When you are in a narcissistic relationship reality is twisted. You become a bit like Alice in Wonderland – a stranger in a strange land, unfamiliar with the rules or the terrain – and even the laws of physics seem to be different. I know there were times when I expected Rod Serling’s voice. Imagine if you will, a woman waking up in a universe so different from her own world that we call it. . . The Twilight Zone.
It’s crazy but when it’s all you know, year after year, it becomes reality. It becomes comfortable in a weird sort of way, and it becomes normal. What you don’t realize is the constant state of stress that you are in takes a toll on your body.
Once when my ex and I were just beginning with marital counseling the counselor asked to meet with me alone. He asked me if there was abuse in the household. I, of course, said no.
After all, my ex wasn’t hitting me, threatening my life, or (at that point) calling me names. I wasn’t abused as far as I was concerned. When he asked me what my stress level was like I didn’t know how to answer. I told him it was normal and that wasn’t a lie – it was normal to me and I had nothing to compare it with.
It wasn’t until after my divorce that I realized how much stress I had been under for a very long time. One day I realized that I felt odd and I couldn’t figure out why. I was unable to get anything done, I was confused and I was exhausted. When I started thinking about it to try to figure out what was going on I realized that I didn’t have anything pushing me, no monkey on my back, nothing. My lack of energy was due to the unfamiliar experience of relaxing.
It made me wonder how many of us have gone on depression medication because we were finally relaxed and saw it as a medical abnormality.
Adrenal Fatigue Creates Random Symptoms
I have always been a relatively peaceful person. I have had a lot of difficult experiences but generally could find a place of calm pretty quickly. At some point in my toxic relationship I noticed that I was unable to stop – a problem that still affects me today. I noticed that although I was constantly exhausted I was unable to sleep, my brain never shut down, and I felt like a hummingbird on amphetamines. No matter how tired I was I had to be doing something until I passed out from exhaustion.
When I was diagnosed with a nasty thyroid that was full of tumors, cysts, and precancerous cells I assumed that the thyroid was the villain.
Even after the thyroid was gone and my medication was being adjusted I still had the same exhaustion and I started doing some research. Adrenal fatigue is the result of constant stress. The symptoms are hard to pin down because they are all so different but if you have been in a relationship with a narcissist and have several of the following issues then adrenal fatigue should be considered as a possibility.
- Blood pressure issues
- Weight gain, especially in abdomen and hips
- Uncontrollable carb cravings
- Feelings of being overwhelmed
- Inability to stop, to relax, or to control the speed of your thoughts
- Frequent illnesses
- Slow recovery
- Inability to focus
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Hypothyroidism/thyroid issues
This is only a drop in the bucket. There are many more symptoms and medical issues that are intensified by adrenal fatigue.
So How Do You Fix It?
There are hundreds of articles about herb and vitamin supplements to help you deal with adrenal fatigue. I find that following a high protein, lower carb diet along with a daily workout in the gym helps me to wind down and allows me to quiet my mind. I try to stick with natural sweeteners like stevia, xylitol, and erythritol plus keep coffee, alcohol, and refined foods at a minimum.
I have to stop when I get tired – that’s my lack of thyroid. I have learned not to push too hard. After years of ignoring my body’s cries for relief I can’t afford to turn a deaf ear to it anymore. I am 54 years old and my health has suffered. I don’t have the luxury of waiting.
Honestly, you don’t either.
The Time Is Now
You see, we spent years spilling cortisol into our bodies, jumping at sharp noises, and ignoring aches and pains. We were led to believe that we were exaggerating, that our pains were less traumatic than the narcissists, and that we really didn’t matter. In fact, for many of us, caving to illness just meant that the narcissist “one upped” us and came down with something worse. There was no point in complaining.
If you keep on that way, even though it feels “normal” your body is going to continue to break down. Your health will deteriorate until you are really sick – and it may be too late to reverse the problems.
Living in a narcissistic relationship breaks you down in so many ways. Since emotions seems to be the primary area that we’re wounded we may focus on healing in those areas and ignore the physical problems. In order to truly heal we must seek wholeness and health in all areas – mind, body, and spirit. The adrenals can affect every aspect of self and we know they are negatively affected by continual stress. It stands to reason that it’s a good place to start.
Do some research on adrenal fatigue and talk to your health care provider. Shoot for a balanced healing plan that treats you spiritually, physically, and mentally.
You deserve more than minimal healing. You deserve to be your best. Do what you need to do to achieve wholeness and don’t stop until you get there. You have something important to do and you’ll need everything in working order to achieve your destiny.
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Lead Image Courtesy of Flickr's Creative Commons, User: Kelsey Christina Karstrand