Thoughts on Past Depression

May Eve and Beltane

Beltane is absolutely the worst holiday for me. It’s a perversion of a lovely Pagan celebration of spring and the promise of new birth in plants, animals and humans. It’s yin to Halloween’s yang, fecundity to death. You can imagine how easy it would be to pervert.

I went back and read an article about the origins of Beltane that I posted in 2004. It’s still worth a read.  https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/

I hope you can all do something, however small, to counter the messages from the past that you may receive tonight and tomorrow. Try and be kind to yourself, to your body, to the parts of you that were forced to live through those things. The survival of the child that was you is a miracle that is worth celebrating.

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So Excited!

I am really happy to tell you all that both our proposals were accepted by the International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference. We will be presenting sometime on Wednesday, September 21, Thursday ,September 22, or Friday,September 22. I’ll let you know when we are assigned days and times.

Anybody who would like to hear about “The Interface between Sex Trafficking, Ritual Abuse, and Mind Control Programming” or see what Donna, River, Mary (sparrow), Anneka, and I look like, here is your chance! 

And I am also happy to tell you that fees are waived for all survivors! 

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Thoughts on Past Depression

I walked into my bedroom this morning and stood looking at the sunlight on the sheets and pillows of my unmade bed. Just stood still, admiring it. I thought about how beautiful it was and how I was so happy that I could now see beauty in everyday things. I remembered the days when everything looked drab and dreary. Sometimes I could recognize beauty, but it was so painful I could hardly stand it. Anything beautiful contrasted vividly with the pain and hopelessness inside – bleak, ugly despair. 

I wonder if anybody has been able to forget a deep depression. I’m glad I don’t have flashbacks to feeling like that!

For several years I was clinically depressed. I had plenty of suicidal thoughts, and I knew how to kill myself. I didn’t want to, though. I didn’t want to hurt my kids that way, to abandon them so violently. And I didn’t want to miss the rest of my life if, by some miracle, the depression ever lifted.

Nothing could distract me from my despair. Not people, not food, not music, not dancing, not reading, not animals, not plants, nothing that I remembered I had once enjoyed. I couldn’t soothe or console myself. I just gritted my teeth and slogged through the endless days. It was like walking in waist-high molasses.

I was in therapy at the time and my therapist directed me to talk about my childhood. Of course, the childhood I remembered was plenty bleak, so there was a fair amount to talk about. But it didn’t help. I kept saying, “There’s something more.” And he kept reassuring me that the early losses I was describing were enough to explain my depression. So I kept working on childhood, but it never helped. Once, he lost his patience and told me of a Peanuts cartoon where Lucy tells Charley Brown, “You like being depressed.” 

That was cruel. Did he think I would have stayed depressed had I known how to get out of it? I hope he was ashamed of blurting that out.

Tricyclics had been invented by then, but he did not discuss them with me. Later, after I had terminated with him, I was put on imipramine. It worked. It stopped the suicidal thoughts, and I no longer felt the pain that had been my 24/7 companion for so long. However, I no longer felt much of anything. It was like I had been given a rhinoceros tranquilizer.

I tolerated the side effects because they were better than the depression. However, I stopped taking it in a panic when I suddenly started gaining weight – at the rate of a pound a day. That went on every day for thirty straight days even though I wasn’t eating more. How is that physically possible??? I remained undepressed for a couple of years, then went back on imipramine. This time I stopped after 3-4 days of a-pound-a-day weight gain, but it continued for the whole month.

I am so glad those days are over. I finally know what caused the depression, and lo and behold, talking about it and seeing my childhood from a different angle really does help. 

I think what helps even more is being understood. I have surrounded myself with people who have experienced severe trauma and are kind, not critical.

Yes, it takes courage to disclose, not knowing what response you will get. It takes perseverance to break the habit of thinking you are at fault.

I rushed rashly ahead, disclosing right and left without thought for the consequences. Luckily nobody came after me to shut me up. The other responses were, for the most part, supportive and loving.

These days, the person who sees beauty in an unmade bed is standing up for herself, full of ideas for projects, and bursting with energy. I think I am getting a glimpse of what I would have been like all along if I had not been born into a Satanic cult and not been used in child pornography.

