“I forgot I could feel this good!”
For Susan Irby, 51, every day was a battle against fatigue. Then she discovered the surprising culprit and the natural fixes that made all the difference
Susan, are you ready yet? Where is the food? We’re going to be late!” the wedding coordinator pleaded as Susan and her staff scrambled. “I was hired to cater a wedding for about 250 people at a high-profile location,” Susan recalls. “But since I was so tired, run-down and unable to focus, I couldn’t take charge of the event and we were running behind schedule.
“Not only was the food not as good as usual, but since I didn’t prepare my staff to serve at the buffet stations because I was exhausted and overwhelmed, we ran out of food. I felt so bad about disappointing the couple and ruining their special day. To make matters worse, they were so upset that they didn’t pay their bill. Sadly, this wasn’t the first time I had made mistakes like this at work as I struggled to stay on top of everything. I tried my best to work through the fatigue, but business got so bad that I eventually closed it altogether.
No more to give
“For 15 years, fatigue defined my life. After my catering business tanked, I decided to write a book, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t muster up the energy or focus long enough to write.
“The fatigue also affected my personal life. When my friends invited me to a birthday party or dinner, I didn’t have any motivation to go. I lost all my drive to work out and I gained 40 pounds, even though I had always been active and fit. I also battled insomnia, depression and anxiety, which didn’t make sense because
I had always been an enthusiastic, optimistic person. It just wasn’t like me at all.
“To find out what was happening to me, I made an appointment with a doctor who works with people who have emotional health issues.
After I described my symptoms, she said she thought my levels of the brain chemical dopamine were low. She explained that low levels of this chemical were associated with fatigue, brain fog, a lack of concentration and poor mood, which would explain why I felt so bad.
“The doctor never ran any tests, but she prescribed Wellbutrin, an antidepressant that she said would restore my dopamine levels. I was apprehensive about taking it because I rarely even took a pain reliever, but she convinced me that I would feel better, and I trusted her.
Newport Beach, CA