Friday, April 29, 2016. Well, it’s been nearly 24 hours since I wrote the post below. I am not saying it’s a wise one to post live! I’ve thought quite about the Devil’s Advocate stance much of what I put down is taking. Do I agree with myself?
I doubt it. Not 100%, that’s for sure! The topic of ACEs is too new and too vast for me to comprehend! Are any of my voiced concerns valid? I have no idea.
What I long for is an ACEs Think Tank!
So the only real reason I am posting what I wrote last night is to preserve my own words for my own considerations at some later date. Otherwise I will lose these thoughts. Would losing them be preferable to posting them? Very possibly so!
What all of this leads me to realize is that just as surviving early severe trauma is itself a paradox – in that we have survived the unsurvivable – so, too, does any serious effort to comprehend what healing AND stopping severe trauma entails is a face-on exercise in diving into such a paradox whether one can swim or not.
Are we talking about a paradox that might exist in that we are trying to consider healing WHAT CANNOT TRULY BE HEALED? After all, altered physiological development in response to severe early trauma CANNOT all be undone – or redone – once early critical stages of body-brain development have passed. This isn’t doleful thinking. This is fact.
Many of us developed to endure and survive within, as Dr. Martin Teicher reports, a malevolent world and in many important ways we will NEVER truly be able to adapt to a more benign world.
Anyway – please feel free to express any response you might have to what I have written lower down in this post in a comment! I have a LOT of questions and I claim no answers!
Thursday, April 28, 2016. I have a dear friend I first met in 1971 when I arrived in Fargo for the first time that comes faithfully to fetch me once a week (I remain unable to drive in this city) and spends three hours helping me with errands as we visit. Today we were fortunately able to locate an essential oil that has been recommended to me for the increasing problems I am having with anxiety especially as it is devastating my digestive system.
This is, I see tonight as I read more about it, quite the healing agent! I had never heard of Vetimer Essential Oil before. I believe it is already helping my (traumatized) nervous system calm down. If this helps me, I doubt I will be without it for the rest of my life.
I have been thinking of my father’s mother lately as I struggle with ‘my stuff’. I met her very few times in my childhood. My mother hated her (no surprise there) and ‘made’ my father disown her and all the rest of his family.
After nearly 40 years of horrific marriage to Mother, my father divorced her and then so regretted that he had let his family go. His father and only brother had died of alcoholism by that time and his sister was dying of it. His mother and father were long dead – and it was all these years later that my dad finally grieved.
We have known always that there were “sensitives” on Mother’s side of the family; one of my brothers believes all the way back to Druids. Yet I am remembering that after his divorce Dad came to visit me and among the things he told me was the fact that, as he put it, “My mother never left the house unless she HAD to shop for food.”
I have since thought (he told me this in 1985) that his mother was probably depressed. This week it has struck me that, yes, she may well have been depressed but it is also very possible she suffered from anxiety and “tummy problems” herself. This is AWFUL (IBS) to cope with – and to live with – if one ever wants to leave home!
This train of thinking has led me to understand that the super sensitive nature of my existence has very probably come from BOTH sides of my family tree! Yes, I would no doubt have had this super sensitive nature even if I had been provided with a civilized adequate infancy and childhood.
Given the fact that my experience was HELL for the first 18 years of my life, leading to all kinds of trauma altered changes to my developing physiology, my super sensitive DNA has taken epigenetic detours into problemville.
Making this two-sides-of-the-family connection seems important to me. One of my sisters has the only pictures of my paternal grandmother. I am going to ask her to scan them for me. SOON!
Now, I want to mention again the book — The ACEs Revolution!: The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (Jan 25, 2016) by John Richard Trayser.
Because there is little ease about my life right now I cannot actually dive in and devour the text of this book. However, I can chip away at it bit by bit.
I am not intending to TRASH the author or his book. But I AM going to note my reactions which are entirely valid (and important) TO ME!
On page 6 of the book’s introduction, after a brief description of the CDC ACE study and its findings, the author moves on to “The Impact of ACEs” where he writes words that are NOT comforting to me as an informed severe early trauma survivor. I cannot say I DISAGREE with what Trayser is saying. But neither can I ignore that very familiar sort of twinge-within that always acts as a warning signal to alert me to the very strong possibility that there is a HUGE part of MY reality missing in this author’s perspective – and therefore it will be missing in connection to most other early severe abuse and neglect trauma survivors.
This is a very subtle kind of detection system within. It began for me a decade ago when I was reading books written by Dr. Alan N. Schore and others who – at the end of very few chapters – now and then referred to ABUSED and TERRORIZED infants within the Disorganized-Disoriented Insecure category. Almost ALWAYS the prognosis for these victims was inevitable lifelong pathology. (I encourage serious students of trauma altered development to read the books that will appear when you click on Schore’s name here. They have sure gone down in price, I note!)
