How did I get here? I told you when I first began this blog just over two years ago that I’d be jumping around so forgive me if some of this is redundant.
In retrospect I’ve been symptomatic most of my life. I had insomnia for the longest time. I remember being up all night reading and when we moved to our second house I’d make my bed in the middle of the night and lay on top of the bedspread and pray for sleep which mostly never came.
When I was six years old I began being molested on a weekly basis by my mother’s best friend’s husband named appropriately, Dick. It would go on for 6 years. At the age of 6 I also suffered a very bad concussion at school in first grade — bad enough to keep me hospitalized for a good week. I’m good friends with a psychic/medium named Marla Frees. A couple years ago her autobiography was published entitled American Psychic. I’ve always been an empath and an intuitive and little by little am having 5th dimension moments. There was a chapter in her book that talked about a class she was taking where she ultimately learned how to astral project — I’m not there yet. She mentioned in this chapter that if someone suffers both a head injury as a child AND has suffered some sort of abuse then they will likely be more intuitive than most. I found it fascinating that my abuse began at the same age of my concussion. Dick wasn’t my last abuser. In my late teens I was date raped, in my 20’s my mom lost her best friend (not Dick’s wife) and one day when I was living with my boyfriend (a musician) in W. Hollwood, the husband of my mom’s friend’s who died came to visit me as he was visiting an aunt in my neighborhood and he was grieving and sitting on the couch next to me and when I hugged him he got an erection. Severaly years later I got a job at an boutique talent agency that’s now one of the top in the country/world and worked for a famous packaging agent who would call me in the middle of the night to try and have phone sex. When he fired me after I finally told him off and I found out he’d abused several other employees, I mustered courage I never thought I had and sued both him and the talent agency. At that time in my life it was the most courageous thing I’d ever done. After living with active Lyme for more than 3 1/2 years the other abuses I survived seem like walks in the park.
I had horrible tics as a child and am still OCD to an extent. According to my mother, evey week I was doing something new, making faces, twirling my hair etc. She’d call my pediatrician (this was the 60’s) and tell her not to worry about it — to not call attention to it and I’d just outgrow it — obviously I never did.
Because I’d been molested for six years, I was a huge introvert but always the teacher’s pet and did very well in school. I lost my virginity at age 14 to a boyfriend that turned out to be physically abusive, threatening to kill himself if I left him and even hitting me. I became promiscuous except for when I had a boyfriend. Now that I’ve been through therapy (intuitively I knew what happened to me could really fuck me up as an adult so unbeknownst to my parents I began therapy probably the day after my 18th birthday) I realize that my promiscuous behavior was about me being in control of my body and my sexuality as it was stolen from me as a little girl. I always felt dirty, hated my vaginal discharge, I took multiple showers a day and scrubbed myself. When I hit puberty I weighed 85 pounds and had huge breasts and became even more self conscious. I began getting migraines at age 12 — my mom assumed it was puberty but she got migraines all the time as well. My mother was a rager — she used to beat me if she got mad at me. One night she was so angry that she shook me so hard that my head kept hitting the linen closet in the hallway and I must’ve had a concussion as I spent the night throwing up. Before you hate my mom, know that a year after I was diagnosed I asked her to get tested and sure enough…..My mom began feeling pain all over at the age of 8 when she was a young girl growing up in Montreal — years later she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (my diagnosis in 2012). Call me crazy but 8 year olds don’t hurt all over unless there’s something wrong and it ain’t fibromyalgia. I made it through high school pretty unscathed. I was always seeking male attention (which goes with the territory for victims of abuse) and I got it. My second serious boyfriend was an alcoholic (I still don’t drink vodka because of him) and he was the first of a series of them throughout my life including my first husband.
I went to college for all of a semester. Because my mom was always so angry (even my friends were afraid of her) I just wanted to move out and make money. Quitting college is one of the greatest regrets of my life which is why in the past couple weeks I registered at both Los Angeles Valley College and Arizona State University where I’ll be getting a degree in registered nursing as well as a degree in Health Coaching. Yep there’s actually a degree for it and I accidentally found one of only two schools in the country who offer it. Again, I know I’m being guided — I’ve been feeling it for the last 2 1/2 years and I just continue to follow where my angels lead me.
In my late teens I discovered musicians and as I write this I’m realizing that’s when I decided to quit school — I was out partying all night and school just wasn’t important to me. I’d wait until the night before a term paper was due and spend all night at the library writing. It’s a miracle I got a 3.0 GPA as I didn’t work for it.
