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about 6 hours ago

"John* had seemed less like himself lately, and his wife Celeste* had started to notice. He laughed less, and when he was at home all he wanted to do was sleep. They had only been married for a few years, so it was very noticeable when John's libido suddenly went down the drain.

Celeste wondered, what happened to her once happy-go-lucky husband? The guy who used to be the life of the party now just went to work, school, and hardly did anything else. She grew concerned. When she would ask him what was wrong, he would just shrug his shoulders. After a while, she took her concerns to a family member, who was a retired therapist. The therapist recommended that Celeste talk to John and help him get in to see someone."

There is so much important information in this article, you should go read it even if you're loved ones don't currently exhibit any signs of depression. It's so important that we look out for each other and know the signs. Let's face it, statistics indicate that at some point, you are going to know someone dealing with depression, if you don't yourself. How much better off would we all be if we knew the signs, and what to do.

Believe me, even though it's been years since I've had to deal with my won depression, my wife knows what to look for, and what to do.

And I feel a lot better knowing that she does.

about 6 hours ago

"All I know is that every survivor has a right to tell their story because we did nothing wrong."

However you decide to tell your story, whether it be publicly on the internet or in a memoir, or privately to a few friends, you should never, ever be ashamed to tell it. As Rachel says, you did nothing wrong, why should you be the one dealing with shame?

You shouldn't, you should be celebrated as the one who survived and overcame, not shamed into silence.

Apr 27, 16

When the subject of child sexual abuse comes up, we get uncomfortable. In this inspirational talk by Jill Tolles, we are challenged to find the courage to have this conversation and be a hero for the 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys who are effected by this silent epidemic.<br /><br />Jill Tolles has taught Communication Studies for the past 10 years at the University of Nevada, Reno and is a member of the teaching faculty at the National Judicial College.

Apr 26, 16

Our media generally frames victims of sexual abuse as white and female. And the national discourse on the subject of molestation and rape is largely within a heteronormative paradigm. The concept of male-on-male child sexual abuse is seen as something that rarely happens; when it does, the perpetrator is often dismissed as a sexually deviant recluse.<br /><br /><br />The idea of mainstream, straight-identified men—prominent, successful ones, even—molesting young boys is still deemed an anomaly. That misconception may prove all the more confounding for young black boys in a society in which role models are hard to come by.

This is all true. As a white male, I see it. I can't imagine how much more that goes for African-American men. Our culture refuses to see men as victims because their somehow afraid that will diminish the narrative of women as the victim, always.

And this gets doubled if the abuser is a woman.

But, sexual abuse is sexual abuse. Gender doesn't matter!

Apr 23, 16

"WASHINGTON — Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, a federal data analysis has found, with increases in every age group except older adults. The rise was particularly steep for women. It was also substantial among middle-aged Americans, sending a signal of deep anguish from a group whose suicide rates had been stable or falling since the 1950s.

The suicide rate for middle-aged women, ages 45 to 64, jumped by 63 percent over the period of the study, while it rose by 43 percent for men in that age range, the sharpest increase for males of any age. The overall suicide rate rose by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, which released the study on Friday."

Clearly, we are doing something wrong, and it is costing people their lives.

Apr 23, 16

Research is just now beginning to understand how profoundly the emotional trauma of early child hood affects a person as an adult. They realized that if not healed, these early childhood emotional wounds, and the subconscious attitudes adopted because of them, would dictate the adult’s reaction to, and path through, life. Thus we walk around looking like and trying to act like adults, while reacting to life out of the emotional wounds and attitudes of childhood. We keep repeating the patterns of abandonment, abuse, and deprivation that we experienced in childhood.

This post has some good information, but also a questionnaire that can help you determine if childhood abuse is still having a negative impact on your day to day life without you even realizing it.

Take a look!

Apr 23, 16

There are several hypotheses on why re-victimization happens. Children come to view themselves as “damaged goods” who don’t deserve or shouldn’t expect better. Abused children aren’t able to recognize safe from unsafe people, and if they do, they don’t have the internal or external resources to protect themselves from danger.<br /><br />In a recently published study, a team of researchers from the University of Washington found that substance misuse, particularly blackout drinking, predicted incapacitated sexual re-victimization.<br /><br />

This is all something that many of us recognize, if not in ourselves, than in other survivors we have known. And I do believe that seeing ourselves as damaged is a big part of that, which is sad because surviving should teach us that we are strong, and can survive anything.

That's the truth we struggle to learn.

Apr 23, 16

"Nearly 70,000 pictures and videos showing child sex abuse have been removed from the internet in the past year, the UK charity leading the efforts to combat the abuse has said."

This is good work being done by the IWF, and while it's scary to think about how many images there are out there, it's good to know that they are making a difference. Let's hope they continue to do so!

