Writing Your Way Through Trauma Workshop

If you’ve experienced trauma and want a positive way to express your feelings, please join us for our “Writing Through Trauma Workshop.” You’ll learn how trauma can compromise your health and wellness, and learn ways to heal. Workshop 1.0 is for beginners who are exploring healing through writing. Workshop 2.0 is for writers who have taken Workshop 1.0 and want to pursue other creative forms.

These writing workshops are held at a safe and comfortable location. Please review the attached poster for details.

I hope you’ll join us.

Alexis Acker-Halbur
Workshop Co-Facilitator

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New Program Coming Soon!

One of the first lessons we learn as children is to tell the truth. For children who are physically, emotionally, and psychologically abused and traumatized, this lesson becomes a dire challenge. Frequently threatened and told to lie these children — now adults — grow further and further from the truth.

That is until now. In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing with you a new program to help resolve trauma issues to achieve a healthy mind, body, and spirit. If trauma is making you sick, check out the T.R.U.T.H Program and find out how you can live a life of possibilities and promise.

T.R.U.T.H Program =
The Road to Unresolved Trauma Healing

Coming soon . . .

 

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Mother Nature Is Seriously Pissed

Mudslides in India; wild fires in California; hurricanes in Texas, Puerto Rico and Florida; earthquakes in Mexico City — if I didn’t know better I would think that Mother Nature is seriously pissed at us. She’s blowing steam and is rattling the Earth. Who can blame her? And then, Aaron Rodgers, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers broke his collarbone when Vikings player Anthony Barr took (in my opinion) a vicious hit on an unprotected quarterback.

What’s going on in our world today?

News about devastation and cruelty are happening every second. I went away to Portugal for two weeks to escape the insanity. I didn’t want to read the newspapers, listen to radio programs, watch TED talks, or even have conversations with friends. Bad news is everywhere and I just wanted two weeks of peace and relaxation. I did find it in Porto, Lisbon,  and Luz, Portugal. There were sunny days, trips to ancient Roman ruins, boat trips down the rivers dividing steep mountains with vineyards growing on the terraces, yummy food, and friendly people. Mother Nature was there, too, enjoying an unusual heat wave. I could feel her presence in the wild ocean currents, the colorful volcanic rock, the strong winds blowing off Cape St. Vincent, and the glorious sunset on the south westernmost point of Portugal — forming the end of the European Coastal Path. (Okay, I got that last part from a description in a brochure I purchased at the Cape’s  gift store.) I love to travel and see new sights and experience new cultures.

I came home from all that relaxation with a terrible cold along with jet lag and I was down for 16 days. Hmm, 12 days of vacation followed by 16 days of fevers, chills, nasal distress, and coughing non-stop. But the memories I have of our trip will last with me for a long, long time.

If the world has got you down in the dumps, I recommend a trip to Portugal to unwind and refresh. Their Sangrias are out-of-this world! I found true happiness in this wonderful country.

Never ever give up!!!

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Don’t Be Fooled: It’s Not Health Care — It’s Death Care

DO NO HARM!

Have you read the June 2017 AARP article? Find Out Who Voted For The Health Care Bill: AARP opposes act it calls an “age tax” on Older Americans. If you missed it, it was a stunning article that affects ALL the baby boomers. Here’s what it said:

“The U.S. House of Representatives on May 4 passed the American Health Care Act by a razor-thin margin: 217 to 3213. It includes an “age tax” that AARP says would add as much as $13,000 to the cost of insurance for those 50 to 64, and would discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions such as cancer and diabetes. What’s more, we believe it would cause millions of Americans to lose coverage and put Medicare in worse financial shape.”

This isn’t health care — this is death care! Especially for people like me who have diabetes and cancer. I want to thank the 217 representatives who’ve voted for my death! That’s right folks, those Republican representatives who you voted in last year are calling the shots and they want those of us with diabetes and cancer to ill-afford treatment and medications and, ultimately, die. They’re playing “God” with our health care and I can think of no greater sin than taking the lives of others. Doesn’t world history hold numerous stories of the destruction of humans by the millions? Why do we keep making the same mistakes over and over again? I’ve tried to stay out of politics in this blog but, day after day, I’m inundated with news like this that really frightens me. I know many people with diabetes and cancer, some are close friends, and all are at-risk because of our current legislation.

