I recently had test results come back with very high cortisol and normal thyroid levels as well. I was having very typical symptoms to go with it; waking up with racing heartbeat at 3am every morning, crashing temps and shaking after eating well, phenomenal weight gain…
Here’s my story (short as I can make it) and why I think there is hope even with high cortisol:
The thing is, this is the third time in three years that I am attempting to follow Matt’s advice to full recovery. Both of the other two times, I had very predictable results. My temps and weight steadily went up, my low thyroid symptoms went down, and I felt better, but couldn’t stand the extra weight and the stupid fear of judgement that people thought I wasn’t healthy if I wasn’t thin, so I inevitably went back to intermittent fasting and restricting sugar (and wheat, and potatoes, and rice, etc.) to lose weight (though I maintained a WAPF diet otherwise).
So this time, I was gaining weight anyway, despite restrictions, due to the already high cortisol from recent stresses, so I decided to try again to see it through without reservations or backtracking …with very different results than the past two attempts.
Basically, I was reacting exactly how Matt describes in his new book on hypoglycemia (thank you Freebruary!), and I read it just as I was about to give up because eating was making me feel like crap. The explanation of idiopathic postprandial syndrome described my reactions to a tee, and gave me the reassurance to keep going despite feeling like eating previously warming foods was making me colder than ever (like crashing down to 94.8 after eating anything) So…I kept chugging along, force feeding myself at times when I knew my adrenaline and cortisol were about to spike, and slowly but surely, over the last month or less, I’ve seen a lot of improvements that tell me I’m back on the right track. I’ve stopped crashing after meals, I’m not waking up at night anymore, I fall asleep easier, my temps are stabilizing throughout the day in addition to remaining higher in the mornings. My hair has stopped falling out in handfuls, and I’m much more patient and less reactive with my children and stressful situations. I still get that fight or flight feeling in my stomach that shuts everything down on the occasions when I’m confronted with my current stressor, but I’m hopeful that with more time and de-stressing like yoga and meditation, and not stressing my body with dieting, that I will get to where I want to be, and I’m finally ready to accept that it may take more than months to reverse what I, like so many, have caused over the course of many years.
So, I think with high stress hormones, the short term recovery may look a little different, and it may take a little longer to see positive gains, but the plan is the same and can have the same long term results? Still hoping at least. Oh, and I have been taking Gaia’s adrenal support for 2 years now with mostly amazing results. My only complaint is that if I ever miss a dose, I get very rage-y and it’s difficult to control my anger and reaction response. I’m told it’s not addictive and that I shouldn’t have dependency issues, but it’s a bit disconcerting. I suspect it’s the rhodiola in it and not the holy basil or ashwaghanda, but not positive. I just plan to take it as long as I’m working toward recovery.