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/ 

Rant on Chronic Diseases Caused by Ritual Abuse, Continued

* You can find more information on the following holidays at:

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/
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 Lammas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/

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There was a large, well-done study of selected adverse childhood events (ACES.) These adverse events consisted of:
Emotional abuse
Physical abuse
Sexual abuse
Mother treated violently
Substance abuse in the household
Mental illness in the household
Parental separation or divorce
Incarcerated household member
Emotional neglect
Physical neglect

I assume that ritual abuse counts as experiencing emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness in the household, and emotional neglect. That’s a score of 5, which is considered high.

Here is the questionnaire, scoring directions, statistics on prevalence, and correlation with selected conditions. There is also a resilience questionnaire. https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/

An article entitled “Adverse Childhood Experiences Increase Risk for Chronic Diseases – It’s Not Psychological” (https://www.acesconnection.com/blog/adverse-childhood-experiences-increase-risk-for-chronic-diseases-it-s-not-psychological) summarizes the correlation between chronic disease and high ACE scores.

“For every increase in the ACE score of 1 point, risk for developing an autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and many others goes up by 20%.” https://chronicillnesstraumastudies.com/ace-fact-sheet/

Here’s a list of thirty-three diseases that are correlated with high ACE scores. It is from the webpage “Chronic Illness ACE Fact Sheets To Educate Your Doctor (Free Downloads).” https://chronicillnesstraumastudies.com/ace-fact-sheet/

Addison’s Disease
ADHD, Behavioral problems in children, problems concentrating in school
Asthma
Cancer
Celiac disease
Chronic Fatigue
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
Coronary heart disease
Dermatomyositis
Diabetes, type 1
Diabetes, type 2
Fibromyalgia (FMS)
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Liver Disease
Lung Disease (Asthma, COPD)
Lupus (Systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE)
Multiple Sclerosis
Myasthenia Gravis
Obesity
Psoriasis
Rheumatoid arthritis
Scleroderma
Sjogren’s
Sleep Disorders
Stroke
Thrombocytopenia purpura
Thyroid, Grave’s
Thyroid, Hashimoto’s
Wegener’s granulomatosis
Poor self-related health

The webpage also lists other effects of ACEs
addictions
anxiety
depression
fractures and other injuries, intentional and not intentional: motor vehicle accidents, being the victim of shootings, stabbings
criminality (also see violence below)
more marriages and greater difficulty with relationships in general
intimate partner violence
low life satisfaction
parenting: greater challenges and difficulties
poor academic achievement
premature births
PTSD
unintended pregnancy and parenthood in teen boys and girls
self-harm
violence

 

It’s too much. It’s just too much.

I think I have a right to rant often and loudly. I have a right to reject the label of “psychosomatic illness.” Ditto for” idiopathic.” Mirriam-Webster: “Of, relating to, or designating a disease having no known cause.” In other words, “I don’t know.” But I know, and I will tell you, even if you don’t ask. It’s too many ACES!

Having been blamed as a child for getting sick or told I was imagining or exaggerating things, I have a right to take myself and my body seriously. I always had that right, but I was told that I didn’t, and that I had to cede to adults, even if they were dead wrong. It’s not easy to go against those childhood beliefs, but, with practice, it can be done pretty effectively.

So now, if I have a new symptom or if a chronic condition gets worse, I tell my doctor. She knows I want answers to two questions, “What is causing this?” and, “What are we going to do about it?” I’m totally willing to accept an honest, “I don’t know” from a doctor, but fudging, guilt trips, or power trips are totally unacceptable. I had far too much of that as a kid.

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Upcoming Holidays

September
9/1 Full moon
9/5 – 9/7 Feast of the Beast/Marriage of the Beast
9/7 Labor Day (United States)
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/29 Michaelmas/Feast of Archangel Michael and of all Angels
October
10/1 Full moon
10/12 Columbus Day (?)
10/13 Backward Halloween
10/31 Full moon (Blue Moon)
10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year
November
11/1 All Saints’ Day
11/2 All Souls’ Day
11/11 Veterans’ Day (?)
11/13 Friday the thirteenth
11/14 New moon
11/26 Thanksgiving Day (United States)
11/30 St. Andrew’s Day
9/29 Michaelmas/Feast of Archangel Michael and of all Angels

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
9/1 Start of WW2
9/7 Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year, Day of Judgement)
9/16 Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement)
9/21 – 9/27 Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, Jewish harvest festival)
10/12 Hitler’s alternate half birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual half-birthday, 10/20, and his alternate half-birthdate six months after Easter, which falls on 4/12 this year.)
10/20 Hitler’s half birthday
10/16 Death of Rosenburg
10/12 10/19 Death of Goering
10/31 Halloween
11/9 Kristallnacht
11/29 -12/16 Chanukah/Hanukkah (Jewish Festival of Lights)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish or Christian holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes.)

