Friday, 30 November 2012

Let Me Forget via @Hidden_Beth #Advocate #AntiBullying

 Please support my good friend Beth who is an inspiration to me in many ways. She has been a guest on my blog in the past "Bullying Must Stop" 

You think you know the affects of bullying?

I wish I could just forget everything that has happened to me, I struggle so much because of what happened, the problems i have started because of the bullying.
My mental health is not great at the moment, sometimes i’ll cry for no reason, and i’m on edge most of the time, i struggle with relationships, i find it hard to make new friends, i can’t go a day without thinking of suicide, i’ve been self harming for a very long time.
The way i see myself is horrible, i can hardly look in a mirror, i just want to cry when i see myself, i feel so fat and ugly because that’s what i’ve been told i am. I feel self concious all of the time, i feel people are always looking at me, and i think they’re looking at me because i’m so ugly and fat. I think that nobody can love me because of all the problems i have and because of the way i look. 
I have trust issues, it takes me a while to build up my trust and then it can be broken down so quickly by little things because the littlest things affect me so much.
”I can make it through the rain, I can stand up once again”
I’d love to be able to tell my story, i told my story to the Welsh Government and i’d love to be able to do more things like that.

Follow on Twitter @Hidden_Beth

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Looking Back and Moving Forward via @26PeacockLady #sexualabuse #survivors

Please meet my friend from Twitter @26PeacockLady
Looking Back and Moving Forward 

In honour of my mom, friends and Inspector Nick Lisi.

