Childhood Abuse, Long COVID, and Adult Hypertension

There is a new issue of the GrassRoots newsletter coming out this week. Watch for it – it has information on new groups. If you don’t receive it, you can ask to subscribe at https://grassroots-ra-mc-collective.org/contact-us/.

I am getting a cat tomorrow! He is half Turkish Van, just like Baker. Like Baker, he could pass as purebred. His owner lives about 30 miles away and is happy to stay in touch after he moves in with me. His name is Spicy, but I think I will call him Spencer. 

Oh, and there is a Turkish Van Facebook group. It’s been around for ten years and has 4323 members. I guess Vans aren’t as rare as they are made out to be! https://www.facebook.com/groups/274535075956887/

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Every day, I receive three articles from the Harvard University Gazette. Most aren’t of much interest to me, but this one infuriated me.

“Study Finds Distress Before COVID-19 Infection Increases Risk of Long COVID by 45%.”
By Nicole Rura for the Harvard Chan School of Public Health Communications Department
https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2022/09/depression-anxiety-may-escalate-chances-of-long-covid-says-study/ 
September 7, 2022

In this study, distress means psychological distress, including depression, anxiety, worry, perceived stress, and loneliness. How many of us RA/MC survivors have lived even one day of our lives without any of those conditions? I’d like to meet them and find out how they managed it!

I keep stumbling across articles correlating childhood abuse and adult illnesses of all sorts. They absolutely enrage me, and I vent by blogging about them. I’m angry that the abuse may end, but the physical and psychological effects are life-long. I’m angry that this isn’t widely known. If it were, there would be no need for more of these “ground-breaking” studies.

If you were a mess psychologically before you got COVID, you are far more likely to get long COVID. Physical health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, obesity, high cholesterol, and current or past smoking are known risk factors for more severe COVID infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. This study showed that they barely contribute to the development of long COVID. 

Survivors have far more risk factors than other people – including autoimmune diseases. So we are more likely to catch COVID, more likely to be hospitalized, and more likely to die. And now they have found we are more likely to get long COVID. It’s not fair, and it’s not our fault.

Anyway, here are the highlights of the study.

From 4/1/2020 to 5/1/2020, 58,612 members of the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study II, Nurses’ Health Study 3, and the Growing Up Today Study were enrolled in a long COVID study and followed until 1/3/2021. During this time, 3,752 people (6%) reported testing positive for COVID, and 1403 (43.9%) reported post-COVID symptoms. Among these, 86.9% reported symptoms lasting two months or longer, and 55.8% reported at least occasional daily life impairment.

The most common symptoms were fatigue (56.0%), smell or taste problems (44.6%), shortness of breath (25.5%), confusion, disorientation, or brain fog (24.5%), and memory issues (21.8%).

All study members were first asked about their experience of psychological distress, including depression, anxiety, worry, perceived stress, and loneliness.

Psychological distress was associated with an increased risk of long COVID, independent of smoking, asthma, and other health behaviors or physical health conditions. Different kinds of distress were associated with a 32% to 46% increased risk of long COVID and a 15% to 51% greater risk of daily life impairment.

Psychological problems have been associated with a greater risk of more severe COVID (including hospitalization), which, in itself, is a risk factor for long COVID. Other studies show that mental health conditions are associated with greater severity and longer duration of flu and cold symptoms. Still other studies have suggested an association with chronic Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia, which all have symptoms similar to those of long COVID.

The full article, available online, also discusses possible mechanisms by which psychological factors could contribute to physical illnesses. 

“Associations of Depression, Anxiety, Worry, Perceived Stress, and Loneliness Prior to Infection With Risk of Post–COVID-19 Conditions.”
Wang, Siwen; Quan, Luwei; Chavarro, Jorge E.; Slopen, Natalie; Kubzansky, Laura D.; Koenen, Karestan C.; Kang, Jae Hee; Weisskopf, Marc; Branch-Elliman, Westyn; and Roberts, Andrea L.
JAMA Psychiatry. Published online September 7, 2022

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And then, on September 9, this came into my inbox:

