In May 2008 I fell very sick from a stress-related workplace illness. These types of burn-outs are called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome illnesses. (CFS).

CFS illnesses are a broad-range term covering similar symptoms and conditions caused by a plethora of causes. CFS is a many-headed monster.

The similar symptoms and conditions are prolonged tiredness and fatigue, adrenal gland issues/ depletion, sleep difficulties often a night, broken and intermittent sleep, muscle fatigue and aching, migraines, some kind of initiating cause like a stress incident(s), exposure to harmful chemicals, or a retro-virus, superbug, Ross River fever or Lyme Disease.

A number of these symptoms are present in any CFS illness. Practitioners in this area have formulated lists of symptoms and postulate that say four symptoms must be present for the illness or condition to be termed a CFS illness or condition.

In my case of a stress-induced CFS illness or condition, and in most CFS illnesses and conditions, many internal organs are affected, and the inability of one organ to cope with the fall-out of the effects of the causal incident affects other internal organs.

In a stress-related CFS illness or condition, the adrenal glands are the primary organ affected. These two small diamond-shaped organs located above the kidneys.

 

Wikipedia extract:

The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are endocrine glands that produce a variety of hormones including adrenaline and the steroids aldosterone and cortisolThey are found above the kidneys. Each gland has an outer cortex which produces steroid hormones and an inner medulla. The adrenal cortex itself is divided into three zones: zona glomerulosa, the zona fasciculata and the zona reticularis.

The adrenal cortex produces three main types of steroid hormones: mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids, and androgens. Mineralocorticoids (such as aldosterone) produced in the zona glomerulosa help in the regulation of blood pressure and electrolyte balance. The glucocorticoids cortisol and corticosterone are synthesized in the zona fasciculata; their functions include the regulation of metabolism and immune system suppression. The innermost layer of the cortex, the zona reticularis, produces androgens that are converted to fully functional sex hormones in the gonads and other target organs. The production of steroid hormones is called steroidogenesis, and involves a number of reactions and processes that take place in cortical cells. The medulla produces the catecholamines adrenaline and noradrenaline, which function to produce a rapid response throughout the body in stress situations.

A number of endocrine diseases involve dysfunctions of the adrenal gland. Overproduction of cortisol leads to Cushing’s syndrome, whereas insufficient production is associated with Addison’s disease. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a genetic disease produced by dysregulation of endocrine control mechanisms. A variety of tumors can arise from adrenal tissue and are commonly found in medical imaging when searching for other diseases.

My comments:

The adrenal gland are in essence the body’s brain for it’s glands and body chemistry.

Thirty years ago very little was known about these mysterious illnesses that rendered people exhausted and with the symptoms I’ve mentioned earlier in this article.

My illness arose from overdoing things on one four month project in 2007-8, as a Builder and Construction Manager. The hours were too long, the project too intense, demanding and too short, the number of administrative and project management support staff inadequate, and the volume of paperwork overwhelming. Being at the top of my lifelong career in this field at the time, I coped with the project well and enjoyed it in some ways, but it was basically a massive over-load.

It has taken over eight years to recover to a point where I could work a normal long working week in my field, and I am now fully recovered in the sense of being able to be as good a Builder and Project Manager as ever.

Also at 60, I am getting older, and anyone my age has to be careful with not overdoing things physically and mentally. Having said that, a work-related stress burn-out can happen to anyone of any age. So we all must be careful.

I could write a book about it. Maybe two.

Today is a very significant day for me because I am walking the City to Surf in Sydney, Australia. This is a fun run from Hyde Park in the city centre to Bondi on the coast. It is the largest fun run in the world. I’ve run it five times in the past.

My fitness is down from my CFS illness due to me not having enough energy to exercise beyond normal daily activity, and I’m above my normal weight, and I haven’t done any running for ten years.

I’m reasonably fit for walking and have good legs so walking will be fine. It is a 14km walk and mainly undulating. There is one steep hill nicknamed “Heartbreak Hill” after Rose Bay and I’ll be taking it easy up there.

So today is a very exciting milestone for me and I’m hoping, God willing, that today is the beginning of getting my old fitness back and doing the physical activities and fun events I loved doing. I hope to run the City to Surf next year, instead of walking.

I’d like to swim the Bondi to Bronte 2.5 km ocean swim in December. Possibly this year, if not next year. I’m planning to play more squash and golf as time goes by. I like going to the gym and trekking. There’s no reason not to do these things after 60. It’s all about taking it easy, not trying to be too competition minded, working within your limits and fitness, taking small steps forward, and being relaxed.

I’m walking with my adult daughter Rebeccah and my 13 year old son Cosmo, who have both never done it. The City to Surf is a real buzz with over 80,000 people doing it. It’s a major Sydney event and a lot of fun. I’m going to take photographs all the way so I’ll publish some blog articles on it.