Tag Archives: journey of healing

Father & Son Connect with “The Lone Sailor Memorial Statue” in Long Beach, California…

LoneSailor3

Steve Sparks at the “Lone Sailor Memorial Statue” in Long Beach, Ca.

lonehead

US Navy “Lone Sailor Memorial Foundation.”  Click for a larger view…

scan0001 (2)

Marcella and Vernon Sparks c1940 Long Beach, Ca. Dad was a US Navy Coxswain at the time, serving aboard the Battleship USS West Virginia…destination Pearl Harbor prior to the beginning of WWII.  Click photo for larger view…

US Navy Memorial Foundation…  Quote from this website…

“The Lone Sailor statue represents all people who ever served, are serving now or who are yet to serve in the Navy. The Lone Sailor is a composite of the U.S. Navy bluejacket, past, present and future. He’s called the Lone Sailor.”

#####

I never emotionally connected with my father’s US Navy career until researching and writing my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, in 2011.  I didn’t know him well until long after he passed away in 1998.  I didn’t know my mother either…who is still with us at age 96 living in Reno, Nevada.  Growing up as a military child during the 1950’s and early 1960’s was hell.  Carrying around the emotional baggage of a toxic childhood was worse than hell for decades until learning more about the lives of my parents during the years leading up to WWII and afterwards.  I know them both now, far better than those years now lost in time and burdened with anger toward the pain of child abuse and emotional neglect.  I am no longer angry!

I stood by the “Lone Sailor” statue in Long Beach yesterday for a long time.  I was deeply moved…  I thought about my Dad and what he was like when joining the US Navy in 1936.  Dad spent his early years as a young sailor in Long Beach, California, no doubt standing in this very place looking out at sea dreaming about the future and what would come.  His first ship duty was aboard the Battleship USS Tennessee following boot camp in 1936.  I know he had hope and was excited about life.  Dad was outgoing, an extrovert, kind of like me.  He and mother were married in Long Beach in 1940 and experienced some of the happiest times of their lives until he departed on the USS West Virginia on a secret mission at that time during the summer of 1941.  My oldest brother, Jerry, was born in September 1941, three months before the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

I thought about my own US Navy service during the early 1960’s and felt close to Dad while reading the engraved memorial bricks at the “Lone Sailor Statue” site.  I also thought about Dad’s final words in his own written account (discovered after my book was published) while standing on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, after abandoning ship and swimming for safety after the USS West Virginia was bombed.  He and his shipmates watched the Battleship USS Arizona and the other ships from the US Navy Pacific Fleet engulfed in flames and smoke, and said, “People like myself could go on and on, but that would take a book!”  (click highlighted text for the full written account).  I am proud of my father, Vernon, and all the “Lone Sailor(s)” who served.  I am very grateful to have been inspired to write this book, which provided the personal strength to start my own journey of healing and forgiveness.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation, A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click the highlighted text for my author page…

MomDadOct2014

Steve & Judy Sparks, October 18, 2014, Long Beach, California…

“I was easy prey.” October is Month of Awareness for Domestic Violence!

 

Superhero child against blue sky background

“Be a Kids Hero!” Click banner for larger view…

 

a45dbdd4-964e-4a89-b8a1-35f00ff11327

“I was easy prey.” Her first memory of being sexually abused is when she was just four-years old…

timthumb

Ginger Kadlec… Impassioned child advocate. Enthusiastic dog and cat mommy. Proud aunt. Happy wife.

 

“I was easy prey…”  click on highlighted website article by Ginger Kadlec…  Quote from the article follows…

“He was close to my mother, he visited our family home,” Susan Crocombe recalls in an interview with Steve Harris of BBC Radio Solent’s Breakfast in Dorset 103.8 fm. “If mum was having a bad day, she would be in bed… so he had complete access to me. I actually loved him. I would have done anything for him.”

