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I just got diagnosed with a serious disease. It’s in the early stages because I caught it myself, and I pushed for tests.

This is the second autoimmune disease I’ve been diagnosed with in the last four years. This one is much more serious.

My autoimmunity started after I suffered from acute PTSD for a year after rape and abuse by a man I dated.

I’ve also been in a really unhappy relationship for the past two years that did a number on my self-esteem. It took until last night to realize it wasn’t just being on the spectrum that made my ex-boyfriend spectacularly hurtful, seemingly without meaning to be, but his active resentment of women, after being deeply hurt by his ex-wife. He also has huge difficulty articulating his emotions, so he didn’t know how to say he was scared or unsure what he wanted, or felt we were moving fast; or anything else. He never knows how to articulate his feelings of confusion; instead, he takes it out on me. He’s also very sweet and loves me, but frankly, the way he hurt me when we dated, after a very sweet friendship in which he was very kind and also romantic- something he later denied- the particular way he made me feel bad, about my looks, was really inexcusable, knowing what I’d just been through, and what a tremendous risk I was taking, trusting him. And he knew.

Now, in a cruel coincidence, part of this disease is affecting my looks, specifically my face. It can even cause brain lesions, though that’s unusual. The systemic kind- which I do have the symptoms of, and is why I’ve been sick, when my Hashimoto’s seems to be getting better- can make you really, really sick, and even be fatal. Or it could be minor, and it will be fine.

I may have to take immunosuppressants. I am worried about that, what with the side effects and also the pandemic.

I am worried about how much hard work I have to do soon to survive. What if I’m not feeling well?

I’m very angry with the rapist. He has also raped or otherwise abused or assaulted many other women. Nothing has been done about him. He’s still walking around a free man, like most of his brethren.

Meanwhile, now PTSD is understood as a brain/body disease. It raises cytokines considerably, causing inflammation in the body, predisposing the sufferer to all sorts of diseases, particularly autoimmune diseases and cancer.

I’m pretty angry, and more than a little discouraged.

I could some support, advice, encouragement, commiseration, or anything positive or uplifting, really.

I am looking forward to the future. I am moving, and making some big changes in my life right now. I want to try to be positive.

I am also staying on top of my tests and healthcare, and doing everything I can to reverse this disease.

Please help me be positive! I want to recover from this with no harm done.

I just got diagnosed with a serious disease. It’s in the early stages because I caught it myself, and I pushed for tests. This is the second autoimmune disease I’ve been diagnosed with in the last four years. This one is much more serious. My autoimmunity started after I suffered from acute PTSD for a year after rape and abuse by a man I dated. I’ve also been in a really unhappy relationship for the past two years that did a number on my self-esteem. It took until last night to realize it wasn’t just being on the spectrum that made my ex-boyfriend spectacularly hurtful, seemingly without meaning to be, but his active resentment of women, after being deeply hurt by his ex-wife. He also has huge difficulty articulating his emotions, so he didn’t know how to say he was scared or unsure what he wanted, or felt we were moving fast; or anything else. He never knows how to articulate his feelings of confusion; instead, he takes it out on me. He’s also very sweet and loves me, but frankly, the way he hurt me when we dated, after a very sweet friendship in which he was very kind and also romantic- something he later denied- the particular way he made me feel bad, about my looks, was really inexcusable, knowing what I’d just been through, and what a tremendous risk I was taking, trusting him. And he knew. Now, in a cruel coincidence, part of this disease is affecting my looks, specifically my face. It can even cause brain lesions, though that’s unusual. The systemic kind- which I do have the symptoms of, and is why I’ve been sick, when my Hashimoto’s seems to be getting better- can make you really, really sick, and even be fatal. Or it could be minor, and it will be fine. I may have to take immunosuppressants. I am worried about that, what with the side effects and also the pandemic. I am worried about how much hard work I have to do soon to survive. What if I’m not feeling well? I’m very angry with the rapist. He has also raped or otherwise abused or assaulted many other women. Nothing has been done about him. He’s still walking around a free man, like most of his brethren. Meanwhile, now PTSD is understood as a brain/body disease. It raises cytokines considerably, causing inflammation in the body, predisposing the sufferer to all sorts of diseases, particularly autoimmune diseases and cancer. I’m pretty angry, and more than a little discouraged. I could some support, advice, encouragement, commiseration, or anything positive or uplifting, really. I am looking forward to the future. I am moving, and making some big changes in my life right now. I want to try to be positive. I am also staying on top of my tests and healthcare, and doing everything I can to reverse this disease. Please help me be positive! I want to recover from this with no harm done.

