Processing memories, even those you don’t remember clearly (just bits, pieces, feelings) is like standing on a pinnacle point. Terrified off falling off, terrified to move. Recovery writing has done so much good for me, although now I’ve hit the brick wall of processing the rape I endured around Christmas 2009.
PTSD comes with many uncomfortable bells and whistles. Some of us get really sick, physically. Repeated high levels of stress causes electrolyte disturbances in the body. What is written below is not meant for sympathy, but more so for awareness of the process of how abuse and fear harms our homeostasis.
During the height of the abuse in 2009, it seemed I was seeing my doctor weekly, for racing heart and thumps in my chest. They diagnosed me with borderline high blood pressure, temporary blindness, temporary nystagmus, asthma, allergic rashes, ocular migraines, tachycardia and fatigue. I weighed 93 lbs by then and was on blood pressure pills.
I escaped January 2010, but was threatened, stalked, and I found myself in fear of my life. I still had no memory of the rape and it was not reported. A temporary restraining order gave me some relief.
By the time I was able to see a true cardiologist in April 2011, I had ventricular and atrial ectopy, mitral and atrial valve leaks, and a mysterious depletion of magnesium. At first they chalked it up as a temporary thing and started treatment. During that time, although I had physically escaped the person, I was still enduring the psychological and verbal harassment.
The cardiologist stated to me in our last phone call at the end of 2012 that he was at a loss. Even with IVs of magnesium and high doses of supplements, the numbers were bottomed out, along with potassium, protein, and calcium. My kidneys were “running on reserve” as he stated. My hair began to fall out.
Magnesium loss doesn’t show up in the blood stream until you are nearly out. The body draws off its reserves (bones, kidney reserve, etc) in an effort to balance the body. Magnesium loss doesn’t happen overnight. Magnesium loss is slow to present itself in a blood serum test.
“Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health. Approximately 50% of total body magnesium is found in bone. The other half is found predominantly inside cells of body tissues and organs. Only 1% of magnesium is found in blood, but the body works very hard to keep blood levels of magnesium constant.”
In short, I was starving to death and he couldn’t fix it. He didn’t know why I was depleted so badly.
For an in-depth explanation of how trauma with chronic exposure to fear and stress can potentially kill a person, read here.
I’ve been to the ER three times in the last two years. I have many symptoms I keep to myself. I eat like a horse, twice as much as some people, to get nutrition. It’s very difficult for me to keep weight. I cannot get life insurance. Apparently, a magnesium deficiency is a hard-core red flag.
I’ll post more later, but right now, I’m on my way to the Women’s Resource Center for a support meeting. I’ve been triggered. My old way was avoidant coping skills, but I’ve outgrown my rock I’ve been hiding under.
It’s time to talk to someone.
*update* that was quite possibly the best thing I could have done. I’m signed up for a 26 week support group, and had a very cleansing cry. Tomorrow, paperwork. As I told the lovely lady, I want to tell the world. He shouldn’t get away with it, and it’s a t-shirt statement waiting to happen. Perhaps nothing legal will happen, but my voice will still be heard, my truth will be revealed and that is more important to me than winning.
I feel very empty of harmful secrets (which is good). I think I’m ready to finish “My Love Affair With Batteries.”