• Quote of the Day
    "I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time."
    Anna Freud, posted by Daniel

zero seven

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Hello everyone, I found this forum one day and have been reading it for awhile now. I decided to join and see if anyone could help me out. I'm currently 19 years old.

The main thing I wanted to bring up is an ability I have. I feel light, not just visible light, but a much broader spectrum. I don't know the real limits to the frequencies, as it's been difficult to test much alone. I feel it as a sensation in my head, different sources feel like they react with different parts of my head. Some feel like a sharp ring, some like a burning pressure, but most aren't debilitating.

I know it is light and other electro-magnetic radiation because when I feel these things, I can sense what direction they are from and a relative feeling of power from them, giving me distance. Electronics with large capacitors are one of the most easily sensed things I've distinguished so far, these are things like TVs, monitors, capacitors used in theme parks for magnets, and others. Flourescent lights give the burning pressure feeling, while incandescent lights I can only sense with effort.

My real problem begins here though. I'm not sure if my family really believes me or not, but I do know that they don't want to. In fact that's how most people treat me if I let on about this ability.

So in trying to keep some in-tact relationships, I have tried to block out this ability and tell myself it isn't real. To an extent the sense has diminished, but I'm having trouble with long-term memory, self-confidence, and sleeping now.

I don't feel I can talk to my family or our doctor about this anymore. Even with a forum as anonymous as this I still feel afraid to talk about it. Friends have turned against me, my family has turned their back to me, and in trying to hide this ability I don't know who I am anymore.

I'm sorry to make my first post like this, but I'll appreciate any help or suggestions.
 

Daniel

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This seems to apply:

Helping electromagnetically hypersensitive individuals
excerpted from IEEE Eng. Med. Biol. Sept/Oct 173-175, 2002

Whatever its cause, EHS is a real, and sometimes disabling, problem for the affected individual. The Bergqvist committee offered recommendations for helping electromagnetically hypersensitive individuals, which are summarized below.

The Bergqvist committee recommended that the starting point for all treatment should be the health symptoms of the individual, and not his or her perceived need for electrical "sanitation" of the workplace or home. Electromagnetic field surveys in normal workplace and residential environments are extremely unlikely to uncover the presence of fields that can be related to the symptoms of the EHS individual.

In helping electromagnetically hypersensitive individuals, it is important to try to identify and treat any relevant health, environmental, or occupational hygiene problems that might be present, without assuming that they are caused by exposure to electric or magnetic fields.

This requires, for severely affected individuals:

* Medical evaluation of the EHS individual to identify and treat any specific medical conditions that may be responsible for the symptoms.
* Evaluation of the workplace or home for factors that might contribute to the presented symptoms. These might include indoor air pollution, excessive noise, poor lighting, or ergonomic factors. In the workplace this evaluation would normally be conducted by an industrial hygienist.

Apart from identifying any treatable causes of the patient’s symptoms, physicians need to initiate communication with the EHS individual and help develop strategies for coping with the situation.

For electromagnetically hypersensitive individuals with long lasting symptoms and severe handicaps, therapy should be directed principally at reducing symptoms and functional handicaps. As recommended by the Bergqvist committee, this should be done in close co-operation between

* Physicians (for handling the medical aspects of the symptoms)
* A hygienist (for identifying and if necessary controlling factors in the environment that are known to have adverse health effects of relevance to the patient) and
* A psychotherapist, where appropriate.

The Bergqvist committee also stressed the importance of providing electromagnetically hypersensitive individuals, health-care professionals, and employers with information about health and safety hazards of electromagnetic fields, and their possible relation to EHS. The committee stressed that this information should be balanced and appropriate for different target groups, including the general population and various professional groups. The committee also stressed that the information should include a clear statement that no scientific basis currently exists for a connection between EHS and exposure to electromagnetic fields.

Given the similarity of EHS to multiple chemical sensitivities, medical advice for handling MCS patients might also be helpful. For example, Magill and Suruda (1998) recommend that treatment should aim to establish an effective physician-patient relationship, and encourage patients to return to work and to a normal social life.

more at: http://www.ewh.ieee.org/soc/embs/comar/Hypersensitivity.htm
 

zero seven

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Thank you very much! I had tried searching on the internet for quite awhile but just didn't know what to look for before. This now gives it a name, which will help me look for more answers. The symptoms match amazingly well, but I know the symptoms listed can also come from many other things. I'll see what else I can learn from here, thank you again Daniel.
 

