Friday, July 3, 2015

Link Between Childhood Trauma and Health

The chronic unpredictable stressors and trauma we suffer as children not only shape our emotional lives, but they affect our physical health and longevity.

Donna Jackson Nakazawa, author of a terrific new book, Childhood Disrupted, explains the link between emotional trauma and chronic adult illnesses.  Donna's book is available in stores and on Amazon on July 7.

I highly recommend that you read this groundbreaking book, which shows why you or someone you know may have become locked in pain—and what you can do to recover.


Cassandra said...

I have maintained this position for years. Having done research and worked with abuse survivors, as well as being one myself, it was a small matter for me to notice that the vast majority of those in major pain that haunt the fibromyalgia message boards and Facebook groups had been abused in one way or another, usually years and years before the pain and sickness started. My theory is that being abused puts a body under such constant and intense stress that the parts of the body responsible for the "fight/flight/freeze" response that comes from a stressful situation are overloaded, burnt out. The autonomic nervous system begins to short out and break down, and then our bodies begin to go haywire since the ANS isn't working properly. Dysautonomia can be described as the malfunction of the autonomic nervous system as well. I firmly believe that chronic stress leads to an autoimmune reaction in some people, depending on other factors of course.

Barbara Kivowitz said...

Very well expressed, Cassandra. Thank you! A physician I know was doing research on how trauma and pain affect tissue memory. And a poet I know used the phrase written in bone to describe how our experiences are engraved not just in memory, but on our bones.

Chris Einhorn said...

With a few minor exceptions, I am, B"H, in quite good health myself and generally have been for the majority of life. I've survived a really quite amazingly bad childhood, not physically abusive as much as religiously/psychologically…however much was tied to things that happened at nights, such as being woken up to be told you were going to hell or had displeased God for something you did during the day, being made to confess things you didn't do so adults would stop harassing you, etc. I'll leave most of the detail aside, but what I do want to say is that these experiences have permanantly scarred the part of my brain that would naturally cause me to be able to fall asleep. I've been through quite a lot of therapy, and am not consciously afraid (and at this point likely not much unconsciously either, I've really done a lot of work around this, and the offending parties are all but one deceased), I have a solid sleep hygiene, things always planned for when I wake up in the middle of the night, have peaceful rests…but without the aid of drugs I quite simply cannot fall asleep. The neural pathways that make normal folks sleep when they are tired don't fire for me. I can feel 'sleepy', but can and have been up for DAYS without the aid of drugging myself to sleep. I am lucky in that something in a half dose and over the counter is just enough to take the edge off, but the need for sleep is a huge one (clearly). I believe if I had not been so proactive in seeking out medical help, I might not be in the position I'm in. Without addressing my own childhood abuse-linked medical issue, I wouldn't be in the position now to potentially help others address theirs. I certainly wouldn't be sane. It is one thing to parrot off to folks that you survived your childhood, that your parents/abusers/whomever have no more power over you, and these are all things that before I knew better I have said myself (both TO myself, and to others). The fact is that yes, we can overcome vast things. The truth is also that even and sometimes especially physically, we have to acknowledge and address the past to have the possibility of thriving in the present.