Body Memories, Flashbacks, and Blood Pressure

Notices are after this entry.

Now I know that the body remembers what happened to it and can duplicate the state the body was in during a traumatic event. This is considered a kind of sensory flashback, along with flashbacks of sight, sound, taste, and smell. Add pain and touch, and you can account for most body memories.

I know that blood vessels right under the skin can dilate during a flashback. Years and years ago, I saw a red mark appear on a survivor’s neck as she was describing being choked. That, to my mind, was a clear body memory.

So is it possible that major arteries and veins can constrict and dilate during a body memory? Why not? The actual mechanism could be the same as it was years earlier when the trauma took place.

Let me go back over my blood pressure history with that possibility in mind. I’m going to get detailed because I am so preoccupied with the readings.

I had normal blood pressure (120/80) until I got my first RA memories about thirty years ago.

I was first diagnosed with high blood pressure (163/124) in 1985 and put on blood pressure-lowering medication. I have been on meds ever since. When one stopped working, I was given a different one or an additional one. Then a third and even a fourth was necessary to keep things at a mild roar.

About six or seven years ago, I started feeling light-headed at night. I was afraid of falling and so lay down on the floor. I’d doze off (or lose consciousness?) on and off for a couple of hours and then, when I felt safe enough to stand and walk, take myself to bed. I started to wonder if these episodes could be explained by low blood pressure, and kept the blood pressure cuff by the computer.

I was right. I started feeling light-headed when my systolic blood pressure was below 100.

I lost all faith in my cardiologist when she told me I was having transient ischemic attacks (mini-strokes), that I was unsafe living at home, and that I should move into assisted living. She didn’t do an EKG, order any other tests, and didn’t seem to have considered any other possible explanations. She also said I was too dumb to understand what I read on the Internet and should just trust her. So I went hunting for a new cardiologist.

However, my primary care physician thought I was over-medicated and took me off three of the four medications I was taking. She was right. Older people become less efficient at metabolizing medications. The poor old liver and kidneys have to work harder, and when they can’t keep up, blood levels of medication rise. I have not been on more than two medications at a time since then.

My new cardiologist is a far better doctor and humble enough to know when he does not know something. Recently, he sent me to a Hypertension Clinic to be evaluated. The good news was that they ruled out all the serious things they usually find in people referred to them for hypertension. The bad news is that they seemed to have run out of ideas.

I researched and found postprandial hypotension. Postprandial hypotension occurs in older folks when blood rushes to the stomach to help digest food, and there isn’t enough left to maintain blood pressure. So I tried eating six small meals a day instead of three normal ones and checking my blood pressure. Not my problem: it only dropped a few points, just as when I was eating three meals a day.

A fellow RA survivor friend suggested polyvagal shutdown. Polyvagal shutdown occurs when you are terrified, and it is not possible to fight or flee from the danger. The vagal nerve takes over, stops the production of adrenaline, slows heartbeat and breathing, and drops blood pressure. That’s the “freeze” response – playing possum in hopes the saber-tooth tiger will think you are dead and go after more appealing prey.

So if the freeze response occurs now, it probably is because we are having an emotional flashback to a terrifying situation, and the vagal nerve thinks it’s happening in the present and reacts as if it were happening in the present. In other words, a body flashback.

Then I started seeing a whole new pattern of low blood pressure measurements. During the days, first a couple of days a week, then more often, my blood pressure would be normal, plus or minus 15 points. Hooray! The drugs were working!

Except – when the readings were below 140, I did not take the meds because I was afraid I would faint if I had a 50-60 point drop. And I refused to take that chance. So this was all happening without meds.

Of course, I went right to the direst explanation. There was something else seriously wrong with my heart that prevented it from beating strongly enough to raise my BP to my “normal” level. And it was rare, and even if they identified what it was, there was no treatment, and it would do me in.

Survivors in my support groups suggested that the body is very good at healing itself and that I had been happy recently. Maybe I had finally relaxed enough that things were approaching normal. My new normal might be healthy!

