My EHS story
I cannot pinpoint an actual date or even month for when my EHS symptoms started. It was both gradual and sudden. Looking back I can see that it was gradual as I now understand what some of my symptoms and health problems were linked to when at the time I didn’t know. But when I first recognized it, it felt sudden. When I abruptly sometime in 2014 could no longer hold a cell phone in my hands as the pain was too great. When I suddenly couldn’t use one at all because when I held a cell phone to my head the pain was unbearable. But I now understand that the pains related to cell phone use had come on gradually. However the intensity of the pain increased quickly when it did. My reactions to cell phones and also to wifi, cell towers, and wireless anything increased as well during the summer of 2014 getting worse over the following year.
It got so bad in fact, in spite of all of my attempts at reduced exposure, shielding, and other types of remediation I tried and ultimately spent thousands of dollars on, I had to start looking for a place to move to. At first I thought it shouldn’t be that hard to find somewhere out of the way, out of the city, that would be out of harm’s way.
My partner and I checked Craigslist and cell coverage maps and did drives into the countryside outside of the Washington DC metro area where we were living at the time and where I had lived for 12 years before that. We couldn’t find anything without a cell tower within a mile of the rentals, a distance that had become far too close for comfort for me. In fact I started to notice that there was nowhere within a 2 hour drive of our city that did not have a cell tower in place at least every mile. Studying the cell coverage maps I found (see www.opensignal.com) I began to realize they looked like a disease outbreak maps with all of the ‘hotspots’ in red. It looked as if the entire nation and practically the entire world were covered in red, like a plague, like blood. After the months of research I did (after becoming personally affected), on the effects of long term and increased exposure to wireless radiation I realized that my perceptions were not far off as the evidence of disease and cancer clusters near cell towers grow.
I searched online for others like me and found various forums, Facebook and yahoo groups. I joined them all. I searched for refuges for other ‘electro-sensitives’ (the term I found out people like me were being labeled with, the one I gradually adapted and accepted for myself, the label I would give my affliction when telling people about my condition). I considered even moving to Australia when I found a possible refuge starting there. The difficulty in obtaining a visa and then problems that arose in that particular refuge starting up ended that plan. It occurred to me that I would actually move to the other side of the world if I could, in order to feel well again, this is how desperate I was.
People always ask me how it feels, what kind of symptoms do I have. The short answer is it feels like torture. The long answer is that I have varying symptoms and degrees of these symptoms depending on what I am exposed to and the intensity and duration of that exposure. With cell phones when holding them it feels like electrocution in my hands and radiating through my arms. One minute holding a phone and sending a simple text will result in the electrocution sensation lasting for at least an hour afterwards. Holding it to my head will induce rapid and intense headaches that could last for several hours afterward. My earlier symptoms with using cell phones and talking on them before my EHS worsened included heating sensations and some pain in the back of my head after a long conversation.
So I always took some precautions with cell phone use given my earlier reactions. I knew that they could be harmful with prolonged use but had assumed, like most, that the newer phones were safer and that I shouldn’t worry too much about my usage of them apart from limiting my phone conversations so that I wasn’t talking hours on end. Again this was a natural step for me as any conversation over 5 or 10 minutes tended to cause heating sensations and pain in my head. But I thought texting was basically harmless and that using hands free ear pieces or speaker phone was all I needed as a remedy when talking on the phone for longer periods, which I sometimes felt I had to.
In the Fall of 2012 I bought my first (only and last as it would turn out) ‘smart’ phone. I had held out because of the monthly expense. I had envied some of my friends with all their amazing phones with cool apps. Having been a professional photographer in a previous career, I was especially entranced with the camera apps on the iphones. I wanted to take cool funky hipstamatic pictures too wherever I went. Getting that effect used to means hours of darkroom work or time using Photoshop. But I wasn’t about to pay $100 a month to have an iphone (let alone the upfront cost of the phone itself). When the Android market expanded and my own cell phone carrier came out with a model comparable to the iphone at a fraction of the price and with the same monthly plan I already had, it only made sense to me to buy one. I had also just started a new business of my own and I thought how useful it would be to have my calendar, client lists, email, camera and Facebook all in one little place that I could carry with me wherever I went. It made so much sense at the time, as I know it does to so many millions of people still. (I am however convinced that if the general population were told of the real hazards of using these so called ‘smart’ phones, it would not seem smart at all to continue to use one, ever. Also it was not as hard as I thought it would be to live without my phone. After all we did fine without them for how many millennia before this and how many of our own years on this planet and those of our parents and grandparents? We should ask ourselves if our quality of life is so much better now. Are we less stressed? Less busy? More peaceful? Happier? Healthier? I would argue that we are not any of those things!)
