Hi all. My name is Paul K from Melbourne, Australia. I am 29 years old.
I am a phD student in Philosophy and I am also a writer.
I just stumbled across this website by accident. I believe my story might be of interest to all of you in teh same boat as me. (Despite the fact that I've told 10 Physicians about it and countless others over the years and nobody believes me)
I have been suffering from some 'mystery ailment' for roughly sixteen years. It started when I was 12. I've been living with it for the vast majorty of my adult life. (and the best years of my life)
I feel like my condition is deteriorating year by year, yet doctors/physicians have no idea as to what is going on. Tests decree I'm 100 percent healthy - a juxtaposition worthy of a laugh. Till this day I insist that, 'it's not all in my head.'
I've written a book called Fifty Confessions, due out in March of 2009, which focuses on this illness.
From all my years of fruitless searching, I only came across one other case that was strikingly similar to mine. Call it intuition if you like, but I knew that this girl was suffering from exactly the same thing that I was. Unfortunately, she committed suicide. I can perfectly understand why. Living with it is akin to being 'in ***l'. There can't be any ***l worse than not feeling right in your own body; within yourself.
This below is from the preface of my new book due out in mid-March and my story. Please refer me somewhere or let me know if you can help or shed light on anything.
Sometime near the end of May 2008, I had a distressing nightmare so potent that I was unable to shake off a very disquieting feeling it created in me for days after.
In the nightmare, I remember just wearing shorts and a sleeveless, red T-shirt, walking along a promenade in a city unrecognizable to me. Suddenly, I was stopped by a passerby who pointed out that my body was covered in deep sores and wounds, some of which looked like the perfectly elliptical ones in Swiss cheese. Indeed, when I peered down, my torso was riddled with fleshy wounds penetrating through to the bones. I was too scared to yank my shirt up and examine the rest of my torso because I instinctively knew what I would see. "How unusual," the stranger said. "You should really be dead by now, shouldn't you." He spoke this as more a statement than a question.
I awoke with a muffled scream, my skin crawling. This dream, more than any other, had seemed so potent, so real, as if it had actually happened. It reminded me of various nightmares filled with rotting body parts that I'd dreamt earlier in the year.
I'm not superstitious as such, although I am a believer in the raw power of the unconscious to discern and bring to conscious awareness various unaddressed issues and underlying fears, and to a degree, to predict the future. This dream felt like a premonition—a warning that something was going to go horribly wrong very soon. Would something be threatened? Was I going to fall gravely ill? Would I awake one day, powerless, hanging onto a thread of sanity, to find my life had been overturned? Whatever the dream meant, it wouldn't leave me; it just hovered around the back of my head like some nagging swarm of bees in the days that followed.
On the fourth of June, I crashed. I began having severe cognitive difficulties and experienced photophobia. The problems ranged from memory loss, confusion, and the inability to hold more than a few minutes of concentration, to brain fuzziness, loss of organizational skills, and difficulty in word retrieval. I'd always had sensitive eyes, but this sudden, acute worsening of my vision, which made voluminous objects impossible to look at, was constant and unrelenting. I also noted that the symptoms worsened during rigorous physical activity.
The disintegration in physical heath was marked by a loss of interest in my day-to-day affairs. I no longer wanted to go to work, ceased going to the gym, and terminated my greatest love—writing. Nothing interested or engaged me.
In the weeks that followed, I became bedridden. The four general practitioners, two physicians, and all the emergency doctors at a local hospital that tended me could no more shed light on my condition than I could on how the indigenous peoples of Easter Island built the giant Moai statues. Extensive medical examinations found nothing. According to them, I was a perfectly healthy and fit twenty-nine-year-old male, suffering from a mild case of hypochondria. One told me that looking for a "magic cure" was fruitless; another that "medicine didn't have the answer to everything." Apart from their inability to help, their pessimism did little to lift my spirits.
I decided to take matters into my own hands, to distract myself from the hullabaloo of it all by spending some time in the countryside, away from the merciless and accelerating grind of the city, where I could clear my head and ruminate. It seemed to be of some help. Getting that much-needed fresh air into my lungs was also nice.
I began seeking aid elsewhere. Janice, an expert in clinical hypnotherapy, was of considerate help here, putting me under and then employing some relaxation and healing techniques on my aching psyche. We also did a substantial amount of work in the area of past-life regression, which was intensely stimulating. I also took the time to visit a close confidante of mine who happened to be a GP herself and had recently moved to the countryside—the wonderful Barbara Hoare. Together, we sat down for hours on end in intensive thought and speculation, and eventually she was able to narrow it down to a few possibilities. I figured I needed to do whatever was humanely possible to salvage what was left of my sanity, otherwise I would spiral down into an abyss from which there might be no return.
In order for one to fully understand the dire seriousness of my claims, it is important that I give you the complete story, which happens to be roughly sixteen years in length.
It began sometime during the summer of January 1992. I recall I had just returned from a family vacation to Adelaide and Mildura, reveling in the aftermath of much excitement of the trip up north, which had spawned my first experiences of handling live animals at a farm. All nervousness aside, I was even looking forward to my first year of high school. But shortly after we returned, something very bizarre happened.
It came on gradually, perhaps over the course of a week. I woke up one morning feeling somehow not myself. Suddenly, things didn't feel right within me anymore. There was a wrongness where prior there had been none. Something had changed. I couldn't put my finger on it; I didn't know what it was—how could I? I was but a child of twelve years old. The only thing I knew was that I wasn't as I had been. The thought gnawed away at my heart, physically aching like a headache. It still does. It's something that's incredibly difficult to describe without the conventional psychiatric connotations that go with this mode of expression. But make no mistake, there was nothing imagined or emotional about what was happening to me. It was as real and tangible as the air we breathe and the water we drink.
A few weeks later, I was watching the Australian Open with my grandmother. At its conclusion, I started flicking through the channels in the hope that something of interest would be on for late-night viewing. My attention was immediately seized by a horde of individuals huddled together, holding candles. Some of them were being interviewed by a reporter. When I increased the volume, I realized it was a program on people living with HIV, a virus which at that point in time was deemed an undisputed death sentence. It was engaging, so I decided to watch the rest of it.