The Issue of sexual abuse is a community responsibility and no single agency can do the work in isolation. It takes a co-ordinated effort between many different agencies and support systems to effectively assist an individual who has been abused.  Professionals who work in the field have an obligation to the individual to provide service in an ethical manner so as too not re-victimize the individual.
The relationship between the victim and the police officer is paramount in preventing re-victimization. It can also be a catalyst for self reflection and personal growth.  The relationship needs to be fluid and dynamic with the goal to promote healing for the individual.
This paper will then be a personal exploration of my experience with the Durham Police Department as I close the final chapter of my abuse story. While this paper is about my experience, I believe that it shares elements which are common to victims/survivors. Also, it shares some elements which are specific to myself. Each person’s experience of trauma is unique. Each step to their story is individual. However, closure occurs when the individual and the environment are safe to do so. Safety is individualistic to the person. For example, my opening paragraph deals with the process I took in making my decision to charge my offender. This paper will also focus on my feelings, thoughts and insights, responding intervention by the police officer and my comments as to the effectiveness of the intervention.  The conclusion will have recommendations for both the individual and the police department.
It is hard to say when I decided to press charges against my offender. I believe it was a process that began when I received my decision from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. At last I felt validated for the years of horror and abuse that I had suffered from my offender.  The committee told me that it was my right to prosecute him for what he had done. Still taking an action that would eventually send a person to jail is hard. I needed time to think about this and I felt safe to do so as he was out of the province. The committee apologized on behalf of society for not keeping me safe from him. This statement had a powerful impact on me and I was moved to tears when I received their final decision in the mail.
As I reflected on my life since the divorce, I realized that I was still frightened of my ex-husband. I felt this fear was hindering me form being the person that I wanted to be. I began counseling with my minister to explore ways to resolving the fear and taking back my life by holding him accountable for his behavior.  She helped me to explore my issues regarding charging him. Even though, I knew that effective treatment for offenders involved a term in prison, it was still a hard decision to make.
My minister accompanied me to my first interview. Andrea DeWitt, a police officer who had expertise with sexual abuse issues met with us. We were taken to a quiet office and I briefly described my reasons for coming to the police station. I explained that I was finally able to gather the courage to come forward and tell the police what had happened to me. She immediately validated me for reporting my abuse, completed the preliminary information for the file and explained the process for my case.
Later, while thinking of my offender’s methods of assault and grooming process caused me to be triggered. I felt that I did not have time for such nonsense thank you very much but I had my life to live. Finally, I decided to process the triggering information using various stress techniques that I had developed to assist me. I was surprised that I was able to employ them as it had been more than eight years since I had been triggered with such intensity.
The next step involved my cause being assigned to a police officer who was Detective Nick Lisi. He was trained in sexual abuse issues and had expertise with rape cases. We spoke on several occasions with respect to my file to determine if my ex-husband could be charged with sexual assault. The first step in the investigation required me to give a statement.
I choose to go to the police station to do this. This was important as it allowed me to be in charge of the process. I felt it was my responsibility to take an active role in the investigation. My first attempt at giving my statement was difficult. I was taken to a small interviewing room to give my statement. Detective Lisi told me that my statement would be video and audio tapped. I was very nervous about the process which made it difficult for me to tell the private details of my assaults to a stranger, whom I had just met. The video tapping was a further trigger for my abuse. Detective Lisi tried to put me at ease so that I could give my statement but at this point I was too scared to speak. Wisely, he realized that I was having too much difficulty and shut off the equipment. We went to a quiet room which helped to put me at ease. I gave him a number of medical and legal documents which would support my abuse. We spoke for a few minutes and reviewed the information that he needed me to write. The method he chose is a three-part process called a gradual method of facts. Step one deal’s with dates, place and times. Step two involves relationship details and the final step was to include details of the offences. He asked me to write about my abuse starting from the year I was married and describe any details that I remembered regarding my abuse. He further added that we could stop the process at any point if I found it too difficult. This discussion allowed me to regain my composure and self respect. I was relieved to know that I was not being judged and that there were other methods of giving my statement. In retrospect, it would have been more beneficial for me to explain to Detective Lisi that I had been triggered and that I needed to wait a few weeks before I made a statement. I set out to work on the project at my own pace and in the quiet of my home. Approximately, a week after my interview, Detective Lisi contacted me to discuss my case and during the conversation he explained that he believed me. This was a crucial step as it validated my experience. Subsequent conversations started out with him always first validating me before we discussed the file. Gradually, I was able to trust his judgment and started to talk of my abuse. It also helped me to feel comfortable as I continued to complete my statement. While I was writing my statement, I decided to set two goals for myself. The first goal was to work through the experience of charging my ex-husband. This was important because I had been traumatized and silenced so effectively that I was terrified to go to the police when I was married. Secondly, I choose to work with a male officer to work through some aspects of my abuse. I knew that I could ask for a female officer but I felt that it would be more beneficial for me to work with a male police officer. I felt that if a male police officer believed me and acknowledged that the abuse I had suffered was not acceptable, this would allow me to re-process a portion of my abuse which aided in my healing.  Writing the first statement was a cathartic experience for me. I knew that the body has a natural way of protecting itself and would only allow the trauma to return when it was safe to do so. I knew that personal growth comes from walking through the pain and emerging a stronger person. Finally, I felt safe to be able to process what I felt was the final stage of my healing and to bring about closure to my abuse story. I realized that I was experiencing various levels of awareness which made many connections from my abuse to my present life. Once my statement was completed, I arranged for Detective Lisi to come to my house to pick it up. He returned the documents that I had given him and we talked further about my file. At this point he indicated that he would go at a slow pace as he wanted to take care that I was not re-victimized by the process. He asked sensitive questions in a respectful manner.  These questions were valuable as they allowed me to examine myself in a meaningful manner. Detective Lisi explained that he felt he owed it to me to do a good job. This was a moving experience for me as I felt honoured. This was further validation of my experience.  I felt that setting the pacing and timing of the questions and so forth was a reflection of the ethics and integrity of Detective Lisi. We had further conversations in which Detective Lisi asked me to confirm specific details for him which included things such as addresses, telephone numbers and so forth. I was still being triggered from the questions and decided to purchase a day timer which would help me. I wrote down questions that I had and information that he required. I used the book to record any further details that I happened to remember.
Detective Lisi and I again met at the police station to sign various police consent forms. I noticed that he was wearing a gun and explained that it made me nervous.  He heard my concern and addressed it as best he could, considering policing policy. Detective Lisi explained the documents to me before I signed them and then briefly described the types of charges. More questions were asked. Detective Lisi seemed to know intuitively that I was being triggered and would modify or change the question. He also wrote a list of information that he needed. After this was done, we talked about going to the houses I had lived in to take pictures for evidence. Next he asked my consent to go to the houses and to ride in the police car. I gave my approval to each question. This was important to me because it was an example of respect and recognition that I had been violated by my offender. As we were leaving the station, he reassured me that we could stop at any time I felt it was too difficult.  This prompted me to voice my anxiety about visiting my home in Cherrywood as it was where most of the horrific violence had occurred.  Detective Lisi choose a gradual integration process to town and then residence, which was an effective tool as the transition was more comforting so I did not feel   traumatized. He knew that I attended the church in Whitevale and so this was the first house that we would visit and then go on to the house in Cherrywood. He stopped to buy me a coffee and then we proceeded to the houses. We had a general conversation which helped to put me at ease. This was significant as it allowed me to be in charge of my experience and ensured that I would not be re-victimized. A well known theory concerning sexual abuse mentions taking the “child within” back to the abusive scenario and then describing the journey into the future where one can view the scenario in a different perspective. This was my experience in returning to the scene of my assaults. I felt more in charge of my situation.
I was given one last task  to write a statement of consent. This statement of consent is used as the first line of defense that lawyers use to defend their client.  The first line of defense addressed the credibility issues of his word against hers or he said — she said. I felt that I needed to do some research on this issue and reviewed documents that I had acquired from the sexual assault centre in Newmarket, Ontario. I started my statement of consent by using the definition of consent from Webster’s Dictionary.  I choose to emphasize my points by ending each act by saying NO, I did not consent to the act.  I ended the document with a powerful statement saying that I had handled the assaults correctly that I had to make life and death decisions in an instant and that my survival was evidence that I had handled the assaults correctly! This document served to solidify my experience. I was able to reflect on what had happened to me during the time I was married. I was able to integrate the experience, to make sense of it and to put it into context within my life. I began to develop a deeper sense of awareness about what had happened to me, how I must have felt being dragged across the floor knowing that what proceeded next involved me being sexually assaulted. I realized the horror I must have felt.  Remembering that I had the skills to deal with these feelings and that I was in charge of what I was remembering, helped me to further integrate all of the experiences connected with these feelings and memories. I noticed some further changes in myself as I continued to take back my life. I needed to contact the Victim and Witness Program for support. This was an interesting experience because I had difficulty using the word victim to identify myself. I had a five minute conversation with the staff person before I was able to say that I was a victim.
This last document of consent was  given to Detective Lisi. At this point, I met his partner Detective Constable D’Amico whose was receiving training in skills augmentation. I learned that both officers had questions for me regarding my file. Detective Constable D’Amico made me a tea before we proceeded with the questions. Careful attention was paid to my responses and when it was evident that I was being triggered, Detective Lisi intervened and changed the focus.  At this point, I reiterated my fear and anxiety involving my offender; they reassured me that I would be physically safe. Both officers discussed the legal aspects that were available to keep me safe. The last step involved the method that the officers would use to lay the charges. At the end of this process, I felt an incredible sense of support and validation for my experience. I felt further empowered and that a richness had been brought the experience through the relationship between the officers and myself.  In conclusion, there were many elements which came together to ensure that I was not re-victimized.
1) One officer handling the case provided continuity of information so I did not have to repeat my story to a number of strangers.
2) Validation of my experience – Saying I believe you
3) Setting the pacing and timing of the questioning, listening to my responses and observing for signs of being triggered/traumatized.  Collection of information for the file.
4) Using skills to collect the information that did not traumatize such as gradual integration
5) Respect for my experience and boundaries
6) Creating a safe and comfortable environment
7) Asking questions that were thought provoking – assisted with reflections and self growth.
I’m glad now that I had this experience. I know that this was the right thing to do and I am no longer afraid of my offender. I feel at peace and I have gained new insights which will help me in the present and will help me in the future.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Wordless Wednesday U.K Floods Nov 2012