I didn’t know the newest, smartest phones had actually become the most deadly. That the radiation coming off of them in the form of microwaves was so powerful, much more so than any previous phones had been. (It has to be in order to do all of the things it does. Makes perfect sense if you think about it). I now can see how my adapting this kind of phone into my life caused my illness to progress much more rapidly. That and the stealthy installation of 3 ‘smart’ utility meters onto my home without my knowledge. The smart meter pulses radio frequency signals using microwave radiation at an even higher level than any smart phone can do. These frequencies also get on the wiring in your home and travel through it. They pulse at all hours of the day and night, interfering with sleep patterns and causing serious illnesses in humans and animals. I met one man several months ago, who not necessarily considering himself ‘electro-sensitive’ had discovered that the smart meter, after it was installed on their home, had caused him to have terrible asthma attacks, something he ever experienced before the meter installation. After ‘opting out’ (now with a hefty fee in Maryland, basically extortion..) and having his meter replaced with an analog, his wheezing and asthma attacks vanished completely. After the smart meter installation on my rental house (divided into apartments) I noticed having fitful sleep, disturbed with frequent nightmares and waking throughout the night. I had memory issues and brain fog, nausea and dizziness. My elderly cat detached a retina in his right eye one week and then in his left. He became terribly sick. Soon after I learned how these wireless meters can cause blood pressure changes and have been known to affect animals’ eyes in the same way my cat’s eyes were affected. As soon as I learned this I opted out and so did one of my neighbors. We went from 3 smart meters to 1. The remaining one my landlords paid the bill on and refused to opt out even though at the time it was free because they thought ‘there was nothing to it.’ (the claims that these meters harmed people). My cat’s health improved greatly after the change. He was able to live 2 more years when the vet had only given him a few weeks to live. Unfortunately the neighbor who had opted out decided not to continue after the new fees for opting out were imposed. When their meter was replaced with another ‘smart’ one, my cat became ill again and in February of this year his heart gave out after suffering a stroke. I know he was affected by the wireless radiation from the meters and from the neighbors’ wifi. Once I understood the seriousness of the effects of this kind of exposure and how I was being harmed, I could see how he was as well.
People ask me how I can tell that my pain is caused by wireless radiation and electro magnetic frequencies. I can say that once you know where to look, once you make that connection, it becomes all too obvious. For me though, to make that connection it took paying attention to my body and its signals, its crying for help. For a time I tried to ignore it. I tried to ignore the way my body felt during or after using a cell phone. I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening. It was too inconvenient for me to accept something like that. How would I function in this digital wireless world if I could not use not only a smart phone but any cell phone? If I could not text and get online at any moment of the day… How would I have a business, a social life? It was too hard to ask those questions, to be that honest with myself. I spent months or more battling with denial that would arise again and again even after very clear and obvious reactions I was having after being exposed. When I would get some distance from wireless radiation and powerful EMFs, and I would feel okay, I wondered if I imagined things. But further experiences kept affirming this was real. Once I was in the car with my partner. He had gotten in the habit of turning his cell off or putting it on airplane mode (so it wouldn’t transmit) when he came home. Once he left it in the car and had forgotten about it. We got into the car together. He had left the phone powered ON inside the console between the driver’s seat and passenger’s. I didn’t know it was there. After a few minutes he went to take my hand in his thus placing my arm on the console. I immediately began to feel terrible pains in my arm, the one resting on the console. The kind I would get holding a cell phone before I gave those up (which I had done at this point) I cried out, ‘What? Why does my arm hurt like this?’ Trying to understand. It was then he remembered what he had forgotten. The phone. He took it out and turned it off. The pains subsided, but took some time to go away completely. This has been tested time and again. Now I can feel when someone has a phone even if I don’t see it. I feel their texts coming in just before the beep. I have to tell people to turn them off if they get in a car with me or enter my home. I feel like I used to when I was affected my second hand smoke and everyone smoked everywhere I went. I was so happy when the laws finally changed and I didn’t have to suffer like that anymore. I compare it to those days but honestly this is worse. I wish it wasn’t.