I like that person.

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upcoming holidays

April
4/30 Partial solar eclipse visible in west South America and Antarctica.  https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2022-april-30
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

May
5/1 Beltane
5/8 Mothers’ Day
5/15 Full Moon
5/15 – 5/16 Total lunar eclipse visible in south and west Europe, south and west Asia, Africa, much North America, South America, and Antarctica. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2022-may-16
5/21 (?) Armed Forces Day
5/26 (?) Ascension Day
5/30 Memorial Day

June
6/5 Pentecost
6/6 (?) Whit Monday
6/12 (?) Trinity Sunday
6/14 Full Moon
6/16 (?) Corpus Christi/Feast of the Body of Christ
6/19 Fathers’ Day
6/21 Summer solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve

6/24 (?) St John’s Day

 

July
7/4 Independence Day

7/13 Full Moon

7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God


7/27 Grand Climax

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

4/15-4/23 Passover/Pesach (Celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt.)
4/30 Anniversary of Hitler’s death
6/4 – 6/6  Shavuot (Harvest Festival, Festival of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments)

(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark andlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.

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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-
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/ 

Losing Sixty-Five Pounds Gradually

You can find information on Candlemas at https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/ and Valentine’s Day at https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/

I wrote this back in 2007. That’s ten years and a lot of healing ago.

A couple of months ago, my doctor told me that my blood sugars were inching up and recommended I eat lower on the glycemic index. This means eating foods that release their nutrients slowly, rather than flooding the body and causing a quick rise in blood sugar.

Choosing appropriate foods is not rocket science. Lots of fresh veggies and fruit, beans, meat, and fish. Cook only with olive oil. Reduced fat dairy products and mayonnaise. Avoid white rice and flour – brown rice and whole wheat flour is fine. Avoid fried foods and stuff made by huge conglomerates that care about their profits but not their customers’ health.

Intellectually, it’s real easy and I know exactly what to do. On an emotional level, though, it’s a different story. I just don’t understand eating. I don’t get that what I do this minute will have consequences in an hour or a day or a week. Perhaps that’s because my sense of time is so distorted that things don’t seem connected. If I plant a package of morning glory seeds, it doesn’t feel like I will have twenty magnificent morning glory seedlings in a few weeks. It feels like I’ve just wasted $2.19 by burying those little brown thingies.

My favorite comfort foods are all bad for me. Pasta, white bread with butter, donuts, potato chips, Coke. My little parts want all of those at the same meal, and lots of them.

If I get anxious, I tend to eat quickly, thoughtlessly, and therefore over-eat. If I get really upset, I just stop eating entirely. It isn’t a decision: I have no appetite and just can’t wrap my mind around the idea of putting stuff in my mouth and swallowing it. I get all freaked out by the idea that I am hollow inside. Weird, eh?

I know that many people without abuse histories have some of these same attitudes. I also know that many, many abuse survivors have far more severe eating problems than I do, often to the point of being life-threatening. But these things still bug me on a daily basis. My attitudes, beliefs and behaviors around food all feel choppy and fragmented, rather than integrated into a smoothly working process.

I’m also reminded on a daily (minutely?) basis of another result of my abuse, a life-long depression. Back in the days of tricyclics I put on eighty pounds that I have not yet been able to take off. I try to think of my extra weight as a battle scar and to remind myself I won the battle against suicide, for I am still here. Maybe I can win the battle with food, too. Of course I would rather not have battle scars – I would happily settle for a nice medal that I could wear on special occasions.

I’m proud of myself, though, because I don’t throw up my hands and say, “It’s useless. I’ll never change.” I keep on trying, meal after meal, supermarket run after supermarket run. I’m not a fanatic about eating healthily, for life without chocolate is not a happy thought, but I keep moving in that direction. It is paying off, too, because my blood sugars are normal now. I’m happy, for I sure wouldn’t deal well with diabetes.