Patricia McKnights Justice #childabuse #survivors via @triciagirl62

My good friend and fellow survivor Tricia McKnight has set up a fantastic new website. It is called Patricia McKnight's Justice 

 On this site you will get to know this woman; heralded as a "Hero; A Conqueror Over Abuse". You will be able to see her speaking platform and connect to have Tricia speak at your event. She provides links to her own true horror story, "My Justice" about a life stolen by more than 30 years of almost deadly violence and sadistic abuse. There are various links to Talk Radio Interviews, Readings of "My Justice", Book Reviews, Press Releases and more.

However, this site isn't just about who Tricia is or what she has lived through. It's about sharing facts concerning these criminal acts against our children, our peers, partners, loved ones. There is a collection of Survivors who are finally able to use their voice after living through decades of silent secrets, dysfunction, and self destructive behaviors. These Outstanding Examples of Survivors are using their various talents as Authors/Musicians/Artists/Bloggers/Journalists and building advocacy organizations to help combat the growing epidemic of violence in our homes.  

Through the page links above, you will find a tab for "Generation No More". This is a growing page where you are invited to take part and give your voice to end the crimes of abuse and violence. "Generation No More" is Tricia's own creation to build awareness, prevention, education, and empowerment in our own communities.You'll find a Guest Book where you can give your voice and help provide resolutions to create a strong network and support those who've been harmed within your circle of family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Together we can all make an impact within our society as we create a better, SAFER, world for our children. 

Violence and abuse toward others is become more prevelant as our world continues to be so difficult to survive. The anger from lack of success in the outside world flows into our homes and we harm those who we should hold close and protect. There is a need for dominace and power, greed of control over others along with our own past abuses against us; this all infects our homes and bleeds into the lives of those around us. Our children take the bullying and dominating control of others onto the streets and then against their peers or by committing criminal acts, they then are able to feel their own sense of control and power over others. Many of our youth will fall prey to gang violence, get caught in a world of prostitution or drugs; even worse using guns to show their dominance.