20 comments

To anyone who read my 3 long comments (not that long for story of last 5 years, mostly the last 6 months, which medically speaking have been a wild ride- so this is the right circle for such a history, I hope):

I decided to go back to my PCP- despite how deeply my trust had been eroded- to demand tests for scleroderma (after my endocrinologist said he "didn't know enough about it;" I now have an appointment to see a dermatologist, and soon a rheumatologist), because I made a post about being sick and how hard it was to deal with my former partner's emotionally...difficult behavior while I was so sick, and I mentioned being sick of doctors and not trusting my doctor after a bad experience here, and she said, "you should follow up; don't let these things go, it's way better to catch them early and when you are young," and that's why I went back to the doctor, and caught this in its early stages, when I am still pretty young, instead of five years from now, when it might be too late.

So, it was the women of Ovarit supporting me, and that particular user- I can't remember who- that made me make the final push to stop thinking I was paranoid about the deepening dent and pain in my forehead, and the other inexplicable new internal symptoms; and now I now, early on, early enough to beat this. And I will.

Part 3 comment

During this time, my ex-boyfriend took care of me, and was extremely concerned about me. He was also emotionally weird and ambivalent and still kind of mean, because taking care of somebody is intimate and hard when you love them, but you're broken up. We talked about me staying and living apart but trying dating again when I was feeling better. He saw me as a medical patient during this time and said he wouldn't have felt comfortable being romantic with me anyway, because I was so sick. I had to stop tutoring for a while (now they are clamoring for lessons over the summer again- gah! Source of income at least, after my move, which is going to be expensive). His hot/cold behavior didn't help my stress levels, but I couldn't have survived without him.

Finally I'm better from those things, but: I developed a painful dent on my forehead (I first noticed it last summer; it significantly worsened during this stressful time); the right half of my face changed very slightly; I had muscle weakness, trouble swallowing, trouble breathing sometimes, constant heartburn, despite cutting out gluten, dairy, and alcohol; my hands are really hurting, and have swelled up. I look normal. I went- for the second time- to the PCP I got instead (unfortunately a friend of the Russian lady's).

Oh I forgot to say- so I later, doing the rounds to find a psychiatrist again- this was after I came off, then went back on that med, when I realized the disaster of coming off (going back on at full dose was not great, either)- I ended up finding a clinic that was a part of the university medical center, and not only were they accepting new Medicaid patients, but there were psychiatric residents at every clinic who could be part of your integrated managed care plan- collaborating with your other doctors- including the clinic closest to me, where both these PCPs worked.

I made the receptionist repeat this several times. I took down her number. I sent an email to my PCP, asking him if I'd gone through all this when they had psychiatrists available the entire time, giving him the number. He said "I do not think that is the case. I will let you know if I am mistaken." (He'd told me when I saw him he'd prescribe for me but no- no psychiatrist through them). I got a call from a clinic fast-tracking my first appointment.

The interesting part was that the same receptionist called me back whom I'd spoken with the day before. I'd been really friendly, and she'd been really bubbly and friendly then, too. She sounded so scared when she called back. I've almost never heard someone sound so frightened on the call. There was one odd detail: she mentioned the name of Dr. Brusque Russian. I had not mentioned her name to her. She said she'd put the order in. I realized she must have put the order in months before, they probably failed to follow up, and she called to blame them- the only psychiatric clinic taking Medicaid patients, during the pandemic- for this oversight- instead of herself- my primary care physician- for not following up to see if I'd made an appointment with the in-house psychiatrist. And this was after telling me "good luck finding a psychiatrist," not referring me to anyone, not telling me they had them there. And no one else even knew about the program, which had begun only a year before.

I got a psychiatrist at the clinic near my house. I see her virtually anyway. Still, Unbelievable.

That woman lied, and covered her tracks. This blew up my relationship (probably for the best, if I'm being honest), but more importantly, the stress significantly worsened another developing autoimmune disorder. If I'd been working, I would have had to take time off, and risked losing my job. I could have been out on the street. I could have killed myself. The list goes on.

I realized I was dealing with brain damage for about five months from that rash decision- one I never would have made had I had a psychiatrist. I did everything possible to try to be compliant.

