Thursday, July 10, 2014

Brain Development and Childhood Trauma

I've told the story of my childhood experience at the age of seven, being bullied and hospitalized as a result.  I've been told that after this period of my life, that I was changed.  I was more withdrawn, more reserved, less connected with people.  Of course, it makes perfect sense that a person who has been traumatized by bullying, sexual abuse, violence, etc would be less trusting of their fellow human beings.  Hard to imagine it being otherwise.  However, and this is fascinating, there is research that shows that brain development can be affected by emotional and physical trauma.  And definitely not affected in a positive way.  The brain of a child is a fragile thing, and traumatic events can prevent it from developing in a normal, natural way.  What can be some affects without getting into huge detail?  The development of post-traumatic stress disorder is one.  I have no doubt that happened to me.  Others can be a deterioration of cognitive function, desensitization, lack of empathy and compassion, and so on.  These can be the result of developmental changes, and not simply due to superficial effects.  And, they can be lifelong.  Imagine the effects on children who are exposed to warfare, death, and destruction daily.  It breaks the heart.

The good news is that help is out there.  Thank God for that!  To anyone affected, investigate options.  No situation is hopeless.  Things may seem hopeless, but they aren't.  Where we are today doesn't have to be where we are permanently.  Things can be changed, but sometimes change is slow.  It happens over time, but we have to start the process.  I wish all human beings the best, and no harm to anyone.  We are all beings of Spirit.  The most important thing we can do is believe that and act accordingly.  That can result in great personal transformation. 

Peace, love and blessings . . .


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Aftermath of Childhood Bullying

Bullied as a child of seven, and hospitalized a few weeks.  Feeling like there was no way out.  Trying to fight back didn't work.  The bullying just became more vicious, more violent.  These were also seven year olds.  How can that happen?  Sadly, it does, and I was right there to experience it at its worst.  

After being released from the hospital, driving back to that small town, I tried not to cry.  My mother and father in the front seat, me in the back.  I didn't say a word.  It felt like I was going back to hell on earth.  All I wanted was to return to my old neighbourhood where I had spent the first seven years of my life.  Everything was safe there.  But this new place was awful for me.  No friends, people abusing me physically and verbally for no reason, other than I was the new kid and not one of "them".  An easy target for them.

I'm so glad I didn't grow up to become a bully.  Many of those bullied do exactly that.  It's how they express the rage they feel.  I've known some and seen it happen.  God knows I'd never want to hurt anyone.  I'm as peaceful a person as you'll find.  I wouldn't hurt a soul.  Would never lay a hand on another human being, unless assaulted and in self-defense.  But that's never happened, thank goodness.  Children need to be cherished and protected, not traumatized by bullying, physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, poverty, poor parenting.  It goes on and on.  The way we allow children to be damaged, it's shameful.  I don't remember ever being suicidal as a result of my experience.  Perhaps I was too young.  As we know, there have been teenage suicides resulting from bullying.  It's absolutely deplorable that this can happen.  Whenever I hear of one, I literally cry.  My heart is in anguish.  It makes me feel like throwing up, and once I did.  It stays with me for days when I hear or read of a suicide due to bullying.  It takes me back with vivid memories.  So unnecessary, such a waste of a young life.

God has taken me under his wing.  I'll do whatever he has in store for me.  It may involve some kind of anti-bullying aspect.  We'll see.  I'm just so happy that I heard God's voice, and realized it was seriously time to listen.  He sent someone to inspire me, and the emotional pain to force me to do something constructive about it.  My spirit has been cleansed by His grace.  I plan to keep my part of the bargain.

Peace, love and blessings . . .


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Are You Listening Now?

It's been a week since I was confronted with such emotional pain, it was overwhelming.  If that's Hell, I don't want it.  It was as if God was saying, Are you listening to me now?  I wanted relief so badly.  It was terrible.  I could hardly breathe.  I asked God to lessen my burden.  God, I will do whatever you want me to do.   

As I stated in my previous blog, I was bullied as a child, verbally abused, and beaten up.  I was hospitalized for a period of time.  I realize now that I never really got over it.  I tried to push it aside, and for the most part, I was successful.  But in the last year, it became more and more present in my thoughts.  It began to wear on me emotionally.  It came to a head last week, and I asked God for help.  A friend asked me yesterday, why didn't you deal with this years ago?  I had no answer, except that I thought it was under control for the most part.  I didn't talk to anyone about it.  I'm a person who thinks he can deal with anything.  The last year has taught me that some things are bigger than us.  We sometimes need help.  That was me.

My message is, never lose hope.  There is an answer.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever see myself writing about this in my blog. But it was meant to happen for a reason.  I understand that completely.  Perhaps my experiences will resonate with someone who needs help.  Childhood trauma is devastating in many cases, and often never really goes away.  But there is help.  Therapy can be tremendously helpful for many over time.  Medication can be helpful.  Spiritual counselling helps many.  Never lose hope, because help is available. 

