Trauma in children

Trauma comes in all different sizes. This is the definition I found on google Trauma is the lasting emotional response that often results from living through a distressing event. Experiencing a traumatic event can harm a person’s sense of safety, sense of self, and ability to regulate emotions and navigate relationships.

Trauma effects every part of our being. Sometimes we get stuck emotionally at the age maybe where the truama began. Our brains don’t function normally. Our bodies kick into survival mode. Flight, fight or freeze. In that moment our brain works hard to fend off whatever we think is a threat. Trauma changes the way we feel, act or think in situations. For me trust was huge because people often hurt me even when they thought they were helping me.

Trauma’s Impact on Brain Development

Exposure to chronic, prolonged traumatic experiences has the potential to alter children’s brains, which may cause longer-term effects in areas such as:

  • Attachment: Trouble with relationships, boundaries, empathy, and social isolation
  • Physical Health: Impaired sensorimotor development, coordination problems, increased medical problems, and somatic symptoms
  • Emotional Regulation: Difficulty identifying or labeling feelings and communicating needs
  • Dissociation: Altered states of consciousness, amnesia, impaired memory
  • Cognitive Ability: Problems with focus, learning, processing new information, language development, planning and orientation to time and space
  • Self-Concept: Lack of consistent sense of self, body image issues, low self-esteem,shame and guilt
  • Behavioral Control: Difficulty controlling impulses, oppositional behavior, aggression, disrupted sleep and eating patterns, trauma re-enactment

Source: Cook, et al, 2005

School was next to impossible for me to learn. For me it was my freedom from my nightmare at home. People who don’t know or have never experienced trauma have no idea why a child is acting out in class. They may be violent, low in ademics, impulsive, angry, or withdrawn or have other symptoms. How can we look at the whole child and see that maybe they have come from trauma. Every child is unique in their own way but children from trauma are extra special. One of the only good things that’s comes from my trauma as a kid is that I see children who have trauma in their lives. I’m drawn to them and I understand what and how they feel.

Children are not going to sit down and learn in a classroom. They fight for survival they bolt when they feel they cannot control their lives. Running is easier then facing the scary thing. Imagine coming to school for your first time you’ve never left your home that’s all you know. Then you discover that through a lot of trust the people you see everyday they make you feel like you’ve never felt before. What is that feeling? That feeling is called love. Before you trust anyone you own lash out at people hurting them. As a kid you model what you see at home. That you thought was your normal but you slowly realize that is not normal at all. Nobody else does that.

Trying to get a child in trauma to learn is next to impossible with no trust. I was so low in my schooling way below all the children. For me I was always hungry so you can’t concentrate on work if your stomach growls so much. I love my school because we have many programs that our children can get food from. No child is ever hungry. So next time a child is acting up in your class it could be for many reasons. Taking that time to figure out out it makes a world of difference for everyone. ❤️

Standing up for what is right…

After being bullied as a kid for years from so many people and into my adult life. I don’t understand if you’ve been abused why people think they can continue to pick on me. One thing I did learn was that I now can stand up for what is right and stand up for myself. I’m no longer that child or teen that can’t stick up for themselves or defend themselves. It’s almost like we get a target on our backs. I hate it so much and as an adult have had to set really clear boundaries with people in my life.

I don’t want people in my life that treat me badly so I cut them out of my life. Life is too short to have to deal with drama but what do you do when someone in your family is doing that to you. I find it interesting that this family member said they would never be like our dad but last night and many other nights I realized that’s he’s just like our dad. He’s been stressed and when he’s stressed he takes it out on me for the most stupid things. They are not worth freaking out about. Our dad used to do the same things he’d freak out and yell at us as kids and then beat us. This family member does not hit me but those words of verbal abuse are brutal. Last night I was told that I manipulate others so much to get what I want. Really because anybody who knows me that’s not how they would describe me.