“He” was a member of Susan’s extended family who sexually abused her for years. She recalls, “Things he did became quite serious 18 months leading up to my 13th birthday,” at which point her molester began feeding his addiction by sharing her with other adults, including taking photographs of and filming her.

“I associated presents with rewards for being good. I was easy prey.”~Susan Crocombe

In this BBC Radio Solent interview, Susan reflects on the sexual abuse she endured as a child and the impact the abuse had on her as a teenager and adult. She discusses issues like being groomed and says, “Who doesn’t like to feel special to get gifts, presents, be validated? For me, it was very subtle. I was very young, so I didn’t know what was happening was wrong… I associated presents with rewards for being good. I was easy prey.”

 #####

In my view, the above reference is absolutely the worst case scenario and tragedy connected with domestic violence and child abuse!  I lived in a highly toxic home while growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  The vivid memories of being scared and living with domestic violence still haunts me at times.  My home was affected by the hard combat trauma my father experienced during all of WWII and deployment during the Korean War.  We did not have any kind of domestic violence awareness during the post WWII era…let alone a month like October designated to help children and families become more aware of its seriousness, long term impact on mental health, and ways to get help.  We siblings, as military kids, felt scared and alone most of the time.  We were afraid to go home when Dad was home for fear of the next beating that could come our way or the threatening emotional outbursts that often came out of nowhere as Dad struggled with his own demons.  Mother was affected severely as a wartime military spouse and from her own traumatic childhood during the “depression era.”  Our entire family was emotionally damaged and we thought it was just normal and mostly our fault as kids for not being good.  What happened in our home stayed at home.  From all appearances our family behaved as normal adults and kids outside of the home and in school.  We would not dare speak of being scared to go home…  Dad was a WWII US Navy hero by day and an angry and dangerous man by night.

Thousands of families were toxic like ours during this post WWII era, but we didn’t know it until later in life when the topic of combat related PTSD was finally revealed and understood more clearly.  But the stigma of mental health challenges and the intergenerational effects of post trauma symptoms referred to as secondary PTSD or complex PTSD kept countless children and families from seeking help.  The stigma of PTSD remains a big challenge to this day!

I lived with the emotional baggage of child abuse and domestic violence until later in life while doing research on our post WWII family’s toxic culture and the how war affects the mental health of soldiers and sailors long after the war ends.  Writing my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, was finally the beginning of my own journey of healing at age 64, and I am not alone… If it had not been for the gift of awareness, I would still be living with emotional pain.  It is a joy to look forward to each day now with peace of mind.   The anger, depression, and anxiety tearing away at my heart and soul is now gone, but is a work in progress to keep the pain of past trauma at a safe distance.  I am very blessed and thankful for the work of Ginger Kadlec  and many others in the mental health community for building awareness through social media.  I am also grateful for the support of my family and friends who help keep me grounded with positive energy each and every day…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click the highlighted text for my author page…

scan0001 (3)

Steve Sparks, Age 10, 1956…

How are survivors affected by the constant news of NFL domestic violence and child abuse? Is this kind of stressful awareness and triggers of past emotional pain healthy?

Mariska_SVU

The Joyful Heart Foundation…A Message from Mariska… It all started for me when I began my work on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit over a decade ago. In my research for my role, I encountered statistics that shocked me: One in three women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. Every two minutes in the United States, someone is sexually assaulted. More than five children die every day in this country as a result of child abuse and neglect, and up to 15 million children witness domestic violence in their homes each year.

The Joyful Heart Foundation…  Quote from this website article…

“Families or individuals who have experienced domestic violence are in the process of healing both physically and emotionally from multiple traumas. These traumas can have various effects on the mind, body and spirit. It is natural to experience these, and acknowledging the effects can be an important first step in embarking on a process towards restoration and healing.

