Trauma and Health in a World of COVID-19

I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in 2007. I truly believed that the cancer was caused by childhood trauma I had experienced. I began writing my book, Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illness, and made the bold statement that: Unresolved Childhood Trauma Causes Health Conditions in Adults. Several medical people said my statement had no statistics to support my belief. Still, I continued to work on my book to explain how I survived cancer. In 2014, when my book was published, I continued to get feedback from people saying there was no evidence to support my belief.

I never wavered in my belief that adults can resolve childhood trauma, and survive it without becoming ill.

In a May 2020 article in TIME Magazine, I found this amazing information: According to a 1998 landmark study, conducted by Kaiser Permanente and the CDC, childhood trauma is strongly correlated with a person’s health as an adult. The study explored Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, surveying more than 9,500 adults insured by Kaiser Permanente about ACEs they may have faced as children. These included ‘psychological, physical or sexual abuse,’ ‘violence against mother,’ and ‘living with household members who were substance abusers, mentally ill or suicidal, or ever imprisoned.’

These study findings were from 1998 – that’s nine years before my diagnosis with cancer. I wish I had known about this study earlier. Nonetheless, my belief that childhood trauma affects adult’s health IS very accurate. (Note: Even one ACE in childhood increases adult health risks.)

Luckily, a company like Kaiser Permanente is investing in efforts aimed at reducing the number of ACEs in our communities.

It’s Time for TRUTH!

I would like to invite the people at Kaiser Permanente to consider my T.R.U.T.H. Program. (The Road to Unresolved Trauma Healing.) The T.R.U.T.H. mission provides trauma survivors with the opportunity to resolve issues to achieve a healthy mind, body, and spirit.

All over the world, we’re trying to eradicate the coronavirus. Why not end adverse childhood trauma, too, since over 60 percent of adults in the U.S. experienced at least one ACE in childhood, while 1 in 6 experienced four or more.

To find more information on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) please click on this link: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/acestudy

2020: The Year of Fear

 

Just two and a half months ago we were celebrating the start of a new year. We made our intentions and we agreed to new commitments. We wanted to make this year the best ever!

WAIT! What happened to all those new intentions and commitments? Is it the Trump administration’s problems, the stock market acting like a tsunami, or the sudden emergence of the coronavirus that is making life in 2020 not so glorious as we hoped.

What do these 3 things have in common? FEAR!

Chronic fear and stress cause our immune systems to work needlessly overtime. The issue with fear is that our bodies experience it — whether it’s happening now, in the past, or in the future. For weeks, even months after a traumatic event, it is common for us to describe feelings of general uneasiness or jitteriness — a feeling that something bad is going to happen.

Fear causes our immune systems to weaken. This is not healthy especially when a virus spreads.

So what can we do about lessening our fears? Continue to exercise, eat healthy, get restful sleep, read inspiring books, and do deep breathing. We can also stand up to bullies and refuse to believe in fake news.

Don’t let fear ruin your year. And never ever give up!

Perpetrators In Our Midst

Perpetrators In Our Midst

For years, I could never understand how Adolf Hitler (who was inspired by Benito Mussolini), Joseph Stalin, and Vladimir Putin could rise to power and commit such acts of evil destruction. Looking at Donald Trump (who is inspired by Putin), and reading this article, I now fully understand how the American people voted for him.

I’m always struck by how, after some act of violence and crime, fraud/[manipulation], or abuse, everyone laments: Someone must have known! Why didn’t they say anything? And yet, time after time, it seems those who are in a position to see [the truth] are sidelined, discredited, or disbelieved.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shadow-boxing/201406/3-signs-inconspicuous-predator-in-your-midst

This quote makes me clearly see and understand how Donald Trump got elected as our U.S. President – because he’s a perpetrator.

Perpetrators of family and domestic violence [and political crimes] can vary in age and be from any socio-economic demographic, cultural background, ethnicity, or religion. They can occupy any profession or live in any geographic region. Perpetrators can be any gender, however, the vast majority are male (Bagshaw & Chung 2000).

To effectively respond to family and domestic violence, it is important to understand the tactics used by perpetrators including those adopted to hurt and/or frighten victims (coercion) and those designed to isolate and/or regulate them (control). Perpetrators of family and domestic violence are very much in control of these behaviors and are ultimately the only ones that have the capacity to change the situation (No to Violence 2005).

Perpetrators can be good at hiding the violence, publicly presenting as kind, loving, charming and likeable, but behave in cruel, violent, undermining and manipulative ways in private.

Perpetrators as fathers (and Republican Senators)

[Men] who perpetrate family and domestic violence [and political harm] are associated with particular characteristics. They are likely to use controlling behaviors and physical discipline, to display more anger with their [victims], to have unrealistic expectations and poor developmental understandings of appropriate behavior at different ages and stages. Many of these characteristics are underpinned by a sense of entitlement.

The role of fathers [and republican senators] can be central to men’s identity and is a significant motivator for [disruption]. Entitlement thinking prevails in their attitudes and they often see their child [American people] as their investment or possession, or as someone who should love them unconditionally.

It is uncommon for men who use violence [coercion, threats, manipulation, and secrets] to recognize that their violence toward [others]; this in turn prevents them from seeing or understanding the impact on their [victims].

Just as these men prioritize their own needs when relating to [others who seem weak], they can feel justified in neglecting basic care and using violence/[crime] against [who] fail to comply with their expectations.

When fathers who have perpetrated violence/[crime] often privilege their ‘right’ for contact over the traumatic harm that this might cause [others]. In this way, as in many others, these men put their own needs and wants ahead of those of [everyone else].

