The Missing Link

A friend sent me this video this morning. In a couple of days it will be a year since I lost my son Jared to suicide. More and more information is surfacing on what toxic mold does to the brain. It is healing in so many ways to listen to this interview, as it validates what Jared was going through. I found myself nodding my head in agreement with Marie LeBlanc from Manitoba Canada. I am so grateful for those who have been speaking out about this issue. There is a link between mold and suicide. Let’s talk about it….

Is Toxic Mold to Blame for the Suicide Epidemic in Canada?

suicide-1303437_960_720Is toxic mold to blame for the rash of suicides in Canada? Mike Galt, an environmental advocate in Canada thinks so. He is speaking out about the suicide epidemic within the Aboriginal community, which ironically has been found to be be riddled with toxic mold. Studies have shown that exposure to toxic mold can directly effect one’s mental health.

My heart goes out to the mother in this story who lost her only child to suicide. I know her pain all too well, and there is nothing that can take that pain away. I am thankful that she spoke out as this issue is very real and many have no idea that toxic mold can cause mental health issues.

After my son died in August I was flooded with messages from other individuals who also had struggled with suicidal thoughts or contemplated suicide due to their exposure to toxic mold. It seems that almost daily I hear another person talk about suicide because of toxic mold, and it always hits home. This is not just an epidemic in Canada, it is happening everywhere. Yet I am hopeful that as more people speak out, we collectively can help stop this epidemic.

Please watch and share this story below.

http://aptn.ca/news/2016/06/14/aptn-investigates-the-rot/

Online Poll: Diagnosed or Misdiagnosed Conditions Reported by Mold Exposed

Online Poll Created by Sarah Norton 

Roughly 100 Facebook Toxic Mold Support Groups members were polled. What were you diagnosed/misdiagnosed with while living in a moldy environment? Poll Results revealed nearly all were diagnosed with Anxiety and Depression, and this was followed by allergies to foods and environment. 

  • Dr Mary Ackerley  found almost all individuals with depression or anxiety have some alteration in the function of their endocrine or immune system, and she found many of her psychiatric patients had some degree of biotoxin illness.

https://www.survivingmold.com/community/mary-ackerley-the-brain-on-fire-the-role-of-toxic-mold-in-triggering-psychiatric-symptoms

Testing For Toxic Damage

Brain_8

One out of Two Mold Exposed Individuals Has a Mold Allergy, Do You?

  • 2005 study researchers examined 36 children and 29 adults thought to have toxic mold syndrome,  about 50% were allergic to molds.
  • Allergies contribute to migraine headaches, depression, mood swings, joint and muscle pain, and irritable bowel syndrome. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2802005/

“This Illness Is Not an Allergy.” Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker

“This illness is not an allergy. It is an inflammation within the body which is caused by an immune system that has gone haywire. The term “mold illness” is a subcategory of biotoxin illness called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). The proper definition of CIRS is: An acute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response syndrome acquired following exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building.”

http://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis

Group Poll Results

Anxiety

Depression

Allergies (Food and Environmental)

Migraines/Headaches

Adrenal Issues Fatigue/Burnout  

Chemical Sensitivities

Vertigo

ME/CFS

Acid Reflux

Fibromyalgia

Elevated Heart Rate

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Unknown Autoimmune

Hormonal Issues

Nerve Damage of Unknown Etiology

Urinary Tract Infections

Interstitial Cystitis

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Dysautonomia

Suicidal Ideation

Thyroid Issues

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Excema

ADD/ADHD

Arthritis

Malnutrition

High Blood Pressure

Digestive Issues, Chron’s Disease, Colitis

Weight Loss/Weight Gain

Heart Murmur

Low Blood Pressure

Blurred Vision

Degenerative Disc Disease

Chronic Yeast/Thrush

Bronchitis

Cognitive Issues  

Bipolar Disorder

Asthma

Sinus Damage/Growth 

Infectious Diseases Unknown

Chronic Viral Infections

Gallbladder Issues

Wheezing

Nausea

Ear Infections

Lupus

Diabetes

Chronic Rupturing Cysts

Suicide

Severe Abdominal Pain

Narcolepsy

MS

Embolism

Repetitive Injuries

Allergic to Nickel

Impetigo

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)  

