What sorts of things may have contributed to “shrinking my bucket”?
How come, why me? (It’s a question I’ve heard from time to time.) Why do I (Joy) have a lower tolerance for some pretty common things in today’s world?
No one can exactly say for sure but there are some sorts of things which, through understanding what life has been like both with and without them and understanding some basic science, I think I can draw some conclusions or at least some fairly reasonable hypotheses.
First, here are a few points to give the foundation for any of these types of posts on my website…
Feel free to scroll down to the next heading if you already understand the perspective I’m writing from but for the clarification of others who are new to these posts, I feel should stick these points in.
I’m not writing any of this blog post as a blaming, complaining, stressed-out individual. Yes, I will list some things which I think were probable factors to cause me to be more sensitive than the average person but I’m not doing it because I’m worried or angry. I only do so to offer an explanation for those wonder “why her”.
I am confident that these experiences, even though they have resulted in me suffering (with symptoms or inconvenient limitations), were/are allowed for a greater purpose and to send us in a different direction than what we ever would have imagined otherwise. I choose not focus my life in fear but rather in faith. I try to make wise choices and I trust in the wise and loving all-powerful God Who sees it all and leads me. I turn to God and His Word (the Bible) for my foundation for life.
“[Nothing] shall be able to separate [me] from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”
Romans 8:39 NKJV
“For with You [God, the Creator and Saviour] is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.”
Psalm 36:9 NKJV
Disclaimer: The comments throughout my blogs continue to represent personal thoughts on personal experiences of just a mom who has a general science degree. The content that I write in this post and website are not to be taken as official medical advice. I do not have medical qualifications.
- Why are there environmental sensitivities to some manmade things?
To restate from previous posts on this topic, my Christian perspective is that environmental sensitivities to some manmade things is not actually a “disorder of the natural body” nor is it “a failure of evolution”. Rather, like a canary in a coal mine, it is a demonstration of our world’s environment getting worse (- the Bible calls it a groaning of creation awaiting the reign of the King of righteousness Who will bring peace to this earth – cf. Romans 8:19-23). It’s a demonstration that human-designed solutions aren’t perfect (and never will be), even if some inventions can be very helpful in some circumstances. It’s a demonstration that the imagination of people in all that “they can and want to do” is not always the smartest thing to do – sometimes results and decisions show how proud and selfish our human hearts are in our own “wisdom”.
For most people, synthetic chemicals and manmade electromagnetic frequencies at so-called “low levels” don’t affect them in the short term, therefore they continue to use them and enjoy the conveniences, even though there is likely a gradual wearing down of their bodies and the natural world around them as a result of frequent usage.
Environmental sensitivities are part of our world in this time and place – but most people don’t immediately notice some of sorts of issues brought about by some kinds of human impact on global environment. So they continue decisions and practices because they don’t notice the problems with what they are doing yet. We’ve been like that for sure. We assumed that the things we appreciated were safe.
- What are the general “solutions” for managing environmental sensitivities?
Increase Exposures / Unwilling or Unaware: Due to economics and pleasure, many are usually unwilling to stop developing or using technologies and synthetics which us “canaries” show have a negative effect on general health of living things (including people, animals, plants, insects, etc.). Many leaders and citizens still think in terms of “future” detrimental effects of technology and industry, not usually as much about the present tense. A number of them still deny or are unaware of the harmful effects of some technologies when they are used in the typical applications. Those who are sensitive can be seen as crazy for suggesting that technology isn’t always as safe as people want it to be and they might be thought of as less desirable to accommodate in public because they are still a minority. “Wait and see what happens” is not, in our opinion, a good solution.