I like to camp and hike, so this helped me to understand the difference between how I felt out in nature, in parks with no cell towers, no wifi, no electricity. (Which incidentally is harder and harder to come by nowadays I should add, as campgrounds install wifi for the campers convenience, do we really need to be plugged in all of the time? Are we robots?) After a trip abroad in Spring of 2014, I noticed how well I slept, for the first time in years I woke up refreshed and well rested every day with energy. I normally woke up tired like I hadn’t gotten any sleep at all even after 8 -10- hrs of so called ‘sleep.’ I couldn’t understand it at first. I was in a country where I was having a lot of other health issues because of reacting to smoke from trash fires so that my chest had gotten infected and I had a nasty cough I couldn’t shake. But I still slept much better than I did at home. What was different? I realized that there was no wifi in the bungalow I slept in. The wifi access was at the restaurant some 5-10 minute walk away, there was no reception in my room. Whereas at home even though I didn’t use wifi but cable Ethernet connected internet (I never understood why anyone would choose wifi over wired internet as the connection is not as fast or reliable. Those were my reasons at the time, I had not ever considered health reasons, I had no idea wifi could be harmful to ones health. I never even made the connection that it worked the same way a cell phone did, with wireless, microwave radiation), but my neighbors just below me (both of them) had wifi. Signals I know reached into my apartment and bedroom as they would show up on my phone as connection options (if I had the passwords) with full bars. In fact the best signals were in my bedroom. I later discovered that my neighbors had their wifi router placed on the top shelf of a bookcase just under my bed.
The plane trip across the world (I had traveled to Bali) had also taken a toll, not just because it was a long trip. I was so unusually affected, more than jet lag or normal fatigue. I spent not one day in bed after my return, not two or three but a full five days in bed. My partner was very worried about me after the 2nd day. He wondered if I would ever get up again. I had traveled a lot and taken very long plane rides previous to this, but not since they installed wifi on the flights. I had to consider that this might have been why I was so bad off after the trip.
After this discovery I read about faraday cages and how they could block RF and so I tried to make one for myself. It was a makeshift thing from aluminum screens and duck tape that I hung with twine from ceiling hooks, surrounding my bed like an exotic mosquito net. I placed a metal ‘space blanket’ under the bed to complete the enclosure. This helped me to sleep better, I could tell the difference very quickly. My cat also liked to be inside the cage. My partner decided to upgrade the cage some time later by building a frame for it complete with double wide doors and all, because the one I had still had gaps in it (so not 100 percent effective) and was so awkward to get in and out of. The cage he built (and I helped with) once complete had no RF readings inside. We both slept better. My nightmares went away completely. The couple of times I had them again we discovered the cage door had not been shut properly. (My partner also had better sleep and decreased nightmares even though he does not consider himself to be ES or EHS). Yes, here I was sleeping in a cage. That’s how bad it was, how desperately I needed real sleep, how hard it was to get that in the now permeated with radio frequency environment I lived in.
Still after some months of sleeping in the cage, I had some difficulty feeling well rested. After I finally got a meter to read both low frequency electromagnetic fields (LFs or EMFs) and high frequency of radio frequencies (RFs) I was able to understand how my environment was saturated with LFs as well and that these could not be blocked by metals and in fact metals (like my cage) could cause the EMF to become stronger as the metal intensified the fields surrounding it. So my cage, while protecting me from RFs and ending my nightmares had created another problem, this being a strong EMF that was causing me to feel chronically tired. I started to understand how LFs made me feel lethargic, tired and depressed and RFs, cause me intense reactions like headaches (sometimes migraines) chest pain, dizziness, muscle and tooth aches and disorientation and brain fog. (I wondered if these things were also affecting my friends who all seemed to be having sleep disorders and difficulty concentrating among other health problems.)
