Tag Archives: smoking

How a missed trash can led to Formation Tortue, but learning languages can help treating childhood trauma

Why did that paper ball flying over my head make me dive for the floor?

Shortly after I turned 51 years of age, a young coworker launched a simple balled up bit of paper at the trash can in front of me. It missed. What I saw was not a mere bit of paper becoming litter, however. Out of the corner of my eye, something came flying at me from behind. I reacted instinctively: by ducking. Since this was not the normally appropriate behavior for a 51 year old woman in an office environment, you can well imagine my embarrassment. My coworker apologized profusely: the poor thing had simply missed a trash can with a tiny bit of paper. What he saw was a reaction out of an earthquake drill. I also apologized profusely, but the damage was already done. For the rest of the day, coworkers eyed me suspiciously and slowly walked over to place their trash in the bin. The awkwardness was palpable, and I was grateful when some of my Mexican coworkers began talking and joking in Spanish, drawing attention away from the incident.

As I sat on my afternoon break with a cup of hot water, I suddenly recalled a time I haven’t thought of in over 40 years. Another object was flying over my head from behind me, but it was not a simple bit of paper.
It was a belt buckle.
Pandemonium had broken loose as an old man bellowed his wrath, and swung his belt. I was the only person in the room not running away. For some reason, I could see the old man, the belt, and the other kids in the room. All looked either furious or frightened. But it all seemed to be happening somewhere else, with me simply frozen in place. The sounds were there, but muted as if in an old fashioned film.

It suddenly hit me that this event was from a time that I had worked very hard to forget. I’d been 9 years old, in the house overnight of a babysitter who was rather negligent. I told my mother, yet she did nothing. So, I forgot. But I never knew why objects flying over my head made me panic; until today.

Spanish, in particular Mexican Spanish, has always been my favorite language to switch into when I need to move my thoughts out of English. As a child, I’d always wished that I had magical powers to allow me to fight, or that I had a fairy sister to defend me, but the reality was that I was thrown back upon my own resources, so hiding or being ready to run usually seemed to be my best option. Hiding from my own thoughts was fairly easily accomplished, even in my dreams at times, by singing or thinking in Spanish.

It turned out that I could not hide from myself indefinitely. Things we’d rather not remember have a way of springing up, in the end. As I began to get therapy for events from my childhood it turned out that hiding and forgetting was not an effective way of dealing with those events. I had to relive them, again. This was probably more frustrating for my therapists than it even was for me, as I was told again and again that pushing away the memories would only make my #C-PTSD worse. But the focus on just being functional made it easy to ignore, once I was back in a job where I could pour my time and attention into something complex. (This 13-26 week cap that Medicaid puts on the number of sessions is yet another reason that we need full #UniversalHealthCare for everyone. Complex cases of many illnesses require long-term therapy that, when covered, will make for a healthier work force and population, not just the functional-to-panic-back-to-functionality roller coaster that kills so much time and so many people, in the end…)

The final straw arrived when the regional economy took a dive, sending myself and the vast majority of people I knew out of work. Some went to California, and I went overseas for work. In a new country and environment, stress flared up, and so did my panic anxiety. But this time I had to talk to a therapist in a language I was only just beginning to learn. As it turned out, I was finally able to access a good bit of the emotional content, while remaining present and able to stem the tide of anxiety during each session. As we began to unpack more of the childhood memories I’d been avoiding, being forced to express myself in a language I was still learning appeared to keep me emotionally distanced enough to prevent being pulled completely into the pain of the original event. When I came back to the USA, I found in California that having a Mexican therapist allowed us to switch from my native English, which was required to access the full emotion of the memory, into Spanish. So when she needed to lower the intensity level of the session, but keep me in the memory, she would switch into Spanish, distancing me just enough from the experience to process it. Who would have thought that #learning a #language could help in this case? But, it did.

So, what would Astérix do? He’d ask the Druid Panoramix, who would say: Il faut #ArreterdeFumer tout de suite !!

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure & #‎StopSmoking for COVID-19
ShiraDest

April, 12020 HE

Learning a language would help Hakan defeat the Virus: how? Ask the Loyal Ones…

#COVID-19’dan, nasıl kazanacayız?

How do we win against the #CoronaVirus?

Potansiyelim var.”  ==  “I have potential.”

Hakan, “The Protector” of Istanbul and of all humankind, argues that despite his lack of formal education, he has the potential to do just as well as any university-educated person, even to solve problems like a deadly virus epidemic.  And, in the end, he manages to do it.

(Hermione Granger y Amelia Folch would run to the #library to get the book Karakalem ve Bir Delikanlının Tuhaf Hikayesi by Nilüfer İpek Gökdel, to read about how one deadly virus was defeated by Hakan and the Loyal Ones, after learning Turkish, of course!)

