Anxiety and depression

Hi everyone, I was wondering if anyone feels worse after leaning that they suffer from childhood trauma. The people I was working for today asked me to come in and have lunch with them I told them I had to attend some other things at lunch . I have a very hard time being around people I used to drink to self medicate I went to group therapy for a year I have seen a therpist for 2 years and i feel that i am worst off as ever.

Original Post

Funny you should say this. I am a HS teacher and we had a whirlwind ACEs presentation. I took the test and scored a 7. This bothered me for quite some time. I have no advice but wanted to share you're not the only one who felt this way. If anything, it brought to mind what some kids could be going through day to day.

Hello Brian. I know what you mean. Bin there.
To know that you were abused is not enough. The most overlooked symptoms of depression, related to past experience leave damaging marks. To eliminate the obvious one first I would suggest, ask you primary doctor to order a blood “Cortisol”, “Vitamin D” and “Serotonin” test as a starter. If your doctor indicate in the order “medically necessary” you don’t have to pay for. 

Hello Brian, my short answer would be to say that yes, this is normal, and it can be for a number of reasons. One reason can be the realization that your childhood was not quite as you thought it was. That can trigger a grieving process, a sense of loss, of confusion. It can also trigger doubt and confusion about who you really are - identity. Another is that inevitably when you start connecting with past trauma you were not consciously aware of, you also start stirring up feelings you had pushed out of your conscious awareness. Sometimes the feelings you have about remembering trauma are actually feelings you had at the time and pushed away or disconnected from in order to cope. In this way, feelings can actually constitute memories; memories exist in all the senses, not only in thoughts.

This is a great comment and I personally went through the same process. The anger and disappointment I felt was hard to process, especially because the traumatic events still weren't known to my family (and still aren't). Fortunately, I have an extremely supportive husband and a friend I could trust to talk things out with them. Having a psychologist and a psychiatrist was also so important for my personal growth.  Years later, I now only see a psychologist and I no longer see her every month. Getting through it didn't happen in a linear way, but I began by trying my hardest to do all the things my brain needed: eating healthy, exercising, challenging my negative thoughts (especially those about myself), and learning many other strategies that worked for me. 

I think Philippe said it best - once you realize what has happened to you and why you are "the way you are", the feeling of loss of identity is paramount. Start there. Begin actively thinking, and maybe writing down, things about yourself that are true to you. I like to journal and write down my negative thoughts and then compare them to the primary cognitive distortions (All-or-Nothing Thinking, Jumping to Conclusions - Future Telling, etc). It was a safe way to call myself out.

Start being honest about how you feel to those around you, even if you receive backlash at first because they have years of amo to use against you and show you "who you really are". Understand their perspective but stay true to yourself. I often responded with, "yeah I used to think that, but not anymore.." 

In order to get there, I read certain books and got something life-altering from each of them, including different ways to learn who I really was. Don't give up! You are worth it. 

"Running on Empty: Overcoming Your Childhood Emotional Neglect" by Jonice Webb. 

"Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself" by Melanie Beattie. 

"It's Not Always Depression: Working the Change Triangle to Listen to the Body, Discover Core Emotions, and Connect to Your Authentic Self" by Hilary Jacobs Hendel

"The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" by Mark Manson. 

I thank everyone for there caring reply. I am 50 now and it has been figured that I have suffered with this for about 45 years. This anxiety thing is a double edge sword by avoiding the situation yesterday now gives me anxiety because I feel that I let people down and maybe make people think I don't like them and then for days it causes great hopelessness. And the more I try not thinking about it the more I think about it PTSD is a monster. I live in the thumb of MI and I'm wondering if anyone knows of any support groups in this area. 

BRIAN BENSINGER posted:

Hi everyone, I was wondering if anyone feels worse after leaning that they suffer from childhood trauma. The people I was working for today asked me to come in and have lunch with them I told them I had to attend some other things at lunch . I have a very hard time being around people I used to drink to self medicate I went to group therapy for a year I have seen a therpist for 2 years and i feel that i am worst off as ever.

Hi, dear one...

yes. When I first started digging through... (for a life time it was the white hot pot in the corner of the stove... I knew how to avoid it, but...)... the going was incredibly tough.

i must have bought every self-help book on trauma, childhood trauma, emotional abuse...  that existed. I under.ined, read, re-read... it was intense.

i found a good counselor (PhD in trauma stuff). I saw her twice a week for a while.

it... was... intense.

