SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) Has a Wonderful Idea!!

SNAP’s conference, which is for those abused by all clergy, not just priests, is going to live video stream the main conference speakers on YouTube beginning on Friday, July 6th at 7 PM and ending on Sunday, July 8. http://www.snapnetwork.org/2018_conference

It’s a wonderful way to build community and reach put to those who live too far away to attend the conference. I hope that many other organizations are inspired to do the same.

Speakers include: Gustavo Arellano Miranda,  Marek Lisinski,  Steven Spaner,  Pamela Spees, Juan Carlos Cruz,  Victor Vieth, Tom Doyle, Torah Bontrager, Chrissie Foster, Jodi Hobbs, Rachel Grant, and Guila Benchimol.

Invitations and links to the speakers will be sent to SNAP’s mailing list on July 5 and 6. If you aren’t on their list, contact SNAP at http://www.snapnetwork.org/contact and ask to be added.

Since the conference is in Chicago, I assume that means it is 7 PM CDT. To find the time where you live, check https://www.timetemperature.com/tzus/time_zone.shtml

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Empowerment

* Detailed instructions for making comments are in “News Items.”

* I’m looking for people who have been used as breeders in a cult setting to submit prose or poetry for an anthology I hope to put together. Even if you have not been abused this way, could you spread the word and tell all your survivor friends and therapists or pastors you know who work with survivors about the project? They can write me at rahome@ra-info.org for more information. Thank you so much!

 

Here is something I wrote in 2011. It has, I think, a different tone to it than my present day writing because I was writing for the Survivorship newsletter. I had a connection with a piece of paper; the readers were only an abstraction to me. That’s because there was absolutely no feedback, so I couldn’t tell how I was being received.

With the blog though, the readers are very real. I know some through the comments and others I know from reading their blogs or from other contexts. I feel the sense of connection comes through in my writing, which seems less stilted and warmer. Also, I try not to give advice, because, with feedback, I’ve learned it usually falls flat.

I’ll make a few comments at the end of the piece.

 

Empowerment

“I was musing on how people get from being passive little wimps to assertive movers and shakers of the world. At first it looked like magic to me, but as I turned it over in my mind I could see that it was likely that the process was quite down to earth, even a bit dull.

“Only two things are needed: doing something you are afraid of for the first time, and then practicing what you just did. It’s just like learning to ride a bicycle. At least that’s how I get from can’t to can – maybe others do it differently.

“Not so long ago I was very shy. I tried to fade into the wallpaper to avoid drawing attention to myself. I thought I had nothing to say, nothing that others would want to hear. But when I realized I had been subjected to Satanic ritual abuse, I knew I had to speak, like it or not. (Of course, most people didn’t want to hear about it, but that’s a different story.)

“The first time I spoke up, it was excruciating. I was sure I was going to die of fear. My heart was racing very, very fast and I was sweating all over and stammering. The second time I was sure it was going to feel just like the first time, and it did. However, I was pretty certain I would live. If there was any other difference, it was so small that I couldn’t perceive it.

“I kept speaking about ritual abuse. I practiced and practiced, and eventually my voice stopped shaking and I sounded strong and confident. I spoke to fellow survivors, to friends, to family, to dentists, to taxi drivers. I spoke one to one and in groups. I even spoke at the United Nations! I went from “I can’t, I’m going to die” to “of course I can.”

“I’d like to invite all of you to challenge your “I can’t” thinking. Pick one little thing you would like to be able to do and do it just once, as an experiment, and see what happens. If it’s not totally terrible, consider practicing the new behavior. After a while, you, too, will feel strong, confident, and empowered. It feels great, and you did it all yourself!”

 

Riding a bicycle – gotta share this with you-all. My mother was pretty out of it as far as raising children went. The year I graduated from high school, she decided I was too old for summer camp and signed me up for a bicycle tour in France. Lovely idea – except I didn’t know how to ride a bicycle. I had never been given one. I didn’t protest (protesting was not safe in my family) and so off I went with no idea how I would manage.

Luckily, the trip started with a home stay with a French family. They were appalled that I didn’t know how to ride a bike, and lent me one. Their son taught me to ride. On cobblestone streets, no less. In two weeks I could ride, sort of.

So, covered in bandaids, I made the trip. I don’t remember having a map, but somehow I managed to follow the directions. I was usually riding alone because I was so slow. but they always kindly saved some dinner for me. Actually, I liked riding alone because nobody could see how inept I was, I could stop and rest whenever I wanted, I could walk up hills without being ashamed, and I could give the beautiful countryside my full attention.

Looking back at my teenaged self, I am proud of myself and feel strong and empowered. Of course I was still living by cult and family rules back then, so pleasure in any accomplishment was out of the question. I felt inferior to the other kids, ashamed and stupid. I was sure they were laughing at me. I arrived late for dinner with my tail between my legs. I wish I could have arrived with a broad smile, bragging about my amazing accomplishment.

I’m glad I found this bit of writing because I had forgotten how much courage it took to talk about ritual abuse. I was breaking a cardinal cult rule and risking being punished by the cult and being called crazy and being ostracized by others. The cult left me alone, thank goodness, but many people ended the conversation as soon as they could and made sure they didn’t have to talk to me again. It took courage, despite losing friend after friend, to keep on talking and risk losing still another person.