Well, I was a tad skeptical. Had I been reacting to the stress of remembering and coping with all that brought with it by having high blood pressure continuously since 1985? And now, had I worked through all my issues and relaxed enough for my blood pressure to come down to 120/80 plus or minus 15 points systolic? Not likely, but it would be great if that were so.

A nurse practitioner challenged my pessimism during an intake interview with me for a sleep study that the Hypertension Clinic had ordered. I told her what was going on, that I had had a super sucky childhood, and my friends suggested that the high blood pressure was due to remembering and that now I seem much happier, more present, more relaxed. And that is why my blood pressure is dropping back to near-normal.

I asked if this were possible, and she said, “absolutely.”

My current hypothesis about my blood pressure is that the presence or absence of flashbacks governs it. Until I remembered, I had no flashbacks, so my blood pressure was normal. Then my memories came, and I was in almost continuous flashbacks of one sort or another for thirty-five years. Now, although it is news to me, I have worked through enough that I am no longer under the stress that continuous flashbacks caused, and my blood pressure is returning to normal.

If so, thank you, my wondrous, miracle-performing body. And, even if this isn’t the explanation, I’m in awe of your resilience. I thought I would be dead at thirty, and you thought otherwise. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Cat Update

Baker has discovered the cat tree and has made it to the first level. He promptly falls asleep there. From the exertion? It’s only a sixteen-inch jump. I was assured that he likes to be high up and would jump up on counters (no), tables (no), bookshelves (no), and cat trees. I’m just as glad he doesn’t like to be on the kitchen counters.


 Holiday ZOOM Drop-In Group to celebrate our freedom

We are meeting on Sunday, July 3, 2 – 4 PM Pacific Time to celebrate our escape from the perpetrators. Our freedom. Our independence.

Stop in to say hello or stay the whole time. Bring a meal or a snack and eat together or just hang out with other RA/MC survivors. joanies and Rainsinger will be our hosts.

Register through d.


RA/MC Panel at the International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference

I will be part of a four-person 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 panel discussion recording followed by live questions and answers. There will be a fifteen-minute break between the two sections.

Our time-slots are 1:45 and 3:15 on Thursday, September 22. 2022. Read more about the presentation plus descriptions of all the other presentations at

Please come see us in (virtual) person! Choose the “Free Attendee Registration” option for survivors and remember to write for the registration code number. Register at


Upcoming Holidays

7/4 Independence Day
7/13 Full Moon
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
7/27 Grand Climax/Da Meur

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

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

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

July 29: Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party.
August 1: Lammas
Early August through October: Various preparations are done in readiness for October, the month with the largest number of celebrated dates.
September 22: autumnal equinox, “Fall Festival.
9/25 – 9/27: Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)


You can find more information on the following holidays at:

Candlemas –
Valentine’s Day –
Beltane –
Mothers’ Day –
Fathers’ Day –
Summer Solstice (corrected text) –
Lammas –
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 –
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2 –
Fall Equinox –
Halloween (personal) – 
Halloween (background) –
Thanksgiving –
Yule/Winter Solstice – 

I Am Desolate

Survivors of Incest Anonymous Phone Meeting
Every Wednesday morning by telephone
Noon Eastern Time
11 AM Central Time
10 AM Mountain Time
9 AM Pacific Time
This Twelve-Step telephone meeting is for people with “DID and Internal Fragmentation.” Ritual abuse survivors are welcome.

Many RA survivors have been in Twelve-Step programs other than Survivors of Incest Anonymous  – Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Over-Eaters Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families Anonymous, Co-Dependents Anonymous, or Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.

Some of us who have become aware of our pasts thirty or more years ago were in Survivors of Incest Anonymous meetings for ritual abuse survivors before the backlash forced so many back into silence. Those meetings were a source of strength and sanity and are sorely missed.

So it makes me very happy to know that there is an SIA “DID and Internal Fragmentation” meeting open to RA/MC survivors. Information on phone meetings, along with the phone number, is at

It would be wonderful to have at least one more meeting, preferably on the weekend, for those who work or need to plan around children. In cases like this, more is truly more!

