Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Recovering from adrenal gland fatigue and returning to fiction writing

It's tough when you're self employed and have to take time to deal with a health problem. I'm a novelist and there's no one to fill in for me. That means my readers have been waiting for my next novel.

Earlier this month, I was reminded of this when I noticed a 5-star review in the Nook store for Journey of the Hunted.

"I love this series, and I am dying for the next."

Such comments really motivate me. I sincerely try to make each novel I write worthy of my readers.

And I am writing the next book in this series. I'm currently working on Chapter 5. of Werewolf Castle. I've begun this novel after a full-year hiatus from fiction writing. I had to stop writing novels in 2014 for a couple reasons, the foremost of which being the need to treat my adrenal gland fatigue.

I discovered adrenal gland fatigue when I did a Google search for how to cope with chronic stress. It turns out chronic stress contributes greatly to adrenal gland fatigue. The adrenal glands secrete their hormones to keep the human body going when things get tough, especially cortisol and adrenaline. When things are always tough, then the glands never get a break. They are also the system that gets boosted up by coffee. So, my stress coupled with coffee consumption had worn down my adrenals.

As I researched the condition, I discovered I had about 90 percent of symptoms. One of the most alarming symptoms for me was the body jolting. I had wondered for a couple years what these little seizure-like surges were. Turns out they were my adrenal glands randomly thrashing my body back into action.

There's some controversy about whether adrenal gland fatigue is an actual medical condition. WebMD claims it is not, and critics say it's just a condition made up to sell vitamins. I really don't care if it's been officially labeled as medically real. What I know is that it described my problems quite accurately and the suggested therapies have helped me feel better. I also know that the small areas of pain in my lower back, which correspond with the placement of the adrenal glands over the kidneys, have mostly gone away.

By the time I had Google diagnosed myself, my health had gotten quite bad. My gross and fine motor skills were deteriorating. My memory was fuzzy. I couldn't make decisions, at least not good ones. In general, my performance was very low, which really bothered me because I had been a very competent person most of my life. I don't even know when precisely I started to go downhill. I just know that I've been pushing myself relentlessly for years, and at some point I went over the edge.

Adrenal Fatigue Therapies

Confronted with a greatly reduced ability to function, I had to take steps to heal. There are a range of therapies for adrenal gland fatigue. Two of the most important are sleep and cutting back on caffeine. For the past 15 months, I've been forcing myself to go to bed earlier, which I hate, but it was necessary.

Increasing protein in the diet and reducing sugar also reduce strain on the adrenals. I focus on protein-based snacks more, including protein shakes, and save sugar for treats instead of a constant fuel supply.

I'll admit that had been abusing sugar more and more over the years. I used it as an energy source. Please don't hate me, but I'm one of those people who can eat endless carbs and not get fat. I just turn them into energy, so I can keep going. And by keep going, I mean working 12 to 14 hours a day 7 days a week with no days off for a decade. This made my adrenal glands function as spark plugs on my body's engine. I still have no days off, but I've gotten things down to about 10 hours a day.

At this point, I am beginning to feel much better. From what I've read, recovering from adrenal fatigue can take up to two years. Even when I can consider myself healed, I'll always have to watch my diet and get more sleep. I don't want to feel the way I did.

I've had to learn to slow down for the sake of my health. This is a difficult lesson. I've driven myself so hard for so many years that I don't even really know how to relax. During my recovery, I've made some progress in that department. I've been allowing myself to simply stop working by 8 or 9 at night. The problem is that writing novels requires burning a lot of midnight oil. I'm not one of those people who can get up early and write. I understand this works for some people, but I've always preferred writing in the afternoon, evening, or late at night.

For the sake of completing Werewolf Castle, I need to develop a new routine. Slowly, I'm slipping fiction writing back into my busy over-burdened life. Writing novels is my greatest solace in life. The creative work makes me feel good.

Although it will be a while before Werewolf Castle is complete, I have 10 other novels already published.

If you'd like to start the Werewolves in the Renaissance series, the first book Werelord Thal is a free ebook or you can buy the paperback at Amazon.

See complete information about all of my fantasy series at my website.

Werewolves in the Renaissance
Rys Rising
The Rys Chronicles

Follow this blog or like my Brave Luck Books Facebook page to find out about sales and promotions at various retail outlets.

A note from Tracy Falbe: Be the first to know about my new releases and special sales at Brave Luck Books. Join the Readers' List. Ebooks and audiobooks available worldwide. Print in select countries.