I honestly at times just felt like I was dying or at least didn’t want to live anymore. I had no energy, no stamina. And at other times I was in intense pain. This was no way to live. When they decided to install a wifi hotspot at my food co-op, our local natural health foods store, I just wanted to cry and tear my hair out from frustration. I could no longer shop there where I had shopped and been a member (And even former employee) for 12 years. When I went into the store my chest hurt, my stomach turned and I become dizzy and disoriented. I could not focus at all making it very difficult to shop making the whole ordeal take longer when I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I tried to tell management about how it hurt me and how it was dangerous to the customers, esp. to women and children who have more water in their bodies so they absorb the radiation more than men and children with their developing brain were especially at risk. And pregnant women and their unborn babies? What about them? Nothing I said got through to them. I wrote letters, sent links, piles of evidence and scientific and medical studies I had found in my research. No response. I went to our city council meeting to talk about it. I endured the wifi in that building and a hundred smart phones to be there to speak up. It was excruciating. I had to leave immediately after speaking.
There were new cell towers and antennae going up right and left and I couldn’t do anything about it. I found out there were more than 100 cell towers and 600 antennae within a 4 mile radius of my house!! They were on the buildings I shopped and ate in and I saw clients in. I couldn’t get away from them. The mall quickly became off limits after I came home with a migraine that put me in bed for 18 hours after. Too many people with too many phones, too many shops with ‘hot spots’, too many smart meters. A radiation nightmare.
My city, my town, all the places I used to go and feel fine in. The places I used to perform with my music and hoop dancing. Increasingly I couldn’t go, not out, not anywhere. I became a shut in., because my home, as bad as it was, was still much better than everywhere outside of it. (I was fortunate that my house happened to be in a little gulch where the reception was poorer than anywhere in the entire city, which was very lucky for me. Looking back I see how I would have gotten much sicker had I been living anywhere else.) Of course there were still some parks that were okay, where I felt much better. But I had to drive in traffic for an hour to three and pass dozens of cell towers (as all of the highways and main roads are now lined with them) on the way, suffering the whole time.
When it got to be too much we knew we had to move in order for me to have any kind of chance at living again. It may sound dramatic, but it’s true. After months of searching we decided to visit Arizona. There was a lot of open land and space, there might be places with fewer towers. It was also warmer and I had friends in Tucson. I also had met (online) a woman with EHS who was living nomadically out of her modified camper truck and had found safe sites to park outside of Tucson.
In March of 2015, I had to fly again for the first time in a year, since I had been so affected the last time. I managed by loading up on herbal anti-inflammatories and by wearing lots of shielded clothing (using fabrics designed for the purpose with silver woven into it), esp. my hat was lined with it. I had done this myself, it has really been a huge help to me in reducing my head pain in the very high radiation areas. It was never 100 percent effective but I could tell the difference without it.
I survived the flight and the trip, the staying in the city and driving every day all over the rural areas outside of Tucson. We checked a number of rentals that week. All were houses on their own so that we wouldn’t have to contend with neighbor’s wireless addictions. (Sorry I would say ‘usage’ but I now, that I am free of that particular addiction myself, understand it for what it really is, and for what it is designed to be). However almost all of the houses had some issue with them, still too close to cell towers (in many cases the towers out in the countryside are worse because they are bigger and more powerful, designed to carry signals farther distances, I found I was often affected MORE by these towers than the city ones), or had satellite dishes for internet (something that also gives me terrible headaches), or smart meters we couldn’t opt out of.
Finally on our last day of searching we found a house, farther out from the city than the others, close to an hour and a half away. (We didn’t want to be too far so my partner might be able to get free-lance work more easily and so that we would have a place to shop for natural foods, etc.). My meter did not pick up any signals, either in the high or low frequency. It was very ‘clean.’ I felt good. It was very scenic and the landlords were nice and the price right.
We moved to that house where I am now writing this from. We have a landline and DSL for internet. We had to have the wireless disabled in the internet modem (the new ones have them whether you use it or not, they transmit and there is no off switch, you have to have a technician disable it). We have an analog electric meter that we don’t have to pay opt out extortion fees on. We also have filters for the dirty electricity that we discovered was an issue after we moved in. We changed dimmer switches and turned off 12 breakers out of 18. We have an electric range, something that also now gives me a terrible headache. So we use propane camp stoves and keep that breaker off.