It may be this way with most parts of healing. You just have to put one foot in front of the other, baby step by baby step. You don’t have to understand completely, you don’t have to completely believe in what you are doing. You just have to decide it’s worth a try and then keep plugging away at it. It’s not dramatic – but it’s doable.

So what was the process like? If I remember right, I didn’t lose very much the first few years. I know for sure I didn’t make a lot of big changes all at once. I just sort of chipped away at it.

The first thing I tackled was potato chips. I told myself I would eat fewer, not that I would never have another potato chip in my life. The less I ate, the less I craved them. Today I have them once or twice a year at somebody else’s house. They are just as delicious as ever, but the next day I have forgotten all about them.

The next project, sugar, was much more ambitious. It’s one thing to eat fewer potato chips but more crispy, salty, yummy tortilla chips. It’s another thing all together to eat less ice cream, fewer donuts, fewer M&M’s, and even, believe it or not, less tomato ketchup. I had to start reading labels seriously, for who knew high fructose corn syrup was added to so many products?

I just found out that loving sugar is not my fault, it is because of some bugs in my digestive system that live on sugar and ask for it. The more I eat, the more they reproduce, and so there are lots more of the little buggers telling my brain to eat sugar. When there are very few of them, their pleas are much fainter and therefore easier to ignore. How smart of my unconscious to decide to work on all products containing sugar, not just one or two!

For several months I would stop concentrating on eating less of things and just add healthy stuff to my meals. After a while I developed a taste for spinach and broccoli. Now I have a salad every single night. My physical therapist says, “Do less of what feels bad and more of what feels good.” I don’t think of pasta and sourdough bread as feeling bad, but I get the idea.

Another thing has helped a great deal. I had my knee replaced and, with less pain, I can move more easily. Comfort foods aren’t as enticing. I started going to the gym and now, after a few years, I really enjoy it. Exercise apparently doesn’t make you lose weight by itself, but it makes you healthier and helps keep the weight off. And since muscle weighs more than fat, I can stay at the same weight but be thinner.

It also makes me more conscious of my body. I am beginning to see how moving one muscle affects another one and this makes me feel less fragmented physically. Somehow, I have gained some idea of how eating works. I now understand that there are, indeed, causes and effects. If I consistently pig out, I will gain weight. If I eat healthy most of the time and only pig out occasionally, I will be fine. What is really neat is that getting in touch with the way eating affects my body has taken no conscious effort. It just happened.

I love looking back and seeing where those baby steps have taken me!

Anorexia and Bulimia

Upcoming ritual holidays – 5/21 full moon: 5/30 Memorial Day: 6/6 D-Day, the invasion of France in WW II (Nazi): 6/19 Fathers’ Day (US and Canada): 6/20 is both a full moon and the summer solstice

Prior posts on eating disorders – 4/10 Eating Disorders (Introduction): 4/20 Over-Eating: 5/10 Ritual Abuse Issues and Eating Disorders.

Let’s get oriented with some definitions:

Anorexia: “lack of appetite.” Modern Latin, from the Greek “anorexia:” the prefix “a,” without, and “orexis,” appetite, desire. First used in the 1590s. Anorexia nervosa was coined by William Gull in 1873 to mean “emaciation as a result of severe emotional disturbance.”
Paraphrased from the Online Etymology Dictionary, http://www.etymonline.com

Bulimia: “compulsive overeating usually followed by purging” Modern Latin, from the Greek “boulimia:” “ravenous hunger” (literally “ox-hunger”) from the prefix bou, (from “bous” ox) and “limos” hunger. The word entered English as bulimy in the medical sense in the late 14th century.
Paraphrased from the Online Etymology Dictionary, http://www.etymonline.com

Both these words are usually used to denote an eating disorder, but they can also be symptoms of other conditions. Anorexia can be a side effect of chemotherapy or extreme emotional distress. Prader-Willi disease is present at birth and makes children eat uncontrollably because they always feel hungry. Bulimia can be caused by poorly controlled blood sugar in diabetics.

Anorexia
Anorexia is the most dangerous of the eating disorders, with more fatalities than any other psychiatric condition. It is frightening for friends and family – and sometimes doctors and therapists – who feel helpless to do anything for the person with the condition and are panicked that the person may die.