So, I go back to my PCP for the second time, about the dent on my forehead, and my other symptoms not explained by my Hashimoto's, which is now under control again. He calls me "paranoid," and then follows up hastily by saying what a "good advocate I am for myself." Then he mentioned my email, that I was upset at what I'd gone through when they'd had psychiatrists the whole time. He said "but you were right- you were right- do you know how bad that is?" (That none of the doctors at the clinic knew). I suppose he didn't know that I called, chewed them out, and told them to send every doctor in every clinic served by the university healthcare system in the city a memo that they have in-house psychiatrists for Medicaid patients who can do managed integrated healthcare, because nobody fucking knew. During the pandemic. That they had this program. So yes, I knew how bad it was.

So then, I lectured him. I said to him, "because of everything you have put me through at this clinic- all my other doctors at the hospital and the other clinics have been great; all my specialists; I mean the providers at this particular clinic- I have not wanted to come back to the doctor, at all. I don't like going to the doctor. I do this to take care of my health, because I have chronic health problems. I keep track of what is happening to my body. I am taking a natural immunosuppressant right now, so this doesn't worsen: tripterigyium wilfordii- Thunder God. 25% of people with one autoimmune disorder have multiple autoimmunity. I have symptoms not explained by my controlled Hashimoto's disease. I have narrowed it down to systemic and coup de sabre scleroderma. I am concerned about the possible involvement of Parry Romberg. I need to stop this now. I made an appointment with a dermatologist for a skin biopsy. You need to order me an MRI. Now."

Maybe not quite as strongly as that.

He made a note of my symptoms, did a full panel of blood tests, including for scleroderma, and antinuclear antibodies, and a full metabolic panel. I tested positive for another unspecified autoimmune disease, and also for scleroderma. It looks like I may have both the systemic and localized kinds.

I still need to get the MRI to find out if it's just connective tissue so far, or any muscle/bone involvement on my forehead. I think it is just skin so far.

You can't see the dent on my forehead yet, not really. The changes to my face are barely noticeable. My fingers are swollen all the time. Otherwise I look normal.

If I reverse this now, I have a chance.

I'm going to do the Autoimmune Protocol diet again, even though it's the hardest diet there is (I did it for six weeks last year, and it cut my TPO antibodies in half. I ask my doctor to test me for TPO antibodies- so I can keep track; supplements have helped bring them down to 230, from over 700 before- and free T3 and T4 as well as TSH, every time).

I'm going to focus on sleep, exercise, diet, and keeping my stress to a minimum. Traveling and seeing my friends and having fun will be really good for me this summer, I think, too.

I'm already taking any supplement which could be of help. I've read a lot of studies, and books. I'm going to do hyperbaric oxygen therapy (I have the money for this from unemployment- I lost my job as an educational therapist due to COVID- which isn't counted when applying for Medicaid, thank God; so I already have gotten healthcare in the state where I'm moving). I'm going to do functional medicine, and see some naturopaths. I'm going to do everything I possibly can to reverse this. I have caught this much earlier than this is usually caught- because I am observant, I know my body, and I am vigilant.

I have survived all this. And I'm about to embark on a challenging adventure, as I have done many times, all over the world, and all on my own.

I have never been wrong about an illness. I always know exactly what is wrong with me. I am probably annoying as hell in the way I push to get treatment. The next thing for me is to buckle down (I was starting this pre-pandemic) about therapy. Treating the tension I still hold in my body due to PTSD will help tamp down this inflammation I'm accumulating enormously.

I'm going to do high-intensity interval training. Apparently it is excellent for scleroderma sufferers specifically. That makes sense to me, as short bursts of energy followed by periods of rest, since I get tired more easily now. Apparently it restores muscle strength, improves health and well-being, and reduces inflammation, as compared to other exercise.

I research the hell out of everything, and have already researched the hell out of this. I will do everything I possibly can.

As my ex-boyfriend remarked when we first began dating, "You have been a fucking hero for yourself."

Amen to that.

I am amazing.

Full stop.

I will easily beat this. FUCK THIS DISEASE, AND FUCK THAT GUY, AND FUCK ALL THOSE GUYS. AND FUCK THOSE DOCTORS.

Amen.

And there's the whole story, in a nutshell, of my bad luck of the last five years. For sure there have been many interesting characters, tales, philosophical revelations and even some fun and love along the way, in the midst of some truly stressful circumstances.

I know the pandemic has affected many of us, even if we didn't lose anyone or get sick ourselves. It's been a tough past year and a half for the whole world.