“Sensitization of Hypertension: The Impact of Earlier Life Challenges: Excellence Award for Hypertension Research 2021.”
Xue, Baojian and Johnson Alan. 
https://synopsi.medpagetoday.com/article/162441/sensitization-of-hypertension-the-impact-of-earlier-life-challenges?xid=nl_mpt_Cardiology_update_2022-09-09&mh=02623b6c09bbfe381410b8080fd99509&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Automated%20Specialty%20Update%20Cardiology%20BiWeekly%20FRIDAY%202022-09-09&utm_term=NL_Spec_Cardiology_Update_Active

Now, this really hits home. It’s validation that my crazy blood pressure behavior is a direct result of extreme childhood abuse. I’ll share the article with my doctors. Not that it will help them learn how to manage it, but at least it may be a little less of a mystery to them.

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My Trip Was Great!

I had a wonderful time and did all the things I wanted to.

Except I didn’t totally detox from the Internet. I used it to read maps, find places to eat, and play music. I felt refreshed, though, as I didn’t check my email once, nor did I look up any RA/MC-associated websites. I did not feel I was cheating and so came home calm, rejuvenated, and free of guilt.

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Next-To-Last Reminder – RA/MC Panel at the International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference
I will be part of a panel of RA/MC survivors of child sex trafficking. The title of the presentation is “The Interface between Sex Trafficking, Ritual Abuse, and Mind Control Programming.” It will be in two parts. Each part will consist of a recording of the panel discussion followed by live questions and answers. There will be a fifteen-minute break between the two sections. We have the whole afternoon on Thursday, September 22, 2022. Read more about the presentation plus descriptions of all the other presentations at https://app.traffickingconference.com/schedule Please come see us in (virtual) person! Survivors should choose the “Free Attendee Registration” option and remember to write for the registration code number. Register at https://www.traffickingconference.com/register

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Upcoming Holidays
October 10/9 Full Moon 10/10 Columbus Day 10/13 Backward Halloween 10/25 Partial solar eclipse visible in Europe, the Urals, Western Siberia, the Middle East, India, Western Asia, and northeast Africa. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2022-october-25 10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year November 11/1 All Saints’ Day 11/2 All Souls’ Day 11/4 Satanic Revels 11/7 – 8 Total lunar eclipse visible in North and East Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, much of South America, and Antarctica. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2022-november-8 11/ 8 Full Moon (Blood Moon) 11/11 (?) Veterans’ Day 11/24 Thanksgiving Day (United States) 11/27 First Sunday of Advent 11/30 St Andrew’s Day Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups  10/1 Lammas Early August through October: Various preparations are done in readiness for October, the month with the largest number of celebrations. 9/2  Autumnal equinox, “Fall Festival.” 10/16 Death of Rosenburg, a Nazi leader in World War II. (Many Nazi leaders were captured and scheduled for trial in late September and early October. Most of them killed themselves prior to trial.) 10/17 Hitler’s alternate half birthday (6 months from Easter, 2022) 10/19 Death of Hermann Goering, a Nazi leader in World War II. 10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday 10/31 – 11/1 Halloween 11/9 Beer Hall Putsch rebellion, the date Hitler declared the Nazi party the leaders of Germany. A few years later, in 1938, Krystalnacht, (the “Night of Broken Glass”) happened on this date.

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You can find more information on the following holidays at: Candlemas – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/ Valentine’s Day https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/ Beltane – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/ Mothers’ Day – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/ Fathers’ Day https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/ Summer Solstice (corrected text) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/ Lammas – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/ and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/ Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/ Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2 – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-ii/ Fall Equinox – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/ Halloween (personal) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/ Halloween (background) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/ Thanksgiving – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/ Yule/Winter Solstice – https://ritua

Internet Detox!

Guess what?

I am going on a 5-day Internet detox!

No surfing. No email. No Etsy window shopping. No newspapers. No exercise videos. No music. No therapy. No blogging. No support groups. No researching. No writing.

Think I can do it? I do! It won’t be comfortable, but I know I will do it.

So, for sure, there won’t be a post here on August 30. There may not be one on September 10. If I do post, it might be very short because I will be so very behind on everything else.

