Tag Archives: intergenerationalPTSD

Searching for My Lost Soul… A life time of stumbling, bumbling, and surviving to fight for sanity another day…

Most folks know that writing has been a critical source of healing for me. I started writing this blog in April 2011 on the encouragement of my dear friend and best buddy Byron Lewis. Byron passed away in October 2018 after a long battle with cancer. I miss Byron everyday, but he still taps me on the shoulder to help me get back on the right track. Byron encouraged me to keep writing before he passed. I honor my ol’ surf dude pal, Byron, with this first installment of a new series of lessons learned in life…and my personal journey of healing… Bryon also helped me edit my books and contributed to this blog over the years…click here.

Byron Lewis, a true friend who cared deeply for the children in our community. Byron served 8 years on the board of Neighbors for Kids, Depoe Bay, Oregon…click here. He lives in our hearts forever…

Back in the day we surf dudes would look at each other when a bad wipe out was imminent and say, “when you’re fucked you’re fucked!” That’s exactly how I felt at the beginning of this story so very long ago…

It was a gorgeous sunny morning in January 1965 cruising around Oahu near Makaha Beach aboard the USS Coucal (ASR8); a submarine rescue and salvage ship, shown in the above photo…click here. I only have surreal foggy memory from that moment. I was on a break and looking on shore off of Makaha Beach. We were about a football field from shore. I could see surfers taking off on beautiful glassy waves when I dreamed of being on my board waiting in the pocket for the perfect wave. I could feel the waves under my feet, the freedom and control of my destiny for a moment in time…a true mindfulness escape that allowed me to forget everything painful. Impulsively, I just jumped in and swam to shore! Last I remember about that moment so long ago is being at Treasure Island in San Francisco in August 1965, transitioning out of the US Navy with an early honorable separation.

I suffer from significant memory loss over a lifetime, especially during early childhood, teen years, and as a young adult. With a much higher level of awareness from Trauma Informed Care and personal treatment and recovery strategies, my memory is returning little by little and helping me get the closure I so desparately need to finally heal from the too terrible to remember younger years.

Promoted to RM3 in 1964 while serving at Comsubflot5

This was the beginning of 6 decades of running away from mental illness, searching for my soul with a desparation to find my truth and a passion to succeed as a worthy and honorable man. I wanted to prove that mental illness was not possible in my life. At age 19, I didn’t even understand the depth and breadth of my sickness from a terribly abusive and sick childhood that included surviving polio at age 2. What happened? How could I get out of this outrageious disaster? All the rotten memories were blocked out during that time, denial was the only logical direction for me. I would not last 2 minutes on the outside if anything was revealed about my mental illness. My life was on the line. There was no way out but denial. What else could any young man do in my shoes at that time, but pull up his boot strapes and learn how to survive. I felt extreme shame and guilt for letting the Navy down and my family. I believed I was crazy and couldn’t imagine talking about it, not once, not ever!

I was reassigned as a Radioman 3rd Class from Comsubpac/Comsubflot5, a highly secure communications center at Pearl Harbor subbase to the USS Coucal in January 1965. I was given this assignment as a lighter duty station while in treatment and recovery for a diagnosis of acute agitated depression and anxiety…click here. The Coucal was supposed to be an opportunity for me to work in a less stressful duty station, but the temptation of seeking refuge to what felt the safest spot on earth to me at the time was my surfboard. Without hesitation, and in a surreal state of panic, I jumped in to join my brothers in the surf at a familiar and favorite surf spot on Oahu. I was a strong swimmer and in great shape, so swimming to shore was a piece of cake.

I was completely unaware, ignorant, and immature during my early struggles with mental health. Mental illness was a very bad thing to happen to a young man serving with pride and honor in the US Navy. My father, a highly decorated WWII US Navy veteran, Pearl Harbor survivor, Pacific War, and Korean War, would no doubt beat the crap out of me while asking me once again for the millionth time, “what is wrong with you?” There was never a conversation about what happened back then or how to help a young man suffering from mental illness. If you were diagnosed with mental illness, life as a normal person would end. I would be seen as a ‘weak sister’ (vernacular term for weak dudes). I do see my father now with a different perspective. He suffered all his life with mental illness and didn’t have a way to treat his PTSD and major depressive disorder until later in life. My mother and all of us siblings suffered the same, living a life of emotional baggage.

I was never told of my specific mental illness diagnosis when leaving the Navy in August 1965. I learned later that my father was contacted by the commanding officer of Comsubpac and provided an update on my mental health circumstances. The first time I got a hint of it was when seeking a vocational position as a teletype technician with General Tel in Los Angeles in September 1965. At that time medical records of veterans were not sealed, so I was screened out for having a mental illness diagnosis from the US Navy on my DD214. Isn’t that the shits? Imagine how a young man age 19 might feel being told for the first time by a lay person that he is mentally unstable?

