Minnesota’s Author Fair

Minnesota’s Author Fair

Hello Never Give Up Institute Seekers and Followers:

I’m going live at the Minnesota’s Author Fair on Saturday, November 13, 2021, in beautiful Stillwater, MN. I’d love it if you could stop by and visit with me. I can tell you about all the BIG PROJECT I’m working on at the Institute. It’s going to be amazing. I’ll have all my books and workbook to sell on that day. These would be great gifts for the holidays. Many of the authors who will be there that day are from my Women on Writing (WOW) chapter. They’re wonderful women with their own award-winning books. Stop by if you can. Thanks!

May be an image of one or more people and text that says 'The Historic Lowell Inn Invites you to a splendid event! In Lovely Stillwater Minnesota Author FAIR Shop early for the holidays! Νου. 10am-4pm 4pm at the Lowell Inn at 102 2nd Street Ν. in Lovely Stillwater, MN We are thrilled to visit Stillwater for an Author's Gathering. You will have books to pur chase and get signed and talk to the authors about their inspiration. If you have questions, you may call Lisa Green at (952) 466-3364 This event is free and open to the public but there is Mohan fee for books.'

Exploring the Connection Between Trauma Healing and Physical Health

A brokenhearted child beside a happy and thriving individual

[This blog was written for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and recently published on their website.]

Over 20,000 research studies have been done on the impact of stress on the human body According to medical experts, no one study definitively proves that unresolved stress and trauma can cause physical illness. However, my personal experience has led me to believe that it does.

I am not a medical professional, nor am I a therapist or nurse. I am a professional patient who has battled a lifetime of illnesses, from Type 1 diabetes and high blood pressure to Graves’ disease and stage IV colon cancer (twice).

I believe my complex medical history is connected to the sexual abuse I experienced in my childhood. Exploring this connection has been a key component of learning how to heal from trauma.

Facing the Impact of Childhood Trauma

Typically, one of the first lessons children learn is the importance of telling the truth. For children who have experienced physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological trauma, this lesson becomes confusing and stressful. Frequently threatened and told to lie, children like me are led further and further away from a core value: the authenticity to speak directly from the soul.

The result is often a spiritual loss so deep that recovery from stress and trauma can feel impossible.

Late one night, during a hospital stay for surgery to remove two feet of my colon, I knew I was dying. It was at that moment that I vowed, if I woke up the next morning, I would teach my body, mind, and spirit how to heal.

Accepting What Happened to Me Was Not My Fault
My journey to healing required an emotional reset. I had physically survived the trauma, but my emotional wounds remained. I was always sad, hurt, and angry because of the years of emotional issues and suffering I endured. I wanted a person to blame and hold responsible for my pain. I wanted the individuals responsible for the abuse to apologize, but I learned amends rarely happen.

The healing journey is also complicated by the constant reinforcement of victim-blaming attitudes (by peers, courts, and media) that validate what perpetrators have been saying all along – that the abuse was the victim’s fault. Part of my process involved learning and accepting that abuse is neither the victim’s fault nor their responsibility; the responsibility lies solely with the perpetrator.

For years after being abused as a child and sexually exploited by a therapist, I carried around the feeling that I was at fault for these traumatic events because I was not smart enough to know better. In a new therapy group, I was shocked to learn that none of these traumas were my responsibility.

Learning to Heal
Healing started the moment I took back the ability to speak directly from my soul. I also found many other ways to cope and heal:

  • Understanding and telling my story.
  • Finding the strength to withstand abuse myths and disbeliefs.
  • Creating a healthy support system.
  • Checking in with my medical and mental health professionals.
  • Strengthening my immune system.
  • Believing in an inner, astute truth: I am not to blame for the abuse I experienced.

I continued my healing by writing several books including Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness, which won a 2018 Living Now Gold Book Award for books that change people’s lives. Additionally, I reported my abuse to the authorities as a way to take my power back.

The Mind-Body Connection
As I have written in my book, I have come to believe that when people think they are responsible for emotional trauma, this false belief disturbs the mind, body, and spirit — potentially weakening their immune system and leading to stress headaches and muscle tension, depression and fatigue.

Sometimes I worry that the self-blame and negative self-talk following my abuse was actually more harmful to me than the abuse itself. As I blamed myself and took responsibility for my abuse, I found myself in hospitals for illness after illness.

As I look back from an emotionally healed place, I have a message to share: It is our birthright to heal from the abuse we did not ask for or want, and to become the physically healthy person we always wanted to be.

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Alexis Acker-Halbur is an award-winning author and an abuse survivor. Now she shares her experiences and tools with women and men who have been traumatized. You can learn more about her work on this website.

 

 

 

 

How to Safely Move Out of an Abusive Home

A woman holding a smiley face balloon

GUEST BLOG by Nora Hood

I’m thrilled to introduce you to Nora Hood, a blog writer and today’s guest. Her blog below includes critical information on how to move out of an abusive relationship and home. 

 

(Image courtesy of Pexels)

Find more inspiring articles like this at The Never Give Up Institute’s Blog.