Daniel

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According to the abstracts I have read at PubMed.com, there is no known etiology and no standard diagnostic criteria for this syndrome/phenomenon. I got good search results at PubMed when using the following three keywords together:

electromagnetic sensitivity hypersensitivity

One such abstract at PubMed, copied below, seems to imply that general hypersensitivity is a factor:

Neurophysiological study of patients with perceived 'electrical hypersensitivity'

Lyskov E, Sandstrom M, Hansson Mild K.
National Institute for Working Life, Box 7654, S-907 13 Umea, Sweden.

Received 9 November 1999; revised 22 February 2001

The aim of the present study was to investigate baseline neurophysiological characteristics of the central and autonomous regulation and their reactivity to different tests in a group of persons with so-called 'electrical hypersensitivity', which is often considered as a form of psychosomatic disorders. Twenty patients with combinations of neuroasthenic symptoms (general fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache) and facial skin (itching, tingling, redness) have been investigated. An equal number of symptom-free persons served as a control group. The examination comprised self-reported measures, testing of visual functions, measurements of blood pressure, heart rate and its variability, electrodermal activity, respiration, EEG and visual evoked potentials (VEP). Several variables were found to differ between the patient and the control groups. The mean value of heart rate in rest condition was higher in the patient group compared to the controls (mean value of inter-beat intervals were 0.80 and 0.90 s, respectively). Heart rate variability and response to standing test were decreased in the patient group compared to the controls. Patients had faster onset, higher amplitudes, and left-right hand asymmetry of the sympathetic skin responses. They had a higher critical fusion frequency (43 vs. 40 Hz), and a trend to increased amplitude of steady-state VEPs at stimulation frequencies of 30-70 Hz. The data indicated that the observed group of patients had a trend to hyper sympathotone, hyperresponsiveness to sensor stimulation and heightened arousal.


An older, anecdotal abstract seems to make a similar point about general hypersensitivity including electrical hypersensitivity:

Nursing the electrically-sensitive patient.

Smith CW.

Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Salford, UK. Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 1997 Aug;3(4):111-6.

Sensitivity to the environment is one of the pleasures of life. Unfortunately, for certain individuals this gets out of control. They become hypersensitive to something around them: pollens, moulds, man-made chemicals or to certain foods or drinks. If this is allowed to develop, sensitivity to the electrical environment may also appear as a part of the overall package of sensitivities. The same symptoms will then appear when the individual is in proximity to computers, televisions, telephones, supermarket check-outs, fluorescent lighting and even weather fronts and sunlight. The author has been involved in the diagnosis and treatment of electromagnetic sensitivities with complementary therapy since 1982, and considers here the nursing problems these patients present.


Regarding treatment of symptoms, one abstract recommended CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) as a form of desensitization:

Cognitive behavioural therapy for patients with electric sensitivity - a multidisciplinary approach in a controlled study.

Hillert L, Kolmodin Hedman B, Dolling BF, Arnetz BB.

Environmental Illness Research Centre, Southern Division of Community Health, Huddinge, Sweden.

BACKGROUND: Electric sensitivity is a syndrome that still lacks diagnostic criteria and proven aetiology. The suffering of afflicted persons motivates development and evaluation of effective handling and treatments. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of cognitive behavioural therapy in patients with electric sensitivity. METHODS: Cognitive behavioural treatment, as part of a multidisciplinary treatment package for patients with electric sensitivity, was evaluated in a controlled trial. Ten patients who received treatment were compared to 12 controls. Outcome measures included different dimensions such as symptoms, beliefs, behaviour, and biochemical measurements of stress-related variables. All outcome measures were collected prior to the study, post-treatment, and after an additional 6-month follow-up. RESULTS: The therapy group rated their electric sensitivity as significantly lower than did the control group at the 6-month follow-up, and reduction of self-rated discomforts from triggering factors was significant in the therapy group. There were no systematic changes in the biochemical variables. The symptom indices were significantly reduced over time, and ability to work continued to be good in both groups. CONCLUSION: The prognosis for this syndrome is good with early intervention and cognitive therapy may further reduce the perceived hypersensitivity. This may have important implications on handling of patients with electric sensitivity.


I also found a detailed report sponsored by the Swiss mobile phone industry. It is available as a PDF file and is called "The phenomenon of electromagnetic hypersensitivity in general medicine" (November 2004). Below is its conclusion:

Our increasingly mechanised environment has resulted in a multitude of physical phenomena and chemical substrates, whose illness-inducing characteristics we are unaware of. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity can be considered as a response of sensitive persons to a situation in this environment. As part of the duty of care and duty of preventative health care exercised by the state, the latter is forced to grapple with this subject. It all depends on how one wishes to define preventative health care. It is normally understood to mean the protection against known risks. Opinion contrary to this states that preventative health care provides protection against unknown effects. If one wishes to pursue the atter definition, then potential hazards would need to be switched off, or the sources of danger at least diminished as far as the operation of the equipment in question allows. This is what the ALARA principle states (“as low as reasonably achievable”). This option can be offered to persons with self-reported electromagnetic hypersensitivity, while hoping that appropriate scientific studies provide more answers as to whether electromagnetic hypersensitivity is merely a raised state of sensitivity (towards electromagnetic fields) – as can sometimes be found in other sensory modalities as excessive sensitivity to coldness, touch or pain – or whether this abnormally high sensitivity is akin to an allergic reaction.