Autism

Hoarding  

Staph

Hashimoto’s

Borderline Personality

Cancer

 

Top Symptoms of Mold Exposure, Its not Just in Your Head!

tmi

Memory Loss Research

A NY University delivered a low dose of toxic Stachybotrys into the noses of mice three times per week. After three weeks, the mice didn’t appear sick, However, they had difficulty remembering a fearful place and were more anxious than normal counterparts. (Science News, 2014)

In 2003 a study on molds and mycotoxins in building-related illnesses found that 70 percent of patients had physical signs and symptoms of neurological dysfunction (e.g., inability to stand on the toes or to walk a straight line with eyes closed, as well as short-term memory loss). (Environmental Health Center Dallas, 2003)

Depression Research

A groundbreaking Brown University study found a link between damp, moldy homes and depression. This came after a few UK studies discovered a link. (Brown University, 2007)

Face Book Groups Reveal Their Symptoms

Based on all of this it should be no surprise that the vast majority of you experienced Memory Loss just like the mice. What was  interesting about the poll results is that it is clear the brain is deeply impacted by toxic mold exposure. When the majority of you also experienced depression it only strengthens this conclusion. When number three and four are dizziness and headache again we are dealing with brain symptoms. Mold affects our cognition, and our our overall physical well being. This poll causes me to ask how many patients who are seeing Mental Health Doctor’s are not really suffering from mental illness, but rather from toxic mold or other toxic environmental exposure? The studies have been in for years, and now our poll is in. Real victims, telling a real story…. We are not crazy!!  It’s not just in our head. Mold profoundly impacts brain function, maybe more than we ever realized.

  1. Memory Loss
  2. Depression
  3. Dizziness
  4. Headache
  5. Joint Pain
  6. Heart Palpitations
  7. Insomnia
  8. Tiredness
  9. CFS, Back Pain, Hair Loss
  10. Ringing in the Ears
  11. Dark Circle Under Eyes & Puffy Eyes
  12. Blurry Vision
  13. Word Loss
  14. Dry Aging & Sagging Skin
  15. Rashes
  16. Acid Reflux
  17. Stomach Issues
  18. Weakness
  19. Brain Fog
  20. Twitching Eye Lids & Muscles
  21. Fibromyalgia
  22. Brain on Fire
  23. Shortness of Breath
  24. Rage
  25. Unexplained Bruising
  26. Horrible Negligent Doctor’s
  27. Chest Pain
  28. Flashes of Light in Field of Vision
  29. Candida
  30. Lowered Libido
  31. Dehydration
  32. Hypothyroid
  33. Red Spots
  34. Pins and Needles
  35. PTSD
  36. Intense Brain/Skull Pressure
  37. Recurring Sinus issues
  38. Temporary Anger Outbursts When Exposed
  39. Asthma Attacks
  40. Faintness
  41. Neuropathy/Nerve Pain
  42. Inability to Heal
  43. Waking up Gasping
  44. Other Immune Disorders
  45. Lumps under skin
  46. Black Spots in Eyes
  47. Burning Stomach
  48. Coughing
  49. Zapping Pains
  50. IBS
  51. Stiff Neck/Joints
  52. Nausea
  53. MCS
  54. Chronic Yeast Infections
  55. Frequent Urination
  56. Food intolerance and Increased Allergies
  57. POTS
  58. Slurring of Words
  59. Finger Nail Ridges
  60. Blood in Nasal Mucus
  61. Suicidal Thoughts
  62. Inability to Swallow
  63. Excema
  64. Temp Regulation Issues
  65. Bleeding Gums
  66. Night Sweats
  67. Sores or Boils
  68. Hives
  69. Blood in Stool
  70. Ataxia
  71. Electric Shocks
  72. Loss of bowel Control
  73. Impetigo
  74. Seizures
  75. ADHD
  76. Bloody Noses
  77. Coughing blood
  78. Sore Throat
  79. Burning Feet, eyes, mouth, throat
  80. Chronic Bacterial Infections (ear, eyes, throat, ect)
  81. Systemic Fungal Disease
  82. Kidney Infections
  83. Night Terrors
  84. Cancer
  85. Waking up due to inability to breath
  86. Body Odor
  87. Removal of Tonsils and Adenoids
  88. Incontinence
  89. Chronic Recurring Flu
  90. Fainting/Passing out
  91. Eyes Oozing
  92. Bleeding from Ears
  93. Recurring Ruptured Ovarian Cysts
  94. Excessive Menstrual Bleeding
  95. Chronic Fungal Infections, Multiple Sites
  96. Post Nasal Drip
  97. Swollen Kidneys
  98. Parasites
  99. Blacking out
  100. Ear and Sinus Surgeries