Ignore It and/or Self-Empowerment to Fight It: From my observation of society, most people seem to want to evolve to “have anything they want” without consequences. Some of them (including some scientists) want to develop more “self-empowered” (anti-God) treatments to handle stresses in life without God or trust the marketing of products from people who are headed in those directions. (Just because someone says they have a “science-based” product doesn’t mean that it is actually based on true science even if it can be repeatable. True and ultimately helpful science will always be in agreement with scientific laws and with the Creator’s design – no one can make a better design than He. I have seen an increasing amount of “scientific” products and treatments offered for EMF sensitivity which are based on a deceptive “science” – results being repeatable only because of deceptive spiritual powers. I expect that what is called “science” will get more muddled as more people try to train others to accept newer theories in order to spread false philosophies.) Only surrendering to the true God for emotional, spiritual healing and salvation will relieve the distress of a human soul/spirit. Self-empowerment techniques and ignoring symptoms are not, in our opinion, good solutions.
Reduce Manmade Exposures and Increase Nature-based Ones: A few years ago, some scientists, who were working within established scientific principles of how a physical human body is designed and the effects of physical energy (e.g. electricity, microwaves) on living things, had some very good conclusions for managing environmental sensitivities. I’ve mentioned this particular document before on my website but it remains the best work (in my opinion although I disagree with a few statements within it) from scientists that I have found to date to describe both the process of cellular injury and the more effective management tips for it. (It is very technical, detailed, long but readable. Search online for the “EUROPAEM EMF Guideline 2016 for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related health problems and illnesses” if you are interested in reading it.) You would notice that my examples of the sorts of things which I think may have contributed to my EMF/MCS sensitivities will generally fit in with the sorts of things they mention in that document. The solutions they recommend are to support general good health (e.g. nutrition) and greatly reducing exposures to environmental burdens in order to allow the body to recover and strengthen from the cellular injuries. In other words, to aim for a low-chemical lifestyle (yes I’ve agreed with that for years), low-RF exposures (a.k.a. limitations to exposures in cell towers, wifi, cell phones in society and no wireless or microwaves or cordless phones), a low-MF and low-EF lifestyle (a.k.a. less electricity in housing and using fewer plugged-in appliances) plus an increased exposure to the natural world (a.k.a. get outdoors and enjoy nature 🙂 )!
- About Christians and Suffering:
Christians physically suffer too, yet it is still under God’s sovereignty as to what He allows (e.g. the Book of Job, Apostle Paul). And I ask, should we not expect that He would allow it sometimes? Why not allow a Christian to suffer alongside others who have hypersensitivities to a deteriorating world? Why wouldn’t He want people to see a compelling difference between a reassuring faith in Him as Saviour and the futility of trying to save oneself? Why wouldn’t He want to refine those who believe in Him to show His glory and His longing for more people to turn to Him to be saved from spiritual sickness (sin)? Despite physically suffering at times throughout these years, I have real hope, I have joy, I have true peace, and I am spiritually healthy (even though my physical body might not be in the sense of my cells being regularly injured which then causes extra work for my body to recover from those injuries). God, the Creator, is my Friend Who walks with me through life – its ups and downs. My future is secure with eternal life and my present is the all-sufficient comfort of God. In contrast, many people who are suffering or acknowledging EMF/MCS sensitivities only can offer superficial stress relief, a hope built on a wobbly foundation that will crumble, and temporary feelings of peace.
So, what sorts of things may have contributed to “shrinking my bucket”?
My Guess: An Accumulation Over Years plus a Few Uncommon Experiences
In other words, I don’t think it’s just one simple answer. And I think there is a much larger variety of reasons that other EMF sensitive people could list collectively. I know I’m not the only person with this and I know that not all people with EMF sensitivity have had the same experiences that I have. What I list is just some ideas, not all that could be.
I have likely been electromagnetic frequency (EMF) sensitive and multi-chemical sensitive (MCS) for at least 25 years, but the EMF part was a medical mystery (undiscovered) until recent years. This shows that one can live with it for a long time and that it can greatly improve naturally according to the type of living environment and lifestyle changes. (In other words, to get huge improvements in environment sensitivities, it does NOT require expensive solutions, medicines, or other types of rituals or treatments. Looking after general good healthy habits and a compatible-enough environment is sufficient to manage well.)