Now, Ms. McKnight invites you to check out all the information provided. It is important to educate ourself on the cruelty and lifelong impacts of these silent crimes. When we are aware of the extreme harm inflicted by those who should love us, those we trust to protect us; then we can provide resources, support and understanding for all that these victims are left to cope with and carry as they then learn to become protectors of their own children. ​​

 “I have not always been safe or believed in myself enough to share my voice. In truth, I’ve only been safe about 7 years and only found my voice just 2 years ago. My life was invaded at age 5 when the man my mother chose to marry brutally molested me. What he took that night trapped me in a lifetime of cruelty; he took away MY VOICE. For 12 years I was trained as a slave to my family and the evil of my stepfather. This set a pattern of accepting abuse and violence, which kept me trapped to endure 20 years of Interpersonal Violence, Control, Degradation, and even Attempted Murder. The life I had been so well trained to accept as “Normal”, invaded my children’s lives because of my inability to make Safe Choices. This is the cycle of generational abuse and family violence, which has existed since the beginning of mankind. There has been a struggle of power over another since God created Adam and Eve. It is this need for greater power to intimidate and control those around us, that has led to the development of status in our society. The programming of the powerful Dominant Male, Submissive Female and Non-Existant Rights of our Children has created a home of dysfunction. We can change what has festered silently and destroyed the lives of millions. This is the basis of why I use my voice, my story, my survival to speak against the violent and abusive training of our children each day.” Tricia McKnight

 Find more about Tricia and her amazing work HERE

Monday, 26 November 2012

Powerless At 3am #poetry #depression

So this is how it comes:
in the dark of early morning
reaching for light that doesn't come
you look to the not glowing
alarm clock...
The darkness
is partially interrupted
by flashes of lightning that
shatter the shadows
the house, and you wonder
if you are alone
as you get up and make
for the kitchen...
You try another light and it doesn't come
but you have been up too long now
no point in sleep, you know what time it is
and no one else is here anyway, take out
a match and light a candle, leftover from Christmas
because the darkness is almost unbearable;
you cannot make out the colour of your own flesh,
and it helps to know you are here, anyway...
You know know what time it is,
and you are sitting in a room
listening to your whole world thunder
and crash, and to the sound
of him or her not snoring
in the bedroom, and watching
the whiteness of the lightning,
no longer spider-like, throw itself
out toward the black sky
like a fisherman's net, and
resurfacing with nothing...
And maybe, just maybe
one night that lightning
will go out once and come back;
catch those damn stars
and send you one or two to keep...
As long as they aren't the
same ones
that keep you up
counting wishes and stars
when there are no clouds out
and it's not raining.
Again powerless at 3am

Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Power Of Love

Never Forget.....

Gabrielle Aplin 'The Power of Love'

Men Surviving Sexual Abuse #sexualabuse #survivors

A 27 minute documentary of five men discussing the impact of sexual abuse on men. Intended as an introduction into this difficult topic that can be used in therapy sessions, group discussions and training seminars.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Child Abuse, a survivor's story - video documentary #childabuse #survivors

 Real stories featured, told by actors, about the abuse adults suffered as a child, and the consequences for them in adulthood.

Sorry for the sound problems at NAPAC. A charity I spent some time with, and saw how hard they worked, and how they just cant help everyone, as much as they would like to, just due to that many people abused.

If any of the issues affect you, please do not hesitate to call NAPAC. 



Thursday, 22 November 2012

NAPAC - National Association for People Abused in Childhood @NAPAC #childabuse #survivors

Few resources exist in the U.K to help and support adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and molestation.  Those that do are currently under increased pressure as the Jimmy Savile scandal unfolds and more and more survivors are coming forward and speaking out.  If you are able to help them some way, extra funding is always needed, then please follow the link below.

Message from NAPAC Founder and CEO Pete Saunders.

Those who have been attempting to get in touch with NAPAC have probably realised by now that we are being overwhelmed with requests for help and support. Well that is why we exist, to help and support our fellow survivors or their families. However, we never anticipated the many thousands who have come forward these past weeks following the outrageous Savile revelations. We know there are millions of survivors out there but the personal(and media) response has been phenomenal.What we are extremely conscious of is that we are a relatively small charity responding to massive demand. So NAPAC needs to expand rapidly to meet that demand and the only way we can do that is with more resources. To get those resources we need funds. 

There are two massive favours you could do for us right now. One is to write to your Member of Parliament asking them to support NAPAC. I won't suggest the format of the letter but a short message to your representative in Parliament should receive a fairly swift response. The other thing is to consider making a small (or large if you are wealthy!) donation to NAPAC each month. If every survivor in the UK was to donate just a pound or two each month we would be able to get help to just about everyone who needs it. We need to get our support groups up and running across the whole of the country. Please consider these two things. Either will make a huge difference to us and both would be perfect!  If there is any other way you feel you can help us please get in touch.