Part 2 comment

I feel really foolish about my realization. It's so obvious in retrospect, and I was so fucking naive to believe a word of the things my ex-partner so strongly professed about his feelings or opinions. I knew they were the opposite- I could tell by observing his behaviors- and I was right. He was very attracted to me, had very strong feelings for me, liked me romantically when we were friends, and was just being a fucking idiot. My stupidity was in not realizing how his mean behavior and saying the opposite of everything he actually felt was about him in no way being in any shape for a relationship with anyone at all. I should have listened and observed better. I really wanted to love someone. It was really stupid, though.

Anyway, I internalized his bullshit, and was incredibly depressed this entire time. It wrecked my self-esteem. He's tried to make up for it. He must feel like a massive asshole.

When we got here, I immediately got on top of my healthcare. This is all such a fucked up story.

We came here last June. I won't say where. A Southwestern or Midwestern state. I bought all our furniture and made our apartment so nice! I was tutoring around fifteen private students. I got a following when I lived in my hometown (where I'd returned- to be near my parents; what a terrible idea that was- after living and teaching at a university in Mexico). I got a bunch of private students who kept giving my name to others, and ended up teaching a bunch of people. At first they only wanted ESL, as they are all Korean or Korean-American. Then soon they all wanted to learn writing, both the ESL students and also the parents wanted me to teach their kids, so soon I had a whole bunch of students. I was teaching them online last fall. I was also biking regularly, and managing my Hashimoto's really well (in fact, my antibodies dropped so much my thyroid began working again, and I dropped an entire point in TSH level in a month, and got high thyroid from my medication, which was not fun).

So, my first experience with a doctor here, a Russian woman: I told her I'd moved here with my bf, I had some chronic conditions to manage, I wanted a referral to an endocrinologist for Hashimoto's, to a gynecologist for a colposcopy after another colposcopy six months before, to see if I'd need a further procedure, and also to a psychiatrist, to manage the medications I was still taking, a low dose of lamotrigine for mood stabilizing and amitryptiline for sleep. I also told her I used medical marijuana- legal here, and which I got- for sleep. I preferred it to the amitryptiline, which I didn't need anymore, and made me too groggy the next day if I didn't take it regularly (and the dry mouth was a fairly severe side effect of taking it regularly).

She immediately snapped at me that she didn't believe in medical marijuana. I thought you're supposed to be able to tell your doctor about any drug use? At all? Without them going all judgy? And this was medical marijuana for sleep assistance for someone with PTSD and bipolar 2.

I had sent ahead all my medical records from my last state- I have always been good about getting to doctors, despite medical trauma as a child, and hating the doctor; I know it's important, and I'm responsible about my healthcare- and she hadn't looked at them, and claimed they weren't there (they were, as someone else told me later).

She said she'd do a Pap smear right then. She'd refer me to an endocrinologist on my word, but not a gynecologist? I'd just told her I had PTSD. I was extremely uncomfortable but felt blindsided and didn't really know how to refuse. She was rough and brusque, and the whole thing was extremely unpleasant. Of course it came back that I needed a colposcopy, as I'd said. I later needed a LEEP procedure. (That seems to be almost all clear now).

She told me "good luck with that" about finding a psychiatrist on Medicaid, and refused to explain further. She said she'd refer me to a social worker.

The social worker seemed to do a quick Google search, and then emailed me a bunch of places that were not accepting Medicaid patients. I tried to go through my insurance provider, but their search engine was terrible (I realized they showed providers that took Medicaid patients, and new patients, but not new Medicaid patients). It turns out here psychiatrists can only take a certain percentage of their patients on Medicaid, and can't accept anymore. I'm guessing due to the pandemic, the number of people on Medicaid, and the number of people who needed psychiatrists, shot up. I must have called over a dozen clinics.

My partner was being awful to me during this time. He was going through a severe life crisis as a result of the pandemic, too. Nevertheless. (He feels terribly guilty about not realizing what was going on with me- how I could not find a psychiatrist, and it was a big problem- but he'd never say anything directly to me. He muttered something guiltily about it once). I tried my best to be there for him, and I was doing well personally, but he was not, and was in many ways blaming or taking it out on me and building walls, and I was really sad about that. Things might be very different now, as he did recover after finally taking my advice- after 6 months!- and quitting his insane job with his insane boss, and chalking up three years of his life's work as a loss, and getting a better job with short hours (not 12 or 14 hour days, 6 or 8 hour days), that would pay more, and value him more, and be organized and a real company- and of course he found that right away, and has already gotten a raise and is doing great. I was sticking it out until he was feeling better- and then he wanted to leave me- right around when he finally quit, which I was so looking forward to- because we were sad, and he blamed me- not all that, his fucking burnout and insane work situation- for it? When I furnished and decorated our apartment, cooked for us when I was up to it, and was as kind to him as I could be in such a situation? Anyway.