In my 20’s I continued to feel insecure all the time which is why I was elated when up and coming famous musicians wanted to date me and/or sleep with me. In junior high and in high school I got really into musical theatre and decided I wanted to be a professional actress so when I got a job in the 80’s working at Orion Television it was like I’d struck gold. I lied my way into the job, telling the two well known writer/producers I was interviewing with that of course I knew how to type scripts! Little did they know that I’d stay up until 3am every night with my typewriter (yes I’m old) learning everything there was to know about scripts — that the character name is always capitalized and movements are in parentheses etc. In typical Hollywood fashion I fell in love with one of my bosses (of course he was married and crawled into bed with me while we were on location in Canada) and I was too insecure to say no and that went on for five years. I’m not proud of what I did at all. I also don’t blame him as I was a grown woman at the time and wish I would’ve had the courage to stop it but like my molester he made me feel pretty and smart and for a book geek like me feeling pretty and smart were a big deal.
As I look back on those years I realize I was going on adrenalin. Like many I got very into cocaine in the 80’s but was smart enough to know when to stop. Thank goodness I don’t have the addiction gene and quite honestly I’m lucky to be alive with the risks I took. I will say, however, that I never did any hallucinogens. As a victim of sexual abuse it’s always been about control for me and doing drugs that made me feel out of control wasn’t something I was willing to try. I’m sure the adrenaline from the music and the drugs are what kept me going.
When I was 29 I fell madly in love with a producer from Hard Copy and we had a blast together. Our relationship was volatile though. We’d fight, we’d break up and we’d get back together and the sex was great. Of course he was an Irish alcoholic. His temper was ugly and scary. But I loved him in spite of him saying some really twisted things to me at times. He lost his job at Hard Copy a year later and instead of looking for a job in L.A. he grabbed the first offer he got in NY (he’s from New Jersey so he already had a life there) producing for Inside Edition. He promptly broke up with me saying he didn’t want a long distance relationship so I got on with my life and even went on a date with a really attractive guy. The next morning the boyfriend called me from Port Authority and begged me to fly out to NY that weekend to talk and see if we could work it out. By the end of the weekend we’d found an apartment and we were calling my folks telling them we’d be getting married eventually and were going to have a great life.
But as soon as I made the move it was awful. His temper got worse — I think he felt pressure because I didn’t know anyone yet even thought I’d lined up a job before I got there. He freaked out at my domestic capabilities. He didn’t like when I cooked as it made him feel married. Once he blew up at me in the middle of a restaurant and left me there and took off in a cab. I think I’d lived there all of a couple weeks and had to figure out how to take the bus home. We lasted barely a year in NY — I went through 2 weeks of not sleeping to the point where one night (we had already been in therapy and I was in therapy and started taking effexor which is an antidepressant). One night after literally not sleeping for weeks I kept taking the effexor until I fell asleep. My boyfriend came home and I was so out of it that he called the police. I swore I wasn’t trying to kill myself, i just desperately needed sleep. But his father had committed suicide so it was a huge trigger and within day he apparently broke up with me in Central Park (I still don’t remember as I blocked it out). Turns out he was diagnosed with Lyme in 2011. I’m quite sure all his craziness was from Lyme and Bartonella and PANS. Of course years later he came back into my life demanding I marry him but I was already married to my now husband. But I got my closure.
After I moved back to Los Angeles with my tail between my legs, I decided I was going to produce film and television independently so enrolled myself in esthetician school so I’d have a way to support myself until I made it big as a producer. Turns out I absolutely fell in love with being a skin care expert. I’ve always been a nurturer, codependent that I am so it was a perfect career fit and I never looked back even after one of my projects actually sold and was made.
When I was 32 I went through my first bout of clinical depression and it was terrifying. I didn’t even know it was depression as most of what I remember are the panic attacks. I had lived with a guy about five years younger than me for a couple of years and he’d said he wanted to marry me. We had a great time together but it’s also when my migraines were really kicking up and I began having horrific pain in my right sacroiliac joint. But I still had energy — enough to work and enough to party at night. Before my depression hit we were still together and, I thought, happy. We flew to San Francisco for a weekend and my best friend at the time was dog sitting for us — it was his dog. We had just checked into our hotel when we were given a message to call home immediately. She had taken the dog for a hike and he died of heat stroke. We were in shock and were in the next flight home He wouldn’t talk to me as he blamed me as it was my friend that was hiking with the dog in the heat. A week later Princess Diana was killed in a car crash after being chased by the paparazzi and I came home from work to an empty apartment. Apparently he’d been planning the move for a month. He’d wiped out our joint checking account and his mom had sent him ten grand the month before and he’d already rented a storage place. It was the first and only time up until a few months ago that I felt betrayal and man oh man is betrayal a horrible emotion. I was literally in shock. I couldn’t eat or speak. I lost about 20 pounds in a few weeks. My grandma came and stayed with me. I was having panic attacks where I literally felt like I was being buried alive and couldn’t breathe. I was still having the joint pain and the headaches and felt like I was dying. I got myself a dog (and adorable dog I named Bagel) and I found myself a therapist who did EMDR. She saved my life. We’re still in touch to this day. Somehow I made it through that period with no antidepressants although it’s when Klonopin became my friend. All these years later I’m still on my tiny dose of half a milligram morning and night. Of course I’m addicted but yay as luck would have it, it turns out Klonopin is a mast cell stabilizer and I have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome to be explained later.
