My Impending Doom

I can’t live like this: anticipating pain, struggling in life, and smashing myself to pieces because I can’t fucking win. It’s all stacked against me. The smells. The chemicals. The people. The questions. The answers. The requests. The outcomes. It’s all doomed. I can feel it sitting on my chest, this doom. (Heavy, dragging me down into a dark stagnant pit of despair.) Lately, whenever I tackle the next task on my mental list, the next task to try and secure clean air: at home, in the classroom, at the dentists, the doctors, I stutter; I fail. It. Can’t. Be. Done.

(I’m lying to myself, and you, because I know it can. Well, not all the time: exposures happen, and they make me ill. Sometimes for days. But you’d be amazed at what is possible when you ask the seemingly impossible, the absolutely ridiculous, and the extraordinary requests that chemically sensitive people need to ask just to be able to do the basic day-to-day things that others take for granted. I’ve amazed other people and myself. I’ve even shined a light showing other chemically sensitive people the way. And for regular people who have no idea that minute amounts of so called ‘safe’ chemicals can be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of people, like myself, and those unfortunate people even sicker (50 x sicker) than myself, I’ve used this light to illuminate the issue for the unenlightened, bringing them an understanding that not only benefits me, but is sure to benefit the next chemically sensitive individual that crosses their path.)

But for me, that light is no longer visible. Not today. Or if it is around here somewhere, it’s hidden in amongst this thick mist of oppression and silence that surrounds me; or perhaps, it’s hiding under the energy used up in the negotiations fraught with anxiety over a whole clusterfuck of struggles and persuasions, I’ve been involved in of late.

When I sit down to do my homework and assignments, the impeding doom weighs heavy above my solar plexus; with it’s overwhelming pressure, it pushes me to cry and break. Again.

How do I concentrate on one thing when I can’t do one thing? How do I do one thing when I keep getting sick? I’ve been excluded from classes due to fragrances and/or deodorants and/or hair products that other students have a right to wear, except when it’s making me ill because then it’s a health and safety issue. But it still happens. So I wear a mask. But I still get sick. So I stay home from classes (except for one, where the students have been amazing in the lengths they’ve gone to accommodate me) and I struggle to do the work from home. For five weeks now. And yes, I still get sick at home. It’s all doomed I tell you.

My neighbours are mowing and the fumes are throughout the house. My eyes, my nose and my breathing are affected, but it’s the pain in my back that’s the killer. My three Austin Air purifiers, and one InovaAir purifier futilely push the fumes around, taunting me with their promise to filter the air, which they will do—eventually—but not until the vomiting of two-stroke fuel into the air from the mowing and whippersnippering has stopped.

I seriously can’t, can’t live like this. The pain in my lower back is throbbing its discontent until it feels as if a person wearing steal cap boots has kicked me in the lower back, emanating throbbing pain towards my kidneys or liver or whatever organ(s) does this ‘thing’ with exposure to mass amounts (amounts that are massive to me) of petrochemicals (or sometimes but not in this instance, solvents).

So I swallow my supplements, drinking over a litre of water because—the drinking of mass quantities of fluids—it is the only thing that lessons the back pain, and I hide in the one room that I can: my Safer Room. Because my regular Safe Room, my bedroom, has the lawnmower’s two-stroke petrol fumes in it that have leaked through the cracks in this façade of a house.

This safer room is a depressing sight, accentuating this gloom and doom perception I’m locked into: Aluminium foil on the floor; a metal single bed stands solemnly alone; in contrast, an organic cotton bedding welcomes me; while a polyurethane mattress wrapped in foil threatens me with what lies beneath the foil (yes, I wrapped another mattress in foil, even though the last time I did this, it turned into a mouldy disaster, but I don’t plan on making a habit of sleeping on this—it’s for emergencies only); and an air-purifier promises me to keep the air clean. This room has windows sealed with painter’s masking tape. And I seal the door closed too. And… the air is clean in here.

But when I’m in here, I feel like my spirit is crushed. And the impeding doom is my ever-present companion. Sitting on my chest, weighing me down. And then there is the fear… the fear of what? The future? The negotiations? Yes, but mostly it’s the fear of how I feel right now, in this moment. Doomed.

