Childhood Abuse, Long COVID, and Adult Hypertension

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/

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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
https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2022/09/depression-anxiety-may-escalate-chances-of-long-covid-says-study/ 
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

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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. 
https://synopsi.medpagetoday.com/article/162441/sensitization-of-hypertension-the-impact-of-earlier-life-challenges?xid=nl_mpt_Cardiology_update_2022-09-09&mh=02623b6c09bbfe381410b8080fd99509&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Automated%20Specialty%20Update%20Cardiology%20BiWeekly%20FRIDAY%202022-09-09&utm_term=NL_Spec_Cardiology_Update_Active

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.

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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.

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

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Upcoming Holidays
October 10/9 Full Moon 10/10 Columbus Day 10/13 Backward Halloween 10/25 Partial solar eclipse visible in Europe, the Urals, Western Siberia, the Middle East, India, Western Asia, and northeast Africa. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2022-october-25 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 11/4 Satanic Revels 11/7 – 8 Total lunar eclipse visible in North and East Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, much of South America, and Antarctica. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2022-november-8 11/ 8 Full Moon (Blood Moon) 11/11 (?) Veterans’ Day 11/24 Thanksgiving Day (United States) 11/27 First Sunday of Advent 11/30 St Andrew’s Day Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups  10/1 Lammas Early August through October: Various preparations are done in readiness for October, the month with the largest number of celebrations. 9/2  Autumnal equinox, “Fall Festival.” 10/16 Death of Rosenburg, a Nazi leader in World War II. (Many Nazi leaders were captured and scheduled for trial in late September and early October. Most of them killed themselves prior to trial.) 10/17 Hitler’s alternate half birthday (6 months from Easter, 2022) 10/19 Death of Hermann Goering, a Nazi leader in World War II. 10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday 10/31 – 11/1 Halloween 11/9 Beer Hall Putsch rebellion, the date Hitler declared the Nazi party the leaders of Germany. A few years later, in 1938, Krystalnacht, (the “Night of Broken Glass”) happened on this date.

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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/ 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://ritua

Boundaries

I Really Need Help with This

GrassRoots is growing and it is getting too much for three people to handle. I know we can do anything we set our minds to, but we can’t do everything!!! Especially everything all at once. We are stretched very thin right now.

We badly need somebody to add material to the webpage – events, articles, etc.

I know some of you have the skills because I know you have your own blogs, your own Webpages. I also know that you may have the skills but not the time.

First of all, what I am asking for is to let me know I am heard. Just a quick note in the comments: “I would love to help, but I can’t now.” Or “I don’t have the time, or am not in a good space, or have so many computer problems that I never want to see another computer in my whole life.” or “I hear you, but I don’t know how to do that.”

And, if you can’t help – think for a moment – do you know a survivor friend who might be interested? If so, tell them it’s a low-key way to help survivors all over the world – and we are a fun group of people to work with, besides.

Contact me on the comments  section or at https://grassroots-ra-mc-collective.org/contact-us/

Thank you so very much!

Boundaries

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, but other things were more pressing.

I used to think of a good boundary as a well-built stone wall, about ten feet tall, with lots of barbed wire at the top. Ain’t nobody gonna get in there!

And a poor one was a few short sticks in the ground joined by pretty ribbons. So easy to breach! Just step over it; you don’t even have to knock the sticks down.

Like most things, boundaries are in-between. Not black, not white, but some shade of grey.

What’s more, they are fluid. They shift depending on the circumstances. An offer of a kiss from a stranger on the street merits a ten-foot tall stone wall, while an offer of a kiss from a dearly beloved Significant Other is protected by invisible ink.

Even with the same person, boundaries shift depending on the circumstances. For example, I wouldn’t allow a long passionate kiss with my SO when one of us was driving. Or in front of my grandmother. Or in the middle of a supermarket, for that matter.

Different people set their boundaries at different points and defend them more or less fiercely. Somebody who is socially anxious and self-conscious will be quite different in this respect from somebody happy and self-confident.

Then there is the matter of culture. Things that are okay in one culture are taboo in another. How much miscommunication and hurt can result from a breach of a personal boundary through ignorance! Imagine an Italian man and a Japanese man meeting for the first time, knowing nothing of the other’s nation’s culture. In ten minutes, both would be bewildered and frustrated and confused!

Anyway, that’s just the nature of boundaries. Everybody has the task of learning where they should be set in hundreds of different situations. On top of that, they have to decide if they want to follow their parent’s example or figure out something on their own.

