Warning: Side Effects May Cause You To Vividly Recall The 5th Grade

I don’t know if it was because of clairvoyance or pure dumb luck that I asked for an asymmetrical haircut this last round at the salon. Because guess what’s good for hiding a forehead soon to be festooned with angry red pimples? Cute, sweeping bangs, that’s what.

My doctor warned me that the drugs I would be taking to help out with my poor, exhausted adrenal glands *might* make me develop adult acne. The drugs are hormones, after all. And what makes your adrenal glands able to finally put their heads between their knees and take a breather from all that running they’ve been doing for the last five years so also makes your skin return to its former pubescent state. Hallelujah. The body is a magical thing.

So, the diagnosis is this: I’ve been experiencing what’s called Adrenal Exhaustion. All that crankiness, that loss of libido, that tiredness, those panic attacks, the fainting, the insomnia… it’s all because my adrenal glands are overworked. Why? Because I’m a stress case. Quite literally. Most people’s adrenal glands are supposed to be used every once in a while when, you know, their child is about to be mauled by, say, a saber tooth tiger. (I think that’s what they told us in science class). Anywho, when your adrenal glands release adrenaline into your bloodstream you’re filled with an enormous, sudden, and temporary amount of strength and energy so you can punch that sonofabitch saber tooth tiger right in the snout, grab your baby, and then run 82 miles at top speed in the opposite direction.

MY adrenal glands, because I am prone to anxiety and because I can’t manage my stress properly, are squirting adrenaline 24 hours a day. And those adrenal glands are tired. Like tiiiiiiiii-red. Like dog tired. And this causes me to feel both panicked and unable to move at the same time. MY adrenal glands are exhausted from making adrenaline around the clock. To boot, the adrenaline-producing part of my brain is actually STEALING hormone-building chemicals from OTHER hormone-producing areas of my brain so it can keep making that slow trickle of adrenaline constantly. So, the hormones (like serotonin) that make me feel all good and loosey-goosey? Not being made. And the sex hormones? Well, let’s just say CLH has had a very rough year.

To illustrate: Your adrenal glands are probably being manned by two 1930’s era circus strongmen who smash them occasionally with comically large mallets, thus releasing adrenaline when danger approaches. My adrenal glands are manned by Droopy Dog and probably look like two crusty dried up balloons.

And there’s your science lesson for the day.

Thanks to my new doctor, though, I FINALLY feel restored and alive. Eh, so what’s a few pimples? I mean, sure, getting ready for work in the morning is a bit of a joke. No amount of sophisticated black dress and chunky, modern jewelry hides the fact that my skin is blotchy and red like a 13 year old’s. I’ve never been one to wear a ton of makeup, but these days I go through several ROUNDS of cover-up.

Given all the bizarre medical tests I’ve had to endure, the months and years of not knowing what the hell was wrong with me, the chronic ear pain, a few zits is a very small price to pay for feeling better. And I DO feel better. That “depleted” feeling I was experiencing is all but gone. My energy levels feel restored. I’m working out at the gym several days a week. I’m seeing a new chiropractor now, too, so maybe my neck bones (which currently look like a crushed soda can) will get straightened out. And then maybe my ear will get the hint that the REST of me is tired of being broken and it will step into line.

For now, I’m reducing (at my doctor’s advice) my dosage of the hormones, and I’m styling my hair so that it hides a good chunk of my face in a melodramatic, angry punk rocker sort of way. If I’m going to be sporting the skin of a 5th grader, I think I should be able to sport a hairstyle from one, too.