I am doing much better and discovering that sleeping out in a tent with absolutely no EMFs from appliances and no wiring in the walls helps me to feel much better. After sleep in a natural setting with no artificial electrical magnetic fields I can recover from the day’s exposure. I still have to use a computer for work. I am fortunate to be able to work from home at all, able to keep one of the jobs I had back East. But I had to give up my own business. I had to give up a lot. Leaving friends and family behind. Realizing I will probably never be able to go back, back to where I grew up.
I also often feel isolated here. My health is better now but our living situation isn’t as ideal as we had thought it would be. We thought there was no cell coverage or RFs here but we did not notice the cluster of towers on a distant mountain range right within line of sight of our house which means there is some signal that reaches a part of it some of the time. I can tell when this happens and still deal with the headaches coming and going though they are much less frequent now. It is also not as peaceful as we thought it would be with some neighbor’s noise late at night keeping us up, loud music, dog barking and now a neighbor with a drug problem who has taken to harassing us. We have even had to call the police about it.
We are currently looking for a better place to live, somewhere down the road a ways. Down our dirt road, which is taking it’s toll on our car, costing us a lot in car repairs. We did at least find a friendly community not too far from us where we hope to find another rental soon. A place with no cell coverage. Somewhere we can participate in community gardens and other events, where I can socialize without having to go into the city. I rarely go there now (to the city) as it is still very painful for me and takes a lot of recovery time after.
I keep busy. I have a lot of hobbies, but I often feel trapped and lonely. I used to have the whole world to explore if I wanted and I did. I was a traveler. I had been to 20 different countries on my own. Learned three languages, lived in other countries. I performed, I socialized. I went out. I danced, I shopped. I did all of these things. I am still relatively young and otherwise would be healthy. I eat well, I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs. I have always been clean living and health conscious.
I love the ocean, my dream is to move to Hawaii or another tropical island. I don’t know if there is a place there were I can feel well now. If I can find somehow without wifi or cell towers. I sometimes would like to live without electricity at all because I feel so much better. But I don’t know how to make a living this way. I need internet, I need a computer. These are the skills I have, computer and tech related skills. It’s getting harder to find hardwired internet connections, to find environments without serious dirty electricity problems, to find hard wired phones. I don’t know how I can live in this wireless world being created now, that is taking over the wired one we had. In fact I don’t know how anyone will be able to.
You may read this and feel sorry for me. You may feel that or dismiss me as crazy. In any case you may feel you are not affected. But you likely ARE affected. You just haven’t yet made the connection. The one between your arthritis, or dementia, or cancer, mood disorder, weight gain, weight loss, chronic fatigue, blood pressure issues, skin rashes, headaches, migraines, insomnia, infertility, cataracts. .. the list goes on and I really don’t know anyone anymore that isn’t suffering from one of these things, isn’t as least not having focusing and memory issues. Also it’s entirely possible as you increase your exposure to this type of radiation that you too will become EHS (Electro-Hyper-Sensitive). As I started out explaining it feels like it comes on all at once whereas in reality you have been overexposing yourself for a long period of time until you reach a threshold where your body can no longer cope or detox from it and you become sensitized. This is affecting an increasing percentage of the population. I even met someone else after we moved here, not too far from us, who had moved here for the same reason, to escape the radiation and get well.
I plead with you to investigate this, to give it your due diligence. If you don’t none of us have a future. I may sound alarmist, but it’s the truth. You wonder what is happening to the bees? It’s not just GMOs, it has been proven that the EMRs (Electro Magnetic Radiation) from power lines and cell towers disorients them as these man made fields totally interfere with and block out the natural earth made fields. The bees and many other creatures NEED to be able to connect with the earth magnetic field in order to travel and survive. When the bees die we die. That should be reason enough to give this serious consideration.
I hope there will be change, serious change and quickly. The community we found in the wilds of Arizona, the one down our dirt road and the whole valley we live in is being threatened by high power tension lines. The community has fought for years to stop it. They will destroy the ecosystem here in this valley where there is still an abundance of wildlife, including endangered big cats and migratory birds. Audubon and Nature conservancy have been aiding the fight. But it is being lost. We know we can probably only live here for a year or two and then we have to find another place to live, out of harm’s way. But will we find that again?
We, electro sensitives are forever being displaced. We are the true unseen refugees. Please help us.