DO YOU CARE THAT THIS IS HAPPENING? If so, I really want to know how you’re really feeling about this American Death Care Act? 

Don’t be fooled into thinking this type of health care is great because it isn’t health care at all — history calls it GENOCIDE — the systematic killing of, or a program intended to destroy those of us who are sick and ill!

Bless us all!

Never Give Up!

 

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Betsy DeVos Is Okay With Schools Banning LGBT Students

This article appeared in Psychology Today on May 25, 2017. I’m so sad to see such disrespect for LGBT children. A variety of studies indicate that LGB youth are nearly one and a half to three times more likely to have reported suicidal ideation than non-LGB youth. Research from several sources also revealed that LGB youth are nearly one and a half to seven times more likely than non-LGB youth to have reported attempting suicide. These studies do not include transgender youth. [Source: http://www.sprc.org/sites/default/files/migrate/library/SPRC_LGBT_Youth.pdf]

Betsy DeVos needs to be educated on LGBT issues!

Here’s the article:

Version:1.0 StartHTML:000000272 EndHTML:000056970 StartFragment:000042700 EndFragment:000056926 StartSelection:000042738 EndSelection:000056880 SourceURL:https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/political-minds/201705/betsy-devos-is-okay-schools-banning-lgbt-studentsBetsy DeVos Is Okay With Schools Banning LGBT Students | Psychology Today 

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons
Source: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Gay and transgender students are commonly victims of harassment and bullying in school. Studies have estimated that as many as  80 percent  of transgender youth (link is external) experience bullying, and this mistreatment is one of the greatest predictors (link is external) of behavioral and emotional problems among these kids. 82 percent  of gay and lesbian students (link is external) report similar bullying. 31 percent  of LGBT students (link is external)  say  that their schools do nothing about it.

The U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos also plans to do nothing, when it comes to anti-LGBT policies in schools receiving federal funding. During yesterday’s Congressional testimony, US Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Massachusetts) asked DeVos about Indiana’s  Lighthouse Christian Academy. The school receives over $665,000 in school vouchers. The school also states (link is external)  in its handbook  that if a student is from a home  in which a “homosexual lifestyle” or “alternate gender identity” is practiced,  that the student can be denied admission or expelled.

Rep. Clark then asked Secretary DeVos if she would step in and require the school to eliminate its discriminatory policy in order to receive federal funding. After several attempts to avoid the question, DeVos ultimately answered that she would not. A video of her testimony is available here (link is external).

Pediatricians, psychiatrists, and psychologists (with a few extreme exceptions) have been working tirelessly to improve the health of LGBT youth. They  have spent countless hours working with schools to make them safer for these students. As school climates improved, we started to see students thrive. One transgender 13-year-old girl (link is external) I worked with has straight A’s, was in her school play, and is already thinking about college. Gay and lesbian students are valedictorians, varsity team captains, and class presidents.

If we’ve learned one thing about LGBT youth, it’s that when we take away the bullying and rejection, these kids succeed. The Lighthouse Academy, by refusing to accept these students, is bullying and rejecting. It is the job of the Secretary of Education to do everything she can to end this bullying so that these students can thrive. Secretary DeVos refuses to accept this responsibility.

We know that when a family rejects a child’s LGBT identity, it can increase the risk of suicide almost 20 (link is external) percent. I’m afraid of what will happen when the head of our national’s education system does the same.

Jack Turban’s writing on  neuroscience  and children’s mental health has appeared in  The New York Times, Scientific American, The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and Kevin MD  among others. Find him on  Twitter  @jack_turban or online at jackturban.com. 

 

PLEASE never give up on educating our educators!

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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Child abuse has been going on for centuries and the statistics aren’t getting any better. The fact is, as long as men believe their wives and children are their property, domestic and child abuse will never be eliminated. This belief breaks my heart and it goes against all religious and civil principles know to humans.

Abused children are too young to understand why they’re being hurt. Many children, in fact, take on the responsibility for being hurt. We need to put the responsibility where it belongs — on the men and women who abuse and neglect their children.