Anybody who has been in SIA for three months or longer can start a meeting. Alternately, anybody in ACOA for three months or longer could start a DID and RA/MC survivor-friendly meeting. Does anybody reading this qualify? Would you like to start one?

If this happens, let me know, and I will help spread the word.


I Am Desolate

I’m losing my vision slowly. I diagnosed myself with macular degeneration about twelve years ago and was officially diagnosed ten years ago. The progression was slow, and my attention was more focused on cataracts, which I have had removed.

The rate, however, has speeded up recently. Although I have (I hope) many months when I can still read, it has hit me hard. I can read real books, with their crisp pages and lovely smells, articles on the Net, emails, things I have written. I can see original art, reproductions, cartoons, colors, trees, buildings, all sorts of things. I can see the faces of those I love and those I know only through ZOOM or photos. But there will come a day when all that is lost to me.

I imagine I will cry and read through the tears for hours and hours. Perhaps I can get all the crying done now and still have time to learn how to write with dictation software and read with a screen reader. If so, I will still be able to do the things that are the most precious to me. I will just have to do everything in an entirely different way.

Assistive technology for people with low vision is wonderful, and it will only get better year by year. Right now, there is even a low-vision app on the market that recognizes faces and tells you who is standing in front of you!

Here’s the medical scoop.

I have age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in both eyes. The rods and cones, cells that recognize light, are clustered on a layer of tissue at the back of the eye called the macula. Over time, they are damaged, mainly by UV light, and die off. It starts at the center of the macula. More and more cells die, and the spot that is deteriorating becomes bigger and bigger.

So, at first, there is a small area in the central field of vision where it is hard to differentiate things of similar colors and intensity. Depth vision is affected. The deficits are slight but relentlessly become more troublesome over time. It takes longer to adjust to changes in light intensity. It’s worse in low light conditions, better in really bright light. I don’t understand why, but it is much worse in my dominant eye.

This condition is called “dry AMD,” and there is no treatment to reverse it or slow it down. There is another form, more serious, called “wet AMD.” Wet AMD can be treated, thank goodness.

What happens is either the tissue behind the retina swells and leaks or the blood vessels behind the retina bleed. In both cases, the fluid pushes the retina up, causing wrinkles. Some rods and cones are pushed together, and others are pulled apart. The retina does not completely relax back to its original shape when the fluid subsides. Objects in the field of vision are distorted as if somebody crumpled a photograph.

Wet MD can be treated but not reversed. A medication is injected into the eye, which dries out the leaking tissue and stops the growth of abnormal blood vessels. If you catch it early and the leak is small, the distortion might become less noticeable. For me, sadly, it didn’t, and I am stuck with it for life (unless it gets worse.)

Last week, I was reading the Sunday paper and thought it was printed with grey ink. When I looked at the paper with my “bad” eye, the ink was black. I realized that my whole field of vision was affected, not just my central vision. This isn’t supposed to happen with dry MD! I must have still another condition. This triggered a week-long melt down which all my ZOOM friends got to enjoy.

I have had a major melt down about my vision before, so I knew it wouldn’t last forever. The summer before the pandemic hit, I stopped driving because of dry MD. I lost so much independence! I would have adapted to COVID a lot better if I could have continued to drive. I am not very graceful about relying on others, whether they be friends, Paratransit, cab drivers, or Uber drivers. And I am not very proficient at using the apps that are supposed to bring Paratransit vans, cabs, and Uber or Lyft cars to me. It is not pleasant to be left standing on a street corner cursing.

I imagine that as the macular degeneration progresses, I will have to adapt to being more and more dependent on other people. I will gallantly conquer as much technology as possible. And once I learn it, there will be a software update, and I will have to learn it all over again. A lifetime of learning stretches in front of me. I am not thrilled.

