2020

Dear Wellness Seekers:

I recently wrote this poem to try and find some answers to my anguish. This year has been a disaster and yet I keep plodding on. If you feel the same, I hope this poem helps you understand the stress we all are under. Stay safe and I wish you well.

2020

The winds howled in chaos,
and life as we knew it was gone.
From politics to pandemic,
our hearts rallied to stay strong.

We went through months of anguish,
with our democracy shattered.
We cried and prayed and pushed the alarm,
yet, nothing seemed to matter.

I looked for a sign of hope,
but change appeared to be lost.
My depression grew with flourish,
my beliefs and values tossed.

“Vote” they said would do me good,
so I signed and mailed my ballot.
It felt fierce to express my right,
and cleanse our land of maggots.

I’m tired of the lies and
the evil forced on us each day.
The world laughs at my country,
Should I leave or should I stay?

Autocrats will steal my soul,
and make me think like them.
They will never ever succeed,
we will fight them to the end.

So, rise up America,
we need to take our country back.
Healing from 2020 will take years,
start to believe in truthful facts.

__________________________________

Alexis Acker-Halbur is an award-winning author and medical miracle. Child abuse made her seriously ill and put her in harm’s way many times. She survived and shares her experiences and tools with women and men who have been traumatized. To order her book, Never Give Up: Break the Connection Between Stress and Illnessclick here, or her newly published fictional novel, THE BEAR: In the Middle of Between click here.

Startling Statistics from NO MORE

Hello Wellness Seekers:

I received this email today from an organization called, NO MORE: Together We Can End Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault. If you’re not on their mailing list, I want to make sure you know the startling statistics of rising abuse in our pandemic world.

STOP CHILD AND DOMESTIC ABUSE NOW!

 

Friend,

Today at a special virtual convening, NO MORE proudly joined with the Commonwealth Secretariat to launch a timely new “Commonwealth Says NO MORE” initiative. The effort is aimed at helping the 54 Commonwealth of Nations member countries address and prevent violence against women and girls.

The pandemic and the resulting lockdowns have dramatically increased incidents of abuse around the world, with calls to domestic violence helplines rising by up to 300% and abuse-related killings higher than normal. It is now estimated that COVID-19 is likely to cause a one-third reduction in progress towards ending gender-based violence by 2030.

The Commonwealth of Nations makes up nearly one-third of the world’s population. Together—with the Commonwealth Secretariat, the government ministers, high commissioners, business leaders, women’s advocates and celebrities who attended today’s convening and who are lending their voices to the Commonwealth Says NO MORE effort—we can help provide support needed now for victims of abuse and engage billions in efforts to stop domestic and sexual violence once and for all.

Therefore, the new Commonwealth Says NO MORE effort is critical, not only to respond to the immediate crisis but also to create longer-term solutions to prevent domestic and sexual violence. As a vital first step, today we unveiled the first-ever pan-Commonwealth digital portal, which offers countries and civil society organizations easy-to-use tools and resources to boost their efforts in helping victims and those at risk, and educating communities.

The portal also provides victims with access to critical information, including local helplines, shelters, safety guidance, and legal aid—a service particularly important in communities where the pandemic has disrupted such support.

Please, check out the new portal and take the pledge to join us. Thank you very much!

LEARN MORE

Pamela Zaballa
NO MORE Global Executive Director

_____________________________

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

Living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

I received the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) about ten years ago, after my daughter was involved in a serious accident while walking to school. Before the accident, I worked hard to keep my life, my family and their world so protected that the instant she got hit, my controlled snow globe world instantly cracked, hit the ground, and shattered. In fact, when my son and I were talking the day of the accident, he looked at me and innocently said, “Things will never be the same again.”  Extremely prophetic words that at the time neither myself nor my family had any idea what they would come to mean.

During the year following my daughter’s accident, I was busy with tending to her health, taking her to appointments, trying to work full time, and keeping our household running as normally as possible. Simultaneously, I kept having strange experiences that were making me feel like I was losing my mind. I couldn’t stop and think about what was happening, nor did I have the words to describe it to anyone. It was just an overwhelming sense of fear, and general feeling that I was going slowly going mad.

I was becoming anxious. I started losing all sense of time; finding myself wondering where I had been the last few hours and feeling incredibly disconnected from my body and the world. I was called into meetings at work because my performance was terribly erratic. I felt physically sick all the time. And I kept having these bizarre explosive memories leaving me feeling out of control and disoriented.  I knew something was seriously wrong with me, so I made a call to a psychologist who agreed to see me the next day.

When I started working with my first therapist, I was anxious to tell her everything all at once. I thought if I could word-vomit everything that was coming to my mind, that would be enough to feel better and get back to work.

