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/
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Next-To-Last Reminder – RA/MC Panel at the International Human Trafficking and Social Justice ConferenceI 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