It was a Saturday night when we picked our daughter Kelsey up from the airport. She had just returned from Guatemala, her second mission trip with our church. She had been so excited to go because she was going on her own – without us this time. As a young adult she wanted to prove to herself and to us she could do this independently.
After we came home we talked to her about the trip. As she was talking, it seemed as if she just couldn’t collect her thoughts. It seemed as if her thoughts were so disjointed. Her Dad, Wayne, and I attributed it to her being overly excited to share her mission experience. So, we blew it off and thought we’d hear more about it when she was rested.
The following morning another perplexing thing happened. We were at church and the group from the mission trip gave a presentation sharing their travel experiences. The next thing I knew Kelsey ran out of the room crying, she couldn’t get herself under control. Yes, she is sensitive, but this was a little uncharacteristic of her. We talked in the hall and she still couldn’t seem to express what she was thinking. It all seemed a little odd. Wayne and I tried to make sense of it by saying it must be due to lack of sleep.
Kelsey had left on this trip with so much energy and excitement. She had come such a long way in the past few years. While living at home, she had started school at the community college, which was a big step considering her diagnoses of dyslexia, auditory processing challenges, and ADHD. She had always fought hard and persevered.
She had just started the second semester of living on campus. Kelsey felt like she had hit the big time! She had watched her sister and brother go to college, live in the dorm and now she was doing the same thing! It was a huge and exciting step for her.
After her episode at church, we all discussed whether or not she was ready to go back to school. She expressed stress about an upcoming paper she had to write. We reminded her of the assistance at the school for her special needs. Again, she was determined to accomplish school without us. She decided to get a good night’s rest and leave for school in the morning. We had always had a soft heart for her since she had to work so hard at school. But we also were determined to let Kelsey have a “fulfilling” college experience without too much of a helping hand. There is always the question, “Are we pushing her too hard or not enough?”
The Early Signs of Adrenal Fatigue
The following Wednesday, I received a call from a tearful Kelsey. It was a different kind of cry; one that only a mother would know. She said, “MOM, I just can’t do this, I’m not going to class, I can’t think and I’m not sleeping very good.” Without her saying too much more, I told her I would come and pick her up. Was I rescuing her? She seemed so much more anxious than she had ever been. We had talked through many nights of homework woes, but this seemed different. I took her straight to her doctor and he gave her a medicine to “help her calm down”. The doctor had charted what medicines she was already on: ADHD medication, allergy meds and Mefloquine HCL (an anti-malaria drug prescribed for the mission trip). As I watched her being examined, she had that scared puppy dog look, different than I had ever seen before. This was just the beginning of a long roller coaster ride that would last over three years.