Biology of Stress

The Scream by Munch

In elementary school I had a teacher who used to say that understanding the problem is half of the solution. I find this lesson to be valuable beyond the classroom.

The summer of 2008 was a very stressful time for me. At the age of 58 my mother was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a deadly brain tumor, and two months later she died.
I was in Israel for 10 weeks during this time. When I returned home by late August
I was eager to get back to my life; I went back to my volunteering work, I started a year long screenwriting course, I went back to my local Weight Watchers meetings, proud to have my card mentioned that I had lost 8lb, and I even joined the gym. That was September.

In early October that year, I started to feel that something was wrong with me.  The first sign was the disappearance of my period, which was followed by night sweats, unexplained weight gain, weakness, and debilitating fatigue. At the age of 35 I was too young for menopause.  

I went to see different doctors and did different tests to try and find out what my problem was, Nobody could find out what was wrong with me. I told all of them of the stressful time I had in the summer, sensing that it has got to be related to my physical situation, but no one gave it a second thought.  Instead I was offered the default solutions: birth control to regulate the period and anti depressants to lift my mood.  I refused them all.  I didn’t want to mask any problem; I wanted to know what was the real problem and treat it directly.

I started to read many health books to try to understand what was going on with me. I worked with different natural health providers, some helped more than others.  I learned about good and healthy nutrition, and the different uses of natural supplements. In time, the devastating fatigue was no longer part of my life; I started feeling better, though I still didn’t feel at my best, my period was still irregular, and I had occasional night sweats.

Three years since my mother died, in late August 2011, yet another stressful time arrived. A day before my husband was about to leave on a 3 weeks business trip, we were asked by our landlords to leave the house within a month. I was left home alone to pack the house, look for another place, and care for all the logistics around it.

That was the time when I went to see Kasara D’elene from TruHealth. Kasara is an Iridologist, a person who evaluates one’s health by looking at the iris.  My three year journey of looking for an answer ended in her office; it took her a second to look in to my eyes and diagnose me with Adrenal Fatigue.
“How do you know?” I asked, not quite sure if to believe this.
“Your pupil is enlarged.” She said.

I went back to my conventional health care provider, who is also trained as a naturopath.
“Is it true that a dilated pupil is a sign of adrenal fatigue?” I asked.
“Yes.” He answered “It’s a known fact: when the body gets into Fight or Flight mode, the pupil dilates to get more information quickly and assess the situation.”
At this point I was angry. “You know me for years, you know my story, you know my complaints, why didn’t you tell me this?” I asked.
“I don’t share this kind of information, because not everyone believes in such things.” He apologized.

I spent three years of my life feeling sick and tired, I spent a lot of time and money on futile doctor visits and numerous unnecessary medical tests, when the whole time the answer was in my eyes. As my old teacher used to say: understanding the problem is half of the solution. I have been working with Kasara ever since, and I have no words to describe my gratitude to her, for restoring my health and even making me feel better than ever.
My personal recommendations for Adrenal Fatigue: 
  1. After a prolonged stressful time, treat yourself to a vacation. It can be as short as one weekend in a nice relaxing place. This relaxing time can be a lifesaver, it can save you many sick days and medical expenses in the future.
  2. This is not the time to exhaust yourself with intense exercises or extreme diets. This is the time when you need to be gentle and kind to your body. Go for walks or do yoga, meditate, rest well, have a good and nourishing diet.
  3. Stress tends to deplete the body from essential nutrients. Supplement your diet with extra nutrients. 

    To understand how stress affects our body I recommend watching the National Geographic movie Stress, a Portrait of a Killer

    To learn more about Adrenal Fatigue I recommend reading Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James L. Wilson.