Trauma Happens.... It can come in a variety of ways
Here in Northern California, most especially Butte Co. and surrounding areas, we started our year off under the fear and distress of a possible Dam Spillway Failure. It's easy to say there is a lot of traumatic stress happening around here, so I was thrilled to be able to learn some new tools to help myself and others around me.
Did you know children suffering from traumatic stress symptoms generally have difficulty regulating their behaviors and emotions? It’s true! They may be clingy and fearful of new situations, easily frightened, difficult to console, and/or aggressive and impulsive. Also, they may have difficulty sleeping, loose recently acquired developmental skills, and show signs of regression in functioning and behavior. What is also true is that adults can equally struggle with self-regulation issues when faced with trauma induced stress. Trauma can actually permanently change the way your brain is wired! But there is HOPE … While trauma can change the way the brain functions, Trauma informed practices, practiced by loving, caring people around you, can help to reverse the negative effects of PTSD (Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder)
I went to this amazing conference / workshop called “Courageous Connections”, as a work training event. It was all about Trauma informed Practices. It was awesome and I learned a lot about how the brain functions (or does not) under traumatic stress. You see, I am a preschool teacher, and we care for a variety of children who may or may not be living with trauma in their lives.
The truth is, nearly everyone living has to deal with traumatic events at some point in their lives, but some people live in trauma induced stress on a daily basis. The reasons may vary, but the stress it causes is much the same. Trauma can caused by so many different things… it might be from a tragedy or loss, from abuse or neglect, from the effects of living in poverty or being homeless, from drug/ alcohol abuse in the home, or a number of other causes.
They talked about this scale of measuring if you are at risk called the ACE = adverse childhood experiences. You can learn more about that by reading this article https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/
Basically, it’s just a guideline…a link between childhood trauma and the chronic diseases people develop as adults, as well as social and emotional problems. This includes heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes and many autoimmune diseases, as well as depression, violence, being a victim of violence, and suicide. If you experienced other types of toxic stress over months or years, then those would likely increase your risk of health consequences….
There are 10 types of childhood trauma measured in the ACE Study. Five are personal: physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect. Five are related to other family members: a parent who’s an alcoholic, a mother who’s a victim of domestic violence, a family member in jail, a family member diagnosed with a mental illness, and the disappearance of a parent through divorce, death or abandonment. Each type of trauma counts as one. So a person who has lost a parent to tragedy, lives with an alcoholic, and sees abuse has an ACE score of 3. BUT, what does that mean? It means, the higher the ACE number the higher the risk factor of health issues later in life.
We also learned about the resilience factor… some people are more resilient than others in coping with traumatic stress. One factor in this may be early learned coping skills. Some people simply cope with stress better. Another factor could be the support given. People/ Children dealing with daily stress or trauma who have emotional support given by caring, loving adults, friends, and family tend to be able to learn better coping skills and bounce back from life’s little bumps faster than those who have no support team.
Bottom line here is everyone needs emotional support! People cope better and heal from trauma faster when there are understanding, and caring people in life to encourage , to support, to give a hug, to be a listener, and to just be there for one another. There is so much truth to the saying...“You don’t know the battle a person is going through, always be kind.”It is also true that a child who is respected; will become respectful, A child who is loved; will know how to love, A child who is treated with fairness; will become just, A child who is listened to; will learn great listening skills, A child who is treated with kindness; will learn to be a great friend, A child who is given choices; will become responsible, A child who is nourished in ALL these ways; will learn to be a leader. Considering we are ALL children of God, I believe, we as adults, can choose to re-train our brains & re-learn these traits as well, so that we might be able to better help ourselves & be the support another might need to heal from past or present traumic stress.
Learning to F.R.O.G. Fully Rely On God
I am lucky… My ACE score is pretty high (but I had a lot of loving support) and as I age I do see evidence of health related issues such as fighting depression, high cholesterol, and such. I have an ace in my pocket though… I know to whom I belong! I know I am loved by a Heavenly Father who is only too ready to shower me with his unconditional love and blessings, if only I will accept it. I know no matter what I go through in this life, no matter the struggles and trauma that may occur, God will never leave me alone! God is always on my side! He is right there ready to hold me until I can feel his peace once again. This encouragement alone has strengthened me and my faith not only in God, but in humanity too. I now know no matter what I go through, God’s plans are for a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Learning to fully Trust and Rely on God for EVERYTHING was the key and a turning point in healing for me. Laying all my burdens at the feet of Jesus and trusting God to be in control of every little thing, has been instrumental in moving forward through fear and doubt... even when this whole town was in great panic and distress over our spillway and the possibility of all that we knew to be distroyed by flash-flood, I had a calm and peace that could only come from God... I knew he was in control and leading us to the best possible solutions. ( We now feel safer, although spillway repairs and such are incomplete and expected to take at least a year to finish) My point here is trusting in God... Helps you heal. (At least it did for me)
If you are feeling alone or in need of encouragement in any way, please know you are never alone! God is waiting for you to lay all your troubles at the feet of Jesus today. He is not mad at you. He does not want you to suffer. He won’t react to your struggles in uncaring ways. He only wants to shower you with his love, healing, and blessings today and everyday.
Will you let HIM shine his love and light on you and through you today?
If you need prayer, we have an amazing prayer team just a click away... http://www.refreshinghope.org/pages/prayer
I now have two books out & a third one on the way! Have you checked them out yet? They are simple and childlike in format yet ageless in content and inspiration :) my intent anyway :) let me know if you agree! I know they will bless you and I'm eager to get your feedback! If you have had the opportunity to read "Heart Blessings A Children's Seek and Find" or "Beautiful Blessings & Babbling Brooks" Please connect with me by posting a comment below. Also, if you are a Facebook member and have been encouraging and praying for my new adventures in publishing I was hoping I could get you to hop over to my Author Page to like it and leave a comment please. The more likes I get, the more chance it has of reaching those in need of hope! Let's get these books out there so people can be blessed by them and we can watch the knowledge of God's love grow! Thanks so much for any and all your love, prayers, and support!
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Biblical References: Holy Bible
Childcare and Education Professionals Conference: Courageous Connections
ACE score: https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/
Photography by: Dainna WylesRead more at: www.refreshinghope.org