Picture a symphony, where the musicians dance in exquisite synchrony, their instruments weaving a tapestry of melodies. But then, like an unexpected thunderclap in a peaceful garden, a hammer hurtles onto the stage. And as if summoned by some unseen force, more hammers rain down, a relentless torrent of percussion. Yet amidst this chaos, the resolute performers press on, for the show, undeterred, must march forward.
Your body is a symphony, and every cell within your body resembles a skilled musician.
No matter what storms batter your nervous system, your cells have one relentless goal: to keep you alive until they can no longer perform their vital role. Cells are the unsung heroes of your body, working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure your survival. Cells are the guardians of your life force, fighting against all odds to keep your symphony playing.
When you experience ACEs, it’s like throwing a hammer into the symphony, disrupting the balance and creating long-term health problems even when the show must go on.
What if we looked at our human friends like the billions of cells and bacteria that make them who they are as a functioning human? What if we considered what the traumatized cells and gut biome needed when we think about recovering from ACEs? These questions might seem puzzling at first, but they hold the key to understanding the long-term benefits of addressing our childhood trauma or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
4 key points when developing a deep understanding for ACEs
#1 ENVIRONMENT IS MEDICINE
- Imagine your body as a finely tuned orchestra, and each cell, a musician playing its part. Just like an orchestra needs the right environment to create beautiful music, our cells require a nurturing environment to function optimally.
- When we experience ACEs, it’s like introducing discordant notes (or hammers) into the symphony of our bodies. These adverse experiences disrupt the harmony, leading to long-term health issues and a host of other noticeably reckless behaviors.
- Addressing childhood trauma means creating a healing environment. This involves seeking support from friends, family, and professionals who can provide the care and understanding necessary for recovery. A positive environment can act as a powerful medicine, gradually restoring the balance within.
#2 ACES ARE THE ELEMENTS OF INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CHAOS
- Adverse Childhood Experiences encompass a wide range of stressors, from abuse and neglect to household and community disharmony. These experiences not only affect our emotional well-being but also have a profound impact on our physical health. Imagine ACEs as storm clouds that loom over our lives, casting shadows of chaos and uncertainty.
- By addressing our childhood trauma, we work to dissipate those storm clouds. We learn to navigate life’s challenges with resilience and emotional intelligence, reducing the internal and external chaos that ACEs can bring. This is like learning to carry an umbrella when it rains, allowing us to weather life’s storms more effectively.
#3 HIGH TRACES OF ACES BECOME CASH COWS FOR INDUSTRIES
- It’s alarming how industries like prison, healthcare, processed foods, and even drug dealers’ profit from the aftermath of ACEs. Those who’ve experienced trauma are more vulnerable to addiction, chronic health conditions, and even incarceration. This vicious cycle generates significant revenue for these industries, perpetuating the cycle of suffering.
- One of the largest public health crises across the globe, ACEs are estimated to cost the United States trillions of dollars each year in healthcare costs, lost productivity, and crime.
- By addressing ACEs head-on, we break this cycle. We invest in preventive measures, support systems, and education, ultimately reducing the toll on individuals and society as a whole. It’s a step toward reclaiming control over our lives and redirecting resources to more constructive purposes.
#4 TIME IS THE COMMON DENOMINATOR
- It’s a fact; we’re all going to die one day. Life, death, taxes – these are guaranteed for everything. But for those with 6 or more ACEs, there’s a startling 20-year life expectancy difference compared to those without. This stark reality reminds us of the urgency to address childhood trauma.
- Yet, there’s hope. Our brains have plasticity, which means they can change and adapt. With the right support and effort, we can rewrite our stories, heal our wounds, and build brighter futures. Time becomes the common denominator, a precious resource we invest in our well-being.
To summarize, addressing childhood trauma or ACEs is not just about healing past wounds; it’s an investment in our future. We could save billions of dollars and millions of lives. It’s about creating an environment where our cells can play in harmony, where chaos is minimized, and where industries no longer profit from our pain.
Time is our ally. With resilience and support, we can rewrite our life’s symphony.
By CENDIE K. STANFORD
Cendie Stanford, MS, MEd (she) is the founder of ACEs Matter. She has lived experiences with childhood adversities growing up in Lubbock County, TX. In 2020 she founded ACEs Matter because she believed that many generational ACEs are passed down because of a lack of awareness, but that the cards we are dealt are not our final destination. The vision for ACEs Matter is to significantly reduce the number of ACEs that are passed down through generations and increase the number of positive childhood experiences within generations.