I stood up for myself and they freaked out more at me yelling and screaming at me. The words hurt and what I’ve learned about verbal abuse is it sticks with you for a long time. He won’t apologize and my mom says it’s because of how they grew up. Really because I grew up the same way and I never ever have treated someone like that when I’m upset. This person has a choice and this is what they are choosing. Today it was like nothing happened last night. They were all nice and great and giving me a hug. That’s what abusers do smooth over and pretend it never happened until the next time.

There will be no next time because I’m done with the verbal abuse no more dinners no more family things. It saddens me so much but if I don’t do this, this abuse continues. I put up with so much verbal abuse in my life. It has to stop sometime so I’m going to stop it. It’s hard to stand up to those who treat you badly but if you don’t they will continue to abuse you.

After leading the life I had I have zero tolerance for bullying for adults or children. I’m so glad that I’m healthy now and can see when this is happening and remove myself from it. It’s very empowering and helps me to help others. You do not have to be around people like that family or not. I’ve worked so hard in my life to keep out toxic people and no matter how hard it is I will continue to do it. I so appreciate all the people I have in my life who love and support me and have helped me become the strong woman I am today.

Spiritual Abuse

Religious abuse is abuse administered under the guise of religion, including harassment or humiliation, which may result in psychological trauma. Religious abuse may also include misuse of religion for selfish, secular, or ideological ends such as the abuse of a clerical position. Wikipedia

This is what Wikipedia says about the definition of Spiritual Abuse. I experienced Spiritual Abuse in my marriage for 19 years. I had no idea what it was I only know how it felt each time it happened. How can anyone decide it’s ok to tell you or anyone what you are doing wrong in your life. Nobody has that right to tell you that. What made it worse was being told God told me to tell you this…. This past weekend a gal reached out to a bible study group I’m involved in. A pastor she knows wrote her an email about her life and her boyfriend’s. He judged them both so much and said because of how he saw their lives that they were never saved and that her boyfriend never went to heaven when he died. This person was devestated because they both had a relationship with God and this shattered her world. She was left totally devestated not only for her loss of her boyfriend but for her faith as well. She felt defeated and now really lost.

I read the pastor’s email. He’s been a Pastor for 45 years and his words were so harsh and to me that’s not the God I know. He talked about how you can’t sin and be saved. Really because we all sin. I was angry that he told her that and how many other people has he counselled the same stuff. I was able to share my story with her admit living with a man who used Spiritual abuse for his gain and I often would think how is it that God tells you to condemn others when you need to take the plank out of your own eye. He’s not in my life anymore but he still counsels people in what they are doing wrong in their lives. I told her to look at her own heart what did she feel. She told me that she has a relationship with God. Then I told her to stand on what she believes because nobody can take that away from you.

We all are held accountable to God and He knows our hearts. This pastor is so wrong in his thinking. This poor woman was so discouraged and told us tonight that she didn’t know what would have happened if I had not intervened on Sunday. I’m so glad she was willing to listen. No wonder people run from what they think God may be from what someone has misled them to believe. Words hurt no matter who tells you them. People like this just continue ripping people to shreds saying that God told them to tell you that.

God’s words in His scriptures are our truths. Don’t let anybody tell you that your not God enough or that your not saved or someone you love is not going to heaven. Be wise and seek out counsel from people you trust. Watch out for false prophets they come when you least expect it. They deceive you and make you think you are the worst person in the world and that your so bad unless you do what they ask.

Like I’ve said before abuse comes in all forms and each one is so damaging as the next one. It’s taken me years to get over this part of my life. It’s hard for me to talk about but I’m so glad God used my testimony to help this woman on Sunday. She is loved and God has always been right beside her and now even more in her grief. ❤️

Summer time

I absolutely love the summer time. It’s a time to hang out with some of my favorite people. It’s time to go on road trips, swimming, kayaking with my favorite gals. It’s time for BBQ ‘s or as my American friends say grilling time. Since the pandemic I’ve not been to Central Oregon it’s up in the high desert. It’s my home away from home. It’s hot there in the summer. 🔥 My joints love the heat. I love the sun and the longer days and nights. It’s ok I didn’t go to Oregon this year. I was thinking Christmas time but most likely it will be next summer. Then I can volunteer.