Thank you. Pete


How NAPAC began

NAPAC grew out of a lack of an integrated national body providing help and support to adults who have experienced childhood abuse. In early January 1997, a group of approximately 100 people met in London to discuss the idea of a new national organisation for people abused in childhood. Represented at the meeting were organisations supporting people who have been abused, academics and professionals working in the area of child abuse, and people with personal experiences of childhood abuse.
The meeting was set up by Peter Saunders who had been actively promoting this idea since 1995. Many people heard about the meeting after getting in touch with Peter as the result of an article in The Times, which featured his story of childhood abuse and the difficult task he faced in finding help for himself as an adult.
The result of the meeting was that a steering committee was elected made up of individuals committed to seeing the idea of a national organisation succeed. Trustees and volunteers for NAPAC currently include people who have direct experiences of childhood abuse and professionals working in the area of child abuse.

Research supporting NAPAC

Open quotes

There is a pressing need for a national organisation of this sort.

Closing quotes
Christopher Cloke
Secretary to the National Commission of Inquiry into the Prevention of Child Abuse
One of the key recommendations of the National Commission was for a national organisation for people abused in childhood. This recommendation was based on the personal testimonies of over 1000 people who had experienced childhood abuse.
It was one of the largest collections of adult experiences of child abuse to be recorded and analysed in depth.
Wattam, C. and Woodwood, C. (1996) And do I abuse my children? No.1 - Learning about prevention from people who have experienced child abuse, in Childhood Matters: report of the National Commission of Inquiry into the prevention of child abuseVol. 2: Background papers, London: HMSO. pp43-148

Trigger warning: Material may trigger some painful memories


About NAPAC and its Mission Statement

We are the only national organisation focused on supporting adults who have been abused in any way as children. We know that most children who are abused don't talk about it until they become adults. NAPAC exists to support survivors of child abuse when want to talk and receive support.

We aim to:

  • Respond to the distress caused in adulthood by ill treatment and/or neglect in childhood.
  • Maintain a national information telephone line and other support services for people requiring advice and information about help available to overcome the continuing impact of childhood abuse in adulthood.
  • Provide support, training, information and resources to persons and organisations supporting people who have experienced ill treatment and/or neglect in childhood.
  • Raise public awareness of the continuing impact of childhood abuse in adulthood.
  • Effectively campaign to alleviate the impact of child abuse in adulthood.

We plan to achieve these aims by:

  • Continuing to maintain our national freephone support line and other support services for adults who have suffered any type of abuse during childhood.
  • The publication of helpful materials and information.
  • Establishing and delivering training packages for people and organisations supporting adult survivors who experienced ill treatment or neglect in childhood.
  • The establishment, maintenance and monitoring of a national register of counsellors and therapists who are committed to assisting adults who have experienced child abuse.
  • Organising seminars and conferences on relevant topics.
  • Promoting and liaising with relevant bodies on issues pertaining to childhood abuse and its continuing impact in adulthood. 

Contact NAPAC

There are three main ways to contact us if you are a survivor, or supporting a survivor, of childhood abuse and are looking for support and information. All methods are confidential and you will not be added to our mailing list unless you request to be.
Other ways that NAPAC provides support can be found here.

Contact us by telephone

You could phone our national freephone Support Line.
The NAPAC Support Line is confidential and free for anyone who calls from within the UK. Our volunteers are trained to understand the issues surrounding childhood abuse and will provide a listening ear to any survivor who calls. They will also search our online database you to see if they can find any local on-going support if that's what you'd like.
Calling us on 0800 085 3330 is free if you are calling from a UK landline or from a mobile provided by Virgin, Orange or 3. See our homepage for this week's opening times.
If you are calling us from a mobile provided by O2, Vodafone or T-mobile you can call us for free using an alternative number 0808 801 0331.
Because of the large volume of calls we are sorry that many people are unable to get through. We are trying to extend our opening times and they are always changing as the NAPAC Support Team increases so keep checking our homepage for the most up-to-date information.

Contact us by post

You could write us a letter if you prefer. Please note that the following address is a postal address only. Don't forget to include your email or postal address if you would like a reply from us.
P O BOX 63632

Contact us by email

You could send us an email using the form here. We receive many letters and emails each week. Every request for help receives a personal reply. The service is confidential and free.

Please check you have entered your email address correctly (otherwise our replies won't reach you). It may also be worth checking that any email spam filters are set to allow replies from emails.

Male Survivors of Child Abuse #video #childabuse #survivors

Three brave male survivors of sexual abuse, Peter Saunders (Founder of NAPAC), Graham Wilmer (Founder of The Lantern Project) and Joe Peters (No1 Best Selling Author of Cry Silent Tears) speak out about their horrific stories. 

Peter Saunders was sexually abused by a close family member at 5 years old. Graham Wilmer was raped by his teacher at 13 years old. Joe Peters was locked in a dog cellar for 4 years and was eventually sold to a paedophile ring by his own mother at just 5 years old.

Find out how these courageous men survived through the worst period in their lives to help many other victims today


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Firework - Ella Henderson #music #video

The sixteen yr old singer Ella Henderson was voted off X Factor UK last week. I hope she gets a recording contract, her voice is amazing!