I’m guessing about the stuff that may have shrunk my bucket and helped to fill it up but I’m thinking that in my past, there were perhaps a few really contributing factors which would be LESS COMMON alongside a number of MORE COMMON but less-contributing-but-still-influential factors.
Here are some examples, in no particular order of influence because, as I said, I really don’t know how much something impacted me personally:
- I was one of the first kids in my school to own and use a computer at home. (I was around grade 6 in age.)
- When cell phones first became available for the general public, I had one installed in my car for university days. (That was sometime in the early 1990’s.)
- Exposure to nuclear radiation: Since we lived within easy driving distance to a very large power plant, we sometimes toured it (as a family or as a school classroom). I enjoyed those trips, partly because I knew my dad worked there too. (According to Wikipedia, it is currently the world’s largest fully operational nuclear generating station.) One time, a trip there was just before the nuclear plant closed that section to the public because it would be “too dangerous” to allow public tours there in the future. Crowds came to see that part “for the last time” – my memory is that almost everyone else around me were very tall. I was a young child. One of my specialists many years ago wondered if that helped to make me more sensitive to some things because ionizing radiation has the potential of long-lasting cell and DNA damage; plus I was a child, not an adult at that time of exposure.
- I was the first generation in my family to experience electricity in my world for all my life. (e.g. my mom didn’t have it at home until she was a teen)
- We had to get an electrician to check electricity in our new home when I was growing up because lightning quite often would strike it, for some reason being attracted to that building. When I was young, my sister and I were doing dishes and thankfully both moved away from that area just before we saw the flash go across between us through the window. That time it melted a plug.
- I was eager to study science – too eager in the sense that I ignored safety precautions sometimes and tended not to use gloves for dissections. And I tended to dissect for longer periods than the other students. Sometimes my classmates or even people walking in the hallway outside my classroom would come over to my desk to see “what else Joy had pulled out to examine”.
- As a teen, I was eager to work at a facility where on occasion this meant using certain cleaners or having exposure to other strong-smelling chemicals. One cleaner had a very nice scent to it so, upon my recommendation, we used it for a while in my parents’ home. That same cleaner today would cause definite symptoms.
- Like a lot of people in my generation, I had a fair amount of exposure to chemicals in my childhood and teens such as to perfumes, art-related supplies, farming area chemicals, burning of things we wouldn’t suggest burning nowadays (one classroom was next to an incinerator), new carpets (new elementary school, new houses, new churches), etc. And while I grew up “in the country away from the city”, our area did get a fair amount of “smog”.
- I’ve had the typical short prenatal ultrasounds with each pregnancy but one in 2016 was highly unusual – someone was training on the equipment and took over an hour to finish my ultrasound. Had I known what I know today, I wouldn’t have allowed such a trainee. (Here is a link which indicates it wasn’t a smart idea to do this. http://www.conradbiologic.com/articles/Triggers%20of%20EMF%20Sensitivity.html Full disclosure: While this link takes you outside of this website, it is not an affiliate link.)
I have lived for portions of my life in…
- a very old house from the 1800’s that had no grounded electricity (just the two-prong plugs). I didn’t sleep very well on the old metal spring beds there either. (The house had had electricity put in around 1950.)
- a newer house that had no household ground wire working properly until it was later discovered and fixed which meant that bodies ended up being like human grounding rods for a period of time. (We did not get directly electrically-shocked but I think that invisible experience contributed to my bucket.)
- an old house which had someone “very – um – creative” to do the wiring for it – there were wiring errors plus other reasons we didn’t continue renovate it much but sold it basically “as-is” a little more than a year later and moved on to better housing.