This year I felt I was supposed to stay home this summer. I’m hanging out with the best kid. We have so much fun together and I forgot how much we laugh. My family needed me to help with my dad. He’s got dementia. My aunt is here from France so I’m glad to be able to visit. I must be relaxed this summer because my dentist told me a couple of weeks ago that I can only come to the dentist in the summer. Ha ha I must be intense during the school year. I got to go on my favorite road trip with my favorite gals. We’ve not done it before the pendemic. I thought I only had this summer with one of my good friends and then after our road trip the best news ever was her cancer is only two tiny spots in her lungs. God has healed her. She then told us she had been given 4 months to live. Now she’s been given years to live. Don’t ever unestimate the power of prayer. 🙏

Never ever take your days for granted. I love that God has done this for her and especially her girls. I love this woman.❤️ I see lots of my friends going away and I love watching all the places they go to and I’m so glad I got to be home here this summer. Two weekends ago I got to see one of my friends who lives in Ontario she was out here for a death in her family. She’s a gal who is in my life group which is part of the big Mega church Life Church. This gal is the only one I’ve met the rest of them I only know online but they have become my family. I love all the people God has put in my life. I’m really lucky. It’s fitting because God has given me a huge heart for both people and children. Oh and I love animals as well. I always wear shirts that say LIFE IS GOOD. Life is good. 🌞

When no means no

How many times have we told our children that when we say no it means no. We teach these same principles to the children at school. It is taught at a young age. How many times have we said no and it’s ignored and we may have been taken advantage of. Why do people think it’s ok to ignore when someone says no or stop. What gives someone that right to totally ignore the words. This topic makes me so angry and how many times as a child I said no and nobody cared to listen. Why??? They just continued on with their adjenda. I was abused by many and it didn’t matter how much I said no or stop did it stop.

Recently I had an encounter with an individual who was in my face about something simple and they freaked out at me swearing and cussing me. I asked them to stop and they just ignored me. I asked about 3 times and they continued on freaking out at me. Even when I was in tears they continued and another person had to stand up and say stop but it took another 4 tries before it stopped. To me this is what bullies do. I have zero tolerance for this behavior even if it’s someone in your family. I don’t care who you are. I hate conflict but I now have to set clear boundaries with this individual and that if it happens again I will not be in the same room with this person or even around them.

Do people feel power from doing this to others? So many people I know have experienced the same thing. Why do people bully others? At school there is zero tolerance for bullying. I love that because it protects our children. I was bullied so much in school and then in my home. Something I noticed in my home growing up was my siblings would pick on me and be nasty to me but that was what was modelled in my home. When you grow up and leave that environment then you can choice not to continue that behaviour. Since this happened to me it’s bothered me so much that I felt I was supposed to speak out about it. I hope that people in your lives listen to you and your children when you say no.

5 years of sobriety

I’m coming up to five years of sobriety from addiction. Wow I never imagined I would ever be free from it but with lots of tools in my toolbox and great accountability I’ve made it. My sobriety date is August 8th which is next Monday. Sobriety is all about choosing what I need to do and if I get triggered then I reach out to people, I love listening to my favorite music, get out and do something different, blog, read God’s word and pray. I’ve learned recently that tapping is a great way to relieve stress.

Many of my friends already know how God showed me how to break free of my addiction. I had been trapped in it for a long time. No matter how hard I tried I always fell back into the grip of it. Addiction makes you feel so low and full of shame and I hated myself everytime it happened. God showed me brushing my teeth one day that the root to my addiction was the hatred I carried in my heart. He was right I hated my dad and stepmom for how they treated me as a child. I hated them for not sticking up for me and beating me and locking me in my bedroom. I wanted them both to suffer like I had. My heart was black from the hate and everytime I hated them I fell in addiction and it was a vicious cycle.