There are so many others to add. We will need to re-poll the groups with all these great answers. One that was on there and may have been forgotten by other groups was suicidal thoughts. I hear many talk about this, but sometimes when picking symptoms we forget.. (I mean we are moldies, check the number one symptom, if you have already forgotten what it is) 😉    I would like to re-poll in the future so that we are all picking from the same list and can get a more accurate count.

 

 

Igniting the Torch


 

By Margaret Novins

As noted in the entry in September, Sher Bailey passed the torch of her Facebook group, Black Mold Symptoms, to Sandy and myself. We asked Kelli to join our team. This month Sher offered an opportunity to take over this website.

First it needs to be stated that there is no personal gain involved in this venture. If funds are generated in the future, it will be fully disclosed and transparent. Any profits will be used for the good of the mold sick community. Currently, running this site is an expense and a labor of love. We don’t advocate or discourage any medical or environmental protocols. Individuals are expected to make decisions on a personal level. A variety of information will be shared here.

Sher did a wonderful job of bringing awareness to the topic of toxic mold over the past year. Her message was far reaching. She continues to share her journey on her website sherbailey.com. In fact, we encourage people to read where she is at in her journey now. She recently posted about depression so devastating it resulted in attempted suicide.  She is focused again on healing. See http://sherbailey.com/depression/

Mold and mycotoxin poisoning can cause depression. Dr. Mary Ackerley is an integrative psychiatrist who presented the keynote address at the Surviving Mold conference in November titled “Brain on Fire”. She addresses depression as an illness resulting from chronic inflammation and she identifies one of the conditions leading to this inflammation as mold exposure.

Sadly, Kelli knows this all too well. Part of her family’s mold journey includes not only losing her health, her home and her possessions, but she also lost her son Jared. You see… he took his own life at the age of 17. It can’t be denied that mold was a tragic part of his story. He even testified at a senate hearing about the horrible impact mold had on his family. Before Jared died he told his mom “I want to be somebody”.

Jared, you definitely are somebody. Your mom will make sure your story brings light to the darkness of this topic. Awareness. Hope. Change. Consider the torch ignited.

This is what you need to know about my illness

Since my diagnosis a couple months ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would most want people in my life to understand about my toxic mold illness. Throughout my life I’ve always been “the sick one,” and I suspect a lot of people are going to identify with that label. That’s meant I’ve heard more than my share of the things people say when they really can’t understand what’s going on.

It’s not their fault.

If I had been missing a limb most of my life, most of the people around me could have totally understood in some small way. “Damn, Sher. It sucks that you don’t have a right arm. I can look at you and immediately put myself in your position and empathize about what that might be like.”

This toxic mold illness is a silent monster and so I get that it’s harder for people to understand.

Today I am talking directly to them… the people who are okay and healthy and can’t figure out what’s really going on with me.