So here I sit, right in the middle of the anger stage of grief. However, I am being sensible and proactive. I am beginning the information-gathering part of adapting to ever-worsening vision.

Here is what I have found so far:

1. There is more to life than ritual abuse!

2. Eschenbach Optik of America makes all sorts of magnifiers. I haven’t started going through their products to see if there is something I could use now and in the future. Looks a bit pricey, but they have used products for sale, too.

3. MD Support offers a forum and an email list for people with macular degeneration. I was a member about ten years ago when I was first diagnosed and panicky but dropped out. It was an active group with reliable information. I am rejoining.

4. Living Well with Low Vision – Information and news, resources, free books, clinical trials. 

That’s as far as I have gotten.


Tropical Birds at a Bird Feeder in Panama
This is a lovely, colorful video, but with no music or bird song. It cheered me up immensely. Rather than embedding the video, I am giving you the URL. It’s twelve minutes long, and I don’t want to tax WordPress’s memory. I hope you enjoy it.


Upcoming Holidays

1/31 New Moon

2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc/Satanic Revels
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/12 (?) Lincoln’s Birthday
2/16 Full Moon
2/21 (?) Presidents’ Day/Washington’s birthday
2/25 Walpurgis Day

3/1 Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras
3/1 St David’s Day (patron saint of Wales)
3/2 Ash Wednesday/beginning of Lent
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day (patron saint of Ireland)
3/18 Full Moon
3/21 Spring Equinox


You can find more information on the following holidays at:

Candlemas –
Valentine’s Day –
Spring Equinox –
Easter: personal (for background, see Spring Equinox) –
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve –
Beltane –
Mothers’ Day –
Fathers’ Day –
Summer Solstice (corrected text) –
Lammas –
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 –
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2 –
Fall Equinox –
Halloween (personal) – 
Halloween (background) –
Thanksgiving –
Yule/Winter Solstice – 

A Drug That Restores Memory in Mice!

November was a difficult month, what with the deaths of people I cared about, some revelations I wasn’t real happy to get, and the things that are relentlessly going on in the world. So I set myself a challenge.

In December, I will write three blog posts about things that make me hopeful and happy. I am also going to spend ten minutes a day making a little corner of my home prettier. In November, if I were in a relatively good mood, I would have said cleaner, or less cluttered. If I were in a bad mood, I would have said less ugly. And if I were in a terrible mood, I would have said a little less hideous. No more! Three weeks of prettiness, not one day of less hideousness. 

Since smiling is supposed to release feel-good hormones, I will smile whenever I remember to, whether I feel like it or not. We’ll see if it makes any difference!

Today’s beautifying project is to put away the clean dishes and put the dirty ones in the dishwasher. If that doesn’t take the full ten minutes, I shall wash two frying pans.

On to the blog post!


I came across this article:

“Drug Reverses Age-Related Cognitive Decline within Days.”

It is a summary of “Small Molecule Cognitive Enhancer Reverses Age-Related Memory Decline in Mice.” by Karen Krukowski et al., eLife

Now mind you, this study was done on mice, not humans. Still, mice are similar enough to humans to make this research terribly exciting. 

There is a quality control mechanism that shuts down the protein-forming ability of cells infected with a virus or containing a cancer-inducing mutation. This substance is called “integrated stress response” (ISR), and the substance that blocks ISB is called ISRIB, which stands for ISR InhiBitor. Blocking the production of protein is great until the virus is cleared or the cell with the mutation dies. If the mechanism is stuck in the working position, cells become dysfunctional.

Back to the mice.

About five years ago, the researchers had given ISRIB to mice with traumatic brain injuries. After a few days, the mice regained normal brain function! They were back to running mazes like healthy mice instead of stumbling around. making the same mistakes over and over again or quitting altogether.

The symptoms of traumatic brain injury look very much like the symptoms of normal aging. So why not give ISRIB to a group of aged mice matched with a group that didn’t receive ISRIB? Guess what? The ISRIB group did as well as young mice after one or two days. Three weeks later, they gave both groups a new challenge. Guess what? The ISRIB group still acted like young mice! And the group that didn’t get ISRIB still acted like old mice.

