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Is there a connection between childhood trauma and mental illness?

I am fine. Really. I am the over-achiever we all know and either love or hate, the one early for meetings, the one with a clean house, up to date on assignments, and ahead of the pack in sales numbers. From the look of me you would not know that anything was less than perfect.  According to Inc. Magazine, 75% of super-high achievers come from troubled backgrounds. But you wouldn’t know that…unless you read the fine print.

That’s because the biggest scars of childhood are on the inside- and most of us have been conditioned by society, shame or necessity to hide it. In some cases, the effects of our Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) have served us well- building a deep well of determination, grit and resilience, and physical drive that seems supernatural. But not for everyone.

What we hear about less often is the non-achieving group. The group that looks like they've lost. Those who have understandably turned to drugs, alcohol, other abusive and destructive behaviors, or worse, suicide to deal with the mental health effects of their childhood. Those who suffer from chronic worry, depression, anxiety, or loneliness because they are afraid to trust or form long-term relationships. Do you ever wonder why there are so many people abusing alcohol, drugs, opioids, and other things that dull the mind-like gambling, video games or screens?  Do you wonder why there are so many mentally ill homeless people wondering our towns, unable to fit into society? Unable to get off the streets? I do too, and that is what I hope to explore in my blogs this year.

Talk to someone if this applies to you. There is hope. There is a way out. I promise you will feel better.



My book, Redeemed, A Memoir of a Stolen Childhood will be published June 25, 2024.

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1 Comment

Very nicely written Penny, and poignant. I very much relate, and I think your memoir will contribute to discussions about this larger societal issue of trauma and mental illness, which is very pertinent these days!

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