Lourdes Salvador's Column
...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.
Letting Go of Family for Our Sake
by Lourdes Salvador
Q: I was poisoned by solvents and developed multiple chemical sensitivity. Ive adapted quite well, but my spouse is having difficulty changing his ways. He thinks he is not complete without cologne and my doctor said I must avoid the toxic chemicals colognes and fragrances contain if I want to get well again. My husband cant understand this concept and is forcefully trying to get me to go to work again despite my doctors declaration of disability because he thinks Im just depressed and not really sick. He wont listen to my doctor any more than he listens to me. Its very stressful and he is interfering with my ability to get well. I love him and Im dependent on his support. How can I convince him this is real?
A: If your husband has been presented with all the facts and brochures, and the doctor has spoken with him and he still refuse to accept your illness, you might suggest counseling to help him to accept your illness and cope with the lifestyle changes. Sometimes a friend can also intervene with a positive outcome. In a few cases, having the spouse speak with others who suffer from the condition or their family members has been useful.
If all else fails, separation may be required in order for you to take care of yourself. While this is difficult to face, bear in mind that you will continue to worsen if your husband continues to expose you and refuses to adapt to the necessary lifestyle changes which will improve your health. A separation could be temporary or permanent. Sometimes when a spouse sees the improvement that can occur when the doctors orders are followed, he may come around and becomes more supportive.
Consider staying with a supportive family member and applying for social assistance and disability while you stabilize your health. There are many social programs which may be useful. Your husbands treatment of you may qualify as domestic violence in terms of emotional abuse, as well as physical abuse for interfering with your doctors orders. This opens up domestic violence shelters and services as well.
Ideally, you want to reach your husband and find a way to explain to him what is happening to you. Talk with others who have chemical sensitivity and find out what has worked for them and how they explain their condition. Delivering the message from another angle sometimes gets through.
Above all, respect yourself and stand strong for your needs. If your husband truly loves you, he would not be harming you.
For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.
Copyrighted 2010 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America