How do you break from that? I had no idea how. I had an opportunity to go to Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch at Christmas time. I was fed up of my marriage and my family and I needed some time away and so I headed to the high desert. I stayed with my good friend and her husband. I also connected with other friends I know there one of them being Kim she’s one of the founders of the ranch. I love this woman. Our friendship has grown over the years and she loves God more then anybody I know. For our meeting we walked in the wilderness through the sage bushes and when it should be covered in snow the trail was covered in dust and the sun beamed down on both of us. It felt so good on our faces. I live at sea level so walking high up in the desert is hard on my lungs we walked and talked and then I couldn’t walk any more as my head was pounding. We stopped to pray in amongst the dust and the Sage bushes.

I told Kim what God had told me brushing my teeth about freedom from addiction. I told her where was God when I was curled up on the floor in my room calling out to someone to help me. It’s funny I don’t remember much of my childhood but I do remember that day. I had been beaten again and locked back into my room. I cried and cried so much. Kim said to me describe my bedroom. I did and I said I was alone in the room and lonely. The room was dark and I sat on the floor with my head in my lap crying. She asked me to look again and that I was not alone. I looked and right behind me was Jesus. He had His hand in my shoulders and it was light behind me. I cried so much because I always thought I was alone but now I knew that God had been with me every step of the way. How else do you survive all that abuse? Jesus had stood with me and when I could stand no longer he picked me up and carried me.

What a realization that was and I prayed and forgave my dad and stepmom for all the things that they had done to me as a child. How they never protected me and all the things that had happened. I cried so much the tears just coming. All that pain I had carried for all those years. All that hate it poured out and was washed away. I had forgotten I was out with Kim because I felt it was just God and I out in the wilderness. I stood up and I felt so much lighter, my pounding headache was gone and my breathing was great and I felt really happy.

For me the test would be when I went home would I be able to stay sober. Guess what it’s now almost 5 years and I never went back into addiction. The root of the addiction had been broken and occasionally I will pray for my dad and stepmom. I no longer feel that hate in my heart. God has given me a huge heart for others. I feel the pain people feel and I understand when people are hurting especially children at risk. That pain was turned into love and my love is given to each person I meet. Not only that I understand why people are caught in addiction and how hard it is to get free from it. From that day forward I’m so glad that I have an amazing support system. Sharing our stories is another part of sobriety because maybe someone out there needs to know there is hope. There is always hope. It may not seen like it sometimes but God is with us no matter what we have done. That love goes a long way. ❤️

People who come into your life for a reason

I believe people come into our lives for a reason. Sometimes we don’t know why but they make our lives so much better. I have the opportunity to have a boy in my life. G is 8 and I’ve known him since he was 2 and a half. He had a story that is really hard to hear but I see God’s hand on his life from day one. G was born to a couple who loved him so much. This was their first child. Unfortunately post partum depression happened after the birth of G. Nobody caught it and it makes people do things that they would never do. I can’t imagine how desperate they become and they think what they are doing is best for eveyone. There is help out there for anyone.

At the end of January on a cold day somehow G and his mom ended up in a very cold fast moving river. Unfortunately G’s mom died in the river and G was face down in the river they think for about 30 minutes. Someone passing by thought they saw a child in the water. Ambulances and helicopters came and got G out. He was 7 months old and was rushed to the nearest children’s hospital. They put him in a coma to help his brain recover. He was in the hospital for months and he was not expected to live. Not only did he live but nobody expected much from him. He had brain damage from the near drowning.

I met G and his family when I worked at a local daycare. He needed a one on one worker to help him with his daily activities. I remember the first day I met him he was super shy but he had a smile that lit up the whole room. I slowly got to know him. When I first met him he came with a team of support and I met with them about how his care would go. He was non verbal and when he started preschool he got an I pad to help him communicate with the other children and the adults around him. I had to learn how to use it and how to teach G to use it. I now was a part of his team and we and his family worked together to make sure that he was well cared for.