A Blue Christmas? #Christmas #depression #SAD

This is a reblog of a post I wrote around this time last year. Much has changed for me during 2012 and I have found myself dreading the coming of December. Not working means there is little spare money this year. I even thought of cancelling Christmas... Common sense prevailed and it's been decided to have a lean Christmas.

 The past year has taught me a lot about myself, I've unearthed many childhood memories (good as well as bad) and I have fought and defeated many demons. Friendships have grown from surprising places and I've been blessed by these. The biggest lesson I've learnt this year is that I am even more of a survivor than I thought I was. My childhood was much more damaging than I'd thought a year ago and my adult life was deeply affected  by this.

 I've grown and developed more as an adult. I no longer seek to be the man I was born to be... I am becoming the man I want to be. This is my life! If I can do something, anything, to help others who suffered as I did and if I can raise enough awareness about the issues of childhood sexual abuse I might even save someone else from being a victim. That is my Christmas wish this year.

Blue Christmas?

Christmas is coming...... I have always loved Christmas, the build up, the sharing, time with friends and family. Almost every year as an adult I end up depressed....

It has improved over the last few years. Acknowledging the fact it exists, and then sharing that knowledge is so important. I know now the reasons why I struggle over Christmas.. A need to please, wanting everything to go well, I plan and prepare and plot too much. The grandfather was born on Christmas Day... That used to really bug me. Gifts I received for Christmas used to vanish soon afterwards and I'd get the blame. In truth he sold them to pay for his Whisky habit...

I almost got into that "habit" myself as an adult. Drink was such an easy escape, then mornings came and feelings of guilt, shame and the hangover. I hid this for years. It was always worse at Christmas. Now I enjoy an occasional drink, but stick to the milder varieties and rarely get drunk.

I spent a couple of Christmases totally alone, not seeing anyone. I hated it and now if I hear of anyone spending the day alone I invite them over. Christmas is no time to be alone.

‘Tis the season to be jolly..... Apparently December is not only the month where depression is most likely to hit you but it also has the highest rate of suicides. It’s the month where family and friends should be getting together, where you plan your Christmas and decorate the home etc.

Many things can trigger deeper depression in December...

Loneliness, bereavement and grieving, failed business or loss of a job. The breakup of a relationship. Ill health generally.  All likely to set you on the road to depression at any time, but worse at this time of year.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) adds to the equation. I love Christmas but hate the short days and cold wet weather..

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Coping with depression is bad enough, but trying to do so when everyone else is extra happy makes it harder to reach out, to ask for help. We don't want to stand out from the crowd so instead we cut ourselves off. Not wanting to drag others down into our depression we stand alone, and watch from the sidelines.
Instances of depression are higher in those who have suffered trauma in their earlier lives. At a time of year where people are getting together to celebrate, those with depression are most likely to feel more isolated. Unable to join in, to embrace the season of good will, they sink further and further into a pit of gloom.
Alone in crowd. I have often felt most lonely when there are people hustling and bustling around me, laughing and joking. Not wanting to spoil their festive fun I would either paint a false smile on my face or just vanish into the shadows. Christmas can be a very stressful time for anyone. For those prone to depression it can be a nightmare.

Though there has been more publicity over the issue of Christmas depression in recent years, it is still not understood. The most important thing you can do is tell someone how you feel. Reach out before the season starts and share. Communication is much easier now. Social media and the internet generally helps bring people together. Telephone someone, talk to someone. See your Doctor or Priest, just don't sit at home alone. There is no shame in admitting that you get depressed and you may be suprised to find others feeling the same way. All to often those who find themselves getting depressed do nothing about it.
Depression can deeply affect your life. It can sneak up and disrupt your work, your home life, your health generally and can lead you to neglect those around you that need you well. Grab a hold of the problem and do something about it.The most important thing is to reach out, ask for help, talk to someone.

Don't let depression destroy your Christmas or that of those around you. The power to do something about it is in your hands. Do you want to become another statistic? Please remember there is no shame in asking for help. This is the season of goodwill to all men and if Scrooge can do it then so can you. 

If you are prone to Christmas depression then reach out, tell someone. Seek help if needs be.
If you know someone who appears to be slipping into a depression or who always gets the winter blues reach out to them. It won't kill you and you might just save a life.

Be nice to yourself, be kind to yourself. The greatest gift is that of love so remember to love yourself too.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Against All Odds | A Story of Courage, Hope & Leadership via @justcoachit #leadership #coaching

“The greatest power we hold is not in what we have, but in who we truly are when we choose to ignite, engage and unleash the leader or hero within.
Our greatest power lies in our ability to use what is to create what can be in our self, our lives, our relationships, our leadership and our work” – Irene Becker

Serve to Lead is an outstanding blog…and a
must read leadership book, Thank you James Strock for a body of work, a blog and three amazing books that talk loudly, boldly and fiercely to 21st Century Leadership at its best!

