Reflections of childhood trauma

Season’s greetings to you all

How’s the year been for you? 

For me, this year has been a roller coaster of emotions. I have been reflecting a lot this year, especially recently on my childhood. I will keep it brief. 

I attended a training on trauma informed care, a care approach that helps identify the signs/symptoms of trauma, to improve how we support those with adverse childhood experiences. 

What is trauma? 

Trauma is an emotional response to an experience/event. It can be from a single experience, repeated experiences or prolonged exposure to variety/different traumatic events.  

It was interesting to note how much childhood trauma i.e. ‘adverse traumatic events’ can have such profound long lasting effects on our physical health, social connections, how we react and relate to other events in our lives, and increase our risk taking behaviours throughout our lives. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are any traumatic event/s that occurred before the age of 18. 

Check out the ACEs check list, how many did you tick off?

I remember going through the ACEs list and thinking “eh I can tick off more than half of these items on the list” and it made me reflect back on my own childhood and realise that some things that seemed normal were actually not normal. For example beating, some people report that they came out fine but did they though? Children brought up in domestic abuse households are reportedly more likely to become domestic abusers compared to those raised in non-domestic violent households. Just because you think it hasn’t affected you it doesn’t mean it hasn’t. It’s important to identify harmful behaviours that can appear oblivious to us, to help us improve our wellbeing.  A study listed below showed that adults who had experienced 4 or more of the identified items in the questionnaire were 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than those who hadn’t and more likely to develop depression as well in their adult lives. The more participants scored on the questionnaire, the more their lifespan shortened.  Showing a correlation with quality of life and childhood trauma. 

I know and understand that our responses are all different and it often depends on how the trauma was perceived and the support after the events/experiences that make a difference. I believe everyone in life needs therapy to identify their traumas in a safe space/way. Types of trauma include and not limited to neglect of any kind emotional/physical, not having enough to eat or clean cloths intentional or not, physical/sexual abuse, witnessing violence, growing up with household member with a mental illness (I don’t think this gets talked about enough in the black community) and its impact on children development.

Often enough speaking about our childhood experiences can bring up a lot of emotions. Now that we are coming up to the festive period’s families tend to be on our minds, discussing childhood experiences with parents and caregivers is another battle, they did what they felt was best, we need to heal and do what’s best for our children and future generations. Make sure you surround yourself with those who make you laugh and bring joy. 

Please check out the readings below and have a watch of the video, hope you find it interesting and useful. We are all fighting battles, some of them from childhood that we have never discussed with others. I think it’s important to know that you are not alone in your feelings and thoughts and to always reach out for support. We have to start somewhere, first place is within ourselves, let’s start the journey.  I want us to look into 2022 with an open mind, let’s make it a year of healing and learning to overcome our negative experiences. 

Have a merry festive season and happy new year’s. See you all next year with more insightful conversations around mental health and looking after our wellbeing ☺ 

Extra reading:

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