It also took courage to accept feeling connected and valued and respected and believed, because, except for my children, I had not experienced that in my fifty-odd years. I had found a family, a community of people like me. It takes courage to risk being connected because, having never before taken that leap of faith, it is a totally new feeling. The unknown is always frightening for me, probably because I don’t know the rules of this new game and have no idea how to navigate within the unfamiliar parameters.. At the time I didn’t feel brave – I just felt compelled, as if had no choice. In retrospect, I am proud of myself and feel strong and empowered.

Upcoming Holidays

June
6/17 Fathers’ Day
6/21 Summer Solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
6/23 St John’s Eve
6/28 Full moon
July
7/4 Fourth of July/US Independence Day
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
7/27 Full Moon
August
8/1 S N Lammas/Lughnasadh
8/26 S Full moon

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
6/6 D-Day: invasion of France in WW2
7/29 N Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons.)

Depression, Obesity, and Inflammation

I’m going away for a few days to see the eclipse, so if you write, expect a delay in getting an answer. I love eclipses and am really excited. To make it even better, I will be with family (we get along great!) and I will meet an e-friend I feel very close to. It will be a wonderful experience.

August 
8/21 Total solar eclipse: totality visible in parts of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; partially visible in other parts of the United States, Canada, Central America, northern South America, western Europe, and western Africa.
September
9/4 S Labor Day
9/6 Full Moon
9/5 – 9/7 Marriage to the Beast (Satan)
9/7 Feast of the Beast
9/20 – 9/21 Midnight Host
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/29 Michaelmas (?)
October
10/5 Full Moon
10/13 Backwards Halloween
10/13 Friday the Thirteenth
10/22 – 10/29 Preparation for All Hallows’ Eve
1
0/31 Halloween/Samhain/All Hallows Eve/
Important dates in Nazi groups
9/1 Start of WW2
9/17 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday
10/16 N Death of Rosenburg
10/19 Death of Goering
10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday

Depression, Obesity, and Inflammation
I subscribe to the email edition of Med Page Today because I’m sorta nerdy when it comes to articles about medicine. I’m also, thanks to a statistics course in grad school, pretty good at critiquing research design and interpretation. And that is fun, especially when I am on the verge of giving up doing something I am not very good at, like learning Cantonese. (Now why would I want to do that? Because learning a new language is supposed to ward off dementia. And why am I worried about dementia? Because I am neurotic. But that is another post.)

Okay, the article that caught my attention is “Obesity and Depression Are Related — But How?: Finding physicians who can address both is a challenge” by Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News August 11, 2017. https://www.medpagetoday.com/Psychiatry/Depression/67216?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2017-08-12&eun=g620615d0r&pos=2 A lot of doctors have noticed that many depressed people are obese and many obese people are depressed. I could have told them that years ago. Self-esteem goes down as weight goes up, and that is depressing. Being depressed feels awful, so people turn to food to soothe themselves and numb out. And when you are in black depression, you are barely able to do familiar things, like get out of bed in the morning, let alone take on something new and hard like going on a diet. So it is a vicious cycle.

This affects an awful lot of people. People who are obese are 55% more likely to be depressed, and people with depression are 58% more likely to develop obesity, according to “Overweight, Obesity, and Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Longitudinal Studies.” http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/210608

Exactly a year ago, 8/20/2016, I posted about the connection between depression and systemic diseases, including chronic pain. A Danish study showed that people with serious infections (read, a lot of inflammation) were apt to become depressed. My post said, “So…inflammation factors can cross the blood/brain barrier. If my body is inflamed, I get depressed. And if I am depressed, my body becomes inflamed.”

If the authors of the article I am discussing had read up on this, they might have guessed how obesity and depression are related.

The second part of the article discusses how treating depression is assigned to psychiatrists and treating obesity to nurses and dieticians. These professions, of course, don’t communicate.

Of course that is not exactly news. They never have; at best, it’s a quick referral. So there is no treatment that addresses both conditions together. The dietitians assume that you are up for cheerfully counting calories and going to the gym and the psychiatrists don’t consider weight gain when they choose medications. I know; depression meds gave me an extra eighty pounds.

And that leaves it up to us, at least for now. I think our energy would best be directed at how to cope with this double whammy and the double stigma it brings. (It’s a triple or quadruple whammy or more if other chronic inflammatory diseases like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, lupus, arthritis, etc. etc. are factored in.)

I don’t mean to be a downer. We can do that, and we are the best people to do it. We’ve shown the value of peer support in all kinds of other situations: PTSD, grief, having a hard time getting a book published, being single mothers who have to work to feed their kids. And, I am proud to say, healing from ritual abuse.

I think that what we need is a message board that accepts a large number of people with a wide range of weight and varying length and severity of depression. Then we could support each other emotionally; grieve the unfairness, rant at society’s rejection of us and at the lack of resources in the health care system, cheer each other on, and laugh together. We could share what has and has not worked for us. Knowing that so many share our struggle would make us feel less like losers and freaks.

And, just maybe, some professionals would find the message board and be open to learning from us. Because we, who have the condition, are the experts and have so much knowledge to share.

Does such a board already exist? I hope so, for I would join in a minute. If not, anybody want to start one? I just can’t – I’m spread too thin as it is, sadly. It’s not all that hard to start, and there would be a lot of people who could help you do it. I could coach you, but I can’t actually do it myself.

Any takers?