People who are exposed to domestic violence often experience physical, mental or spiritual shifts that can endure and worsen if they are not addressed. According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control, nearly three in every 10 women—about 32 million—and one in 10 men in the United States who experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner reported at least one measured impact or effect related to forms of violent behavior in that relationship.1

#####

I am a survivor of domestic violence and child abuse…a lifelong journey of healing is a work in progress…  I noticed this past two weeks with all the news and video clips pounding away at my mind, that my usually upbeat disposition was starting to change for the worse.  It became difficult for me to keep the images and feelings of past emotional pain at a safe distance.  The images of childhood traumatic experiences started to appear much more frequently and put me back in a depressed mental state.  Eventually my healing therapy and training kicked in and I started talking about my feelings with my wife and a close trusted friend.  This was the first step in getting back on track as indicated in the above quote, “ acknowledging the effects can be an important first step in embarking on a process towards restoration and healing.

My close and trusted friend, Byron Lewis, is also a student of NLP.   Byron has written several articles for this blog about NLP (click on highlighted text for more on these alternative treatment strategies for trauma victims) and the therapy value of practicing techniques that can be very effective.

Just today over coffee, Byron, reminded me of one such NLP technique that addresses the images of pain from past traumatic events so that they are not all consuming and powerful.  It works this way…  When the image appears or as soon as you become aware of the image, keep it pictured in your mind and focus on the experience.  Next then, if the image is moving, freeze the frame. If the image is in color, make the image black and white, then look away.  Once the image has changed, try moving to look at it from a different position as if it is projected on a screen. Practice this technique over and over again whenever the painful image appears…  The ultimate result is the image will no longer have power over your thought process…you are then back in control of the present mindfulness of living in the moment…

For me, the journey of healing from a traumatic past is always a work in progress.  Human connectedness, including support from family and friends is truly the best way to keep the emotional pain from the past at a safe distance.  Trying to remove the pain of these images with denial never works and it takes so much longer to heal.  Being proactive and completely aware of post trauma symptoms is the very first step in healing.   Good luck on your own journey of healing…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click on the highlighted text for my author page…

 

A Powerful Staged Reading of “Riva Beside Me” a novel by Carla Perry… A story of hope and healing…

RivaBesideMe

“Riva Beside Me” cast members are, KE Edmisten, left, as “The Mother,” Sarah Gayle as “Riva,” Hovey Grosvenor as “Richard,” and Wayne Plourde as “The Narrator.” (Photo by Carla Perry)  Click photo for larger view…

CarlaPerry

CARLA PERRY is the founder of the monthly Nye Beach Writers’ Series and Writers On The Edge, a nonprofit organization dedicated to literary arts on the Central Oregon Coast. She received the Stewart Holbrook Special Oregon Book Award for her outstanding contributions to Oregon’s literary community, and the Oregon Governor’s Art Award for the longevity and quality of Writers on The Edge.

Staged Reading of Riva Beside Me, by Carla Perry…  Quote from this website Lincoln County Dispatch… The novel, “Riva Beside Me: New York City 1963-1966,” is based on real life, growing up in Manhattan in a dysfunctional family. But the story is one of transition and hope, where humor and love prevail. Perry says the story makes it obvious that angels walk among us.”

#####

My wife, Judy, pulled me away from a lazy day at home, and gave me a wonderful and heartwarming surprise… the staged reading of Riva Beside Me by Carla Perry (order book on my sidebar from Amazon.) at Café Mundo, Newport, Oregon.  Carla is a close friend of ours so the performance was even more special.  Judy read her book as well, and loved it!  No more procrastination on my part now… I have to find out about the ending since the staged reading performance included excerpts from about 60% of the book.

