Old Wounds

In my first post, Walk 20 Blocks and Call Me in the Morning, I mentioned that I was working through childhood trauma with a therapist. I’ll share more about that later, but right now, I want to acknowledge that the experience of trauma during childhood is quite common. Though our individual experiences differ, the majority of us have experienced painful circumstances early in our lives. As I share my own journey, I do so with the recognition that this journey does not make me unique. In fact, it connects me to those of you who also had traumatic experiences as a child.

How do we know that childhood trauma is common? One piece of evidence comes from the ACE Study. I learned about this important research a few years ago and it had a profound impact on my own understanding, and on our collective understanding of the prevalence and impact of childhood trauma. ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences.

A brief summary of the findings is: There is a strong correlation between the number of adverse childhood experiences a person has and an increased risk of unhealthy behaviors and health problems.

To be more specific, children who experience

  • physical abuse,
  • sexual abuse,
  • emotional abuse,
  • physical neglect,
  • emotional neglect,
  • mental illness of a family member,
  • incarceration of a family member,
  • a mother being treated violently,
  • parents being divorced, and/or
  • substance abuse of a family member

…become adults who are more likely to:

  • be physically inactive,
  • abuse drugs or alcohol,
  • smoke,
  • miss a lot of work,
  • have health problems such as depression, diabetes, heart disease, COPD, stroke, STDs, cancer, broken bones, and severe obesity, and/or
  • attempt suicide.
Read the full post “Old Wounds”