I came up with a very simple image that described the discrepancies I encountered: People could have all kinds of rotten childhoods, even some pretty scary infancies (I described them as at least being “on the table”) and at least they would be given considered page-space. But when it came to those who, like me, had lived through HELL ITSELF from birth, we fall to the floor and NOBODY sees us there. There was barely even a mention of a possibility that true INFANT ABUSE DOES EXIST in these scientific WRITING even among the most influential of developmental neurobiologists.
Then I at least discovered Dr. Martin Teicher’s work (this article is a must read – CLICK HERE), but I STILL did not feel that he understood the totally different kind of experience a truly harmed infant-child has or the full seriousness of the physiological changes that result. (Dr. Bruce Perry at least does!)
I in no way ever diminish anyone’s suffering!! What I do know is that there is another level of MORE harm than most people can ever imagine. And it is to this possibility of realness that I KNOW for a fact and also KNOW is true for many who have visited this blog that my inner caution mechanism responds when I sense in somebody’s writing that they have no real idea what this other level of reality could possibly be like.
And, even given THIS concern, beginning with what I am going to present below, I am already wondering why this author and so many others start right off with MONETARY-related social concerns rather than concerns of the heart, as I would call them.
What of the SUFFERING and BROKEN HEARTS of the children Trayser is alluding to? Doesn’t that COME FIRST above ALL OTHER CONSIDERATIONS – that these children are being HARMED AND HURT? They are HURTING people!! That matters a whole lot more to me than if they are “ready to learn” for HEAVEN’S SAKE!
I bet most authors would say in their own defense, “Of course I care about their personal pain and suffering!” Well then, SAY THAT FROM YOUR HEART!
As in: So, you had Cherrios for breakfast! OK. Count that as a yes. But did this you eat two little Os – a box of little Os – or 42 SEMIS full of little Os? How many days, weeks, months, years did you eat (how many of) these little Os?
Degrees of harm DO matter and I am concerned they get left out of consideration within ACEs discussions as if they DO NOT matter because they cannot be easily measured statistically in ACEs research.
This is a very important and valid concern. The more “press” ACEs get the more danger there is in inadvertently and ignorantly harming those who have already suffered the most and are most likely do so for the duration of their lifetime. Innocently harming anyone for any reason does NOT invalidate responsibility – even when accountability is absent.
We cannot afford to depersonalize the EXPERIENCES of those with high ACE scores by ignoring the context and specificity of harm to individuals (which includes degrees of brutality, duration of threat, terror and torture, age of victim, etc.) if we wish to move forward to change the world for the better with related findings.
As this positive ACEs related work continues we cannot leave out anyone. We must include in ALL of our thinking the worst of the worst possible scenarios we don’t WANT to imagine. They are real. They happen. And COSTS MUST include all matters of HEART and not only what conveniently can be recognized by distanced minds.
Everyone matters. EVERYONE! Because we are all HUMAN BEINGS, not statistics to be measured, generalized about, categorized or summed up as being “ready to learn” – or as anything else. We cannot be measured by dollar signs on any level – ever.
Now, let’s see if I stick to my own words by the time I finish including this small segment from Trayser’s book written (pages 6-7) under a subheading “Healthcare” — (The period-dot sequences in text are the author’s, not mine.)
“Here is where I need to use the word REVOLUTION. I believe the greatest possible impact for using the ACE Study to improve the lives of our entire world today lies in the Pediatric segment. There have been some breakthroughs in this arena…but to my way of thinking…not quick enough. And no, it’s not the ACE score of the children I am referencing, but the use of the ACE questionnaire with the parents…ALL parents!
“The only way to change the direction of our society that continues to pass on dysfunction and simply throw more resources at future social services is to suck up our courage and find the understanding to give every incoming pediatric parent the ACE test. Then and only then will we pierce the veil of shame and vulnerability that prevents us from facing the rising epidemic of lost and lonely children that are dropped off at our schools…not ready to learn because of their ACE issues. I reference the Children’s Clinic of Portland, Oregon as the test case for the new wave of caring put into Healthcare. Doctors Teri Pettersen and RJ Gillespie initially used ACE testing on parents and now all 37 doctors follow their regimen. Their practice is not just about sore throats and fevers…they are there to support families! They found that instead of feeling a sense of invasion of privacy with the parents, they found a sense of relief. There are few parents who have a child with the sole intention of harming that child physically or emotionally. But if that is the only childhood that you knew, who, how and where are you supposed to go for help in changing that behavior? The caring manner that is used in this approach is the most important issue in parenting and healthcare in our country today. I challenge every single pediatric practice to look into the success of the children’s Clinic of Portland. There are lives in the balance today of our newborn children who are in need of proper guidance, love and support. Once we find a way to let each child grow up comfortable in their own skin, we will find that the teachers of our country will have the opportunity to teach children who are ready to learn.