Ritual Abuse Causes Early Physical Aging

* You can find more information on the following holidays at:

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/
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 Lammas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/

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It seems that every couple of years, I read about another deleterious effect of abuse that shows up years after the actual abuse has stopped. Just last week, I got another opportunity to rant – or rather, to process my righteous anger –  about how ritual abuse ravages our bodies in so many different ways.

What set me off was an article in an email newsletter I get from Harvard. Apparently, childhood violence (but not neglect) sets processes in motion that make victims age faster. They aren’t talking about chronic diseases like lupus, arthritis of all sorts, diabetes, or addictions, all of which often shorten the life span significantly, This is on a cellular level!

Here’s the Harvard Gazette summary of: Colich, Natalie L., Rosen, Maya L., Williams, Eileen S., and McLaughlin, Katie A. “Biological Aging in Childhood and Adolescence Following Experiences of Threat and Deprivation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” American Psychological Association, Psychological Bulletin, 8/3/2020 DOI: 10.1037/bul0000270: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/08/violence-and-trauma-in-childhood-accelerate-puberty/?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Gazette%2020200805%20(1) .

This appears to be the original article in its entirety; complete, interesting, very long, and very complex. https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/bul-bul0000270.pdf .

The authors found that violence in childhood causes early puberty. It also shortens telomeres, the part of the chromosome at the ends, which protects them from deterioration. Essentially, this means that chromosomes will wear out earlier.

I don’t really understand this part of early aging, so I’ll just quote from the article.

“Another area was epigenetic aging metrics, in which patterns of methylation across the genome can be used to estimate a person’s chronological age. Again, children who experienced violence showed accelerated epigenetic aging markers compared with their chronological age, indicating that their cells aged more quickly than expected.”

But that’s not all. In childhood, the outer parts of the brain thin, and the number of connections between the neurons diminishes. The brains of children living with violence thinned faster than those of the other children, especially in areas that process social situations and emotional information.

This means that the brain has adapted to being tuned in to situations that present a threat and is less focussed on situations that are not dangerous. No wonder, as adults, that we are hypervigilant and anxious and have trouble developing trusting relationships.

It’s just not fair. When you escape, you should be rewarded with a healthy body that doesn’t hurt, as well as a spirit full of hope and determination. Plus not just self-esteem, but pride at being able to get free of their clutches. I think this is the least you could ask for, the least you should expect.

Well, we all know it doesn’t work that way. Torture damages body, mind, and spirit, and you are left with the challenge of figuring out just what the damage is and what can be done about it. They made the mess, and you get the job of cleaning it up.

By you, I mean you and I and all survivors. Not a single one of us gets a fair shake. As I say when I am really furious, this sucks toad tits.

~~~~~~~~~~

Here’s a list of other blog entries on physical problems and ritual abuse:

Depression, Obesity, and Inflammation
https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/08/18/depression-obesity-and-inflammation/

PTSD and Dementia
https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/ptsd-and-dementia/

Things on My Mind This Week (Ritual Abuse Correlated with Ovarian Cancer)
https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/%e2%80%a8ritual-abuse-things-on-my-mind-this-week/

Stress, Cortisol, Eating, and Meditation
https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/stress-cortisol-eating-and-meditation/

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Upcoming Holidays

August
8/24 St. Bartholomew’s Day
September
9/1 Full moon
9/5 – 9/7 Feast of the Beast/Marriage of the Beast
9/7 Labor Day (United States)
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/29 Michaelmas/Feast of Archangel Michael and of all Angels
October
10/1 Full moon
10/12 Columbus Day (?)
10/13 Backward Halloween
10/31 Full moon (Blue Moon)
10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
10/4 Hitler’s alternate half birthday
10/20 Hitler’s half birthday
10/16 Death of Rosenburg
10/19 Death of Goering
10/31 Halloween
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish or Christian holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes.)