The researchers were getting really excited. They had already studied the effects of ISRIB in the restoration of memory function months after traumatic brain injury, the reversal of cognitive impairments in Down Syndrome, the reversal of noise-related hearing loss, fighting certain types of prostate cancer, and even enhancing cognition in healthy animals. They came up with a list of additional conditions that might respond to ISRIB. It included Alzheimer’s, ALS, MS, Parkinson’s, Mad Cow Disease, and, of course, age-related cognitive decline.

They didn’t limit their studies to neurons. The immune system shows the same kind of age-related dysfunction as the brain does. It turns out that ISRIB resets T-cells the same way it resets neurons. These days we need every T-cell we can get our hands on!

I’m also getting excited about things that are not on their list – namely, all the little quirks of cognition and memory associated with dissociation. Could ISRIB help with the rapid fading of memories, the lack of memories of childhood, the lack of memories of traumatic events, and the inability to recall names, faces, or dates? How about anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and nightmares? How about memory-sharing between alters? My mind is spinning with exciting ideas!

ISRIB sure sounds like a miracle drug to me. I’m aware that it probably won’t be available for human trials in my lifetime. If it is, I’ll be the first to volunteer. I bet, though that it will be available to my children and grandchildren. I know that some of those reading this post are younger than my children, perhaps even younger than my grandchildren. It makes me very happy to think that ISRIB may become available and may prove to be of benefit to you.


Upcoming Holidays

Sundays of advent: 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19
12/14 New moon
12/14 Total solar eclipse. Totality will be visible in Chile and parts of Argentina. Partial eclipse will be visible in southern South America and south-east Africa. See
12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/25 Christmas Day
12/29 Full moon
12/31 New Year’s Eve

1/1 New Year’s Day
1/6 (?) Epiphany/Three Kings’ Day
1/7 St Winebald’s Day
1/13 New Moon
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels
1/18 (?) Martin Luther King Jr. Day
1/20 (?) St. Agnes’ Eve
1/28 Full moon

2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc/Satanic Revels
2/11 New moon
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/12 (?) Lincoln’s Birthday
2/15 (?) Presidents’ Day/Washington’s birthday
2/16 Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras
2/17 Ash Wednesday/beginning of Lent
2/25 Walpurgis Day
2/27 Full Moon

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
11/29 -12/16 Chanukah/Hanukkah (Jewish Festival of Lights)
1/28 Tu Bishvat/Tu B’Shevat  (Jewish celebration of spring)
1/12 Birth of both Rosenberg and Goering, Nazi Leaders in WWII
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
2/26 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)


* Remember my post on Pornhub?

From The Associated Press: “Mastercard and Visa said … they would block their customers from using the credit cards to make purchases on Pornhub following accusations the pornographic website showed videos of child abuse and rape. Mastercard said it was also investigating other websites for potential illegal content.”

*And remember the one on unwanted reactions to meditation?

Here is a short video explaining why they happen and a couple of suggestions on preventing them.

* You can find more information on the following holidays at:
Yule/Winter Solstice
Valentine’s Day
Spring Equinox
Easter: (personal) For background, see Spring Equinox
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve:
Mothers’ Day:
Fathers’ Day:
Summer Solstice (corrected text)
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2
Fall Equinox
Halloween (personal)
Halloween (background)


* How to add a comment after a post This blog’s design makes it hard to figure out how to comment. Go down to the bottom of the post (after the calendar) You will see in light grey type: “RATE THIS” tagged (a list of the tags) (the number of) comments” Click on the word “comments” to open all posted comments.

At the very bottom of the page, you will see “LEAVE A REPLY.” That’s where you make a new comment. You can reply to a posted comment by clicking “Reply” under that comment. In each case, make sure to click “POST COMMENT” when you are finished. It’s a good idea to write out your comment first and then paste it in so that you don’t risk losing what you wrote.