“Secondarily, as the original ACE Study found, it is imperative to have a full view of the patient sitting in front of you. Only seeing the physical person leaves a great deal of emotional data out of the picture. I believe that every single phase of healthcare, from pediatrics to cancer to dietary counseling needs to utilize the holistic approach that the ACE Study allows. It is no different than buying a new laptop computer, having it get a virus and expecting it to perform well. I see in the near future that the ACEs REVOLUTION will become a standard in our world and healthcare can benefit from it in the most significant ways. There is no denying the data is helping to treat the whole patient and not just the symptoms that get treated without knowing the whole picture of the patient’s life.”
OK – where do I stand with my own thoughts now?
PLEASE take the time to read this article about the ACEs work being done at Portland’s Children’s Clinic, which includes the following:
Pediatricians screen parents for ACEs to improve health of babies
“The most important question, of course, is: Has asking these questions…does having this conversation…make a difference in children’s health?
“It’s too soon to have any quantifiable data, but all the pediatricians have been able to offer parents guidance and resources that the parents would not have received if the ACE questions had not been asked.”
I absolutely DO believe that the work being done at this clinic is CRITICALLY IMPORTANT! I do not believe that this work is harming anyone. Dare I add “Not yet?”
Good information is being offered to these parents. How will the impact of these efforts be measured? Is this more than a tiny drop in Dear Liza’s proverbial bucket when it comes to improving very many infants’ and children’s lives?
We have to start somewhere!
And we have to keep the dialogues completely open to include and consider every point of view. We are redefining Quality of Life as the ACEs Study gives us new ways to look at who gets what kind of life based on the basics of ACE questions.
For the first time these kinds of discussions are going widely public. It’s an important place we can start to widen the fields of change.
Is it the same thing to say “We have to be realistic” as it is to say “We have to face reality” when it comes to making sense of ACEs?
Take this information, for example:
How do we heal trauma suffered by Native communities?
by GABOR MATE’
How does ANYONE who is not a community described in this article begin to comprehend THAT reality? How does someone such as Trayser is with ZERO ACEs begin to comprehend such a reality?
I do wonder….
I also want to draw attention to this short posting by Trayser:
“My new book “The ACEs Revolution” was just published here in Nashville. It is up on CreateSpace and Amazon and is available as a Kindle as well. Would love your opinion…
“Given that there is so much about The ACE Study as science, I have focused more on the impact on ALL of our lives…even those who are ZEROs, and predominately on HOPE and what a Caring family looks like, feels like, talks about and does their children.
“Without HOPE for the future…ACE scores are simply a scorecard of sadness. My adopted 18 year old granddaughter has made this VERY PERSONAL for me. She is a 7…but says she feels like a ZERO since my son adopted her and her brother 9 years ago. Fact not Fate is a reality for her.
“Hearing so much about resilience these days, as she and I talked about coming out of the shadows, we decided to create a website called NoACEs.CLUB. It is a very secure site where people can tell their story…and make the first step toward Resilience. I guide students there when I speak and JohnTrayser.com gives them connections to the state of Tennessee ACE report and also a link to take the ACE test.
“We posted a song I wrote for her to sing on NoACEs.CLUB…after my wife told me what they talked about at lunch one day. As a junior in High School she was trying to decide how badly she needed to be with the “cool kids” who were starting to drink and smoke. The song is called Right is Right! The words are something every middle school thru College student should hear. Her voice will knock your heart for a loop…still makes me cry. It is free. She wants to start a club at the University of Illinois call NoACES.CLUB to reach out to those who have not found someone to care…YET. The site also has a link to take the ACE Test. Any thoughts about that? Would love to start NoACEs.CLUB at ALL schools so students wouldn’t feel so alone….”
(There are comments to read at this link, also.)
Here is our first book out in ebook format. Click here to view or purchase–
Story Without Words: How Did Child Abuse Break My Mother?
It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge. A daring book – for daring readers – about a really tough subject.
“Story Without Words is a forensic biography/autobiography in which the author, Linda Danielson, explores three generations of her family history to help understand the horrific abuse she was subjected to from birth at her mother’s hands. Her mother Mildred had a psychotic break while delivering Linda, her second of six children and the only one of whom she targeted directly for abuse. The delivery culminated in Mildred being convinced that Linda had been sent by the devil to kill her, and until Linda left home at age 18 for boot camp, she was subjected to unrelenting abuse.
“Story Without Words is a creative and compassionate exploration of early factors that may have contributed to Mildred’s abusive trajectory. The author seeks to give words to her experiences as a child abuse survivor; Story Without Words is unique in providing the words of the abuser and the abused in one volume. The author seeks to provide insight for others who were themselves abused, professionals who wish to learn more about the inner world of survivors, and concerned individuals who wish to help stop the storm of child abuse in our society.”
Tags: adult attachment disorders, adult reactive attachment disorder, anxiety disorders,borderline mother, borderline personality disorder, brain development, child abuse,depression,derealization, disorganized disoriented insecure attachment disorder,dissociation,dissociative identity disorder, empathy, infant abuse, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),protective factors, PTSD, resiliency, resiliency factors, risk factors, shame