This is what inspired me. My daughter is coming to visit, and we are going to Monterey, which is our very favorite place to visit. (The photo on the header is a stock photo of The Lone Cypress, outside Monterey.) Our trip will be filled with wonderful things. I will drink in gorgeous scenery, eat out a lot, and walk as much as physically possible along unfamiliar streets or easy nature trails.

And, best of all, we are staying at a motel with a heated outdoor swimming pool. I have not been in a pool for two and a half whole years.

It will be quite a change from my usual routine, which is only leaving my house and garden to go to doctor and dentist appointments.

My Late-Life Identity Crisis

There is an announcement after the article.

Mid-life identity crises are easy to spot. Men dream of sports cars, red pick-up trucks, beautiful young women, and tours to Mount Everest. Women dream of “just one more baby,” grad school, and Dancing with the Stars. It’s a rough time for marriages. It’s often a period of depression and ennui. “J’ai lu tous les livres, et j’en ai marre de la vie. (I’ve read all the books, and I am sick and tired of life.”

Identity crises in the elderly – well, you usually think of deepening wrinkles, deteriorating health, loss of independence, and hints of dementia. But do you think of finding out you aren’t the person you thought you were? What are the signs of that? I’d say, for me, staring into space, picking up a pencil and making it hover over a piece of paper, never touching it. Talking out loud to myself, having strange dreams. Also, saying, “really???” a lot to people.

I’ve written before about how I have a sense that there is no me, nothing that holds the hypothetical self together and gives it consistently over time. It’s easier to see continuity with my body. All my memories include the fact that I have a head, two feet, and two hands. My height and weight have changed since I was two, of course, and my hands and feet have become larger. But from the time I was fifteen, there have been no basic changes in the architecture of my body.

Looking back, the earliest clue that I remember is lamenting, “I have no personality.” This was in my early teens. I meant that there was nothing outstanding about me, nothing memorable. I felt that I didn’t catch people’s interest, so there was no reason for them to get to know me. Invisible.

That’s how it feels not to have any sense of self. My body is visible, but my self is invisible to myself, if that makes any sense. And if somebody outside me thinks that they see me, well, they are deluded or just pretending in order to be nice. That doesn’t sound like it makes a lot of sense, either!

Over the past year, things have been changing. I’m back in touch with many people who have known me over the years. When we reconnect, many spontaneously say something like, “You have always been….” When I ask people who I trust to be honest with me and tell me what, if anything, has been constant about me over the years, they can list many traits. I have to listen to them because I know they don’t lie.

If all these people experience me as being constant over the years, they must be reacting to something that has stayed consistent. And, interestingly, they all mention the same things! This suggests that there really is a me and that I am simply blocked from seeing it. What is more, if I met somebody who matched their perception of me, I would like that person. I would be happy to have her as a friend.

Being told that I am perceived in a positive light is in direct opposition to the deep-seated belief that I am toxic, that my love is poison. All these years, I have believed the lies I was told and have covered up “the truth” about me in shame and fear. That’s sad. It’s really nice, however, to start genuinely believing they are lies, not a description of the real me. 

Several months after I began absorbing the implication of these discoveries, I started becoming aware of something I have known all along, something I have known without knowing I knew it. 

A large percentage of me is unconscious, and I am still amnesic for most of my abuse memories. Why don’t I know more? What is down there? What’s holding me back? What am I afraid of? What terrible things would happen if I did know?

Hints abound; hints from childhood and hints from adulthood, both before and after I started remembering. In second or third grade, I thought the Russians had found out how to put people to sleep for a month, play recordings, and have them wake up knowing all that the tapes had contained. I was struggling to memorize the multiplication tables and thought it would be wonderful to go to sleep one night and wake up a month later knowing them perfectly. And why not, while I was at it, also learn multiplication and long division in my sleep? Now how did I know about this?

Perhaps there is a clue in this piece of information. Ewen Cameron was doing these experiments even before he went to McGill. He was in the United States from 1936 to 1943. I was in first grade in 1943. 

In grade school, I was affronted that nobody had tested my ability to see things at a distance, not even guessing the suit and rank of playing cards held behind a screen. I assumed that these tests were the entrance exam, so to speak, to really interesting studies. I was disappointed, insulted, and angry. How did I know about remote viewing? Why did I care so much?