But we, dear readers, are different from folks that are just like everybody else. A goodly number of us have many inner parts with many different needs and many different fears. When they are out, they will set boundaries the best they can for themselves, and their choice may not look like what other parts who come to the front would choose.

The solution, of course, is inner communication. Which can take decades to achieve, as many of us know and the rest suspect at times.

But Oh! Even with perfect inner communication, the process of setting boundaries is not easy. For one, it often takes forever to reach a decision. Consensus? Majority vote? Loudest voice wins? And by the time the decision is made, the opportunity to choose may have disappeared.

Let’s say somebody just insulted me. Loud inner uproar ensures. Do I punch them in the nose? Walk away? Stare in blank amazement? Threaten to sue? Say, “I am so sorry you feel that way. You must be having a really bad day. Is there anything I can do to help?” Meanwhile, the other person is long gone – say three days gone.

I think that working with boundaries is a life-long process, like working with your hair. Right now, my hair is longer than usual and not colored, and my boundaries are tighter than usual. I’m much better at saying, “No.” But on occasion, I still blow it.

I noticed that those occasions often involve men. Men in authority (or who aren’t, but act like they are.) Men who are tall. Men with loud voices. Men who seem to know what they are talking about. Men who seem dangerous. It’s pretty obvious to me that these men trigger fear caused by childhood perpetrators – a good many of them, I would say.

I get all flustered and become unsure of myself. Am I right? Doesn’t matter right now – what’s important is how can I calm myself and get out of the situation. I have worked on some responses that will give me that distance. My current favorite is, “I will have to think about that. I’ll get back to you on it.”

My most brilliant response, one that confirmed I could actually deflect the attack, feel safe, and not lose my self-esteem, was, “Oh, I have learned to never argue with men about cars.” I was thrilled!

I was too much in the present at that moment to realize how far I had come. Not long before, I would have become suicidal. (As if killing myself would have won the argument. I don’t think so.)

In summary, boundaries have to be tinkered with all your life. That’s not a failure; that’s just the way things are. Success is learning to make those adjustments so that you may stay safe, both physically and emotionally. With practice, you get a better sense of where the boundary should fall to achieve your goal. With time, you can do this more rapidly.

And with time, you will learn that you don’t know everything there is to know, and you never will, and you can forgive yourself for making a mistake.

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Upcoming Holidays

August
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

September
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

October
10/9 Full Moon
10/10 Columbus Day
10/13 Backward Halloween
10/25 Partial solar eclipse visible in Europe, the Urals, Western Siberia, the Middle East, India, Western Asia, and northeast Africa. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2022-october-25
10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year 

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups 

10/1: Lammas
Early August through October: Various preparations are done in readiness for October, the month with the largest number of celebrations. 
9/22:  autumnal equinox, “Fall Festival.”
10/16: Death of Rosenburg, a Nazi leader in World War II. (Many Nazi leaders were captured and scheduled for trial in late September and early October. Most of them killed themselves prior to trial.) 
10/17 Hitler’s alternate half birthday (6 months from Easter, 2022)
10/19: Death of Hermann Goering, a Nazi leader in World War II. 
10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday
10/31 – 11/1 Halloween

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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/
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/

The Plural Positivity 4th Annual World Conference (Virtual)

The Plural Association Nonprofit, an international peer-led grassroots organization, offers presentations and meet-ups for Plurals of all kinds, including survivors of RA/MC.

July 15, 7:00 AM Pacific Time to July 17, 7:30 PM Pacific Time
Tickets: $10 – $50 US Dollars
Register at https://www.airmeet.com/e/17a525e0-dace-11ec-9c54-f17dc0c27e6f

“…dedicated to empowering Plurals and the idea that more and more people should have access to Plural community experiences.”

“By cultivating community, we want to bring people together. The goal is to empower folks by involving people more in Plural community and what that means. The conference will feature keynote speakers, stage sessions, live Q&A, along with exhibit and speaker booths, live streams, and activities. There will also be reserved time for attendees to hang out in small groups at our virtual meetup tables.”

Description of presentations and meet-up sessions
https://thepluralassociation-my.sharepoint.com/:w:/r/personal/stronghold_thepluralwarmline_org/_layouts/15/Doc.aspx?sourcedoc=%7B7704c885-f244-450b-8b15-1c00d28b12aa%7D&action=view&wdAccPdf=0&wdparaid=3B21722F