Dear Darlings,

First of all, I’m not mad. I have no right to be. How can you understand how I’m really feeling when I look pretty “normal” and the words I use to describe what’s happening are so vague?  If you are important enough to me that I care what you think, it’s my responsibility to bring you into this with me, show you what it feels like, and teach you how best to help me.

That’s what I’m doing now. If after reading this you have questions, I’m happy to answer them. You matter to me and I know I matter to you. Talking about this makes sense, and I love that you are willing to do that with me.

This is what it feels like to have a toxic mold illness. | www.ToxicMoldIllness.com

I am fatigued.

I’m not “tired, ” nor am I “sleepy.” When you say things like, “you’re tired again,” or, “you should go to bed early and get more rest,” it’s hurtful. That implies there is some action I could easily take to resolve how I’m feeling and that I wasn’t even intelligent enough to figure it out until you mentioned it.

Imagine that you are lying on the floor of your bedroom when someone walks in and finds you there. The person who finds you mistakenly believes you are dead, and so they call a long, dark van that scoops you up and takes you to the morgue. Although you’re alive in your body, you can’t cry out to let someone know you’re not dead.

Lying on a cold, steel table, you realize that a tube has just been inserted into the bottom of your foot, a machine has been turned on, and you can very slowly feel the blood leaving your body. You feel heavy and empty and even if you wanted to run away you no longer have the energy to sit up. You’re dying now, but instead of a dramatic, lightening bolt experience, it’s slow and quiet and you have to lie there alone as it happens, unable to stop it.

THAT is what my fatigue feels like. Every day. It’s important you hear that. That is my life every single day. It never goes away. I am always on the table and the silent embalmer is always doing his job. It is, by far, the worst part of my illness.

I am always incredibly heavy and weighted down, and whatever it is inside me that makes me, “Me,” is being emptied. I have to think about any steps I want or need to take and decide whether the fatigue I’m going to experience is worth what is on the other end. I don’t have to do anything to cause it. It’s just always there. Rest doesn’t help. Sleep doesn’t help. And, if you tell me that I simply need to get up and exercise in order to feel better, you should know that I can’t.

Of course I want to. Of course I know I need to. I can’t. I physically cannot take one more step than is necessary because once I do, I will not recover and my body will not restore.  I will remain diminished. When you go for a walk your body will restore. Mine will not.

The fatigue dictates my life, what I can do, what I will do, and how I respond to the people in my life. I often think at night that if my house were to go up in flames I would pray that either adrenalin would kick in or someone would carry me out because I would be unable to make it to safety on my own.

The fatigue is the thing that makes me think I have no reason to live sometimes.

I’m in pain.

It doesn’t stop. Sometimes it’s a livable pain and sometimes it’s a pain that makes me think I would do anything to make it stop. If you’ve ever had the honest-to-God, high-fever, freezing-shaking, flu… you understand what my pain feels like. It’s deep in my muscles and I can’t get relief for more than a little while.

I’m stiff.

It feels like someone has put a form of cement in my joints. Nothing bends easily. Sometimes my joints are sore to the touch, and other times it’s all internal. Driving is a challenge because it’s so hard to turn my neck to look for oncoming traffic. Stairs are a nightmare. Getting up and down from chairs is awful.

I forget things.

I will repeat myself and I will ask you to repeat yourself. I’m sorry. I know it’s a pain in the ass to try and have a conversation with me that is remotely enjoyable, but I’m trying. Please don’t get frustrated with me and remind me that you have already told me something three times.

I do weird shit.

If you see me clawing at my arms until they bleed, it’s because the nerve endings can make them feel like fire ants are walking on my bone. It’s an itch that is below the surface and it hurts.

Things that smell normal to you can smell foul to me. I may ask that you not eat that delicious sausage while I’m in the room because I’m made nauseous by the aroma. I may tell you I smell something rotten in the house, even though no one can smell it but me.

I might ask that you read things for me because the letters jump around and my eyesight is deteriorating so rapidly that I can’t see it. I also have difficulty processing and retaining information, so having you read it and explain it helps me.

