You feel tired all the time… no energy for life; you know you need physical exercise or you’ll decline even further, but if you do too much it wipes you out even more; you can’t think clearly or remember simple things; stressful or emotionally challenging situations wipe you out more than ever. You know you’ve got chronic fatigue, you’ve had it for weeks, months, years… You’ve either tried everything or you’ve tried everything short of the radical dietary regime recommended by most naturopaths.
The great thing about naturopathy is that it recognizes the need to treat the cause rather than the symptoms. Unfortunately though, it only identifies the physical causes, thinking that is the real cause, when behind the physical causes is always an underlying environmental or emotional cause. To heal chronic or adrenal fatigue, you need to heal THAT cause.
For example, the physical cause of chronic or adrenal fatigue, like almost every other condition that afflicts human beings, is always either a deficiency in something, or an over toxicity of something, or a mix of the two. So prescriptions that variously address these causes may well heal the body… eventually. But they take a LOT of effort, because the real underlying cause (which we’ll get to in a moment) will always be pushing against your healing efforts until it is addressed. The only chance you have of ‘beating’ it is to beat yourself into submission… which, as you’ll see, is pretty much what caused the problem in the first place.
Identify the real cause
The underlying cause of chronic or adrenal fatigue is actually very simple. And if you deal with it, you won’t need to subject yourself to any grueling dietary or exercise regimens. Your diet and overall health will likely also improve, but they will do so because your healthy aligned state makes you naturally gravitate toward more healthy choices without any effort or sense of losing/forfeiting anything… healthy lifestyle without any willpower required to get there.
This real underlying cause is the choices you have made – not diet or exercise kind of choices, but rather the choices you make each day about what to do and how to do it. Probably, if your condition has gotten as serious as chronic or adrenal fatigue, you have made a lot of choices in your life where there has been no apparent ‘right’ choice. Day after day you are faced with situations where making any choice means that one part of you gets what it wants (honour my responsibilities, pay the bills, take care of the children, etc. etc.) and the other part gets kicked to the kerb (honour my own beliefs, explore a passion or desire, etc. etc.). Whatever the opposing stories or desires may be doesn’t matter, the point is they’re always there at your choice-points. Probably you can see how you’ve been doing this your whole life. We are mostly taught that life is about compromise, but it’s this belief – this false belief – that is behind chronic or adrenal fatigue.
You see, chronic or adrenal fatigue is the result of self-betrayal. It occurs when you have ignored the varying needs of your various ‘parts’ for so long that you have become an entirely unsafe place for you to be; you’ve invalidated or dismissed or betrayed your true feelings in the choices you have made so comprehensively and so consistently that you have completely broken your own trust.
Quite likely chronic or adrenal fatigue has finally caught up with you (or gotten much worse) after you went even further than this and made a promise to yourself, after years and years of self-betrayal, to actually stop betraying yourself somehow. Maybe you promised yourself you would start following your passions & desires… and didn’t; or maybe to start speaking your truth; or to stop pleasing others, or whatever it may be. When you make those promises to yourself and you don’t follow through on them, or worse still you follow through and then immediately abandon or betray yourself further when you are confronted by something else, the likelihood you will end up with chronic or adrenal fatigue goes up significantly because you made a promise to yourself and broke it – your self-trust/personal-safety factor plummeted even further; you betrayed yourself on an even deeper level.
To heal chronic fatigue, you must earn back your own trust; you must become ‘safe’ for yourself. If you can’t trust yourself, who else will you ever trust? If you can’t stand up for your own truth, or comfort yourself when you need it, who will? If you can’t be safe in your own skin, where will you ever be safe? How will you ever get out of your subtle but near-perpetual state of fight or flight if you can’t even relax in your own body?
To earn back your trust you’re going to have to end the win:lose dynamic that plays out inside you – this is what you’ve been doing your whole life. It’s a zero-sum game – a repeating cycle where one part of you wins at the expense of another… and everyone loses in the end.
Your job is to figure out a way where every part of you can win every time.
What does that look like?
It’s not about making different choices – if you make different choices, then a different part of you loses. The choices you have been making aren’t right or wrong, they are just incomplete.
When you’re facing a choice-point where it feels there isn’t a win:win situation, the reality is that your various aspects or multiple personalities, each with their own beliefs, are each vying to have their own perspective heard and honoured – the one that wants to stay home and watch a movie, and the one that wants to go out with friends; the one that wants to go to work, and the one that doesn’t.
A commitment to yourself
The way to heal chronic or adrenal fatigue is to make the commitment to not take any action in the world without all the various aspects of yourself being in full alignment. To never act while there is any doubt about your choices – until all parts of you agree with the action. To never act when you are ignoring, diminishing or invalidating any feeling you have. You need to be 100% sure that every action you take is what you choose on every level.
This may sound like a tall order, impossible even, but it’s actually VERY simple – if you were in a loving partner relationship and going out on a date, and you both wanted to go to a different restaurant, you would discuss the matter until you came into alignment with each other about what you were going to do. What you end up doing doesn’t actually matter – maybe you end up going to one of the places one of you wanted in the first place, maybe you go somewhere entirely different… maybe you end up staying home and making love. Either way, in a healthy relationship, you will be aligned with each other in your joint choice. Healthy relationships are not about compromise – no one ever compromises I a truly healthy relationship. Healthy relationships are about alignment – win:win for all. This is what you must do with yourself – for every choice-point or action you take that requires any kind of decision – you must get into alignment with yourself; you must facilitate a dialogue between the part of you that wants to act and the part that doesn’t and work it out until there is a resolution.
Be with yourself
Whilst you’re wiped out, it’s time to allow yourself to be with yourself… to allow space for that. Recognise that you have been through a serious amount of trauma and you deserve some rest. Show yourself some compassion. Connect with the part of yourself that is saying “fuck you, I’ve had enough”. How does he feel? What has she been through emotionally throughout her life to bring her to this place? Can you imagine how you would feel if you had been through the same? (btw, you have… that’s the point! Healing this is about seeing that.) Watch how quickly your fatigue starts to subside when you do this.
Find out what you really need
When you’re feeling once again like you can get up and move (either because of your new-found sense of solidarity with yourself, or just because your normal fatigue-state operating window has opened again), don’t just abandon yourself again, stay in dialogue with your repressed parts. What does he need to be able to move forward again without ending up back in the same place? How can you provide that for her? Don’t move until you can do it in a way that respects yourself and that all of you feels good with. This is your new M.O. for life – every minute, of every day, in every way.
Watch yourself begin to heal.
These four simple steps may be simple but they are not necessarily easy. They are the only real solution though.
And they do come with a wee warning – once you make the choice to become safe for yourself and begin to earn back your own trust, you have made a commitment you should never break. If you betray yourself now, you’re going to be in a far worse state than you were before you started. If you betray yourself now, it will take exponentially more work for you to ever earn that trust back the next time (you’ve probably already done this if your condition is truly chronic).
If you follow these steps though, you won’t just heal, you will feel ‘freer’ than ever before. You won’t just overcome the fatigue, you will have released the unhealthy emotional needs and attachments you have with others because they were also the result of your search for safety; the result of you not being safe for yourself. Once you are safe for yourself, you will be free to love unconditionally, not trying to ‘get’ anything from anyone else – recognition, love, support, whatever – you won’t need it any more. And that’s the silver lining to chronic or adrenal fatigue – if you allow it to, it will light your path to unconditional love.