What helped? I found others. I learned of Alternatives conferences. They are the creme de la creme of insight on this. Find National Empowerment Center online. They will have more information. Another resource? Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Center. And Intentional Peer Support. The people behind these organizations deeply know trauma... and RECOVERY.

I’m a retired teacher. I didn’t know this all existed until 2012. I wish I had learned earlier.

another resource? Peerly human ...

Please look... ❤️❤️❤️👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

 

The worst part for me was going through childhood without me or anyone else knowing the way I acted was from what doctors did to me while being born and shortly after. Figuring out my behaviors and state of health were from trauma was a comforting revelation. Fortunately, I found EFT tapping and have been able to reduce the things that trigger me into that depressing, mind numbing freeze state.

Probably the difference is that my trauma was from people I don't know. My family was fairly healthy so I have a good resilience score. Makes sense that finding out the people who were supposed to protect you were the ones that inflicted the damage would be upsetting.

Hi Brian, I hear - and feel for - you. The gradual (or sudden) realization of how you have coped, can be an unsettling and, at times, harrowing experience. I've been walking that rocky road for nearly a decade; but more successfully (and gratefully!) in the past few years, since first learning about ACEs. I'd like to suggest one more place where you might seek insight, advice, and support. If you're on Facebook, the closed group called "Healing Journey for C-PTSD from Developmental Trauma" has been very valuable to me, especially because I finally found a community of ACErs who speak the same 'language.' There are strict posting rules (say, about trigger warnings) and zero tolerance for shaming. I wish you much healing and good health.

Hi Brian,

Thanks for bringing up this discussion. I have a different take from most here. When I found out about ACEs I was relieved. I knew my childhood wasn't great but I had no idea the actual impact it could potentially have on me and others like me. When I found out there was a scientific reason why I had such struggles in adulthood, I felt validated.

I have since been a real proponent of public access to education about ACEs. But I see Philippe's point that if people thought they had an ideal early life and that illusion gets burst that can be destabilizing. I have devoured all of Alice Miller's books. She's the one who helped me understand my experiences weren't personal although I was the one who experienced them. And my parents weren't to blame because they raised me in a social and historical context of child rearing philosophy that has persisted for centuries. 

A few key things I have learned along the way have been

#1 - Get professional help. I have been very fortunate to have been helped by a safe, compassionate, and informed therapist. There are checklists online for assessing the fit of a therapist for you. I highly recommend using something because we hear far too often that some therapists can cause more damage than help. Remember you are the client, you get to choose who you hire.

#2 - Take responsibility for your own recovery. I have read books, taken courses, intentionally connected with people with like interests (not just mental health but hobbies etc.) to broaden my social connections. I directed my therapy sessions. I didn't wait for my therapist to come up with things to discuss. I went to my sessions prepared and did the work he assigned me afterwards.

#3 - Figure out who you are as an autonomous being. Those of us who have experienced childhood trauma usually have issues with enmeshment - our identity is tied up with our family. We didn't individuate when we developmentally should have because we weren't allowed to. Figure out what kinds of eggs you like (from Runaway Bride), figure out what kind of job you really want, not the kind you were expected to do, etc.

#4 - Learn a healthy perspective of authority. Again, those of us who were abused or neglected in childhood learned skewed perceptions of authority. Learn your own authority by  figuring out your competencies and strengths and also gaps of knowledge, because what we don't know is key knowledge as well. Taking back or on your power is so important. No one can make us do what we don't want to do when we understand power dynamics. Of course there's a price for not complying, but we actually have our own authority to make our own decisions about ourselves, and that may be to go along to get along, but it's no longer someone else's power we're succumbing to. We're making the conscious informed choice ourselves when we own our own authority. 

I also started my own peer support group since there wasn't one in my community for adults dealing with childhood trauma. 

It's hard work to rid our psyches of the lies we learned about ourselves, others and the world during our childhood, but it is worth it. You are worth it. Feel free to connect privately if you like. 

In solidarity, 

Elizabeth Perry 

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Elizabeth PerryCarey S. Sipp (ACEs Connection Staff)
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