How to Safely Move Out of an Abusive Home

 If you are a victim of domestic abuse — escape might feel hopeless. It can be hard to leave, especially if you have developed a form of codependency with your abuser. No matter what fears you have, leaving an abusive home is the best choice. Once you leave, you will finally be able to start your journey towards being mentally healthy. In order to make it out safely and find a new home, you’ll need to make a good plan.

Be Prepared

Before you leave an abusive partner or family, you should have a plan. You probably won’t be able to take all of your belongings, but you should make a checklist of important things to pack. You will need identification information, personal documents, any money you’ve saved, keys, prescription medicines, etc. You’ll also want to take anything of personal value to you.

If you want to file for a permanent restraining order in the future, then you’ll likely need evidence of the abuse. This could also help you send your abuser to jail. According to WomensLaw.org, evidence could include anything from pictures of your wounds, a personal diary documenting the abuse, objects broken by the abuser, medical reports from the abuse, and testimony in court from you or other witnesses. Having evidence will help protect you in the long-run.

While you will eventually need to purchase a new home, your best option for getting away as soon as possible is by finding a temporary place to stay, whether that is at a friend’s or a family member’s place. You could also stay at a shelter while you’re getting things together.

 Make Your Escape

When you actually leave, you will need to move quickly so you don’t get injured. Don’t try to confront your abuser before you leave because this could make your situation worse. It’s tempting to stand up for yourself, but the safest option is to leave without saying anything. If your abuser has a regular routine, plan to leave when they are out of the house.

In the worst-case scenario, your abuser will catch you leaving and try to confront you. In this case, you should call 911. If you know that a confrontation is likely, you should consider calling 911 as a precaution. If you don’t feel comfortable asking for help from the police, you could also ask a friend to be there with you. Abusers are usually less likely to attack if there is a witness.

Find a New Home

It can be hard to get your life on track, but one of the best ways to get a fresh start is by putting down roots with your very own home. This will give you the sense of independence and control that you crave. As a domestic abuse survivor, your life was in someone else’s hands. Purchasing your own home is just another step of the healing process.

But buying a new home won’t be easy. You’ll need to have a regular source of income and good credit. If your abuser didn’t allow you to have a job, you’ll have to find one, which can be hard after experiencing the trauma of domestic abuse. Another important part of the home purchasing process is determining what you can afford. You’ll need to consider your annual income, the down payment, how much you spend each month, what kind of loan you’ll be taking out, and the location of the home.

Once you’re financially stable enough to buy your own home, take your time to decide which one is best for you. Make sure you do your research on the area and look for a neighborhood with low crime rates so that you can feel safe. After you’ve found the perfect home and moved in, you should make connections with your community. Niche recommends checking out the town calendar and joining local organizations.

Escaping from domestic abuse is hard. The relationship can become addictive, and it can feel like there is no way out. But you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life. Just make sure that you’re prepared to leave, so you don’t end up injured. If you want to learn more about surviving trauma and healing, The Never Give Up Institute offers a wide variety of information and healing tools that can help you start fresh.

Find more inspiring articles like this on The Never Give Up Institute’s website.

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Alexis Acker-Halbur is an award-winning author and medical miracle. Child abuse made her seriously ill and put her in harm’s way numerous times. She survived and now shares her experiences and tools with women and men who have been traumatized. To order her tools for healing trauma book, Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness, click here. If you would like to read her 2020 published fictional novel, THE BEAR: In the Middle of Between, click here.

Preventing Abusive Head Trauma

Gears

Dear Wellness Seekers:

Since it is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, I am relaying a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) article I received from Juliet at D’Amore Mental Health. The following information is instrumental in preventing childhood brain damage.

What is Abusive Head Trauma?

Abusive head trauma (AHT), which includes shaken baby syndrome, is a preventable and severe form of physical child abuse that results in an injury to the brain of a child. AHT often happens when a parent or caregiver becomes angry or frustrated because of a child’s crying. It is caused by violent shaking and/or with blunt impact. The resulting injury can cause bleeding around the brain or on the inside back layer of the eyes. Data shows:

  • AHT is a leading cause of physical child abuse deaths in children under 5 in the United States.
  • Babies less than one-year-old are at the greatest risk of injury from AHT.
  • AHT accounts for about one-third of all child maltreatment deaths.

Crying, including long periods of inconsolable crying, is a normal behavior in infants. Shaking, throwing, or hitting a baby is never the right response to crying. For more information about abusive head trauma definitions please see Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma: Recommended Definitions for Public Health Surveillance and Researchpdf icon[1.6 MB, 56 Pages, 508].

What are the consequences?

Nearly all victims of AHT suffer serious, long-term health consequences. Examples include:

  • vision problems
  • developmental delays
  • physical disabilities
  • hearing loss

At least one of every four babies who experience AHT dies from this form of child abuse.

How can we prevent Abusive Head Trauma?