Here are some chilling stats:

Scope of the Child Abuse Issue

Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. It’s a widespread war against our children that we have the power to stop, and understanding the issue is the first step. Just how bad is the issue of child abuse in the United States?

Every year more than 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving more than 6.6 million children (a referral can include multiple children).

A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.

Yearly, referrals to state child protective services involve 6.6 million children, and around 3.2 million of those children are subject to an investigated report.

[Source: https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse-statistics/]

What really angers me is this:

The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect.

How can this be happening in our so-called civilized culture? It happens because it’s a devastating secret that needs to be exposed. AND, let’s not condemn the children who do break the family secret, which is another form of child abuse.

If you are or have been sexually, physically, and emotional abused you need to know two lifesaving things: YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ABUSE! GET HELP IMMEDIATELY!

Let’s eliminate this widespread war against our children. They can’t help themselves so we must. If you know of a child who’s being abused, immediately contact your local police.

Five children die from abuse or neglect every day in the United States.

Help me stop child abuse. April is Child Abuse prevention month. What can you do to help our children?

Never give up!

 

 

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Life-Long Effects of Poisoning on Adults – Part 2

pills-575765_1280In Part 1 of my blog, Life-long Effects of Lead Poisoning on Adults, I explained the side effects I have due to lead poisoning as a child. I have many auto-immune diseases and I wondered if the lead affected my immune system. I’m a walking medical petri dish and I want to know if there’s a correlation between lead poisoning as a child and my ill health as an adult. I’m not looking for something or someone to blame – I just want answers to the cause of my many health conditions.

First, let me give you a list of all the health issues I have (no sympathy required): Type 1 diabetes, kidney infection, hypertension, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, Graves’ disease (overactive thyroid), clinical depression, cataracts, sleep apnea, and Stage 4 colon cancer – twice! When I asked my primary physician why I have so many health problems, he basically told me I had a bad gene pool. I accepted his answer with no further questions — until now!

Does lead poisoning in children cause damage to the immune system?

“The simple answer is yes,” says Elizabeth O’Brien from the Lead Education and Abatement Design Group in Australia. She adds, “but the problem is that many other things can cause problems with the immune system, so the only way to determine if lead is the cause is to ask the doctor to do a blood lead test.” She further states that, “Heavy metal exposure may develop autoimmunity as well as immunotoxicity. Autoimmune diseases are those in which an individual’s own immune system attacks one or more tissues or organs resulting in functional impairment, inflammation and sometimes-permanent tissue damage….” This is exactly how diabetes Type 1 is explained in medical journals.

In his work, K.P. Mishra, M.D. wrote an abstract on Lead exposure and its impact on the immune system: a review. He states:

Metal toxicants which affect the immune system may contribute to an increased incidence of autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cancer. In the recent past, there has been a growing concern among health and environmental scientists on the impact of environmental exposure to heavy metal lead on human health. In some instances, the immune system appears to be exquisitely sensitive to the toxic heavy metal lead as compared to other toxicological parameters.

In their abstract, Lead and Immune Function, authors R.R. Dietert and M.S. Piepenbrink stated,

The heavy metal lead is a widely deposited environmental toxicant known to impact numerous physiological systems, including the reproductive, neurological, hepatic, renal, and immune systems. Studies illustrating the capacity of lead to impair immune function and/or host resistance to disease date back to at least the 1960s.

Dietert and Piepenbrink also found “…lead exposure can produce a stark shift in immune functional capacity with a skewing predicted to elevate the risk of atopic and certain autoimmune diseases. Age-based exposure studies also suggest that levels of blood lead previously thought as safe, that is, below 10 microg/dl, may be associated with later life immune alterations.”

Hundreds of studies have found links between lead poisoning and: auditory and visual system alterations, behavioral impairment, renal function damage, Parkinson’s Disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, neurological disturbances, autism, osteoporosis, asthma, and peripheral artery disease.

What can we do?

The medical conditions above lead me to ask what can we do to prevent all of these health and behavioral effects. Here’s a list:

  1. Don’t panic! Never give up!
  2. Prevent lead poisoning from happening in the first place.
  3. Check the windows and paint in your home for lead if your house was built before 1978.
  4. Remediate all sources of lead in the environment and in your homes.
  5. Give immediate medical attention to children suspected of being lead poisoned.
  6. Require a lead blood test for all adults exhibiting the health problems listed in this blog.
  7. Recommend more research studies in repairing the immune system from lead poisoning.
  8. Provide federal grants to extend all researchers who have a vested interest in the correlation between lead poisoning and the immune system.
  9. Tell us your stories of how lead poisoning has impacted your health as an adult.