I feel like I should apologise for sending these doom-vibes out into the blogosphere but this is how I feel, and perhaps by sharing it, I’ll feel less of it. Or when I wake up in the morning and remember what I’ve shared, I’ll feel like my readers (all 21 of you) will see me as a melancholic, hyperbolic idiot, and I’ll rush to delete  this post.

The one bright thing: My Boxer dog, Bellamissio, sitting on the floor in my Safer Room

Thanks for reading.

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.

About Michellina van Loder


  1. Hey lovely – I’m hearing your clusterfuck of pain loud and clear. I know your search for healing is ongoing and I also know that you found a way out of this for a bit and now you’re back there and it’s totally fucked! You have possibly tried what I’m going to suggest and while I am chemically sensitive it is not quite as debilitating as yours. You sound in a fucking prison right now.

    I’m going to suggest two things right now – if you’ve tried them – feel free to ignore me :) But they helped me tremendously when I was going through a particularly bad time with sensitivities and lower back pain.

    Bowen Therapy and Kinesiology. They don’t always work straight away. I had Bowen therapy frequently for a few months and then slowly dwindled off to once a month, then every two months for a period of a year. It helped enormously and it’s not invasive so my fibromyalgia could cope with it.

    I still go for top ups when I need them. Good for pain and alignment. Kinesiology I found was a pretty immediate effect but need to return every few months for a top up. Different chemicals affect me at different times. I have a high intolerance to petrol and paint fumes and I have to fill up my car every week. It’s getting easier short of holding my breath :)

    I do hope you find some relief. Please don’t give up your search – I know you must have the darkest of days sometimes. This is natural and this is okay – give yourself permission to be pissed at the world. But find that cluster of hope again and keep doing the work,hun. You will find some amazing results, I just know it.

    I’d also like you to return to an earlier post you did about how you healed once before and then took it for granted. Go back through that and see what it was you did, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually because as you know that are all connected.

    Do you have some limiting beliefs you need to let go of? Is there something in your life or someone that is keeping you sick on an emotional level. This is such deep stuff lovely and goes much deeper than just diet, and the products we use. They play a huuuuuuge part, but they are only part of the equation.

    I will give you an example so you get where I’m coming from. My extreme sensitivity to paint, is due to the chemical itself but on a deeper more cellular level it goes back to a very bad time in my life when I was 8 years old and this terrible incident happened in a house that was freshly painted. The child or the body or the cells related the two. When I smell paint I feel physically ill and vomiting but I believe it goes another step beyond just the chemical.

    Have a think about it and see if you can make some connections throughout your life, what were the things that made you well and what were the things that caused the relapse. You just mind find the key back to health.

    Big love – I’m here for you sista ♥

    PS: Salt lamps all over your house and certain crystals are great at absorbing some of the negative ions and chemicals as well.

  2. I’m sorry you’re having such a bad time. You’ve done an excellent job of setting up your safer room, even if it looks depressing to you. Maybe you could add a few non-toxic things that cheer you up, eg favourite photos sealed in non-toxic frames or well-aired books.

    • Michellina Van Loder says:

      Thanks Catherine. Positive thinking has a lot to answer for! Next time I recover, I’ll be more careful. I do have an eReader, and my apple laptop is all metal, which is a bonus. I used to joke that if I had to live back in the city, I’d be like a rat in a cage, running on a treadmill. Well guess what? I bought a treadmill…

  3. Do not worry about what people might think, they who got an bad attitude about this are those who lack knowledge and understanding about sensitivities. For those who got no knowledge about this the best thing you can do is to inform in an easy to understand way. Keep up the good work! You with mcs and us with asthma need the same – fresh air free from pollution.

    • Michellina Van Loder says:

      Thanks Annelie,
      I totally agree with you. Clean air makes such a difference to us all.


  1. […] going to my beloved classes at Victoria University, I may have freaked out, realising I was doomed, while doubting that I could ever continue. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to be able to stay on my […]

  2. […] I felt sad watching it, because I miss this place so much! But, at the same time, I’m filled with heart-tugging gratitude for having had the opportunity to live, and experience a rich and full country life, and to have recovered from chemical sensitivities while I was there. And, just sharing this with you, reminds me that it’s all so doable once again (Oh, what impending doom‽) […]

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Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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