The performance by the cast, especially the character of “the mother” by KE Edmisten, triggered painful memories of my own toxic childhood growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  I was moved and visibly shaken until my empathy and compassion kicked in for the dysfunctional circumstances surrounding Carla’s childhood.  I could see my own family in a reality show on stage during the performance…it was both cathartic and healing…

Before researching and writing my own non-fiction story, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, there was hate in my heart for decades from experiencing child abuse and emotional neglect.  The hate is now gone, and my journey of healing has taken over completely.  Once we let go of the anger and hate connected with a traumatic experience or event, we are able to forgive and move on.  Carla Perry and I are both survivors and battle buddies in life after trauma.  Thank you, Carla Perry, for your friendship and for helping others find their own path of healing.  You and the cast of the staged reading of your novel, Riva Beside Me, is now included on my bucket list of most grateful and treasured memories in life.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…

 

Something Different to Calm Your Soul… Download “free” ebook…

anangaandrati

Ananga Sivyer… “We are meant for so much more than to merely exist, to worry over bills, to feel stressed and exhausted. We have the rare gift of a human life, the chance to explore our core potential, to learn, to live with purpose, and to cultivate our spiritual nature.”

“Beautiful Calm…” Click here for more. Quote from this website…by Ananga Sivyer

“That all changed in 2003 when a sudden illness put me to bed and I was “forced” to reflect and put  what I had learned into practice. As the months and years rolled by with me largely confined to my own home I learned how to reframe the experience and, for the most part, I didn’t feel confined at all. I learned to journey far and wide in my own mind; to walk, run and swim, to travel and explore. And beyond that, I learned to find my calm centre, to work with my breath, to ease physical pain and to relax more deeply than I ever thought possible.” ***** Finding stories that reinforce the journey of healing is a favorite past-time and critical to my own peace of mind.  It is also exceedingly inspirational to read stories of individuals who find their own unique ways of healing from traumatic events in life.  The story of Ananga Sivyer (click here) from the UK is such an example of the power of mindfulness and alternative treatment strategies that evolve sometimes in magical ways from the very soul…often unexplainable…but demonstrated in the lives of sufferers who survive and thrive.

Download “Transition to Calm”  Click here or download from my sidebar…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story… Click highlighted text for my author page…

Speaking at Vets for Vets in Pagosa Springs, Colorado about children and families of warriors…

VetsforVets

Veterans for Veterans.org Mission  click on website…

Veterans for Veterans…  Quote from this website…

“Veterans for Veterans of Archuleta County is a volunteer charitable organization, 501 c (3), who are veterans helping other veterans to provide financial assistance to veterans and their families in need, to advocate for veterans, provide education and counseling, and to provide a resource of information and experience.”

Membership shall consist only of veterans from the Armed Forces of the United States of America (Air Force, Army, Marines, and Coast Guard).

You may join and contribute as an Associate member, but have no voting right.

We meet every Tuesday, 10:00 am at the Quality Resort, 3505 West Hwy 160.

The last Tuesday of the month will be an evening meeting to accommodate those that cannot make the morning meetings.  Location: Same as AM.  Time: 6:00 PM

All Veterans Welcome and Refreshments will be offered.

Our Mission

Vets for Vets of Archuleta COuntyMission:  Veterans for Veterans of Archuleta County is a 501 c (3) organization established exclusively for charitable purposes, more specifically:

  1. For veterans to help veterans.
  2. To provide financial assistance to veterans in need.
  3. To advocate for the veteran with the Veterans Administration.
  4. Provide information and experience resources.

We provide outreach to veterans in our community and assist in a variety of needs such as:

  1. Financial assistance.
  2. Assistance in accessing medical, dental and eye care.
  3. Housing assistance.
  4. Emotional assistance to help overcome the scars of war such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries and effects of Agent Orange.
  5. Help provide transportation to out-of town VA appointments.
  6. Hold weekly meetings providing the veteran with up to date information and a place for veterans so they can share information and fellowship.
  7. Help provide information and emotional support to family members of veterans.
  8. Ensure veterans receive access to the Veterans Administration (VA) benefits earned through their service in the armed forces.

 *****

While speaking at the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Medical Center in Albuquerque last week, I was encouraged to make contact with Veterans for Veterans in Pagosa Springs, CO, to share my story about intergenerational PTSD.  I received an enthusiastic response when contacting the group, and was made to feel welcome to attend and speak at their regularly scheduled Tuesday 10am meeting.  I came early to the meeting to get a feel for the group to help me with my initial interaction.  I immediately felt right at home with my brothers and sisters who have served America in the Armed Forces, especially the many members who served during the Vietnam War.