These aren’t memories that popped out in therapy. I have always remembered these thoughts and been puzzled by them.

After I remembered and found therapists who knew about ritual abuse, more hints surfaced. However, they slid out of consciousness after a while, only to resurface after months or years. 

I hope they stay conscious now that I am collecting dots to connect later on.

Two issues are especially important to me.

First, I have always been puzzled about how I make decisions. I feel fragmented, and I feel that tiny pieces of me come together to do things. But how do the fragments get chosen? And how can I decide to collect those fragments and then, when the task is over, let them go? 

Is it possible that there is a part of me that exists out of my awareness and is aware of my surroundings and everything in my conscious mind? Could that part be guiding the little pieces?

To date, the only theory that seemed to make sense was that actions were guided by stimulus/response. Stimulus: see a dirty dish; Response: put it in the dishwasher. Stimulus: open my calendar app and realize it’s the 10th, 20th, or 30th of the month; response: post a blog entry. I never felt very convinced, but it was the best I could come up with. 

Now I have another possible explanation. Frankly, it seems more likely. And scarier.

Second, I have worried for at least two decades that I might have destructive sleeper alters that I am not aware of. Around 12/31/1999 – 1/1/2000, I was terrified, not only of being killed but also by the possibility that the start of a new century was a trigger to wake up my own sleeper alters. Even worse, this would happen to many people at the same time, and we would go about destroying everything in sight.

Nothing happened. It might have as well have been any other night.

I did not stop worrying on and off, however. I don’t say, “Oh, that proves I don’t have sleeper alters.” All I can say for sure is that if I do have sleeper alters, they weren’t triggered into action by the date change.

Now I am willing to explore this part of me, the large unknown world below the protective amnestic barrier. I don’t know if I will get there. But if I do, I know that what is there will contribute mightily to this amazing late-life identity crisis.

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RA/MC Panel at the International Human Trafficking and SocialJustice Conference

I will be part of a panel of RA/MC survivors of child sex trafficking. The title of the presentation is “The Interface between Sex Trafficking, Ritual Abuse, and Mind Control Programming.” It will be in two parts. Each part will consist of a recording of the panel discussion followed by live questions and answers. There will be a fifteen-minute break between the two sections. 

We have the whole afternoon on Thursday, September 22, 2022. Read more about the presentation plus descriptions of all the other presentations at https://app.traffickingconference.com/schedule

Please come see us in (virtual) person! Survivors should choose the “Free Attendee Registration” option and remember to write for the registration code number. Register at https://www.traffickingconference.com/register 

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Upcoming Holidays

August
8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh
8/11 Full Moon
8/13 Friday the 13th
8/15 (?) Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8/24 (?) St. Bartholomew’s Day

September
9/5 – 9/7 Feast of the Beast/Marriage to the Beast
9/5 Labor Day (United States)
9/10 Full Moon
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/29 (?) Michaelmas/Feast of Archangel Michael and of all Angels

October
10/9 Full Moon
10/10 Columbus Day
10/13 Backward Halloween
10/25 Partial solar eclipse visible in Europe, the Urals, Western Siberia, the Middle East, India, Western Asia, and northeast Africa. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2022-october-25
10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year 

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups 

10/1 Lammas
Early August through October: Various preparations are done in readiness for October, the month with the largest number of celebrations. 
9/2  Autumnal equinox, “Fall Festival.”
10/16 Death of Rosenburg, a Nazi leader in World War II. (Many Nazi leaders were captured and scheduled for trial in late September and early October. Most of them killed themselves prior to trial.) 
10/17 Hitler’s alternate half birthday (6 months from Easter, 2022)
10/19 Death of Hermann Goering, a Nazi leader in World War II. 
10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday
10/31 – 11/1 Halloween

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You can find more information on the following holidays at: Candlemas – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
Valentine’s Day https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/
Beltane – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/
Mothers’ Day – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
Fathers’ Day https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/
Summer Solstice (corrected text) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2 – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-ii/
Fall Equinox – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/
Halloween (personal) https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/
Halloween (background) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
Thanksgiving – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
Yule/Winter Solstice – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/