This is a HUGE task but a very crucial one. If we want to enhance the quality of life for children and adults with lead poisoning, lower medical costs, and expand current research, we must raise the awareness of life-long effects of lead and find solutions – today!

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How to Vote Without Vomiting

think-1704831_1280I’ve stayed away from using my website as a political venue due to the ugliness in the 2016 presidential campaign. In fact, I can’t believe I’m being forced to admit that I’ve had enough! I’ve had enough of the fear-mongers, the liars, and the pundits (those who believe they know everything). I’m a good American citizen and I can’t believe what’s being showcased in our media. Whatever happened to decency and respect? As a victim of sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse — because I’m a woman — when someone talks about my p_ _ sy  (in a bad way) I say ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!

Donald Trump needs to have his mouth washed out with soap! Doesn’t he realize that he is an abuser by saying and doing evil things to all of us? Saying that it’s okay to grope women because he’s a star is so unreal and evil I can hardly prevent myself from throwing up. Words can hurt so many people AND can trigger nightmares for abuse and trauma survivors. Does he care that his speeches make us sick? The man has no clue.

Here’s a list of red flags Donald Trump has that makes him a sociopath:

  • He has an inflated, oversized ego.
  • He lies to see if he can trick people.
  • He has no sense of empathy.
  • He shows no remorse or shame.
  • He behaves irresponsibly and impulsively.
  • He has no friends unless he needs them.
  • He breaks laws because he doesn’t believe society’s rules apply to him.

He makes me sick — and I HATE to vomit. These are just a few of the reasons I can’t and won’t vote for him.

Think wisely before you vote during this election. But DO VOTE! Let’s show the world that we will not be intimidated by a sociopathic bully.

I’ll never give up the belief that good conquers evil!

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Life-Long Effects of Lead Poisoning on Adults – Part 1

If you asked my family to describe me in one word they would immediately respond by saying, “dramatic” or “odd.” I’ve been accused of this most of my life and I won’t say I necessarily disagree. You see, when I was growing up in a family of nine children, if you needed attention you had to be dramatic about it. There was too much noise to meekly say, “Hey, I need some help here.” The help would never come unless you got peoples’ attention. So, yes, I grew up in a dramatic family, however, being dramatic isn’t a good tool to resolve trauma, or as I refer to it as, “Trauma Drama.”

I remembered this term last week when I was told by my client, Sue Gunderson, executive director of CLEARCorps (CCUSA), that there was a high probability that I was lead poisoned as a child.

“WHAT???????” my inner child screams. “I was lead poisoned!” Okay, before I get dramatic I must do diligent research and review the long-term effects of lead poisoning. And, I must face the facts:

EFFECTS* FACTS
· Delayed neurodevelopment [e.g. in sitting up, walking, talking] · I didn’t start walking until I was 15 months old – my relatives thought this was odd
· Decreased reading, math, non-verbal reasoning ability & short term memory, (even at blood lead levels less than 10µg/dL) · I suck at math and computer technology
· Impaired pituitary-thyroid endocrine system · I was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid in my 30’s and had radiation to destroy my thyroid. I also have had two pituitary tumors
· Osteoporosis in later years · I have osteoporosis and have had it for 20 years
·  Attention problems; distractibility, restlessness · I have difficulty concentrating — all of my life
· Irritability · Me and all of my siblings are extremely irritable
· Lead-based paint was legally use until 1978 · My childhood home was built in the 1940’s in a community with a large industrial factory
·  Tremors · My siblings and I all have tremors in our hands and extremities
·  Learning difficulties · In kindergarten I registered as retarded on the Iowa Basics test
· Chronic lead nephropathy [kidney disease] · I was diagnosed with a severe kidney infection at the age of 5
· Hypertension, elevated blood pressure · Many of my siblings and I take high blood pressure medication
· Depression · I’m on an anti-depression medication since I was 22
· Anxiety · I’m on a prescribed anti-anxiety medication and have been for 10 years
· Headaches · I suffer from headaches / migraines — most of my life
*Vance Vella et al., Health Impacts of Lead Poisoning. The Lead Education and Abatement Design Group. (Updated March 2011) For more information go to http://www.lead.org.au/.