Basically, it is an overwhelming obsession with food coupled with a distorted body image and an intense fear of becoming fat. The person believes they are fat when they actually are seriously underweight or emaciated. This misperception sets off a vicious cycle, increasing the resolve to diet stringently and strengthening the obsession.

Food is often categorized as “good” or “bad” and only very small amounts of “good” foods are allowed. Food may be weighed and charts of calories, grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats logged meticulously. Some people attempt to manage their weight by depriving themselves of nourishment, while others turn to purging or excessive exercise. Either form of anorexia takes over the person’s life.

Anorexia is the most common cause of death among women aged 15 to 24, and affects between 0.5% and 3% of the general population. Men make up about 25% of anorexics. Some studies say that between 5% and 20% of anorexics will die of the condition, sometimes years after they have started eating normally.

Anorexia takes a huge toll on the body. Bone loss can occur after only six months from too much cortisol (the stress hormone), low levels of estrogen, and not getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Men experience bone loss from all the same factors, except that they have low testosterone, rather than low estrogen. Bone loss is irreversible without medications.

Heart damage occurs quickly, too. Starving yourself burns not only fat, but muscle tissue, and the heart is a muscle. The heart gets smaller and weaker, and, again, the harm is irreversible. The immune system is weaker, and so you are more apt to get infections, which are harder to fight off because you have a low white cell count.

And then there is lack of menstrual periods, thinning hair, feeling cold and tired, and messed up blood electrolytes.

Any deviation from the self-imposed dietary rules causes anxiety, shame, and guilt. There is also intense shame because of the misperception of being overweight or obese. Feeling fat may lead to wearing clothes that completely cover the body, avoiding social situations, and self-loathing.

Sometimes people can’t tolerate constant starvation and break down and binge. Sometimes binges occur periodically, sometimes anorexia is replaced by bulimia. Both disorders are horrible to live with, narrowing your world and sucking all pleasure out of life.

Bulimia
Bulimia is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by efforts to eliminate the food eaten (vomiting, laxatives, fasting, etc.) This isn’t a now-and-then occurrence, like at Thanksgiving; it takes place on average twice weekly for three months or more.

There are two types of bulimia; purging and non-purging. With the purging kind, the person tries to eliminate all the calories by induced vomiting, laxatives, or enemas. Non-purging bulimics compensate for their binges by fasting or excessive exercise.

The prevalence of bulimia is said to be 2% to 3% of the general population and can be as high as 10% in certain groups, such as college-aged women. It occurs in 2.3% of white women but in only 0.4% of black women – probably because the studies are done on white middle-class women. Males have not been studied as much, but it appears that about a quarter of bulimics are men.

It is relatively easy to keep bulimia a secret. Many people are of normal weight, or even overweight or obese, so an eating disorder never crosses family or friends’ minds. Both binging and purging is done in private, as both are accompanied by intense guilt and shame at losing control. And the longer it goes on, the lower a person’s self-esteem, the greater the feelings of shame, and the more effort is put into keeping it a secret.

Bulimia may be an effort to contain PTSD, anxiety, or clinical depression, and the rate of substance abuse is high, especially of diet pills and stimulants. About 30% of bulimics are also alcoholic, and other forms of self-injury, such as cutting, are often seen.

Like anorexia, the damage bulimia can do is extensive. If ipacac, which is toxic to the heart, is used to induce vomiting, heart failure may result. Vomiting can erode enamel on the teeth, make the salivary glands swell visibly, and make small bleeding tears in the esophagus. About half of bulimics stop menstruating or have irregular periods.

Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, alone or with antidepressants, is recommended for treatment of bulimia. If the binging and purging has been going on for a long time or occurs frequently, it is harder to treat and there are more relapses. The Twelve Step program, Over-Eaters Anonymous, welcomes anorexics and bulimics as well as over-eaters – it should really be called Eating Disorders Anonymous.

Finally, the eating disorders bibliography at http://ra-info.org/for-researchers/bibliographies/eating-disorders/ lists resources. The website Something Fishy at http://www.something-fishy.org/ is especially helpful.