The social worker said "Dr. Brusque Russian is putting in a call to the in-house psychiatrist." I figured he didn't mean for me to be treated there. Why wouldn't she have told me- referred me- on our first visit? Instead of muttering "good luck finding a psychiatrist on Medicaid?"

And everyone else said no, there were no psychiatrists through this, the largest healthcare system (through the university hospital), for patients on Medicaid.

So, I decided to go off the lamotrigine. I had already quit the amitryptiline, and was sleeping well with a very low dose of THC/CBD gummies. I was waking up, feeling great, physically. (I need to remember this, as I had the beginnings of scleroderma then, too- lowering my stress and exercise, and good sleep, will really help). I thought it irresponsible to continue taking a psych drug without a psychiatrist. I did not want to go back to a primary care physician at all, not after my other experience. I of course switched PCPs after that, and I also eventually- as a result of this happening- made a complaint about her. I decided not to make it formal; I'm actually reconsidering that, given all the health fallout in the end. Anyway.

I had gone off 100 mg lamotrigine in the past, the twice I'd taken it for under a year, with no problem. Most of my life I have not been on medication. I was not sure of my bipolar 2 diagnosis (now I have been reevaluated, and had my diagnosis confirmed). I was doing really well, and thought I would be fine. So I stopped taking it.

i got every single withdrawal symptom there is. I think it was because I'd been taking it for three years. It wrecked my brain. I got two weeks of migraines, followed by fainting spells, followed by psychosis. I broke up with my boyfriend and moved into my office. I was not in a good place, and suicidal at times. This lasted about three weeks or a month. I started to get better, then somehow during this my thyroid decided to start working, and I got high thyroid, and couldn't sleep for three or four days. This is when the bad symptoms of scleroderma started.

Later, I asked for a celiac test, to make sure I'm actually gluten sensitive (I have non-celiac gluten sensitivity- pre-celiac, probably; or induced by autoimmunity. It does make me sick, and give me an allergic reaction. I've been off gluten for a year and a half now, back off it again, of course). I had to explain to my endocrinologist that yes, I had to be eating gluten for a few weeks before the celiac test. I later realized it still wasn't done right, but by reading about non-celiac gluten sensitivity vs. celiac, I found the differential diagnosis via the two symptoms- hives and wheezing- that celiac doesn't cause, but NCGS does (otherwise the presenting symptoms are very similar).

[–] KBash [OP] 1 points Edited

Part 1 of long comment

I'm going to write a long comment on here, and say some nice things about myself, because they're true.

I have been through HELL these past five years. And I am ON TOP OF IT.

When I got PTSD after being raped and abused in 2016, I got myself to a psychiatrist, and I nexted several psychiatrists and therapists for being terrible, and did not put up with that shit (I learned my lesson when I was younger, and I was PAYING huge amounts out of pocket then, instead of taking advantage of Medicaid). So many psychiatrists try to give you expensive designer drugs, or they're mean or judgy- of their patients going to them for mental illness!- or the next time you see them, they've fobbed you off on their assistant, who tries to give you an SSRI without a mood stabilizer, or 600 mg of Gabapentin twice a day instead of 1 milligram of clonazepam once a day for anxiety, when you have acute PTSD. One psychiatrist tried to pressure me into reporting for a second time- after nothing had come of the first time- and told me "he'll do it again to someone else." Yes, she tried to guilt trip me into going back to the police, when I was there to be treated for PTSD. Similar to the (male) therapist who shamed me for being a 17-year-old girl with low self-esteem, implying I was at fault for the grooming and sexual abuse and rape I experienced then. Shame on all of these people.

Honestly, I am lucky I am smart, and have learned from this. If I had not learned to advocate for myself, I would probably be dead by now.

I found a great psychiatrist. He gave me the right meds- anti-anxiety, meds for nightmares (low dose blood pressure meds cured them right away), tricyclic antidepressants for sleep, and a mood stabilizer for bipolar 2. The tricyclic antidepressants saved my life back then. They allowed me to quit drinking and sleep.

