Celebrities

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Coping with Trauma

The original 2015 Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, starring Ellie Kemper, is pure comedy at its finest as quirky -- and certainly bubbly -- 29 year-old Kimmy Schmidt moves from Indiana to New York City for a fresh start. She finds a home with Titus, the dramatic and eccentric roommate looking for stardom (played by Tituss Burgess), has adventures with Lillian, the tough-as-nails and offbeat landlord (played by Carol Kane), and begins to work as a nanny for Jacqueline, a snobby but lovable socialite (played by Jane Krakowski).

But underneath the literally laugh out loud dialogue and hilarity is a serious -- and comparatively unique -- storyline. In episode one, we learn that Kimmy was kidnapped along with three other young women by a reverend who told them the world was ending; she spent fifteen years of her life immersed in an apocalypse cult, living in an underground bunker until they were finally freed.
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Inspiration & Hope

Childhood Trauma: Focus on Validating Feelings

When you’re a child and you suffer abuse, whether it’s physical, sexual, or emotional, you make it your mission to find out if this is normal. You wonder if other kids experienced the same things.

It’s easier to doubt your perception than it is to accept the fact that you are living in a dangerous situation. If you knew that to be true, you’d have to do something about it. You’d have to talk to a teacher, a school counselor, or a police officer. You’d have to expose something that brings you great shame and pain. You’d have to face your abuser. Even though you’re only a child.
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Bullying

Child Sexual Abuse: Don’t Hide Your Head in the Sand

Right as the Summer Olympic Games started in Rio, the IndyStar reported that USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for gymnastics, ignored sexual abuse allegations filed against coaches. Complaints were reportedly filed against more than 50 gymnastics coaches, but authorities were not contacted about the complaints if they did not come directly from a victim or her parents. Three of those coaches have since been convicted, while a fourth killed himself in jail.

Before I mention any details, I have to give a trigger warning to trauma survivors. This news brought up a lot of poignant, ugly feelings for me.
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Brain and Behavior

The Denial of Trauma

“I don’t have trauma.”

“What happened to me isn’t trauma.”

“Trauma is something horrific.”

“I should have been able to cope with it.”

“It’s not sad.”

“I’m not upset.”

Accepting you are suffering from trauma is by far one of the most difficult aspects of recovery. I thought that admitting I was suffering from trauma suggested I couldn’t cope with the events in my life or I didn’t have the strength to deal with and process those events.
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Anxiety and Panic

Surprise Diagnoses

When I was diagnosed with PTSD at the beginning of the year, it came as a surprise to me. I’d gone to this psychologist for a potential BPD diagnosis. I walked out with not only that, but four years' worth of PTSD as well.

It was surprising because in these four years I’d not once thought about this disorder; it never even occurred to me. But as I thought about it, letting it sink in, things started making sense. And since the diagnosis, I’ve had to think about what happened. Because I really didn’t deal with it; I'm still having trouble figuring out where to go from here.
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General

Childhood Trauma: Overcoming the Hurt of Invalidation

“When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”
-- Brene Brown
I talk about my childhood trauma because I lived in denial for most of my life. I write about it because I didn’t understand what happened, why it happened, what it meant. I couldn't explain all these feelings of shame, depression, and disgust. As I grow to understand it better, I hope my writing can help other victims who feel lost and scour the internet for answers -- for a childhood they can relate to.
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Addiction

Understanding PTSD and its Effects on Marriage

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that occurs following a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault. Approximately eight percent of all people will experience PTSD at some point in their life. That number rises to about 30 percent for combat veterans.

Those suffering with PTSD may experience several different types of symptoms:

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Bullying

Recovering from Childhood Abuse: The Past Keeps Getting Clearer

In trauma recovery it is said, “You’ve done the hardest part -- you survived the abuse.”

After a year of accepting that I was sexually abused as a child, I’m finally starting to understand that recovery isn’t the hardest part. The shame is less automatic now, and the past is getting clearer.

As a child suffering abuse we don’t understand exactly what’s happening to us. Sex and sexuality is a mystery, so it’s not easy to recognize sexual abuse. Physical abuse is also confusing. We are tricked into thinking we’ve done something to deserve maltreatment. And in the end, we give in to this naive hope: “Everything is normal. No one would let abuse happen to me. I’m not in an unsafe situation.”
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Brain and Behavior

Compassion Fatigue in the Animal Welfare Community

Before becoming a psychotherapist, I had a career in animal welfare. I’ve worn both the boots and the sandals -- that’s jargon for working on the law enforcement side and the shelter side -- and I’ve seen my fair share of trauma.

Whether you’re a humane officer or a shelter volunteer, a vet tech or an animal rights activist, you have likely seen, heard about, or experienced things that most people can’t even begin to understand. Long-term exposure to abuse and neglect, euthanasia, and grief-stricken clients not only can affect your work productivity and satisfaction, but it can also wear on you mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you feel like you care so much that it hurts, you may be struggling with compassion fatigue.
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Anxiety and Panic

How Media Shapes Our View of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Most people would consider an abuse victim as a person who experienced “trauma.” However people often don’t view them as potentially experiencing “post-traumatic stress disorder.” PTSD is more commonly thought of as a condition affecting combat veterans, but the number of civilians suffering from PTSD is 13 times more than military personnel, according to a release from Drexel University. So what gives? According to researchers at Drexel, the media plays a large role in what the general population and lawmakers associate with PTSD.

The Drexel study reviewed 35 years worth of articles on PTSD published in the New York Times -- from 1980, the year PTSD was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to 2015. Of 871 articles a little over 50 percent focused on military cases of PTSD. The occurrence of PTSD in veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan is 20 percent. But research shows the condition is far more likely to affect civilians who suffer sexual assault (30-80 percent of survivors), nonsexual assault (23–39 percent), survivors of disasters (30–40 percent), and car crashes (25–33 percent).
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