homeless and domestic violence

HOMELESS and DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

HOMELESSNESS and DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PERSPECTIVE from a MOM   Once upon a time, my daughter, Megan Ellen, and I stayed in a shelter as we were officially homeless. I, as a protective parent at the time, was coping with life on life’s terms. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) was part of Megan’s life and mine. The shelter was decent. I was grateful for a place where Megan and I could sleep and be. The staff was compassionate. Yet, it was a hard living situation for us and for others. It was not “home”. Megan and I were staying safe. I was protecting my daughter from the person who abused her – her father. Fortunately, Megan was in school and doing well in spite of her life circumstances. October is the month set aside for domestic violence awareness. Domestic violence (DV) is a huge societal problem. (See:  http://roadtofreedomandpeace.com/domestic-violence-spousal-sexual-abuse-partner-abuse-intimate-partner-violence-dating-violence/ or my other blog posts on the subject.) Many mothers and children experience homelessness after leaving a domestic violence situation. “There is more than one “official” definition of homelessness. Health centers funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) use the following: A homeless individual is defined in section 330(h)(5)(A) ...
old songs and healing from grief

OLD SONGS in a NEW LIGHT

OLD SONGS in a NEW LIGHT   Have you ever heard old songs in a new light? I was given the opportunity to attend a small concert given by three gents! It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. One of the songs performed was James Taylor’s “Your Smiling Face”. I used to like listening to James Taylor. Somewhere along the line, certain music became painful for me to hear. The emotions that arose were not welcomed. It had been years since I listened to James Taylor or any of my old time favorite artists. Here I was at this gathering listening to an old song – a favorite of mine – and I was smiling. Music that was used during the abuse by Tom M. (my former husband and perpetrator) was, of course, triggering. I avoided listening to those songs for a long time. That was understandable. Yet, songs that used to bring me solace or happiness also brought sadness. Many old songs of my high school and college days (or shortly after) reminded me of several long-term, close, and special friendships that were no longer in existence or barely alive. These songs – such as “You’ve Got a Friend” (Carole ...
rediscovering childhood passion

REDISCOVERING a CHILDHOOD PASSION

REDISCOVERING a CHILDHOOD PASSION   Reading was a childhood passion of mine. It was an inexpensive form of entertainment and a way to escape the world of abuse. I read almost any book I could find in my house. As the youngest child in the family, many books were over my head. It did not stop me from reading them! My sister, Linda, belonged to a book club. I enjoyed reading international cookbooks and the classics. Biographies and fiction enthralled me. Years later, I sought out the classics to read them with an adult perspective and understanding. Career counselors and life coaches often ask a client what was his or her childhood passion. What activity did you enjoy as a child? The career counselor or life coach may wonder if a childhood passion might hold a key to a possible career. In my case, reading lends itself to knowledge, insight and enjoyment. I have not found a career of reading! My mother valued reading and education. She was an avid reader who kept a list of all the books she read over the decades. I have many memories of her trying to catch up on a weeks’ worth of newspapers ...
past abuse and health

PAST ABUSE and HEALTH

PAST ABUSE and HEALTH   My mother died two days before reaching the age of 70. Most women on my mother’s side of the family died before the age of 70. Generational abuse ran in my family of origin. Past abuse and health are connected. Studies show that past abuse can affect a survivor’s health years later. The violence, trauma and abuse may have occurred in childhood, adulthood, or both. Alexis Jetter, Jennifer Braunschweiger, Natasha Lunn, Julia Fullerton-Batten wrote an article titled, “A Hidden Cause of Chronic Illness”.  Adult women who have endured and escaped from domestic violence relationships may find themselves dealing with physical issues years later. The article is worth reading and includes the following: “Domestic violence (DV) has an insidiously long half-life. Women who left their abusers five, 10, even 20 years ago and believed they had closed that chapter of their lives now face far higher than normal rates of chronic health problems, including arthritis and hormonal disorders, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, chronic pain, severe headaches and irritable bowel syndrome. As a result, these women spend nearly 20 percent more money on medical care than other women. Annual U.S. medical costs attributable to domestic violence, including years-old ...
spiritual sweet spot

SPIRITUAL SWEET SPOT

SPIRITUAL SWEET SPOT   When is the last time you felt a connection with someone on a deep, ethereal level – on an interior heart level – spiritual as some choose to label it? I like the term spiritual sweet spot. Take a moment, if time allows … Breathe … naturally … relax … Center yourself. Think of a spiritual sweet spot. Close your eyes, if it helps. Breathe … just be ... If you recalled a memory of connection with a person on that deep level, how did you feel as you remembered? How do you feel now? In the case where nothing came to mind or thoughts would not quiet, no worries. Try it another time, if you desire. I experienced a spiritual sweet spot recently. One of the qualities of a spiritual sweet spot is that it usually occurs without warning. One normally cannot create the spiritual sweet spot or forecast it. Part of my working landscape includes a job at a coffee shop. This job gives me the opportunity for connection with coworkers and customers of various ages. I like my customers and the feeling is mutual. The coffee shop is quite busy so my conversations ...
trauma moment