I may be nauseous a lot because I have taken so much Ibuprofen and Tylenol that I have destroyed my stomach lining. Yes, I know a piece of bread is bad for me. I’m going to eat it anyway because it’s the only thing bland enough going down and soft enough coming up.

I fall down. I run into things.

I have bruises and bumps because I can simply walk across the floor and injure myself. I bob and weave like I’m drunk sometimes and parts of my body “go to sleep” so that I may not be able to tell where I’m planting my foot or where my arm is in relation to a piece of furniture. If you’ve had a limb fall asleep, you’ve experienced for a few moments what I feel virtually every day.

Sometimes it’s one spot on one leg. Sometimes it’s both arms. Sometimes it’s one side of my face. It doesn’t go away when I shake it or move it around, the way yours does. It comes on when it wants and it goes when it wants. The fear of it happening makes me cautious about being in public places alone.

I fake it.

That’s right. I fake the hell out of feeling okay very, VERY often. I smile. I go. I do the things I know need to be done. You ask how I am and I say fine. I pick up the little ones and hug them. I sit on the floor and play. I go shopping with you. I clean the house. I cook. I try to be who I want to be and who I know you want me to be.

But, when it’s all over and I manage to make it to the shower, I sob. I can cry in the shower because it’s a private place where no one can see me, and so I just break down and get it all out. I beg God and the universe and any kind of voodoo I can imagine to either help me or kill me because I know I can’t continue like this.

I feel unlovable.

Because I can’t do the things I want to do with you and for you, I find myself impossible to love. I don’t look like I once did. I don’t laugh as much as I once did. I groan and I moan and I’m no fun. I wouldn’t blame you for feeling like you just can’t muster up any affection for me. But, when you remind me that you’re in my life no matter what kind of life it is right now, there is no greater gift you give me. When I feel loved and supported and encouraged by you, I start to believe that maybe there IS hope… that maybe I CAN get better. Thank you for those moments. They sustain me.

I am embarrassed.

I walk like a very old person who has been bent and worn down by time and I pant like a wild animal when I take more than a few steps. My skin has a pallor you would probably see most often in hospice patients, my eyes are often yellowed and dull and my hair is falling out. I wear sweats more than anyone should ever wear sweats and my perfume is BenGay. It’s humiliating.

I know this is scary for you.

You care about me and facing the fact that something is wrong with me makes you feel like I am not a super-human who will never die. I’m breakable. I’m vulnerable. And, you don’t want that to be true. It’s okay. I’m scared, too. I know that my body is dying and no one believes me. I’m not being dramatic. I can feel it happening. I’m always afraid that I’m very near the end.

Things you say have the power to break my spirit.

Well, at least it’s not cancer.

You should go gluten-free.

Diffuse essential oils and you’ll be healed.

Take more vitamins.

Drink more water.

My co-worker has Fibromyalgia and she’s fine.

My co-worker has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and she’s an attention-seeker.

Doctors are worthless.

You should accept this and learn to live with it.

You should force yourself to do things.

You should see a psychiatrist.

You are depressed and that’s why you feel so bad.

I know just how you feel because I’m tired to, but I have things I have to do so I get up and go do them.

When you say things like that to me, you may as well look me straight in the face and slap me. It would hurt less. The idea that someone I care about doesn’t believe me is horrible. It’s the same as calling me a liar. It’s the same as saying you don’t respect me because I’m not an honorable person.

If after reading this you aren’t convinced and you just can’t bring yourself to believe me, then be kind enough to at least be quiet about it. You don’t have to tell me. I know.

But, if you’ve read this and you can sit for a moment and imagine yourself in my place, you’ve given me a gift and I adore you for it. You can help me not by asking how I am, but by assuming I’m not okay and acting accordingly. Make my steps fewer and my journey easier where you are able, make me laugh when you can, and remind me that I’m worth loving. That’s all.

That’s all I need.

Love,

Sher/Mom/Meemaw