Before speaking to the group, I had a chance to  talk to several of the members before the meeting started and to listen to the formal discussion, including reports from the committees who work on community outreach, fund raising, VA updates and support, and programs to engage veterans with veterans.  There are now over 120 veteran members of this lively and active non-profit whose passionate work is devoted solely to Archuleta County veterans of all wars.

I immediately recognized the value of veterans forming their own group and taking ownership for helping each other in rural communities in particular.  I could feel the bonding, camaraderie and fellowship.  I was impressed with the quality of leadership on the board as well.  This is a group that is making a huge difference for veterans and their families close to home.  I have written about the value of veterans groups supported by local communities (click on link) to complete the circle of support starting with the transition to civilian life and the outgoing support needs once our veterans return home.  The Vets for Vets model is exactly the right solution and is showing results evidenced by the support and enthusiasm of the veterans who are members and volunteers.  I could not be more encouraged!

Clearly pumped up with enthusiasm, it came time for me to speak to the group.  Sharing my story by referencing the challenges of a post WWII and Korean War military family life during the 1950’s and early 1960’s, connected immediately with the close to 40 veterans attending this meeting, including spouses and family members.  There was one striking boomer aged lady in attendance who caught my attention because she appeared highly emotional as I talked about forgiving my father and mother once learning about how war comes home and can tear a family apart in life after war.  I also talked about the importance of forgiving ourselves first, paving the way to forgiving others and in making a difference for the greater good.  Trauma survivors have a tough time with forgiveness, especially forgiving yourself.  But we know now that the journey of healing in life after trauma is not possible until self-forgiveness is experienced.  

These are the heartfelt healing moments and experiences that come my way while helping others know more about moral injury and the intergenerational effects of PTSD on children and families of warriors.  Helping one person at a time encourages me everyday to keep on writing and speaking about life after trauma.   I hope to stay in touch with Veterans for Veterans in Pagosa Springs, and those who purchased my book and came up to chat with me privately following the meeting.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

 

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

 

“Love and Life Toolbox…” A resource for children and families in life after trauma…

Fotolia_61192967_S-750x500

Trauma: Why Can’t I Just Get Over This? Posted: May 7, 2014 | Tagged Emotional Health, Trauma – See more at: http://loveandlifetoolbox.com/trauma-why-cant-i-get-over-this/#sthash.pwXJQbXU.dpuf

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

Love and Life Toolbox…  Quote from this reference website…

“Working through the Trauma Memories – although this can seem like a frightening thing to do.  It can often prove to be the most important step as it allows us to make sense of and get over life’s most difficult moments.  There are many approaches used today that are truly transformative (i.e., EMDR; Thematic Map; CBT Trauma Therapy; Somatic Therapy, etc).”

*****

I just discovered a new resource today that must be shared with all my friends and family!  The article, Trauma: Why Can’t I Just Get Over This? referenced above along with the a quote from the piece resonated with me.  Although I didn’t know it at the time, starting the research and writing my first book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, 3 years ago was the beginning of healing from a painful and traumatic childhood for me.  I subsequently learned later that “Working through the trauma memories” and reconciling the past could not have been a better start of a long and on-going healing process.

I spent most of my life until age 64 thinking, “What is wrong with me and why can’t I just get over this?”  Living and coping with a painful and traumatic past for anyone for any reason is heartbreaking.  The invisible wounds of trauma often cannot be seen even by the person who is affected let alone friends, family, and loved ones.  It seems to most survivors of trauma that everything, and everyone, including yourself is against finding the truth by confronting a past that becomes a heavy emotional burden.  In the end, I decided to take charge of my own healing process by using my writing skills to release and reconcile all that I could remember and research from a toxic post WWII and Korean War military childhood and young adult life.  Once deciding I was in charge to fix this nagging and lingering emotional pain, everything started to change for the better.  Now, three years later, my life includes peace of mind and joy that never existed before on a healthy and consistent basis.