ONE TRAUMA MOMENT OF MANY AND ITS IMPACT

ONE TRAUMA MOMENT of MANY and ITS IMPACT   Individuals who suffer from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) have been subjected to trauma of a long duration. As a survivor of decades of abuse and torture, my situation was ongoing and filled with trauma. I will focus on one trauma moment for this post. Before doing so, below is information regarding C-PTSD for those who are interested. Maybe one day, I will devote an entire post to the subject. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs states the following: "What types of trauma are associated with Complex PTSD? During long-term traumas, the victim is generally held in a state of captivity, physically or emotionally, according to Dr. Herman (1). In these situations the victim is under the control of the perpetrator and unable to get away from the danger. Examples of such traumatic situations include: Concentration camps Prisoner of War camps Prostitution brothels Long-term domestic violence Long-term child physical abuse Long-term child sexual abuse Organized child exploitation rings" (https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/ptsd-overview/complex-ptsd.asp) Pete Walker writes: "The causes of Cptsd range from severe neglect to monstrous abuse. Many survivors grow up in houses that are not homes – in families that are as loveless ...
smidgen of hope

SMIDGEN of HOPE

SMIDGEN of HOPE   What is your definition of hope? Do you even believe in the concept of hope? I know of people who have no belief in hope. Hope to them is foolish. Hope has kept me alive in certain periods of my life. It may also have contributed to my staying in situations for too long. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word as: “A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. A person or thing that may help or save someone. Grounds for believing that something good may happen. archaic  A feeling of trust.” -- https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/hope As a child, I hoped the abuse would stop. My goal was to become perfect. Maybe that would prevent the abuse from occurring ever again. I had fantasies of someone saving me … a Prince Charming. The idea of hoping could be considered foolish. Yet fantasies and hope (however childish) of a better life kept me alive through terrible times. As a young adult, the Prince Charming did not come. I fell into a relationship of domestic violence with torture once I left my mother’s house. Leaving the abusive family of origin and moving into a DV (domestic ...
PTSD forever?

DOES PTSD LAST FOREVER?

DOES PTSD LAST FOREVER?   PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) … Our society is now familiar with the term. Many people still identify Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with war veterans. More people do also realize and acknowledge that any trauma victim may suffer from PTSD. My readers know that I dealt with Complex PTSD. This was due to the decades of abuse and torture that I endured from birth to almost 47 years of age. Amazingly, I have healed immensely. Pastoral counseling, therapy, NeurOptimal Neurofeedback, a women’s support group (WINGS Foundation) for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and a deep spiritual connection contributed to this healing. Two of my favorite books on the subject of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and trauma are: “THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE:  BRAIN, MIND, AND BODY IN THE HEALING OF TRAUMA” by Bessel A. van der Kolk, M.D. and “TRAUMA and RECOVERY: The aftermath of violence – from domestic abuse to political terror” by Judith Herman, M.D. Herman’s words on torture, etc. are illuminating. I found this book to be tremendously helpful. In fact, I shared my reflections on parts of Herman’s book on my original website that I wrote before my trial for custodial ...
seeking silence

SILENCE SEEKER

 SILENCE SEEKER   Life has been more stressful of late. I find myself seeking solitude and silence. My mind is tired as well as my body. I want the world to move a bit slower so I can catch up with all the activity and concerns. One day after crossing off items on my to-do-list, I stopped for a cappuccino. A local paper, the Boulder Weekly, includes a weekly horoscope. These horoscopes are frequently written in an interesting manner. The readings may provoke thought. Part of the reading for my sign included: “(As you know, the world is crammed with so much noise and frenzy that it can be hard to hear yourself think – or even feel.) With Healing Silence, you bask in a sanctuary of sweet nothingness for as long as you need to. Please try it sometime soon. Wrap yourself in the luxurious void of Healing Silence.” – Boulder Weekly, March 23, 2017 This week’s horoscope hit the nail on the head. A Healing Silence – Yes, that is what I desired and needed. Two days earlier, I listened to a reflection by Terry Hershey. It resonated with me. I had not heard of Terry Hershey before ...
just plain tired

JUST PLAIN TIRED!

JUST PLAIN TIRED   Are you just plain tired? That sentence sounds like a line from a commercial. There are times though when tiredness, lack of energy, inertia, and fatigue settles upon one’s body, mind, heart, and/or spirit. How do you cope when your body is physically worn? Do you allow your body to rest more? Are you compelled to stick to an exercise routine? Is your job physically challenging? Does your financial situation allow you the only option of continuing to push your body past its healthy limits? What is your personal response to mental fatigue? Are thoughts of problems and relationships issues roaming in your mind constantly? Rumination happens. It is unhealthy. People ruminate. It is common according to this article in the BBC Magazine titled, “Rumination: The danger of dwelling”. (Read: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24444431.) When you are emotionally tired, what are the symptoms? Do you cry more than usual? Do you find yourself often holding back tears? Is stoicism and lack of emotion signs? Are you short-tempered with strangers, acquaintances, and/or loved ones? Food may be a symptom. Eating more than needed, making unhealthy choices, or not eating much at all may occur. The song “Under Pressure” played as ...