How long have you been electrosensitive (and how long did it take you to make the link to EMFs?):
I've been electrosensitive since at least 2007, but I can think of previous episodes that were probably indications of sensitivity. I finally knew beyond all doubt in December 2013.
Your story (anything that you want to say about electrosensitivity and you):
(For my friend in Green Bank West Virginia, the de-facto EHS capital of the U.S., who has asked me a number of times to tell my story!)
The way that I look at it:
- We are bio-electromagnetic beings; if we weren't, EEGs and ECGs wouldn't work!
- Our brainwaves are completely entwined with the Schumann Resonance, the electromagnetic pulse of our planet. (1)
- We are ALL sensitive to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) at the cellular level (2)
- When we are exposed to EMFs, things happen: sometimes these are beneficial, and sometimes they are anything but...
I worked for many years as a freelance IT consultant, helping to design, develop, test, and implement computer systems in the UK and in a number of European countries. I wouldn't say that I was setting the world alight, but I had a reasonable job, and I was reasonably good at what I did.
At home, I had a mobile (cell) phone, and a DECT cordless phone. I didn't have Wi-Fi, but then again, despite having worked in the technology field for so long, I wasn't besotted with having the latest gadgets.
All was proceeding relatively normally until 2007, when - out of the blue - I started to develop strange, intermittent, and unexplained symptoms. The first of these was vertigo episodes, and these were soon joined by relentless headaches and dizziness.
I was living and working away from home a lot, and so I did what many people probably do - I hoped that it would all somehow go away, and I carried on as before.
To cut a long story short, over the next three years my symptoms continued to worsen, until the point in 2010 when I was physically unable to continue working, and was forced to leave in the middle of a contract.
I haven't been able to return to work since.
For the next couple of years, I attempted to get the National Health Service (NHS) to tell me what was causing my chronic headaches, dizziness and vertigo - with a complete lack of success.
Their tests revealed nothing of significance, and quite quickly the GPs and specialists that I saw seemed to lose interest, and fall back on the "it's a psychological issue" mantra, or else provide conflicting opinions, such as: the symptoms are cervicogenic, I may have a rare neurological problem, I may have Dystonia, I may have Motorists Vestibular Disorientation Syndrome, I may have an Otolithic Vestibulopathy, and so on.
They prescribed anti-depressants, which made me substantially worse. They prescribed Gabapentin, which was absolutely the last straw.
I gave up on the NHS in disgust, and tried to get answers from private healthcare, and - when this also failed - from alternative/complementary practitioners.
I saw physios, vestibular physios, chiropractors, and craniosacral therapists.
Much later, and much poorer, I still didn't know what was wrong with me, and what was preventing me from recovering.
I read dozens, possibly hundreds, of books, trying to self-diagnose my condition, so that I could sort out some targeted treatment (rather than the scattergun treatment that I'd received previously, plus cognitive behavioural therapy and psychotherapy, which had made no difference whatsoever).
In 2012, I happened to see a book called Zapped: Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn't Be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution, by Ann Louise Gittleman.
This was a subject that I knew nothing about, but I did used to sleep with my mobile by my head, as an alarm clock. I remember at the time being sceptical, but still interested. I bought the book.
After reading it, I decided to restrict my use of my phone, and I replaced my DECT cordless phone with a wired landline.
When these changes didn't improve my symptoms, I thought "well, it can't be that then", and moved on to explore other possibilities. Even so, a seed had obviously been planted in my mind.
I went through detox regimes, completely changed my diet, tried exercising (a lot) - but there was no improvement. Something was still affecting me, and holding me back.
Meanwhile, my symptoms spread out from the initial headaches, dizziness and vertigo to include gastrointestinal issues, vision problems, tinnitus, fatigue, chronic pains, and others besides. Things were getting progressively worse - despite the assurances that I was given by health professionals to the contrary.
I explored yet more possible causes, and eventually ended up with energy medicine - using pulsed electromagnetic technologies to try to cure me (even though I still didn't know what the problem was).
I think that by the time that I started seeing a PEMF and Scenar therapist though, I had started to return to the idea again that I might really be sensitised to EMFs. The more of this electrical treatment that I had, the worse that my symptoms became! I found that I was reacting to electrical lighting - especially CFL lightbulbs.
Another key eureka moment was when I spent a week in a rented house by the seaside, which had Wi-Fi, and which the owner asked me not to switch off. Despite the location, and the glorious summer weather, I felt unbelievably dizzy all week, and midway through the holiday, for no obvious reason, I developed one of my occasional sore throats and a relentless dry cough that lingered for ages after the holiday ended.
I still wasn't 100% sure about this electrosensitivity thing though, and it was only when I finally bought a meter to measure the radiofrequency/microwave radiation in my home that I finally accepted the incontrovertible proof that I was electrosensitive.
I felt much worse in areas of the house where the microwave radiation was highest. It really took seeing those readings to finally convince me beyond any doubt.
Some discoveries that I made with my RF/MW meter:
1) My bedroom was exposed to radiation from a mobile mast (cell tower) which was in direct line of sight of my window. I was being bathed in this stuff while asleep.
2) My electricity meter was emitting microwaves into my home (it turned out to be an AMR transmitting meter, which I later had changed for an old analogue model, after a long fight with the utility).
3) I was being very badly affected by the microwave radiation from my neighbour's DECT phone on one side, and by the Wi-Fi etc. on the other.
