms of adrenal burnout. They include: having trouble waking up in the morning, even after what “should be” enough sleep; needing stimulants like coffee to feel normal energy; craving very sweet or salty food; small cuts, mouth sores or muscle fatigue that don’t heal; not giving a damn whether your shoes match your outfit — or each other; wanting to weep when other people ask perky questions; violent tendencies tempered by the inability to actually move.