Each and every person, Protector or not, has potential.  And every person has the human right to an opportunity to prove that potential.  But everyone needs education in order to bring out and fulfill his or her potential.   Hakan was given that education by Zeynep, his most Loyal One, but we all have a world-wide educational system that currently only works in favor of those who can either afford to pay, or have the opportunity to get scholarships.  Scholarships and education require enough stable housing to be able to study.  That requires at least enough food, clothing, and shelter to be able to concentrate or get safely to a library and concentrate for a few hours per day in safety.

Public transit often plays a crucial role in this, but this post will focus on the need for every person to have a free opportunity to gain education.  Whether it is a university education, or on-going adult education regarding consumer rights, legal rights of other kinds, like tenants rights and worker’s rights, or financial and debt-related rights, everyone needs training.  While most states do have some sort of free adult education, workshops on local laws, for example, most states do not have nearly enough resources available for all of the hard-working students who would like to attend university but cannot afford to.  I have a proposal for helping them to reach their potential, and thus helping us all to reach our fuller potential as a society.  And you don’t even need to learn #Turkish (although that will open windows on the wider world to you, should you choose to accept the challenge)!

What if every diligent student were offered free study texts and allowed to sit an entrance exam for free university studies, in exchange for the promise to help by giving back to the local community as payment for his or her studies?  For example, let everyone be given free SAT prep classes, and then, any person passing the entrance exam for university studies for free.  Suppose one passes the exam and studies accounting.  That person must first agree to teach free tax preparation courses every tax season, at least during the time he or she studies at the university.  Let everyone with a bachelors degree be given free LSAT prep courses, but then if admitted to a free Law School, agree to teach free courses on consumer rights, give free workshops on state debt laws, etc.  Let paralegal students study for free, but pledge to teach free seminars on local renters’ rights and let the MBA students study for free, but teach free seminars on investment and business planning or small business marketing planning in the local area, while studying for that free Master’s degree.

Meanwhile, remember: “Bu bir masal değil.”  “This is not a fairy tale.”

So, #LearnALanguage, compare the studies in various languages, and #StopSmoking!!

Let’s #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail while  improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure and #languagelearn,
ShiraDest

April, 12020 HE

Smoking: a public health Menace and a private Inferno

In an earlier blog article related to this global pandemic, the #coronavirus, also known as covid-19, I pointed out that allowing accurate news coverage of public health information is vital for public safety. This point is illustrated by season 2, episode 13 of Spanish Public Television series El Ministerio del Tiempo. But what is not mentioned in the episode is the danger posed by smokers to those who are either ill or recovering from a virus, particularly one like the current malady, which attacks the lungs, much like SARS. For anyone who has allergies, asthma, any sort of lung-based or respiratory illness, or even merely a common cold, cigar or cigarette smoke, or even marijuana for those who are also sensitive to it, creates further breathing difficulty, hampering recovery. Thus, a public health problem is aggravated by smoking anywhere within at least a 20 ft. But that does not take into account the other side of smoking: the personal side.

For many individuals, suffering from anything from emphysema to asthma, the hazards of smoking, both first and second-hand, are clear. But there is another side, which is not as often seen. For survivors of long term very early childhood abuse, cigarette or marijuana smoke can often trigger unwanted memories, flight/flight/freeze reactions, or even panic attacks. And to confuse the matter further, the very survivors may not even realize the source or the connection between smoke and their anxiety or panic reactions.

One survivor of very early and long-lasting childhood abuse explained it this way, when asked why the mere smell of cigarette smoke could make anyone panic:

“As long as I can remember, I have always flinched, or had the urge to run and hide (which we now call the fight, flight, or panic response), at the slightest smells of cigarette or marijuana smoke. As I sat in a place where there was strictly prohibited smoking, having been reassuring by a manager on the property that someone would find the source of the cigarette smoke right way, I relaxed for a moment and closed my eyes.

I suddenly found myself a 4-year old back in a place I never want to live again in a dark room sitting on the floor, hoping that the person with the cigarette would keep walking past the door. As the door opens can I come back to a memory of being asked for forgiveness many years later. Reasons for never given, but in my gut, I knew immediately.

What my gut knew, when I was in my late 20s, took me until I was 51 years old to come up to my conscious mind. It happened at 3 in the morning on a day when I finally feel reassured by someone that I would be protected. Not from the cigarette smoke, but from the person carrying the cigarette.”

So, please, for the good of those suffering with the novel Coronavirus, and also for the good of those suffering with buried memories triggered by smoke, please help all of us to be healthy, and stop smoking.

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure
ShiraDest

March, 12020 HE