Peace, love and blessings . . .


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Devil in the Corner . . .

My life for the most part has been fantastic.  Except for this.  I had a devil hiding in the corner.  Waiting for a moment of weakness.

This won't be fun, happy time reading.  So be forwarned . . .

I was the victim of verbal bullying and physical abuse as a child of seven.  Certainly not from within my family, but school classmates in a small town that my family had moved to.  We were not of the same ethnic/religious background as the vast majority of people in the town.  As the new kid, I became the target of merciless abuse by some of the other students in the class.  No one came to my defense, and no one befriended me.  It was hell on earth for a seven year old.  I tried to fight back a few times, but it was pointless.  So, I shut down.  Just completely shut down.  Couldn't function in any kind of normal way at all.  Almost zombie-like.

I remember being in a doctor's office with my parents and the doctor.  They left the room, and then returned.  We went straight to a hospital for sick children.  I stayed there for a few weeks.  Then I was released and put back into the same class.  But, some of the worst kids were no longer there.   It was better, but I still hated the environment.  I received intensive psychotherapy from a child psychiatrist for a couple of years.

Still, I've come to realize that the pain and darkness from those days didn't disappear completely.  It would come back to haunt me with occasional dark moods since then.  Sometimes, very dark.  Sometimes lashing out verbally, but never physically.  I could say terrible things to people I loved.  It hurt them.  It was awful.  I hated it.  At times I was able to catch myself.  The devil in the corner can be incredibly powerful at times.  It happened again three days ago.  It was awful.  I felt like a different person.  I WAS a different person.  It was the first time in a long, long while.  I realized I had to do something.  And I did.  My previous blog explains it all, so I won't rehash.

My point is this.  So many people were damaged in childhood, and never really healed properly.  Being male or female is a non-issue in thes situations.  They carry vestiges of that damage with them everyday.  A lot of it is repressed, but it can rear its ugly head out of nowhere.  And it isn't pretty when it does.  It's the devil in the corner.  But, there is always hope.  I know my burden has been lifted.  I KNOW it.  Again, my last post tells it all.  I'm not saying that my approach will work in everyone's case, but I do believe there are varied resources out there that help.  Because as long as that little devil is hiding over in the corner, ready to pounce, we're never going to truly be emotionally free.  Now, I feel free.

I never thought I'd ever write anything like my last two posts.  There was nothing written since late 2012.  I was done.  Fini.  But after seeing how a friend of mine has stared down depression, I felt it was incumbent upon me to tell my story too.  Get it out for people to read.  And see that they're not alone in trying to fend off the devil in the corner.  No situation is ever truly hopeless.  That monster CAN be defeated.

Peace, love and blessings . . .


Monday, June 30, 2014

Life Exposes Us All

We've all made mistakes.  Oh yeah.  We have.  We've all been on both sides of the "hurt" line in the sand.

My heart aches for those I've ever hurt.  I know the feeling.  It's not good.  Life goes both ways.  Good and bad.  Happy and sad. Up and down.  Been there many times.

I've been exposed.  More than once.  My weaknesses are on display for all to see.  I thank God for bringing those people into my life who have forced me to take a hard look in the mirror throughout my life.  I'm not always happy with what I see.  I'm not perfect and never will be.  

To those I've hurt, I sincerely apologize.  To those who've hurt me, I sincerely forgive.  My time is short, and it's time to be brutally honest, see my flaws, and put my life in the hands of God.

It's interesting how life plays out.  We all have a dark side, a Shadow.  For the most part, I've kept it at bay.  That isn't necessarily the best way to approach it.  As I drove on the highway yesterday, I felt a stabbing emotional pain.  All the pain I've ever inflicted, and all the pain I've ever experienced.  I've read that when we pass on, the first thing our soul feels is all the pain we've inflicted and experienced.  It felt like that yesterday, and it was too much to bear.  There was only one thing to do.  I knew it immediately.  Simply ask God to take it away.  Put everything in my life in the hands of God.  Let the power of God lead me through what remains of my life.  I feel like a different person, a lighter person.  A heavy burden has been supernaturally lifted.  A burden I thought I could deal with alone, until I realized I couldn't any longer. It got to the point where periods of darkness would occasionally overtake me.  I was bullied and damaged as a child requiring hospitalization for a few weeks, and that pain never really went away.  It was an ugly time in my life.  I truly believe that was at the root of much of the darkness I've experienced off and on since.  God was calling me yesterday, and I heard the call.  Thankfully.  I know there will be a time when I can help others, and show them that their burdens can be lifted too.  If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.  

There's always a brighter future, however long or short it may be.  We can make it happen.  And sometimes a deeper low precedes a higher high.

This post was in large part inspired by a friend who is battling depression.  I very much admire the strength displayed by this person.

Peace, love and blessings . . .