- a trailer – really nice to live in while building a house except for some wiring errors. It was after we had moved out that our electrician and Rob were working on “why” there was an electrical issue in the room our children had been sleeping in. A screw had been screwed into a wire about 20 years prior without it being noticeable until there was a bit of smoke months after we had left the trailer and were getting it ready for sale. I had had some unexplainable muscle pain (like shocks) while living there (but looking back, it fits with my later-discovered EMF sensitivity).
- at least 4 homes on properties which were next to or very close to high voltage power-lines or transformer stations. We used to walk on the paths made under or alongside the high voltage lines, assuming that the electricity was somehow all contained within the wires overhead (which it isn’t – one can measure the electrical fields under ordinary hydro lines with a gaussmeter).
- 2 places had definite mold or rotting; 3 brand-new places off-gassed because they were of typical construction materials (e.g. they had the “new house smells” but we had no idea back then of any health concerns relating to construction chemicals as we assumed all were safe products). (Our log homes have been good with this point – we carefully chose great products for construction and currently are on sandy loam soil (good drainage).)
- a home with RF-EMF throughout it – a new smart phone, a laptop on wireless, a printer on wireless, 2 microwaves, a few cell phones, 2 smart meters (one for hydro, one for propane – that one was removed when we knew about my RF sensitivity). What a difference it made when we eliminated all of the wireless we could! (Cell towers are a good distance away from our property so the RF-EMF that was affecting me was something we could control. Outdoors on our current home property is great and nil for RF-EMF levels in general so we didn’t have a lot to do to change our living environment and notice a difference when we did.)
I can also say because of experience that if one is sensitive to electricity or manmade radiation…
- it might not be a good idea to try to relax in a chair with metal parts between a Christmas tree with electrical lights and a two-prong-plug lamp.
- one might not want to put oil-based products on and then try to sleep in a motel with WiFi (i.e. oil and burning tissue isn’t a nice combination).
- one might not want to visit close to a nuclear power station, especially when they are “cleaning the reactors” and small amounts of extra radiation come into the environment.
- the picture might get clearer (not just little sparkles) if there is a special screen filter put over monitors or other screens and eyes might not get as strained.
- one might really gain an extra appreciation for going for a walk outdoors (away from hydro wires), sitting in a greenhouse (non-electrical), tenting (in good weather), using wood heat, and other similar ideas.
- one might absolutely love sleeping during a hydro outage (as long as there is also warmth and a water supply).
Experience is a good teacher as they say. Things can sometimes be discovered through “trial and error” of carrying on and living with question marks rather than done on purpose to test out theories. Life just happens that way sometimes. But when one finds out some more things, looking back, certain puzzles begin to make much more sense. Then moving forward, one can make wiser decisions to limit repeating the trouble.
I have likely lived with EMF sensitivity (i.e. with symptoms when exposures were too much) since my third year of university. Overall, my health greatly improved over the many years since then, although it has had some dips in it depending on my situation/environment since then too. We did not find out I was EMF sensitive (to anything other than cordless phones and nuclear radiation) until the fall of 2017 when some symptoms had exploded with intensity over that summer. When wireless was removed from my environment, both my eyesight and my burning/peeling skin began to heal quickly. The general pattern of environmental sensitivities is that the symptoms appear or disappear depending on the factors within the environment. That was our beginning of learning about EMF sensitivities. Then we discovered other symptoms could be understood and managed better if we lessened our exposure to electricity and some appliances.
We realize we can’t change the world. (It isn’t our job to do that either.) But we can share what we learn about things like cell phone radiation with other people and together, we can make small choices to live the best we can, given the circumstances and options which exist. We realize we can’t live without electricity in our country (nor would we really prefer to do that) but there are ways we can reduce it, especially if it effects us enough otherwise. We can make some changes in our lifestyle – how we choose to live and what things we choose to use. Some changes are little, others big. But the biggest choice of all is to choose to be thankful and live prayerfully, committed to changes in direction that are under God’s leading and loving care!