For those affected by severe traumatic experiences in life, Please take quality time to check out Love and Life Toolbox.  You will be inspired to take ownership for your own path of healing.  The first step to healing from traumatic experiences in life is awareness.  My own story of transformation and healing is truly a blessing.  Go for it!

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1, and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

Why is it critical to pay attention to healing children who are emotionally neglected? The emotional baggage of kids will carry forward well into adult years!

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

HiddenScars

The hidden scars of emotional abuse are visible in numerous behavioral ways.

Healing for Emotionally Abused Kids…quote from this website article by Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell, Demand Media and Global Post

“Emotional abuse of a child, otherwise referred to as psychological maltreatment, can range from blatant acts such as verbal abuse, terrorizing or victimizing to more subtle but equally damaging deeds like rejecting, ignoring or neglecting a child. Some parents emotionally abuse their kids because they were victims of emotional cruelty as children, the American Humane Association explains. The sooner an emotionally abused child gets the help he needs to heal, the better his chances of recovery and negating the cycle of abuse will be.”

Helping kids affected by emotional neglect…  Quote from this website article by Growing up Easier Publishing…

Being Called Stupid, An Idiot, Bad, Ugly; Frequently Belittled And Unacknowledged:

Without help, a child or youth’s self-confidence disappears. Later success in learning, living, relationships, and being an effective parent is extremely difficult. These actions are often related to parents and teachers who need education, support and therapy so they can be more patient and attentive to the child or youth. Some adults discharge their stress onto children & youth by acting abusively.

*****

My parents consistently “discharged their stress” on us siblings and they didn’t know the consequences.  It was the sign of the times during the 1950’s and early 1960’s during my childhood and young adult life.  Families tried to “suck it up” following the trauma of WWII and Korean War when out in the public.  When in the privacy and secrecy of home, parents often released the bottled up stress on the kids and each other.  Years of this kind of emotional and physical abuse will affect children well into adult life.  Unless treated as quickly as possible the emotional baggage is carried forward creating the next generation of highly stressful behaviors resulting in the outward symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress, including anger and severe anxiety.  These next generation grown-ups become troubled parents who discharge their stress in the same way as their own parents.

My life as a child and young adult was very much focused on surviving one day at a time.  As siblings we demonstrated anger toward each other most of the time as a way to release the built up stress as kids.  We felt ignored and neglected.  It seemed as though we lived in a loveless home.  We didn’t dare talk about our fears at school and had a difficult time with being self-confident around our peers, teachers, and coaches.  Each day we wiped away the tears and put on our game faces when we walked out the front door of our home.

The level of awareness regarding the consequences of emotional neglect and child abuse is exponentially better in the 21st Century.  It is almost impossible for parents to not know how “discharging stress” in abusive ways at home harms children.  It is also safer for kids to talk about their fears outside of the home.  The caring and educated community culture of today looks at protecting children, but also considers the importance of helping parents help themselves before it is too late.  Communities everywhere try to help each other to prevent families from imploding under the pressure of dysfunctional circumstances.  We know now without a doubt that healing children and families sooner than later is far less costly than denial and ignorance.

Please take advantage of opportunities to increase your awareness as parents and children by spending quality time reading and referencing resources i.e., “Growing up Easier Publishing” and engaging with other parents in your local community.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

Traumatic events that can cause PTSD… Why do we tend to connect PTSD primarily to warriors?

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

 

83c526b3-c7d4-427d-8fa9-f7d9c3f874d0_3

.facebook_-1691975916

Traumatic Events and PTSD…The Cleveland Clinic…

What are the causes of PTSD?