Apr 13, 16

Because of the perceived risk in revealing this news, too many people suffer in silence. Too many pull themselves together to face the world, but alone at home they crumble in shame, guilt, and agonizing pain. The pain is the worst part of it, and while feeling it you are sure this is the only way you have felt and the only way you will ever feel again. That is why ending the charade is so important. As I have become more open about my illness, with my husband, my doctors, my church friends and even my siblings, it is easier to win the battles. The storms still roll in, but I have many willing hands ready to hold an umbrella for me until it passes. That is why if you find out someone you know and love has depression, your reaction will make a difference. It is why if you are struggling with mental illness, you must take down your mask.

Might I add, there is a really, really high likelihood that someone you know does have depression.

Apr 13, 16

So, while the experience of depression is relatively unique to each individual who suffers from it, there are certain characteristics that ring true for all of us who’ve been there—namely (and perhaps most importantly in many cases) what depression is not:

Go read the list, but needless to say, I agree, depression is not funny, glamorous, a decision, finite, or a source of shame.

Don't treat it as such.

Apr 12, 16

In approximately 23% of child abuse cases, children recant (take-back) allegations of abuse. Research has been conducted to better understand why children do this: the #1 reason children recant abuse allegations is their primary, non-offending caregiver (which in the vast majority of cases is the mother) DOES NOT believe them.

Makes sense to me, as a child if I go out on a limb by disclosing what is happening and there is the slightest indication that doing so will lead not to it stopping, but to further problems, I'm going to take it back pretty fast. Disclosing to one parent, and getting an indication that they don't support me isn't going to make me want to go forward.

Apr 12, 16

Now Lloyd has been hospitalized for schizophrenia following a ten-month stint in jail, which occurred after he led South Carolina police on a high-speech car chase last June. Predictably, a great deal of the reaction from the Internet has ranged from unsympathetic to downright cruel. “Dude looks like straight sith material. Do not let him out” posted one reader at TMZ. A commenter on Inquirer wrote “too much metaclorian [sic] in blood, bad for the brain.” On Global News, a Star Wars fan snarkily joked that “someone probably showed him Phantom Menace.”

While it’s tempting to chalk this up to the sociopathy that seems to contaminate nerd culture these days (see: Star Wars fans complaining that George Lucas “raped their childhood” or the toxic misogyny brewing in Gamergate), there is a deeper issue at play here. Even though our society is appropriately sympathetic to celebrities who develop serious physical illnesses, we continue to ridicule the ones whose sicknesses are psychological in nature. Despite living at a time when scientific progress has made it clear that mental illnesses are no less preventable than many physiological counterparts, the stigma surrounding these disorders remains – and it is particularly evident in how we respond to celebrities who have them.

The saddest part of this phenomenom is that many times people make these sorts of jokes about public figures, in front of people dealing with the same sorts of struggles, who immediately feel the need to hide it.

This is why someone else's mental illness isn't funny. Every time you make fun of someone because of their mental illness, you contribute to the stigmatization of anyone around you who has been touched by mental health issues, and given the statistics, that is a lot of people around you.

Apr 12, 16

So, yes, perhaps we could have done it. But we didn’t even try. I didn’t, to my everlasting regret. There are a lot of us out here: journalists who got a whiff of the stink and missed the big story, cops and prosecutors who looked the other way, bishops who saw the depth of the depravity and chose to cover it up. Perhaps some of us are guiltier than others, but we are members of the same tribe. That’s why one line in the movie, delivered by Stanley Tucci in the role of crusading Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, brought me to tears:<br /><br />“If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.”

It is right that anyone who had gotten information about the abuse that went on in the Church would feel regret and shame now for not believing the victims. We should, however, use this as an example to learn from instead of telling ourselves that we are somehow better than that now. There are still an awful lot of survivors out there who are not believed, and a lot of perpetrators loose because no one considers it possible that they would do such a thing.

Don't be naive.

Apr 11, 16

When we picture the disorder, we often see a returned soldier, usually male, wrestling with emotional scars from the battlefield. In reality, one out of every nine suffers is female. Women are twice as likely to experience PTSD as men. Child abuse, sexual assault, rape, a physical attack, and being a part of or witnessing violence and bloodshed causes this trauma disorder. Now researchers are determining how being traumatized alters the brain itself, in hopes of understanding PTSD better, and hopefully finding novel ways to treat it.<br /><br />When a trauma occurs, the reptilian brain takes over.  This is the brain stem or the earliest developed part. It kicks in the “fight or flight” response. All nonessential body and mind functions shut down. When the threat ceases, the parasympathetic nervous system down-shifts and resumes those higher functions. For 20% of survivors, after effects remain, what we know as PTSD. The organ being plastic, trauma fundamentally changes how it operates. Victims may have vivid nightmares and flashbacks, cannot abide change, and have difficulty expressing themselves. They will also avoid those things that remind them of their trauma.

There's more in the article, but if you've ever wanted to understand a little bit about why people dealing with trauma can't just put it behind them, this is a good starting point.

