Category Archives: triggers

Social Media Political Hate Postings Traumatize Senior Citizens… Please be considerate…

Steve Sparks US Navy, Pearl Harbor, c1964. Promoted to 3rd Class Radioman.




Allow me to share what happened to me last week right after the strike that killed the deserving Iranian general who finally got his due. This is real stuff…

As a note of context, social media is a very critical part of my volunteer and professional work in my local community; and as as an author, blogger and mental health advocate. And, full disclosure…as a senior I struggle big time with mental health problems and trigger easily with panic attacks. Does anyone else relate to this kind of painful emotional reality for some of us? So, I was immediately struck by a cartoon posting in the Facebook page ‘headlines’ in your face presentation at the top of the page.

At the exact moment of the news about the Iranian strike, I was looking with horror at a political cartoon of Senator Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi, who both I admire and respect along with many political leaders from both parties past and present. Imagine this… Chuck with a middle eastern men’s head dress, and Nancy with the women’s version. Both were made to look like evil muslims as a joke. Faces with darker makeup and really ugly looking hateful disturbing evil faces. If it weren’t so obviously hateful and disturbing to me and probably many of my neighbors, colleagues, and friends, I would have dismissed it immediately. They both looked no where near the highly recognizable political leaders we see everyday fighting for us in Washington. I see no intrinsic value in this kind of joke anytime but especially now as America is on a war footing.

This kind of hate is worse than “blackfacing” in my view. We white priviledged kids from the 50s & 60s made fun of everybody, everything and anything that appeared to be different than our frame of reference. It was ugly, stupid and wrong! This was terribly triggering for me growing up in the 50s and 60s, and as adults in the professional world we boomers started calling out hate and social injustice. Making all this even worse, we boomers didn’t have to deal with the more recent popularized use of the word “scum.” Scum definition  – extraneous matter or impurities risen to or formed on the surface of a liquid often as a foul filmy covering. Why would anyone with any sense of decency use a word like this? I remember when the use of the word “cunt” became off limits in my generation. Why can’t we make scum off limits like that?

Where are my boomer senior friends and colleagues now to call this out? What do they say? Some of us are more sensitive than others as well, like me… To further inflame and hurt us in our land of…”it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” we now see the word ‘scum’ popularlized to refer to politicians, or anyone of us, who do not side with the current WH. I’m totally okay with healthy debate but not HATE, please.

I know there are many others in my community who are hurt and triggered by social media hate when it gets through. The crazy political season is upon us now, and it will be ugly, probably 1968 Democratic Convention all over again. Does anyone remember? Click here… All I ask is for my many friends and colleagues in Lincoln County and elsewhere to call this hate speak out when we see it. I will by deleting, muting and unfriending anytime it appears in the headlines of my Facebook page. Will you all join me? As a great reference and resource check out Trauma Informed Oregon, click here.

Are we good on this friends and neighbors? Please join me in this campaign. Thank you!

Steve Sparks, Member, Lincoln County Oregon Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC), and Local Alcohol & Drug Abuse Planning Committee (APARC)

Trauma Survivors Thrive…Knowing The Triggers to Emotional Pain… Self Awareness is Healing…

Surviving and Thriving…  Quote from this website…

Every trauma survivor has the right to become a thriver!

We provide support, friendship and advice for adults who have been affected by childhood abuse. If this is the first time you have visited this site, and would like to learn about HAVOCA, feel free to browse around and explore our hundreds of useful pages about the road to recovery.

HAVOCA’s ethos believes that every single victim of abuse has the ability to survive and lead a more fulfilling life.

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“How many of us suffer with the feeling of being broken???”  

“And many years of putting all the ‘broken’ parts back in place.   No easy process but you can thrive!”

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The above anonymous exchange of text messages got my attention.  I have been using “surviving and thriving” together for some time because shifting to “thrive” offers so much hope.  Why?  Because when we do “survive” emotional neglect and child abuse, embarking on a lifelong journey of healing, we more often than not “thrive” while doing so.  It becomes a daily work in progress and a discipline of understanding the symptoms connected with the mental health challenges.  If we are aware of the triggers and behaviors, we can mitigate the unsettling over reactions to the days events, and practice “dialing down” with style…  Hyper vigilance can be a good thing in terms of staying on top of your game, but not so good if it turns into a panic attack or an over reaction that becomes a distraction to others on your team.  Trauma survivors can thrive by using some of the value added symptoms of mental health challenges to advantage.

I have received excellent mentoring over the years from friends, family, co-workers, and mental health professionals to learn the value of  “dialing down” that translates into facilitating emotions or anger that has positive benefits at home and in the work place.  Take a look at the resource and reference site…Surviving and thriving…  Start thinking in terms of practicing how to use the gifts of hyper vigilance and hyper arousal to your advantage…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2…  Click the highlighted text for my author page to order books and other stuff…

Steve2016

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate, and member, Lincoln County Oregon, Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC)

 

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

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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…