What I discovered when I first worked with him was I saw a similarity in how I was when I moved from Ireland to Canada and I was so low especially in school. My brain needed to be challenged. I saw the same in G, I realized when I took him out for walks that he never noticed a thing around him. All he could focus on was walking. I showed him how to expand his mind so he noticed things around him. I soon discovered he loved cars, trucks, excavators, anything that was big and moved. He noticed things I never noticed and he was always the first one to notice things that were different in his class or around him. I helped him with sign language and then his I pad.

His team had no expectations for him when I first met them. I realized that this boy tried everything no matter how hard it was so I pushed him to do things over and over again. It could 100 or more times for it to click and he got it. I helped prepare him for kindergarten. Toilet training came up and I told them yes I’m in for the challenge. 8 months of repetion and motivation and it paid off and G became trained. His team was in awe and when he graduated from Preschool the tears of joy and that’s when I was told they never expected him to do any of what he accomplished. I stood and told his graduating class and all the families what an amazing and awesome boy G is. It was hard for him but I told him that it’s hard now but we keep practicing and it becomes so much easier. He never gave up ever no matter how hard it was.

I’ve watched him grow up and he just finished grade 2. At age 6 he started to talk and has had years of speech therapy. I still remember the day he said my name for the first time. What joy that brought me. His speech has progressed so much and now he talks in sentences. He says the funniest things and he continues to keep learning and moving forward. He has the best sense of humor and he and I laugh so much. I have the great opportunity to hang out with him this summer. My favorite kid. I tell people G is like the kid I never had. He’s the light of my life and I love him very much. I’m so happy God put him and his family into my life. He’s one of my greatest blessings. He still works hard to overcome the things he can’t do but he never gives up. I look at how far he’s come to all the things he’s all ready accomplished and the list is huge and it makes me smile. 🙂

The faces of dementia

I spent the weekend with my dad. I do respite care for my mom so she can have a break. I’ve not spent the night here in a while so when I visit I don’t see how far the dementia has gotten. I’m not sure it’s something you get used to. I have a hard time with who my dad was to what dementia is doing to him now. He worked on the BC ferries and he did all the food in the ferries. He made all the decisions and he had a huge team of people he was in charge of. When he retired his job was split into 3 jobs. He’s used to organizing lots of people.

Recently where he lives they have built a new condo complex next door to them and part of the complex is replacing the fence between their property and the townhouses where my parents live. They had to take down the fence behind where they live so you can see through to the next road and into the site. My dad is really thrown him a lot and the stress has caused him to obsesse about what is happening on the other side. He believes that this is his project that he needs to fix. His problem though is the people are incompetent. Saturday morning he was worried about his pants getting dirty because he was off to work to fix the problem on the side of the fence. I told him I would come with him and he said well you can’t there is full of guys and I needed gloves. I was able to distract him and we went for a walk. We saw all the old cars that were in town for the Duce days. They drove down Cordova Bay road. My dad loved that. He talked about it a lot yesterday. It’s funny how the brain remembers some things and not other things. As soon as we would get home he’d be back out inspecting the job site. My poor mom she has to do this day in and day out. It’s so tough.

We went out for coffee to Matticks twice he loved that and I took him out for a drive and he’s super observant and notices things that I never really saw. He sees things that I may have passed 100 times straight away. We spent time down at the beach. He loves people watching. I love his sense of humor and we laugh lots. Saturday night we watched a really good movie and this morning I was reminded that my parents have done so much for me in the past and even though this hard for us all he’s the best father figure I’ve ever had in my life. I love him with all my heart and yes dementia is taking him away slowly but everytime I’m with him I make it the best time we can have. Through thick and thin we are in this journey.

Healing

This week I got the best news I’ve heard in a long time. I know God is the healer of all things and I’ve seen Him heal. Psalm 147:3. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” There are so many verses about God and His healing.

My friend said I can share this on my blog so I will let you read this in her own words because they are beautiful.