[Source: https://www.dcp.wa.gov.au/CrisisAndEmergency/FDV/Documents/2015/FactSheet3Perpetratorcharacteristics.pdf]

References:

  • Bagshaw D & Chung D 2000, Women, Men and Domestic Violence, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.
  • No to Violence 2005, Men’s Behavior Change group work: A Manual for quality practice, No to Violence, Melbourne.
  • Department for Child Protection 2013, Perpetrator accountability in Child Protection Practice – A resource for child protection workers about engaging and responding to men who perpetrate family and domestic violence, Government of Western Australia, Perth.

You may not agree with me about this article, however, it makes a clear case for why so many Republican Senators are terrified of Trump.

Never give up when looking for the TRUTH!

Verbal Abuse IS Domestic Abuse

Verbal Abuse IS Domestic Abuse
Dear Wellness Seeker, 

I received this email this morning from NO MORE Foundation and thought I would spread the word. The holidays are extremely stressful and angry words can ruin the season. If you or someone you know is being verbally abused, PLEASE help yourself or them with reading this article. Thank you NO MORE Foundation for your commitment to and work for abuse survivors.

Did you know that nearly half of all women and men in the U.S. have experienced verbal abuse from a partner? Today, we are proud to announce that NO MORE is teaming up with the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) to send a clear message: Verbal abuse IS domestic violence. 

Verbal abuse is an often-overlooked component of intimate partner violence. It is difficult to detect, assess, and substantiate, and many cases go unreported. Some victims of verbal and emotional abuse may not even consider themselves victims, because they associate domestic violence only with physical abuse. But the scars of verbal abuse —taunting, name-calling, criticism, and threats — can be just as insidious and damaging to those who experience it. 

That’s why NO MORE and NRCDV are launching the #NOMOREVerbalAbusecampaign and website. The website contains: Information and graphics about verbal abuse and information on how to recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships. The #NOMOREVerbalAbuse Pledge. A toolkit containing shareable resources  Printable #NOMOREVerbalAbuse signage. Verbal abuse survivor stories  Supporters of the campaign are encouraged to take the pledge via the website to join this effort. Additionally, you can now use your Alexa-enabled device to join the campaign and spread the word that verbal abuse is not acceptable. Simply say, “Alexa, open NO MORE” and “Register Your Voice” against verbal abuse today.

We want all survivors of verbal abuse to know that we see them, we hear them, and they are not alone. Join us in spreading the message: Verbal abuse IS domestic violence. And we say NO MORE. Click here to tweet your support.   Learn More  

New 2019 Cancer Survey

New 2019 Cancer Survey

First Survivor Views Survey Highlights Barriers to Addressing Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

Washington, D.C. – Barriers to accessing appropriate therapies to address the physical and psychological side effects of cancer treatment continue to persist for patients and survivors, according to survey results from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

Survivor Views, an initiative launched by ACS CAN in January, established a national cohort of cancer patients and survivors to complete a series of six individual surveys focusing on a range of public policy issues important to the cancer patient and survivor community. The results of the first survey, which are being released today, focus on patient experiences treating the symptoms and side effects of their cancer and access to supportive or palliative care services.

The survey found patients and survivors experience a wide range of symptoms and side effects as a result of their cancer care. While effective treatments exist for several of these physical and psychological side effects, the survey results indicate many patients and survivors are not accessing them for a variety of reasons.  Fifty-five percent of respondents reported physical limitations or difficulties completing tasks as a result of their cancer care, but only 26 percent reported being referred to physical, occupational or speech therapy by their health care provider. Similarly, 51% of patients reported anxiety or depression as a result of their cancer while only 10% reported being referred to a mental health provider for additional therapy.

Many survivors also reported adverse symptoms or pain well after their active treatment concluded. Of survey respondents who reported pain or other symptoms during treatment, two-thirds noted the symptoms resulting from their cancer or treatment continued well after active treatment concluded.

“Too many cancer patients and survivors are not receiving the appropriate treatments and therapies that would alleviate the side effects of their cancer care,” said Lisa Lacasse, ACS CAN president. “At a time when our health care system is facing incredible pressure to evolve, it’s clear that our approach to health care must become more holistic and provide patients with better coordinated options to alleviate the physical and psychological side effects of a cancer diagnosis. This coordinated, patient-centered care must continue well into survivorship as patients continue to live with the lasting side effects of their cancer and its treatment.”

Barriers to accessing prescription drug treatments to alleviate pain that often accompanies cancer treatment were also apparent in the survey results. Over half of cancer patients or survivors participating in the survey who have been prescribed opioids in the last 12 months voiced concern about their future ability to access appropriate pain medications. More than 40 percent of these respondents had already experienced barriers to accessing pain treatment.  Respondents reported these barriers had direct adverse impacts on their lives, including inability to work or participate in family or social events, setbacks in their ongoing cancer treatment, and the need for additional emergency care to treat uncontrolled pain.

Survivor Views is providing ACS CAN with timely, firsthand information that will drive our advocacy efforts forward, giving cancer survivors a voice in the issues directly affecting their lives,” Lacasse said. “The release of the first survey results focusing on patient experiences with treating pain and other side effects associated with a cancer diagnosis provides valuable insight into the shortcomings patients face in trying to manage their symptoms on a day-to-day basis and highlights that symptoms can extend months and years after treatment concludes.”

I found these survey results to be right on. Too many cancer survivors continue to deal with pain and side effects years after treatment. Now there’s proof! Thank you ACA for doing this enlightening survey!

Never Give Up!!!