I don't know how I got through the day then. I was working three jobs. I don't know how I was that functional when I had acute PTSD. It seems like psychiatrists and psychologists and neuropsychologists (I'm thinking of this because I just saw one for psych testing for ADHD- I am getting shit done right now) don't understand PTSD at all. I couldn't believe he was asking me how well I'd done at my previous job when I had PTSD, as if it had to do with my ADHD- did he understand what I was saying? It's a fucking feat to work three jobs and pay your fucking rent and bills- even if sunk in poverty- and manage to do that well enough to survive when you have acute PTSD. When I said "I think I did really really well, considering," he got impatient with me! So did his associate, when giving me the testing. There is no way I am more annoying than average. They screen people for mental illness. Why were they jerks? - My case is complicated due to bipolar 2, PTSD, and more than one autoimmune disorder. It's important to be thorough and talk about my childhood and other people's perceptions (my ex-partner did come, and fill out some questionnaires, to help me). If I can improve my concentration, organization and time management, that will help me tremendously. I have done as well as I have because I care about others- work performance- and in school because I could do a paper the day it was due and get an A. I could really excel if I could get it together.

The stress of the PTSD- I mean the immense horror I felt at what happened; I felt like Colonel Kurtz rubbing his bald head in the jungle- wrecked my body. It was very sad because I was just stating to recover a year later when it felled me like a tree. I don't know how I survived during that time either. My parents wouldn't help me, no one knew. I languished in a basement. I spent a lot of time on Gender Critical. The women there helped me survive, and I helped them, too. This was during the MeToo movement. The revelations about my childhood and recent rapists were ghastly. The whole thing was surreal. I had to give up my classes, when I had been doing so well, my first time teaching writing at the university level (I'd taught ESL before). I developed agoraphobia. I gained sixty pounds. My hair fell out. I pretended I was working to my roommates, but mainly left my basement room at night, to go to the store to get cigarettes, alcohol, and junk food. The plunge in my thyroid had wrecked my mental health again, and caused a relapse of PTSD.

I honestly don't know how I survived during this time. This is not the first time my life has been really fucking weird. This time in my life represented so many failures of modern feminism and trans activism, too (another long story). It's when I realize how fucked up everything was. I moved five times, and met a lot of characters. Somehow I stayed alive.

I met someone and fell in love. That turned out to be unbelievably stressful, because he is really fucked up. We had dinner Sunday night, and he was very sweet, but said one thing in response to me wearing a sexy shirt- one I tried on to see if I wanted to keep, while going through my clothes- which was a revelation. It was tossed off as a joke but designed to mean (if I said what it was, you'd all probably hate him; he said he'd "forgotten to bring cash," and maybe a throwing gesture at my breasts, because my cleavage was showing, and I made a joking remark about it; we've always been casually sexual in conversation at times- since we broke up- and at various times have dressed attractively for each other; clearly he was very upset about this, because he wants to sleep with me, and is resentful that I'm leaving and moving far away). This could have caused the entire dinner to blow up, if I'd taken offense or been in a bad mood, and gotten really upset. He knows I am a radical feminist. We lived together for more than a year, two thirds of that time as a couple, and dated for eight months before that. To make this crude joke about me being a stripper- he'd know how gross I'd find such a joke, not because I'm a SWERF, but because it's misogynistic and contemptuous- and he risked blowing up our whole night, after bringing dinner, because I was wearing a low-cut top.

I told him it was a bad joke. He mumbled something about having regressed to "cave nerd" since moving out, and then mumbled some more stuff (he is Italian, and also a mumbler even in Italian, and never got rid of his thick accent; I honestly think he mumbles unintelligibly sometimes on purpose, in situations exactly like this). "Regressed to cave nerd" mumble mumble mumble. I moved on, and did not let it bother me, because I was in a forgiving mood. He was very sweet the rest of the night.

It struck me then that every single way he's been mean to me has been exactly the same. There's some emotion behind it he can't express- fear of vulnerability, insecurity- causing resentment toward me, and he just gets resentful, and because he's also weird and on the spectrum, whatever asshole thing that crosses his mind, he says out loud. I believe it's not on purpose to hurt- as it is with abusers, who are deliberate. But it doesn't really matter, and he knows it (he even said this to me at one point last fall: "it doesn't matter is someone is meaning to (referring obliquely to my having experienced deliberate abuse), if they're hurting you anyway"). He's right. The effect is the same.

So yeah- there it is. Every single time he's been mean to me. His fucking walls and his fucking insecurity. And he did this to a rape survivor recovering also from an autoimmune disease. He knew this very well, because we were friends for eight months before this, and he was a very sweet friend, never once mean to me, and extremely patient. Not once.