In this post, acclaimed success coach Irene Becker shares her personal leadership journey.

How would you summarize Irene’s journey, as recounted here? My one sentence: Persistence and resilience can build a bridge between adversity and excellence.
What is your leadership journey? Do you recognize aspects of your experience that coincide with Irene’s?…James Strock, CEO Serve to Lead

The deepest questions, insights, awareness and answers rarely come when we are sitting at the top of the mountain of success feeling like the keys to the kingdom are in our right hand. No matter who we are, no matter what we have acquired and accomplished; our success, satisfaction, sense of personal power, value and fulfillment can change in a blink.

40th Birthday Marks Turning Point

My greatest challenge, and greatest life, leadership and success lesson began on my 40th birthday way I was thrust from the mountain of success into a very dark valley. My birthday represented a giant fork or rut in the road of my personal life and my career. It was a time when the gold I had created by the sweat of my brow had turned to dust. I had not done anything to justify what had occurred. My birthday came to pass far, far away from the success, financial security, social capital and material comforts I had worked so very hard to achieve and acquire.

Far, far, away from my former success as CEO of a successful multi-million dollar company, and the accoutrements of success I had taken for granted. I faced a life crucible, an event of nightmarish proportion, that took me from the mountain of success to ground zero where I had to start my life and my career again. While I had overcome incredible hurdles to build a formidable career, the hurdles that I faced on my 40th birthday took me to the abyss where survival itself was in question.

I spent my fortieth birthday in a dark valley that was my greatest challenge and my greatest teacher, doing the most menial of jobs… cleaning toilets. A life crucible, a crime, a tragedy had thrown me from the mountain of success to a very dark valley. With $100 dollars and a credit card in my pocket, and mop in my hands I vowed to find a way to show my two young children that with faith, courage, integrity one could transform even the greatest darkness into the greatest light. Why is my story important? Because, if you are a smart, fast forward thinker you know that being smart, fast, and well-trained are no longer enough. The changes, challenges and crises we face today demand a different way of thinking, leading and living that can help us inspire, engage and lead the best in ourselves and others when the going is very tough…and even when the tough are not sure how to get going!

A Secret Revealed

It was at ground zero, doing the most menial of jobs that I learned a secret, a truth, a lesson that changed my life. Inevitably, whether by old age or a twist of fate…all the glitters is never gold. The greatest power we hold is not in what we have, but in who we truly are when we choose to ignite, engage and unleash the leader or hero within. Our greatest power lies in our ability to use what is to create what can be in our self, our lives, our relationships, our leadership and our work.
The worst life crucible; the cruellest of treatment, abuse, humiliation, the greatest of failures, the pain of dealing with a threatening illness, or a personal stumbling block cannot steal the faith, hope, courage, potential and determination that burns inside us, unless we let it. The greatest success we can ever achieved cannot be measured by things that will be irrelevant when we leave this earth, but rather by our ability to live, lead and succeed to purpose. It is our ability to live, lead and succeed to purpose, our ability to truly self actualize by unleashing our true potential that can move mole hills and mountains in our life and in the lives of others. It is this purpose, this passion this potential that creates value for others, and creating value for others is the timeless formula for success and fulfillment.

Because, it is our ability to see past what is, and create or re-create what can be that determines our ability to drive our greatest intentions forward, and reclaim our ability to live, lead and succeed to purpose. For when we are on purpose, we also discover our joy factor. When we are on purpose there is a sense of profound happiness, fulfillment meaning and empowerment that helps us unleash our best thoughts, emotions and actions. The pilot light that connects us with our highest power and our greatest potential, the candle that can help us heal, restore and rebuild a life, a career, an organization can be found and it can be re-engaged and re-ignited.

Resilience Yields Greatest Power

It was in the valley, at a time when all seemed lost, that I discovered my greatest power-my 3Q Edge™. It was in the valley that I learned to love and accept myself for who I was, rather than measuring my worth by what I had acquired or accomplished. It was in the valley that I discovered how to use my strengths AND my stressors, my changes AND deepest challenges to build my greatest advantage and potential by developing my 3Q™’s.

I learned to optimize my strength and skills while transforming the very difficult and gut wrenching challenges, challenges and crises I faced into breakthrough results that accelerated and sustained my IQ (mind power-whole brain thinking, greater focus, quicker ideation, creativity, action-ablity), EQ (emotional intelligence-emotional management and mastery) and SQ (spiritual quotient-the power within).

Today, I have dedicated my career to helping others build their 3Q Edge™ because I believe in the power of human being better, not simply living and doing faster. I believe in our ability to unleash the business, personal and inter-personal leadership we need to live, lead and succeed to purpose in our lives, our relationships, our workplace…our world. I believe that our greatest strength, success and satisfaction cannot be sustained by what we command, control or acquire, but from what we contribute. It is the relationships that we build and sustain, our ability to inspire, engage and lead the best in ourselves and others that help us make our contribution. And, we all have a special contribution to make; no matter how large or small every contribution counts now more than ever before.