It takes time to rewire the brain. Trauma wires it one way, and getting it reprogrammed is not about just "getting over it".

Apr 11, 16

We have all formed our own ideas about child abuse, based off the statistics we have been provided through the news and media. However, many of our assumptions are actually often myths, and there is a lot more in-depth information about this terrible epidemic. To raise awareness, we have identified some of the biggest misconceptions about child abuse along with their realities.

This is so important to understand, child abuse is widespread, and the more we make assumptions about the types of kids who are targeted, and who they are targeted by, the less we can deal with it effectively.

Go read this article and learn the truth.

Apr 10, 16

"When children run away from home or care, they are often running from something. Theirs are childhoods blighted by abuse, violence, family instability, and parental drug or alcohol misuse. For girls particularly, running away can be an attempt to escape sexual violence and abuse."

It's definitely something those who work with runaways should stop to consider. I have, in the past, meet some kids who were homeless and living on the street, and frankly, where they were was better than where they came from. And yes, where they were, was freaking horrible.

That should tell you how bad it was where they came from.

Apr 07, 16

A lot of trauma survivors, talk about how they miss who they used to be. They miss their ‘pre-trauma’ self/identity.<br />For many of us, however, who were severely abused from a very young age, we don’t have a ‘pre-trauma’ identity. This is something people will not fully comprehend, unless they have personally endured this.<br />Part of my healing process, is building my identity. A healthy identity. My real identity. The real me.

This is real. I hear from child abuse survivors often about how they just want to become who they were before the abuse, and it makes no sense. They were small children before the abuse, you can't go back to being a small child as an adult. You have to, instead, figure out who you are, and who you want to be, as an adult.

Nothing in therapy helped me heal more than hearing someone tell me that I was free to be who I wanted to be as an adult. It literally changed the path of my life from that day forward. Instead of constantly looking back and trying to figure out who I was without the abuse, I simply looked ahead to figure out who I was now, having survived the abuse.

It may not seem like much, but for me, it was everything.

Apr 05, 16

"The thing about getting out there though is that it requires you to be your own person, it requires you to rely on yourself for your needs which is a skill that’s valuable for anyone but especially valuable for people with mental illness."

This is something I have learned over the years as I have taken on new challenges, moved to new places, etc. The more I get out into those types of situations, the easier it becomes the next time to do it. As survivors of child abuse, I think we often tell ourselves the incorrect story about ourselves. We consider ourselves fragile because we are still healing, still learning things that others learned during their childhood, when we were learning just how to survive. So we try and control everything, to prevent getting hurt again.

I'd like to challenge you to think differently about it. Yes, what I just said is all true. Healing takes time, and you should be gentle with yourself while you are doing it, but I also want you to be brave. When faced with a new challenge, whether it be more responsibility at work, or taking a short trip by yourself, instead of living inf fear of what could happen I want you to remember one thing.

You survived being abused as a child.

Now go back to that thing you are feeling anxious about, and tell me, even if it all goes wrong, will it be anywhere near as bad as an abusive childhood? If not, then yeah, you've done that, so no matter what, you'll survive this too.

Apr 04, 16

You may be a survivor of child sexual abuse who is now in your late thirties, forties, fifties or beyond, and you may be finding that your feelings around what you experienced are worse than they have ever been, or at any rate worse that they've been for a long time. You may be confused as to why this is happening now. Life changing events such as medical scares, dying abusers, bereavement, retrenchment and ill spouses are things older survivors must often contend with. You may not expect such events to have triggered off earlier trauma, and you may be shocked and frightened by the strength of nightmares, flashbacks and other symptoms.
Or perhaps there's no precipitating event you can pinpoint as starting it all, but you've found that you suddenly can't stop thinking about what happened when you were younger. It may be that you've retired, your kids have left home and life has fewer extraneous distractions. This can be a time when traumatic issues begin to clamour for attention."

I hear from folks all the time who are adults, and find themselves suddenly trying to deal with what happened to them as children. This doesn't happen the same way for every survivor, but if you find yourself in this situation, there is some good information in this article.

Apr 03, 16

"According to some headlines on the Autism Speaks site, much of New York will light up in blue during the month in support. Red Bull Arena, Macy’s and Bloomingdales, and even the NYC sanitation trucks will aid in bringing awareness to this issue.

In a show of solidarity, the Great Buddha of Hyogo in Kobe, Japan, Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and maybe most amazingly, one of the 7 wonders of the world, Petra in Jordan will turn blue to honor Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd.

Remember those numbers I shared at the top; 1 in 68 (or 45) children diagnosed with autism?

What if there was something devastating our children at a rate 11 to 17 times higher than autism?"

I do find it interesting how many people will latch on to various theories and junk science in a desperate attempt to avoid the autism "epidemic", but assume that their kids are safe from sexual abuse because they grow up in a middle-class neighborhood. The risk is much, much higher that they will be sexually abused.

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