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 https://siacominghomephoneline.org/

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.

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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. https://www.eschenbach.com/

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.   http://www.mdsupport.org/

4. Living Well with Low Vision – Information and news, resources, free books, clinical trials.   https://lowvision.preventblindness.org/resources/ 

That’s as far as I have gotten.

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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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FB77T30feo

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Upcoming Holidays

January
1/31 New Moon

February
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

March
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

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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/
Spring Equinox – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-spring-equinox/
Easter: personal (for background, see Spring Equinox) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/easter-blues/
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/walpurgisnacht/
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/ 

Anger and Sadness

* In case you didn’t notice, the ritual calendar has been updated and the 2019 version is now available.

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

* You might miss this, as it is down at the bottom of the post. 1/20 – 1/21 Total lunar eclipse. (Super Blood Wolf Moon) Visible in all of North and South America and partially visible in Europe. See https://www.space.com/42830-supermoon-blood-moon-total-lunar-eclipse-2019.html The first moon the year is called the Wolf Moon because wolves howl at the moon with hunger. For information on Super Blood Moons, see  https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/the-september-28-2015-super-blood-moon-full-eclipse/

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I was thinking how anger often masks sadness. If I am feeling angry and manage to stay with my feelings without acting on them in any way, I eventually feel the anger cracking. Tears start running down my face. I feel so hurt and sad that somebody could treat me like that – it’s painful in a way that anger is not.

I feel very vulnerable when I express my sadness. If I dare to let anybody know, I fear I will be hurt again. If I have been unable to protect myself in the past and “allowed” myself to be hurt, others will know and take advantage of my weakness. At times I am so afraid that I shake. It is far safer to show anger because anger can frighten people and make them stay away.

Either way, it is lonely, but anger provides a rush that makes me feel energized and gives me the hope that I can control others and prevent them from hurting me. As long as that adrenaline is flowing, I feel safe and protected.

At the same time, my anger  frightens me. I am not sure I can control it. It could go beyond protecting me into attacking others tooth and nail. It’s tricky. Too little anger and nobody would take me seriously. Too much and I might do real harm. I don’t like destruction and I do not want to kill or maim somebody or throw furniture around wantonly.

I know that these are old, old feelings. My anger, at best, could hurt somebody’s feelings. My body is no longer in shape to toss furniture around the room or do serious physical damage to a person. Rationally, I have nothing to fear from my anger, but not all of me knows that. Anger sure talks a good line, though! It’s got me fearing it could destroy the entire city.

Sadness – what am I sad about? Mainly death. The deaths of animals and children in the cult. Deaths in my family before we could resolve anything. Deaths of so many survivors, so many friends. The passing of still another year and knowing very few more are left to me.

I’m sad about lesser things, too. The cat I had to give away because he started to act viciously toward my other cat. The fact that it is raining and I cannot go do things in my garden. (Except I am glad for the rain.) I broke my favorite necklace. And the list goes on.

Now that I know what lies underneath my anger, I get angry much less often. Its as if the genie has been let out of the bottle and doesn’t want to go back in again. Anger just doesn’t work very well as a distraction – I am on to myself. And that’s okay with me. My sadness can’t hurt anybody, and grieving my losses lightens my burden in time. I feel calmer…and more real.

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Upcoming Holidays

January
1/20 St. Agnes’ Eve
1/20 Full moon
1/21 Martin Luther King Day
1/20 – 1/21 Total lunar eclipse. (Super Blood Wolf Moon) Visible in all of North and South America and partially visible in Europe. See https://www.space.com/42830-supermoon-blood-moon-total-lunar-eclipse-2019.html The first moon the year is called the Wolf Moon because wolves howl at the moon with hunger. For information on Super Blood Moons, see  https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/the-september-28-2015-super-blood-moon-full-eclipse/

February
2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc/Satanic Revels
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/18 President’s Day/Washington’s Birthday
2/19 Full moon
2/25 Walpurgis Day

March
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/5 Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras
3/6 Ash Wednesday/Beginning of Lent
3/17 St Patrick’s Day
3/20 Full moon
3/20 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
1/20 – 1/21 Tu B´Shvat (Celebration of spring)
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
3/20 – 3/21 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)
(Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)

Missing My Brother

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

* Background on Pagan winter holidays is at https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/

* And here is a post on how I handled Christmas through the years. https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/ephemeral-equilibrium-another-christmas/

* Don’t forget that I’m putting together an anthology of accounts of survivor’s loss of a baby through forced abortion, sacrifice, or forced adoption. I am also looking for submissions from husbands, partners, close friends, therapists, or pastors.

You can ask me questions or send your submission through this blog’s comment section, rahome@ra-info.org, or PO Box 14276, 4304 18th Street, San Francisco CA 94114. And tell your friends!

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I’ve been in a funk for the best part of the last two weeks without knowing why. I didn’t think I was triggered, but one never knows. I thought I was just overtired from poor sleep due to pain from arthritis.

My new friend, Starling, and I meet weekly to discuss cult matters and life in general. We talk uninterrupted for ten minutes and then ask for feedback. I chose to describe my low mood and Starling said that she thought I was grieving. I talked about my Australian friend David, who died last year, for a while and then suddenly remembered that my brother’s birthday had passed unnoticed.

My brother has always been very important to me, as he was the only person in my family I liked or loved. We were close as children but grew apart as adults, mostly thanks to his extreme social anxiety. Then in 2001 he had a massive stroke which left him almost completely paralyzed and unable to talk. He spent the next eight years in a nursing home before dying of MRSA.

All my adult life, I had watched him slowly disappear and I had grieved the progressive loss of our relationship. And now he really is gone and there is nothing I can do about it. There are so many things I wish I had said to him even though it would have made him uncomfortable. I hope he knew how much I cared about him and how sad I was – and am – that his life was so hard.

One didn’t talk about important things in our family. It just wasn’t done. We pretended that unimportant things were important, things like the kind of clothes you wore or whether you went to a fancy school. Or table manners. You wouldn’t believe the amount of energy my parents put into criticizing our table manners. All this attention to trivia masked the family secrets.

By then, I was talking a little more freely about real things and so disclosed the ritual abuse to him. He said, “I am sorry I can’t help you. I have no memories.” But he didn’t reject me or think I was crazy. Under the shock of having me disclose, he leaked some information. He told me that the reason he couldn’t look people in the eye was that he saw a knife in their eye and blood. Tell me that is not a cult memory trying to push up to the surface! He never wanted to hear anything about my abuse after that. It was too much, and his defenses tightened up.

I am sorry he never had a chance to remember and to feel the relief of knowing what actually happened, knowing that his symptoms made sense and were not his fault. I sometimes irrationally feel that I prevented him from remembering, that I magically took all the memories and all the healing and left him with nothing.

But it doesn’t work that way. It is a mystery why one person remembers and another doesn’t, why one person’s defenses crack and another’s stay rigidly in place. All I can do is accept that fact and be very sad for him, and for my parents, too.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Upcoming Holidays

December
12/21 Yule/Winter Solstice
12/22 Full Moon
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/25 Christmas Day
12/31 New Year’s Eve
12/31 New Year’s Eve
January
1/1 New Year’s Day
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/20 Full moon
February
2/2 S Candlemas/Imbolc
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/19 Full moon

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
11/9 Kristallnacht
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons, as well as some Christian and Jewish holidays.)