This would be the first of several bouts of clinical depression and panic attacks during my adult life. Who would’ve thought it would turn out that PANS (infections in my brain) was responsible for my insomnia as a child and young woman, all my bouts of depression and panic attacks. Until a year ago when I had my mold hit, all my depressive episodes were situational meaning some event would set it off. A break up, my husband’s job loss, my bankruptcy filing in 2008 after my ex husband bailed on $80K of credit card debt and refused to pay the court ordered child support. But people who aren’t sick don’t get clinically depressed over a break up — I’m talking about the kind of depression where you literally cannot move or eat or speak and you stare at the walls and even sometimes shit the bed because you’re so disconnected from your body that you don’t feel it. Yes that’s what true clinical depression is and how I wanted to smack the well meaning friends who told me to take a walk, exercise, snap out of it, etc. etc. But unless you’ve lived it there’s no way to know what someone is going through. In a way since I got my diagnosis of PANS earlier this year (I only tested because my kids’ therapist was accusing me of having Munchausens by Proxy because I was “making” him do neurofeedback — oh the horror!!. Of course we were both positive and I was out almost $2000 for the two tests. Anyways I digress….once I got my diagnosis I was actually relieved. Once of my specialists, Dr. Mary Ackerely in Tucson used to be a very Western medicine psychiatrist but now only does integrative medicine, believes that at least 80% of people with mental illness i.e. depression, anxiety, mania, schizophrenia etc. don’t just go crazy for no reason. She believes most have infections in the brain like I do. What a relief to know that I’m not crazy! All these years there’s been an actual medical reason for all of it. Yes traumatic events triggered the bouts but it was because the events caused my brain to swell. Even now while I’m not depressed or particularly anxious I can feel my brain swelling — it’s not a headache — I can literally feel my brain swelling inside my cranium. Again it’s hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it and I hope those of you reading never experience it because quite frankly it’s scary as hell and there have been times in the last year where I wanted to end my life. But luckily I have terrific doctors and the benadryl IV’s I’ve been getting through my portacath the last month seem to really be calming down my brain.
A couple months after I came out of my first bout of depression my cousin set me up on a blind date with her fiance’s coworker/roommate. Of course he also turned out to be an alcoholic but he was fun and smart and he wasn’t interested in just getting in my pants — in fact it turned out he wasn’t sexual at all but somehow, three months later I was pregnant and by October 1998 I was a wife and a new mom. I love being a mother but I was tired all the time. I never questioned it because of course it goes with the territory of raising kids, but my fatigue went beyond that. I though there was something wrong with me becuase I dreaded taking the kids to the park. I’d try and take them several times a week — it was only about 5 blocks away but when I got there I could only sit and watch them play — I could barely stand long enough to push them on the swings as I needed to rest enough to get enough energy to walk home. I can’t tell you the number of times over the years I called myself lazy. I felt like a horrible mom and was married to non existant husband. He worked mostly nights and 99% of the time wouldn’t come straight home — instead he’d be at a bar drinking till 2am. It’s a miracle we made two children as the only time we had sex was when we were trying to get pregnant with our second. He told me I was selfish because I wanted to keep working, he told me I was selfish because I wanted to go away with girlfriends or go to a spa. He actually said to me that my job was to be a mother and I was selfing for wanting anything more. Yeah I knew how to pick them. During our marriage I went through another few bouts of clinical depression but again it was situationally and I was desperately unhappy in a miserable marriage. Before I even met my first husband I had begun experiencing horrible pain in my right sacro-iliac joint (for those of you non body workers it’s where your hip joint fits into your sacrum. If I turned in the middle of the night I’d yelp from the shart shooting pain. This would go on (only on the right side) for about 10 years before one day magically disappearing. Little did I know that the fatigue and the headaches and the OCD and the joint pain would all turned out to be Lyme.
To be continued…