The year was 1992. I was downing bagels at most meals, and noshing on licorice-like it was going out of style. Nuts, butter, and oils were all evil, and I was sure that eating these high-fat items would, of course, make me fat. Turns out, I was all wrong on this assumption. Consequently, I was not alone in my thinking. For too many years, fat has been vilified as the bad guy amongst the macronutrients. In fact, it turns out that all along, it was my bagel, and licorice that was causing my weight to grow, and my health to plummet.
This workshop for professionals is a 3-day intensive for individuals who want to further their own healing and for those who assist others in the healing journey. This workshop acknowledges that many people have encountered difficult situations as children and as adults: trauma, abuse, neglect, break-ups, betrayal, disappointment, failures, illness, loss, and grief. Yet, humans are resilient creatures - they generally find ways to survive. However, surviving isn’t the same as thriving! Indeed, many times the very adaptations that helped people to survive get in the way of really living life wholeheartedly.
When you think about your overall health, which parts of your body do you think are the most important? You probably envision your heart, your brain, and maybe even your kidneys or liver. Do you ever think about your gut? Gut health has taken center stage in the world of food, health, and wellness in the past few years and for good reason. That’s because researchers have found that our gut health plays a huge role in our overall health.
“The essence of psychological trauma is the loss of faith that there is order and continuity in life. Trauma occurs when one loses the sense of having a safe place to retreat within or outside of oneself to deal with frightening emotions or experiences.”
Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD
I recently came across a blog written by ACEs Connection member Elizabeth Prewitt titled, “For the first time, SAMHSA's annual children’s mental health event focuses on trauma.” In the article, Ms. Prewitt writes, “It is both remarkable and natural that the theme of the 2018 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) May 10th Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day event was “Partnering for Health and Hope Following Trauma”. It was remarkable to hear “ACEs” and “trauma-informed” roll off the tongues of all the federal officials (some seasoned, some new appointees in the Trump Administration). And natural as the awareness of ACEs science grows at lightning speed…at least it feels that way.”
Addiction encourages trauma and trauma can encourage addiction. This process becomes a vicious circle or negative feedback loop, with trauma contributing to addiction, which in turn fuels more trauma, which encourages still more addiction, and so on and so on. The Claudia Black Young Adult Center treats substance and process addictions, recognizing them to be primary disorders which reinforce each other and are often fueled by traumatic experiences. Here are some examples of how this process plays out:
My therapist prescribed me to drink more alcohol. I had described symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), yet once again, the diagnosis was completely missed. Even worse, this uniformed therapist suggested that I drink wine “medicinally,” beginning in the morning, to help cope with what he said was high anxiety. What makes this horrible advice even more dangerous is the fact that upward of fifty percent of those with PTSD also battle substance use disorder.
When you think of management of your mental health, what comes to mind? Maybe you meditate or take yoga, perhaps you participate in group activities to stay connected to others, or maybe you focus on getting enough sleep. Do you ever think of the role food plays in all of this? You should. That’s because studies show that the foods you choose to consume play a big role in your mental health status. Here’s what to choose, and what to lose.