I didn’t understand that I was having flashbacks, and that I was living in a constant state of crisis. I was writing my therapist letters from a dissociated state which made no sense but felt vaguely familiar as she would read them aloud. I would lock myself in my room for hours fearing that I was going to hurt myself, and I didn’t want to be around my family. I felt out of control, thinking I was losing my mind, feeling like I had failed my myself, my family, and I began spiraling down a very slippery slope.

One of the most important practices to have in place when beginning trauma therapy is to have a safety plan. I needed to develop tools for many things, including distress tolerance. Once a plan was in place, we could begin the process of working on and processing my trauma.

Not only was my therapy about processing the memories, but I also had to start accepting that there were some intense effects of the trauma, and they influenced how I saw and reacted to the world.

I also had to face how my trauma affected my relationships with my family, friends, parenting style, and career. While dealing, and coping with the trauma, there were a lot of “aha” moments. I saw how my behavior and ways of coping with life, were a direct result of my trauma and not because I was a bad person.

Some of my PTSD symptoms still have a good choke-hold on me. As with many illnesses, PTSD can be invisible on the outside. My symptoms include (not limited too) flashbacks, concentration issues, becoming overwhelmed which leads to feeling like my brain is shutting down, difficulty making choices, anxiety/depression, and a sensitivity to triggers. I sometimes use the phrase, “triggers, triggers everywhere.” The wind can blow a certain way, or fireworks, or a car backfiring, even the moon can sometimes bring on flashbacks.

Once I was able to name and accept my symptoms, I needed to learn to work within my deficits. This wasn’t easy or comfortable for me. And honestly, there are still times I find myself becoming frustrated and angry at my PTSD. When that happens, I stop, and use my grounding tools to rest and reset.

Writing gave me the courage I needed to address the pain I was feeling. I would write even when I thought I had nothing to write about. Often, I would write and send what I wrote off to my therapist. I started to find that I could write what I couldn’t say aloud.  At first, it provided distance from having to use my voice, but then I found writing gave me a voice.

Learning to recognize and acknowledge each step on my path towards health and understanding is a long and never linear process that helps keep me in a resilient mindset. I also try to remember to notice the perfect moments. I made myself understand that are 24-hours in a day, and within those hours are some spectacular moments.

I was not going to let the effects of what happened to me keep me from trying to have the life I wanted. I never lose sight of my goals. They are to live with my past, live in the truth, and recognize and relish in the feelings of internal contentment. Some days those goals seem as far away as the furthest star, and other days I understand that, I am living in my truth, I am content and understand that I’m not just a survivor of trauma, but that I am thriving despite my trauma.

Thank you, Alexis and the Never Give Up Institute for inviting me to be a guest writer on your blog. The work you do is truly inspiring!

Alexis Rose
Author, Speaker
https://atribeuntangled.com/blog/
atribeuntangled@gmail.com

Thank you, Alexis Rose, for your enlightening blog on PTSD. I know my readers will appreciate your insights, vulnerability, and power to survive. Thanks a million for being a guest blogger on my website.

Dear Mr. Trump

Dear Mr. Trump

Dear Mr. Trump:

I’m a 41-year-old mom with six children. I’m like all moms who want their children to be safe from crime and live healthy lives; but unlike other moms, I was lead poisoned at the age of four. I didn’t know this when I had my six children, but now they all have health and behavioral problems because of the high levels of lead that were found in my blood. My lead poisoning is from paint chips on the old run-down house my family lived in for years. As President of the United States, it is your duty to keep children in this country safe from being poisoned from toxic paint and water.

I see that you’re reducing EPA standards to allow factories to continue to pollute our air and water just so they can make more money. Let me tell you something: I am disabled because of the lead poisoning which includes anxiety, depression, joint pain, hearing loss, and anti-social mood swings. I hate the fact that my life has been out-of-control and only recently did I find out the cause of lead poisoning. I’ve been hospitalized four times and my doctors could see my symptoms but didn’t know the cause. When I read a blog about the long-term effects of lead poisoning I got tested. All these years I thought I was crazy but now I find out that I was poisoned. I was poisoned here in the United States of America. This shouldn’t be happening.

My heart breaks knowing that my children are effected by my lead poisoning. They didn’t ask for anemia, ADHD, and learning difficulties. They didn’t ask for their lives to become more complicated because of lead. They didn’t ask to have a sick mommy. I’m angry that it took so long to find out the cause of my medical and health issues and that my children are suffering too. So, I’m telling you to keep EPA laws in place that effect our bodies and our environment. If you’re going to make America great again, maybe you should stop and ask the poor and disabled how to make life great for us because it isn’t happening.

(I had help writing this letter because I was too sick to finish high school and I don’t write so well. But I want you to know that I’m a fighter and I won’t give up until I can control my dysfunctional life. I could sure use your help and protection for me and my children.)

Sincerely,

Rosemary Henley (This isn’t my real name because I’m a private person.)

Life-Long Effects of Poisoning on Adults – Part 2

Life-Long Effects of Poisoning on Adults – Part 2

In 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!