As a result of my own traumatic life experiences as a child, it is horrific for me to think of a child living in a profoundly dysfunctional home…click here. I cringe thinking about how children inhale the pain of parents suffering and the chaos presented in troubled homes across America. There are too many kids in my community who are damaged emotionally and morally for a lifetime following a childhood of abuse and maltreatment, including being exposed to substance abuse, addiction, and violence that serves as an intergenerational problem. Reach out to children and families who need community support. We know now with evidence based facts that finding ways to support kids who come to school with challenges early in life will help heal moral injuries that persist over a lifetime. We must stop the cycle of intergenerational pain, and it starts with all of us making a difference each and everyday.

Best wishes in your journey of healing,

Children of a War Ravaged World…and the generational pain of post-trauma stress!

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Children play at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, where more than 120,000 Syrian refugees live. Roughly two-thirds are kids, many of whom have been traumatized by the violence in their homeland. Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps

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Mercy Corps organizes games and movies at the Zaatari camp to help children return to more normal activities and routines. Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps

Syria’s Grinding War…and the children who suffer for a life-time…

How bad can it be?  Most do not have a clue…

“Alexandra Chen, a specialist in childhood trauma, is on her way from the Lebanese capital, Beirut, to the southern town of Nabatiyeh, where she’s running a workshop for teachers, child psychologists and sports coaches who are dealing with the Syrian children scarred by war in their homeland.

“All of the children have experienced trauma to varying degree,” explains Chen, who works for Mercy Corps and is training a dozen new hires for her aid group.

Her intense five-day workshop is based on skills and techniques developed in other conflict zones, used for the first time here.

“They need to know enough to understand exactly what’s going on in the brain of the children they are working with,” Chen says of her trainees. Her course stresses the science of severe trauma, which can be toxic for the brain.”

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After reading this article today, my heart was sinking thinking about “how bad can it be” for the children who represent our future everywhere, not just in America.  These kids and youngsters everywhere need our attention right now to help them transition to a healthy quality of life as adults.  We can do more!  We must do more!

Please take a look at my new Kickstarter non-fiction project, “I Worry About the Kids!”  The workbook format and structure will guide parents, teachers, mentors, and others in helping kids emerge from a traumatic childhood to a more balanced and productive young adult experience while preparing for life as an adult.

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

 

 

Anger in American Politics! Is generational post-trauma carry-over at the roots?

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Decades of War, Hardship, and Trauma in America…

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Why are so many Americans angry in this political season?

Why are Americans so angry?

A CNN/ORC poll carried out in December 2015 suggests 69% of Americans are either “very angry” or “somewhat angry” about “the way things are going” in the US.

And the same proportion – 69% – are angry because the political system “seems to only be working for the insiders with money and power, like those on Wall Street or in Washington,” according to a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll from November.

Many people are not only angry, they are angrier than they were a year ago, according to an NBC/Esquire survey last month – particularly Republicans (61%) and white people (54%) but also 42% ofWhy are Americans so angry?Democrats, 43% of Latinos and 33% of African Americans.

 

Trauma Carried Across Generations of People…  Click on the highlighted text to read more…

Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D.

Molly Castelloe Fong, Ph.D.Molly S. Castelloe, Ph.D., holds a doctorate from New York University in theater and psychoanalysis. She has presented on the subjects of performance and applied psychoanalysis at national symposia including the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. Her scholarly articles have appeared in international publications and refereed journals including the Journal for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society and Clio’s Psyche: Understanding the “Why” of Culture, Current Events, History, and Society.  She has taught at New York University and is a Professor at Metropolitan College of New York.

As an actress, Molly appeared in the critically acclaimed film “Clean, Shaven,” a story about schizophrenia. She is proud to have been among the ensemble that made the first bilingual film in Sri Lanka.  Inspirations include performer Anna Deavere Smith, political psychologist Vamik Volkan, and pioneering pediatrician D. W. Winnicott.

About The Me in We

Current research looks at history through a psychological lens. This is the field of “Psychohistory.” Of special interest: group identity, the transmission of trauma across generations, processes of collective mourning and creativity.

 

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My research and writing the last six years on the topic of post-traumatic stress in America has revealed an epidemic of post-trauma symptoms that have built up over many decades in America.  Stopping the cycle of pain and emotional baggage must start with new families by increasing trauma awareness and sensitivity.  We must create a trauma informed society to stop the carry-forward baggage of trauma at the roots of the problem, the family at home.  I reference two article above to help my readers become better informed on the scope of the problem and implications.  Also included is a link to my Kickstarter project, “I Worry About the Kids,” a workbook for parents, teachers, and mentors to help build awareness and to serve as a guide for trauma affected families and for those who are trusted with the care of children at school and at play.

Please click this website right now…