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

Value-Free Abilities, Feelings, and Actions

Read on! The article is hiding below these short but important, announcements.

Welcome!

For those of you who are new to my blog, thank you for following me! I hope you will find it helpful.

Please use the comments section freely. You may comment on the article, ask for information, or connect with other survivors.

Fathers’ Day –

is the first in a series of Holiday Zoom Open Houses For Survivors of RA/MC.
On miserable, triggery days, like the solstices, equinoxes, Christmas, Easter, and “Hallmark Card” days, survivors often choose to be alone rather than be among people who just don’t understand. Now, thanks to ZOOM and joanies, you have a third choice. Bring a meal or a snack and eat together, or just hang out with other RA/MC survivors. No need to stay the whole time if you don’t want to.

Sunday, June 19, 2022, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM Pacific Time (Not a celebration of Father’s Day – it is a time to celebrate each other!)
Register here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/holiday-zoom-gathering-for-ramc-survivors-tickets-361102716947

Poetry Reading

There will be another virtual poetry reading on Saturday, June 25, from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM Pacific Time. That is Sunday, June 26, 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM Melbourne, AUS Time. The invitation to attend is open to survivors, therapists, support people, and allies.

This is an open event for any survivor of RA/MC to present a 1-3 minute poem about “Being Victimized, Surviving, and Living Fully.” The poem can be on all three topics or on only one or two of the topics. You may also pair visual art with your poem or perform through song.

The event will be in open-mic style, and presenters will sign up through the chat on the day of the event.

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ritual-abuse-survivors-read-their-poems-of-suffering-and-healing-tickets-291878545587

Value-Free Abilities, Feelings, and Actions

This is a topic I have been mulling over for years now. I’ll tell you what started me off.

I realized that some of the qualities in myself that I value had also been valued by the cult. I can’t say they were exactly nurtured, for they were demanded on pain of lots and lots of pain if I fell short. Each year, each month, each week, more and more was expected of me. But they did develop in this harsh environment.

Early on, I recognized that my body healed rapidly. It wasn’t until 1999, when I read Judith Spencer’s book, “Suffer the Child,” that I learned that this is a trait that was highly prized by at least one other Satanic cult. I don’t remember hearing about it since, but I don’t need further validation. It makes perfect sense to me.

It is easy to see that the physical process of rapid healing works in both environments. So how could it be a “good” thing or a “bad” thing? It just was.

Intelligence was a more complex concept for me to deal with. I could tell that the grown-ups around me valued intelligence. However, I was very confused about the concept and believed I was stupid. I compared myself, not with ordinarey people, but with those with exceptionally high IQs. The degree of perfectionism was ridiculous – if I wasn’t the best in the world, I must be stupid.

It didn’t help that I didn’t fit in with the other kids. They all had friends, and I didn’t; therefore, I must be dumb because I couldn’t even figure out how to have a friend. Or carry a tune or throw and catch a ball, for that matter. I was so confused that, at one point, I thought maybe I didn’t have friends because I scored higher on tests than they did. I tried to get the answers wrong but failed because I got interested in the material and forgot what I had set out to do. Oh well.

I have a little scar on my forehead marking the destruction by radiation of a growing birthmark. I told the kids I suffered brain damage from this procedure when I was three months old. Brain damage! Little did I know!

In time, I realized I wasn’t stupid; I was just a misfit. And when I remembered my abuse, I could see that my intelligence was valued in the cult as well as at home and at school. How could it be valued both by evil people and by kind, ethical people? It must be outside the categories of good and evil, or above it, part but not part of both moral systems at the same time.

I started thinking of all the things that were accepted and valued in both the day-life and the night-life as value-free. Like stars, for example. Stars aren’t good or bad; they just are.

Before I started writing this post, I looked up the definitions of value-free and value-neutral.

According to the Oxford Learners’ Dictionaries, value-free means “not influenced by personal opinions.“ Not surprisingly, value-laden means “influenced by personal opinions.”

Oxford Reference defines value-neutral as
adjective
• Not presupposing the acceptance of any particular values.
•  ‘Morality involves value judgments, and I want my intelligences to be value-neutral.” 
“The situation in which a participant in a controversial situation is impartial and not influenced by personal beliefs, attitudes, or values, a situation that may often be more theoretical than real. Philosophers of science have long debated the question of whether science can ever be truly value neutral, starting from the premise that the scientific approach to problem solving in itself requires values that accept the importance and relevance of so doing, in addition to the values implied in the search itself, such as the definition of truth. Beyond this, the ethical and moral choices that biological and health scientists must frequently make will always require them to hold certain values.”

Interesting.

Perhaps because I am dissociated, I imagine something that is value-free or value-neutral floating above whatever is going on at the moment. Sort of like my consciousness, except it isn’t conscious. My understanding of the concept is visual; I can see it clearly but have to scramble for words.

Do you know those little glass pendents that contain mustard seeds or open so you can use them as lockets and put a tiny photograph in them? There are all sorts of beads that size, some very fancy. I have a black enamel bead with an elaborate flower pattern and a white bead, again with a flower pattern. I wear them together to symbolize value-neutrality. The little flowers exist in both dark and light settings.

When I feel shame or guilt about something, they remind me that I am in a feeling-flashback. For example, there is no reason to feel shame about sex or guilt about anger. These things just are, like the stars and flowers just are, although they can be used for good or for evil. This belief allows me to think more calmly and more clearly.

Now I understand, with relief and gratitude, that as soon as I got free, I consistently tried my best to use my intelligence and the skills I learned in the cult to help people, not to harm them.

Upcoming Holidays

June
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/Da Meur

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

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

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 Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.

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/ 

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/