Professional opinion tends to regard electromagnetic hypersensitivity as a psychological response to new appearances in the environment. It is the pressing task of researchers to find answers to the physiology and pathophysiology of the phenomenon termed “electromagnetic hypersensitivity”. Though, all of the research approaches to date, such as viewing electromagnetic hypersensitivity as a neurocirculatory disease or as a heightened irritability of the central nervous system, have still been unable to solve this puzzle. The physician in general medical practice must be advised to take his patients seriously, to also take their social and physical environment into consideration and not to rule out alternative medical treatments.
 

zero seven

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Once again, thank you for the information Daniel, and let me see which of it I can compare with. As far as general hypersensitivity, I've always had very good hearing and my doctor has said it was pretty sensitive but I hadn't put any thought on that since then. My vision is actually rather poor, I'm am also partially color-blind. However when it comes to touch, I have never liked people touching me and this could have something to do with it. It would be hard to compare my sensitivity to touch, since I can't measure how others are.

As for a solution, the cognitive behavior therapy I'm a little confused on. Is this changing the patients behavior, making them act as though they don't feel these things? Maybe that's what I've tried to do myself, but the side affects of this aren't acceptable for me.

But why dim this sensitivity at all? I've thought of working with a bomb squad or similiar military force, since I would be able to sense electrical devices. Currently I'm able to walk up to an unfamiliar house and know if any flourescent lights, TVs, or computer monitors are on from the outside of the house. This has always seemed like a useful ability if I could control the discomfort.
 

Daniel

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As you know, most people (including myself) will not go so far as to believe what you are experiencing is definitely because of electromagnetic or electrical reasons since there is no hard data to prove it. If you haven't already, you may want to visit eSens, a small Yahoo group for EHS individuals.

Regarding the CBT study, that study seemed to be focused on individuals who were having psychosomatic problems like headaches, etc. rather than social distress. However, I would think that CBT would be helpful in learning how to best deal with others who disagree with you about the cause of your EHS. For example, my parents are very religious people and I don't agree with their religious views, but we get along fairly well regardless. Similarly, most people don't agree about other controversial issues like abortion, and people who are vegetarians for ethical reasons are often married to people who eat meat.

Also, some countries such as Sweden are far more involved in this issue than other countries. If you and your family lived in Sweden, your folks would possibly be more sympathetic.
 

zero seven

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Daniel said:
As you know, most people (including myself) will not go so far as to believe ... you ... since there is no hard data to prove it.

I can't blame you for it. When I've been looking for people like me, I have trouble believing them. Most of them I think it's all in their heads. But for me, I feel it like I feel the breeze on my face. I can't see the breeze, I can't catch some and show you, but I know what I feel.

Well so I guess that's all I have to say. Thank you again for the help, and I hope everyone here on these forums does well. This has been a much kinder response than I've ever received on this issue.
 

zero seven

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I don't know about those people in those surveys and studies, but I do know some about me. Most of the symptoms aren't from the sense itself, but from the stress of having it always there. It is painful when it is a powerful source, prolonged exposure leads to headaches. A lack of belief from those close to you leads to depression. A mix of those leads to sleeping disorders, that then causes aches in other parts of the body. It all relies on the days activities and the types and amounts of exposure. At least for me.

I can see how this makes pinning symptoms onto it to be difficult. But why can't people do real tests? Put some sensitives in a room with some rooms around them... In each of these surrounding rooms put a TV. Have only one on at a time and have the test subject point to which one it is. And if you want to try harder turn two on at once without telling the subject. If they can feel it anything like I can, there's no way they could fail this test.

But in the end, I've done 'tests' like this many times with friends, family, and teachers at school, and none of them believed me. They considered it a fluke and wouldn't watch another time. Sometimes I think they might just be frightened because it's new to them...

If I sound angry I'm sorry Daniel, I thank you again for all the help you've given me.

People won't believe something they can't measure.
 

Daniel

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You could always become a researcher in medicine, nueroscience/neurophysiology, bioelectrochemisty, or electrical engineering, etc. to do your own scientific studies on yourself and other EHS individuals. There certainly is a need for more research in this area since there are potential health effects from cell phones and future electronic devices.