When we do find our true power, when we build our Q strengths and potential, we come home. August 1998 I came home, and thankfully I have been there ever since. I am honoured and grateful for the gift of life, and for the ability to help other rainmakers, road warriors and trailblazers open a new pathway, a critical pathway to their best work, best relationships, best leadership, and best lives by building their 3Q Edge™.

I am honoured to help my clients come home by living, leading and succeeding to purpose, because together we can make a difference. A difference that builds engagement, empowerment, communication, action-ability, leadership and growth in real life, real work and real-time.
Irene Becker | Against All Odds

Irene Becker is Chief Success Officer of Just Coach. Just Coach is a “transformational catalyst” whose unique 3Q™ approach has helped clients in Canada, USA and Europe achieve breakthrough results in performance, communication and leadership. She writes at JustCoachIt. Copyright © 2012, Irene Becker.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

"Please Don't Believe Me" by Alan O'Day #childabuse

LYRICS: Jimmy's walking home from school talking with his friend But when they get to Jimmy's house he can‚t invite him in Jimmy says his mom's not well and tells his friend good-bye He keeps a secret as he slowly walks inside Cause Mom's been drinking and right now she doesn't care About this awful burden her child must bear, he's begging Please don't believe me when I say I'm okay Look a little deeper for the words that I can't say I'm too small to stand alone, I sure could use a friend Help me learn to trust someone again Don't leave me Please don't believe me There's a house that's dark and quiet where little Amy sleeps There's footsteps in the bedroom where someone shouldn't be Somebody whispers I'll hurt you if you tell Amy keeps the secret and blames it on herself, her smile is just a shell Please don't believe me when I say I'm ok Look a little deeper for the words that I can't say I'm too small to stand alone, I sure could use a friend Help me learn to trust someone again Don't leave me Please don't believe me Oh the years fly by for the ones who survive Till they look like grown ups, and nobody hears them Nobody hears them cry Please don't believe me when I say I'm ok Look a little deeper for the words that I can't say I'm too small to stand alone, I sure could use a friend Help me learn to trust someone again Don't leave me Please don't believe me

Friday, 16 November 2012

Why Did It Happen To Me? #childabuse

Sooner or later every one asks the question, “Why did it happen to me ?”

Etract from the website which is unfortunately now closed.

I struggled with that question for years until I found understanding therapists. Lets get some things straight before we go on to look at this question deeper. Your abuser will no doubt of made you feel that the abuse happened because it was your fault in some way.

In asking the above question, you are trying to find out what you did wrong. The ONLY thing that you did wrong was to believe your abuser, and whoever that was LIED to you, and USED you. Other than that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I know that putting it that simply won’t be good enough for you yet, so I shall try to explain the answer a little better if I can.

Hopefully the simple answer will be enough for you one day soon.

Let us start by having a look at the person who first sexually abused you, when you were young. They were older than you, wiser and knew what they were doing. They will of probably of had to plan well before hand to make sure that they could get you alone, in order to be able to abuse you. This means that not only did they know what they were doing, they also knew what they wanted to do for some time before anything happened the first time.

There is thus NO WAY that you seduced them, and no way that you are to blame, no matter what excuses they gave you. At the age that you were, you probably knew little if anything to do about sex. Your abuser, on the other hand, being older knew what was happening. It is unlikely to of made any difference to your abuser if they sexually abused a boy or a girl, you were a child.

That is all that the abuser wanted, a child, basically any child that they could get by themselves, and manipulate into keeping quiet about what happened.

It is unlikely that you will be the only person that your abuser will of abused. If the abuser was a member of your family, or a close family friend, then it is possible that your brothers or sisters may also of been abused. What I am trying to do is to get you to realize that it happened to you ONLY because the abuser could get you alone, and it was safe for them.

For the simple reason that the circumstances within your family meant that you could be got alone, then it is also possible that you may of been abused by more than one person. By the time that I was 9 years old I had been abused by five different people that I can remember.

That does not make it my fault, it’s just that I could be gotten alone, and possibly having been abused once, another abuser could spot how vulnerable I was.

I know that it can be tempting at times to blame yourself for some of the situations that you have found yourself in, or put up with in your past, but as long as you have not hurt anyone else on purpose it is self defeating and pointless.

The abuse that you went through as a child had such a devastating, brain washing, effect on you, that you were conditioned to respond almost instinctively in certain ways, without much, if any, conscious thought.

It is not until you are on the path to recovery, that you can start to undo all the lies and misinformation, and start to make informed choices. Until you accepted that the abuse has had an effect upon you, then you had no way of understanding that you were doing things because of the abuse. At times your childhood pre-programming may still take over, but with the passage of time you will be able to take more control, little by little.


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