Cancer Journey #2
April 1st was my last day of work… I had become too sick to continue. My lingering cough and sudden weight loss since Christmas was flagged by my cancer Dr’s that I see every 3 months as follow up to my first bought of cancer. It wasn’t asthma, allergies to my new cat, or post covid cough – it was cancer in my lungs… spread from a few remaining cells from my previous breast cancer. More scans and tests revealed “innumerable nodules” of cancer in my lungs, stomach, lining around my lungs, and yes… it had spread to my bones in many places as well. My Dr’s were so sad for me and promised to help me remain as comfortable as possible and prolong my life somewhat, but there is no cure for this. The treatments were started very quickly (targeted therapy and hormone therapy, along with IV treatments to try and build bones up as we go) but I was told it was NOT a cure. The cancer cells would eventually figure out how to mutate so the treatments would no longer help. I was in shock initially but did think immediately, “this doesn’t have to be my story!”
Being a christian for my faith, I know that all things happen for a reason and is part of God’s plan if we have to go through valleys of suffering. Yes we can pray for healing, and many many people began praying for me from all over Canada. I had so much support from my closer family and friends. I didn’t go public with this as I didn’t want the rest of my life to be about cancer and have to face ongoing enquiries and pity (like my Drs) from the world. But so many great people who are christians still die from this disease or many other reasons… at a younger age. For me my grief was for not being there for my daughter’s in their young adult lives… maybe not seeing them marry, or meeting my grandchildren and supporting them through all that. Otherwise, I was “okay” with dieing but of course didn’t want to.
So I asked people to pray that the targeted therapy / chemo work twice as fast (before it learned how to fight back) and for healing. My first cycle of 3 weeks chemo (pills at home) gave me a huge relief from symptoms with my lungs. It gave me hope. Then I asked some to pray that my cells be “stupid” enough to not figure out how to fight back. I like specific prayers! I have had my blood counts drop to very low as well, sometimes making my treatment be held off for a week while I recuperate, as well as reduced the dosage so my body could tolerate it better.
The last few months I have had lots of time on the couch, or in my little patio rose garden… with time to think, meditate, listen to music and sermons… all seeking out answers to some tough questions. I sought peace in a dark journey. I thought about death a lot, and pushed back fear with prayer and determination that my last months would not be miserable. I came to the point where I have peace about where God is leading me, and sought purpose for the time I have left here on earth. I committed to trying to start up a “50’s plus” social group in my church and began feeling well enough to tackle things around my home again. And my thankfulness grew… when you live “on the razors edge” of life, knowing that your time is limited – you can get to a place where all blessings are treasured. “Greatness of heart is displayed by those who know how to hold suffering and gratitude at the same time”.
Yesterday I got the results back from a follow up CT scan (after 3.5 months of treatment). The scan showed only 2 nodules left in my lower right lung… about 7 mm in size. That’s it!!! It won’t show the cancer on the bones, but as you can see- most of the obvious cancer is gone in my lungs and stomach. I also believe its reduced in my bones as I have had no pain there either after the first couple weeks of treatment. It is a miracle… truly. I still have cancer, but with God all things are possible and I may be healed completely! Or I may live with some cancer for the rest of my life, but I will definitely live longer than the initial impression I was given! Regardless, God truly is good and has chosen to let me live longer and I am blessed to be able to share testimony about this. He knows when my days will be done here on earth, and I am so thankful to have him walk through this all with me. Times like these are tough, but they can bring you to a better place spiritually for sure.
So I just wanted to come out publicly where things are at for me! I will continue with current treatments – but my hope is that I can eventually stop or at least reduce the chemo. Then I can go back to some kind of work and have some energy and stamina back. I have been blessed with financial support from many sources throughout this – even though I have yet to see one dollar from medical EI, my needs are being met. Hallelujah! Feel free to share my testimony to those who may be encouraged by it.

I’m still in awe about this. The power of prayer is mighty and we’ve all been praying for full healing for Wendy. Thank you Lord for this. Wendy is one of my dear friends and I’ve known her a long time. I love this woman and I’m not sure if I was in the same situation I would handle it with so much grace. I know Wendy’s story will give others encouragement and I know that God’s not done with her story yet. She wants to help others in this journey.