Of course, the hums from TVs and computers are another issue.
 

Nutmeg

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But in the end, I've done 'tests' like this many times with friends, family, and teachers at school, and none of them believed me. They considered it a fluke and wouldn't watch another time. Sometimes I think they might just be frightened because it's new to them...

Welcome zero seven! I think your situation must be pretty frustrating. That's why I latched onto this sentence here....maybe your friends et al. weren't cut out to participate in a lengthy experiment and got bored with it! If it's rigorous, it has to be carried out with a lot of controls and is an incredibly lengthy process. Could take months. This is a side-issue that jumped out at me. I think it's very hard to have a certain condition that no one understands.

Best luck in finding a niche for yourself, it sounds like you will.

nutmeg
 

zero seven

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warning: maybe triggering

This might be kind of long, but it's been a long time since I've said anything and I really want to talk to someone...

I'm only getting worse so far. No one believed me about the light I felt, I lost my friends, people I worked with, my own family wouldn't believe me either. There's only so much of that a person can take before they have to break somewhere. I'm finding more and more my memory problems aren't so much a problem as my solution to all my other problems I can't deal with. I just forget everything that hurts. After a while other things go with it too.

To face the day, I hide everything I really feel. I agree with whatever people want, and choose whatever I think will make the day end easiest, with the least pain. If I lie to make it easier for me, I don't even think twice about it anymore.

But there's still times where to make it through the day, I have to do things that hurt a lot. Sometimes I have to physically touch people and the pain from that sits there in my mind and starts to physically effect whatever made contact. Usually my hands, they tense up and get sweaty, then they burn and ache... Washing them a lot helps a little, but it doesn't seem to go away for days, even then it's a hard thing to forget.

I've mostly blocked out my ability now... Left alone with it I had so much self-doubt of if it was even real, I was losing sense of anything that was "real". It's still there, I feel the pain from it, but it's a lot like how you hear a radio, but you're not listening to it. Only way I could deal with it.

When I'm alone trying to deal with things, I hear and see a lot of things that logic tell me aren't real. A lot of things like footsteps down the hall, voices of people I recognize but can't remember, the phone ringing constantly... Then sometimes I see shadows of things, some turn out to be real. Like a burglar walking around our neighbors yard. Funny story on that one though, our neighbor is kind of a hippy, but also works for the Department of Homeland Security. Anyway he noticed this burglar too and pulled out his handgun with a laser sight on it. He said "don't move, look at your chest" and the guy saw the sight and froze up til the police arrived to get him. Anyway, at the time I played it up to hallucination and didn't do anything. What if he had been armed and I could've stopped him? I can't trust my own senses when I'm alone, I don't know what's real without someone else to tell me.

The medicine my doctor gave me seems to have been an anti-anxiety thing. I can't tell it's helped at all. The side effects never went away either. About 30-45 minutes after taking it(twice a day) I get hot and sweaty, even if I'm cold. I feel very weak and dizzy. If I take it easy and try to relax it goes away after about 2 hours. If I can't relax, I get so dizzy that I've passed out a few times, and a couple times thrown up as well. I don't know how that's supposed to help me deal with people better.

My doctor also gave us a list of psychiatrists to call and get an appointment. My parents won't do it, they say something about insurance and me having to be a full-time student. I was a full-time student when we last talked to my doc, I don't know what the deal is. I think they don't want to help me, maybe they can't believe this is really happening. I've talked to them all I can about it, it's so hard for me to break through my mask and talk to them about reality. It's not something I think I can do again.

My family went out to a country area here in Texas where we have some property for a weekend. We had made a target and went to shoot some heirloom handguns we had. My brother-in-law also brought his heirloom shotgun. It was my first time to use something other than a rifle. I found I was really good with handguns for a starter, 5/8 hit a 5" target at 35 yards the first round, 7/8 the next. Shotgun was about the same for me. My dad was the only other person there to even hit the target with the handguns(a P-38 and a 32 caliber). My brother-in-law was almost as good as I was with the shotgun, but he's used it quite a few times since it was his. Anyway at the end of the story here... Me and my brother-in-law went to shoot some clay pigeons on our own. We finished off a box and were about ready to head back to camp. I had one shell left and he said "well let's find something to shoot it with". Suddenly reality broke through my mask right then, and I was half-way through pulling it up when my little brother ran up to us. I couldn't do it in front of him.

I'm just so tired of hurting, being alone inside, and living this fake life just to make it through pointless day after day. I don't know what to do anymore. I don't know how much longer I can hide behind this mask, or if next time reality breaks through it, if anything will be there to stop me.
 

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