Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The "Normal" Spouse

All of my interpersonal contacts are fraught with danger. I risk physical harm with every one. The more intimate the relationship the more potential for harm...

This condition steals personal interaction. Of all the relationships that are damaged, the one that TIs have with their spouses are the most heartbreaking. I married my husband because I wanted to be with him. My husband and I used to be "work-a-holics." We were doers. We did it together: Farming, ranching, surveying, hunting, fishing. Now I'm left behind.  Imprisoned in my solitary existence- my safe house. Every one of those activities that we did together involves toxins. Farm fuel, chemicals, a myriad of exposures. Not only did this disability take away the things I used to do, it's taking away my best friend.

Because life goes on, someone has to take up the slack. That falls to the "Normal" spouse. It is horrendously time consuming. The burden is almost unbearable. They are doubly burdened because not only do they have to do the toxic "chores" of the TI, but they have to avoid toxins and decontaminate constantly as they move from toxic environments to their spouses safe-house. This wears them down, until they have no energy left. Then, having been exposed to the toxins, many times the same ones that put their spouse over the edge into disability, their own bodies reach a point that they can no longer break down the the toxic substances. Their bodies now excrete toxic substances. They out-gas toxins. They themselves have become toxic to their spouse, driving an even bigger wedge between the couple. They are forced into a battle zone they can't see or detect, knowing that one wrong move can harm their partner. Harming their partner is inevitable. The guilt is terrible.

98% of marriages, where one partner has Toxic Injury, ends in divorce...

So many people disregard their wedding vows. Remember, "... for better, or for worse... in sickness and in health..." The onerousness of day to day living with a TI becomes too much and the "normal' spouse leaves. The criminal part, it seems to me, is that it could have been avoided. I believe much of the 'leaving' can be contributed to the lack of understanding that the 'support populations' have.

Before toxic injury I was an active member of a common denominational church. I participated in the uplifting support and ministry to other couples, where one of them contracted a well known disabling condition, like cancer. The whole church body surrounded the family. They did chores, ran errands, brought food, called, comforted, counseled, much of this was to relieve the burden on the healthy partner.

In families where the disability is a chemical injury, we don't see that. I didn't see it in my case, and I've never heard about it from the thousands of TI contacts that I have. The church abandons us. I felt used. They only had an interest in me, when I could contribute to others. Once I had a need, they disappeared like cockroaches in the light.

When I first became disabled, I had a couple of wonderful pastors. Those two men made a huge difference. They led their congregation in coming to worship with me, fragrance free. It was a tremendous blessing. I felt that I wasn't totally forgotten and abandoned by a small group of people (10) in my community. A community which once encompassed more than 20,000 people. But those two pastors, both, very shortly moved on. Then, the real character of that church surfaced. They stopped coming. The leadership began discriminatory action against us. Out of 250 members, two couples maintain contact. One of those couples moved for a job. My husband received no support or nurturing from that church or any other church in our area.

Ironically, he continues to donate 50% of his services to local churches and charitable groups. He's helped more than a dozen churches, locally. Not one of them came to help him in his time of need. Not one of them is concerned about the state of his soul. Do they all know? Oh, yeah. I participated in a number of ecumenical ministries in our area. I asked them to support him. Not one of those expressed their concern for either of us. Are they really churches, or just social clubs?

One of the tragedies that I see when the normal spouse eventually succumbs to toxic injury. They succumb because they don't believe the necessity of guarding themselves from toxins. Many times they have been exposed to the same toxins and didn't end up sick like the TI. This happened in my and my husband's case.  I now know why.

Pesticides, for the most part are xeno (chemical) estrogens. They kill what ever, by acting upon the endocrine system, overwhelming it with estrogen. Women are more vulnerable because their bodies run on estrogen. Men, have a greater degree of protection, due to the fact that their bodies run on testosterone. So, while we can be exposed to the same toxin, women are more vulnerable because we start at a disadvantage. Many other industrial chemicals are classed as endocrine system disrupters.  In fact these xenoestrogens are in the majority of consumer product and environmental toxins.

When men reach a sufficient amount of exposure, they too succumb to toxic injury. For men, it generally shows up as: heart attack, stroke, cancer (prostrate, liver, pancreatic, etc.) erectile dysfunction, mood disorders (rage, depression). The silent killers. Unfortunately, way too many never connect the dots.

Men like to think of themselves as "stalwart." They feel diminished, and they don't go in and have it checked. If they do, they go to a GP, who runs a standard blood test. By in large, standard tests, find chronic abnormalities, once they've occured. GPs and other typical specialists, use further toxic treatment to mask these symptoms. The underlying toxic poisoning is never addressed. The problem continues until it claims their life.

I beg every Normal reading this, take it seriously. Take the TI's word for what is harmful to them and do all that you can, to protect yourself from the same substances.

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