Daily Archives: April 4, 2013

National Child Abuse Awareness Month: Types of Child Abuse

Child Abuse Can Be Prevented

Child Abuse Can Be Prevented

To tell you the truth, this series is painful for me to write.  For one thing, it’s triggering my PTSD because I was abused as a child.  For another thing, it’s triggering my PTSD because I worked with a child abuse response team member for several years, after which I became an expert witness for a county prosecutor’s office on child sexual abuse.  It’s gut-wrenching work.  But it’s so important to talk about.

For instance, January was Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  I found myself studying the dark pathways by which children end up trafficked into prostitution.  The common thread was abuse at home, which left the youngsters (and I do mean young: the average age of entry into prostitution is 11-14) vulnerable to grooming by “lover-boy” pimps, who take advantage of the girl’s need for love and acceptance, and then funnel them into prostitution.  So sad and wrong.

And that in its turn got me thinking again of the various patterns of abuse that can betray a child’s innocence and indeed rob a child of its childhood completely.

And those patterns of abuse include (and this is by no means a comprehensive list):

1.  Physical abuse, where harm is done to the child’s body with the intent of causing pain;

2.  Sexual abuse, which ranges from inappropriate sexual touching, other sex acts including intercourse, exposure to sexually explicit media, forcing the child to act as a model for pornographic images or video, forcing the child to perform sex acts with others (either children or adults), and more.

3.  Verbal abuse.  I cannot stress strongly enough how terribly destructive verbal abuse is.  It tears down a child’s self esteem and leads to depression and despair, eating disorders, self-harming behaviors, substance abuse, and other self-destructive patterns including suicide.

4.  Emotional abuse.  Typically a push-me, pull-you pattern of drawing the child in through affectionate behaviors and then violently pushing the child away, often using verbal and/or physical abuse.   Emotionally abusing parents will often reverse the parent-child role relationship, so that the child feels responsible for the parent’s well-being.  This is often associated with parental substance abuse.

5.  Psychological abuse.  This is a deliberate program of tearing down a child’s self-esteem for the benefit of building the parent’s ego.  The abusing parent envelops the child in a net of control, holding the reins very tightly, and playing on the child’s emotions as on the keys of a piano.  This type of parent is extremely intelligent, insecure, and is often the product of a highly abusive home.  S/he is highly narcissistic and needs complete control over everything.  Think “Mommy Dearest.”

All five main types of child abuse are forms of torture that produce permanently wounded people.  The extent to which they are able to recover, once out of the abusing environment, seems to depend on the resiliency of their temperament.  I’ve known resilient people who were horribly abused as children, yet grew up to be happy, well-adjusted adults.  And I’ve known less resilient people who’ve ended up so permanently damaged that they fell into addiction and eventually suicide.

What can we do to help?

For one thing, if we have contact with children through our work (teachers, health care workers, day care workers, lunchroom ladies, bus drivers, hairdressers/barbers, etc. etc. you get the idea), we can be on the lookout for telltale signs of abuse, and not be shy about reporting suspicions to the Child Protective authorities.  In fact, certain professionals are mandated to report suspected abuse: teachers, health care workers, and anyone whose job primarily involves children.

In my next post, I will describe some features of each form of abuse, so that you will know what to look for.


Animated Short About Mental Illness

Reblogged from Pride in Madness:

Caldera

Directed by: Evan Viera

SYNOPSIS
Through the eyes of a young girl suffering from mental illness, CALDERA glimpses into a world of psychosis and explores a world of ambiguous reality and the nature of life and death.

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT
CALDERA is inspired by my father's struggle with schizoaffective disorder. In states of delusion, my father has danced on the rings of Saturn, spoken with angels, and fled from his demons.

Read more… 79 more words

This is mind-blowing. It's a many, many, many award-winning animated short from the point of view of a young girl struggling with a the world she lives in-a world of hallucinations and paranoid delusions. It's also a very beautiful film, a gorgeous piece of cinematic art.

Born to be Alive

Despite a number of setbacks lately regarding my mood, I’m feeling great today…and had a pretty good yesterday too. I keep having to relearn that getting exercise and living healthier has a major impact on my disorder. It never goes away, I feel it at all times, but it doesn’t have its grasp on me as much as when I’m just sitting around, such as watching tv.

When we lived in L.A. Maurice and I would go dancing at a place in the Valley. Every Saturday was disco night. Now we live too far from there and we haven’t found a good dance club here in the South Bay or in Long Beach. Maybe there isn’t one.