“Any event that is life-threatening or greatly affects a person’s emotional well-being can result in PTSD. Examples of these traumatic events include:

  • rape
  • war
  • natural disasters (hurricane, tornado, etc.)
  • abuse
  • serious accidents
  • captivity

Traumas caused by other people (such as rape or assault) are more likely to cause PTSD. Strong emotions caused by these events can create changes in the brain that can bring about PTSD. People can also have PTSD for traumas they have perpetrated (i.e., soldiers who have shot enemy combatants can have PTSD).”

Who is at risk for PTSD?

Anyone who witnesses or experiences a traumatic event, especially if it is long-term or repeated, is at risk for PTSD. Certain groups, including war veterans and women, may be more likely to develop PTSD. For example, about 8% of men and 20% of women develop PTSD after a traumatic event.

It is not known why some people suffer from PTSD after a traumatic event and some do not. Some factors make you more likely to develop PTSD, including:”

  • Exposure to multiple traumatic events
  • Exposure to long-term or repeated traumas
  • Personal history of mental health problems, especially anxiety disorders
  • Lack of support from family and friends after a trauma

*****

By far, the public’s first reaction to the acronym, PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is war, warriors, combat veterans, military, soldiers, etc.  The on-set of PTSD is the normal reaction of the human brain’s chemistry to severe trauma.  The public is flooded by the media every day with the term PTSD as it relates to our heroes who serve America in all wars, especially when exposed to combat and injured with visible or invisible wounds.

It is not fair to veterans and their loved ones to isolate PTSD to one cause or one segment of our population.  It is also not fair to the thousands of people of all ages who experience trauma at home in America and elsewhere in the world each and every day, then suffer from the symptoms of PTSD.  Following is a quote from the back cover of my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, published in November of 2011:

“Approximately 8 Million Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.  Steve has the courage to share his story, hoping it will help others to address their PTSD and break the intergenerational cycle.  Don’t go the journey alone.  As in Steve’s story, it requires the connectedness with others to go down the path of hope and healing…” Beverly Ventura, Marriage Family Therapist and Life Coach, Laguna Counseling. 

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpg

Beverly Ventura, MFT

When I first started to write my childhood and early adult story of my own traumatic experience, Beverly was one of the first of my dear friends I contacted to learn about the symptoms and implications of PTSD.  At first it was a shock to find out that my experience with trauma was not an exception.  I was not alone!  Beverly gave me the confidence and courage to write my story to help me find a path of healing while making a difference for others.   She spoke to me on the phone often, and on Skype with encouragement and friendship.  Bev even read my first manuscript and gave me pointers on character development.  Our conversations showed me the way to an abundance of research on the subject.  My new level of awareness of the roots and symptoms of PTSD, and how it affected my own family for decades, gave me the passion and motivation to write my first non-fiction story, including starting a website and blog.  I will be forever grateful to Beverly’s caring friendship and give her major credit for helping me find peace of mind later in life.  My life was changed forever and for the better as a result of pressing forward to write my book.  I could not have accomplished this huge task without the help from dear friends like, Beverly, and loved ones who pushed me forward.

Trauma leading to PTSD and moral injury compares to an epidemic in my view…  The intergenerational pain and suffering seems endless.  The lack of awareness and stigma connected with mental health challenges discourages treatment and conversation.  Young adults who served America in combat hesitate to admit to a diagnosis of PTSD and treatment for fear they will not find work.  Others who suffer from severe trauma as civilians are often ignored and shunned by family members and must fend for themselves.  My own experience is a testimonial of a post WWII family destroyed by PTSD and decades of emotional challenges that went untreated.

The good news is we are achieving more and more awareness and the conversation is much louder and deeper than it was just 3 years ago when my book was first published.  I continue to have hope and confidence that we are close to achieving critical mass in knowledge and awareness around the subject of trauma and PTSD.   The first step in healing from invisible wounds from war or other traumatic experiences in life is awareness.  My new level of knowledge, human connectedness and healing saved my life.  It is never too late to find your own journey of healing…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story