 Anyone can play a role in preventing AHT. Understanding the dangers of shaking or hitting a baby’s head against something, knowing the risk factors and the triggers for abuse, and finding ways to support parents and caregivers in their community are all ways to prevent AHT. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a resource, Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: A Technical Package for Policy, Norm, and Programmatic Activities.pdf icon[3.90 MB, 52 Pages, 508] that identifies a number of strategies to help states and communities prioritize prevention activities based on the best available evidence. This resource is also available in Spanish.pdf [21 MB, 52 Pages, 508].

  • Understand that infant crying is worse in the first few months of life, but it will get better as the child grows.
  • Try calming a crying baby by rocking gently, swaddling in a blanket, offering a pacifier, holding your baby against your bare skin, singing or talking softly, taking a walk with a stroller, or going for a drive in the car.
  • If the baby won’t stop crying, check for signs of illness and call the doctor if you think the child is sick.
  • If you are getting upset, focus on calming yourself down. Put the baby in a safe place and walk away to calm down, checking on the baby every 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Call a friend, relative, neighbor, parent helplineexternal, or your child’s healthcare provider for support.
  • Never leave your baby with a person who is easily irritated, has a temper, or a history of violence.

If you are a friend, family member, or observer of a parent or caregiver

  • Be aware of new parents in your family and community who may need help or support.
  • Offer to give a parent or caregiver a break when needed.
  • Let the parent know that dealing with a crying baby can be very frustrating, but infant crying is normal and it will get better.
  • Encourage parents and caregivers to take a calming break if needed while the baby is safe in the crib.
  • Be sensitive and supportive in situations when parents are dealing with a crying baby.
  • Be supportive of work policies (e.g., paid family leave) that make it easier for working parents to stay with their infants during the period of increased infant crying (i.e., between 4-20 weeks of age).

See Child Abuse and Neglect Resources for more resources about preventing abusive head trauma.

Thanks Juliet, for this great article!

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 Alexis Acker-Halbur is an award-winning author and medical miracle. Child abuse made her seriously ill and put her in harm’s way numerous times. She survived and now shares her experiences and tools with women and men who have been traumatized. To order her tools for healing trauma book, Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness, click here. If you would like to read her 2020 published fictional novel, THE BEAR: In the Middle of Between click here.

“Forbidden?”

“Forbidden?”

Dear Wellness Seekers:

I apologize for my website being down for 10 days. Seems I reached my space limit and, as you are probably aware, my site grew slower and slower. Well, that’s all been fixed as this site now has more space and power! I’m not sure what the “Forbidden” message was, but this site has never been forbidden nor was it hacked. I apologize for the worry this page caused. Thanks for sticking with me as I tore my hair out trying to get this fixed.

Did you know that the month of April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month? That means you’ll be seeing more information about how to stop and prevent the growing number of child abuse cases. I need your help to make sure the public knows and understands what child abuse is and how it harms our children. Adults who were abused as children are needed to tell their stories and start a chain-reaction to prevent this from happening.

Child abuse is a pandemic filled with threats, injuries, and lies. The following ghastly statistics are from the American Society for the Positive Care of Children (American SPCC) and include:

  • For all [other] types of abuse and neglect, statistics are about equal for boys and girls.
  • Although children of all ages experience abuse and neglect, it is the youngest children that are the most vulnerable; 7 per 1,000 children are victims of child abuse and neglect in their first year of life.
  • Annual estimate: 1,770 children died from abuse and neglect in 2018.
  • Almost five children die every day from child abuse.
  • 6 percent of all child fatalities were younger than 3 years old.
  • 3 percent of child fatalities involve at least one parent.
  • Estimated that between 50-60 percent of maltreatment fatalities are not recorded on death certificates.
  • Child abuse crosses all socioeconomic and educational levels, religions, ethnic and cultural groups.
  • 14 percent of all men in prison and 36 percent of women in prison in the USA were abused as children, about twice the frequency seen in the general population.
  • It is estimated, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) that there are over 42 million adult survivors of child abuse in the U.S.
  • There are so many more heart-breaking statistics…

As a child sexual abuse survivor I find these statistics to be appalling. One of the most revolting part of all is that child sexual and physical abuse continues throughout our planet (and perhaps the universe). If we don’t stop child abuse now it will only grow into a more devastating event. Do children deserve this? NO! Do you deserve to be healed? YES!

I’m working on a new book titled, Your Moment of T.R.U.T.H.: The Road to Unresolved Trauma Healing. It is a companion book to my T.R.U.T.H. Program Workbook, created to bring more information and tools to resolve trauma. I’ll let you know when it’s published.

During the month of April, will you do one thing to help me spread the word that child and domestic abuse are not okay? You can let your friends know about my website and have them register for new posts and tools. Thank you!

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 Alexis Acker-Halbur is an award-winning author and medical miracle. Child abuse made her seriously ill and put her in harm’s way numerous times. She survived and now shares her experiences and tools with women and men who have been traumatized. To order her tools for healing trauma book, Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness, click here. If you would like to read her 2020 published fictional novel, THE BEAR: In the Middle of Between click here.