It's honestly kind of unforgivable. I wonder if he knows how selfish that was. I really didn't deserve that. I don't feel all that bad about giving him hell in response, even if I do still care about him, and want him to be okay. He's pulled stunts that have hurt me up until the very end, though- again, without meaning to. He just doesn't think about the consequences of his actions, or the effect he might have on me, after our relationship. I never understood why he was so mean to me, why he didn't love me. I realize now he does, he's just a fucking idiot. It's one of those stupid things where it's "because" he loves me that he's treating me so poorly. It's bullshit, and again- he doesn't mean it to be, but it has been emotionally abusive. He needs to get help so he doesn't treat someone like this again. That he did this to someone in my position is terrible! Although I suppose I came across as very strong to him.

This is getting long, so I'm going to make a part 2 and 3 comment.

Sorry you're going through this. I wish I was there with you so I could give you a big hug!

You have advocated for yourself so well. I believe you'll continue to give yourself the best outcome possible. Cheers to your recovery!

I want to respond to this post so badly, right now, even though I'm a few beers in, because I don't want to forget to do it later, and I can totally relate to you.

“I am also staying on top of my tests and healthcare, and doing everything I can to reverse this disease.”

THAT is everything. You will get through this, you have the right attitude, and you have the space to reach out when you need words of encouragement. We are here for you!!! But most of all, you are there for yourself, too!! And YOU WILL OVERCOME THIS!!!

As for commiserating, I don't even want to go too far into it, because when I think about it too much, even now, years later, I get so angry all over again. I have someone from my past, who put me through so much emotional stress and pain, I swear he singlehandedly gave me PCOS. Lol But then again, fuck that dude, I hate to even give him that much power. On the other hand, I know why he behaved the way he did, he had his own trauma, and I know he loved me, blah blah blah and the mental cycle continues. I hate that cycle. lol

I hate it so much because it makes me think, like... why am I trying to make excuses for this person who is causing me/has caused me so much turmoil?? And is my body deteriorating because I keep giving my mental energy to this toxic person/situation? I also go through the same process when thinking about the trans cult lol.

So, I don't know how to fix the negative feelings and stress that come along with trauma caused by someone once trusted, in general…. I can only tell you the kinda fucked up way I break this psychological, mentally stressful cycle for myself whenever I'm going through it (because it in turn causes terrible PCOS symptoms for me, like depression, crazy hormonal imbalances etc. if I don’t keep my stress in check)

Ok, so first of all, no matter what, if I'm going to be spiraling, I'm going to make sure I enjoy it and it's cathartic for me. Lol So, I guess I either choose: is there something else that needs doing and is too important for me to spend time focusing on this - or can I just take some time to completely lean into this for the rest of the night or week…?? Lol. If I have time to "go through it" then the best I can do for myself is not feel guilty "giving energy" to it, and just be honest with myself: I still need to think through my past trauma in order to resolve it and become "bigger than it." Like for me to not feel real pain from this traumatizing thing in the past, I have to absorb it into me and feel like acknowledging it is just acknowledging a very dark, but authentic, part of myself. And I’m not just going to acknowledge it, I’m going to confront it and consume it and bleed all of the energy out of it… Muahaha.

And then, I know this all may sound super weird lol, but I just imagine I'm sucking all of the "life" out of the entire situation and saying to myself like, if a situation had a soul, then I am here to collect! lol Like, if someone wants to cause me THAT much pain, then I am making that ENTIRE process about me. I'm going to analyze it and dissect it, and make it ALL about me and "my personal growth" for as long as I need to, until I finally find some peace of mind and move on.

So, if I have the time, I just let myself feel… everything… and then I remind myself that the pain, for me, is caused by so many other things like shame, inability to trust, feeling caught between wanting to feel nothing but also vowing to never become completely “closed off” emotionally… all of these differing, kind of mutually exclusive (or cognitively dissonant) aspects of myself that I’m trying to reconcile… I just try to work through that. Like questioning why I should feel ashamed I was exploited? I mean, maybe (probably) the person who did it was so self loathing, no wonder they need to exploit others in order to feel even remotely powerful. Their exploitation of me says far more about them than it does about me. Everyone suffers in certain ways in life, so my suffering is MINE and its nothing to feel ashamed of, etc… things like that. I think so often when we’re taken advantage of, as women, society’s reaction is typically one of “well, you should have been more discerning…” “maybe you shouldn’t be so needy” “why are you so crazy?” etc. It’s always about blaming us for being exploited. Meanwhile men are groomed from an early age to exploit women and to feel pride in that - think about how men basically cheer one another on to sleep with women using any means necessary, including “buying us drinks” and outright lying to us in order to “score.” Its no wonder so many men feel a sense of helplessness or maybe even a subconscious feeling of shame when they feel they’re growing emotionally attached to a woman they’re sleeping with, given how much society breeds boys to believe they’ll be so much more awesome if they can sleep with as many women as possible, making as few commitments as possible. So depressing, when you really think about it all. So… most of the time, I just don’t.

