The healing process is a never ending journey. I am committed to healing my mind, body, and spirit. First, I must take into consideration the root causes of my pain to develop a plan for rehabilitation. Therefore, I have identified trauma to have the most impact on my mental, emotional, physical, and sexual stability.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) covers various types of abuse, neglect, and other potentially traumatic experiences that occur in individuals under the age of 18 (CDC, 2019). Some of the most common forms of ACE include physical, sexual, and emotional- in addition to neglect.
Common Forms of Child Abuse and Neglect
Physical– the intentional use of physical force that can result in physical: Examples include hitting, kicking, shaking, burning, or other shows of force against a child.
Sexual– the pressuring or forcing a child to engage in sexual acts. It includes behaviors such as fondling, penetration, and exposing a child to other sexual activities.
Emotional– the behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being. Examples include name calling, shaming, rejection, withholding love, and threatening.
Neglect– the failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs. These needs include housing, food, clothing, education, and access to medical care.
Unfortunately, early ACE have a lasting impact on the individual often through adulthood (CDC, 2019). According to the CDC, these impacts can lead to injuries, risky behavior, mental dis-ease, health dis-ease, and limited opportunities for success (2019). Consequently, adolescents and adults risk the exposure to future victimization and/or perpetration.
I have decided to conduct research on this topic to gain a better understanding of my childhood trauma. This understanding will allow me to process and accept my past experiences. Eventually, it gets tiresome to continuously feed the trauma with feelings of guilt, sorrow, shame, and other non-beneficial energies. Therefore, I intend to continue my research to move through my experiences. No longer do I wish to give into the trauma- with FEAR. I am ready to conquer this beast.
Do you suffer from ACE? How do/have those experiences impacted your life? What are healthy ways to cope from ACE?
CDC. (2019). About Adverse Childhood Experiences. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/acestudy/aboutace.html
Do you have it on now? Does it have beautiful bright colors? Or is it dull and bland? Do you ever take it off? Does the mask leave an everlasting imprint if you take it off? Do you keep it on while you sleep? How long have you carried it? Days, months, years, or even decades? Do you clean the mask every so often to enhance its beauty? Where did this mask come from? Maybe your parents, society, or culture… Maybe all of the above. Do you have more than one mask? How and who do you alternate them for?
Let me tell you a little about my mask. I have it on now and it has so many amazing colors with unique design patterns. Sometimes I take it off when I am alone. I thought my mask left an everlasting imprint, but I’ve come to understand it doesn’t have to be permanent. Sometimes I wear it to bed. I’ve carried this mask for three decades and five years. I am sure to clean and polish my mask from time to time. There are times when I do not want to show my battle scars. The mask has been in my DNA for centuries- passed to/and from culture and society. I have more than one mask. I alternate them depending on the day, audience, and environment.
I’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks to deal with personal issues. Two weeks ago I reached a breaking point. I was forced to surrender to all that I knew and loved. I realized “I’m fine” was a lie I repeated way too many times. In fact, I had mastered looking and acting “fine”. I had to accept that I wasn’t “fine”. I had to accept I DO NOT have the answers. The universe forced me to face the emotions I had suppressed for days, weeks, months, and years.
It all started when my past met my present. My biggest fears were staring me in my face- my traumatic childhood experiences. My mind betrayed my heart. I questioned every ounce of reality in my life- dating back to my birth until now. I re-lived many of my past experiences. I was terrified to say the least.
I made the “executive decision” to retreat from EVERYTHING (family, friends, and work). This was very difficult as it was ALL I knew. I was accustomed to “busy” and it had always “worked” for me. No longer was this the case. I was alone with my thoughts and emotions. Again- this was terrifying!
I didn’t know my next move day in and day out. This was challenging as I always had a “plan” and great execution skills. I was literally at square one. My days were long and nights even longer. I was willing to walk away from everything I worked so hard to achieve and maintain. I was completely overwhelmed with everything.
Fortunately, my soul tribe was there every step of the way- even when I wasn’t the kindest. They showered me with love, support, and guidance.
I was also able to incorporate prayer and journaling into my daily activities. Prayer gives me hope for brighter days ahead. Journaling allows me to get out of my head with the racing thoughts. I have also found relaxing in nature to be very therapeutic.
I sought professional help and have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Depression, and Anxiety. The PTSD is a new arena for me. I’ve dealt with the ADHD, depression, and anxiety pretty much all my life. My ignorance led me to believe PTSD was only for people that experienced trauma in a war-like setting. However, that war-like setting is broader than I thought and includes any form of trauma.
One of my main goals is to thrive; not survive. I am claiming a different way to live; not just exist. I understand this is not a quick-overnight fix. I will experience joy and pain throughout it all. The beauty is I am taking a stand for ME… A stand to be a better version of me. I am much closer to who I am meant to be. NOT who they told me I was/am. I am also encouraging you to take that difficult stand- for YOU!
DO NOT be afraid to ask for help. DO NOT feel embarrassed if you need help. Have an open mind to be a willing participant in your healing journey.
Do you (or someone you love) suffer from any of the above conditions? Any other conditions? What is a healthy coping mechanism? Any questions or comments?
Lately, I’ve been thinking about my past, present, and future. My past does not define me. My present elevates me to/for my future. The song “So Much Better” by Phony Ppl perfectly describes my mood (I linked it at the bottom). The song’s storyline is we (as a society) can do so much better than we are. It tells us to chase our dreams as we are beyond capable to achieve them all. Most importantly, we are supported by the spirit world (angels, spirit guides, and our loved ones). However, we CHOOSE to settle. We settle for the job that we always complain about and dread going to. We settle for a piece of paper that allows us to purchase material items. We think the material items make us happy. I’ve got news for you (personal experience). The money only puts a Band-Aid on the wound. The many wounds that we carry and block out from our childhood. We think buying things will “make up” for the trauma we’ve experienced. It will NOT. The money often causes us to run away from our dreams and towards our demons. We create situations and scenarios that were never designed for us (pain & sorrow). We have an opportunity to change this mindset.
This transition is not an overnight process and we shouldn’t expect it to be. There will be many times where you want to quit and go back to what you’re familiar with. The baby steps will get us where we need to be. Take a break from the world and spend some time alone. We have to get rid of the outside world chatter. Get to know YOU. You came in this world alone, right (unless you are a twin, triplet, etc. Lol.) What do YOU like? Not what someone TOLD you to like? What makes you happy? What makes you sad? What can you do to not feel sad? For example, maybe learning how to tell people no (without guilt) is a start J What would happen if you left this world today? Would the world stop spinning?!? Of course not! LIFE GOES ON!!! With or WITHOUT you.
So start doing what you LOVE! Practice self-care. Love those who love you- even the ones that don’t J At the end of the day- it’s not that serious- Lol. Just learn and follow your passions and live the best life you can. You are truly loved, supported, guided, and protected.
“I Know We Could Be Doing So Much Better”- Phony Ppl
Disclaimer: I do not own rights to the images and music discussed in this post.