There was an evening that we were out dancing and I felt like I hadn’t felt before in a long, long time. I felt free. The song “Born to Be Alive” came on and we danced our asses off. There was one particular moment during the song that I felt a charge run through my body. I’ll never forget how it felt at that moment. It all seemed so clear. I wasn’t just here to exist. I was much more than that. I was born to live and enjoy life to the fullest. I was born to be alive. I had tears well up in my eyes.

I don’t remember this all the time. I doubt anyone does. But, it was an amazing feeling and whenever I start to go to the low end of the spectrum I try to remember that feeling.

So, here for your listening pleasure is Patrick Hernandez in one of the worst videos of all time. It’s a good thing that it’s such a good song.



Ded (Congrats Body, You’re Worse than the Bipolar!)

My body made it exceedingly clear yesterday that I’m still sick. I guess I can sort of thank it for shutting up the bipolar-related nuisances… but yeah, no. I won’t go into the details of how my body made its point about how sick I still could be, but it was um… vehement, and gross.

Okay well, it’s also fed the bipolar slightly; I find myself fixating mentally on the assorted grossness that my body inflicted upon me yesterday. I used to be quite good at drowning it out, but my brain has opted to instead try to force visual thoughts on me, and as I’m not a visual thinker, it’s not an easy thing in the slightest to wrassle down. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again — as soon as you think you’ve got a fix on controlling part of the bipolar brainfuck, it finds another way to try and screw you over.

Regardless, I am doing my best to soldier on. I’m still thinking it might have been wiser for me to stay home, but I can’t let my brain and body attempt to tag-team me into hiding in a corner! As many problems as I have with lapsing happily into avoidant behavior, I know it’s good for me to take stands against it as I may. Sure, simple avoidance is much healthier than the drugs and booze of yesteryear, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a way to live either. I simply have to think about my mother, and say to myself — do you really want to be that far off in your own bubble world? It’s a pretty easy answer — no, no I don’t. I want to engage with the world, I want to feel and do things. I acknowledge that I do have to coddle myself, but… I guess like most things with bipolar, it’s yet another balancing act, and me with no sense of balance and no skill for juggling.

As one of my friends once said though — you’ll make do with your own circumstances, even if you don’t think you’ll be able to. And that is what I should try to do, and will keep trying to do.

<3

The post Ded (Congrats Body, You’re Worse than the Bipolar!) appeared first on The Scarlet B.

Bats in the Belfry

We had a bat in the shop bright and early this morning. Yes, it was a real live bat, R was totally spazzing out and I was mesmerized because when it spread its wings, it was a gorgeous creature. Yes, I know I am not right in the head. I gotta get a tall building with a shabby attic so I can acquire a pet bat. Rabies and such, you say? Inconsequential to what I face dealing with mood swings and panic. I’m on so many meds, surely one of them would inoculate me, right? Oh, wait, wrong kind of meds. Just popped in my head cos this one pothead friend of my sister’s showed up at my door one day and said he had a headache and I was the first person he thought of because “Niki always has drugs.” Dumbfuck, mood stabilizers, anti depressants, and Xanax aren’t going to cure a headache, and even if they would, I wouldn’t give them to him. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I digress.

Did not have good day or bad day. Had productive day, as I was able to run errands to pay bills in between doing his bidding. It always sucks to see how broke I am but for 30 more days, we have a roof overhead and that always feels good.

While the mood seemed okay today, kind of mouthy but definitely down…

The anxiety was pretty bad. I jumped at every ring of the phone, and started getting my words garbled and thoughts superimposed, because the panic attacks rob me of being coherent. I try to fight it, try to find balance, but I fail, miserably.

On the plus side, I was not under attack from my mom.

On the bad side, they had to put their dog to sleep because his liver was failing and it just made me so sad and there’s nothing that could be done about it…He’s gone now, they buried him, and I keep seeing his big brown eyes and dorky look and it makes me even more sad.

Euthanize people, save the animals.

Yeah, I ain’t right, but there are more people who think like me than are usually willing to admit lest they be labeled evil or some shit. I just say it like I mean it. If you’ve lived with mental illness, there is nothing worse hell can do for you. If I even believed in it, but much like vampires, I think it’s a myth. Maybe I will be proven wrong. There are so many takes on what happens after you die…I choose to focus on being alive and how much it sucks sometimes. I will bitch about how much death does or doesn’t suck when I get there. I can multitask but I can’t really stay focused.

Should ponder the heavy things at a later date.

I prattle.

I didn’t even have anything of relevance to say.

It’s okay, though, because I try to post daily for my own records. That way if I go hypomanic or full on manic, all I need do is look back at my writings and be reminded life isn’t all rosy and there are consequences to feeling too happy. I also have memory issues and often don’t remember a day after the fact so I write it as a reminder.

Spew.

Written vomit.

I excel at it.

I do, you know, have bats in my belfry ;)