industry-1149888_1280I could go on but my point is — out of the possible 121 effects of lead poisoning for a woman my age, I count more than 30 effects  that’s approx. 25 percent! If you had anything at 25 percent, you’d be diagnosed with diabetes and cancer (which I have). The authors of the cited article state, “… remember that most people who are lead poisoned present no symptoms at all.”

I didn’t write this blog for sympathy – no way! In my search to understand my ill health I wanted to find out the possible sources for so much illness. I wasn’t born a sick child but at the age of five I started what would be a life-long quest for answers. And, thanks to Sue Gunderson’s comment to me, I found another piece to my health puzzle. Does this understanding make me angry? Sure, but I don’t want to spend my energy on something I can’t change, because I can’t go back and “fix” where I lived as a child. Literally, it’s lead under the bridge! (I’m sure a bad sense of humor is an additional effect.)

Rather than asking “Why me,” or “Why us,” I like to put myself back in the driver’s seat and ask instead, “Now that I have this information, what am I going to do about it?” My answer is simple: I’m going to educate my friends and family!

Lead poisoning makes you “dramatic and odd!”

 

[IMPORTANT NOTE: Do you have unexplained medical conditions? Do you currently live in a house built before 1978 or near industrial sites? Do you remember tasting paint chips from peeling windows as a child? (I do.) If so, I recommend that you look deeper into lead poisoning.]

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The State of Cancer

Alex Butterfly PhotoThe first weekend in August I volunteered at the Forest Lake Relay For Life. If you’re not familiar with Relay it’s an arm of the American Cancer Society (ACS) to raise funds for cancer research, education, and support. I got involved with Relay after my first year of living with cancer. I was a cancer-nerd and knew so little about the disease and how to live with it. Relay introduced me to many survivors and their caregivers, and I learned I was not alone.

By the time this day is over, 1,600 people will die from cancer. This is not a scare tactic but reality. What I learned through Relay is that you can live with cancer and you can survive it but it takes great courage and passion to live with a disease that is both demanding and unpredictable. Demanding because cancer invades your mind, body, and spirit. Cancer causes fear and dread. It makes us take a look at our lives and our deeds. Will my life end? Can I survive? If I survive, how will my body look and feel? The list of personal questions is endless.

Cancer is also unpredictable. I wasn’t supposed to live but I did. It took nine years to be cancer-free and the journey was a difficult one. I won’t lie about that. People who we think will live die, and those we think will die live. What makes the difference?

Some say it’s attitude – having a positive attitude. Some say it’s faith, or hope, or tenacity. I say it’s a decision. I believed from the very beginning that I would live. Sure there were awful times when I couldn’t eat, sleep, think, read, or listen. All I could do was live in the moment. Some of those moments were so long and painful. But my choice was to keep living and I kept living. It’s not magic that helped me survive cancer, it was the people I met and the places I’ve been.

I stood at Relay this year during the balloon release. Hundreds of white balloons were released in the air. I, too, had released a white balloon with my Mom’s name of it. Once released, Mom’s balloon joined all the others as they made their upward climb to heaven. It was a clear night and I could see the balloons getting smaller and smaller. At the moment that I could no longer see my Mom’s balloon I knew in my heart that my balloon kissed my Mom in the sky. I stood there amazed. Then the tears flowed and I couldn’t stop them. I cried on three different shoulders of lovely friends who comforted me in my agony. I miss my Mom and I wish she had beat cancer like I did. But cancer took her life and took away the one person in my world who I knew loved me.

Relay has helped me realize that other people love me, too. Next year I’m going to release two balloons – one for my Mom and one for me. One life gone but never forgotten and one life saved.

The true role of cancer is to make us realize what we have, who we are, and how quickly that can all change. Cancer taught me to never give up – and I won’t!

I invite other cancer survivors to comment on what helped them survive. I’m really interested in what turned your life into living and not dying.

NEVER GIVE UP — EVER!!!

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