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 ...
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 ...
resolutions gone?

RESOLUTIONS GONE?

RESOLUTIONS GONE?   Are the resolutions you made for 2017 forgotten or ignored? Did you resolve to make changes this year? Are you succeeding in keeping your resolutions? Ever notice in coffee shops how many people order coffee instead of flavored lattes in January? Many people buy less sweets, such as pastries and treats. Most likely New Year resolutions were made to lose weight or to eat healthy. Slowly, most individuals return to the sweet drinks that they favor. It makes me wonder how many individuals succeed in keeping the resolutions made and how long the success lasts. Resolutions can be made any time of the year and for any length you choose. It is possible to restart your day, your week, or your year. One lapse does not mean the entire day is a "failure". Begin it again! A setback can be quite temporary. Those who are Christians and participate in the Lenten season have a built-in second chance to keep any resolutions that were made for the new year. If they have not succeeded, Christians can start over on Ash Wednesday as Lent begin. It is easier to think, I will give up (fill in the blank) for ...
power of love

THE POWER of LOVE

The POWER of LOVE   Where do you seek or find love? Do you believe in the power of Love? Do you still long for the person who abused you to love you? Do you wish the perpetrator would admit the abuse, apologize for it, and then somehow love you in a healthy fashion? If the person who abused or raped or tortured you was a parent or a husband or a sibling, do you cut off all contact and never look back? People often tell me I am strong. They wonder how I survived the abuse in my past. Also, some people wonder why I am not bitter. If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse or lived in a dangerous household, then where did you seek love? Where did you find love? When I was initially in counseling with Fr. Marcantonio, he raised this issue indirectly. I was a sweet person as a child and as an adult. Love existed somewhere in my childhood. That love helped to form the child I was and the person I am today. Love existed in my life and always has. The decades of abuse and torture covered most of my ...
fragile: handle with care

FRAGILE: HANDLE with CARE

FRAGILE: HANDLE with CARE   Life is fragile at times for all of us. As survivors of trauma of any type, we may tend to believe we are immensely strong. We are strong and we also have moments or times of fragility. I especially like to clean my abode before holidays and birthdays. A clean house, laundry washed, and papers sorted put me in relaxed state of mind. Nothing needs to be done. I can experience the holidays or a birthday free of chores and free of a list of items to accomplish. As I was cleaning my living space before Christmas, all moved along quite smoothly. A shower was next on my list followed by laundry. As I stepped into the bedroom, I heard a loud pop and glass breaking. A light bulb over the bathroom sink burst! A small segment of the bulb with very sharp edges remained in the socket. Small glass fragments were all over the sink, floor and bathroom rugs. Shoes, I thought. I must put on shoes! The sudden breaking of the light bulb appeared to be a sign to me. A sign of what? I do not know. Immediately gratitude washed over me ...
grief, light and love

GRIEF, LIGHT and LOVE

GRIEF, LIGHT and LOVE   Grief, light and love may be a part of your holiday season. Although we picture the ideal peace and joy of the season, many of us experience grief as well. The reasons for grieving are varied. I do not need to enumerate them here. Each of us know what causes us heartbreak, sadness, and grief. Recently I was unexpectedly struck by grief. This sadness was precipitated by the realization that it has been ten years since I spent the holidays with my daughter. Years are gone. The love is not lost though. Aeschylus wrote: "Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” As I sat … in tears … I once again realized that grief had struck. Grief is like that. It comes and goes. Grief has a life of its own. The intensity may lessen over time. Sometimes we need to revisit hurts and losses of our past to process them further. This revisiting can be surprisingly healing. Bittersweet is a word someone used to describe the loss of a parent ...
holiday stress solutions

HOLIDAY STRESS SOLUTIONS

HOLIDAY STRESS SOLUTIONS   Holiday stress solutions are as varied as the actual difficulties. This time of year, there are many articles on the subject. I am no expert, but I do have experience in handling the stress of the season. This week I noticed that I was operating on stress overload. One of the most important holiday stress solutions is to sleep! Yes, sleep! Sleep is a necessity. Most of us tend to sleep less during this season because of work, holiday activities, and even insomnia. Instead of thinking that sleep is not a priority, please think again. An article that recently resonated with me speaks to the sleep issue. Although the article has no relationship to the holidays, I want to share it with each of you. “After a Breakup, an App to Help Breathe, Then Run” stresses the importance of breathing and sleeping. (Here is the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/02/fashion/modern-love-breakup-app-breathing-running-therapy.html?_r=2 .) This article also emphasizes using intuition as well as your head. Sleep brings clarity which brings better decision-making. The body and mind need to rest. Last night, I slept for ten hours. It was a deep, refreshing sleep. Wonderful! Christmas present shopping is on many people’s lists. Unfortunately ...
triggers - surprise attacks

TRIGGERS: SURPRISE ATTACKS

TRIGGERS: SURPRISE ATTACKS   You are well on your healing road. Life is moving along smoothly or smoothly enough. You, as a survivor of abuse or trauma, most probably have insight regarding what triggers you. One day you realize old behaviors have returned. Maybe you are drinking more alcohol than normal, or you are turning to food or away from food, or you reenact part of the past abuse/torture, or suddenly you have a dream (or dream segment) that contains parts of what occurred during the abuse. Maybe you are irritable and less tolerant than normal. You realize that triggers have attacked you by surprise! What do you do? How do you cope? First, sit and breathe ….. More insight is available! You are growing and healing further. As you sit and breathe, relax. Let go of preconceived notions. In fact, let go of all thoughts for 5 – 10 – 20 minutes. Hear the silence as your noisy thoughts move in and out of your mind as clouds move across the sky. Pay little notice. Sit with yourself, your true inner being. Now, as calmness and clarity becomes prominent, reflect on the last days or weeks. Triggers can be ...
resiliency - life after shock

RESILIENCY: LIFE AFTER SHOCK

RESILIENCY: LIFE AFTER SHOCK   Resiliency. Life after shock is sobering. The shock hits! Bam! What is your personal response? How do you cope? Shocks initiate from diverse occurrences. These can be caused by individual trauma, as well as local, country-wide or global disturbances. A short list of causes of shock is below. There are many, many more. Rape. Loss of a child in a custody battle. A diagnosis of cancer for you or a loved one Unexpected death of a friend or loved one. A wildfire that burns your home. An earthquake that demolishes a city. A gunman that murders individuals in a movie theater or a school. Shootings in your local neighborhood – many of which result in deaths of innocent people including children. An election result that puts a narcissistic person in power who stands for division and hatred. How do you cope when your first hear of the news? What is your behavior the next day? A week later? A month? Years? If you research the topic of resiliency on the Internet, you will find many articles on this topic. My life (as well as others) have consisted of much trauma and moments of shock. There ...