The single best thing I have ever done for myself was try to cultivate desires, hopes and dreams that would bring me happiness and satisfaction if I were to remain completely alone the rest of my life. Something that males are encouraged to do since their childhood, and basically the opposite of what most girls are encouraged to do. And after going through that sort of psychological transformation, I finally realized a little bit more about male privilege: Male privilege, more than anything else, is the feeling of entitlement you have to be alone, for as long as you need to be, without worrying about anyone thinking you’re “less of a man” because you want to be alone… possibly forever. Anyway, nowadays I’m in a relationship with a very sweet man, but I’m not afraid of being alone again, and I was single throughout virtually all of my 20s because I was both terrified of getting sucked into another toxic relationship, and also because it allowed me to just think about who I myself, wanted myself to be, rather than trying to figure out who I would have to be to make some other person love me/keep them from starting random arguments with me/keep them from raging at me/keep them from sleeping with my friends/ keep them from threatening to kill themselves… you know, all of that fun stuff. I could not worry about it anymore, because the only person I was truly beholden to, I realized at that point, was myself.

That all said… If I don’t have enough time to really “just go through it,” because I have work or something to do, then I think very clearly and say an intention (and repeat it to myself when I catch myself slipping) of what I want in place of thinking about that negative stuff. Like, I say, “I’m going to use up every ounce of energy generated from thinking about (the situation) and use it to get this (other thing) done.” And I basically just imagine myself sucking the life out of the person/situation I “hate” with each little bit of work I get done. lol I know that sounds kinda grotesque, but I’m gonna humble myself and just put it out there lol. To me, I feel like someone who has harmed me in such a way, they knew they were truly “blowing up my life” - both with regard to my psychological health and my interpersonal relationships, including my relationship with myself, someone who tries to break you down mentally and physically so that they can feel powerful… I shall be “getting over it” however I damn well please! Haha

I guess the way I look at it is, the sooner I can move on, the sooner I can forgive. So while the tactic can seem like it’s a little mentally toxic, to me, it gives me just enough “magical thinking” to make me feel empowered, without having to interact with that psychological black hole of a person again in any direct way. I mean, isn’t that what having a spiritual belief is about, anyway? Giving adults the freedom to engage in “magical thinking” or making us believe we can have some impact on material reality through some otherworldly intervention? Anyway, that’s what helps me many times when I find myself on a spiral that makes me feel traumatized all over again, which is of course what makes me get angry and then depressed, and then I feel like, that in turn causes my worser PCOS symptoms to flare up again. There are definitely incredibly strong links between these autoimmune diseases and mental stress. But thinking about that too much also… stresses me out lol

Also, definitely agree with the other poster about journaling. I record voice memos for myself when I do get angry and just basically rage and play it back for myself. Surprising how comforting that is (does that make me a narcissist? Lol). It’s almost like listening to a podcast or a radio show where the person speaking of course agrees with everything you’re feeling hahaha But for me it truly helps!!! Especially months or years later when I’m feeling down again, sometimes just listening to me talk myself through it from the past is really helpful in the present.

Anyway, I am sending you “healing vibrations” haha (but seriously) and I am wishing you well from afar. You will get through this and you will get stronger with each thing you overcome!!!

Hi there, KBash. I’m sorry you have to go through something like this. It’s not fair, and it’s often so terrifying. I have little to offer you materially, so please know that I’m rooting for your good health and happiness. I hope you have an excellent, understanding, supportive healthcare team around you in this sort of time ❤️

Hi KBash.

I'm so sorry you're going through this.

You come across as very proactive and with a forward-facing attitude. That is definitely helpful.

You've reached out for support and we're here for you.

Being angry and discouraged is normal and the anger, in my experience, is particularly adaptive and useful.

Be as angry as you need to be.

Whatever it is, you are calling in all the experts and friends and doing everything you can!

♥️

I have no good advice but I'm sorry you're going through that and I wish you the best. I believe in your strength.

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