Adair Miller Spinks has always been the kind of person people envied. Tall, blond, beautiful. After being voted Homecoming Queen as a cheerleader in 1987 at Memorial High School, she was a debutante in Galveston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio and New York.
A friend to everyone, and an accomplished athlete, Adair always went out of her way to help any and all who needed it. But when her marriage started to crumble in 2007 and she suddenly lost her mom in a tragic car accident, shielding her two kids from the fallout became her chief concern; and her personal well-being and health took a backseat.
“I was entering my 40’s and in a fog, and I figured the unrelenting anxiety, depression and stress were a result of the divorce and my mother’s death. For years I retreated inside myself, not wanting to socialize with friends, conflicting with my family members and many days just not wanting to get out of bed,” Adair remembers. “It got so bad for so long I couldn’t muster the energy to pay bills, take care of laundry, even make meals for my family. I drank to take the edge off and started relying too heavily on wine to just make it through the day. I was convinced I was becoming an alcoholic, so I quit and started attending regular 12-step meetings. I would exercise for hours at a time and ramped up my counseling sessions.”
Adair finally reached her breaking point last summer after a failed romance and mounting personal and financial hardships resulting from her neglect convinced her she was seriously going crazy. She knew it was time to take drastic measures for herself and her kids.
“My counselor at the time would ask me every week, ‘What did you accomplish this week? What did you mark off your to-do list?’ I would cry and tell her I hadn’t gotten anything done. I was overwhelmed and felt even worse about myself, so I retreated even further.”
Adair’s counselor finally met with her family and suggested she spend six weeks at The Meadows, an intensive in-house rehabilitative center in Arizona that specializes in trauma and addiction treatment through Neurobehavioral therapy.
“When I first got there I slept for four days straight. The program and therapies were wonderful and allowed me the space and time to work through things that were holding me back. I wasn’t depressed anymore because they were teaching me how to forgive and love myself again. But I was still tired and couldn’t stop sleeping. At the time I thought maybe I needed it just to process things. But now I see that tiredness stopped me from being able to take total advantage of everything The Meadows offered.”
When Adair got home she was still exhausted. An athlete her whole life, she had completely stopped working out and didn’t even mind losing all her muscle tone and the high that comes from exercise. She thought she was just getting older and had to live with this level of energy the rest of her life.
“Finally a girlfriend got concerned hearing me talk about my symptoms and suggested I speak with another friend of hers who had just had a bio-identical hormone pellet implanted that helped her and suggested I get a blood panel done to check my hormones,” says Adair. “Imagine my shock when two weeks later my report indicated my estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone were so low they didn’t even register. According to my doctor, Dr. Sarah Jackson at Natural Bio Health, this all indicated not only was I going through menopause I was post-menopausal. My doctor told me the majority of my symptoms in the previous years could be directly related to reduction of hormones in my body due to menopause and the fact that my thyroid stopped working properly .”
Adair and her doctor believe there just isn’t enough education out there for women about the unique changes our bodies go through as we age. Dr. Jackson says everyone goes through menopause differently, and it can even be brought on early by stresses such as divorce, death of a loved one or pressure at work.
“I really hope my experience struggling and really suffering with my unknown hormonal changes and how it related to mental illness will help others,” says Adair. “We need to take the shame and insecurity and judgement of others out of our conversations about how we feel mentally and physically. After all, if it wasn’t for my girlfriends I never would have never known to check my hormone levels and have learned what to do to get myself back on track for myself and my kids.”
Stay tuned for our followup installment with Dr. Jackson and Adair when we will learn how Adair is being treated to regulate her hormones and how differently she feels today mentally and physically.