4) My DECT phone, which by that time I'd stopped using and had replaced with a corded phone, emitted staggering levels of pulsed microwave radiation. Just incredible - the readings from these phones have to be seen to be believed. When I think about some of the long calls that I made in the past...
This all explained why, despite having by now stopped using my mobile phone and DECT cordless phone, I still wasn't improving. I was still being irradiated in my home from external sources, and by my own electricity meter.
That's probably enough for now, but hopefully I'll do another post at some time in which I talk about what happened next...
What you'd like your friends and family to know about your life now, and what you'd like them to do:
I know that it can't be easy for you to deal with my condition, as it means that everything that you thought that you knew about the safety of wireless technologies is wrong. I can understand why this wouldn't be greeted with joy.
Please try to understand that this isn't my choice - I can't decide not to feel the unbelievable pain and dizziness just because I don't like it. My disability, or functional impairment, or whatever it's called, is unfortunately very real. Tests that I have had done privately show that things are significantly wrong, and that the problems are systemic.
Also, despite the daily pain and overwhelming challenges of living in a now microwave-saturated world, I have not joined a wacky religious cult, and I don't believe that I'm mad.
I have tried to talk about my condition to many of you, and of the wider consequences of our infatuation with microwave-emitting technologies. It's not always been easy.
This saddens me deeply - anyone with a life-changing condition wants and needs to be believed and supported. My intention has never been to hurt anyone. Rather, I'd like to prevent anyone else from going through the same sort of experience that I am going through.
To those who do believe that this is all some elaborate psychological delusion, I just want to say that I will always be here to help you, if your view of the world changes, and you realise that I was right all along. I won't say "I told you so" (but I don't promise not to think it).
What you'd like health professionals to do, based on your experience:
I felt an immense amount of frustration with, and anger against, health professionals and specialists, who let me down when I needed answers. I now realise that there is a systemic failure in the UK's health system, and elsewhere too, in terms of educating aspiring medics on the biological effects of electromagnetic radiation.
It is not just that these people often didn't listen to what I was saying, and jumped to the conclusion that it was all down to "stress", it was that their whole system had failed them and me - as it fails so many others with chronic health conditions.
Anecdotally, it sounds as if some healthcare professionals are now starting to understand the health effects of EMFs, and discuss the issue with their patients. I welcome this, and the process urgently needs to accelerate.
The health service as a whole must cure itself of its wireless fetish; it must urgently remove wi-fi and mobile masts (cell towers) from NHS premises, and it must stop this appalling habit of giving discharged patients wireless monitors and wearables to take home with them.
"First, do no harm" must be carved on the souls of all health workers. This means: do not expose patients to harmful pulsed microwave radiation, a Group 2B carcinogen, under any circumstances whatsoever - if for no other reason than by doing so, you make GP surgeries and hospitals no-go areas for electrosensitive people, who have the same rights as anyone else to be given effective, safe and timely healthcare.
We must NOT suffer effective discrimination, and a lack of accommodation for our condition.
What you'd like politicians, and those in authority, to do:
Listen - you guys need to wake up and smell the coffee. The UK, and elsewhere, is facing an unprecedented crisis, as more and more people are made sick by environmental pollution, in which EMFs play a large part.
Stop pretending that electrosensitivity doesn't exist, and that it's a psychological issue. Also, stop taking your radiation advice from conflicted organisations (WHO, SCENIHR, AGNIR, PHE, ICNIRP etc.) who care more about keeping the wireless gravy train rolling than they do about protecting people.
Act with integrity, and act on a precautionary basis, by implementing biologically-based maximum exposure levels, such as those recommended by the BioInitiative Report.
Realise that the problems associated with exposure to this radiation aren't confined to electrosensitive individuals - what about pregnant women, infants and children, the elderly, and those who are already predisposed to disease? What about everyone else, too?
Understand that ignoring this issue and kicking it into the long grass just delays the inevitable day of reckoning, and makes the cost of dealing with the crisis so much greater.
Appreciate that the economy is based on a healthy workforce, and try to comprehend the economic cost of inaction - both on productivity, and on the further endless drain of "investment" into a failing, crisis-riven NHS.
Act with urgency to 1) recognise electrosensitivity, 2) support sufferers, and 3) divert resources into research, education and treatment.
In general, what needs to happen to improve your life?
Very simple. The dangers of microwave radiation, and other EMFs, need to be fully understood and urgently acted upon. The world needs to cure itself of its addiction to wireless technologies, until and unless a properly verified and safe alternative can be found.
Electrosmog (electromagnetic pollution) levels must be reduced to an absolute minimum - not just for electrosensitive individuals, not just for all humans, but for all life on the planet.
The perpetrators of the catastrophic wireless proliferation need to be held to account, and punished where they have acted with criminal negligence, despite the warnings from so many scientists, health experts, and advocates over the years.
Abbreviations:AGNIR - Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation
AMR - Automatic (or automated) meter reading
CFL - Compact fluorescent lamp
DECT - Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications
ECG - Electrocardiogram
EEG - Electroencephalogram
EHS - Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity
EMF - Electromagnetic field
GP - General Practitioner
ICNIRP - International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection
NHS - National Health Service
PEMF - Pulsed electromagnetic field (Therapy)
PHE - Public Health England
RF/MW - Radiofrequency/microwave
SCENIHR - Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks
WHO - World Health Organisation
1. Resonance Beings of Frequency:
2. Dr Martin Pall's work on voltage-gated calcium channels and the nitric oxide/peroxynitrite ("NO/ONOO") cycle: